Handbook 2:
Administering the Church

 

21.2 Policies on Using Church Buildings and Other Property

Church buildings and other property are to be used for worship, religious instruction, and other Church-related activities. Church property should not be used for commercial or political purposes, which would violate laws that permit its tax exemption. Nor may property be used for other purposes that would violate these laws. The following list provides examples of uses that are not approved:

  1. 1.

    Renting or leasing Church facilities for commercial purposes.

  2. 2.

    Promoting business ventures or investment enterprises, including posting commercial advertising or sponsoring commercial entertainment.

  3. 3.

    Buying, selling, or promoting products, services, publications, or creative works or demonstrating wares.

  4. 4.

    Holding unauthorized fund-raising activities (see 13.6.8).

  5. 5.

    Hosting speakers or instructors who are paid a fee, who recruit participants, or who solicit customers or clients while giving seminars, lessons, aerobics classes, and so on. Exceptions may be made to use meetinghouse pianos and organs for paid private instruction (see 14.7).

  6. 6.

    Holding organized athletic events that are not sponsored by the Church, including practices.

  7. 7.

    Holding political meetings or campaigns. As an exception, Church facilities may be used for voter registration and as polling places at the request of voting officials if:

    1. a.

      There is no reasonable alternative.

    2. b.

      The officials and voters maintain Church standards in the building.

    3. c.

      The event will not pose physical danger to the building.

    4. d.

      The event will not harm the image of the Church.

The use of Church property should not pose a significant risk of harm to participants or to the property. Nor should it unduly expose the Church to liability or disturb surrounding neighbors.

For more detailed instructions on using and caring for Church buildings and other property, see Facilities Management Guidelines for Meetinghouses and Other Church Property or contact Church headquarters or the assigned administrative office.

 21.2.1

Artwork

Church-approved artwork for meetinghouses is obtained through the facilities manager using the Church Facilities Artwork catalog. The facilities manager may also obtain artwork that is appropriate for meetinghouses through Church Distribution Services.

Pictures and other artwork may be placed in appropriate locations in the meetinghouse. However, they may not be placed in the chapel or near the baptismal font. Statues, murals, and mosaics are not authorized. This policy may not apply to works of art that have been on display for many years in the chapels of existing meetinghouses.

Artwork in meetinghouses should be properly framed.

 21.2.2

Decorations

Decorations for Christmas, other holidays, and other similar occasions may be placed temporarily in the foyer or cultural hall of a meetinghouse, as approved under the direction of the stake presidency. With the exception of flowers, decorations may not be placed in the chapel area of the meetinghouse. Nor should the exterior of the meetinghouse or the grounds be decorated.

Decorations should be modest and inexpensive and must not be a fire hazard. Hay, straw, palm fronds, other dehydrated materials, and lighted candles may not be used. If Christmas trees are used, they should be artificial or properly fireproofed and displayed without electric lights or candles. Local fire and safety codes and ordinances should be observed.

 21.2.3

Emergencies

During an emergency, the stake presidency determines whether or not to hold regular ward meetings.

In a community-wide emergency or disaster, the stake president may assist legitimate disaster relief agencies by allowing meetinghouses to be used as emergency shelters. The Church retains control. Stake and ward leaders ensure that people who use the buildings observe Church standards of conduct, including the Word of Wisdom, while they are in the buildings.

 21.2.4

Firearms

Churches are dedicated for the worship of God and as havens from the cares and concerns of the world. The carrying of lethal weapons, concealed or otherwise, within their walls is inappropriate except as required by officers of the law.

 21.2.5

Fires and Candles

Open flames and lighted candles may not be used in Church buildings.

 21.2.6

Flags

The national flag may be flown on the grounds of Church property at any time as long as it conforms to local custom and convention. The national flag may be displayed inside Church buildings on special occasions, such as patriotic programs. Genuine patriotism does not require displaying the national flag continuously at places of worship.

 21.2.7

Monday Nights

See 13.6.10.

 21.2.8

Overnight Lodging or Camping

Church meetinghouse properties may not be used for overnight lodging, camping, or slumber parties.

 21.2.9

Parking Lots

Use of Church parking lots should comply with the guidelines at the beginning of section 21.2. In addition, Church parking lots should not be used for commuter parking without permission from the director for temporal affairs.

 21.2.10

Photographs, Video Recordings, and Broadcasts in Chapels

Taking photographs or making video recordings in chapels is not permitted. Meetings and other events that are held in the chapel may not be broadcast over the Internet or by any other means (see 18.3.1 for an exception).

 21.2.11

Serving Areas

The serving area in Church meetinghouses is not intended for food preparation or cooking unless it is part of a lesson, demonstration, or other instruction. When food is to be served in the building or on the grounds, it should be prepared elsewhere and brought to the meetinghouse, where it may be kept warm or cold until it is served.

 21.2.12

Storage

The only storage allowed in meetinghouses is for maintenance items and other approved supplies and equipment. Welfare commodities and other such items may not be stored in meetinghouses.

Materials such as gasoline, propane, matches, and camping gear should be stored in buildings that are separate from the meetinghouse.

Cars, recreational vehicles, and other personal equipment may not be stored on Church property.