Church Updates General Handbook Ahead Of Conference Weekend
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Several changes and updates have been made to the General Handbook of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in advance of the April 2021 General Conference.
One of the updates was about vaccinations. The Church has taken a stance, encouraging Latter-day Saints to get vaccinated and to follow the advice of medical professionals. However, those decisions have ultimately been left up to the individual.
The General Handbook states, in part:
Vaccinations administered by competent medical professionals protect health and preserve life. Members of the Church are encouraged to safeguard themselves, their children, and their communities through vaccination.
There was also new information about survival preparation, which stems from 2020 when store shelves were wiped out across the country.
According to the handbook, “The Church encourages self-reliance,” but extreme or excessive preparation is discouraged.
“Efforts to prepare should be motivated by faith, not fear,” the handbook stated.
It added that Latter-day Saints should not go into debt for food storage, which should be established over time.
The Church also took a strong stance against what it called “affinity fraud” – when a person takes advantage of another’s trust or confidence to defraud them, generally for financial gain.
According to the handbook:
Church members should be honest in their dealings and act with integrity. Affinity fraud is a shameful betrayal of trust and confidence. Its perpetrators may be subject to criminal prosecution.
Church members who commit affinity fraud may also face membership restrictions or removal.
Utah has a long-held reputation as the “fraud capital” of the United States. In a 2019 report, the Deseret News reported that Utah ranked 6th highest in the nation for the number of Ponzi schemes while only ranking 31st in population.
The report found Utah has 1.35 Ponzi schemes per 100,000 people. To put that in perspective, Florida was the next closest with only 0.51 per 100,000 people.
The “fraud capital” title was given to Salt Lake City in 2015 by the Wall Street Journal. The problem has been so rampant that Utah created the nation’s first white collar crime offender registry to keep track of the fraudsters.
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