21.1 Administrative Policies
Accident Prevention and Response
Adopted Children and Their Biological Parents
Questions regarding the exchange of information and contact between adopted children and their biological parents should be handled with sensitivity. The legal rights and emotional needs of all relevant parties should be considered.
Adoption and Foster Care
Members who are seeking to adopt children or provide foster care should strictly observe all legal requirements of the countries (and their governmental subdivisions) that are involved. They are encouraged to work through licensed, authorized agencies.
Members may use audiovisual materials, such as CDs, DVDs, and computer presentations, in Church settings with the following restrictions:
Audiovisual materials that meet these criteria may be used in the chapel during meetings other than sacrament meeting or the general session of stake conference if they are an important part of the meeting.
Autographs and Photographs of General Authorities and Area Seventies
Church members should not seek the autographs of General Authorities or Area Seventies, including signing in their scriptures, hymnals, or programs. Doing so detracts from their sacred callings and the spirit of meetings. It also could prevent them from greeting other members.
Members should not take photographs of General Authorities or Area Seventies in chapels.
English-speaking members should use the Latter-day Saint edition of the King James Version of the Bible. This edition includes the Topical Guide; footnotes; excerpts from the Joseph Smith Translation; cross-references to other passages in the Bible and to the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price; and other study aids. Although other versions of the Bible may be easier to read, in doctrinal matters, latter-day revelation supports the King James Version in preference to other English translations.
Spanish-speaking members should use the Latter-day Saint edition of the Reina-Valera Bible. This edition includes study aids similar to those in the Latter-day Saint edition in English.
In many other non-English languages, the Church has approved a non–Latter-day Saint edition of the Bible for use in Church meetings and classes. Members should use these editions of the Bible.
The most reliable way to measure the accuracy of any biblical translation is not by comparing different texts, but by comparison with the Book of Mormon and modern-day revelations.
Printed copies of approved editions of the Bible are available from Church Distribution Services. Electronic text and audio recordings of Latter-day Saint editions are also available at scriptures.lds.org.
Book of Mormon
The Church discourages rewriting the Book of Mormon into familiar or modern English. The First Presidency has said:
“When a sacred text is translated into another language or rewritten into more familiar language, there are substantial risks that this process may introduce doctrinal errors or obscure evidence of its ancient origin. To guard against these risks, the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve give close personal supervision to the translation of scriptures from English into other languages and have not authorized efforts to express the doctrinal content of the Book of Mormon in familiar or modern English. (These concerns do not pertain to publications by the Church for children.)” (Ensign, Apr. 1993, 74).
The First Presidency has consistently encouraged members of the Church to read the Church magazines. Local Church leaders should encourage members to have the Church magazines in their homes. These magazines contain the Lord’s guidance given through latter-day prophets. Church magazines strengthen faith in the Savior and provide inspired direction for personal challenges.
The stake president and bishop may assign their executive secretaries to coordinate Church magazine subscription efforts (see Handbook 1, 13.3.4 and 13.4.4). Bishoprics may also call a ward magazine representative and appoint others to assist. If a ward magazine representative is called, he helps plan and direct Church magazine campaigns, helps members begin or renew subscriptions, and teaches members the benefits of subscribing to the Church magazines.
Members can subscribe to the Church magazines through Church Distribution Services. In some areas, members can subscribe by filling out the subscription form on the Church magazines’ Web pages.
Church Name and Logotype
The Church’s name and logotype are key Church identifiers. They are registered as trademarks or are otherwise legally protected worldwide. They should be used only according to the following guidelines.
Local units may use the written name of the Church (not the logotype) when all of the following conditions are met:
The Church’s official logotype (see the front cover of this handbook) is to be used only for items approved by the Correlation Department at Church headquarters. Examples of these items are:
The logotype may not be used as a decorative element or a computer screen saver. Nor may it be used in any personal, commercial, or promotional way, such as on family history books, T-shirts, buttons, or banners. Questions may be directed to:
Intellectual Property Office 50 East North Temple Street, Room 1888 Salt Lake City, UT 84150-0018 Telephone: 1-801-240-3959 or 1-800-453-3860, extension 2-3959 Fax: 1-801-240-1187 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
As authorized by the Church’s presiding councils, some Church units are provided computers for purposes such as record keeping and family history. The stake president oversees the placement and use of computers in the stake. Guidelines for obtaining and managing Church computers are available from Church headquarters or the assigned administrative office. These guidelines provide information about matters such as hardware and software, donated computers, Internet connections, repairs, disposal of computers, stolen or damaged computers, security, and use by members.
