Sheraton Bahrain Hotel
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Will the Book of Mormon Be Placed in Starwood Hotel Rooms?

I f you read the article Should Copies of the Bible Be Removed From Hotel Rooms? — which I wrote greater than two years ago — you would know that the Bible placed in the drawer in the nightstand next to the bed in many hotel rooms are supplied by the Gideons, who also pay for them…

…but The Gideons International – which is an association of Christian business and professional men and their wives dedicated to telling people about Jesus through sharing personally and by providing Bibles and New Testaments — is not the only organization which supplies hotel rooms with religious material.

Will the Book of Mormon Be Placed in Starwood Hotel Rooms?

“In a growing number of hotels, the Bible now finds itself keeping company with the Book of Mormon, the Teaching of Buddha and, in rarer cases, with Science and Health by Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science, or The Way to Happiness, a publication of the Church of Scientology”, according to this article written by Edwin McDowell of The New York Times back on Tuesday, December 26, 1995. “But many of the 160,000 hotel rooms in the Marriott chain — whose founder, J. W. Marriott, was a Mormon — carry the Book of Mormon as well as the Bible.”

At greater than 1.2 million hotel rooms worldwide, the number of hotel rooms of Marriott International, Incorporated has increased almost tenfold in 21 years — primarily due to acquisitions; but also in addition to building new hotel and resort properties.

A few years ago, FlyerTalk member jpdx imparted that he “checked into a Radisson that turned into a Marriott overnight (in Paris). In the morning, housekeeping carts were loaded with bibles, and when we returned to our room in the afternoon, there was a bible on the coffee table, sitting atop some magazines (seems like the maids had no idea what they were supposed to do with them). It was astounding to us that Marriott’s absolute top priority seemed to be to DELIVER BIBLES FIRST THING IN THE MORNING, especially since little effort had been made to make sure that the front desk had a way to access our Radisson reservations, so they had no idea what room type and rate we had booked.”

Now that Starwood Hotels and Resorts is part of Marriott International, Incorporated as the result of an acquisition, FlyerTalk member itsaboutthejourney wants to know if the Book of Mormon will be placed in all of the hotel and resort rooms under such brands as Sheraton and Westin.

Religion in General

Religion is one of those topics which never seems to fail to be controversial. I believe that religion is a very personal topic which tends to cause more arguments than resolve — and it seems to cause more conflicts than promote peace. I have always thought that unless one religion can be proven to be ubiquitously and unanimously the best religion of all, no one religion is completely right or wrong, as the teachings of each religion can be more subjective than objective.

Back in 2014, copies of the Bible had been removed from the rooms of greater than 500 Travelodge hotel properties throughout the United Kingdom because having a Christian book does not reflect Britain’s “multicultural society” — despite not receiving any complaints from guests about this practice — and that guests who want to read a copy of the Bible may request one at the front desk.

There are people who wonder why one or two particular religions are promoted — either directly or indirectly — by lodging chains worldwide. If a copy of one religious book or article is available at a hotel or resort property, then should not other religious books and articles also be available?

I might — note the word might — agree with the Travelodge concept if each hotel property had available at least one copy of a book or article from every major religion in the world in a library of sorts; but then again, someone who is devout in a smaller religion may feel slighted about not having a particular book or article pertaining to his or her religion…

…but the reality is that the religious books do not cost lodging companies money — and besides, they are hidden in drawers and not conspicuously placed in hotel rooms for the purpose of proselytizing guests. For those reasons, I disagree with the removal of those copies of the Bible from the rooms of Travelodge hotel properties in the United Kingdom.


That nightstand drawer would look pretty empty without a copy of the Bible. Due to the advent of technology, I have noticed that copies of traditional telephone books have been slowly disappearing from hotel rooms. That should save a forest full of trees…

…but I have never been offended about finding a copy of the Bible, the Book of Mormon, or any other religious book or article in the nightstand drawer in any hotel room at which I have ever stayed — personally or otherwise — so it would stand to reason that I am not against them having them supplied in the rooms of hotel or resort properties; and having the hotel rooms of what was Starwood Hotels and Resorts supplied with the Book of Mormon would not matter to me either.

In the meantime, I have not noticed the hotel rooms of any former Starwood brands having been supplied with the Book of Mormon at this time…

Will this nightstand — located in a room of the Sheraton Bahrain Hotel in Manama — eventually be supplied with a Book of Mormon? Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen. 

  1. “That nightstand drawer would look pretty empty without a copy of the Bible.” Nothing against religion or the Bible, but shouldn’t hotel nightstand drawers and any other drawers be empty? I don’t want to see a book representing one particular religion there, any more than I want to see a book representing a particular political point of view or for that matter the last guest’s socks in that drawer.

  2. Do Ritz Carlton hotels have the Book of Mormon in them? That might say whether Starwood Hotels get them or not.

    Personally, I think businesses are free to do what they want regarding Bibles, Book of Mormons, Korans, etc. I was in a hotel once where they had a Koran in the drawer. My dentist has Watchtower magazines in the waiting room. If a business is forced to not allow any book to be placed, there is basically a forced atheistic/secular-only agenda. I may disagree with certain books or magazines that may be placed, but I believe the business is free to place them if they choose to.

  3. I think that looking for a religion to be “proven” 100% is basically asking the wrong thing. Clearly, assuming there is a God, he doesn’t openly “hang out” with us in plain sight in our world…for reasons we don’t know. So a certain level of faith, without 100% proof, is needed regardless. I like to think that there is a reason for that (the need to rely on faith to an extent), one that we don’t quite fully appreciate yet, but that’s just me.

    Of course if one assumes that there is no God, or assumes that absent such “plain sight” evidence there is no God, then the above is moot and that’s another matter.

    But I’m not offended by either the presence or absence of a Bible or other religious text in a hotel room. It’s just a hotel room, not my home…and it’s a private entity, not the government.

  4. Mormon here, can’t say I’ve ever used a Bible or Book of Mormon in a hotel room, and I’ve often been puzzled by their presence. I thought they used to be there for people who were traveling but had forgotten their personal company, but that purpose seems largely obsolete now with the proliferation of smartphones. My thought towards this is the same as with religious invitations of any kind, if I can ignore it or get out of it with a simple “no thank you” then I see nothing wrong with it.

  5. Any religious organization that wants to donate their material to be in hotel room drawers is fine with me. I wish more faiths would do the same. I’ve read the Bible and the Book of Mormon… I’d love to see more.
    I feel no more annoyed by their presence than I would about a copy of Sports Illustrated (are you just assuming everyone likes sports?) or pressured by a copy of Outdoors (don’t try to convert me to your lifestyle!) which seem to be standard in waiting rooms.

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