NeuroTypical

Updates to the Handbook

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Lots and lots and lots of updates.   No more Handbook 1 and 2, now everything is in one handbook.

Here's an 8 minute video from the church talking about things on a high level. 

Here's an outline of the changes. 

Here's chapter 27 - Temple Ordinances, which clarifies what temple things can and can't be talked about. 

 

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2 hours ago, NeuroTypical said:

Lots and lots and lots of updates.   No more Handbook 1 and 2, now everything is in one handbook.

Here's an 8 minute video from the church talking about things on a high level. 

Here's an outline of the changes. 

Here's chapter 27 - Temple Ordinances, which clarifies what temple things can and can't be talked about. 

 

They made the change for no more handbook 1 or 2 a while ago (or so I thought). 

Of interest, when I go to the Gospel Library app (or whatever it is called now days) I still have other handbooks listed there, but it is crossed out.  Only the One Handbook is highlighted now.

According to the article, they are around 60% done now?  With the remaining portions to be updated in 2021.

 

I did find this update a little..concerning???  Or maybe it was worded the same but I just noticed it since they  highlighted it?

Policies and Guidelines

Quote

In matters of doctrine and Church policy, the authoritative sources are the scriptures, the teachings of the living prophets, and the General Handbook.”

If this is new, did they just elevate the General Handbook to Doctrine!?????

 

If so, I'm not certain how I feel about that.  It could be an alarming precedent, seeing how easy it is to change things up in it.

Edited by JohnsonJones

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1 hour ago, JohnsonJones said:
Quote

In matters of doctrine and Church policy, the authoritative sources are the scriptures, the teachings of the living prophets, and the General Handbook.”

If this is new, did they just elevate the General Handbook to Doctrine!?????

 

If so, I'm not certain how I feel about that.  It could be an alarming precedent, seeing how easy it is to change things up in it.

Don’t read into it too much. The scriptures and prophets show Gods will. The handbook is just the modern day interpretation of doctrine to meet our needs. 
 

I imagine the handbook is the only thing the church leadership has a close hand in putting together

Edited by Fether

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1 hour ago, JohnsonJones said:

They made the change for no more handbook 1 or 2 a while ago (or so I thought). 

Of interest, when I go to the Gospel Library app (or whatever it is called now days) I still have other handbooks listed there, but it is crossed out.  Only the One Handbook is highlighted now.

According to the article, they are around 60% done now?  With the remaining portions to be updated in 2021.

 

I did find this update a little..concerning???  Or maybe it was worded the same but I just noticed it since they  highlighted it?

Policies and Guidelines

If this is new, did they just elevate the General Handbook to Doctrine!?????

 

If so, I'm not certain how I feel about that.  It could be an alarming precedent, seeing how easy it is to change things up in it.

Given context, I believe it’s pointing to things that the handbook covers (like procedures). Which is should be referred to for those. It’s why the it exists in the first place. 

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20 hours ago, JohnsonJones said:
Quote

In matters of doctrine and Church policy, the authoritative sources are the scriptures, the teachings of the living prophets, and the General Handbook.”

If this is new, did they just elevate the General Handbook to Doctrine!?????

I'm thinking no.  They didn't say "in matters of doctrine".  They said "In matters of doctrine and Church policy", and went on to name scriptures (doctrine), teaching of living prophets (doctrine and policy), and the handbook (policy).

It's like if they said "In matters of large and small housepets, the best kinds are huskys, cats, and hamsters", and you said "Did they just elevate hamsters to the status of large housepet?"

Edited by NeuroTypical

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6 hours ago, NeuroTypical said:

I'm thinking no.  They didn't say "in matters of doctrine".  They said "In matters of doctrine Church policy", and went on to name scriptures (doctrine), teaching of living prophets (doctrine and policy), and the handbook (policy).

It's like if they said "In matters of large and small housepets, the best kinds are huskys, cats, and hamsters", and you said "Did they just elevate hamsters to the status of large housepet?"

The wording doesn't separate out the handbook to specifically state it only defines policy.  In fact, it combines all the items to define both doctrine AND policy.  If we take it literally, the Church Handbook now is on equal standing with the rest of the items (scriptures and teachings of the Living Prophets) as being doctrine, and the others are on equal standing with the Church Handbook regarding policy.

