“Introduction,” Handbook 2: Administering the Church (2019)
“Introduction,” Handbook 2
The Lord admonished, “Let every man learn his duty, and to act in the office in which he is appointed, in all diligence” (Doctrine and Covenants 107:99).
Church leaders seek personal revelation to help them learn and fulfill the duties of their callings.
Studying the scriptures and the teachings of latter-day prophets will help leaders understand and fulfill their duties. The Lord has admonished leaders to treasure up in their minds continually the words of God so they will be receptive to the influence of the Spirit (see Doctrine and Covenants 84:85).
Leaders also learn their duties by studying the instructions in Church handbooks. 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.
The Church provides two handbooks for leaders:
Handbook 1: Stake Presidents and Bishops. This handbook outlines the general responsibilities of stake presidents and bishops and provides detailed information about policies and procedures.
Handbook 2: Administering the Church. This handbook is a guide for members of ward and stake councils. The first two chapters present the doctrinal foundation of the work of the Church: the salvation of individuals and the sealing and exaltation of families through the power of the priesthood. The other chapters provide instructions for administering priesthood quorums and auxiliaries. They also present principles and guidelines that apply to multiple organizations in the ward.
The headings and subheadings in these handbooks are numbered to make topics easy to locate or reference. Rather than refer to a page or group of pages, leaders may refer to a topic by its number. For example, in a discussion about member missionary work, a bishop might ask ward council members to turn to 5.1.2 in Handbook 2. The number 5 refers to the chapter, the number 1 refers to a section of the chapter, and the number 2 refers to a subsection.
Occasionally the information in these handbooks will be updated or supplemented through letters, notices, and other communication from the First Presidency, Quorum of the Twelve, and Presiding Bishopric. When this occurs, leaders should note the changes in their copies of the handbooks. Leaders should keep handbooks and these supplementary materials together.
Leaders who have questions about information in the handbooks or about issues that are not addressed should direct the questions to their immediate presiding authority.
For administrative purposes, the terms bishop and bishopric in the handbooks refer also to branch presidents and branch presidencies. The terms stake president and stake presidency refer also to district presidents and district presidencies. However, the offices of bishop and branch president are not equivalent in authority and responsibility. Nor are the offices of stake president and district president. The bishop is an office in the priesthood, and ordination is authorized only by the First Presidency. Stake presidents are called by General Authorities and Area Seventies.
References to wards and stakes usually apply also to branches, districts, and missions.
Some chapters in this handbook include instructions to contact Church headquarters or the assigned administrative office. The instruction to contact Church headquarters applies to priesthood leaders and clerks in the United States and Canada. The instruction to contact the assigned administrative office applies to priesthood leaders and clerks outside the United States and Canada.
Handbook 2: Administering the Church should be distributed as follows:
General Authorities, Area Seventies, members of General Auxiliary Presidencies, Church department heads, directors for temporal affairs (1 copy each)
Mission presidency (3 copies)
Stake or district presidency (3 copies)
Stake or district clerk (1 file copy)
Stake or district executive secretary (1 copy)
High council (12 copies)
Stake Young Men, Relief Society, Young Women, Primary, and Sunday School presidencies (3 copies each)
Bishopric or branch presidency (3 copies)
Ward or branch clerk (1 file copy)
Ward or branch executive secretary (1 copy)
Elders quorum presidency (3 copies)
Ward Young Men, Relief Society, Young Women, Primary, and Sunday School presidencies (3 copies each)
Ward mission leader (if called, 1 copy)
Ward temple and family history leader (if called, 1 copy)
This handbook has been prepared solely for use by general and local Church officers to administer the affairs of the Church. It should not be duplicated or given to any other persons. The distribution list includes a file copy to be kept in a secure place by each stake and ward clerk. He may refer to it for information on finances and records and for information on supporting the stake president or bishop.
When Church officers who have a copy of this handbook are released, they give the copy promptly to their successors or to their presiding authority.