I’m sure many of us remember sitting in Primary singing “I Belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” at the top of our lungs. Maybe we remember feeling something inside as those words were sung and deciding then and there to always follow Him in faith.
Fast forward 14 years, and there have been several large changes made within the Church of Jesus Christ which have helped move along the work, and the changes continue to come.
An official statement was released on Oct. 27 from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, informing everyone that large pageants and similar productions are now discouraged in order to encourage focusing on gospel learning.
According to the statement, “The goal of every activity in the Church should be to increase faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and to share His gospel message throughout the world.”
The statement also said to focus on home–centered Sabbath worship and supporting the Church’s youth programs, children programs and programs for individuals and families.
One major news story headline covering this statement reads, “LDS Church releases statement, discouraging productions such as pageants; encourages members to focus on gospel learning at home,” and there are two things wrong with this.
The first problem with this headline is how it fails to mention the ultimate goal of eliminating large productions such as pageants which ultimately is to share the message of Jesus Christ to the world.
Are they missing the mark?
The second goes back to President Russell M. Nelson’s talk given last month titled, The Correct Name of the Church in this address he specifically mentions how important it is to include the name of Jesus Christ when talking about His Church.
“What’s in a name or, in this case, a nickname?” President Nelson said. “When it comes to nicknames of the Church, such as the ‘LDS Church,’ the ‘Mormon Church,’ or the ‘Church of the Latter-day Saints,’ the most important thing in those names is the absence of the Savior’s name. To remove the Lord’s name from the Lord’s Church is a major victory for Satan. When we discard the Savior’s name, we are subtly disregarding all that Jesus Christ did for us—even His Atonement.”
It was powerful when President Nelson gave this message. His urge for us to all turn our hearts to the Savior simply by correcting the non-negotiable name of the Church was felt strongly.
“We will want to be courteous and patient in our efforts to correct these errors,” said President Nelson. “Responsible media will be sympathetic in responding to our request.”
I guess I need to be more patient and sympathetic towards the media; I mean, it is taking time myself to adjust.
Just the other day, my roommate called me out for accidentally referring to ourselves as “Mormons,” and all of us in the room laughed. Looking back to that moment, I was grateful for the reminder and had to ask myself, “How seriously am I taking this name correction?” Then it got me thinking, “How seriously am I taking all of the changes which have been presented within the restored Church of Jesus Christ, even just this year?”
We at Scroll believe in the importance of taking the changes within the Church seriously. We believe in revelation and modern-day prophets. We are given direction from God every six months at general conference, and it‘s the time in between where we have the opportunity to study and apply what instruction we have received.
I’ll be the first to admit I wasn’t the best visiting teacher, but I tried hard to do what I was supposed to. I watched my mom faithfully visit women in our ward as I grew up. When I finally was old enough to visit teach myself, I felt like a missionary sharing a message with my sisters each month. I was finally starting to feel like an adult, but now things have changed.
We go to church each Sunday but sometimes (especially the past few weeks of church) can’t help but feel slightly excited to reduce the block by one hour.
Are we missing the mark?
The “new holier approach” for serving those around me doesn’t have as many specific guidelines anymore. Each of us can send one text and consider it ministering. Just because it counts doesn’t mean we’re doing it right.
Bishop Gérald Caussé put it this way when he said, “Your concern will be to foster a spiritual experience rather than organize a perfect activity, to minister to your fellow members rather than check a box for the number of visits you have made. It will not be about you but about them whom we call our brothers and our sisters.”
We can think about these changes in a number of ways, but the most important is to think about how we can go above and beyond the minimum expectation. Isn’t that what the Savior would do?
Rather than having excitement for less church on Sunday, now is the time to prepare to do more. Down the road will we be more focused on rushing out of church with our future kids because we’ve been in church for “ugh” two hours already? Or will our kids know that we will be studying the gospel together at home because we use a home-centered and church-supported system?
Now is the time to prepare for strengthening families. Now is the time to increase our own faith in Jesus Christ. Now is the time to embrace these changes. We do not have to miss the mark; we can be better than we are.
I do belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Thanks to this, I do know who I am and I know God has a plan, and we all don’t have to miss the mark while following Him in faith. It will take some time to get used to the changes, but everything will be all right if we follow the prophet because, after all, he knows the way.