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The top 10 changes President Russell M. Nelson has made in the LDS church


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Interesting list.  What do you think?  I am surprised she left off the Church name and the numerous temples.

https://religionnews.com/2022/01/18/the-top-10-changes-president-russell-m-nelson-has-made-in-the-lds-church/?fbclid=IwAR3Jy6X2sOHTFnhiH0tnOS5sq-Sfl-gz4VVRSRz95xd81C2kkh6juEmXW60

 

The top 10 changes President Russell M. Nelson has made in the LDS church

While many Mormons — including me — expected a Nelson presidency to be staid and uneventful, it’s been full of pleasant surprises.

The Rev. Amos C. Brown, right, and President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints hug during a news conference June 14, 2021, in Salt Lake City. Top leaders from the NAACP and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced $9.25 million in new educational and humanitarian projects as they seek to build on an alliance formed in 2018. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
The Rev. Amos C. Brown, right, and President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints hug during a news conference June 14, 2021, in Salt Lake City. Top leaders from the NAACP and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced $9.25 million in new educational and humanitarian projects as they seek to build on an alliance formed in 2018. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
January 18, 2022
By 

(RNS) — Last week marked the four-year anniversary since Russell M. Nelson assumed leadership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and it’s been quite an unexpected ride.

When he became the president in January 2018, the general consensus seemed to be that people were not expecting major changes. He was described as a “company man,” someone who had uneventfully risen through the ranks of church leadership for decades without making waves.

NBC News said the 93-year-old Nelson “isn’t expected to move the church in major new directions,” while the Chicago Tribune surmised “Nelson’s record during his three decades in church leadership suggests he will make few changes as he upholds church teaching and seeks to draw new members.” And here’s the headline from The Wall Street Journal: “Mormon Leader Thomas S. Monson Dies; Likely Successor Unlikely to Alter Church’s Course.”

Dail1.21-Pres-RMN-WSJ-headline-Jan-2018-807x

I believed that too. I was underwhelmed by Nelson’s initial news conference, particularly that his response when asked about the roles of women in the church amounted to “you can know I love women because I have nine daughters!” It was the typical and disappointing Mormon patriarchy line that women are wonderful because they are wives, mothers and daughters who make life better and easier for men. Yawn.

If I was guilty of expecting little from a nonagenarian company man, I’ve had cause to repent. I’m very glad to have been wrong about President Nelson. In a denomination that has for the last half-century implemented change glacially if at all, he has moved forward on a number of fronts. Here are my top 10.

