Nearly three months after President Russell M. Nelson announced a “new balance and connection between gospel instruction in the home and in the Church” at general conference on October 6, 2018 (“Opening Remarks,” Ensign, Nov. 2018), Latter-day Saints are preparing to implement the changes.
The “home-centered and Church-supported plan” necessitates an adjustment to the Church’s Sunday meeting schedule, which is now one hour shorter than it has been for many years. This extra time will provide opportunities for families and individuals to study the gospel at home in a new way.
Deepening Our Conversion to Follow Jesus Christ
The changes are meant to help members increase faith and spirituality and deepen conversion, said Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and chairman of the Church’s Priesthood and Family Executive Council. Church leaders hope members will do their best to teach and learn the gospel during a year when the Church is studying the Savior's life and ministry in the New Testament during Sunday School and Primary.
Elder Cook recommends that Church members spend some time with Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families. This rich resource provides a variety of study options for individual and family adaptation and aligns Sunday School and Primary curriculum with home study. Elder Cook explains that as individuals and families prayerfully look at the manual and other resources, then they will be able to see how they can use them in a way that is “best for their individual and family situation.”
Elder Cook counselled that “individuals and families should make the hour they are given for home study a joy and a delight.” For example, in the photo, Ben, Tom, Daniel and Emilia Allen play Memory at home in Renton, Washington, on Friday, September 14, 2018. (Photo: Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)
Elder Cook went on to explain that there is no reason families need to remain in Sunday dress. He emphasizes the following ideas: “Would it be wonderful to sing gospel hymns? Yes. Would it be wonderful to sing other music or engage in other enjoyable or uplifting activities? Yes.”
In developing a new integrated curriculum for all members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Elder Cook noted that the primary aim of Church leaders has been to focus on fostering greater personal worship: “The strongest feeling is that we should not regulate families or individuals or determine what they should do.” Elder Cook concluded with the hope that Church members will make a considerable effort to implement and teach Come, Follow Me in their homes and receive the promised blessings.
Heeding the Counsel of Prophets
President Nelson explained in his “Opening Remarks” at the October 2018 general conference: “To survive spiritually, we need counterstrategies and proactive plans.
Accordingly, we now want to put in place organizational adjustments that will further fortify our members and their families” (Ensign, Nov. 2018).
In a letter dated June 29, 2018 the First Presidency announced Come, Follow Me resources to support personal and family scripture study.
The First Presidency went on to write in this letter, “Living by and reading the word of God will build faith in Heavenly Father and His plan of salvation and in the Savior Jesus Christ and His Atonement.”