Safety in Meetinghouses

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Safety in Meetinghouses


Post by DebbiStumpf »

With the recent events of shootings in churches, and in consideration of the increase in active shooter incidences, what is the church doing to help ensure members' safety in meetinghouses?

We have had 1 nationally published (US) incidence in an LDS meetinghouse in 2010, ( ... illed.html) with 7 additional nationally known incidents over the past few years. ( ... eston.html)

It is common knowledge that our chapels are welcoming places for anyone who desires to come and worship. We also make maximum use of our chapels, with several congregations meeting in a single building. Because of the openness and frequency of use, in our buildings, it is difficult to know if someone is out of place, or is there for the wrong reasons.

I have lived in several stakes throughout the United States in recent years and have witnessed some areas of concern.

In several wards where I have lived, burglaries have occurred both within and outside of the building while members were in meetings. These are not chapels in areas with a high crime rate. One burglary happened in a classroom, when the nursery class had stepped outside to play. Others have occurred in parking lots with cars that have been left open during meetings. Personal responsibility dictates that we need to lock up our personal belongings to help ensure their safety.

I have been in chapels where unknown drifters wander in and have had to seek help to diffuse the situation, from priesthood leaders, on several occasions. We, as parents, are often at ease in the church building and fail to take personal responsibility for chaperoning our children in the halls. This is one preventative measure that we each could be more diligent about.

While monitoring the halls and restrooms, and locking up personal belongings could prevent some problems, these actions won't necessarily protect the congregation from an active shooter or other incidence of violence. My gut instinct says that these "random" acts of violence are not going to diminish. I feel that over time, they will likely increase.

I feel that we need to have some known security measures in place that would govern chapels and meetinghouses throughout the United States and world. We have emergency preparedness drills in our wards and stakes, but do not have plans in place to address these most serious concerns. If a chapel were to become the target of an act of violence, we would largely be unprepared to handle the situation in progress.
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Re: Safety in Meetinghouses


Post by rmrichesjr »

Here is a summary of some of the thoughts shared among moderators and community administrators during a discussion of whether to approve this topic:

The Church is indeed concerned about safety and security.

Just because plans and preparations are not widely published does not necessarily mean leaders at many levels are not making such plans and preparations. I happen to have seen a case where it was very evident that much thoughtful planning had taken place among local (and likely higher up) leaders well in advance of ordinary ward members being informed.

The risks, needs, resources, and other factors vary widely among local units of the worldwide Church.

Because of this variation, local priesthood leaders (bishop or branch president) would be the best first points of contact for someone who has security concerns. Communicating concerns up through the ranks and organizational structure via the bishop or branch president, then the stake president is the best way to encourage appropriate response to those concerns.
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Re: Safety in Meetinghouses


Post by kdsallen »

I was just googling this myself; this document/training for Church employees would be a good place to start if a branch or ward wanted to do a workshop after the OK from the bishop or branch president, of course. I also came across talk on other non-official sites that the Church has sent out instructions to leaders about how to deal with an active shooter, but I only like to pass on official info that's verifiable as coming from the Church. ... story.html
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