  1. Reversing the 2015 LGBT exclusion policy. The church still has mountains of work to do in treating LGBTQ members as equals who are welcomed into full fellowship. (See last week’s Brigham Young University headline for one example, or this poignant article about singer David Archuleta trying to reconcile staying a Latter-day Saint when he is now out of the closet.) Also, the 2019 reversal of the 2015 policy just put us right back where we started: Once again, children of gay couples could be baptized and blessed, and once again, gay members were not subject to automatic excommunication for being in a relationship. As such, that hardly seems like progress. But the reason this policy reversal is my No. 1 change is that it demonstrated something we almost never see in modern Mormonism, which is a prophet visibly and decisively changing direction in a very short period of time. In early 2016, then-Elder Nelson was the one who most publicly defended the exclusion policy as God’s will; in 2019, as prophet, he heralded its reversal as God’s will. Confusing? Yes. But also promising. The reversal showed that everything was — and is — on the table for change. What else can and will shift to make a more open and affirming life for LGBT members of the church?
  2. Giving women a more active role in ritual life. In 2019, the church changed its endowment ceremony to give more authority to women, taking out a promise that women would “hearken” to their husbands while men would hearken directly to God. It also expanded the role of Eve (and therefore all women). Months later, the church announced women and girls could be official witnesses to official church ordinances, including temple baptisms and sealings. At the ward level, President Nelson has promoted greater parity with more women serving on ward councils. These are small changes that fall far short of structural equality for women in the church, but after many years with no forward movement at all, it’s heartening to see even a little progress.
  3. Moving toward a more diverse international leadership. One of Nelson’s very first changes was to call two new apostles who were not white men from the U.S. or Europe — a first in LDS history, believe it or not. He has also expanded the international representation in the lower Quorums of the Seventy. The church’s leadership is still predominantly American and white, but some change is finally happening. Nelson has also forged an ongoing relationship with the NAACP and spoken out against racism, both in the world and in the church.
  4. Making improvements to the missionary program. Nelson has de-emphasized the old “tough it out” approach to mission life, in which missionaries were only permitted to call home twice a year. Now, they can engage in weekly video chats with their families and the church is providing more mental health services for missionaries who experience anxiety or need to return early. As well, he initiated the shorter “service mission” for some young people who will continue to live with their families at home. In 2021, that option to do a short-term service mission was also given to retired senior members all over the world. Also — finally! — many female missionaries are permitted to wear pants and men can branch out ever so slightly from the 1960s white-shirt-and-tie combo.
  5. Balancing the youth program. At the start of 2020, the church ended its century-long official relationship with the Boy Scouts. It also overhauled its own youth program worldwide and began giving girls an equal budget in every unit around the world. This has had two immediate benefits — for starters, girls don’t have to feel like afterthoughts because their budget is no longer merely a fraction of what’s allotted for the boys. And second, the boys’ program is more standard everywhere in the world — unlike the old days, when nations that had access to Boy Scout troops and camps had amazing programs and boys in poorer nations did not.
  6. Two-hour church. Need I say more? Bring it on!
  7. Adapting skillfully to a global pandemic. I’ll always be grateful to Nelson for taking the COVID-19 pandemic seriously from the very beginning. He shut down meetinghouses and temples and kept them closed for months, only gradually reopening while listening to public health experts about what was safe. He closed General Conference to the public, promoted the use of masks, encouraged members to get vaccinated and modeled vaccination compliance. He’s taken a lot of flak for this from right-wing members.
  8. Ending the enforced vulnerability and potential exploitation that have been bishop’s interviews. The long-standing system of youth having to enter a closed office with a middle-aged man to discuss, among other things, their sexual behavior is potentially dangerous and has resulted in some terrible cases of the abuse of power. In early 2018, just two months into Nelson’s tenure, the church changed this policy so youth can now be accompanied by an adult of their choice into any interview with a church leader. What’s more, the new policy also applies to adult women, many of whom have long been uncomfortable with the experience of going in alone to speak with LDS leaders. (This includes me.)
  9. “Ministering” replacing home and visiting teaching. I like the new “forget the checklist” approach of the new ministering program. It’s more relaxed, relational and geared toward fellowship rather than trying to cram a doctrinal lesson into an awkward social encounter just to say you’ve done it. We have a long way to go to fully tap the potential of the ministering program in the church, but the early fruits have been good.
  10. Ending the Hill Cumorah Pageant and other pageants. I know many people have loved these spectacles through the years, with fond memories of attending them as children. As a convert, I don’t have those associations, so I went to the Hill Cumorah Pageant in the summer of 2019 with no prior experience. Though I was expecting to enjoy the show and feel sad it was ending, I left feeling the church probably should have discontinued it years ago. It was stilted, cheesy and racially problematic. I hope the church invests in new kinds of productions and intergenerational “destination” pilgrimage experiences for Mormons the world over — but the Hill Cumorah Pageant was a cultural relic of the past.

Those are my personal top 10 (so far). As I write, I’m fully aware some of these feel like small concessions in the midst of serious inequalities, and far more change is needed. Still, if you had asked me four years ago what a Nelson presidency might look like, I would not have seen most of these changes coming.

 

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1. Reversing the 2015 LGBT exclusion policy.

A course correction based, IMO, far more on the hysterical and overwrought reactions to the policy than on the policy itself.

2. Giving women a more active role in ritual life.

Wonderful.

3. Moving toward a more diverse international leadership.

A continuation of a longstanding and ongoing trend.

4. Making improvements to the missionary program.

Wonderful.

5. Balancing the youth program.

Wonderful.

6. Two-hour church.

I'm a bit ambivalent about this, but time will tell.  Meanwhile, I defer to and support the Brethren on this.

7. Adapting skillfully to a global pandemic.

I was grateful that the Church provided counsel about the pandemic, and that it was very cautious, and that it provided a nonpartisan, non-shrill, non-hysterical, non-condemnatory perspective on the vaccines.

8. Ending the enforced vulnerability and potential exploitation that have been bishop’s interviews.

Another course correction based, IMO, far more on the hysterical and overwrought hissy fits about bishop interviews than about the interviews per se.

9. “Ministering” replacing home and visiting teaching.

A fine idea.  I hope it works.

10. Ending the Hill Cumorah Pageant and other pageants.

Ambivalent.  Indifferent.

