Friday, November 19, 2010

Now everyone can view LDS Church stances on social issues
For those members — and any others — who might be wondering, the LDS Church takes no stand on drinking Coca-Cola.

The Utah-based faith opposes gambling (including government-run lotteries), guns in churches, euthanasia, Satan worship and hypnotism for entertainment.

It “strongly discourages” surrogate motherhood, sperm donation, surgical sterilizations (including vasectomies) and artificial insemination — when “using semen from anyone but the husband.”

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints supports organ donation, paying income taxes, members running for political office and autopsies — “if the family of the deceased gives consent.”

These and other positions are spelled out in what Mormons commonly refer to as “the handbook” — a newly published two-volume set of instructions for stake presidents, bishops and other local LDS leaders.

Until now, the handbook was available only to these church leaders. That still holds true for the first volume, which is available online to bishops and stake presidents.

That blue volume includes information about counseling with members. LDS authorities worried that if it were widely read, some members “might decide they don’t need to go see their bishop,” says Michael Otterson, managing director of LDS Public Affairs. “It made much more sense to reserve that volume for leaders.”

But the church is putting the second, red volume online for everyone. So, for the first time, members and outsiders can read for themselves the church’s position on a panoply of social issues.


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