SALT LAKE CITY — “You have taken your vitamins,” Elder Quentin L. Cook of the church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles gleefully told the thousands of members in the Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City during the second session Saturday afternoon.
Now it’s time for another change-up.
Under the direction of church President Russell M. Nelson, Elder Cook announced significant changes to the church’s youth organizations: retiring the current model of Young Men organization, adult leadership positions in that organization on a ward and stake level, and changes to the midweek activities commonly known as “Mutual” across the world.
“We also want to strengthen Aaronic priesthood quorums and Young Women classes, and provide support to bishops and other adult leaders as they serve the rising generation,” President Nelson said.
Adult-based Young Men presidencies at the ward level are discontinued, in favor of youth leadership from the ward's bishopric, and aided by “capable adult Young Men advisers” called to assist each age group’s presidencies.
The changes are meant to emphasize the responsibilities of youth leadership and reporting to the bishopric, motivate adult leaders to mentor quorum presidencies, and place the “power and duties of the Aaronic Priesthood at the center of every young man’s personal life and goals,” he said.
At the stake and general levels, Young Men presidencies will stay intact. A high councilor will be assigned as the Young Men president, and along with the high councilors over the stake Young Women and Primary organizations, be a part of the stake Aaronic Priesthood–Young Women Committee.
Additionally, the church will retire “Mutual” as a mid-week activity geared toward young men and young women, which will be replaced by “Young Women activities,” “Aaronic Priesthood quorum activities” and “youth activities,” to be held weekly, whenever possible. The ward budget will be divided equitably between the young men and young women, and an appropriate amount will be apportioned for small-children Primary activities.
There will also be a change in terminology.
“At all levels, ward, stake and general, we will use the term ‘organization’ rather than the term ‘auxiliary,’” Elder Cook said.
The adjustments may begin rolling out immediately, but should be in place worldwide by January 2020.
“Our youth are being asked to take more individual responsibility at younger ages — without parents and leaders taking over what youth can do for themselves,” Elder Cook said.
The changes comes 18 months after President Russell M. Nelson announced significant changes to the adult male organizations of the church, essentially combining each congregation’s Elders Quorum and High Priest group into one body.
Additional details pertaining to the Young Women's organization will be announced Saturday evening by Sister Bonnie H. Cordon of the Young Women general presidency during the church's General women's session, President Nelson said.
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