Church Handbook of Instructions


Church Handbook of Instructions

"Church Handbook of Instructions" (formerly the "General Handbook of Instructions") is a two-volume book of instructions and policies for leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). The books are prepared by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the church and are distributed to the LDS Church's worldwide lay leadership. Along with the standard works, the "Church Handbook" stands as the preeminent guide for the leaders of the LDS Church.Frank O. May, Jr., "General Handbook of Instructions", in Daniel H. Ludlow (ed), "Encyclopedia of Mormonism", (New York: Macmillan Publishing, 1992) [http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/cgi-bin/showfile.exe?CISOROOT=/EoM&CISOPTR=3726&filename=3727.pdf 2:541] .]

Purpose

In general, the "Church Handbook of Instructions" contains institutional church policies as opposed to church doctrine. However, brief statements of doctrine are commonly presented at the start of sections in the handbook in order to provide the doctrinal context in which the policies are being set and implemented. [For example, in discussing the church's position on elective abortion, the handbook states, "The Lord commanded, 'Thou shalt not ... kill, nor do anything like unto it (D&C 59:6). The Church opposes elective abortion for personal or social convenience." : "Church Handbook of Instructions: Book 1, Stake Presidencies and Bishoprics", (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2006), p. 185.]

tructure and distribution

The "Church Handbook of Instructions" is divided into two volumes. The church only distributes copies of the handbook to individuals that fill certain leadership callings within the church hierarchy.

"Book 1"

"Book 1" is subtitled "Stake Presidencies and Bishoprics". It contains information that is primarily relevant to the functions and duties of stake presidents, bishops, mission presidents, district presidents, branch presidents, and their counselors. Other individuals who receive a copy of "Book 1" are members of a stake high council, temple presidents and their counselors, general authorities, area seventies, and church clerks and executive secretaries. ["Church Handbook of Instructions: Book 1, Stake Presidencies and Bishoprics", (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2006), pp. iii–xii.]

The topics in "Book 1" include guidelines involving general, area, and regional administration; stake administration; ward administration; interviewing and counseling; performance of ordinances; callings and releases; church meetings and worship services; temples and marriage; missionary service; church discipline; single adults and students; the Church Educational System; Perpetual Education Fund; military relations; records and reports; church finances; physical church facilities; creating and changing church congregations and other units; and general church policies on administrative, health, and moral issues. ["Church Handbook of Instructions: Book 1, Stake Presidencies and Bishoprics", (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2006), p. xiii.]

"Book 2"

"Book 2" is subtitled "Priesthood and Auxiliary Leaders". It contains information that is primarily relevant to the functions and duties of the leaders of priesthood quorums and auxiliary organizations of the church. Every quorum president and auxiliary organization leader at stake, ward, district, and branch levels receive a copy of "Book 2", as do most of the individuals who receive "Book 1". ["Church Handbook of Instructions: Book 2, Priesthood and Auxiliary Leaders", (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1998), p. xiv.] Counselors to quorum or auxiliary presidencies and other members receive smaller booklets that excerpt only the portions of "Book 2" that are relevant to their church position. ["Church Handbook of Instructions: Book 2, Priesthood and Auxiliary Leaders", (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1998), p. xiv–xvi.]

The topics in "Book 2" include guidelines involving the Melchizedek priesthood; the Aaronic priesthood and Young Men Organization; Relief Society; Young Women Organization; Primary; Sunday School; member missionary work; spiritual and temporal welfare; temple and family history work; church activities; church curriculum; printed church materials; meetinghouse libraries; music; and teaching in the church. "Book 2" also contains some of the general church policites on administrative, health, and moral issues that are contained in "Book 1". ["Church Handbook of Instructions: Book 2, Priesthood and Auxiliary Leaders", (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1998), p. iii–xii.]

upplements

Occasionally the church updates, supplements, or changes material in the "Church Handbook of Instructions" with written directives from the First Presidency, Quorum of the Twelve, or Presiding Bishopric of the church. Leaders are instructed to write the changes into their copies of the handbook and keep the handbook and the supplemental materials together. ["Church Handbook of Instructions: Book 1, Stake Presidencies and Bishoprics", (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2006), p. xiii.] New editions of the handbook are published in order to incorporate these issued supplements into the text of the handbook.

