The modifications made to the Melchizedek Priesthood quorums are the will of the Lord, said Elder Ronald A. Rasband in his priesthood session remarks on March 31.
"As stated by President [Russell M.] Nelson, this is a matter that has been prayerfully discussed and considered by the senior brethren of the Church for a long time," he said. "The desire was to seek the Lord's will and strengthen the quorums of the Melchizedek Priesthood. Inspiration was received and this evening our prophet made known the will of the Lord. 'Surely, the Lord God will do nothing but He revealeth His secret unto His servants, the prophets!'
"How blessed we are to have a living prophet today."
Traveling the world affords Elder Rasband opportunities to witness elders and high priests working together. He said his interactions with priesthood holders remind him of the hymn "Behold! A Royal Army." _Behold! A royal army,__With banner, sword, and shield,_ _Is marching forth to conquer_ _On life's great battlefield._ _Its ranks are filled with soldiers,__United, bold, and strong,_ _Who follow their Commander__And sing their joyful song._
The adjustments to the Melchizedek Priesthood quorums will unify the "mighty army" of brethren, Elder Rasband said.
"These adjustments will help elders quorums and Relief Societies harmonize their work. They will also simplify the quorum's coordination with the bishopric and ward council. And they allow the bishop to delegate more responsibilities to the elders quorum and Relief Society presidents so the bishop and his counselors can focus on their primary duties — particularly presiding over the young women and the young men who bear the Aaronic Priesthood."
Speaking to the high priests, Elder Rasband said they will continue to play an essential role in the work. They may be presided over by an elder as their quorum president, which is already happening in branches in some regions of the world.
"What a joy it will be for all Melchizedek Priesthood holders to have the blessing of teaching, learning and serving shoulder-to-shoulder with all the members in their ward," he said. "Wherever you are and whatever your circumstances may be, we invite you prayerfully, faithfully, and joyfully to accept new opportunities to lead or be led and to serve unitedly as a body of priesthood brethren."
Stake high priests quorums will continue to function under the direction of stake presidencies, noted Elder Rasband. The quorum will now consist of high priests currently serving in the stake presidency, ward bishoprics, stake high councils and the functioning patriarch. Ward and stake clerks and executive secretaries are not members of the stake high priests quorum.
So what is the role of the stake high priests quorum?
"The stake presidency meets with members of the high priests quorum to counsel together, to testify, and to provide training. Stake meetings, as outlined in Church Handbooks will continue with two adjustments:
"One, wards and stakes will no longer hold priesthood executive committee meetings." Elder Rasband said. Sensitive ward issues could be addressed in an expanded bishopric meeting. Less-sensitive matters can be addressed in the ward council. The stake priesthood executive committee meeting will now be called the "high council meeting."
"Two, the annual meeting of all ordained high priests will no longer be held. However, the stake presidency will continue to hold an annual meeting of the stake high priests as announced today."
Elder Rasband said a ward could have more than one elders quorum if there is an "unusually large number of active Melchizedek Priesthood bearers." Each quorum should have a "reasonable balance" in terms of age, experience, priesthood office and strength.
The restructuring will yield a "multitude of blessings," he testified. In each quorum there will be a greater diversity of gifts and capacities, increased flexibility and mentoring, and increased shepherding of those in need.