Need more information?

Top Leaderboard

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

BREAKING NEWS: President Nelson Announces Changes in Witness Policies During General Conference Leadership Sessionr

Hello again, everyone! As has been traditional during the days before each General Conference, today marked the beginning of General Conference Leadership Sessions in advance of the October 2019 General Conference. Those leadership sessions began with a significant announcement from Church President Russell M. Nelson, which clarified the differents between doctrine, policy, and tradition. In the Doctrine and Covenants, directives have been given about witnesses to ordinances, particularly those performed in the temple.

In the ensuing years since those revelations were originally received, the Church has observed the tradition of priesthood holders (who have at least been ordained to the office of priest)  serve as wtinesses for baptisms, while endowed males have traditionally served as witnesses to temple ordiinances. In perhaps the last adjustment made before President Thomas S. Monson passed away, in December 2017, Church leaders announced added opportunities for youth in the temple, which included that priests could also serve as witnesses to proxy bajptisms in the temple.

Today, an announcement was made that further tweaked the Church's long-observed tradition relating to witnesses of baptisms and temple ordinances. President Nelson announced that, effective immediately, any previously-baptized member of the Church, male or female 8 and above may serve as a witness for baptisms. Additionally, any worthy male or female with a valid temple recommend may now serve as a witness to proxy baptisms, and any endowed member of the Church may now serve as a witness to sealings performed in the temple.

This announcement is a vitally important step, because it clarifies the difference between tradition, practice, and doctrine as understood by the Church. As President Nelson observed when announcing these historic adjustments, the Lord reveals to each of His prophets those revelations and instructions that would be most beneficial and expedient for the Church and the world in their own time. And as he also aptly observed, there will be no end to such adjustments and tweaks, either under President Nelson or any of his future successors. Living and ongoing revelation has been, is, and always will be part of the Lord's living Church.

President Nelson's two counselors, Presidents Dallin H. Oaks and Henry B. Eyring, also spoke at today's leadership sessions. President Oaks focused his remarks on how the commandments to love God and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves can help us understand the eternal nature of God's children and His plans for them, which in turn can help inform how we respond to those within the LGBT community. While the laws of God are clear, unequivocal, and irrevocable, each of us can reach out in love and understanding towards those whose sexual orientation or gender identity may put them at odds with what we as members of the Lord's Church stand for. He also reaffirmed several of the doctrines found in the Family Proclamation, which are eternal and unalterable truths.

And President Eyring focused his remarks on providing encouragement and reassurance to all those who may at times feel overwhelmed by the responsibilities the Lord has given them. He quoted his uncle, President Spencer W. Kimball, who said,  “What we desire is to have Church programs serve Church members, not the reverse. We also want priesthood leaders to take into account, prayerfully and carefully, the needs of their members and to focus on meeting those basic needs.” What I love most about these three addresses is that they are all interconnected with a common theme that is in line with the three-fold mission of the Church: Proclaim the gospel, perfect the saints, and redeem the dead.

The leadership sessions will continue prior to General Conference tomorrow, with instruction from members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and other general authorities and general officers of the Church. How blessed we are to live in a time when those we sustain as prophets, seers, and revelators are not hesitant to change traditional practices, procedures, or policies in favor of recognizing the difference between tradition and the doctrines and practices of the Church. With that noted, I also wanted to note that I have no idea whether or not any other temple developments will be announced before General Conference, but that I am anxious to see how many temples may be announced this weekend and whatever else might be coming down the pike.

That does it for now. Any and all comments are, as always, welcome and appreciated, on any post at any time, as long as such comments are made in accordance with the established guidelines. Thank you for the privilege of your time. If you enjoyed what you read here and would like to stay informed of newly added content, please feel free to subscribe. Until my next post, I wish each one of you all the best and pray that the Lord will bless you all in everything you do.