Where necessary, stake presidents arrange to make ward and stake computers available for members to use family history programs. Ward and stake computers are not authorized for other personal uses.
To protect confidential information on computers, leaders and clerks should use the password features of Church record-keeping systems. Additional instructions about protecting confidential information are provided in Handbook 1, 13.8 and 13.9.
Computers should be placed so members of the bishopric and clerks can process members’ weekly contributions in privacy.
For restrictions on duplicating computer software, see 21.1.12.
The laws governing creative works and their permissible use vary from one country to another. The Church policies outlined in this section are consistent with international treaties that are applicable in most countries. For simplicity, this section refers to a creator’s rights as “copyright.” However, certain of these rights may be known by different names in some countries.
Copyright is protection given by law to the creators of original works of authorship that are expressed in a tangible form, including:
Church members should strictly observe all copyright laws. Generally, only copyright owners may authorize duplication (copying), distribution, public performance, public display, or derivatives of their work. Using a work in any of these ways without authorization from the copyright owner is contrary to Church policy and may also subject the Church or the user to legal liability.
A user of a work should assume that it is protected by copyright. Published works usually include a copyright notice, such as “© 1959 by John Doe.” (For sound recordings, the symbol is ℗.) However, a copyright notice is not required for legal protection. Similarly, the fact that a publication is out of print does not nullify its copyright or justify duplicating, distributing, performing, displaying, or making derivatives of it without permission.
The Church’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) assists in processing requests to use copyrighted Church materials or programs, including materials that are copyrighted by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. (IRI). IRI is a separate, nonprofit corporation that owns the intellectual property used by the Church. Additional information on requesting the use of Church-owned materials can be found by following the “Rights and Use Information” link on LDS.org.
The following questions and answers may help members understand and abide by copyright laws when using copyrighted materials at church and at home. If members have questions that are not answered in these guidelines, they may contact:
Intellectual Property Office 50 East North Temple Street, Room 1888 Salt Lake City, UT 84150-0018 Telephone: 1-801-240-3959 or 1-800-453-3860, extension 2-3959 Fax: 1-801-240-1187 E-mail: email@example.com
Can I copy pictures from Church magazines? Pictures in Church publications may usually be copied for noncommercial Church, home, and family use. However, they may not be copied for commercial purposes without specific written permission from the IPO. If a picture is restricted from being copied, words such as “may not be copied” will appear in the credits for the image.
Can I copy published Church materials? Church publications may usually be copied for noncommercial Church, home, and family use. No commercial use may be made of Church materials without specific written permission from the IPO.
Can I copy music? Special copyright laws apply to music. A person may copy music from Hymns, the Children’s Songbook, and Church magazines for noncommercial Church, home, and family use except where a restriction is expressly noted on the hymn or song. Duplicating printed or recorded music without authorization from the copyright owner is contrary to Church policy. Music that has been duplicated contrary to this policy must not be used for Church purposes.
Can I alter, copy, or segment Church-produced audiovisual materials? Not unless such use is specifically authorized by the IPO. Church-produced audiovisual materials should be used in accordance with prescribed instructions in the manuals and on the packaging materials.
Can I copy materials that are not owned by the Church? Generally not. Copyright laws govern the use of privately owned materials. Usually there are restrictions that give the conditions the public must follow before copying non-Church materials. These restrictions are usually listed near the beginning of a publication. Members should strictly observe all copyright laws.
Can I show commercial audiovisual products at Church functions? Generally not. Church members should not violate warnings and restrictions that are placed on commercial audiovisual products. Using commercial audiovisual products at Church functions generally requires permission from the copyright owners.
Can I download or duplicate computer software and other programs for Church use? Generally not. Computer programs and other software may not be duplicated or downloaded unless all licenses have been appropriately purchased. As an exception, Church family history programs may be downloaded at no charge.
