SALT LAKE CITY — LDS.org inadvertently published Handbook 1 for a brief period on Wednesday. The instructional manual for local LDS leaders was taken down after the mistake was discovered.
"This was a technical error and has been corrected," said Eric Hawkins, a spokesman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The church has published Handbook 2 online since 2010, but online access to Handbook 1 is password-protected.
The handbooks help leaders "maintain the integrity of the policies, procedures and programs of the church," LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson said in 2010, adding, "Over the years, we’ve had to correct many attempts by well-meaning leaders to change some of the programs of the church."
The handbooks "represent the most current interpretations and procedural directions of the Church’s highest authorities," Elder Dallin H. Oaks, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said in the same 2010 worldwide leadership training meeting.
Handbook 1 is available to about 100,000 leaders, including more than 30,000 bishops and branch presidents, who oversee individual congregations called wards and branches, as well as their counselors. It is also is used by stake and district presidents and their counselors, who oversee groups of congregations, as well as mission presidencies.
Handbook 1 outlines "the general responsibilities of stake presidents and bishops" and provides "detailed information about policies and procedures," according to a 2015 article in the church's Ensign magazine by Elder Per G. Malm, a General Authority Seventy who passed away in 2016. The manual covers the faith's policies regarding temple work, marriage, missionary service, finances, church discipline, welfare and LGBT issues.
Handbook 2 is a guide for members of ward and stake councils and their auxiliaries such as the Relief Society, Sunday School and Primary.
The LDS Church has vigorously protected its copyright to Handbook 1. In 2008, the church sent a notice of copyright infringement to Wikimedia Foundation, which removed a link to the handbook from its Wikinews website. In 1998, it sued a couple who published portions of the handbook online. The couple removed the portions from their website.