Unauthorized distribution

Neither volume of the "Church Handbook of Instructions" is available for sale to the general public or the general church membership, nor is an official version available on the internet. The church asserts copyright over the contents of the "Church Handbook" and prohibits its duplication. ["Church Handbook of Instructions: Book 1, Stake Presidencies and Bishoprics", (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2006), p. xiii. However, portions may be duplicated by the stake president or bishop as needed.] The handbook emphasizes that "Book 1" has been prepared solely for use by general and local Church officers to administer the affairs of the Church." ["Church Handbook of Instructions: Book 1, Stake Presidencies and Bishoprics", (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2006), p. xiii.] The copyright to the "Church Handbook" is owned by Intellectual Reserve, Inc., a corporation owned by the LDS Church which owns the church's intellectual property rights.

After "Book 1" was published in 1998, Jerald and Sandra Tanner's Utah Lighthouse Ministry published portions of it on the internet without permission from the church and without including the book's copyright notice. The text was also disseminated to other websites which the ULM's website linked to. In the 1999 lawsuit "Intellectual Reserve v. Utah Lighthouse Ministry", a United States district court issued an injunction prohibiting the further duplication of the contents of "Book 1" and ordered ULM to remove the offending material from its website. [Tech Law Journal, [http://www.techlawjournal.com/courts/lds/Default.htm Summary of Intellectual Reserve v. Utah Lighthouse Ministries (LDS Copyright Case)] (29 December 1999) (accessed 2 August 2007)]

In May 2008, the LDS Church notified the Wikimedia Foundation that it believed the copyright to the "Handbook of Instructions" had been violated by a link posted in Wikinews.Carrie A. Moore, [http://www.deseretnews.com/article/1,5143,700225944,00.html "LDS Church alleges Wikimedia site infringed copyright"] , "Deseret Morning News", 2008-05-14.] The link directed readers to the text of the handbook that was posted on the Wikileaks website, which is unaffiliated with the Wikimedia Foundation. Shortly after the complaint was made, Wikinews removed the link to the text from the article.

History

The document that is identified as the first Church Handbook of Instructions was published in 1899 as a small fourteen-page booklet. It primarily contained instructions on how to manage in-kind payments of tithing by church members. The handbook was revised every year until 1910 and approximately every five years thereafter. The book has been variously called the "Annual Instructions", the "Circular of Instructions", the "Handbook of Instructions", the "General Handbook of Instructions", and the "Church Handbook of Instructions".

In 1998, the book was split into two volumes for the first time and was renamed the "Church Handbook of Instructions". A new edition of "Book 1" was published in 2006; the church continues to use the 1998 edition of "Book 2".

Chronology of the Church Handbook of Instructions

Below is a listing of the publication history taken from an article by Edward L. Kimball. ["Journal of Mormon History", vol. 24, no. 1, Spring 1998, pp. 173-176.]

Notes

External links

wikinewshas|news on this topic
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*cite news | last =Emmett | first =Andrea Moore | title =The Notorious Tanners: Longtime Mormon critics look back as they contemplate retirement | work =Salt Lake City Weekly | date =March 27, 2003 | url =http://www.slweekly.com/index.cfm?do=article.details&id=1CABA395-2BF4-55D0-F1FEE1A5DD9BF79B
*cite news | last =Park | first =Michael | title =Watchdog Web Site Draws Legal Threats from Scientologists, Mormons | work =FOX News | publisher =FOX News Network, LLC | date =June 19, 2008 | url =http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,368315,00.html
*cite journal | title =Summary of Intellectual Reserve v. Utah Lighthouse Ministries (LDS Copyright Case) | journal =Tech Law Journal | url =http://www.techlawjournal.com/courts/lds/Default.htm


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