Ever wonder about whether it is permissible to use the Church logo on your ward newsletter or Sunday program? How about a flyer for your ward Christmas party? The answer to both of these questions is “no.” This article addresses the proper use and display of (1) the name of the Church and (2) the official Church logotype.
Name of the Church
The written name of the Church (not the Church logo) may be used by wards, stakes, branches, and districts according to the following guidelines:
1. Always name the event and its sponsor as a prelude to the name of the Church. Examples:
- On a program: “Sacrament Meeting Program of the Canyon First Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”
- On a poster: “Picnic sponsored by the Canyon First Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”
2. The typeface of the name of the Church should not try to imitate or resemble the official Church logo.
The Church logo is registered as a trademark or otherwise legally-protected identifier of the Church worldwide. The logo should only be used on Church stationery, missionary name tags, and items published by Church headquarters. Individuals and Church units are not authorized to use the logo on anything they create.
OK. I’ll bite. Why such a massive mistrust of the Church membership by those responsible for such a restrictive and illogical policy. Both CES and Family Search allow for the use of their logos by righteous Temple Recommend members for miscellaneous local events. Is this one of those unexplained Church Office Building culture things that treats those of us out in the mission field as non-thinking lemmings that must come to them for permission to do anything of our own initiative? Didn’t Nephi write about not sitting around waiting to be acted upon by others?
I just realized something funny. As I typed my comment above, I am wearing a T-shirt given to me two years ago by the local stake here in Florida for the Mormon Helping Hands project. It has the official Church logo emblazoned on the front in big typeface. I assume the t-shirts came from welfare services. Are they breaking the policy?
The LDS Church is probably particularly careful with its logo in order to maintain the trademark. Also, since the Church’s general logo is much more recognizable than CES or other logos, it’s probably a higher priority to maintain exclusive use.
Michael – those t-shirts have been distributed in many parts of the world. I’m relatively certain that the use of the LDS Church logo was approved prior to their production. I got one a few years back when I did work after Hurricane Katrina. Hideously ugly things, I might add. Don’t know who thought teal was a good color.
“The written name of the Church (not the Church logo) may be used by wards, stakes, branches, and districts according to the following guidelines”
I don’t get it. Aren’t these part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? In a way, aren’t these sponsored franchises? I just don’t understand the legality. Wow, and to think of all the hoopla if the LDS Church sued its own self. That would not be good and I don’t think it would actually do that. It reminds me of the advertisement, I think it was Coke, where there was a fake taste test between products of the same company. The one doing the taste test suggested the company sue itself because of some taste differences. Real or not, the company leader’s in the Ad looked very confused. That is how I feel about this post.
What about those pre-printed programs you can get at the church bookstores with the official logo on them? Are those printed by the church? I can’t find any at the distribution center web site.
I think they want to differentiate between *official* items (anything officially authorized by church headquarters), especially publications, and those that are created by members. It makes sense to me.
Having had much experience with the Church bureaucracy over the years, I do know there is an attitude of paternalism exhibited by those that work there. Many times, they will confuse priesthood authority with their own church employee position and impose strange, unreasonable and disconnected requirements upon local church units. If a local leader is not familiar with this self-reinforcing culture of superiority and how it gets exhibited, they will not be able to recognize official priesthood authority and policy from general bureaucratic rule making for self-preservation.
Perhaps you can provide us with the reasoning behind the logo policy in more detail? Why was such a policy instituted and what purpose does it serve?
So what you’re telling me is that I was breaking copyright when I used a copy of my missionary tag as a letterhead back when I was a missionary (around the time the new logo came out).
This reminds me of why I dislike most of the ways that IP law is used (“abused” is generally the more accurate term). I’m not complaining so much that the church wants to protect its image, but a policy along the lines of “don’t use the church logo to imply official church sanction of personal, local, or regional activities” would be more reasonable.
There is absolutely nothing *illegal* about a church unit (or an official representative of the Church) using the Church’s logo in this way. It is an internal policy matter.
Copyright / trademark infringement would only come into play if someone was acting outside his ecclesiastical capacity – using it to promote side businesses or other bizarre schemes. That is the sort of thing that one might get conceivably sued over. Otherwise it is simply a matter of internal church policy. If the issue of internal use was serious enough, someone might get released. It would be unheard of, however, for it to ever come to that.
So are you saying the Church is trying to protect itself from all those opportunistic, self-serving, MLM type people in the mountain west that would use the logo for self-promotion and to mix Babylon with Zion?
As a professional writer for a number of companies, these guidelines make perfect sense to me. They are standard guidelines used to protect the name and trademark.
I would like to create some business cards that have my name, personal numbers, email address, etc, but says I’m a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and have a website URL for http://www.mormon.org. Can I do that?
The basic purpose behind this policy is to clearly identify official Church-wide materials and programs. It is hoped this will assist members and others who have sometimes been confused. It will also help the Church to maintain strong legal protection for the Church logo.
You’re welcomed to identify yourself as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and to direct people to mormon.org. You just shouldn’t use the logo, which would imply that you are an official representative of the Church.
