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SALT LAKE CITY — The LDS Church's home teaching and visiting teaching programs will be retired, leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced during the concluding session of the church's 188th Annual General Conference Sunday afternoon.
Church President Russell M. Nelson also announced plans to build seven new temples, including one in Layton, Utah.
Other temples will be in Salta, Argentina; Bengaluru, India; Managua, Nicaragua; Cagayan de Oro, Philippines; Richmond, Virginia; and a major city yet to be determined in Russia.
'Ministering' replaces home and visiting teaching
Under home and visiting teaching, members were assigned to care for individuals and families in their congregations. This was traditionally done through monthly visits and efforts to help the individuals and families with their spiritual and other needs.
President Nelson said a "newer, holier approach to caring and ministering to others" will be implemented instead. It will be referred to as "ministering" and made possible through what President Nelson called the "innate gifts" of the women of the church and the "incomparable power of the priesthood."
The LDS Church tweeted a description of the changes from its official account.
.@HollandJeffreyR: "We are pleased that the newly announced priesthood and Relief Society ministering concept will include among other things, some of the following elements . . ." — The LDS Church (@LDSchurch) April 1, 2018
Sister Jean B. Bingham, general Relief Society President, also announced that young women between the ages of 14 and 18 can now serve as companions in ministering to those in the Relief Society, similar to the young men in the church their same age.
"Youth can share their unique gifts and grow spiritually as they serve alongside adults in the work of salvation," she said. "Involving youth in ministering assignments can also increase the reach of Relief Society and elders quorums’ caring for others by increasing the number of members who participate."
Read more about the program changes at LDS.org.