SALT LAKE CITY — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced changes to its temple ceremonies on Wednesday via a press release.
The changes started on Wednesday and are in place at all the church’s temples, the release says. The church didn’t specify what changes had been made.
“A dedicated Temple is the most holy of any place of worship on the earth. Its ordinances are sacred and are not discussed outside a holy temple,” it said.
The church’s governing First Presidency said that prophets have taught that temple ceremony adjustments will be made as directed by God through his servants.
“Over these many centuries, details associated with Temple work have been adjusted periodically, including language, methods of construction, communication, and record-keeping,” the statement said.
The church also announced Wednesday changes to its missions, creating four new missions and closing 12 others.
“With these changes, beginning July 1, 2019, there will be 399 missions worldwide,” it said.
The following missions will open in July 2019: Democratic Republic of the Congo Kinshasa East, Guatemala Antigua, Perú Limatambo and Philippines Antipolo.
Also, in July, the church plans to realign the boundaries of the following 12 missions while merging them with neighboring missions. Those missions include the following: Argentina Posadas, California Irvine, California Long Beach, California Rancho Cucamonga, Canada Halifax, Florida Tallahassee, Georgia Macon, Idaho Nampa, Japan Sendai, Korea Daejeon, New York Utica and Virginia Chesapeake.
“Changes to mission boundaries occur regularly based on the needs and demands of each area around the world. This is particularly the case as the number of missionaries has leveled off after the change in ages for missionary service took effect in 2012,” the church said. “The number of missionaries initially surged to over 88,000 before receding to 65,000 missionaries today, as expected.”
The Church reported that it would release further details about the changes will be conveyed to mission presidents and the parents of missionaries in the targeted missions. It also reported that it planned to announce new mission presidents later this month.
Church missionaries volunteer to serve and cover their own expenses while doing so. Young men ages 18 to 25 serve for two years while young woman ages 19 to 39 serve for 18 months. Senior missionaries serve from six months to two years.
The changes in temple ceremonies and missions follow numerous other adjustments that the First Presidency has made recently. Last year, it changed home teaching and visiting teaching to “Ministering.” It also announced changes to the Sunday meeting schedule from a three-hour block to a two-hour meeting. Wards and branches will start holding the new two-hour schedule this Sunday.