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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45 minutes ago, smac97 said:

7. Adapting skillfully to a global pandemic.

I was grateful that the Church provided counsel about the pandemic, and that it was very cautious, and that it provided a nonpartisan, non-shrill, non-hysterical, non-condemnatory perspective on the vaccines.

"Rendering to Caesar the things that are Caesar's".

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1 hour ago, smac97 said:

1. Reversing the 2015 LGBT exclusion policy.

A course correction based, IMO, far more on the hysterical and overwrought reactions to the policy than on the policy itself.

A Correction?  President Nelson called it revelation when it was rolled out and called it revelation when he backtracked on it.  Don't mistake me. I am glad he back peddled on it.  But it certainly was not revelation and it seems the change was due to the proper backlash.  As for  hysterical and overwrought reactions?. Meh.  You call most anything that people react with proper indignation to against the Church hysterical, overwrought, shrill and so on. I think you have trouble with empathy on such things at least based on what you write.

 

 

1 hour ago, smac97 said:

2. Giving women a more active role in ritual life.

Wonderful.

Agree.

 

1 hour ago, smac97 said:

 



3. Moving toward a more diverse international leadership.

A continuation of a longstanding and ongoing trend.

That seems to move slowly but President Nelson is stepping it up some.

 

1 hour ago, smac97 said:

 



4. Making improvements to the missionary program.

Wonderful.

I must say the ability for missionaries to call home, email more etc was a shock to me.  Given like forever you could only write a letter a week and call on Christmas and Mothers day.

 

 

1 hour ago, smac97 said:



5. Balancing the youth program.

Wonderful.

Agree

 

1 hour ago, smac97 said:

 

6. Two-hour church.

I'm a bit ambivalent about this, but time will tell.  Meanwhile, I defer to and support the Brethren on this.

 

Were I active I would likely feel the same.

1 hour ago, smac97 said:

 

7. Adapting skillfully to a global pandemic.

I was grateful that the Church provided counsel about the pandemic, and that it was very cautious, and that it provided a nonpartisan, non-shrill, non-hysterical, non-condemnatory perspective on the vaccines.

I wish they would have been a bit more forceful. The Church has a lot of right wing lunatics that think the LDS leaders are leading them astray even based on what they did. But hey two ear rings baby!

 

 

1 hour ago, smac97 said:

8. Ending the enforced vulnerability and potential exploitation that have been bishop’s interviews.

Another course correction based, IMO, far more on the hysterical and overwrought hissy fits about bishop interviews than about the interviews per se.

Given the intrusive questions that often some bishops asked, the potential for abuse, the fact that a kid does not need to discuss private sexual issues with a man, alone, in a room I think this is great and long over due.  Were it not for what you once again term as "far more on the hysterical and overwrought hissy fits" and the publicity from it I doubt that the change ever would have been made.

1 hour ago, smac97 said:

9. “Ministering” replacing home and visiting teaching.

A fine idea.  I hope it works.

10. Ending the Hill Cumorah Pageant and other pageants.

Ambivalent.  Indifferent.

Thanks,

-Smac

I actually will miss the Hill Cumorah Pageant given it happened where I live.  July seems odd with out it and what they are doing at the Hill Cumorah seems strange as well. Likely just because it has been the same and part of my life for over 40 years. 

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No surprise that I have many issues with number 2 - not from a gender view, but from an ordinance view.

image.png.fca2b42f3a6f7a300554044aab000ea8.png

image.png.d7e4593410f8b8d2ba2f78836a6458bc.png

Joseph Smith
"Ordinances instituted in the heavens before the foundation of the world, in the priesthood, for the salvation of men, are not to be altered or changed. All must be saved on the same principles."
"The ordinances must be kept in the very way God has appointed, otherwise their priesthood will prove a cursing instead of a blessing."
"He set the temple ordinances to be the same forever and ever and set Adam to watch over them, to reveal them from heaven to man, or to send angels to reveal them."
"Where there is no change in ordinance, there is no change in Priesthood.”

President Nelson
“Prophets have taught that there will be no end to such adjustments as directed by the Lord to His servants.”

Not sure which prophets he's thinking of.  Obviously not Joseph.

