|President Russell M. Nelson|
With a few days to ponder and attempt to absorb what just happened to us, one thought stands above all the rest - the ongoing development of Zion is in full flower.
|Elders Soares and Gong|
I commented to our family during the break between sessions that it did not appear President Nelson would be a "caretaker" president. Little did I know he was just getting warmed up!
The whole weekend was carefully orchestrated to full effect. It seemed each time President Nelson was at the podium another blockbuster announcement was dropped. To say the effect of each announcement was jaw-dropping would be an understatement.
First, we learned about the new Apostles, then later the addition of seven new General Authority Seventies, many new Area Authority Seventies, and a new Young Women's General Presidency. Those announcements were followed that evening in General Priesthood Meeting with the announcement of "adjustments" in the way the Melchizedek Priesthood Quorums within the stakes and the wards will operate in the future. Explanations were given by Apostles Rasband and Christofferson in that meeting, and the choreography to immediately disable the LDS Tools accounts of the presently-called leaders was stunning. That was followed by detailed instructions after the announcements that were distributed to everyone in the Church for whom the leadership of the Church had an e-mail account. I found the e-mail in my inbox immediately after the conclusion of the session.
More in line now with the revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants, the high priest quorums in each stake will include only those high priests in the stake presidency, the high council, the bishoprics and the active patriarchs within each stake. All the rest of the high priests and elders in each ward will meet as one quorum called the elders quorum under the direction of a new elders quorum presidency.
Yesterday, before the meeting as I thanked our high priest group leader for his service, his comment was classic. "I think it's the first time I have ever been released without a vote of thanks," he said with a smile. That happened during our quorum meeting.
And the adjustments in priesthood functionality didn't end it. On Sunday morning we learned that home teaching and visiting teaching would be "retired," to be replaced simply with "ministering." And somewhere in the spirit world President Thomas S. Monson is smiling. Again, detailed instructions followed from Church leaders in subsequent talks, illustrating simplicity and less reporting requirements. Those of us who live along the Wasatch Front (and Back) probably have little appreciation for the impact these adjustments will make in the worldwide applications for which they are no doubt designed. What a testament to the ongoing hastening of the the work. It seems that no matter how big the Church grows the flexibility and the nuances of organizational adaptation can be accommodated.
The final announcement came at the very end of the last session, when President Nelson announced the proposed construction of seven new temples around the world, including Russia and India. The audible response of approval from the audience within the Conference Center was elicited with the inclusion of Layton, Utah, and Richmond, Virginia.
To conclude, my mind went back yesterday to a letter from my father, presiding at the time in the California Arcadia Mission in 1978. He had attended the three-hour block of meetings in an East Los Angeles ward earlier that day, and included this comment in his letter: "I can't imagine that I was served the sacrament by a black deacon in a 9:00 a.m. sacrament meeting seated as I was in my two-piece garments. But it actually happened that way!!" He could have added with a new set of scriptures in his hands, but he never migrated to the new set.
A few years later, one of his former assistants, David W. Checketts, was serving as his home ward bishop, who recommended this seventy-something former mission president as the ward elders quorum president with the approval of the stake president. So, rest assured these are not such earth-shattering "adjustments" without precedent as one might suppose.
And we will see more of it as the work of establishing Zion accelerates. . .