The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has released

two statements in response to a pair of hot topics on LDS-related blogs — one

an emphasis on caring for the poor and the needy and the other an erroneous

purported closing of the Salt Lake Temple.

Blog postings reported that \"to care for the poor and

the needy\" would receive increased emphasis in the next edition of the

Church Handbook of Instructions, due to be released in 2010. The manual

contains directives, responsibilities and information for local and general LDS

Church leaders worldwide.

In the upcoming handbook, caring for the poor and the needy

will be stated as one of the church's purposes, along with its well-recognized,

three-fold mission statement.

\"Caring for the poor and needy has always been a basic

tenet of the Church,\" said LDS Church spokesman Scott Trotter. \"The

language reference is simply a description of the purposes of the church to be

included in the next edition of the Church Handbook.\"

The three-fold mission of the LDS Church was first taught at

the April 1981 General Conference by then-President Spencer W. Kimball, who

said it was the inspired product of the church's First Presidency and Quorum of

the Twelve.

As stated, the aspects are:

  • \"To proclaim the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to

    every nation, kindred, tongue and people.
  • \"To perfect the Saints by preparing them to receive

    the ordinances of the gospel and by instruction and discipline to gain

    exaltation.
  • \"To redeem the dead by performing vicarious

    ordinances of the gospel for those who have lived on the earth.\"

Caring for the poor and the needy has long been preached in

the LDS Church. In the same April 1981 General Conference, President Kimball

said, \"We all have opportunities to render service to others. That is our

calling and our privilege. In serving the needs of others, we are mindful of

the words of the Savior: 'Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it

unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.'\"

In the October 2009 General Conference, President Thomas S.

Monson — long lauded for his legacy of charity and compassion — echoed a

similar theme, calling on LDS members to not only intend to be charitable but

to act on those intentions.

\"I am confident it is the intention of each member of

the church to serve and to help those in need,\" he said. \"At baptism

we covenanted to 'bear one another's burdens, that they may be light.' How many

times has your heart been touched as you have witnessed the need of another?

How often have you intended to be the one to help? And yet how often has

day-to-day living interfered and you've left it for others to help, feeling

that 'Oh, surely someone will take care of that need.'\"

Also, LDS Church Public Affairs used its Newsroom Blog, newsroom.lds.org/blog, to dispel a rumor that the

Salt Lake Temple is closing for renovation. The rumored closing has increased

with the addition of two temples dedicated this year in the Salt Lake Valley,

the Draper Utah and Oquirrh Mountain Utah temples.

\"Persistent rumors that the Salt Lake Temple is to be

closed for several years for significant remodeling have no basis in fact,\"

according to Elder William R. Walker, a member of the Quorums of the Seventy

and executive director of the Temple Department. \"There are no plans to

close the Salt Lake Temple for remodeling.\"

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E-mail: taylor@desnews.com