The Church has announced changes for Melchizedek Priesthood and Relief Society Sunday meetings in 2018 that affect not only what materials adults will study but also how they use the time they meet together to accomplish the Lord's work.
An August 25 letter from the First Presidency announced that the new 2018 materials—Come, Follow Me—For Melchizedek Priesthood and Relief Society Meetings—will emphasize learning from general conference messages and counseling together.
Similar to the “Come, Follow Me” youth curriculum implemented in 2013, the materials encourage Relief Society and Melchizedek Priesthood leaders to follow the teaching and learning approach of Teaching in the Savior’s Way (see teaching.lds.org). In addition, the new materials also emphasize:
Learning from general conference messages.
Studying special topics selected every six months by general leaders of the Church.
Counseling together as priesthood quorums and groups and Relief Societies.
According to the announcement, Sunday Melchizedek Priesthood and Relief Society meetings will follow this monthly schedule:
Counseling together about local needs
Presidency or group leadership
Second and Third Sundays
Recent general conference message
Presidency or group leadership or a called teacher
Special topic chosen by general Church leaders (announced in May and November issues of the Liahona and Ensign magazines)
Presidency or group leadership or a called teacher
Topic chosen by the bishopric
Bishopric or someone they assign
General conference messages and special topics
“One of the reasons for the new approach is to give increased emphasis to the words of the living prophets,” said Elder LeGrand R. Curtis, General Authority Seventy and Assistant Executive Director in the Priesthood and Family Department. “We’re going to not just devote more time to the messages given by the senior leadership of the Church at general conference, but we are also going to provide some teaching tools to help the instruction and discussion of those messages be all the more rich and meaningful for the members of the Church.”
Local leaders will counsel together about which conference messages will best meet the needs of their members, and Relief Society and Melchizedek Priesthood quorums and groups don’t have to study the same message the same week.
“Focusing our gospel study on the words of living prophets and apostles will give even greater meaning to our study of the ‘ancient’ scriptures,” said Sister Jean B. Bingham, Relief Society General President. “In our classes and quorums, we’ll help one another find ways to apply their counsel in our daily lives and then have the opportunity to share how we’ve been blessed from following that counsel. I love how this will help us learn from the Spirit as well as from one another.”
The new curriculum also provides a mechanism for topics of particular interest to apostles and prophets—such as the recent emphasis on the Sabbath day—to be discussed in fourth-Sunday meetings, Elder Curtis said.
An eight-page insert in the general conference issues of the Liahona and Ensign magazines will include teaching tools for helping members search, analyze, and apply general conference messages, as well as the topics for fourth-Sunday lessons.
Members can easily find general conference messages:
First-Sunday meetings, held under the direction of ward Melchizedek Priesthood and Relief Society leaders, are used to identify local needs and counsel together about how to meet those needs, according to a questions and answers document released with the First Presidency letter.
“We want to extend the power that exists in counseling together—not just to the ward councils and presidencies but also into the Relief Societies and quorums of the Church,” explained Elder Curtis.
“When we counsel together, we discover ways to lift and strengthen each other that also build unity,” said Sister Bingham. “What a blessing it is for each of us to participate in God’s work, to become instruments for good in such a natural way!”
Possible topics for first-Sunday councils include how to improve communication with family members, serve in the community, and mentor youth in the ward or branch. In subsequent meetings, the quorum, group, or Relief Society follows up on impressions and actions.
“I am excited and thrilled with this new program. I feel that it is for our time today,” said Norma Joyner, a ward Relief Society president in Savannah, Georgia, who participated in a pilot of the new materials along with members from 12 stakes in Utah, Mexico, California, and Georgia. “I know that we will be more involved in choosing the subject matter and talks that will most benefit our sisters in the ward. It's an exciting time to be a member of the Church with all the new programs to help us grow in the gospel and be good stewards to each other, our families, and our communities.”
Marc Oslund, an elders quorum president from American Fork, Utah, who also participated in the pilot, said using the new curriculum helped increase the unity of the quorum and the relevancy of the lessons. “We now sit in a circle, and each week feels like a council. We are getting more engagement and more application to daily lives than I have experienced in elders quorum ever before. … Because we are always responding to needs and to current concerns of the quorum members, the Holy Ghost is present in more abundance.”
Mormon youth participated in the first broadcast event of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from West Africa. Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Ruth, hosted a regional Face to Face event Saturday, August 5, 2017.
