What were some of the changes announced in the October 2019 general conference?
Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and President Bonnie H. Cordon, Young Women General President, announced important changes to the structures of the Young Men and Young Women organizations.
- Instead of being organized into three classes, the Young Women program in each ward will now be organized according to the size and needs of the group. There might be several different classes or just one, and they will all be referred to as “Young Women” rather than “Beehives,” “Mia Maids,” and “Laurels.”
- There will no longer be ward Young Men presidencies. Instead, as instructed in the Doctrine and Covenants, bishops will preside over the young men, and Young Men advisers will be called to assist the bishopric and quorum presidencies.
- Young Men quorum presidencies and Young Women class presidencies will be in charge of leading in the work of salvation by conducting and planning Sunday meetings, carrying out activities, and ministering to quorum and class members.
- Other changes to youth programs include retiring the term “Mutual” (“Young Women activities,” “Aaronic Priesthood quorum activities,” or “youth activities” will be used instead) and implementing a new Young Women theme.
These changes will allow more opportunity for youth to grow and “develop their sacred personal potential” (Russell M. Nelson, “Witnesses, Aaronic Priesthood Quorums, and Young Women Classes,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2019, 39). Another purpose for these changes is to strengthen quorums and classes and help them to better plan for each ward’s unique circumstances.
Stand and Witness
The First Presidency announced a change to the procedures for witnessing baptisms and sealings.
- “Any baptized member of the Church, including children and youth, may serve as a witness to the baptism of a living person” (First Presidency letter, Oct. 2, 2019).
- Any member with a current temple recommend, including a limited-use recommend, can serve as a witness to baptisms for the dead, and any endowed member with a current temple recommend can serve as a witness to living or proxy temple sealings.
This policy change allows more members to help serve in sacred ordinances. This conference, President Russell M. Nelson also encouraged youth to qualify for a limited-use temple recommend (see “Closing Remarks,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2019, 120) to participate in baptisms and confirmations for the dead.