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If you weren't aware, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently updated their General Handbook.
Among the updates were the additions of counsel on issues such as: Birth Control, Medical Marijuana, Suicide, Unwed Parents under 18, IVF, and the Occult.
If you pay attention to the wording at the end of a lot of these issues you'll notices words and phrases like:
- counsel together in unity and seek the confirmation of the Spirit
- all people are ultimately accountable to God for their decisions.
- left to the prayerful discretion
You'll notice that the end of the counsel that ultimately, the decisions are left to the individuals involved in each of the situations. What is great about this is that it gives the opportunity to members who come from all walks of life to make the correct decisions that are right for THEM.
Emily Jensen, the web editor for the online journal Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, felt that the individual responsibility the Church handbook gave to members was incredible.
“After having five children, my husband and I understood that our family was complete. Surgical sterilization was the most cost-effective and effective method," the Davis County mom says. “I understood then that it was a spiritual decision we could make. I’m glad to see the wording changed in the handbook to reflect that.”
Jonathan Stapley, a scientist and historian who has studied extensively the church’s handbook changes through the years, told the following to the Salt Lake Tribune:
“It indicates that many decisions are up to individuals,” Stapley writes in an email, “this reflects perhaps early leaders’ impulse to teach correct principles while letting individuals ‘govern themselves.’ It is also just wildly more practical from a logistical perspective.”
What are your thoughts on the updates of the General Handbook? Let us know in the comments!
** The opinions and views expressed herein belong solely to Tyler Carpenter and do not necessarily represent the opinions or views of Cedar Fort, Inc.