Office of the First Presidency
February 1, 1980
To all General Authorities, Regional Representatives, Stake, Mission and District Presidents, Bishops and Branch Presidents.
In order to provide more time for giving attention to
family life, individual study, self-improvement, and Christian
service, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve have
approved a consolidated schedule of Sunday meetings and weekday
activities for members of the Church.
Our anticipation is that the consolidated meeting schedule
will also support energy-saving efforts and assist members in
reducing costs associated with travel to meetings and other
activities. Energy use in Church buildings should be
A greater responsibility will be placed upon the individual
members and families for properly observing the Sabbath day.
More time will be available for personal study of the scriptures
and family-centered gospel study. Other appropriate Sabbath
activities, such as strengthening family ties, visiting the sick
and homebound, giving service to others, writing personal and
family histories, genealogical work, and missionary work should
be carefully planned and carried out.
It is expected that this new schedule of meetings and activities
will result in greater spiritual growth for members of the
Church. Every Latter-day Saint home should become a place where
family members love to be, where they can enrich their lives and
find mutual love, support, appreciation, and encouragement.
This schedule will also give more weekday time for family
members, as citizens, to take part in improving their community
and strengthening the processes by which people of integrity are
elected to public office.
The opening paragraph of the letter gives four reasons for the change:
1. More attention to family life,
2. individual study,
4. and Christian service.
I think these purposes were part of the consequences of an expanded correlation agenda. It is obvious that stacking auxiliary meetings on Sundays put bishoprics in direct proximity to every church organization. This along with various assignment and budgetary changes removed what autonomy auxiliaries still had. The idea that church instruction would be tightly controlled and unified — with materials geared to a roughly 6th grade education in terms of comprehension by teachers — was part of the motivation behind the changes.
I was a pretty green bishop’s counselor at the time of this letter, so I saw both sides of the divide. Administering that initial change was fascinating along with behind the scenes financial changes. I will say a little more about this at some point, but for now, I’m REALLY curious about what you think.
For you geezers, maybe you can comment on the change. For the whippersnappers, do you see the schedule as facilitating the goals outlined in the letter? Immediately previous to the consolidation, Sundays looked like morning priesthood meeting, later a Sunday School (including a Junior Sunday School where all met together like a combined Jr-Sr primary to receive the sacrament). Then an afternoon sacrament meeting of 1.5 hours give or take. Primary, MIA (YM-YW), Relief Society met on weekdays. Sunday’s got pegged for “firesides” and other sorts of things. Activities could be wonderfully extensive and involved. Present-day teens have no clue despite the eventual surge in youth/YSA/seminary/institute activities.
Some people think the initiative was a factor in negative trajectories for a number of key measurements (personally I think those trajectories were mediated by other forces). I’ll consider some stats in a later post.