SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah) Two long-standing programs in the LDS Church are changing.
Today, during The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints annual general conference, President Russell M. Nelson announced that “home teaching” and “visiting teaching” are being replaced with a new program called “ministering.”
President Nelson said “We have made the decision to retire “home teaching” and “visiting teaching” as we have known them. Instead, we will implement a newer, holier approach to caring and ministering to others. We will refer to these efforts simply as “ministering.” Effective ministering efforts are enabled by the innate gifts of the sisters, and by the incomparable power of the priesthood.”
President Nelson went on to say, “The First Presidency and the Twelve are united in endorsing their messages. Gratefully and prayerfully we open this new chapter in the history of the Church…”
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland explained the new “ministering” program in greater detail. “We will no longer use home teaching and visiting teaching language. That is partly because much of our ministering effort will be in settings other than the home and partly because our contact won’t be defined by teaching prepared lessons, though a lesson certainly may be shared if there is need for such. Whatever the details of it, the primary purpose in ministering contacts will be, as was said of the people in Alma’s day, to “watch over their people, and … nourish them with things pertaining to righteousness.”
He went on to say the new program is centered on Christ-like love and care. “Brothers and sisters, we want to move resolutely toward watching over each other in ways that encourage “bear[ing] one another’s burdens, that they may be light; … [being] willing to mourn with those that mourn; … comfort[ing] those that stand in need of comfort, and … stand[ing] as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that [our brothers and sisters] may be in” 6—with the pure love of Christ as the true motivation for doing so. 7 We have a heaven-sent opportunity here to demonstrate pure religion undefiled before God—to minister to the widows and the fatherless,8 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.”
New4Utah talked to a couple of LDS members about the plan. Tanner Skalla says “Before we were sitting in Elder’s Quorum and it was like the last of the month – and they’d say ‘make sure you get your home teaching done.’ It wasn’t about the people. And with this, I think it will be more focused on their needs and not just a number.” His wife Taya says “I think it’s going to be great because we’ve talked in the Relief Society a lot on how to get more personal and really spend time with them and not just drop off cookies or leave a message in the mailbox kind of thing.”
You can find more information about the “ministering” program at http://ministering.lds.org