Church Manual Update: Avoid Politics In Church, Welcome Refugees
Latter-day Saints should welcome refugees to their communities and keep church officials safe from politics, according to the latest updates to the two-year project to update the policy manual and d ‘instructions from the church.
The update to The General Manual of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints posted online Wednesday includes a new section on refugees (38.8.35).
“As part of their responsibility to care for those in need, church members volunteer their time, talents and friendship to welcome refugees as members of their communities,” the section says.
It directs readers to an official web page, ChurchofJesusChrist.org/refugees and two scriptures. It also refers to a revised section called “Immigration” (38.8.20) which uses the same language to encourage a welcoming attitude towards immigrants.
Updates to the entry on “Political and Civic Activity” (38.8.30) caution against political advocacy in religious gatherings.
“Policy choices and affiliations should not be taught or advocated within the church,” the manual now says. “Leaders ensure that church meetings and activities focus on the Savior and His gospel. MPs should not judge each other in politics. Loyal Latter-day Saints can belong to various political parties and vote for various candidates. Everyone should feel welcome in the church setting.
The updates were made under the direction of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who sent a letter on Wednesday announcing them to general and church officials, mission presidents and local world leaders. whole.
The church announced in January 2020 that it was combining what had been Handbook 1 and Handbook 2 into a single general online manual that is simplified, universally accessible, flexible, and has 38 chapters.
The project is gradually coming to an end. Wednesday was the sixth section of updates released in the past 18 months. Summaries of previous updates and links to stories about them are included below.
The new policy update also includes information on how the church is addressing issues of concern.
Church leaders have long said that the Church has the right to speak out on moral issues where they intersect with politics. When the church takes a stand, it “does not ask the elect to vote a certain way or take a certain position,” the updated entry reads. “Elected members make their own decisions. These officials might disagree with each other or with a publicly stated church position. They don’t speak for the church.
In addition, the section on business (38.8.7) now states that “meeting places and other church facilities, church meetings and courtyards and church websites and channels of social media cannot be used to promote a non-religious business or entity ”.
Other updates released Wednesday, according to the letter from church leaders:
- The title of chapter 4 has been changed to include guidance – “Leadership and Guidance in the Church of Jesus Christ” – and the chapter now includes general guidance information.
- A new Chapter 5 – “General and Regional Leadership” – describes the work and responsibilities of church leaders and general and regional councils. It explains the responsibility of the new vocation of the advisers in the organization of territory.
- A revised chapter 20 on activities includes an option to organize a ward activities committee, which had previously been dissolved. It also includes an exception for single adults to organize activities at church facilities on Monday evenings, among other updates on activities and conferences For the Strength of Youth.
- The rewritten chapter 30 – “Callings in the Church” – says that members should serve in callings long enough to build strong relationships with those they serve, when possible.
Other notable updates:
- Policies regarding term temple weddings (27.3.3) and civil weddings (38.3.1) have been updated to reflect recent announcements by the First Presidency.
- Bishops and stake presidencies can now have up to two assistant executive secretaries (see sections 6.4.1 and 7.3).
- The expanded “member privacy” (38.8.31) indicates that leaders are instructed not to “store or share confidential Church information outside of Church-provided applications, systems, or Internet services. “. This information includes a person’s Church membership status, temporal needs, and any other personal information that is not publicly available.
The manual update project is now approximately 85% complete:
- The first release in February 2020 included nine reworked chapters that reflected the church’s recent focus on ministry and home-centered gospel living and teaching. It also first set policies on transgender people and changed the name of disciplinary councils to member councils and updated their procedures.
- A second update in March 2020 completed three additional chapters focused on Aaronic Priesthood quorums and Young Women and Primary organizations.
- The third update in July updated policies on medical marijuana, birth control, and issues with fertility treatments and completed four more chapters.
- The Fourth December Update codified recent statements against prejudice made by Russell M. Nelson and his first counselor in the First Presidency, Elder Dallin H. Oaks.
- The fifth update in March 2021 reaffirmed the First Presidency’s long-standing support for immunizations. He also advised against affinity fraud, extreme preparation, and survivalism.
The manual, including Wednesday’s update, is available to the public in English both online and in the church’s Gospel Library app. It will be available in other languages in the coming months.
The overall draft of the manual is expected to be completed in English by the end of 2021.