Update to the General Handbook August 2023

Church of Jesus Christ Gives August 2023 Update to the “General Handbook”

As directed by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “General Handbook: Serving in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” continues to be updated as needed. Several updates were published today, August 31, 2023, and some of the adjustments are detailed below.

The Church of Jesus Christ has also published “Selections from the General Handbook.” This new publication is a condensed version of the handbook that will be available in multiple languages that do not have the full handbook. “Selections” is a compilation of the instructions from the full General Handbook that are needed most often. See more information below.

August 31 Updates to the General Handbook

Some of the updates included in the latest release are listed below.

  • Throughout the handbook, the phrases “the work of salvation and exaltation” and “the Lord’s work of salvation and exaltation” have been changed to “God’s work of salvation and exaltation” to emphasize that we are invited to help God with His work.
  • Family history centers are now called FamilySearch centers, and the Family History Library is now called the FamilySearch Library.
  • Sunday Relief Society, Young Women, Sunday School, and quorum meetings should begin with prayer (see 8.2.1.29.2.1.210.2.1.211.2.1.213.3).
  • All ward Relief Society callings are presented for sustaining in sacrament meeting (see 9.3.3 and 9.3.4).
  • Updated the guidelines for baptismal services (see 18.7.2).
  • Clarified information about who may be called as temple ordinance workers (see 25.5.2).
  • Updated instructions for issuing temple recommends and added the recommend questions (see 26.3.3).
  • Updated information about the temple endowment (see 27.2).
  • Updated information about who may attend a sealing of living children to parents (see 27.4.4).
  • Clarified information about the stake youth leadership committee (see 29.3.10).
  • Updated information about the stake bishops’ council meeting (29.3.11).
  • Updated information about photographs and video recordings of meetings (see 29.8).
  • Updated the process for creating ward and stake histories (see 33.7.1).
  • Updated meetinghouse guidelines encourage the safe and responsible use of meetinghouses in ways that welcome and serve both members and friends and help all draw closer to Christ (see 35.5).
  • Added information about interpreting ordinances and blessings for those who are deaf or hard of hearing (see 38.2.1).
  • Clarified that parents must be sealed to each other before children are sealed to them (see 38.4.2).

Other updates are listed in the “Summary of Recent Updates” at the beginning of the handbook. These revisions have been published in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and French on ChurchofJesusChrist.org and on the Gospel Library app. They will be translated into additional languages in the coming months.

A Closer Look at “Selections from the General Handbook”
This condensed version of the General Handbook is for leaders and members who do not yet have access to the full handbook in their preferred language and can benefit from a condensed version. Today, 23 languages are being released, and additional languages will be made available as they are translated.

“Selections” provides answers to many frequently asked questions of local leaders. However, leaders will likely have some questions that it does not address or fully answer. In such cases, leaders should refer to the full General Handbook if it is available in a language they can use. Leaders may also counsel with their immediate presiding authority for guidance.

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