First Presidency encourages reverent art of the Savior in meetinghouses

As Church leaders prepare to lift temporary suspension of weekly worship services, the First Presidency has asked that meetinghouses reflect an attitude of reverence for the Savior Jesus Christ.

“The placement of art representing Jesus Christ in meetinghouse foyers and entryways has been authorized,” the First Presidency wrote in a letter dated Monday, May 11.

This effort is part of President Russell M. Nelson‘s ongoing effort to place Jesus Christ at the center of His Church.

Local facilities managers are encouraged to contact and work with stake presidents to assess foyers and entryways and make necessary modifications.

"Christ and the Book of Mormon Children," by Del Parson
“Christ and the Book of Mormon Children,” by Del Parson Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

As these spaces establish the first impression and feelings upon entrance into a meetinghouse, artwork and furnishings can help to create a spiritual, reverent atmosphere, according to the “Principles and Guidelines for Meetinghouse Foyers and Entries” document attached to the letter.

Here are five guidelines for foyers and entries:

  • Place existing artwork that depicts the Savior Himself or the Savior ministering to others in the meetinghouse entries and foyers. Examine existing artwork to ensure that it is appropriately framed, displayed, and in good condition.
  • Move other artwork to another location within the facility or remove it altogether.
  • Choose replacement art, if needed, from the Approved Selection of Foyer Artwork (included with the First Presidency letter) and follow approved sizes and quality standards.
  • Assess entries and foyers as part of an annual inspection to evaluate existing furnishings, artwork and finishes. Replace and update as needed to maintain a feeling of reverence for the Savior.
  • Remove from the foyer areas distractions such as display cases, bulletin boards, tables, easels and damaged furniture.

The principles and guidelines document also includes a list of approved selection of foyer artwork. Prior to selecting artwork, the arrangement of furniture near or below artwork should be considered. Artwork should be no wider than the furniture below it.

Top and bottom images show Latter-day Saint meetinghouse foyers without and with Savior-focused art to illustrate how the suggested changes can increase focus on Jesus Christ.
Top and bottom images show Latter-day Saint meetinghouse foyers without and with Savior-focused art to illustrate how the suggested changes can increase focus on Jesus Christ. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

As every furnishing in a temple adds to the atmosphere of peace and worship, the same principle applies to furnishings in meetinghouses. The ordinance of the sacrament is “an increasingly sacred acknowledgment of Christ’s majestic atoning gift to all humankind,” Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught during the April 2019 general conference. Foyer artwork is one aspect that can help create reverence surrounding this ordinance.

Replacement or additional artwork is funded and ordered through the Church facilities manager, according to the guidelines. Local unit budget allowance (LUBA) should not be used to purchase artwork.