What Will Combined MP Quorums Mean?

In a shocking announcement during the Priesthood Session of the 2018 March/April General Conference, President Nelson announced that there would no longer be High Priest Groups and Elder’s Quorums in wards.  The two groups would be combined into one, and be called the Elder’s Quorum.  I am both surprised and delighted about this, and I would like to share what I feel will be the benefits to this change.

My first thought is that this will be a nice help to small and medium-sized wards throughout the church.  Many smaller wards struggle to staff all the organizations, and with this move, such wards will have three or so active Melchizedek Priesthood holders available to serve in other callings.

My second thought, is that this really will bring more unity into wards.  There is often a significant separation between the two groups, with negative effects.  Often these groups rarely, if ever, interacted.  And there are likely a handful of men who feel in-between, with some older Elders opting to attend the High Priest Group in spite of being only an Elder, and others in the same situation sticking with the Elder’s Quorum.  Often these good men will wonder what is wrong with them, and why the stake does not care enough about them to just make them a High Priest.  Others may not wish to be ordained a High Priest just because they happen to be getting older.  My hope is that such unnecessary disunity will instantly go away when all men in the ward are part of the same quorum.

With this change, comes the discontinuing of a Priesthood Executive Committee meeting.  This change brings more importance I believe to the Ward Council meetings.  So another thought I have is that this brings something of a ‘leveling’ in the ward.  It is hard for me to articulate now, but with just one MP quorum, and no PEC, it seems that there is less of a hierarchy at the ward level.

I feel that all of the above are in the direction of goodness.  Please feel free to share any impressions that you have on this historic change.  For those interested, I have written similarly on the Elder/High Priest transition, and on the Elder/High Priest distinction.  In both cases I feel that I was ahead of the curve.

9 Responses to “What Will Combined MP Quorums Mean?”

  1. 1 Sean Peterson April 1, 2018 at 11:13 am

    I am thrilled about this change. President Nelson clearly stated the purpose of doing this in these words, “We have felt an urgent need to improve the way we care for our people. … To do that well, we need to strengthen our priesthood quorums to give greater direction to the ministering of love and support the Lord intends for His Saints.” —President Russell M. Nelson. I think the divide-and-conquer approach has played out against the Melchizedek Priesthood organizations over the years, as they have been the ones divided and conquered. We have dedicated one hour a month (PEC meetings) just trying to straighten out home teaching assignments in our ward between the high priest group and elders quorum, and it still is a bundle of confusion. And when it comes to ministering to the very less active, new move ins, or otherwise “lost sheep” neither organization has a real sense of ownership or clear direction on who should do what. We usually end up waiting for a member of the bishopric or the missionaries to help identify priorities or make assignments. So, yes, I am very much in favor of this change!

  2. 3 Louis Floyd April 1, 2018 at 11:22 am

    Love this change. As my wife said, ‘Now it will be just like the Relief Society–everybody is involved, regardless of age.’ The only question I have is, will we get soft chairs to sit on like the sisters?

  3. 5 Paul A Slaughter April 1, 2018 at 1:57 pm

    A few years ago, from my lowly position as Elders Quorum Secretary, I continually made the point that the High Priests should be involved in service projects – the fact that they were High Priests should in no way exempt them from such mundane things as setting up chairs! I totally shocked a few brothers when I pointed out that there were 35 active High Priests, and only 25 active Elders (still a lot of priesthood holders for one Ward, and this was just after a spilt!). At that time, only 3 of those High Priests were over the age of 70 – most were under 50, with 5 of them still in their 30s. I was very dismayed at the (unintentional) attitude that physical service was the job of the Elders while the High Priests took care of the more “important”, but non-physically demanding matters. I rejoice that this distinction will now disappear, and that we can work together as Priesthood holders to strengthen each other and serve where needed. I also feel like this policy will more closely align us with the way the D&C instructs the Priesthood quorums operate. With Bishoprics being changed after about 5 years, and other callings requiring men to be High Priests, we’ve ended up in many Wards and Stakes with, quite frankly, too many High Priests and very weak Elders quorums. As an older Elder (43 – and not the oldest in my Ward, thankfully) I’m really looking forward to all of the adult males working together regardless of Priesthood office or age distinction.

  4. 7 Sean Peterson April 1, 2018 at 4:13 pm

    Another very important point from Elder Rasband: “[The changes] 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.” As a bishopric member this statement comes as a breath of fresh air! Let the RS and EQ focus on the grownups, so the bishopric can more fully minister to the youth. Probably my favorite declaration of the night.

    • 8 Eric Nielson April 1, 2018 at 4:18 pm

      While I agree with the sentiment, I do not clearly see how this change helps in this respect. It seems like there is one less, although probable stronger, avenue for delegation.

  5. 9 Josh Smith April 2, 2018 at 2:06 pm

    I was called to the High Council in my late 20’s; so I got to attend HP from then on.

    It was good: got to attend HP with my Dad, learn from senior brethren how to be a Priesthood leader, exposure to serving single sisters in a more meaningful way.

    It was “just ok”: I was a fish out of water many times, my youth was sometimes a handicap, I didn’t readily meet any brethren my own age anymore.

    It was downright rough: the quality of lessons had greater variation — when they were good, they were AMAZING — when they were bad, they were absolute dumpster fires…I kid you not, on bad days I would question if we actually held the same Priesthood or even attended the same Church.

    My experience has varied quite a bit depending on where I’ve been (Midwest vs. Northwest; urban vs. suburban) but I’ve never felt off-the-hook for service projects (in fact, I once had two brethren’s hands slip off a couch we were moving down a flight of stairs into a basement…I was the guy on the other end, it’s a story that’s fun to tell as I love those brethren and they thought they might have really hurt me or the couch) but I have felt more compelled to serve in the Temple as a result of my Priesthood office despite that not being called out in the Standard Works.

    I’m encouraged by this. I really am. Greater unity, greater empathy, greater flexibility. What is past is prologue, we haven’t had a shift like this since 1986 when the Stake-level 70’s Quorums were discontinued in favor of Stake Missions. We all have place in the Kingdom, I hope we all take this opportunity to remember that for ourselves and practice it towards others.

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