The wording doesn't parse it as you put it.

In your example above, it is also misleading in it's statement.  It is assumed the reader correlates the order of words to animals, but it equally could be saying Huskys (or do you mean Huskies?) make the best kinds of small housepets...

OR...more aptly, that the BEST housepets found among both Large and small are Huskys, cats, and hamsters...inferring that these three are the best types of any sort of housepet in those size ranges.

If you wish to say that Huskies are the best Large housepets, rather than saying they make better housepets than many small housepets...you'd want to define the word to what you mean.

As you stated it, you basically said...

Cats, Hamsters, and Huskys make the best pets among any pet large or small. 

Another example along the lines that you stated...

The Best vehicles and the best drivers are found in Ford, Chevrolet, and Toyota.

What does this mean?  Taken as written it means the best vehicles are made by Ford, Chevrolet and Toyota.  It also means that the best drivers are also found in Ford, Chevrolet, and Toyota.

You have to define it more in order to be specific.  If you said,

The Best vehicles are made by Ford and the Best Drivers are those who drive for Toyota (now...now...I know people would argue this is NOT true...but this is merely an example of wording....not real facts here) it would actually specify what one meant.

Thus, in referenced to the sentence that I took out of the Handbook, I would hope I could assume that it means that the Handbook is only for matters of policy, and that the Scriptures and the Teachings of the Prophets are what defines Doctrine...but that isn't what the actual sentence says.

Edited by JohnsonJones

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@JohnsonJones perhaps there is a healthy middle ground here.
Some possible interpretations I see from the handbook statement:

Quote

In matters of doctrine and Church policy, the authoritative sources are the scriptures, the teachings of the living prophets, and the General Handbook.

Possible interpretations:
1. None of the Church Handbook is considered doctrine.
2. The entire Church Handbook is considered doctrine (I believe this is your area of concern)

rather I believe it is...

3. Parts of the Church Handbook do contain doctrine while other parts simply contain policy. Just because it is in the Handbook does not make it doctrine.

The Church News released an article in Feb 2020 entitled, First Presidency releases new general handbook for Church leaders, members
it breaks apart the handbook:

Quote

The handbook is divided into four sections — Doctrinal Foundation, Church Organization, Work of Salvation and Exaltation, and Church Administration.

Here is some additional wording that might help. This is taken from a statement the Church issued 31 July 2020 called, Significant Updates Made to Five Chapters of the General Handbook  It says:

Quote

Several of these updates now include doctrinal explanations to help people understand why the Church takes the position it does on these issues.

So...
Do parts of the Church Handbook contain doctrine? Yes.
Is everything inside of the Handbook doctrine? No
Are some sections separated out between Doctrine vs. Church Administration? Yes
Are doctrinal explanations also scattered throughout the book to help explain non-doctrinal positions/issues? Yes

Just some thoughts, hopefully there is something of value to you above.👍

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10 hours ago, NeuroTypical said:

I'm thinking no.  They didn't say "in matters of doctrine".  They said "In matters of doctrine Church policy", and went on to name scriptures (doctrine), teaching of living prophets (doctrine and policy), and the handbook (policy).

It's like if they said "In matters of large and small housepets, the best kinds are huskys, cats, and hamsters", and you said "Did they just elevate hamsters to the status of large housepet?"

That is one way of looking at it...  Another is the definition of Doctrine is "Teachings."  The Doctrine of Christ is the Teachings of Christ.  The Doctrine of the Church is the Teachings of the Church.   And with that understanding the Handbook is absolutely Teachings.

The problem is we try to conflate all Teachings to be of equal value, and they are clearly not.  Thus we we divide them in to Doctrine and Polices, they are all Teachings of the Church but they are all not of equal value.  You do not have to look that far to find things taught in the Scriptures and Teaching of Living prophet that are really not that valuable compared to others.  And it seems likely that the handbook follows the same pattern  

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22 minutes ago, estradling75 said:

That is one way of looking at it...  Another is the definition of Doctrine is "Teachings."  The Doctrine of Christ is the Teachings of Christ.  The Doctrine of the Church is the Teachings of the Church.   And with that understanding the Handbook is absolutely Teachings.

