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The Rumors Are True, Mormons Get 2 Hour Church

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Latter-day Saints listen as Elder Quentin L. Cook details changes in the Sunday worship schedule.

For the past few years, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have speculated, “Is this the General Conference when they’ll finally announce 2-hour church?” If you’re not Mormon, that most likely doesn’t mean anything. If you are Mormon, it’s a very big deal. And now, it’s becoming a reality.

Since 1980, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have adhered to something called the “three-hour block”. Each Sunday service has consisted of a 70-minute “sacrament meeting” followed by Sunday school and a third hour for more age and gender specific instruction.

On Saturday, as part of the first session of the 188th Semiannual General Conference, Mormon apostle Quentin Cook announced that the Sunday church structure will change starting next January.

“The Sunday Church meetings will consist of a 60-minute sacrament meeting each Sunday, focused on the Savior, the ordinance of the sacrament and spiritual messages,” Cook said. “After time for transition to classes, Church members will attend a 50-minute class that will alternate each Sunday.”

Church President Russell M. Nelson said this change comes in order to make worship a more home-centered experience.

“As Latter-day Saints, we have become accustomed to thinking of ‘church’ as something that happens in our meetinghouses, supported by what happens at home,” Nelson said. “We need an adjustment to this pattern. It is time for home-centered church, supported by what takes place inside our branch, ward, and stake buildings.”

Leaders also encouraged Church members to use their newfound free time to hold small group bible studies and discuss spiritual topics.

The news rippled across social media on Saturday.

“This is a huge change from the Church's policy in the 1990s that discouraged study groups and directed such study to happen only individually and in families,” Mormon writer Jana Riess said in a tweet.

This story will be updated.

Lee Hale began listening to KUER while he was teaching English at a Middle School in West Jordan (his one hour commute made for plenty of listening time). Inspired by what he heard he applied for the Kroc Fellowship at NPR headquarters in DC and to his surprise, he got it. Since then he has reported on topics ranging from TSA PreCheck to micro apartments in overcrowded cities to the various ways zoo animals stay cool in the summer heat. But, his primary focus has always been education and he returns to Utah to cover the same schools he was teaching in not long ago. Lee is a graduate of Brigham Young University and is also fascinated with the way religion intersects with the culture and communities of the Beehive State. He hopes to tell stories that accurately reflect the beliefs that Utahns hold dear.
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