Can I download or distribute materials that I find on Church Web sites? The Church has created several Web sites, such as LDS.org, Mormon.org, and FamilySearch.org. Unless otherwise indicated, all material on Church-owned Web sites, including visuals, text, icons, displays, databases, and general information, may be viewed, downloaded, and printed for noncommercial Church, home, and family use only. Material from these sites may not be posted, transcribed, or distributed to other Web sites or computer networks without permission from the IPO.
Church-owned sites and any information on these sites, including the names and addresses of those who have submitted information, may not be used for selling or promoting products or services, soliciting clients, or any other commercial purpose.
For additional information, see the rights and use information associated with the Web sites.
What permission is needed to present musical and theatrical productions? Productions that are owned by the Church or IRI may be performed in Church settings without permission from Church headquarters. If a copyrighted production is not owned by the Church, members must obtain the copyright owner’s permission to perform all or part of it in a Church setting. Usually the copyright owner requires fees or royalties even if no charge is made for the performances. All presentations should have the approval of local priesthood leaders.
The Church makes available scriptures, magazines, manuals, books, and other materials to help members learn and live the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Priesthood and auxiliary leaders encourage members to obtain copies of the scriptures and other curriculum materials to use in their homes and at church.
Leaders ensure that teachers use Church-approved materials for quorum and class instruction. The publication Instructions for Curriculum provides information about how to organize Sunday classes and which materials to use for lessons.
Dating or Get-Acquainted Businesses for Single Members
Dating and get-acquainted businesses often promote their services to single members of the Church. Church meetinghouses, classes, or programs may not be used to promote any private business venture, including dating and get-acquainted businesses or services. Lists of Church groups or other information about members should not be given to such businesses.
Stake and ward directories may be published according to the following instructions:
Names, addresses, and phone numbers may be included in a directory only if they are listed in a commercial telephone directory or, if they are unlisted, if the member gives permission. E-mail addresses may be included only with the member’s permission.
Stake or ward budget funds are used to pay for directories. Directories may not contain advertising.
Leaders should not distribute directories outside the stake or ward boundaries or permit their use for commercial or political purposes.
The beginning of each directory should include a statement that it is to be used only for Church purposes and should not be copied without permission of the bishop or stake president.
Emigration of Members
Generally, members are encouraged to remain in their native lands to build up and strengthen the Church. Opportunities for Church activity and for receiving and sharing the blessings of the gospel are increasing greatly throughout the world. As members remain in their homelands and work to build the Church there, great blessings will come to them personally and to the Church. Stakes and wards throughout the world will be strengthened, making it possible to share the blessings of the gospel with an even greater number of Heavenly Father’s children.
Experience has shown that those who emigrate often encounter language, cultural, and economic challenges, resulting in disappointment and personal and family difficulties.
Missionaries should not ask their parents, relatives, or others to sponsor members who wish to emigrate to other countries.
Members who emigrate to any country should comply with applicable laws.
When coming to the United States or other countries on student or tourist visas, members should not expect to find jobs or obtain permanent visas after entering that country.
To be considered for Church employment in any country, a person must meet all conditions of immigration and naturalization laws. The Church does not sponsor immigration through Church employment.
A proper fast day observance typically includes abstaining from food and drink for two consecutive meals in a 24-hour period, attending fast and testimony meeting, and giving a generous fast offering to help care for those in need.
Gambling and Lotteries
The Church opposes gambling in any form, including government-sponsored lotteries.
Guest Speakers or Instructors
For most Church meetings, speakers and instructors should belong to the local ward or stake.
The bishop’s approval is required before guest speakers or instructors may participate in any ward meeting, including auxiliary meetings. The stake president’s approval is required for such participation in stake meetings.
The bishop or stake president carefully screens guest speakers or instructors and the subjects of their presentations. This may include contacting the person’s bishop. The bishop or stake president ensures that:
Church members are obligated by the twelfth article of faith to obey the tax laws of the nation where they reside (see also D&C 134:5). Members who disapprove of tax laws may try to have them changed by legislation or constitutional amendment. Members who have well-founded legal objections may challenge tax laws in the courts.
