zMormon Newsroom

How Did the Church Change This Year?

17 December 2018


A series of significant changes were made or announced in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 2018. From a new Church president to adjustments of meeting schedules and organizations to modifications to the missionary program to a heightened emphasis on the name of the Church that resulted in a notable name change for the Church’s famous choir, it was a historic year.

“We're witnesses to a process of restoration,” President Russell M. Nelson said in an interview with Newsroom while in Chile in October. “If you think the Church has been fully restored, you're just seeing the beginning. There is much more to come. … Wait till next year. And then the next year. Eat your vitamin pills. Get your rest. It's going to be exciting.”

Below is a summary of the year’s major changes and announcements:

New Leadership: Russell M. Nelson Named 17th Church President

President Nelson was announced as the 17th president and prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Tuesday, January 16, 2018. The nonagenarian turned 94 in September. President Nelson replaces President Thomas S. Monson, who died January 2, 2018, at age 90.


Focus on the Family: New Balance Between Gospel Instruction in the Home and Church

Beginning in January 2019, a new balance and connection between gospel instruction in the home and in the Church will include two-hour Sunday worship services and a home-centered, Church-supported curriculum.


Ministering More Like the Savior: A New Approach to Meeting People’s Needs

The Church’s home and visiting teaching programs were retired and replaced by a coordinated, more personalized approach to meet spiritual and temporal needs of Latter-day Saints known as “ministering.” The Church also consolidated the high priests and elders quorums in each congregation into one elders quorum. Both changes are designed to help everyday Latter-day Saints throughout the world minister in a higher and holier way — more like Jesus Christ.


Missionary Changes: Online Calls and Expanded Service Opportunities

In September the Church announced that by the end of 2018, nearly all missionaries around the world with reliable internet access will receive their calls online to serve in one of the Church’s 407 missions in more than 150 countries.


In November came news of expanded opportunities to allow more young people to serve as missionaries in various capacities that meet their personal needs or circumstances. If called to serve as a service missionary they will receive their call from the prophet, live at home and may serve from six months to two years.


Thinking of the Children and Youth: New Initiative for Children and Youth Will Strengthen Faith in Christ | Age Changes for Youth Progression and Ordination Announced

In May and September, the Church announced details of a new initiative for Latter-day Saint youth, ages 8 to 18, that will replace all existing youth activity programs beginning in January 2020. This includes a discontinuation of the Church’s relationship with all Scouting programs around the world. In December, the First Presidency announced a change to be implemented in January 2019 that will strengthen children and youth through increased faith in Jesus Christ, deeper understanding of His gospel, and greater unity with His Church and its members. See the full letter from the First Presidency. See more on our summary page of how the Church is reaching children, youth and young adults

Unity Through Music: Hymnbook and Children’s Songbook to Be Revised

The Church announced in June that two of its books of sacred will undergo significant changes. The new music collections will be created over the next several years to unify members and reflect the needs of members around the world. Selections will include core hymns and songs that teach the doctrines of the gospel.


Adjusting Priorities: Three Pageants Will Continue, Four Will End

Conversations with local Church and community leaders took place in October 2018 to appropriately end, modify or continue Church pageants. Pageants in Nauvoo, Illinois; Mesa, Arizona; and the United Kingdom will continue. The Hill Cumorah, Manti, Castle Valley and Clarkston pageants will be discontinued.

Temple Growth: 19 New Temples Announced

In April President Nelson announced seven new temples and another 12 in October (the largest number of temples ever announced on the same day). See more on our summary page of the year’s temple news.

Same Choir, New Name: The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square

After more than 100 years, the world-renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir changed its name to “The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square.” The name modification, which drops the long-standing word "Mormon," follows an August 2018 statement by President Russell M. Nelson requesting the proper use of the name of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the choir’s sponsoring organization.


Beloved Wife and Mother: Sister Barbara Ballard Passes Away in Salt Lake City

Barbara Bowen Ballard, wife of President M. Russell Ballard, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve, passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by her loving family, in October. She was 86 years old. She faced a long battle with myriad health issues, including Alzheimer’s, with her characteristic grace and sense of humor.

Return to 2018 Year in Review of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints