The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced on August 14, 2020, that effective January 2021 the Church would replace its four current magazines with three global magazines: the ‘’Friend’’ (for children 3–11), ‘’For the Strength of Youth’’ (for youth 12–18), and the ‘’Liahona’’ (for adults).
The four magazines being replaced include three magazines in English—the “Friend” (for children), “New Era” (for youth) and “Ensign” (for adults)—as well as a magazine translated into many languages called the “Liahona” (with material for children, youth and adults). (See below.)
Simply stated, the global Church family will receive the same unifying messages through the three worldwide magazines.
These three magazines will serve members worldwide across multiple languages. The length and format of the printed magazines will undergo changes. Readers can expect improved digital magazines available online and in mobile apps. Digital magazine content will continue to be available free of charge.
- These global magazines will help share more unified messages across a wider group of readers. This simplification will also allow the Church to send content to different areas of the world more frequently than ever before. For example, some languages that currently receive only one magazine per year will now receive magazines every other month. Several factors—such as the number of subscribers, availability of translators, and distribution capability—affect the frequency of publication in different languages.
Beginning in January 2021, print and digital magazines will be available each month in the following languages: Cebuano, Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Samoan, Spanish, Swedish, Tagalog, Thai, Tongan, and Ukrainian.
In several languages, print and digital magazines will be available bimonthly (six times a year). Additionally, selected magazine content will be available digitally in the months a print magazine is not available.
In numerous other languages, selected magazine content will be available only digitally each month.
Prior to January 2021
In 1971, the leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints decided to consolidate the numerous magazines printed by the Church. For a long time there had been magazines for each organization within the Church., as in Relief Society Magazine for women, the Improvement Era for youth, and so on.
The magazines for adults were consolidated into one magazine, the Ensign. Each Ensign magazine typically contained the following elements: message from the First Presidency, Visiting Teaching message, messages from Church leaders, classic gospel talks, articles about the scriptures or principles of the gospel, inspirational stories sent in by members, profiles of members in various areas of the Church, and Church news. The May and October issues consisted of talks from the recent General Conference).
The New Era became the magazine for the youth ages 12–18 (parents of youth, Church leaders, and teachers also subscribed to and read the magazine). The New Era contained inspirational stories from Church leaders as well as from youth around the world; counsel from Church leaders; a Question and Answer segment; music, poems, and photographs sent in by youth; and inspirational mini-posters (called New Era posters or Mormonads).
The Friend was designed for the children of the Church and its purpose was to reach the children directly. The Friend presented the gospel in a way children could understand and reinforced family values. The Friend contained gospel messages, inspirational stories, songs, and activities.
The Church also printed an international magazine known as the Liahona. This magazine contained some of the most important information from all three magazines and was printed in 45 languages for Latter-day Saints around the world.
When the Church began printing these new magazines the First Presidency stated that “the underlying purposes of the magazines would be:
- To strengthen the faith of Church members.
- To promulgate (proclaim) the truths of the restored gospel.
- To keep members [informed about] church policies, programs, and happenings.
- To entertain and enrich the lives of Church members.”
- (The First Presidency, 1971)
Church leaders encouraged the use of Church magazines as lesson resources and as resources for teaching children during Family Home Evening. Don L. Searle, the former managing editor of the Ensign, stated, “you’re probably looking at one of your best lesson resources right now. Month after month Church magazines offer a steady supply of gospel-based, Church-approved materials for teaching” ("Teaching with Church Magazines,” Ensign, Feb. 2006, 56).