“Policies and Announcements,” Ensign, Nov. 1987, 110–11
The following letter from the First Presidency, dated 15 July 1987, was to be read in sacrament meetings throughout the Church.
“We have noticed an increasing number of calls and letters to us at the general headquarters of the Church about personal matters or doctrinal questions. Accordingly, we are persuaded to again bring the following to your attention.
“We love the members of this Church. We rejoice with them in their times of joy, and sorrow with them in their days of sadness. We do not want any of them to feel that they are without available resource, but all things need to be done in wisdom and order. Therefore, all members who have problems or questions that trouble them should first consult their local priesthood leaders freely and fully.
“The Lord has so organized His Church that there is accessible to every member—man, woman, and child—a priesthood leader who serves as a spiritual adviser and a temporal counselor. We refer, of course, to the bishop or branch president and stake or mission president. A priesthood leader should know his flock personally and know the circumstances and conditions out of which their problems arise. By reason of his ordination, he is entitled to an endowment from our Heavenly Father of the necessary discernment and inspiration to enable him to counsel and advise members concerning their questions. He also is authorized to administer Church programs, such as the welfare program, according to established guidelines.
“If a bishop or branch president needs assistance, he may go to the stake or mission president, who in turn may seek counsel from the Area Presidency. Questions of a doctrinal nature should be directed by the priesthood leader to the First Presidency. In connection with the latter, members are urged to refrain from discussing mysteries or speculating about matters which the Lord has not seen fit to reveal.
“Further, occasionally, well-meaning members make specific requests of the President of the Church, his counselors, or other General Authorities for items such as autographs, stories, or endorsements. Sometimes auxiliary or seminary teachers suggest that students write to General Authorities with questions. Such requests place an undue burden on the Brethren and should not be made.”
The following letter from the First Presidency was sent in a letter dated 4 September 1987 to priesthood leaders.
International Mission Discontinued
The First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve have decided to have Area Presidents supervise the work of the Church in all nations within their areas, including nations previously supervised by the International Mission. Accordingly, the International Mission was discontinued on 15 August 1987.
Members who may be contemplating a move outside organized stakes and missions may contact the Missionary Department for assistance in identifying priesthood leaders and members to contact in the area where they will be residing. The Missionary Department will also assist isolated members in emergencies and communicate their needs to departments at Church headquarters and to Area Presidencies.
We appreciate the faithful efforts of those who have served in the International Mission and pray that the Lord’s blessings will continue to attend members of the Church in every nation.