Latter-day Saint leaders call for shortened church, more ‘home-centered’ worship

Posted at 1:20 PM, Oct 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-06 15:20:46-04

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    SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH (KSL) — Latter-day Saints will pursue a worship environment that is “home-centered” and “church-supported,” and shift church services from three to two hours starting in January.

The new change was announced Saturday under the direction of President Russell M. Nelson, the council of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

“As Latter-day Saints we have become accustomed to thinking of ‘church’ as something that happens in our meetinghouses, supported by what happens at home. We need an adjustment to this pattern,” President Nelson said. “It is time for home-centered church, supported by what takes place inside our branch, ward and stake buildings.”

President Nelson opened up the first session of general conference by speaking of the desire to create more “balance” in the lives of Latter-day Saints. He then requested that Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles describe the details of how this would be accomplished.

The yearslong rumors of a shortened church service heated up in weeks leading up to the conference, with many on social media and elsewhere discussing pilot programs of shorter worship services and speculating how a shortened structure would be accomplished.

Elder Cook put those rumors to rest Saturday when he announced the details of the change:

Sacrament meeting, the church’s main meeting, will last 60 minutes instead of the previous 70 minutes.
There will be a 10-minute break between sacrament meeting and classes.
Sunday School, which in the past has followed sacrament meeting, will be held only on the first and third Sundays. The church has released a new curriculum for Sunday School, details of which are available on
The church’s organizations for men and young men, known as elders, priests, teachers and deacons quorums; women, known as Relief Society; and the church’s organization for young women, will be held on the second and fourth Sundays.
Primary, the church’s organization for children, will last for 50 minutes and will be held weekly.

This change comes after a recent emphasis on Sabbath Day observance by church leaders, and will put a greater focus on the responsibility parents have to teach the gospel to their children.

The changes will also include an “integrated curriculum” to strengthen families and individuals through home study, as well as church worship. The church released a “sneak peek” of this curriculum on

“Rather than focusing on just the teaching in the weekly church-meeting block, much of the learning is to be done at home so that church learning becomes a support — rather than the primary source — to teaching and learning in the gospel,” the church said in the statement on its website. “Curriculum writers realized there are a lot more hours in the week than the one or two hours members spend in class at church. Because of that, they felt the need for more home learning.”

The curriculum will require all church classes to center on the same passages of scripture each week. Instead of each adult member being given a class study guide at the beginning of the year, every household will be provided with a home study guide, the church said.

Among other things, these study guides will contain scripture passages that will be discussed during each week’s Sunday classes, as well as prompts for scripture study and other activities like the church’s weekly “family home evening,” which is held among individual families.

“The fact that the Lord is doing this now is an indication that He is not giving up on families and that (there are) benefits that come from teaching in the home,” Ted F. Barnes, one of the curriculum developers, said in a statement.

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