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Shorter, two hour meetings announced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

SALT LAKE CITY – Calling it a new balance and connection between gospel instruction in the home and at church, President Russel M. Nelson announced a change to the Sunday worship services of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The Sunday block, currently a three-hour set of meetings, will now be shorter, two hour meetings.

“This morning we will announce a new balance and connection between the gospel in the home and at church,” President Nelson said. “It is the responsibility of the church to support the family in this role.”

“As Latter-day Saints, we’ve become accustomed to thinking of the church as something that happens in our meeting houses supported by what happens at home, we need an adjustment to this pattern.”

President Nelson said in recent years within the presiding councils of the church they have wrestled with questions on how to better serve the members of the church in understanding the gospel in its simple purity across the globe.

The changes were further outlined by Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, stating that Church leaders have been working for a long time on a  an approach that would place the focus on  religious learning centered in the home supported by the church to learn doctrine, strengthen faith.

This Sunday schedule allows more time for a home evening and to study the gospel at home on Sunday or at other times as individuals and families,” Cook said.

Our purpose is to balance the church and the home experience in a way that will greatly increased faith spirituality and deepen conversion.”

Beginning in January, 2019, the Sunday meeting schedule will include a 60 minute Sacrament meeting.  After time for transition to classes, church members will attend a 50 minute Sunday school class on first and third Sundays of the month. Priesthood, Relief Society and Young Women meetings will be held on second and fourth Sundays of each month. Primary classes will be held each week for 50 minutes of singing and class time.

Each Sunday meeting will be broken into a 60 minute worsip service for the whole congregation, followed by a 10 minute transition into 50 minute classes for smaller groups

The second hour meetings are split into alternating weeks, having Sunday School classes on the first and third Sunday, followed by Priesthood, Relief Society and Young Women classes on the second and fourth Sundays of the month.

Senior leaders have been aware for many years that a three hour schedule can be very difficult for some members.

Elder Cook emphasized home centered, church curriculum is encouraged and the shortened block will allow for more time for family activities, such as planning and holding the church’s Family Home evening.

The church’s resource manual, “Come Follow Me” will be updated with new materials to aid family learning.  Cook said this resource is for every family and member of the church and will be provided to each household by December of this year.

Church members outside the Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake reacted to the news of the shortened schedule.

“I work in a bishopric, and I get late to the house, and they are like: ‘This is not a rest day!’ I say, ‘It is the Lord’s day, it is not a resting day.’ Now I am pretty sure they are going to be happy.” -Dr Carlos Angulo, Venezuela

“It’s not for naps, even though we might want it for naps, it shouldn’t be.” “It’s a time to become closer to our family.”-Austin Smart and Carter Lloyd, ages 17 and 18 from Boise, Idaho

“I think it’s inspired by our Heavenly Father. I agree with it starting in the home, regardless of your family circumstances. It’s crucial to start first in the home, and have the Church support us in it.” -Rebecca Schumann, West Jordan

“We recognize that it is a worldwide church. There are a lot of changes that will improve the opportunities of saints across the world, to teach and train each other and their children.” -Vaughn Hawkes, Orem, Utah

“Sometimes I think three hour church is kind of long, but two hour, I think, will be really good because we’ll have time to go home and do the Sabbath day stuff with our families.” -Megan Baugh, Temecula, California