“Should that which is written in Church publications and lesson manuals be taken as official doctrine?” Ensign, Aug. 1977, 38
Elder Dean L. Larsen of the First Quorum of the Seventy and Managing Director of Curriculum Resources Church publications fall into four general categories: (1) materials related to the curriculum, such as lesson manuals, teachers’ supplements, and student materials; (2) magazines; (3) administrative documents, such as handbooks, leadership training materials, organizational guidelines and bulletins, etc.; and (4) missionary discussions, tracts, and support materials. All of the materials within these four categories are prepared under the direction of some officially recognized Church agency, and they are reviewed and cleared by the Church Correlation Review committees before they are published and issued to the Church.
A wide range of hardbound books, pamphlets, and other printed materials is constantly being printed and placed on the market by independent publishing companies. Many of these materials deal with religious matters. Some are written by Church members, including General Authorities. Publications that fall into this category are not generally authorized by the Church. The authors, compilers, and publishers assume full responsibility for the content and do not seek or receive official Church endorsement.
Over the years a careful selection of these hardbound, independently published books has been made and approved by the First Presidency and the Twelve for placement in Church meetinghouse libraries. They are to serve as approved resource materials for priesthood leaders, teachers, and the general membership. Any additions to this “authorized list” of hardbound books must be approved by the First Presidency and the Twelve. The number of books on this list is small. They can be identified by meetinghouse librarians.
While the content of the approved Church publications identified above does not claim the same endorsement that the standard works receive, nonetheless they are prepared with great care and are carefully screened before they are published. Writers of curriculum materials must be cleared by the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve. Their product is reviewed closely by the heads of the organizations that are responsible for their implementation. Correlation Review committees check carefully for doctrinal accuracy and for harmony with established Church policies and procedures.
The General Handbook of Instructions is not only reviewed by Correlation, but also receives a close auditing from each individual member of the First Presidency and the Twelve.
Church magazines draw their content from a wide range of authors and contributors, in addition to those who serve as professional staff members. Those items that are published in the magazines receive not only the scrutiny and judgment of the editing staffs, but are also subject to clearance by the Correlation Review committees. Committee members are called as a result of their expertise in such areas as Church doctrine, Church history, and Church administration, and serve three different age groups: adult, youth, and children.
Much care is exercised to make certain that the official publications of the Church carry messages that are sound in doctrine and fully in harmony with currently approved policies and procedures. A constant effort is maintained to upgrade and correct the content of these materials so that they can merit the confidence and approval of Church leaders and the general membership.
All official Church publications that have received the clearance described above will carry the designation “Copyright © Corporation of the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”