The problem is we try to conflate all Teachings to be of equal value, and they are clearly not.  Thus we we divide them in to Doctrine and Polices, they are all Teachings of the Church but they are all not of equal value.  You do not have to look that far to find things taught in the Scriptures and Teaching of Living prophet that are really not that valuable compared to others.  And it seems likely that the handbook follows the same pattern  

The other thought I had was something that Dalin H. Oaks said many decades ago in an interview where he basically stated Doctrine can be indistinguishable from Policy.

In this though, the big difference is how often Doctrine should change vs. that of Policy.  Doctrine shouldn't change that much or that often, while policy can change on a whim dependent on who is writing something  (such as the Handbook).

It's that ability for the Handbook to change that quickly (they have people assigned, and though the First Presidency goes over what is written, I don't think they write every word of the Handbook, that's more the bureaucrats that are trying to convey how the First Presidency prefers things to occur) that has me concerned in regards to this statement.  When you consider that this Handbook is now open source, there will probably be those that conflate the statement discussed to mean that the Handbook and all there in IS doctrine and when the Handbook changes...there will be some that may make a big headache for others.

It's one part which I FEEL (not that this is a correct way to express the feeling, I'm not sure how else to voice a concern about the way it's worded though) could be worded better to make it more specific to avoid headaches.

Edited by JohnsonJones

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I believe doctrine is way over rated.  Our concerns ought to be the covenants, ordinances and laws reveled to the Saints of G-d.  Others have said it already and I agree that the application of the covenants, ordinances and laws are often thought of as doctrine (which it technically  is) but such things may change (or become more complete or understood) as the time approaches for the coming Messiah.   In other words the covenants, ordinances and laws are eternal and do not change but our understand of such things will and must change as continued revelation bring more light and truth.

 

The Traveler 

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12 minutes ago, Traveler said:

I believe doctrine is way over rated.  Our concerns ought to be the covenants, ordinances and laws reveled to the Saints of G-d.

What are your thoughts about doctrines revealed by God?

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Jonah's presence in this thread, as someone who is "currently Catholic", is quite timely, IMO.   We need to make very, very sure that the philosophies and agendas of men, do not show up in our scripture.   From a Christian perspective, half of the New Testament is letters from the apostles to the various groups of early Christians, trying to get them to stop adding crap that doesn't belong to the beliefs of the saints.   From a Restored Gospel perspective, that effort ceased once the apostles were all martyred, errors and agendas crept in, creeds, schisms, heresies, councils, reformations, and now we've got Christianity split into a ton of different groups.  Most of them thinking they've got the most-correct, best-preserved version of what Christ and the Apostles laid down, all of them arguing about who can be considered "Christian", who gets communion with who, whose baptism is valid in another faith, who can marry who in order to maintain the same faith.  It's a mess: 

image.png.9414b53b3d59d74cc5646903e7f131a5.png 

Our LDS perspective, is that that "Restorationism" line is badly drawn.  We're not an offshoot of Protestantism, our little green line goes straight all the way back to Early Christianity, before people started getting together in Councils and voting on what God's word is and what it is not, inventing the notion of "trinity",  etc.   We are Christ's church, because He came down personally and redrew that green line to where He wanted His people to be.

Throughout our churches history, the call has always gone out to not drift from the scriptures and God's messengers.    

@JohnsonJones is a little worried that a Church Handbook, the dictionary definition of "something a bunch of people came up with", might be drifting into the area of scripture or official doctrine.   I am absolutely in agreement that such worries are good things to have.   I just don't think there's anything to worry about here - the church's claims about the handbook are all about how often it changes and gets revised, based on this or that new understanding, this or that new revelation.  It's a book of "the best we've got right now - check back next week for updates" - it isn't doctrine.

Edited by NeuroTypical

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And a bit of context around JJ's troubling sentence is in order.

Quote

“Seeking Information from Reliable Sources

“In today’s world, information is easy to access and share. This can be a great blessing for those seeking to be educated and informed. However, many sources of information are unreliable and do not edify. Some sources seek to promote anger, contention, fear, or baseless conspiracy theories (see 3 Nephi 11:30; Mosiah 2:32). Therefore, it is important that Church members be wise as they seek truth.
Members of the Church should seek out and share only credible, reliable, and factual sources of information. They should avoid sources that are speculative or founded on rumor. The guidance of the Holy Ghost, along with careful study, can help members discern between truth and error (see Doctrine and Covenants 11:12; 45:57). In matters of doctrine and Church policy, the authoritative sources are the scriptures, the teachings of the living prophets, and the General Handbook.“

 

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On 12/19/2020 at 1:21 PM, JohnsonJones said:

f this is new, did they just elevate the General Handbook to Doctrine!?????

