SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4) — The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles approved several updates on Aug. 21 to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ handbook for missionaries.

The missionary handbook was published in 2019 and provides counsel and rules for missionaries for the Church as they go out and teach the gospel. It is titled “Missionary Standards for Disciples of Jesus Christ.”

The 2023 update addresses commonly asked questions from missionaries and mission leaders, and provide clarifications on existing standards, a press release states. The update to the handbook includes the following:

In Chapter 3, Church leaders clarify several ways to help missionaries use time more wisely as they lead people to Jesus Christ. According to the press release, communication with those who are not in the missionary’s immediate family should only happen on preparation day. Preparation day is the missionary’s day of rest, laundry, groceries, and other necessities. When missionaries communicate with friends, they should only do so via email or letter, and never over the phone or on video chat.

This chapter also adds a reference to the “General Handbook” regarding prejudice. It states that Latter-day Saints should “strive to be persons of goodwill toward all, rejecting prejudice of any kind. This includes prejudice based on race, ethnicity, nationality, tribe, gender, age, disability, socioeconomic status, religious belief or nonbelief, and sexual orientation.”

Chapter 3 also reportedly clarifies that missionary companionship should always have an adult of their own gender present when meeting with a single person of the opposite gender. Physical contact with the opposite gender and children should be limited to a handshake, the handbook states.

Chapter 4 also contained some major updates. According to the press release, the wording was modified in the personal finance section to clarify the use of missionary support funds.

It states that the budget for missionary support funds might include the following: fast offerings paid to the branch where you are serving, food to prepare nutritious meals, transportation, hair care, and personal hygiene items, cleaning and laundry supplies, postage or internet expenses, limited restaurant or fast-food meals. You do not need to pay tithing on missionary support funds.

The handbook further clarifies that personal funds should be used for items such as clothing and shoe replacements, bicycle purchases, maintenance, and repairs, medical expenses not paid by the mission, traffic, and parking fines, repairs to housing if you cause damage, audio or video devices, souvenirs, and gifts.

According to the press release, there were also some additional updates including new artwork for each chapter and time added to the daily schedule for missionaries to study English, if needed.

The updated handbook also includes clarification on the dress and appearance section with recently approved and published guidelines and clarification that Wi-Fi may be used when approved by mission leaders.

“Missionary standards help missionaries to focus on being disciples of Christ and staying true to their sacred calling to invite and help others come unto the Savior,” said Elder Marcus B. Nash, executive director of the Missionary Department. “These updates provide helpful guidance to missionaries on how they can most effectively teach the gospel and represent the Lord and His Church, wherever in the world they may be serving.”