In early 2020, the Church announced a new general handbook to be used by both leaders and members. Throughout the year, updates have continued to be released and a number of new policies and sections were released today. Six chapters have been rewritten with another 11 individual sections added or revised.
“All people are children of God. All are brothers and sisters who are part of His divine family,” the handbook says. “Prejudice is not consistent with the revealed word of God. Favor or disfavor with God depends on devotion to Him and His commandments, not on the color of a person’s skin or other attributes. The Church calls on all people to abandon attitudes and actions of prejudice toward any group or individual.”
An added section titled Seeking Information from Reliable Sources counsels Latter-day Saints to be wise in their pursuit of truth. “Seek out and share only credible, reliable, and factual sources of information,” the text says. “Avoid sources that are speculative or founded on rumor. The guidance of the Holy Ghost, along with careful study, can help members discern between truth and error (see Doctrine and Covenants 11:12; 45:57). In matters of doctrine and Church policy, the authoritative sources are the scriptures, the teachings of the living prophets, and the General Handbook.”
The chapters on Ministering and Providing for the Temporal Needs and Building Self-Reliance were rewritten.
Bishop L. Todd Budge of the Presiding Bishop said of the changes, “I think what’s new in this version of the handbook is that it’s a ministerial voice and it’s written in a very inclusive way. We’re not talking about just caring for the ‘poor and needy’ if you will. We all have needs and so it’s helping each of us as individuals increase our self-reliance and also improve our physical and spiritual well-being. It’s more about principles rather than practices and more about ministering rather than administering a program.
Other new policy updates focus on medical marijuana, baptisms for those who have intellectual disabilities, and seeking healing blessings outside of prayer and properly performed priesthood blessings. Click here to read through all of the updates and changes.