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Priesthood presence at church building during Activity Days

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Priesthood presence at church building during Activity Days

#1Postby steveheath » Sat Jan 14, 2012 12:03 pm

Is there an official church policy that states that there must be at least one (or more) priesthood holder at the church building during church activities? I have some concerns about the lack of a priesthood presence during Activity Days which are held during the week at the church building in the late afternoon. My 9 year old daughter attends and, fortunately, my job gives me the flexibilty to be there every time except when I travel. Most of the time I'm the only male (priesthood holder) at the building, so when I cannot make it I'm pretty sure that there is no male presence there (which makes me very nervous). I'm going to raise my concerns with the Bishop, but wanted to see if there is an official church policy. Thanks in advance.
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#2Postby allenjpl » Sat Jan 14, 2012 1:18 pm

Adult supervision is required (Handbook 2, 13.6.2) If its an overnight activity, enough priesthood holders should be present to be able to provide support and protection (Handbook 2 13.6.12).

Since Activity Days are not an overnight activity, no priesthood presence is required. That is, assuming the female leaders are adults.
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#3Postby steveheath » Sat Jan 14, 2012 6:19 pm

allenjpl wrote:Adult supervision is required (Handbook 2, 13.6.2) If its an overnight activity, enough priesthood holders should be present to be able to provide support and protection (Handbook 2 13.6.12).

Since Activity Days are not an overnight activity, no priesthood presence is required. That is, assuming the female leaders are adults.


Thanks for the reply. That is what I saw in the HB as well. I was hoping there had been an official notice/letter about this situation that didn't make it into the HB.
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#4Postby russellhltn » Sat Jan 14, 2012 6:47 pm

I seem to remember hearing a similar rule. It's possible that it's a Stake President's rule or a "suggestion" from the area authority.
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#5Postby steveheath » Sat Jan 14, 2012 9:11 pm

RussellHltn wrote:I seem to remember hearing a similar rule. It's possible that it's a Stake President's rule or a "suggestion" from the area authority.


I remember hearing something as well several years back. I figured I would find something in the HB or elsewhere, but haven't had any luck. I guess that means it should be handled by local leadership.
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#6Postby lajackson » Sun Jan 15, 2012 7:33 pm

RussellHltn wrote: It's possible that it's a Stake President's rule or a "suggestion" from the area authority.


steveheath wrote:I guess that means it should be handled by local leadership.


A lot depends on the location and the time of the event. Some priesthood leaders are comfortable with less "presence" on some occasions, and others require it 24/7 because of the environment in which the meetinghouse is located.

Local leadership should know the conditions in which their meet and handle safety with those considerations in mind, along with the instructions in the Handbook.
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#7Postby nutterb » Tue Jan 17, 2012 8:42 am

I'd caution against relying on priesthood holders to provide security at activities. Instead, all adults should be educated on how to provide security for themselves and for youth.

All adults should know basic safety principles, such as observing the parking lot before exiting the building; knowing where the publicly available phone in the building is; understanding that emergency phone numbers are posted next to that phone; and they should all be informed that if something seems amiss on the church property, they should notify the police.

Recently in my ward, the Relief Society was pushing very hard to have a priesthood presence at their activities citing "some policy they once heard". The bishopric told them that it wasn't necessary but could be arranged if they wanted. The Relief Society insisted that it must be done because on more than one occasion in the previous two years, someone had approached sisters leaving an activity and flashed the sisters in the parking lot. What baffled the bishopric was that no one had notified the bishopric and, more disturbing, no one had notified the police.

We have made sure a priesthood holder is present at each of their activities since then, but that was mostly to appease the Relief Society presidency. The more important steps we took were to write out safety recommendations and policies that the women could implement themselves and then having a detective from the local police force come speak at a Relief Society meeting about personal safety. At the end of the day, the message we wanted them to get was that the primary line of defense for any person's safety is their own education, preparedness, and awareness. Having established that principle, we were happy to have the priesthood help out, but we were clear that priesthood holders were not and should not be the primary defense.
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#8Postby bryanwilson » Tue Jan 17, 2012 10:39 am

HB 1 8.3.5 states clearly that women and children should not be in an unlocked building alone.
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#9Postby allenjpl » Tue Jan 17, 2012 12:41 pm

bryanwilson wrote:HB 1 8.3.5 states clearly that women and children should not be in an unlocked building alone.


It actually says that nobody should be in an unlocked building alone. As in, if I'm working at the church late at night printing up the tax statements and I'm the only one around, the door should be locked. If there's someone with me, then I'm not alone. If there's more than one person at the Activity Day, then nobody is alone.

I fully support nutterb's suggestion. If you want protection, pay for a security guard. If you want security, educate the members on safety principles. If you want a blessing or support, call a priesthood holder.
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#10Postby wanelsons » Thu Sep 20, 2012 10:12 pm

I just wanted to add a 'thank you' to the original poster and all those who responded. We had a similar situation and question here in our local ward. A quick Google search took me to this thread. The direct handbook sections pertaining to this were very helpful. Thanks, everyone!
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