A new stake has been created from the Boa Vista Brazil District. The Boa Vista Brazil Stake, which consists of the Buritis, Cambará, Canaã, Caçari, and Floresta Wards, was created by Elder Claudio R. M. Costa, General Authority Seventy, and Elder Edvaldo B. Pinto Jr., an Area Seventy.
BOA VISTA BRAZIL STAKE (May 7, 2017): President—Alcenir Gomes de Souza, 41, senior legal counselor; wife, Danielle Cunha Queiroz de Souza. Counselors—Fidel Carlos Menezes da Silva Sr., 32, commercial representative, JBS; wife, Jessica Nayara Alencar Menezes Silva; Ramiz Sampaio Mota, 37, assistant administrator, CERR; wife, Ana Lucia Chee-A-Tow Barbosa Mota.
A new stake has been created from the Klein Texas Stake. The Tomball Texas Stake, which consists of the Champions, Gleannloch Farms, Inverness, Magnolia 1st, Memorial Springs, Parkway, and Tomball 2nd Wards, was created by Elder Von G. Keetch, General Authority Seventy, and Elder Leonard D. Greer, an Area Seventy.
TOMBALL TEXAS STAKE (May 21, 2017): President—Samuel Gary Bikman, 48, senior vice president, Daikin/Goodman; wife, Melissa Kay Bikman. Counselors—David John Peterson, 47, product management, Hewlett-Packard; wife, Kelly Wilcox Peterson. Matthew Wayne Strader, 45, seminaries and institutes coordinator and teacher, LDS Church; wife, Jennifer N. Evans Strader.
A new stake has been created from the Beira Mozambique District. The Beira Mozambique Stake, which consists of the Baixa, Macurungo, Maraza, Munhava, and Palmeiras Wards, was created by Elder Stanley G. Ellis, General Authority Seventy.
BEIRA MOZAMBIQUE STAKE (March 19, 2017): President—Elías Joaquim, 63, office manager, Manuel de Almeida, Lda; wife, Fátima Mucheape Joaquim. Counselors—Carlos Alexandre Chivale, 37, coordinator, Care for Life; wife, Anabela João Chaúque Chivale. Rui Alberto Castigo Moda, 47, police officer; wife, Maria da Costa Manuel.
A new stake has been created from the Edmonton Alberta Bonnie Doon, Edmonton Alberta Millwoods, Edmonton Alberta Riverbend, and Edmonton Alberta North Stakes. The Sherwood Park Alberta Stake, which consists of the St. Paul, Tofield, and Vermilion Branches and the Cherry Grove, Clarkdale, Fort Saskatchewan, Glen Allan, Nottingham, and Wood Buffalo Wards, was created by Elder Jörg Klebingat, General Authority Seventy, and Elder G. Lawrence Spackman, Area Seventy.
SHERWOOD PARK ALBERTA STAKE (April 9, 2017): President—Robert Wayne Mendenhall, 57, lawyer and vice president, Richardson GMP Ltd.; wife, Dixie Marie Cahoon Mendenhall. Counselors—John Paul Kristensen, 52, manager, North West Redwater Partnership; wife, Carrie Lachelle Marsden Kristensen. William Darwin Laurie, 61, president, Britannia Construction Ltd.; wife, Caroline Adelaide Wilchynski Laurie.
A new stake has been created from the Accra Ghana Christiansborg and Tema Ghana Stakes. The Teshie Ghana Stake, which consists of the Nungua 1st, Nungua 2nd, Nungua 3rd, Teshie 1st, Teshie 2nd, and Teshie 3rd Wards, was created by Elder Terrence M. Vinson, General Authority Seventy, and Elder I. Raymond Egbo, Area Seventy.
ANTOFAGASTA CHILE LA PORTADA STAKE (May 14, 2017): President—David Andres Reyes Torres, 35, executive, BBVA Bank; succeeding Yuri O. Zepeda Perez; wife, Marilo Giselle Alvarez Reyes. Counselors—Ronie Fernando Navarrete Tapia, 39, corporate audit manager, Corporacion Municipal de Desarrollo Social; wife, Ronie Fernando Navarrete Tapia. Mauricio Alejandro Mura Castillo, 46, businessman, SCM; wife, Marisol Brisa Quinsacara Ramos.
