Coverage of the April 2018 General Conference General Priesthood Session

Contributed By Jason Swensen, Church News associate editor

  • 31 March 2018

Members of the McKay family from Kaysville, Utah, pose for a photo prior to entering the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 31, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.

Talk summaries:

President Russell M. Nelson’s announcement that ward Melchizedek Priesthood quorums were being modified highlighted the priesthood session of the 188th Annual General Conference on Saturday evening, 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.”

The adjustments, he said, are inspired of the Lord and designed to increase unity within quorums—and improve care for members. “As we implement them, we will be even more effective than we have ever been previously.”

The Church’s 17th President also offered the session’s concluding talk, challenging the men of the Church to humbly utilize the priesthood power they hold to bless others.

President Nelson’s counselors in the First Presidency, President Dallin H. Oaks and President Henry B. Eyring, offered instruction on the principles, duties, and opportunities of the priesthood.

President Eyring testified that “we receive the Holy Spirit best when we are focused on serving others. This is why we have the priesthood responsibility to serve for the Savior.”

“The Melchizedek Priesthood is not a status or a label,” said President Oaks. “It is a divine power held in trust to use for the benefit of God’s work for His children. We should always remember that men who hold the priesthood are not ‘the priesthood.’ It is not appropriate to refer to ‘the priesthood and the women.’ We should refer to ‘the holders of the priesthood and the women.’”

Elder D. Todd Christofferson and Elder Ronald A. Rasband also spoke at the priesthood session, providing additional details on the announced restructuring of the priesthood quorums.

Elder Christofferson said, “[The restructuring changes] also allow quorum members of all ages and backgrounds to benefit from the perspective and experience of one another and of those in different stages of life.”

Elder Rasband added that the restructuring will yield a “multitude of blessings.” In each quorum there will be a greater diversity of gifts and capacities, increased flexibility and mentoring, and increased shepherding of those in need, he said.

Brother Douglas D. Holmes, First Counselor in the Young Men General Presidency, focused his talk on the duties of holders of the Aaronic Priesthood.

Brother M. Joseph Brough of the Young Men General Presidency and Elder K. Brett Nattress, a General Authority Seventy, offered prayers.

A priesthood choir from Brigham Young University–Idaho provided music. The choir was directed by Randall Kempton, Paul Busselberg, and David Lozano-Torres. Brian Mathias and Andrew Unsworth served as organists.

President Russell M. Nelson announces that both high priests and elders quorums will now be one quorum during the general priesthood session of the 188th Annual General Conference of the Church in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 31, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.

President Russell M. Nelson announces that both high priests and elders quorums will now be one quorum during the general priesthood session of the 188th Annual General Conference of the Church in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 31, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.

President Russell M. Nelson announces that both high priests and elders quorums will now be one quorum during the general priesthood session of the 188th Annual General Conference of the Church in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 31, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.

Priesthood holders begin making their way into the Conference Center for the general priesthood session of the 188th Annual General Conference of the Church in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 31, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.

Priesthood holders begin making their way into the Conference Center for the general priesthood session of the 188th Annual General Conference of the Church in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 31, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.

Priesthood holders begin making their way into the Conference Center for the general priesthood session of the 188th Annual General Conference of the Church in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 31, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.

Priesthood holders begin making their way into the Conference Center for the general priesthood session of the 188th Annual General Conference of the Church in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 31, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.

Priesthood holders begin making their way into the Conference Center for the general priesthood session of the 188th Annual General Conference of the Church in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 31, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.

Audience members listen during the general priesthood session of the 188th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 31, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.

Audience members stand during the general priesthood session of the 188th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 31, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.

Audience members listen during the general priesthood session of the 188th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 31, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.

Audience members stand during the general priesthood session of the 188th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 31, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.

Audience members listen during the general priesthood session of the 188th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 31, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.

General Authorities, choir members, and audience members stand and sing the closing hymn, “Rise Up, O Men of God,” at the end of the general priesthood session of the 188th Annual General Conference of the Church in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 31, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.

Tanner Ockey, Bradley Pilkington, and Chad Thompson make their way into the Conference Center for the priesthood session of the 188th Annual General Conference of the Church in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 31, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.

Andrew Madsen and his son Charlie get a photo taken before entering the Conference Center for the priesthood session of the 188th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 31, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.

Moian Pimenta and his grandfather Samuel Pimenta of Brazil wait for the doors to open at the Conference Center for the priesthood session of the 188th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 31, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.

Apostles Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Elder Quentin L. Cook, and Elder David A. Bednar talk prior to the general priesthood session of the 188th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 31, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.

President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, waves prior to the general priesthood session of the 188th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 31, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.

President Russell M. Nelson greets members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as he and his counselors, President Dallin H. Oaks, First Counselor, and President Henry B. Eyring, Second Counselor, enter the Conference Center before the general priesthood session of the 188th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Saturday, March 31, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.

President Russell M. Nelson; his counselors, President Dallin H. Oaks, First Counselor, and President Henry B. Eyring, Second Counselor; and members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles stand prior to the general priesthood session of the 188th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 31, 2018.

Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and President Dallin H. Oaks, First Counselor in the First Presidency, share a laugh prior to the general priesthood session of the 188th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 31, 2018.

President Russell M. Nelson smiles out at the audience prior to the general priesthood session of the 188th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 31, 2018.

President Russell M. Nelson and his counselors, President Dallin H. Oaks, First Counselor, and President Henry B. Eyring, Second Counselor, take their seats at the start of the general priesthood session of the 188th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 31, 2018.

Choir members, students from BYU–Idaho, sing during the general priesthood session of the 188th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 31, 2018.

Audience members listen during the general priesthood session of the 188th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 31, 2018.
Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.

Audience members listen during the general priesthood session of the 188th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 31, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.

Choir members, students from BYU–Idaho, sing during the general priesthood session of the 188th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 31, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.

Choir members, students from BYU–Idaho, sing during the general priesthood session of the 188th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 31, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.

Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks during the general priesthood session of the 188th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 31, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.

Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks during the general priesthood session of the 188th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 31, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.

President Henry B. Eyring, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, speaks during the general priesthood session of the 188th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 31, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.

President Dallin H. Oaks, First Counselor in the First Presidency, speaks during the general priesthood session of the 188th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 31, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.

President Russell M. Nelson speaks during the general priesthood session of the 188th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 31, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.

President Henry B. Eyring, Second Counselor in the First Presidency; President Dallin H. Oaks, First Counselor in the First Presidency; and President Russell M. Nelson exit after the general priesthood session of the 188th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 31, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.

President Henry B. Eyring, Second Counselor in the First Presidency; President Dallin H. Oaks, First Counselor in the First Presidency; and President Russell M. Nelson exit after the general priesthood session of the 188th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 31, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.

President Henry B. Eyring, Second Counselor in the First Presidency; President Dallin H. Oaks, First Counselor in the First Presidency; and President Russell M. Nelson exit after the general priesthood session of the 188th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 31, 2018. Photo by Scott G Winterton, Deseret News.