Two portions of the new “General Handbook: Serving in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” previously published in English are now available in 22 languages in the Gospel Library app and online.
In a Newsroom release on Oct. 21, the Church announced that Chapter 32 (Repentance and Church Membership Councils) and several parts of section 38.6 (Policies on Moral Issues) are now available in the following languages:
- Chinese, simplified
- Chinese, traditional
Both portions were published in English in the handbook’s initial release in February.
Chapter 32 is a significant revision of the “Church Discipline” chapter from Handbook 1. The chapter uses a more ministerial approach and voice. For example, “disciplinary councils” are now “Church membership councils.” “Disfellowshipment” is now “formal membership restrictions.” “Excommunication” is now “withdrawal of membership.” Instructions are given to bishops and stake presidents about how to compassionately help members as they repent of serious sins.
Section 38.6 outlines the Church’s policies and procedures on several moral issues. Some policies are new and some have been updated. 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.
The consolidated, digital-only handbook replaces Handbook 1 (for stake presidents and bishops) and Handbook 2 (for all other organization leaders) and is designed to be more accessible and more readable. It will be updated regularly to help leaders around the world adapt the Church’s programs, policies and procedures to their local circumstances.
Since its release in February, updates were made in English in March (chapters on Aaronic Priesthood, Young Women and Primary) and July (chapters on Relief Society, Elders Quorum, Sunday School and Teaching the Gospel, and minor revisions to Church policies and guidelines).
To date, 16 of the handbook’s 28 chapters have been reworked in English and minor changes have been made to several other chapters. Additional translated chapters will be released every few months. The entire handbook will be available in 35 languages in mid-2021, with additional languages to follow.