APPLETON WISCONSIN STAKE (May 21, 2017): President—Nathan Daryl Munson, 43, radiation oncologist; succeeding Christopher R. Kindt; wife, Laurie Suzanne Williams Munson. Counselors—Johnathan Daines Pond, 45, orthopedic surgeon; wife, Anjenette Updike Pond. Brent Robert Weed, 42, dermatologist; wife, Mary Ann Munson Weed.
BERN SWITZERLAND STAKE (May 21, 2017): President—Rolf Jean Rudin, 52, teacher; succeeding Yves S. Weidmann; wife, Heitze Waltraud Anden Rudin. Counselors—Benjamin Adrian von Allmen, 33, teacher; wife, Ruth von Allmen. Christoph Nils Jäger, 44, managing director, MCM Medsys; wife, Elvira Jäger.
BRASĺLIA BRAZIL CEILÂNDIA STAKE (May 7, 2017): President—Lazaro Leonardo Rodrigues de Amorim, 30, secretary; succeeding Marion S. Santos; wife, Andreia Thaunane Araujo de Barros Amorim. Counselors—Carlos Roberto Bailao, 50, assistant accountant, JK Teaching Network; wife, Janete Nobrega Meireles. Jose dos Santos Meirelles, 48, military police; wife, Liliane Marins da Silva Meirelles.
BUENOS AIRES ARGENTINA LINIERS STAKE (May 7, 2017): President—Santiago David Lopez, 31, tax analyst; succeeding Martin C. Rios; wife, Melisa Belén Torre. Counselors—Rolando Adolfo Blanco, 44, production manager; wife, Paula Andrea Demarco Blanco. Emilio Alfonso Arzola Ruiz, 56, support specialist, seminaries and institutes, LDS Church; wife, Maria Eugenia Tonini.
CAGAYAN DE ORO PHILIPPINES WEST STAKE (May 14, 2017): President—Feliciano Arrieta Santos Jr., 50, facilities management group, LDS Church; succeeding Ramon S. Siguiente; wife, Grace Rebuta Villahermosa. Counselors—Elmer Paeste Salonga, 43, business owner; wife, Jocelyn Enriquez Camino Salonga. Glorioso Andrada Buenaventura, 56, self-employed; wife, Solimar Bacangoy Gaio Buenaventura.
CHIMALTENANGO GUATEMALA STAKE (May 7, 2017): President—Juan Fernando López Morales, 39, owner, Nauvoo Industries; succeeding Jesus O. Samayoa Velasquez; wife, Glenda Rosalba Méndez López. Counselors—Miguel Boris Ivan Osorio Benavente, 38, legal assistant; wife, Mariana Concepcion Martínez Osorio. Jorge David Garcia Cañénguez, 43, agricultural director, Grupo Sea; wife, Claudia Regina Lucas García.
DULUTH MINNESOTA STAKE (May 21, 2017): President—David Charles Gore, 42, associate professor, University of Minnesota Duluth; succeeding Wendell R. Smith; wife, Kathy Ann Foti Gore. Counselors—Joseph Leslie Johnson, 44, professor, University of Minnesota Duluth; wife, Nicolette Farnsworth Johnson. Michael Jay Whiting, 41, mechanical engineer; wife, Rebecca Ann Youngberg Whiting.
FOREST GROVE OREGON STAKE (May 21, 2017): President—Randall Alex Brown, 41, product marketing director, Viewpoint Software; succeeding Brad C. Richardson; wife, Beth Anne Johnson Brown. Counselors—Todd James Templeton, 47, senior product marketing manager, Thermo Fisher Scientific; wife, Vicki Jean Cordon. Charles Mark Brown, 58, general manager, DeLaval Inc.; wife, Jackie Ann Davis Brown.
KLEIN TEXAS STAKE (May 21, 2017): President—Robert K. Ellis, 34, attorney; succeeding Samuel G. Bikman; wife, Christa Grove Schneiber Ellis. Counselors—Richard James Hogan, 60, technical sales; wife, Amy Nielsen. Marshall Scott Blackham, 50, vice president of quality, Goodman Manufacturing; wife, Nikki Lyn Romeril Blackham.
NATAL BRAZIL STAKE (May 21, 2017): President—Helio Otavio Costa Neto, 39, public relations manager, Bank of Brazil; succeeding Eriberto Souza de Morais; wife, Barbara Silva Fernandes. Counselors—Allan Herbert Silva, 33, manager, Natal Safety; wife, Marcia de Fatima Leal Bezerra. Ednardo Pereira Costa, 54, retired; wife, Francisca Edna da Silva.
