Saturday, November 12, 2011

Differences between "Handbook 1: Stake Presidents and Bishops 2010" and 'Handbook 2: Administering the Church"

I have been wanting to write this post for months.  It's been a year now since the Mormon "Martin Luther" made the 2010 Church Handbook of Instructions Book 1 (CHI) available online for anyone to download for free.  The link has been taken down of course, but after Mormon Martin, savvy folks have not struggled to access a digitial copy.

I have to admit I was a little jealous of Mormon Martin- I fantasized about surreptitiously posting a searchable version of the Handbook 1: Stake Presidents and Bishops using some sort of romantic title like "The William Tyndale Project," and for all I know someone else has already done it.  However, I am also advised that the deep pockets of Intellectual Reserve, Inc. well equips the copyright enforcers (see here, here, and here), so perhaps such an endeavor would fail.  In any case, there are enough excerpts and analyses on the bloggernacle/exmormonosphere to get a decent idea of what's in the Stake-Presidents-and-Bishops-Only CHI.  Plus, I think blog analyses like this one fall under the fair use doctrine (but I'm no lawyer- though I may become one in a couple weeks ;-):

17 U.S.C. § 107
"the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include:
  1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
  2. the nature of the copyrighted work;
  3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
  4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.[1]"

I don't even know how to tell if the CHI is "published."  On the first page past the cover it says it's published by the LDS Church in SLC, but on the other side of that same page it says it's an "unpublished work" printed in the USA.  Also, only the US and Israel recognize the concept of fair use.  Go figure. 

Anyway.  Some basics about Handbook 1.  The wikipedia article states:

"Handbook 1 is subtitled Stake Presidents and Bishops. It contains information that is primarily relevant to the functions and duties of stake presidents, bishops, mission presidents, district presidents, branch presidents, and their counselors. Other individuals who receive a copy of Book 1 are temple presidents and their counselors, general authorities, general auxiliary presidencies, area seventies, and church clerks and executive secretaries.

The topics in Handbook 1 include guidelines involving general, area, and regional administration; duties of the stake president; duties of the bishop; temples and marriage; missionary service; administering church welfare; church discipline and name removal; interviews and counseling; physical facilities; creating, changing, and naming new units; military relations; Church Educational System; Perpetual Education Fund; records and reports; finances; stake patriarch; ordinance and blessing policies; and general church policies on administrative, medical and health, and moral issues.

The church has stated that it did not place Handbook 1 online with Handbook 2 because church authorities were concerned that if it were widely read by the church membership, members 'might decide they don’t need to go see their bishop ... It made much more sense to reserve that volume for leaders.'"

Below, I will:

(1) Note the structure of Handbook 1
(2) Contrast Handbook 2, which is fully available (as of 2010) at, with Handbook 1
(3) Comment on the rights of the accused in disciplinary proceedings
(4) Reflect on the significance and secrecy of Handbook 1

1. Handbook 1 Structure
The CHI has "attorney" fingerprinted all over it. It is highly organized and has the appearance of a typical state legal code.  In fact, I'll use typical statutory organization terms (i.e. title, chapter, section) when citing content.  For instance, information about humanitarian aid is found in 14.4.4 [Title 14 (Finances), Chapter 4 (Contributions), Section 4 (Humanitarian Aid)].  The blue-covered CHI is about 170 pages long with a normal-looking index of about 15 pages and a single appendix of 2 pages. 
A sampling of 5 of the 17 titles:

2.   Duties of the Bishop
7.   Interviews and Counseling
11. Church Educational System
15. Stake Patriarch
17. Church Policies
Most sections are 1-5 paragraphs long; occasionally, a section spans several columns or more.

2. Handbook 2 v. Handbook 1
Here, I juxtapose Handbook 2: Administering the Church with Handbook 1: Stake Presidents and Bishops.

Handbook 2 (H2)
Handbook 1 (H1)