Church members who refuse to file a tax return, pay required income taxes, or comply with a final judgment in a tax case are in direct conflict with the law and with the teachings of the Church. Such members may be ineligible for a temple recommend and should not be called to positions of principal responsibility in the Church. Members who are convicted of willfully violating tax laws are subject to Church discipline to the extent warranted by the circumstances.
When carefully used, the Internet can help coordinate the work of the Church, strengthen faith, and minister to the needs of others. However, where feasible, members should ensure that electronic communication does not replace opportunities for in-person contact.
Official Church Internet Resources
The Church provides a number of official Web sites and other Internet resources for general use. These sites and resources are clearly identified as official either by the use of the Church logo or in some other way. They also comply with legal requirements and the Church’s intellectual property and privacy policies.
Stake and ward Web sites may be created only by using the official Church Internet resources. Stakes and wards are not authorized to create other Web sites or blogs or otherwise have a Church-sponsored presence on the Internet.
Stake and ward Web sites can facilitate coordination and communication within local units. These Web sites can include news and announcements, calendars, leadership and membership directories, and facilities scheduling. If a stake or ward site is created, it should be regularly maintained to fulfill its intended purposes.
To request approval to use official Church resources to create a stake or ward Web site, the stake president contacts the following office at Church headquarters:
Member and Statistical Records Division Attn: Local Unit Internet Resources 50 East North Temple Street, Room 1320 Salt Lake City, UT 84150-0013 Telephone: 1-801-240-3500 or 1-800-453-3860, extension 2-3500 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Additional guidelines for stake and ward Web sites can be found by searching for “LDS Site Development Guide” on LDS.org.
On occasion, official Church Web sites may be approved for other purposes, such as multistake projects, special events, and young single adult activities and organization. To seek approval for such a site, the organization’s priesthood leader submits a request stating the purpose and need to a member of the Presidency of the Seventy or the Area Presidency.
Temples, missions, and visitors’ centers are not authorized to create Web sites.
Members’ Use of the Internet in Church Callings
Individual members may create Web sites or blogs or make use of other appropriate Internet resources in their Church callings, provided they include a disclaimer such as “This is not an official Web site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” Members should also comply with the following guidelines:
Personal Internet Use
Members are encouraged to be examples of their faith at all times and in all places, including on the Internet. If they use blogs, social networks, and other Internet technologies, they are encouraged to strengthen others and help them become aware of that which is useful, good, and praiseworthy. When appropriate, members are encouraged to mention the Church and to link to and share approved Church materials.
When members use the Internet for purposes other than Church callings, they should understand that the message they give is personal. They should not give the impression that they represent or are sponsored by the Church.
Additional helps and guidelines are provided by searching for “Internet Usage Helps for Members” on LDS.org.
Members’ Communication with Church Headquarters
Members of the Church are discouraged from making telephone calls or writing letters to General Authorities about doctrinal issues or personal matters. With an ever-increasing Church membership, responding personally to these inquiries presents an almost insurmountable task and would make it difficult for General Authorities to fulfill the duties for which they alone are responsible. The General Authorities love the members of the Church and do not want them to feel that they are without the support and guidance they need. However, all things need to be done with wisdom and order.
The Lord has organized His Church so every member has access to a bishop or branch president and a stake, district, or mission president who serve as spiritual advisers and temporal counselors. By reason of their callings, these local leaders are entitled to the spirit of discernment and inspiration to enable them to counsel members within their jurisdiction.
Members who need spiritual guidance, have weighty personal problems, or have doctrinal questions should make a diligent effort, including earnest prayer and scripture study, to find solutions and answers themselves. Church members are encouraged to seek guidance from the Holy Ghost to help them in their personal lives and in their family and Church responsibilities.
If members still need help, they should counsel first with their bishop. If necessary, he may refer them to the stake president.
In most cases, correspondence from members to General Authorities will be referred back to their local leaders. Stake presidents who need clarification about doctrinal or other Church matters may write in behalf of their members to the First Presidency.
Members’ Occupations, Professions, and Affiliations
Baptism into the Church, priesthood ordinations, and the issuing of temple recommends are based on the personal worthiness of each individual as established by a careful interview by that person’s local priesthood leaders. Members of the Church should endeavor to be involved in activities and employment upon which they can in good conscience ask the blessings of the Lord and which are consistent with the principles of the gospel and the teachings of the Savior.
