Two portions of the consolidated handbook for leaders and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (first published in English in February) are now available in 22 languages online and in the Gospel Library app.
Chapter 32 (Repentance and Church Membership Councils) and several parts of section 38.6 (Policies on Moral Issues) are available in the following languages in addition to English:
- Chinese, simplified
- Chinese, traditional
As noted in February 2020, chapter 32 guides leaders in a more sequential way through key decisions and actions necessary to help people repent of a serious sin. The chapter also focuses on how to help protect others from those who pose a physical or spiritual threat.
Some key terminology in chapter 32 has changed. Disciplinary councils are now called “Church membership councils.” These bodies continue to help Latter-day Saints through their repentance process with love, hope and concern. Also, instead of being “disfellowshipped,” members are given “formal membership restrictions.” And excommunication is instead called a “withdrawal of membership.”
Section 38.6 outlines the Church’s policies and procedures on many moral issues. Some policies are new, some have been updated and some may be updated in the future. The moral policies translated in this update concern abortion, abuse, artificial insemination, birth control, child pornography, incest, in vitro fertilization, same-sex marriage, sex education, sexual abuse, single expectant parents, sperm donation, suicide, surgical sterilization, surrogate motherhood and a new entry on transgender individuals.
To date, in English, 16 of the General Handbook’s 38 chapters have been completely reworked, and minor changes have been made to several other chapters. This is part of an ongoing revision under the direction of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. The organizing framework for the consolidated handbook is the work of salvation and exaltation. The English text supersedes both Handbook 1, for stake presidents and bishops, and Handbook 2, for all leaders. The first version was published in February of this year. Subsequent updates were made in March and July.
As the handbook continues to be rewritten and updated in English, additional translated chapters will be released every few months. Leaders should use the newly revised chapters as they become available in their languages. They should continue to use the existing chapters in Handbook 1: Stake Presidents and Bishops and Handbook 2: Administering the Church when newly revised chapters are not yet available.
The entire handbook will be available in 35 languages in mid-2021, with additional languages to follow.