What’s changing next?
That question, or variations of it, seems to come up a lot following a whirlwind year of changes in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. From adjustments to the Sunday worship schedule and an emphasis on home-centered gospel learning, to changes in age requirements for youth to participate in temple and priesthood ordinances, to how missionaries can communicate with their families and last week’s announcement regarding changes to seminary, it HAS been a whirlwind year. Those changes don’t even address half of what we’ve seen since January 2018.
It’s clear that God has a vision for His Church at this time. His prophet, President Russell M. Nelson, shared a glimpse when he said, “If you think the Church has been fully restored, you’re just seeing the beginning. There is much more to come.”
At the Rome Italy temple dedication, where Latter-day Saints witnessed even more historic firsts, President Nelson added, “This is a hinge point in the history of the Church. Things are going to move forward at an accelerated pace. . . . The Church is going to have an unprecedented future, unparalleled. We’re just building up to what’s ahead now.”
Unprecedented. Unparalleled. What does that mean for us as members of the Church today?
It’s easy to think of “the Church” as a big, global institution. But, really, “the Church” is you and me. It’s the people and their individual acts of love, service, and devotion to God that make all the difference. It’s individuals over institution. When we think of it that way, the responsibility is clear. Our future, as disciples of Jesus Christ, is unprecedented and unparalleled. This is a hinge point in the history of us as individuals to build up what’s ahead—the Savior’s Church for when He returns again.
A Personal Responsibility
I don’t think it was coincidence that President Nelson’s first talk in general conference as prophet was entitled “Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives.” Only three months into his calling, he talked about how the Spirit had repeatedly impressed upon him “how willing the Lord is to reveal His mind and will.” Not just to him, God’s prophet, but to each of us as God’s children. President Nelson called receiving revelation a privilege and one of God’s greatest gifts to His children.
I couldn’t agree more. God doesn’t ask us to follow Him or his prophet blindly. He invites us to follow Him in faith, and a big part of that is asking questions so that we come to know truth for ourselves. With each change announced for the Church, we can personally pray to God to know what it means for ourselves, our families, and our congregations. Every change announced by Church leaders won’t be spelled out exactly, and I think that’s on purpose so that we can learn to “stretch beyond [our] current spiritual ability to receive personal revelation.”
God wants to speak to us. He is willing to reveal His mysteries to us. All we have to do is ask and learn how to listen for his answers. Change starts with desire, and that desire can only come individually—not because someone told us to do it. It’s our personal responsibility to seek truth and act by the Spirit when we receive answers.