Members with Disabilities
Church members are encouraged to follow the Savior’s example of offering hope, understanding, and love to those who have disabilities. Priesthood and auxiliary leaders should get to know those who have disabilities and show genuine interest and concern.
Priesthood and auxiliary leaders also identify members who may need additional care because a parent, child, or sibling has a disability. Caring for a family member who has a disability can be a refining process that builds faith. But it can also contribute to financial, marital, and family challenges.
Priesthood and auxiliary leaders also seek out members with disabilities who are living in group homes or other facilities away from family members.
Increasing Awareness and Understanding
Leaders, teachers, and other members should seek to understand a person’s disability and any needs that may be associated with it. They can increase their understanding by talking with the person and his or her family members. They can also read talks by Church leaders, articles in Church magazines, and online resources at disabilities.lds.org.
Priesthood and auxiliary leaders assess the needs of those who have disabilities and those who are caregivers. These leaders determine how ward or stake resources could be used to help meet the needs as appropriate. Leaders encourage members to give assistance and reach out in love and friendship. The bishopric or stake presidency may call a ward or stake disability specialist to help individuals and families.
Leaders may also identify appropriate community resources that could help individuals who have disabilities and their families.
For additional information on assisting persons who have disabilities, leaders and members may go to disabilities.lds.org. Leaders may also contact LDS Family Services (where available).
Leaders and members should not attempt to explain why the challenge of a disability has come to a family. They should never suggest that a disability is a punishment from God (see John 9:2–3). Nor should they suggest that it is a blessing to have a child who has a disability.
When considering whether to perform ordinances for a person who has an intellectual disability, priesthood leaders follow the guidelines in Handbook 1, 16.1.8.
Providing Opportunities to Serve and Participate
Many members with disabilities can serve in nearly any Church assignment. Priesthood and auxiliary leaders prayerfully consider the abilities and desires of each person and then provide appropriate opportunities to serve. Leaders also counsel with the person’s family and consider the effects of a Church calling on the person and his or her family or caregiver.
When considering Church assignments or callings for caregivers of people with disabilities, leaders carefully consider the circumstances of the individuals and their families.
Leaders and teachers should include members with disabilities in meetings, classes, and activities as fully as possible. Lessons, talks, and teaching methods should be adapted to meet each person’s needs. For information about adapting lessons, see disabilities.lds.org.
The bishopric may call an assistant teacher to help a person in a class. The bishopric may also ask someone to help a person in a meeting or activity.
If a person cannot participate in a meeting, class, or activity, leaders and teachers may consult with the family about how to meet his or her needs. The stake president or bishop may approve organizing special classes or programs for members with disabilities (see “Organizing Special Classes, Programs, or Units” below). If a person is not able to attend Church meetings, printed materials or recordings of lessons and talks may be provided.
Priesthood leaders encourage males who hold the priesthood to participate in ordinances when appropriate. Priesthood holders and women ages 12 and older who have been baptized and confirmed and who are worthy may be baptized and confirmed for the dead in a temple. Guidelines about members with disabilities receiving their own temple ordinances are provided in Handbook 1, 3.3.3.
Organizing Special Classes, Programs, or Units
Members who have disabilities and special needs are encouraged to attend Sunday meetings in their home wards unless they live in a care facility where Church programs are organized.
When members who have similar disabilities live in a ward, group of wards, stake, or group of stakes, leaders may organize special Mutual or Primary classes or programs for them. Leaders may also organize special Sunday School classes or other classes. These classes or programs supplement a person’s home ward program.
To organize a special class or program on a multistake level, approval is required from a member of the Presidency of the Seventy or the Area Presidency. These leaders appoint an agent stake president to oversee the initial organization and the continuing operation of a class or program for a specified time.
To organize a special class or program on a multiward level, the stake presidency’s approval is required. The stake president assigns an agent bishop to oversee the initial organization and the continuing operation of a class or program for a specified time.
The agent stake president or bishop consults with other participating stake presidents or bishops to establish a policy for financial support for these classes or programs. Parents or caregivers are responsible for transportation.
If a multistake class or program is organized, the president of each participating stake may appoint a high councilor to help coordinate efforts to enroll members who want to participate, provide leaders and teachers, and administer the financial policy established by the agent stake president.