This is not something the church cooked up. I’ve belonged to a non-profit organization for about 20 years and sat on the board for a while. By law, you must restrict use of a trademark, service mark, etc. to protect your use of it. If the organization puts no restrictions on it, it will fall into public domain. The company I work for has similar restrictions on its marks even for internal publications. You establish a brand then work to keep it. It seems to me that the church moved to this current logo because control of the old logo was lost (I read that somewhere when the logo changed.)
It would also be good to point out that the name of the church is spelled Latter-day, not Latter-Day or Latter Day. Again, it’s part of the copyright. There is only one correct way to spell Latter-day.
I worked in church typesetting many years ago, and this was something they told me on the first day on the job. I see members of the church spell it wrong all the time because they simply don’t know there is a right and a wrong way to do it.
BTW, John is absolutely right in what he says. You have to protect a logo from falling into the public domain. This isn’t about trust of membership, it’s about following the copyright laws to protect the logo.
Is important you know that in US and Canada Church publishes envelopes, letterheads and other stationary for wards and stakes. In other places of the world this materials is unavailable. A policy to create these materials locally will be interesting to international units.
This site is just what I need to show our members the correct way to spell the Church’s name.
One more point as to why some people spell the name incorrectly – When using all caps – write the name like this:
THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS.
That esy is used a lot and so in mixed letters some folks continue to use the capital D instead of small d .
Sorry about the typo – “That way…” – not esy way.
Maybe the other folks are making typos, too. 🙂
If I understand correctly, if I would like to create some cards (business size) as a Bishop of the church, that would be alright. Would that be done by church distribution or a local printer? Additionally, we will be getting door hangers printed for our home teachers that will state, more or less, “From your home teacher in the Bonita 1st ward” Then the logo, “The church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”. The door hangers are a way to let our numerous less actives/missing sheep know that we are thinking about them if we should find them not home. There will be space allowed for a note on the back.
According to the Church policy, you can use the name of the Church, but not the Church logo on the business cards and the door hangers. You could get them printed at a local printer.
Holy Cow!! thanks for all the info! I was searching for the Church logo to add our ward bulletin when I stumbled across this website. It’s funny, I never think of the legal side of the Church, only the spiritual side. This has been a bit of an eye opener for me!
What is the ruling on using rubber stamps with church logo to signify the Bishop has sactioned/authorised or signed a reference in behalf of a member of his congregation to a government department, an employer etc whilst acting in his position as bishop.
What I find most interesting is that it is very hard to find this information from an official source. The closest to an official source I have come across is on the LDS Tech forumns. There a letter dated 2008 is sited as saying that use of the logo by local units for officially sponsored publications (such as Sacrament Meeting Programs) was currently allowed but was being reviewed. Later in the same thread (about the same time as this blog post), a moderator (not a church employee or official representative) alluded to some change in logo policy but was not sure that he could give details and suggested that a official representative clarify; however, no clarification came. The Church Handbook of Instructions should be consulted about this policy for an official source – it is available only through priesthood leadership channels.
I agree with David Robarts . . . and have been using the logo on Sacrament Meeting Programs . . . .
Found this info also
December 11, 2000 letter entitled “Church Name and Logotype Guidelines for Local Units”.
“Local units may use the Church logotype only on publications and materials they officially sponsor. To use the logotype, cut out copies from the sheet enclosed with printed versions of these guidelines. Additional sheets may be ordered from your local distribution center.
The following site now contains part of The Church Handbook of Instructions including the information above regarding use of the church logo.
Regarding response from ldswebguy above you end with –
“which would imply that you are an official representative of the Church.”
Can someone help with this please. For example, if you are a member of the church and are requested to go out with the missionaries, in what capacity are we going, if not official representative? Am I to understand that our membership and representation of membership to non-members is in an unofficial capacity? When we pray and close with “in the name….”. Are we doing so unofficially?
Was never an issue until I read this page, now I wonder.
One of the reasons the church protects the logo so much is that it signifies that whatever materials have the logo have passed through correlation where the doctrinal content has been verified to be 100% correct. If a church member makes some sort of publication, it would have to be reviewed before receiving the logo.
I think you guys are over thinking this matter. Focus your energy towards better things rather than arguing over the legality of the churches copy rights and ownerships. Your in the clear as long as your up to date and current on your tithing 😉
I have to agree with Jeff and Keith. The scriptures refer to going beyond the “mark”. Let us get on with the building of the Kingdom and not be distracted by something trivial.
Having the Church logo registered as a trademark makes sense. It prevents “anti” groups and individuals from discrediting the Church with fabricated material that looks like it is officially from the Church.
What are the copyright laws concerning using the hymns of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints?
The web page “Using the Hymnbook” at https://www.lds.org/music/resources/using-the-hymnbook?lang=eng says “You may copy the hymns on a printed program unless the copyright restrictions on the hymn state that this is not permitted.”
For further assistance or information regarding Church copyrighted materials, you may contact the Church’s Intellectual Property Office at:
Phone: 801-240-3959 or 1-800-453-3860, ext. 2-3959