High priests and elders will now be combined into one elders quorum in each ward, announced President Russell M. Nelson in his introductory remarks at the priesthood session of the 188th Annual General Conference on March 31.
“Tonight, we announce a significant restructuring of our Melchizedek Priesthood quorums to accomplish the work of the Lord more effectively,” he said. “In each ward, the high priests and the elders will now be combined into one elders quorum. This adjustment will greatly enhance the capacity and ability of men who bear the priesthood to serve others.”
Prospective elders will be welcomed in and fellowshipped by that quorum.
In each stake, he added, the stake presidency will continue to preside over the stake high priests quorum — “but the composition of that quorum will be based on current priesthood callings.”
President Nelson then noted Elder D. Todd Christofferson and Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles would share additional details on the modifications in subsequent priesthood sessions talks.
The modifications have been under study for “many months,” he said.
“We have felt a pressing need to improve the way we care for our members and report our contacts with them,” he said. “To do that better, we need to strengthen our priesthood quorums to give greater direction to the ministering of love and support that the Lord intends for His Saints.”
The adjustments, he declared, are inspired of the Lord. “As we implement them, we will be even more effective than we have ever been previously.”
Prior to making the priesthood quorums announcement, President Nelson said, “we deeply miss” President Thomas S. Monson and Elder Robert D. Hales, who both died in recent months.
He spoke of his gratitude for each man “who bears the holy priesthood.”
“You are the hope of our Redeemer who desires ‘that every man might speak in the name of God the Lord, even the Savior of the world.’ He wants all of His ordained sons to represent Him, to speak for Him, to act for Him, and bless the lives of God’s children throughout the world to the end that faith also might increase in [all] the earth’.”
Every member of a priesthood quorum, he added, has “a divine mandate to learn and to teach; to love and to serve others.”