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16 minutes ago, JLHPROF said:

No surprise that I have many issues with number 2 - not from a gender view, but from an ordinance view.

image.png.fca2b42f3a6f7a300554044aab000ea8.png

image.png.d7e4593410f8b8d2ba2f78836a6458bc.png

Joseph Smith
"Ordinances instituted in the heavens before the foundation of the world, in the priesthood, for the salvation of men, are not to be altered or changed. All must be saved on the same principles."
"The ordinances must be kept in the very way God has appointed, otherwise their priesthood will prove a cursing instead of a blessing."
"He set the temple ordinances to be the same forever and ever and set Adam to watch over them, to reveal them from heaven to man, or to send angels to reveal them."
"Where there is no change in ordinance, there is no change in Priesthood.”

President Nelson
“Prophets have taught that there will be no end to such adjustments as directed by the Lord to His servants.”

Not sure which prophets he's thinking of.  Obviously not Joseph.

It’s interesting that the prophets and apostles have access to those same quotes, yet do not see their actions as contradicting them.

From my perspective (and apparently that of the last few decades of apostles, among others), the presentation of the endowment isn’t the endowment itself.  And I find it a little odd that JS is sometimes held up as the standard for what the church must do, as if he gets the final say.

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3 minutes ago, bluebell said:

the presentation of the endowment isn’t the endowment itself.  

If you are referring to the theatrical presentation of the creation story I would absolutely agree, although I think there is doctrine contained in it that shouldn't be removed.

If you are referring to initiatory rites, signs, tokens, penalties, key words, covenant words, robes of the priesthood, etc I would fundamentally disagree that they are just presentation.
Any more than immersion is just the presentation of baptism.  They are what is necessary according to Brigham to enter God's actual presence or according to Joseph to pray and receive face to face answers.

Quote

And I find it a little odd that JS is sometimes held up as the standard for what the church must do, as if he gets the final say.

Not the final say.  That rests with God.  But as far as I'm concerned he does get the final say over any subsequent prophets.

Edited by JLHPROF
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4 hours ago, smac97 said:

7. Adapting skillfully to a global pandemic.

I was grateful that the Church provided counsel about the pandemic, and that it was very cautious, and that it provided a nonpartisan, non-shrill, non-hysterical, non-condemnatory perspective on the vaccines.

 

3 hours ago, longview said:

"Rendering to Caesar the things that are Caesar's".

Interesting how that one is getting so many caveats and explanations tacked on.

 

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3 hours ago, longview said:
Quote

 

7. Adapting skillfully to a global pandemic.

I was grateful that the Church provided counsel about the pandemic, and that it was very cautious, and that it provided a nonpartisan, non-shrill, non-hysterical, non-condemnatory perspective on the vaccines.

 

"Rendering to Caesar the things that are Caesar's".

I don't understand.  What is it you propose we "render unto Caesar" in this context?

Thanks,

-Smac

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1 hour ago, JLHPROF said:

But as far as I'm concerned he does get the final say over any subsequent prophets.

Why do you view it that way?  Was JS infallible in his understandings? Like I said, it's an interesting perspective to me.

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1 hour ago, bluebell said:

Why do you view it that way?  Was JS infallible in his understandings? Like I said, it's an interesting perspective to me.

Not infallible.

But I truly believe that he holds a position above any of his successors.  I believe his communication with God and angels was more direct and less prone to human error and interpretation.  (Kind of hard to misinterpret face to face meetings and hands laid on heads).

I believe his successors are accountable to him as dispensation head holding stewardship over this last restoration he heads - he is literally their priesthood head, and will be a judge.

And I firmly believe D&C 135:3.

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7 hours ago, Teancum said:

What do you think?

For what it may be worth, I think it is important not to erroneously link everything to Pres Nelson personally. Elder Bednar was here for a priesthood leadership training meeting 3-4 years before Pres Nelson assumed Church leadership, and he foreshadowed many of the things in this list. He told us then that the apostles and other leaders had been working on many of these things for decades, and I believe him because at least one of them was discussed with us by a visiting member of the Seventy when I was a missionary in America in the 1990s.

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3 hours ago, smac97 said:

I don't understand.  What is it you propose we "render unto Caesar" in this context?

Thanks,

-Smac

No need to escalate a fight when it is the church's policy to keep politics out of the ward house.

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2 hours ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

For what it may be worth, I think it is important not to erroneously link everything to Pres Nelson personally. Elder Bednar was here for a priesthood leadership training meeting 3-4 years before Pres Nelson assumed Church leadership, and he foreshadowed many of the things in this list. He told us then that the apostles and other leaders had been working on many of these things for decades, and I believe him because at least one of them was discussed with us by a visiting member of the Seventy when I was a missionary in America in the 1990s.

Through the grapevine, Bednar headed up a training video for temple prep that gives more information on what happens in the temple. So if so, add that to the list.

