Many New Era readers are young men who are priests in the Aaronic Priesthood or who are elders in the Melchizedek Priesthood, who consequently will need to know the following new policy: “When a member of one ward or branch is invited to bless a child or to baptize, confirm, or ordain someone in another ward or branch, he must take with him from his bishop or branch president a Recommend to Perform an Ordinance, unless he is well known by the presiding officers where the ordinance is performed. This applies to all those who participate in the ordinance, even though they may not be voice. A separate authorization is to be obtained in each instance. …
“Members of the stake presidency and high council, and stake missionaries are not required to obtain such a recommend when performing these ordinances in wards within their own stake” but are required to do so when invited to officiate outside their stake.
“When a person who is to perform a baptism is from the same ward or branch as the candidate, the bishop or branch president should certify to the officiator’s worthiness on the Recommend for Baptism and Confirmation. A separate Recommend to Perform an Ordinance is not required in such instances.”
Should missionaries play or coach in Church-sponsored sports? Because youth and adults throughout the Church sometimes ask them to do so, the policy of the Church is set forth: “The Church athletic program under no condition is open to full-time proselyting missionaries. This applies to practice games in the wards, branches, stakes, and districts and to any tournament play. This restriction, which prohibits participation by full-time missionaries, also applies to coaching and related activities.”
The following counsel is self-explanatory and most significant:
“We call your attention to the occasional practice, when some elders perform certain ordinances, of only stating the essentials and then ending without any additional blessing.
An ordinance should be made more impressive, not by way of a lengthy prayer, but by expressing such brief words of blessing, counsel, instruction, admonition, and guidance as the Spirit dictates that would add greater meaning to the mere requirements of the ordinance. A confirmation, for example, could make the newly baptized person aware of the precious gift of the Holy Ghost. Additional words of blessing are also desirable in naming children, priesthood ordination, setting apart, and sealing the anointing of the sick.”
“In the past, choral groups whose members are drawn from several stakes or missions have been organized in different areas of the Church. These groups, without observing the normal guidelines and procedures of correlation, have scheduled programs intended to involve members from many Church units. This has created undue confusion and uncertainty.
“Accordingly, no musical organization drawing its members from more than one stake or mission is to be organized hereafter without the express permission of the First Presidency. This ruling does not apply to MIA music festivals where groups of young people are brought together on a stake, region, or area basis for a specific performance.
Occasionally persons try to commercialize aspects of our Church programs. Hence, a principle has been established by the Brethren that applies to commercial promotions such as a recent one in which “genealogy pins” were being sold as a means of stimulating interest and activity in genealogy work. The principle: “The Church opposes the use of commercial ventures of this kind to promote activity and urges Church members not to patronize them. Any attempt to capitalize on programs or principles of the Church tends to detract from the sanctity of the work and introduces an unwanted spirit of commercialism into spiritual matters.”
Attention, youth leaders: “It is reported that placards advertising commercial enterprises are being posted in Church buildings. The most frequent complaint against this practice comes in connection with advertisements of plane or bus tours to Church landmarks, pageants, or conferences. The posting of these advertisements in Church buildings wrongly implies Church endorsement of the promotion being advertised. Since the Church does not endorse commercial enterprises or products, it is requested that hereafter no commercial advertisements of any kind be posted in Church buildings.”