Updates emphasize the work of salvation and exaltation, as well as principles of flexibility, agency and personal revelation
Another batch of updates was published on December 18, 2020, to the Church’s General Handbook for leaders and members. Six more chapters have been rewritten, and sections of 11 other chapters were added or revised. The text is available to the public in English online and in the Gospel Library app. Versions in other languages will follow in coming months.
This ongoing handbook revision is being done under the direction of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. The text is designed to help leaders around the world serve with Christlike care when implementing and adapting the Church’s programs, policies and procedures to their circumstances.
The rewritten chapters align with the handbook’s organizing framework of the work of salvation and exaltation. This work includes (1) following the teachings of Jesus Christ, (2) caring for those in need, (3) inviting all to receive Christ’s message, and (4) uniting families for eternity. The content has also been simplified, reduced and made more adaptable for congregations of all sizes worldwide. The newly rewritten chapters are:
- Chapter 5: “Stake Leadership,” which includes updated information on stake council meetings (watch this video explaining new additions); information about how a district president’s responsibilities differ from those of a stake president; and a section on the stake patriarch, which was formerly in a separate chapter of the handbook.
- Chapter 21: “Ministering,” which emphasizes doctrine and scriptures related to how members care for others.
- Chapter 22: “Providing for Temporal Needs and Building Self-Reliance,” which includes updated guidelines on administering Church welfare and offers an expanded list of available resources.
- Chapter 25: “Temple and Family History Work in the Ward and Stake,” which includes updated information on (1) organizing temple and family history work in the ward and stake, (2) family history resources and (3) calling temple workers.
- Chapter 26: “Temple Recommends,” which includes updated information on issuing temple recommends. The temple recommend is a pass that permits Latter-day Saints to enter one of the faith’s temples.
- Chapter 27: “Temple Ordinances for the Living,” which includes updated information for members receiving their own endowment or preparing to be sealed or married in the temple.
Since the first release of General Handbook chapters in February 2020, nearly 60 percent of the handbook has been reworked. The General Handbook replaces Handbook 1 (for stake presidents and bishops) and Handbook 2 (for all leaders). The remainder of the handbook will be revised in 2021.