Significant Updates and Changes to the LDS Church Handbook

There were significant changes and updates made to five chapters of the General Handbook!


It's no surprise the Church General Handbook has been updated. One of the many blessings about being a part of the Restored Church is that we have modern day prophets who guide and lead us. 


Although some of the updates were minor, there were a few Church Policies and Guidelines, as well as chapters added that are interesting. To read the full update and changes that were made to the handbook, go the Newsroom website of the church.


A few of the more interesting updates were were:


Chapter 8: Elders Quorum
  • Content is organized around the work of salvation and exaltation.
  • Elders quorum and Relief Society presidencies are responsible for day-to-day missionary work and temple and family history work in the ward.
  • The options to call a service coordinator and an activity coordinator have been added.


Chapter 9: Relief Society
  • Content is organized around the work of salvation and exaltation.
  • Relief Society and elders quorum presidencies are responsible for day-to-day missionary work and temple and family history work in the ward.
  • The calling “compassionate service leader” has been renamed “service coordinator.” “Service coordinator” was also added to the “Elders Quorum” chapter, so both organizations have callings with the same titles.
  • “Additional Relief Society meetings” have been renamed “Relief Society activities.”
  • The stake president calls the stake Relief Society president and does not delegate this responsibility to a counselor.



Chapter 38: Church Policies and Guidelines
  • Unwed Parents Under Age 18 (38.1.5)

    A policy has been added on unwed parents under age 18. Unwed young men who will become fathers may participate in their Aaronic Priesthood quorum or elders quorum. Unwed young women who will become mothers may participate in Young Women or Relief Society. These decisions are left to the prayerful discretion of the young man or young woman, their parents, and their bishop.
Preface to Policies on Moral Issues (38.6)

A statement has been added to the beginning of section 38.6: “A few policies in this section are about matters that the Church ‘discourages.’ Church members usually do not experience membership restrictions because of their decisions about these matters. However, all people are ultimately accountable to God for their decisions.”
  • Birth Control (38.6.4)
    The entry on birth control now includes information about surgical sterilization, but the policy is otherwise unchanged (the “Surgical Sterilization” section from previous handbooks has been removed). The Church continues to discourage surgical sterilization as an elective form of birth control. Because bearing children is the privilege of married couples who are able, husbands and wives are encouraged to “counsel together in unity and seek the confirmation of the Spirit” when considering permanent birth control procedures. Read more details.
  • Donating or Selling Sperm or Eggs (38.6.7)
    The policy on sperm donation has been revised to include the donation of eggs. The Church discourages donating sperm or eggs but leaves decisions to the judgment and prayerful consideration of the potential donor. The Church also discourages selling sperm or eggs.
  • Fertility Treatments (38.6.9)
    A new section on fertility treatments merges previous sections on artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization. The text notes that reproductive technologies such as these can help a husband and wife fulfill their righteous desire to provide bodies for God’s spirit children. The Church continues to discourage the use of such technologies with the sperm from anyone but the husband or an egg from anyone but the wife. However, this is a personal matter that is ultimately left to the judgment and prayerful consideration of a lawfully married man and woman.
  • The Occult (38.6.12)
    The section on the occult says this includes (but is not limited to) Satan worship, fortune-telling, curses and healing practices that are imitations of priesthood power.
  • Sex Education (38.6.16)
    The section on sex education encourages parents to have honest, clear and ongoing conversations with their children about righteous sexuality. The section also counsels parents to be aware of and appropriately seek to influence sex education taught in their children’s schools.
  • Suicide (38.6.19)
    The section on suicide encourages greater sensitivity in ministering to those who are considering suicide. Many who have thought about suicide are seeking relief from physical, mental, emotional or spiritual pain. They need love, help, and support from family, Church leaders, and qualified professionals. Bishops are counseled to provide ecclesiastical support and to help members obtain immediate professional help as needed. The text also notes that while it is not right for a person to take his or her own life, “only God is able to judge the person’s thoughts, actions and level of accountability.”
  • Surrogate Motherhood (38.6.21)
    This section now includes a long-standing policy that children born to a surrogate mother can be sealed to parents in a temple only with First Presidency approval.
  • Medical Marijuana (38.7.8)
    A new section about medical marijuana says, consistent with previous statements, that the Church opposes the use of marijuana for nonmedical purposes. The policy also provides guidelines for when marijuana may be used for medical purposes.


To read the full update and changes that were made to the handbook, go the Newsroom website of the church.