Members who serve in a special class or program are called and set apart by or under the direction of the agent stake president or bishop. These leaders follow normal Church procedures for extending callings and releases. Leaders and teachers of a special class or program share information about members’ activities and accomplishments with leaders of home wards, where permanent records are kept and recognition can be given.
As invited by the agent stake president or bishop, leaders of a special class or program may attend stake or ward leadership meetings. They may also conduct their own meetings to plan the activities of the class or program.
Leaders may contact Seminaries and Institutes of Religion administrators to learn about classes for members with disabilities that can be established within the Church Educational System.
Wards or branches may be created for members who are deaf or hearing impaired. Or a ward may be asked to host a group for those who are deaf or hearing impaired within a specified geographic area. Such wards, branches, or groups help these members participate fully in service and gospel learning. Instructions for organizing these units are provided in Handbook 1, 9.1.4 and 9.1.10.
Members who use sign language, and their families, may choose to have their Church membership records in one of the following places: (1) their home ward, (2) a ward that is designated to host a group for members who are deaf or hearing impaired, or (3) a ward or branch that is organized for members who are deaf or hearing impaired.
Interpreters for Deaf or Hearing-Impaired Members
Members who are deaf or hearing impaired face communication obstacles in learning gospel principles and doctrines. If they use sign language, they need interpreters to help them participate fully in Church meetings, priesthood ordinances, temple work, testimony bearing, interviews, and activities.
Members who are deaf or hearing impaired are encouraged to be self-reliant and take the initiative to work with their priesthood leaders in coordinating the interpreting services they need. In preparation for sensitive situations such as personal interviews or Church disciplinary councils, priesthood leaders consult with the member to determine whether to use an interpreter. In these circumstances, leaders should seek an interpreter who is not a family member (if possible) and emphasize confidentiality.
If sufficient interpreters are not available, leaders may organize ward or stake classes to teach the sign language that is used in their area. Leaders may call qualified members to teach these classes. Members who are deaf or hearing impaired and use sign language as their native language should be considered first to teach the classes. A helpful resource is Dictionary of Sign Language Terms for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Only worthy members should interpret during sacrament meetings, priesthood meetings, and interviews. If a priesthood holder is not available to interpret during priesthood meeting, a presiding officer may ask a woman to do the interpretation. Nonmember interpreters may be used temporarily as volunteers in activities and most other meetings until members develop the skills to interpret.
A presiding officer may ask a priesthood holder to interpret an ordinance or blessing if the recipient is deaf or hearing impaired. If a priesthood holder is not available, a presiding officer may ask a woman to do the interpretation.
During a class or meeting, interpreters should be at the front of the classroom or chapel but not on the stand. They should also be to the side of the speaker so they do not create a visual distraction. Because understanding is enhanced by seeing the lips and body language of the person who is speaking, the deaf or hearing-impaired members should be able to see the interpreter and also be able to see the speaker or teacher peripherally. If enough interpreters are available, leaders ask them to rotate approximately every 30 minutes to avoid fatigue.
During a priesthood ordinance or an interview, the interpreter should be close to the person who performs the ordinance or conducts the interview.
If deaf or hearing-impaired members do not use sign language and need an oral interpreter to help them read lips, leaders use the same procedures they follow to find an interpreter who uses sign language.
Leaders should respect the privacy of members with disabilities during and after leadership meetings where individual needs may be discussed.
Resources for members with disabilities, for their families and caregivers, and for leaders and teachers are available at disabilities.lds.org. This Web site provides:
Church materials for members with disabilities are listed in the Church Materials Catalog and at disabilities.lds.org.
Questions about materials for members with disabilities may be addressed to:
Members with Disabilities 50 East North Temple Street Salt Lake City, UT 84150-0024 Telephone: 1-801-240-2477 E-mail: email@example.com
Much that is inspiring, noble, and worthy of the highest respect is found in many other faiths. Missionaries and other members must be sensitive and respectful toward the beliefs of others and avoid giving offense. Stake and mission presidents who have questions about relationships with non-Christian faiths should contact a member of the Presidency of the Seventy or the Area Presidency. Other local leaders who have such questions should contact the stake or mission president.
