1980
Church Policies and Announcements
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“Church Policies and Announcements,” Ensign, Aug. 1980, 79

Church Policies and Announcements

Guidelines on Political Activities: As U.S. election campaigns build their momentum, the First Presidency has issued a letter to Regional Representatives, stake, mission, and district presidents, and bishops and branch presidents in the United States. The letter was to be read in sacrament meetings, and was dated 5 March 1980:

“Inasmuch as citizens of the United States are in the midst of prolonged election activities on local, state, and national levels, we reiterate our long-standing policy of encouraging members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to be involved as citizens in the political process.

“We repeat the scriptural injunction that honest, wise, and good men and women should be sought for diligently and upheld in the performance of their civic duty.

“It is incumbent, therefore, upon Church members and all citizens, to study the issues, carefully consider the candidates and to exercise their right to vote after prayerful and intelligent consideration. This will insure support for such candidates and measures as will protect freedom and justice and strengthen the moral fiber of our communities and nation.

“In urging this devotion to good citizenship, we reaffirm that we take no partisan stand as to candidates or political parties, and exercise no constraint on the freedom of individuals to make their own choices in these matters. It is, however, contrary to our counsel and advice that ward, branch, or stake premises, chapels or other Church facilities be used in any way for political campaign purposes, whether it be for speech-making, distribution of literature, or class discussions. Needless to say, we are unalterably opposed to the use of our sacrament or other Church meetings for any such purposes, and those who attempt to use the Church facilities to further their political ambitions are injuring their cause and doing the Church a disservice.

“We ask that bishops and branch presidents read this message in a sacrament meeting now and later during the year as may be deemed necessary.”

The following items appeared in a recent Messages, sent to stake/mission/district presidents and to bishops and branch presidents:

“The Use of Church Buildings as Polling Places. With the approach of local and national elections, local leaders are advised that the use of Church buildings as polling places is discouraged. Such use is permitted in emergencies, provided that voting officials supervise the conduct of the public to assure that Church standards are maintained. This includes posting ‘no smoking’ signs and making other arrangements as necessary.

“Naming and Blessing Children. The naming and blessing of children should generally be done in fast and testimony meeting in the ward where the parents are members of record. The ordinance should not be performed in the regular weekly sacrament meeting. In the case of a critical illness of an infant, a worthy father, acting under the direction of the bishop, may perform the ordinance in the hospital or home.

“Confirmation. The ordinance of confirmation should generally be performed during the fast meeting. When a baptism precedes the fast meeting by more than one day, the confirmation ordinance should be performed at the baptism service.”

The following item appeared in a recent letter from President Ezra Taft Benson to heads of Church organization and departments: “Dear Brethren and Sisters:

“In order to communicate more effectively and to simplify and reduce the administrative burden on local leaders, effective immediately bulletins from Church headquarters will be included in a single Church Bulletin to be published on a monthly basis.

“This bulletin will replace Messages and all priesthood and auxiliary bulletins and general correspondence sent from all Church agencies and will contain statements on policies and procedures, training resources for stake conferences and stake and ward priesthood and auxiliary leadership meetings, suggestions and ideas for leaders, as well as reminders and other instructions. Special or confidential items will continue to be communicated occasionally by letter from the First Presidency, the President of the Quorum of the Twelve, and the Presiding Bishopric.”