 

If so, I'm not certain how I feel about that.  It could be an alarming precedent, seeing how easy it is to change things up in it.

While knowing nothing about the details of how General Conference talks and Handbooks are put together, my suspicion is that the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve collectively are far more involved in the preparation of the Handbook than the average General Conference talk. I suspect that preparing the various versions of the handbook involves much more preparation, drafting, review, revision, redrafting and double and triple checking than almost any conference talk.

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Doctrine doesn't mean canonized. I may teach a completely true gospel principle but my words aren't canonized. Same thing with the prophets. But what we learn in D&C 68:4 is that anything the brethren teach when moved upon by the Holy Ghost is "scripture." Again, not necessarily canonized but when something is taught and received by the Spirit it can nonetheless be of equal value. Without the Spirit even canonized works can be misinterpreted. 

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@JohnsonJones I understand your point with regards to the wording however, on closer inspection:

In matters of doctrine and Church policy, the authoritative sources are the scriptures, the teachings of the living prophets, and the General Handbook.

The way I read it is that there is a clear separation between doctrine AND Church policy, I think we all can agree on that. The key word in the whole statement is "and".

So when it says: "the authoritative sources are the scriptures" followed by a comma "the teachings of the living prophets" they are referring to the first part "in matters of doctrine".

Finally the last statement "and the General Handbook" seems to coincide with the "and" of the first part of the statement "and Church policy".

 

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1 hour ago, Suzie said:

The way I read it is that there is a clear separation between doctrine AND Church policy, I think we all can agree on that.

Nope.

  • "Doctrine" means "teaching"
  • "Policy" means "course of action" or "rule"

Policy is always based on doctrine, so the two are intimately related. There is the above-stated definitional difference between the two, but that difference is not always clear, not by any stretch of imagination.

The rule (policy) is based on the teachings (doctrines). Fine. But what are the teachings based on? Somewhere down the line, they are based on the foundational truths of eternity. But in this mortal state, we are spared from directly viewing those eternal truths. They are given us in a watered-down, applesauce-mixed pabulum that we are capable of digesting. Our doctrines are a reflection of truth, a representation of it, a figure. The doctrines describe, and to some extent define, our understanding of eternal truths. But the doctrines are not themselves those truths, any more than a physics text, a description of the laws of the universe, is itself the laws of the universe.

In general, we are not yet capable of understanding straightforward eternal truth. Even to stand in the  physical presence of our Father or his Son or the angels of eternity requires that we be shielded lest we be consumed.

At times, I think the official rules of action (policies) bring us closer to essential truth than the official teachings (doctrine). Both are essential. I reject the false notion that doctrine is unchanging but policy is infinitely mutable, just as I reject the false dichotomy that seeks to force a choice between doctrine and policy. I think we as a people fail to treat both doctrine and policy with the care and sacred respect each deserves. We are in danger of becoming an activist Church body, which awful thing would be a spiritual death sentence for the spiritually immature and foolish. That would include pretty much all of us.

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27 minutes ago, Vort said:

We are in danger of becoming an activist Church body, which awful thing would be a spiritual death sentence for the spiritually immature and foolish. That would include pretty much all of us.

I do find it interesting when policy changes or is further defined, factions of the Church becomes extremely vocal publicly depending on the message.

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31 minutes ago, Grunt said:

I do find it interesting when policy changes or is further defined, factions of the Church becomes extremely vocal publicly depending on the message.

Some people have their "sacred cows" within the church.  I'm watching the statement on energy healing rage amongst those whose sacred cow is energy healing.  smh.

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22 hours ago, mirkwood said:

Some people have their "sacred cows" within the church.  I'm watching the statement on energy healing rage amongst those whose sacred cow is energy healing.  smh.

Yeah, the ranting on the 3H Facebook group has been very amusing.  “Well, when WE do it, it isn’t really ‘energy healing’ . . .”

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I had no clue what energy healing is - I am sorry I wasted my time looking it up.  But then many are made better in scientific trials from the  placebo. 

 

The Traveler

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