Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints updates handbook, asks members to welcome immigrants, refugees

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Aug. 4, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Wednesday released updates to the English version of General Handbook: Serving in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

The changes reportedly add two rewritten chapters, expand one chapter, and add multiple updates to administrative policies, and small revisions to other chapters.

These updates have been published in English on and on the Gospel Library app., the LDS Church statement says, adding the updates will be translated into other languages in the coming months. The entire handbook is expected to be updated in English by the end of this year.

“This handbook revision, which began in February 2020, is being done under the direction of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles,” the statement says. “The text guides leaders around the world to better serve with Christlike care,” it says.

“It also helps them implement and adapt the Church’s programs, policies and procedures to their circumstances.”

A new entry on refugees directs church member to offer them help, saying Latter-day Saints, “as part of their responsibility to care for those in need, . . . offer their time, talents, and friendship to welcome refugees as members of their communities.”

The entry directs readers to, the Church’s news release says.

“A separate section titled Immigration (previously Emigration of Members) encourages showing the same welcoming attitude to immigrants.

The section titled Political and Civic Activity has been updated to say that, “Even when the Church takes a position on a political matter, the section says, the Church ‘does not ask elected officials to vote a certain way or to take a certain position. Members who are elected officials make their own decisions. These officials might not agree with one another or with a publicly stated Church position. They do not speak for the Church,'” the statement says.

“Also, the section now says that ‘political choices and affiliations should not be the subject of any teachings or advocating in Church settings. Leaders ensure that Church meetings and activities focus on the Savior and His gospel. Members should not judge one another in political matters. Faithful Latter-day Saints can belong to a variety of political parties and vote for a variety of candidates. All should feel welcome in Church settings.’

A section called Privacy of Members directs local leaders not to “store or share confidential Church information outside of Church-provided applications, systems, or internet services.” Such information includes a person’s Church membership status, temporal needs, and any other personal information that is not publicly available,” the statement says.

The section on Businesses says “Church meetinghouses and other facilities, Church meetings and classes, and Church websites and social media channels may not be used to promote any business or non-Church entity.”

The policies about marriages in the temple for time only and civil marriages have been updated to reflect recent announcements.

Marriages for time only are no longer performed in the temple. An authorized Church leader may perform a civil marriage only when either the bride or the groom is a member of the Church unit over which the leader presides,” the statement says.

To read the full news release, click here.


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