Young Women general presidency: The General Handbook — a guide to true north

The same way a magnetic compass can help an explorer find true north, the General Handbook helps leaders find spiritual true north: the Savior Jesus Christ

When a hiker sets off into unfamiliar terrain, it is important for her to know how to navigate — whether to find her way to a new destination or to find her way out again. Modern explorers might use a GPS system. Such technology is not always available and is sometimes unreliable

An ever-reliable resource has always been the compass. A magnetic compass helps our explorer determine true north, and once she determines that, she is able to figure out where she is and set a correct course toward her destination. 

Sometimes, being a stake or ward Young Women leader can feel like setting off on a hike through unfamiliar woods. The directions we could go feel endless and a little intimidating. It could easily become disorienting and confusing to try to make it through such a task without help. Fortunately, we have been given a compass of sorts to help us find our spiritual “true north,” the Savior, Jesus Christ. 

The Lord has not left us to navigate mortality alone. The Lord has raised up prophets and given us sacred scriptures to guide us and help us with Him in His work. We have also been given an inspired manuscript called the General Handbook: Serving in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The handbook has been made available to all members on, and the Gospel Library app.

The new digital-only General Handbook replaces Handbook 1 (for stake presidents and bishops) and Handbook 2 (for all other leaders) and is being revised under the direction of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The General Handbook provides guidance for general and local Church leaders. It is also a blessing to the general membership of the Church. It provides doctrinal foundations, such as God’s plan of happiness, the role of the family in God’s plan, priesthood principles and principles for leading in the Savior’s Church. It gives instructions for Church organizations; instructs on the work of salvation and exaltation, which includes living the gospel of Jesus Christ, caring for those in need, inviting all to receive the gospel and uniting families for eternity; and presents additional guidelines for administering the Church organization throughout the world (General Handbook 0.1).

Not all stakes and wards have the same needs. The handbook contains guidelines for adaptation as well as optional resources. Leaders seek inspiration about which guidelines and optional resources to use to meet members’ needs (General Handbook 0.2).

The restoration is ongoing and will continue until the Savior returns in glory. Doctrine will never change, but policies and organizational adjustments may occur. The handbook will be updated periodically. Study it often to be apprised of any changes. 

An ever-reliable navigation tool has always been the compass. The same way a magnetic compass can help an explorer find true north, the General Handbook has been provided to help leaders find spiritual true north, the Savior Jesus Christ. | Lukas Gojda,

Leaders, both adults and youth, are set apart under the direction of one holding priesthood keys. We are empowered with priesthood authority to assist the Lord in accomplishing His work. As such each leader is entitled to revelation from God concerning the responsibility He has called them to fulfill. Seek the Lord’s guidance which is readily available through inspiration as well as handbook direction. When our energy is focused on doing the Lord’s will and heeding Him, we can be sure we are walking in the right direction.

Which way do we face? Toward the Savior or toward our own agendas? Even a few degrees off true north can cause a serious departure from the Spirit of the Lord and result in facing away from the Savior. Are we the leaders that seek outside sources, such as social media posts and ideas from friends for inspiration for our callings? Do we rely on what leaders have done in the past? Do we seek our will instead of God’s will? 

Young Women general presidency: President Bonnie H. Cordon, center, Sister Michelle D. Craig, first counselor, left, and Sister Rebecca L. Craven, second counselor, right. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

We plead with you to align your understanding and vision of your calling with God’s vision by studying the handbook and then getting on your knees to receive divine direction from Him. Counseling with presidencies, bishoprics and stake presidencies can offer additional inspired direction personalized just for us and those in your stewardship. Please study the handbook as leaders and individually. Make this study a revelatory experience. 

“Behold, mine house is a house of order, saith the Lord God, and not a house of confusion” (Doctrine and Covenants 132:8). The power of God will come to our organizations as we are unified in aligning our will with God’s by following the pattern set forth by the Lord Himself in the General Handbook. May we be humble enough to obtain that word. Which way do we face? May our spiritual trajectory be “true north” toward the order of His Son. 

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