‘Mormon Land’: A deeper look at the new handbook — from transgender rules to church discipline and sacrament etiquette

(Courtesy photo of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) A young Latter-day Saint boy passes the sacrament.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints made a major shift recently when it published online, in full, its updated General Handbook, which spells out policies, practices and procedures in the worldwide faith.

Previous handbooks were for leaders only. Now rank-and-file members and even outsiders can be on the same page when it comes to church governance. The guidelines include, for instance, new nomenclature for church discipline and a new section on transgender individuals. It even urges Latter-day Saints to “partake” of the sacrament, or communion, “with their right hand when possible."

Discussing these developments and other changes in the new handbook is Jonathan Stapley, a scientist and historian whose recent book, “The Power of Godliness: Mormon Liturgy and Cosmology,” won top honors from the Mormon History Association. He also is a popular blogger for By Common Consent.

Listen here: