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Church updates General Handbook, calls for members to “abandon” prejudice

FILE -- President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and his wife, Sister Wendy Nelson, are interviewed in Salt Lake City on Friday May 29, 2020. Photo: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — A new batch of updates to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ General Handbook calls on its members to “abandon attitudes and actions of prejudice toward any group or individual.” 

In a news release, church leaders said they had rewritten six chapters of the handbook, and either added to or revised sections of 11 others.  

The changes are part of ongoing revisions to the handbook; church officials said they had reworked nearly 60% of the text since February. They expect to release the remaining updates in 2021. 

Church members advised to abandon prejudice

The new section calling for Latter-day Saints to abandon prejudice comes from recent teachings of President Russell M. Nelson and President Dallin H. Oaks of the First Presidency. The text reads: 

All people are children of God. All are brothers and sisters who are part of His divine family. 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.

“The handbook is written in a manner that each person can feel God’s love,” General Relief Society President Jean B. Bingham said of the changes. “We want to have every single person feel that they are included, that they are welcome, that they are loved.” 

Other updates to the church handbook

The updates cover a lot of ground. For example, they include an admonition to “Seek out and share only credible, reliable, and factual sources of information.” Another offers guidance on clothing and dress while encouraging members not to judge others on their appearance. The handbook also clarifies guidelines for the prescription and use of medical marijuana, and updates medical and health care recommendations. In that last category, the handbook instructs church members and leaders that “seeking competent medical help, exercising faith, and receiving priesthood blessings work together for healing, according to the will of the Lord.”

“The rewritten chapters align with the handbook’s organizing framework of the work of salvation and exaltation,” the news release stated. 

“One of the chapters that has had a complete rewrite is providing for temporal needs and self-reliance,” said General Authority Seventy Anthony D. Perkins. “We think that this chapter will be a blessing, not only to church leaders but also to members.” 

More information: The latest changes to the General Handbook

Bonneville International Corporation, the company that owns KSL NewsRadio, is a subsidiary of Deseret Management Corporation, which is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

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