Church releases updated and new sections of handbook

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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced updates and additions to its General Handbook today in a news release.

Six chapters were rewritten, and sections of 11 other chapters were added or revised. 

Among new sections, a section titled “Prejudice” was added to reflect recent teachings from President Russell M. Nelson and President Dallin H. Oaks in the October 2020 General Conference.

“Prejudice is not consistent with the revealed word of God,” the handbook reads. “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 Word of Wisdom section was renamed “Word of Wisdom and Healthy Practices.” “There are other harmful substances and practices that are not specified in the Word of Wisdom or by Church leaders,” the handbook says. “Members should use wisdom and prayerful judgment in making choices to promote their physical, spiritual, and emotional health.”

In addition to the Word of Wisdom section update, the medical marijuana section was updated to clarify a person should follow the dosage and mode of administration from a physician or another authorized medical provider.

The handbook says the Church does not approve of vaping marijuana (unless the medical provider has authorized it based on medical necessity) or smoking marijuana, even for medical purposes.

References to the term “birth sex” were changed to “biological sex at birth” throughout the handbook in order to be consistent with the Transgender Individuals section.

The medical and healthcare section was also updated, noting that Latter-day Saints “are discouraged from seeking miraculous or supernatural healing from an individual or group that claims to have special methods for accessing healing power outside of prayer and properly performed priesthood blessings.”

All rewritten chapters include: Stake Leadership, Ministering, Providing for Temporal Needs and Building Self-Reliance, Temple and Family History Work in the Ward and Stake, Temple Recommends and Temple Ordinances for the Living.

All new sections include: Stake Bishops’ Council Meeting, Stake Adult Leadership Committee Meeting, Stake Youth Leadership Committee Meeting, Prejudice, Dress and Appearance, and Seeking Information from Reliable Sources.

Church leaders also share insights of the new handbook in a video, where they talk about some of the specific changes and the process the handbook goes through to be changed.

“The remainder of the handbook will be revised in 2021,” the news release says.

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