Church Policies and Announcements


The following items were published by the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve in the General Handbook Supplement, Number 1, July 1, 1976. (The General Handbook Supplement has been published by the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve to update the General Handbook of Instructions, Number 21, 1976.)

Priesthood Line of Authority

If a priesthood bearer desires to trace his own line of authority, he should pursue his current office in the priesthood—not former offices. Bishops and patriarchs should trace their line of authority as high priests. In completing an authority line, each step should go back through the office held by the person at the time he performed the ordination.

It is not appropriate to trace the line of authority in cases of setting apart or for other ordinances.

Temple Recommends for Full-time Missionaries

Mission presidents may issue temple recommends to returning full-time missionaries. Such temple recommends require only the interview and signature of the mission president and the signature of the missionary.

Short-term Missions for Male Youth

Priests and elders 17 and 18 years of age may be called to serve short-term missions during vacation periods. In such instances the following guidelines should be observed:

1. Young men should be at least 17 years of age and should serve for a period of from two to four weeks.

2. Since this is a priesthood activity, young women are not to be called.

3. Each candidate should be interviewed by his bishop/branch president as to worthiness before being called by the stake/district president. He should not be set apart.

4. Each young man should serve in the mission that is responsible for proselyting in the stake/district where he resides.

5. There should be no compulsion on the part of a stake/district to supply a given number of young men. The program is entirely voluntary and not a requirement.

6. Those who are called should pay their own expenses and would normally live with their full-time missionary companion. Care should be taken to ensure the call does not create a financial burden.

7. Young men who participate in this program should adhere to the grooming and dress standards of full-time missionaries.

The stake/district president who has young men in his unit who are interested in participating in this missionary preparation experience should contact the full-time mission president to finalize arrangements.

The following items were recently announced by Church headquarters organizations.

Post-mission Tours

Due to the increased number of parents who desire to meet and travel with their returning missionary sons or daughters, we are hereby restating the policy:

Early Releases and Touring after Missions. “The regular mission term is two years for elders and eighteen months for sisters. They should plan their affairs to complete these terms. Neither missionaries nor parents should request early releases to accommodate travel plans. Travel following missions is discouraged. If approved, it should be brief. Extended travel often creates serious problems. Missionaries should be advised before being called that they will be expected to deport themselves as missionaries during travel following missions. Post-mission tours must be approved by the family of the missionary and by the mission president. The missionary is not released until he reports to his stake president; he travels as a missionary. Missionaries should not tour their own mission, since such tours often create problems and disrupt the work. Only under the most exceptional circumstances should missionaries travel or return home alone. They should travel in groups of two or more for safety reasons.” (General Handbook of Instructions, No. 21, page 70.)

Travel of Parents to Mission. When parents travel to the mission field and accompany their missionary son or daughter home, reimbursement for the return fare of the missionary is obtained through Murdock Travel, 14 South Main, Salt Lake City, Utah 84101. In no case will reimbursement exceed the cost of the regular return fare for missionaries. Parents may contact Murdock Travel beforehand so that the reimbursement may be handled in advance for the convenience of the family. It is inappropriate for a girl friend of a missionary to meet him, with parents or otherwise.

Chartered Flights or Tour Groups. Missionaries should be discouraged from traveling on chartered flights or with tour groups. The only exception to this policy would be when the parents have made their travel plans with such groups and the returning missionary becomes a part of the group as he travels with the parents. (Missionary Executive Committee.)

Adoptions

It has been brought to our attention that mission presidents and missionaries have sometimes been involved in adoption matters. The involvement ranges from requests for missionaries to transport infants to the United States, to actual arrangements for adoptions being made by mission personnel.

Some of the reasons for not becoming involved in this practice are outlined as follows:

1. The General Handbook of Instructions, Number 21, page 97, states: “By law and by assignment from the First Presidency, all matters pertaining to the adoption and foster care of children in which the Church is or should be involved have been assigned to LDS Social Services. … Private arrangements of adoption by Church officers is illegal in many cases and tends to imply Church involvement. Church officers should not be involved in such arrangements.”

2. Adoptions arranged by individuals who are not fully aware of all adoption procedures, or where adoptive parents have had inadequate preparation, often result in heartbreak and tragedy.

3. Serious problems with governments and their agencies could arise if the Church is viewed as using its missionary system to be involved in the highly sensitive issue of child placement. The result could be ill will and possible restrictions on the missionary proselyting effort.

We feel it important that you bring this to the attention of all missionaries under your jurisdiction. (Missionary Executive Committee.)

The following items were published in Messages, number 4, June 18, 1976.

Cassette Recordings of April 1976 General Conference Addresses

The First Presidency and Council of the Twelve have approved the sale to meetinghouse libraries of cassette recordings of the April 1976 general conference addresses. The twelve-tape album (stock no. VVOT0493) can be purchased for $18.00 from the General Church Distribution Center. Orders must contain the bishop’s signature and local unit number. Use of these tapes will enrich lesson presentations and be beneficial in many ways to Church members. (The Office of the Council of the Twelve.)

Youth Activity Nights during the Summer

Summer is a time when young people have special needs to associate with other Latter-day Saint youth and stay close to the Church. Thus, youth activity nights should be held during the summer months. Leaders should keep in mind that service and regular wholesome activities should always be provided for youth. (The Office of the Presiding Bishopric.)

Change in General Conference Dates

Priesthood leaders should note the following change in April general conference dates for 1977: Conference will be held April 1, 2, and 3 in place of April 3, 5, and 6, 1977. (The Office of the First Presidency.)