Mormon church halts use of chapels by home schoolers

Salt Lake City, USA - Mormon chapels no longer may be used by home schoolers for activities, the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced.

The announcement in a letter from the First Presidency, made up of church President Gordon B. Hinckley and his counselors, was read to several congregations on Sunday.

"The letter indicated that to help avoid safety and tax liabilities, meeting houses should not be used as home-school or day-care facilities, or for hosting home-school activities," church spokesman Dale Bills said in an e-mail statement.

The decision could send some groups scrambling for a place to have arts and crafts or sporting activities, said Jon Yarrington, president of the Utah Home Education Association.

"Necessity is the mother of invention," Yarrington said. "So, I'm sure (home educators will) come up with something. We're not unaccustomed to having to do that."

He said clarification had been needed.

Congregation leaders had been making varying decision on home educators' requests to use meeting houses for activities.

"Some leaders have let home-school families use their buildings while others have not been inclined to do so," the National LDS Homeschool Association's April 25 online newsletter said. "Many requests have gone to the church asking for clarification on this issue."