Updated LDS handbook asks members to avoid political discussion in church


FILE – This Oct. 4, 2019, file photo, shows the Salt Lake Temple at Temple Square in Salt Lake City. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has postponed a key meeting of top global leaders scheduled for April 1-2 because of the spread of the coronavirus around the world. The faith is also discouraging members from traveling from outside the United States for a twice-yearly conference set for the weekend of April 4-5 in Salt Lake City, the religion said in a news release Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Among updates to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ general handbook is an update to discussing (or more specifically, not discussing) politics in the pews.

In August 2021’s update, the Church added one new chapter, rewrote two, and expanded one, in addition to updating “administrative policies” and making small revisions to other chapters.

Among the notable changes is a new entry regarding refugees and updates to the section “Political and Civic Activity.”

Regarding refugees, the Church now says Latter-day Saints “as part of their responsibility to care for those in need…offer their time, talents, and friendship to welcome refugees as members of their communities.”

In terms of politics, the Church now explains that even when it takes a position on a political matter, the Church “does not ask elected officials to vote a certain way or to take a certain position. Members who are elected officials make their own decisions. These officials might not agree with one another or with a publicly stated Church position. They do not speak for the Church.”

Further still, the Church updated the section to say:

“Political choices and affiliations should not be the subject of any teachings or advocating in Church settings. Leaders ensure that Church meetings and activities focus on the Savior and His gospel. Members should not judge one another in political matters. Faithful Latter-day Saints can belong to a variety of political parties and vote for a variety of candidates. All should feel welcome in Church settings.”

For more on the updates to the general handbook, click here.

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