Political and Civic Activity
As citizens, Church members are encouraged to participate in political and governmental affairs, including involvement in the political party of their choice. Members are also urged to be actively engaged in worthy causes to improve their communities and make them wholesome places in which to live and rear families.
In accordance with the laws of their respective governments, members are encouraged to register to vote, to study issues and candidates carefully, and to vote for individuals whom they believe will act with integrity and sound judgment. Latter-day Saints have a special obligation to seek out, vote for, and uphold leaders who are honest, good, and wise (see D&C 98:10).
While affirming the right of expression on political and social issues, the Church is neutral regarding political parties, political platforms, and candidates for political office. The Church does not endorse any political party or candidate. Nor does it advise members how to vote. However, in some exceptional instances the Church will take a position on specific legislation, particularly when it concludes that moral issues are involved. Only the First Presidency can speak for the Church or commit the Church to support or oppose specific legislation or to seek to intervene in judicial matters. Otherwise, stake presidents and other local leaders should not organize members to participate in political matters or attempt to influence how they participate.
Church members are encouraged to consider serving in elected or appointed public offices in local and national government. Candidates for public office should not imply that their candidacy is endorsed by the Church or its leaders. Church leaders and members should also avoid statements or conduct that might be interpreted as Church endorsement of any political party, platform, policy, or candidate.
Members are encouraged to support measures that strengthen the moral fabric of society, particularly those designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.
Church records, directories, and similar materials may not be used for political purposes.
Church facilities may not be used for political purposes. However, facilities may be used for voter registration or polling where there is not a reasonable alternative (see 21.2).
In the United States and some other countries, it is a violation of postal regulations to place any material without postage in or on mailboxes. This restriction applies to ward or stake newsletters, announcements, flyers, and other Church-related materials. Church leaders should instruct members and missionaries not to place such items in or on mailboxes.
Privacy of Members
Church leaders are obligated to protect the privacy of members. Church records, directories, and similar materials may not be used for personal, commercial, or political purposes (see also 21.1.15).
Privately Published Writings
Members should not ask General Authorities or Area Seventies to coauthor or endorse Church books or other Church writings.
Recording Talks or Addresses of General Authorities and Area Seventies
Church members should not record the talks or addresses that General Authorities and Area Seventies give at stake conferences, missionary meetings, or other meetings. However, members may record broadcasts of general conference on home equipment for personal, noncommercial use.
Referring to the Church and Its Members
As the Church grows across boundaries, cultures, and languages, the use of its revealed name, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (see D&C 115:4), is increasingly important in the responsibility of the Church and its members to proclaim the name of the Savior throughout all the world. Accordingly, references to the Church should include its full name whenever possible. Following an initial reference to the full name of the Church, the contractions “the Church” or “the Church of Jesus Christ” are acceptable.
Referring to the Church as “the Mormon Church,” “the Latter-day Saints Church,” or “the LDS Church” is discouraged.
When referring to Church members, it is preferable to use the phrase “members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” As a shortened reference, “Latter-day Saints” is preferred and “Mormons” is acceptable.
The word Mormon will continue to be used in proper names like the Book of Mormon and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. It will also continue to be used as an adjective in phrases such as “Mormon pioneers.” In addition, it may be necessary to use the word Mormon to identify the Church as it is commonly known in some countries.
Research Studies in the Church
The only authorized research agency of the Church is the Research Information Division of the Correlation Department. Representatives of this department use questionnaires and interviews to obtain information on issues of concern to General Authorities. When Church-authorized researchers contact members, they provide the Church’s toll-free number and a contact name at headquarters. In addition, they always allow the respondent the option of not answering any or all of the questions on a survey.
Church meetings may not be used for collecting information by unauthorized persons or agencies. Nor should the names of Church members be made available to such persons or agencies. If local leaders want to verify the authorization of questionnaires or interviews, they should contact the Research Information Division (1-801-240-2727 or 1-800-453-3860, extension 2-2727).
Local leaders should not accept the claims of sales agents that the Church or a Church leader has authorized them to call on local leaders or members to sell their products.