NORTHAMPTON ENGLAND STAKE (May 14, 2017): President—Robert John Clayton, 46, tax partner group; succeeding Karl D. Hirst; wife, Claire Louise Martin Clayton. Counselors—Mark Nathan Manning, 37, Oxford seminaries and institutes coordinator, LDS Church; wife, Helen Elizabeth Gee Manning. Eliot Gregory Reeves, 42, product director, IMS Evolve; wife, Naomi Louise Reeves.
POCATELLO IDAHO YSA 1ST STAKE (May 7, 2017): President—Douglas Evan Hill, 57, safety professional, Idaho Power Co.; succeeding Michael C. Mickelsen; wife, Natalie Harris. Counselors—John Earl Giraud, 58, process engineer; wife, MaryLou Weight Giraud. Rick Lee Poole, 58, computer engineer; wife, Kendra Jo Wade Poole.
PROVO UTAH WEST STAKE (May 7, 2017): President—Brian K. Holman, 46, chief operating officer, Close to My Heart; succeeding Cort D. Ouderkirk; wife, Julie Anna Izatt Holman. Counselors—Paul Ryan McCoard, 43, owner, Sunshine Greenhouses; wife, Jeni Rebecca Hughes McCoard. Scott Burl Jarvis, 45, director of operational exellence, Purple; wife, Merrilee Ellen Esplin Jarvis.
PUEBLA MEXICO NEALTICAN STAKE (May 14, 2017): President—Luis Luna Luna, 42, salesman; succeeding Raul Castro Luna; wife, Carolina Xaltepec Jacinto. Counselors—Nestor Castro Luna, 36, English school director and owner; wife, Mireya Rojas Mendez. Yoni Luna Grande, 30, project director; wife, Lorena Chico Romero.
REDMOND WASHINGTON STAKE (May 7, 2017): President—Todd Brent Thompson, 53, dealer principal; succeeding Gordon W. Tanner; wife, Lori Anne Bean Thompson. Counselors—Michael Scott Seamons, 45, executive product leader, Microsoft; wife, Michele Tucker Seamons. John Robert Dance, 57, principal software engineer, Tableau Software; wife, Sharla Kae Grover Dance.
ROSEVILLE CALIFORNIA STAKE (April 30, 2017): President—William Shane Trythall, 46, physician; succeeding David C. Olsen; wife, Kelly Anne Coons Trythall. Counselors—Edmond Jules Bertola Jr., 65, retired peace officer; wife, Carmen Diane Clegg. Brian Wong Alconcel, 41, civil engineer; wife, Melanie Vilani Alconcel.
SANDY UTAH ALTA VIEW STAKE (April 30, 2017): President—Brian A. Richardson, 55, Church controller representative, CPB; succeeding Steven R. Teerlink; wife, Susan Doughty Richardson. Counselors—Steven Poulsen, 59, software development manager, FamilySearch; wife, Melanie Ann Beardshall Poulsen. David Randall Zackrison, 60, physician; wife, JoAnn Kaluhiokalani Zackrison.
SAVAII SAMOA SOUTH STAKE (May 14, 2017): President—Mose Molam Li’o, 49, assistant supervisor, Global Service Center, LDS Church; succeeding Auva’a Laulu; wife, Salurale Mauigoa Li’o. Counselors—Auvae Taua Ah Chee, 52, bus owner; wife, Ieremia Lalovaea Ah Chee. Pupi Magalogo Sosaiete, 40, farmer; wife, Pea Magalogo Sosaiete.
TACOMA WASHINGTON SOUTH STAKE (May 7, 2017): President—Lloyd Dixon Oaks, 60, deputy prosecutor; succeeding Gary F. Gessel; wife, Natalie Mietus Oaks. Counselors—Mark Graham Lybbert, 55, mortgage broker; wife, Marion Dyer Lybbert. Christen R. Blackner, 54, account executive; wife, Rebecca Mae Lutz Blackner.
TAYLORSVILLE UTAH YSA STAKE (April 23, 2017): President—Alan Burton Tingey, 64, owner, Tingey Advisors; succeeding Berne S. Broadbent; wife, Susan Virginia Fogg Tingey. Counselors—Bruce Jean McDonough, 65, vice president, Layton Construction; wife, Allyson Balli. Richard Lee Morrill, 64, consultant; wife, Debra Yvonne Webster Morrill.