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10 hours ago, Teancum said:

.................https://religionnews.com/2022/01/18/the-top-10-changes-president-russell-m-nelson-has-made-in-the-lds-church/?fbclid=IwAR3Jy6X2sOHTFnhiH0tnOS5sq-Sfl-gz4VVRSRz95xd81C2kkh6juEmXW60

The top 10 changes President Russell M. Nelson has made in the LDS church

While many Mormons — including me — expected a Nelson presidency to be staid and uneventful, it’s been full of pleasant surprises..................................... quite an unexpected ride.

When he became the president in January 2018, the general consensus seemed to be that people were not expecting major changes. He was described as a “company man,” someone who had uneventfully risen through the ranks of church leadership for decades without making waves.

NBC News said the 93-year-old Nelson “isn’t expected to move the church in major new directions,” while the Chicago Tribune surmised “Nelson’s record during his three decades in church leadership suggests he will make few changes as he upholds church teaching and seeks to draw new members.” And here’s the headline from The Wall Street Journal: “Mormon Leader Thomas S. Monson Dies; Likely Successor Unlikely to Alter Church’s Course.”

Dail1.21-Pres-RMN-WSJ-headline-Jan-2018-807x

I believed that too. I was underwhelmed by Nelson’s initial news conference, particularly that his response when asked about the roles of women in the church amounted to “you can know I love women because I have nine daughters!” It was the typical and disappointing Mormon patriarchy line that women are wonderful because they are wives, mothers and daughters who make life better and easier for men. Yawn.

This is the sort of contemptuous, prejudicial, and woke approach which one has come to expect from Jana.  Nelson was sincerely commenting on something quite normal and natural for fathers who have raised daughters.  Jana converts it into something horrible.  The notion that the mainstream media have any understanding of the LDS Church is absolute nonsense, and predicting what someone will do as the new President is usually unknown.  Jana should have admitted that upfront.

10 hours ago, Teancum said:

If I was guilty of expecting little from a nonagenarian company man, I’ve had cause to repent. I’m very glad to have been wrong about President Nelson. In a denomination that has for the last half-century implemented change glacially if at all, he has moved forward on a number of fronts. ..............................................................................

  1. Adapting skillfully to a global pandemic. I’ll always be grateful to Nelson for taking the COVID-19 pandemic seriously from the very beginning. He shut down meetinghouses and temples and kept them closed for months, only gradually reopening while listening to public health experts about what was safe. He closed General Conference to the public, promoted the use of masks, encouraged members to get vaccinated and modeled vaccination compliance. He’s taken a lot of flak for
  2. this from right-wing members.

Jana seems to have forgotten that it is Doctor Russell Nelson, MD, PhD.

10 hours ago, Teancum said:
  1. ..........................if you had asked me four years ago what a Nelson presidency might look like, I would not have seen most of these changes coming.

An honest and forthright statement.

Edited by Robert F. Smith
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9 hours ago, JLHPROF said:

No surprise that I have many issues with number 2 - not from a gender view, but from an ordinance view.

image.png.fca2b42f3a6f7a300554044aab000ea8.png

image.png.d7e4593410f8b8d2ba2f78836a6458bc.png

Joseph Smith
"Ordinances instituted in the heavens before the foundation of the world, in the priesthood, for the salvation of men, are not to be altered or changed. All must be saved on the same principles."
"The ordinances must be kept in the very way God has appointed, otherwise their priesthood will prove a cursing instead of a blessing."
"He set the temple ordinances to be the same forever and ever and set Adam to watch over them, to reveal them from heaven to man, or to send angels to reveal them."
"Where there is no change in ordinance, there is no change in Priesthood.”

President Nelson
“Prophets have taught that there will be no end to such adjustments as directed by the Lord to His servants.”

Not sure which prophets he's thinking of.  Obviously not Joseph.

the ordinances have never changes, these are changes to the ritual. 

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I am reminded of the prescient press and their similar musings when Harold B. Lee died. Spencer Kimball was given scant notice of being any factor at all in Church governance. His health was lousy and his meek personality didn't bode well for his serving as an agent of change. Most of the ink spilled was used in prognosticating what that radical ideologue, Ezra Taft Benson, would do when he took command.

How'd that turn out?

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9 hours ago, Freedom said:

the ordinances have never changes, these are changes to the ritual. 

image.png.ea7f12e745c30d8b892f1cc15299b754.png 

Change the ceremony, you change the ordinance.

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