Publicly available on the internet
Very limited distribution (only high hierarchy, and only in hard copy, as far as I know)
Scope includes meetings, organizations (e.g. relief society and primary), doctrinal discussion, stake organization, and activities
Scope includes military relations, records, missionary service, finances, duties of bishops and stake presidents, and church welfare
 21 titles
 17 titles
Identical chapter: “Policies on Moral Issues” such as pornography, same-gender marriage, and in vitro fertilization
21.4 in H2; 17.4 in H1
Identical chapter: “Medical and Health Policies” such as cremation, hypnosis, and stillborn children
21.3 in H2; 17.3 in H1
 Evidences a family focus with Title 1, “Families and the Church in God’s Plan” Evidences a family focus with Title 3, “Temples and Marriage”
43 sections in “Administrative Policies” chapter: all identical to the comparable chapter in H1, except it exclusively has sections on members with disabilities (21.1.26) and temple clothing and garments (21.1.42).
48 sections in “Administrative Policies” chapter: seven exclusive sections include church employees (17.1.9); E-mail for priesthood leaders (17.1.17); legal matters (17.1.26); mail from church headquarters (17.1.27); mail sent to church headquarters (17.1.28); safety in church welfare operations (17.1.40); and support to members in prisons, hospitals, and other institutions (17.1.45).
Title 20 is entitled “Priesthood Ordinances and Blessings”
Title 16 is entitled “Ordinance and Blessing Policies,” but is basically the same as in H2
Title 20 matches H1’s Title 16 almost exactly: both have 12 chapters. 
Title 16 has some additional sections in chapters 1 and 2: translating and interpreting ordinances and blessings; records of ordinances; ordinances for adopted children; babies who were born out of wedlock, critically ill, or with a nonmember parent. 
Chapter 3 (title 20), Baptism and Confirmation, has exclusive details on baptismal services, fonts, clothing, etc.
Title 16 has some additional sections in chapter 3: Baptism and Confirmation.  Translating and interpreting ordinances and blessings; records of ordinances; ordinances for adopted children; babies who were born out of wedlock, critically ill, or with a nonmember parent; persons who may not be accountable; minors; children whose parents are divorced; adults involved in plural marriage; children whose parents have practiced or are practicing plural marriage; persons who have been cohabiting out of wedlock; persons who have been involved in an abortion, convicted of crimes, have HIV, or are considering/have had a transsexual operation. 
Chapter 7 (title 20), “Conferring the Priesthood and Ordaining to an Office,” primarily instructs on performing the ordination.
Chapter 7 (title 16), “Conferring the Priesthood and Ordaining to an Office,” primarily instructs on M and A priesthood offices; prospective elders; and unusual circumstances.
The Patriarchal Blessing chapter discusses receiving a blessing and obtaining copies.
The Patriarchal Blessing chapter discusses giving blessings outside the stake, giving blessings to those entering the military, and translation and sign language interpretations.
Unique titles include Callings in the Church; Meetings in the Church; Uniformity and Adaptation; Single Members; Music, etc.
Unique titles include Stake Patriarch; Finances;  Records and Reports; Perpetual Education Fund; Church Educational System; Military Relations, etc.
“Welfare Principles and Leadership,” Title 6, focuses on welfare leadership in the ward and stake; confidentiality; and purpose. 
“Administering Church Welfare,” Title 5, focuses on welfare duties of the bishopric and stake presidency, and has more detail on welfare abuse/fraud, transient or homeless members, and emergencies. 
Title 5, “The Work of Salvation in the Ward and Stake,” discusses member missionary work, retention, activation, and family history work
The entire content of the “Duties of the Stake President” and “Duties of the Bishop” titles take up, together, a mere 5 pages.

There ya have it-a partial, side-by-side comparison of some salient dimensions.

3. Rights of the Accused in a Disciplinary Proceeding
My guess is that other authors have already analyzed and summarized the disciplinary proceeding details: for instance, Affirmation presents a layman's version in LDS Discipline and Excommunication: A New Guide for Gay and Lesbian Mormons.  Rather than detail the procedure and possible outcomes, etc., I'll summarize some of the procedure and pull out what I consider to be the noteworthy rights of the accused. 

Title 6 details"Church Discipline and Name Removal."  It has 16 chapters, and identifies three purposes of church discipline:

(1) Save the souls of transgressors
(2) Protect the innocent
(3) Safeguard the purity, integrity, and good name of the church

The process of church discipline starts when the presiding officer hears of a transgression (chapter 3) in one of three ways:

(1) The Holy Ghost
(2) Member confesses
(3) Outside source

The bishop interviews any member accused of a serious transgression, and is responsible to gather further evidence to prove or disprove the accusation, if the member denies upon interview.  The bishop can gather the evidence himself, or appoint two "reliable Mechizedek Priesthood holders" to investigate (unless the member is being investigated by law enforcement).  They're supposed to avoid hidden cameras, recording devices, or maintaining a watch on a member's home (chapter 4, Interviews and Investigation).  When members of different wards transgress together, and A tells A's bishop the identity of B, A's bishop consults with B's bishop (chapter 5, Confidentiality). 

There's a fair amount of treatment (chapter 7) about when a disciplinary council is:
(1) Not necessary
(2) Optional
(3) Mandatory

Mandatory situations include murder, incest, child abuse, serious transgression while holding a prominent position, apostasy, and predatory behavior.  Also, "Attempted murder, forcible rape, sexual abuse, spouse abuse, intentional serious physical injury of others, adultery, fornication, homosexual relations, deliberate abandonment of family responsibilities, robbery, burglary, theft, embezzlement, sale of illegal drugs, fraud, perjury, and false swearing."
Apostasy has four prongs (in my own words):
(1) Repeatedly opposing the Church or its leaders in public
(2) Teaching false doctrine after being corrected by an authority
(3) Following the teachings of an apostate sect (e.g. polygamy) after correction by an authority
(4) Formally advocating another church's teachings and joining it

There are four possible outcomes to a disciplinary council (chapter 9, Formal Church Discipline):
(1) Nothing
(2) Formal probation
(3) Disfellowshipment
(4) Excommunication

Over the last few months I've counseled with three accused people shortly before they attended their disciplinary council.  We went through the procedure in detail over the phone.  Contact me if you want more depth- I'm only giving the skinny here. 

Excom "almost always lasts a year," and you can't wear garments, pay tithing, hold a temple recomment, serve in a calling, exercise the priesthood, offer a public prayer, sustain church officers, or take the sacrament.

The first paragraph of chapter 10, Disciplinary Councils (DC), says that procedures "in a disciplinary council must be fair and considerate of the feelings of all who participate."  Bishops have to get stake presi