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