Written by Cinthya Rubio and Natalie Wilson.
During the Sunday afternoon session of the 188th General Conference, President Russell M. Nelson made the announcement that the Church will retire and stop recording home teaching and visiting teaching.
“We have made the decision to retire ‘home teaching’ and ‘visiting teaching’ as we have known them,” he said. “Instead, we will implement a newer, holier approach to caring and ministering to others. We will refer to these efforts simply as ‘ministering.’”
President Nelson offered an explanation for the change, stating “we all need such protection from the cunning wiles of the adversary.” No longer will the burden fall solely upon the Relief Society.
Mormon Newsroom describes the change as “a coordinated, more personalized approach.”
The sisters of the Young Women organization will share the responsibility with Relief Society members in caring for and ministering unto the saints.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland offered further explanation of President Nelson’s announcement in his talk following President Nelson’s address. In accordance with the changes, the terms “home teaching” and “visiting teaching” will no longer be included in the vernacular within the Church. Elder Holland also explained that while the formal visits will no longer be recorded, it is vital that ministering visits are still made.
Relief Society General President Jean B. Bingham said, “Combining Relief Society efforts with now-restructured elders quorum will bring a unity that can yield astonishing results.”
Elder Holland said these changes will allow for members to minister to everyone in the Church.
“We have a heaven-sent opportunity here to demonstrate pure religion undefiled before God—to minister to the widows and the fatherless, the married and the single, the strong and the distraught, the downtrodden and the robust, the happy and the sad—in short, all of us, every one of us, because we all need to feel the warm hand of friendship and hear a firm declaration of faith,” he said.
Elder Holland said that as soon as the afternoon session of conference ends, the First Presidency will send a letter to “all members of the Church for who they have an email address.”
A seven-page document of questions and answers will be available for all priesthood and auxiliary learders. All those materials will be available on ministring.lds.org.