Latter-day Saints Gather for Annual World Conference
(KLIX) – Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will gather in Salt Lake City or tune in via media this weekend to listen to messages from their leaders.
The annual General Conference will begin at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. MDT on Saturday and Sunday. Another session geared to the male members of the church will begin at 6 p.m. Saturday.
There’s speculation among church members about what changes may be announced during the conference. On Thursday the church’s governing body, the First Presidency, announced that effective immediately it was reversing rules from 2015 that banned baptisms for children living with gay parents until they turn 18, disavowed same-sex relationships and received approval from global church leaders.
Now the church says children of gay couples can be baptized at 8 years old as long as their parents approve the baptisms and acknowledge the children will be taught church doctrine.
That doctrine has not changed and the church still considers gay marriage a “serious transgression,” but it now “will not be treated as apostasy for purposes of Church discipline,” said First Presidency member Dallin H Oaks. Instead, leaders said the shift in policy is aimed to “help affected families.”
We want to reduce the hate and contention so common today. We are optimistic that a majority of people — whatever their beliefs and orientations — long for better understanding and less contentious communications. That is surely our desire, and we seek the help of our members and others to attain it.
The past two conferences with church President Russell M. Nelson at the helm saw significant changes in programs of the church, including reorganizing priesthood quorums, instilling a new approach to its ministry program, re-emphasizing the proper name of the church – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – to get away from more than a century of nicknames including the “Mormon Church,” and shortening Sunday services from three hours to two.
Nelson and two counselors, which make up the First Presidency, and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are the governing body of the church. Latter-day Saints believe these leaders are prophets, seers, and revelators who receive modern-day direction and commandments from God.
General Conference, held twice a year in April and October, are when all of the governing leaders address members of the church. Nelson succeeded Thomas S. Monson, who served as church president for a decade until his death in January 2018.