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Friday, April 15, 2011

LDS Church Eliminates Student Wards and Stakes

The Deseret News reports that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is no longer using Student Stakes in exchange for Young Single Adult Stakes.  "Fifty-five years after it created its first student wards and stakes at BYU, the LDS Church is doing away with its 'student' unit designation.  And in its place are newly formed 'young single adult' wards and stakes throughout Utah as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reorganizes, realigns and renames its congregational units for Mormons ages 18 to 30."  This is a bold move for the LDS Church to make, but when brought into the light of the most recent General Conference, one sees why the move was made.  President Thomas S. Monson stated during the Conference, "There is a point at which it’s time to think seriously about marriage and to seek a companion with whom you want to spend eternity. If you choose wisely and if you are committed to the success of your marriage, there is nothing in this life which will bring you greater happiness. ("Priesthood Power", April 2011 General Conference)"

The Deseret News states that Student Wards that normally were located around college campuses will be replaced with Young Single Adult Wards and Stakes, so that there might be "all-encompassing young single adult wards and stakes for any Latter-day Saint — student or not — in the 18-to-30 age group."  This realignment will sometimes even alter a Ward's geographic boundary in order to encompass as many Young Single Adults as possible.

The new Young Single Adult Wards and Stakes will also receive renaming.  "Except in rare circumstances, young single adult wards stakes will not carry institutional names like BYU 5th Stake but rather city or other community-related names, such as Provo Utah 1st YSA Stake or Salt Lake City 10th YSA Ward."  The change is currently underway along the Wasatch Front, and could effect up to 90,000 Young Single Adults in Salt Lake and Davis Counties, as well as at least 65,000 Mormons in Utah County, the location of Brigham Young University and Utah Valley University.

Elder Steven E. Snow of the Presidency of the Seventy gave reason for the change.  He said,  

We hope it reduces confusion in their minds — where their priesthood leaders are, where they should go to church, where they should worship.  We hope it will provide enhanced opportunities to serve in leadership positions and to teach and lead. We hope it enhances their opportunities to meet other people and to give opportunities. And we want to deliver this opportunities in a geographic area and not require them to travel clear across the valley to attend church.

The Deseret News states that in areas where commuting to Church is a drive clear across the Valley (in order to attend the University of Utah Student Wards), now LDS Young Single Adults can attend Church near their home or apartment without the long drive.  

The transition began apparently as long as a year ago at Weber State University in Ogden, UT.  Changes similarly followed in St. George, Cedar City, and Ephraim, UT for Dixie State College, Southern Utah University, and Snow College, respectively.  Logan's Utah State University transitioned in August of 2010.  

A new facility will be located on 900 East in Provo to house Bishops' Offices for 48 new Young Single Adult Wards with additional facilities for four Young Single Adult Stakes.


1 comment:

Herlin Family said...

Very Interesting!!