Satellite and Video Equipment
Church satellite and video equipment may be used only for noncommercial, Church-related purposes as authorized by the stake presidency or bishopric. This equipment may not be used to record television, cable, or satellite programs that are not sponsored by the Church. Nor may Church satellite equipment be used to view non-Church programs. Members may not direct the antenna from one satellite or transponder to another without authorization from Church headquarters.
Only people who are trained to operate the equipment may do so. Youth may help operate it only if they are supervised.
All equipment is to be locked securely when not in use. It may not be removed from the building for home or personal use.
Solicitation of Funds
The established programs of the Church provide financial assistance for worthy individuals and appropriate causes. Church assistance is administered by bishops, who are familiar with the circumstances and can prevent duplicate assistance and abuses. Therefore, members should not solicit additional financial assistance from Church headquarters or from local leaders or members.
If members receive such a request for funds, they could respond by saying that they have contributed in their own wards to provide funds for assistance according to established principles of Church welfare.
Statements Attributed to Church Leaders
From time to time, statements are circulated that are inaccurately attributed to leaders of the Church. Many such statements distort current Church teachings and are based on rumors and innuendos. They are never transmitted officially, but by word of mouth, e-mail, or other informal means. Church members should not teach or pass on such statements without verifying that they are from approved Church sources, such as official statements, communications, and publications.
Any notes made when General Authorities, Area Seventies, or other general Church officers speak at stake conferences or other meetings should not be distributed without the consent of the speaker. Personal notes are for individual use only.
Symposia and Similar Gatherings
The Church warns its members against symposia and similar gatherings that include presentations that (1) disparage, ridicule, make light of, or are otherwise inappropriate in their treatment of sacred matters or (2) could injure the Church, detract from its mission, or jeopardize its members’ well-being. Members should not allow their position or standing in the Church to be used to promote or imply endorsement of such gatherings.
Ward and stake leaders ensure that local Church activities do not jeopardize the Church’s tax-exempt status. For guidelines, see 21.2.
Temple Clothing and Garments
Endowed members are encouraged to purchase their own temple clothing for use when performing temple ordinances. This sacred clothing may be purchased through Church Distribution Services. Some temples also have temple clothing available for rent. If a temple does not have rental clothing, members need to bring temple clothing with them.
Members may make their own temple aprons only if they use the approved apron embroidery and sewing kit that is available through Church Distribution Services. Other temple ceremonial clothing may not be made. Nor may temple garments be made.
Church members who have been clothed with the garment in a temple have taken upon themselves a covenant obligation to wear it according to the instructions given in the endowment. The garment provides a constant reminder of the covenants made in a temple. When properly worn, it provides protection against temptation and evil. Wearing the garment is also an outward expression of an inward commitment to follow the Savior.
Endowed members should wear the temple garment both day and night. They should not remove it, either entirely or partially, to work in the yard or for other activities that can reasonably be done with the garment worn properly beneath the clothing. Nor should they remove it to lounge around the home in swimwear or immodest clothing. When they must remove the garment, such as for swimming, they should put it back on as soon as possible.
Members should not adjust the garment or wear it contrary to instructions in order to accommodate different styles of clothing. Nor should they alter the garment from its authorized design. When two-piece garments are used, both pieces should always be worn.
The garment is sacred and should be treated with respect at all times. Garments should be kept off the floor. They should also be kept clean and mended. After garments are washed, they should not be hung in public areas to dry. Nor should they be displayed or exposed to the view of people who do not understand their significance.
Members who have made covenants in the temple should be guided by the Holy Spirit to answer for themselves personal questions about wearing the garment.
To dispose of worn-out temple garments, members should cut out and destroy the marks. Members then cut up the remaining fabric so it cannot be identified as a garment. Once the marks are removed, the fabric is not considered sacred.
To dispose of worn-out temple ceremonial clothing, members should destroy the clothing by cutting it up so the original use cannot be recognized.
Members may give garments and temple clothing that are in good condition to other worthy endowed members. The bishop can identify those who might need such clothing. Under no circumstances should members give garments or temple ceremonial clothing to Deseret Industries, bishops’ storehouses, or charities.
Information about ordering temple clothing or ordering garments for those in special circumstances (such as members serving in the military, members who are bedfast, or members with disabilities) is provided in Handbook 1, 3.4.