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9 Guidelines in the Church Handbook That Can Help Every Member

The Lord has admonished the members within His church to "Let every man [and woman] learn his [or her] duty, and to act in the office in which he [or she] is appointed, in all diligence" (Doctrine and Covenants 107:99).

Some of the ways leaders within the Church learn how to fulfill this commission from the Lord consists of studying the scriptures, the words of the prophets, and by receiving personal revelation on how to best help those they look after. 

Church leaders can also learn their duties by studying the Church handbooks (Handbook 1 and Handbook 2) that have been distributed to members in leadership positions. Quoting Handbook 2: Administering the Church, "These instructions can facilitate revelation if they are used to provide an understanding of principles, policies, and procedures to apply while seeking the guidance of the Spirit."

Handbook 2 is distributed to those members of the Church who hold more general leadership positions while Handbook 1 is given only to bishops and stake presidents. It's possible that not all members have had the opportunity to read Handbook 2 or, if they have read it, some might have missed specific counsel or direction it provides. Here are 9 guidelines found within Handbook 2 that apply to all Church members that you might have missed or maybe didn't know about. 

1. Portrayal of Deity 

"God the Father and the Holy Ghost are not to be portrayed in meetings, dramas, or musicals. If the Savior is portrayed, it must be done with the utmost reverence and dignity. At the end of the performance, the person should not wear the costume in the foyer or elsewhere. . . . The Savior should not be portrayed by children in dramatization except in a nativity scene" (13.6.15).

2. Music 

"Every ward should make an effort to have an active ward choir that sings in sacrament meeting at least once a month" (14.4.5).

3. Sacrament Meeting

"The bishopric and the speakers should be in their seats at least five minutes before the [sacrament] meeting begins" (18.2.2.3).

4. Fast and Testimony Meeting 

"It may be best to have young children learn to share their testimonies in settings such as gospel study at home, home evening, or when giving talks in Primary until they are old enough to do so in a fast and testimony meeting without assistance from a parent, sibling, or other person" (18.2.3).

5. Visual Aids 

"Members should not use visual aids in sacrament meeting or stake conference. Such teaching methods are more appropriate in classroom settings and leadership meetings" (18.4).

6. Prayers in Church Meetings 

"Members of the bishopric should avoid the pattern of having a husband and wife pray in the same meeting. Such a pattern might convey an unintentional message of exclusion to those who are single" (18.5).

7. Passing the Sacrament

"Those who bless and pass the sacrament should dress modestly and be well groomed and clean. Clothing or jewelry should not call attention to itself or distract members during the sacrament. Ties and white shirts are recommended because they add to the dignity of the ordinance. However, they should not be required as a mandatory prerequisite for a priesthood holder to participate" (20.4.1).

8. Dedicating Homes 

"Homes need not be free of debt to be dedicated. Unlike Church buildings, homes are not consecrated to the Lord" (20.11).

9. Recording Talks of General Authorities 

"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" (21.1.33).

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