What does “No Soliciting” mean to you?

book-of-mormon.jpg What I really want to ask is, do I have to be nice? A couple of Mormon missionaries showed up on our doorstep this evening, ringing the doorbell despite the “No Soliciting” sign beside said doorbell. The sign’s been there for quite a while now — it went up to cover off the fact that my wife sleeps odd hours when she’s working shifts, and when the kids were young it made sense as well… the dog will bark and wake everyone when somebody shows up at the door. Now, the neighbourhood kids selling girl guide cookies or chocolate-covered almonds as a fundraiser for some school trip just ignore the sign anyway. Maybe they don’t know exactly what “soliciting” is, but that’s just fine… if a neighbourhood kid is peddling something for a school fundraiser I always like to try and cough up the $2 or whatever. They’re neighbours, after all.

Anyway, like I told the J.W.’s the last time they showed up, “We’re not interested.” The Mormons were more persistent though, and asked if I knew of anyone else on my street that they should talk to. Uh, excuse me? Let’s just say that it’s hard to be polite — I actually don’t want them coming back. Call me un-neighbourly… or do I have to be nice? If the question sound rhetorical, does it also apply to telemarketers?


  1. Send ’em over to my house. I love getting JW’s and Mormons knocking on my door, because I use the opportunity to do three things: (1) share a persuasive word regarding the Gospel, (2) hand them a printed paper (like “10 Lies I Told As A Mormon Missionary”) that undermines their own theology, and (3) take up as much of their time as possible, so my neighbors will get less face-to-face time with them. Heck, I even approach them in the streets if I see them peddling their lies in the open marketplace. Most of them travel in pairs: one is very experienced and one is in training. There’s a great chance that the inexperienced apprentice will listen to what I have to say and really give it due consideration in the privacy of his own mind. So send ’em over!

  2. I agree with Bill. Freda Lindsey from Christ for the Nations says that we face the mission field every time we open the door, answer the phone, answer the mail and even emails. When cults knock on my door, if I have the time, I invite them in. One JW pair of women came to my home and they both received Christ in my house. Obviously if you don’t have the time or there are needs in the house, they need to be turned away. However, the Lord has been dealing with me regarding rudeness. There really is no need to be rude. The Lord is still transforming me in that area of my own walk with Him.

  3. Bro, I am with you to a point! I do find the door bell a needless bother. However, I am reminded of
    2 Timothy 4:2
    “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.”

    I can’t help but think that when I answer that door bell, it is an “out of season” moment!

  4. Nothing. I ignore the signs and recommend that everybody do so. If they want to solicit have at it. I can talk to them. Sometimes it is a waste of time, or at least seems to be. Other times maybe. I have talked to enough of them, that they just boycot me. O well!!

  5. My first job out of college was as a canvasser (read fund raiser) for a political action project. “No Soliciting” signs technically refer to people who are actually selling something, like vacuums or windows or the like. Since JW and Mormons (and young college students who are fund raising for political action projects) aren’t selling anything, they can safely ignore “No Soliciting” signs. Now, on the other hand, as a homeowner who answers the door, I’m not rude, but I don’t waste anyone’s time either. There’s not much use getting into an argument with missionaries after all. They’re the next thing to zealots.

  6. Soliciting goes well beyond selling. Most local ordinances define “soliciting” as (without prior invitation or appointment) asking one to listen or respond to something.

    Following is the text of a flier we give those who ignore (or don’t understand) the “No Soliciting” sign in front of our house………

    What is “Soliciting?” Is it the same as selling? No. Soliciting includes selling and much more.

    The Merriam-Webster Dictionary has this entry, for the word, “solicit:”
    1 a: to make petition to: ENTREAT
    1 b: to approach with a request or plea
    2: to urge (as one’s cause) strongly

    If you approach me with a request of any type, you will be soliciting.

    I understand you are just doing your job, but do it where “No Soliciting” is not posted. If you want to leave a flier or other printed request at my door, that’s OK; just don’t take up the time of anyone at this address.

    If you are looking for your lost pet, feel free to knock. If you want to let me know my car lights are on, feel free to knock.

    If you want me to know about your product or service, or plan to ask me to read or sign something, or want to tell me about your cause, or are taking a survey, do not ring the doorbell or knock! If you or your business/ organization cannot understand or follow “No Soliciting” guidelines, then stay away!

  7. Anthony C., your definition seems to encompass every form of communication with you. Even this comment could be viewed as soliciting, since I have approached you by name and implicitly requested you to read my words.

    But you admit there are exceptions. Does this one count? How can missionaries and fund raisers know which houses make exceptions for them? I know most of them believe ‘No Soliciting’ signs are purely for those requesting money for goods or services.

    Anyway, if you’re looking for a legal case, you should look into a legal dictionary. I know that door-to-door religious proselytizing has been protected in court (at least in America), so you probably won’t have much luck there.


  8. Radical idea here. How about actually listen to what they have to say?

  9. Ironically, i ran across this image while searching for a No Soliciting image online. Since I was a missionary for the LDS church, i was intrigued and clicked thru.
    I wouldnt have ignored the sign when i was a missionary, so sorry that some have.
    I’m actually remaking a sign that has worked for us for quite some time. It basically says

    No Soliciting
    Children of the neighborhood are welcome.

    So we allow for local flavor to stop by, but not others, including LDS missionaries (which never stop by anyway as we are members already).

    Dont know if this helps or not. Just wanted to share.

    I also have made a no soliciting sign to hang on the garage when in there, so that folks do not wonder up there, missing the sign on the door.

  10. I find it intriguing that JWs and Mormons are referred to by some here as cults. Do we remember that the disciples/apostles of Jesus were also spoken of as a cult by detractors in Bible times. In actual fact they are genuine religions. Seeing that JWs and Mormons are obeying the instructions of Jesus in preaching to us (Matthew 28:18-20) and doing it from house to house (Acts 20:20) as his apostles did, then surely we could show respect for them in the difficult work they are doing. They are trying to be good people, not bad and if there were more of such persons trying to apply good principles in their lives the world would likely be a better place. They may not always succeed but at least they try. A polite refusal of their message as in “sorry, I’m not interested but have a good day” is all that is necessary. And if we don’t want them to come then a specific sign “No religious callers!” placed in an easily seen ‘eye height’ place by the front door will work every time. “No Soliciting” is open to interpretation by those who are just giving out free literature or sharing an encouraging word, as they are not asking money and they likely firmly believe the sign doesn’t apply to them. In the meantime remember that throughout the world there are many documented cases of JWs and Mormons being in the right place at the right time by their calm and good-intentioned presence. Old persons have been found by these religious callers calling out for help as they lay on the floor injured and without any expectation of anyone calling to rescue them yet these persons presence meant their rescue. I read once of a burglar being foiled in making a robbery due to the presence of JW’s in the street he was going to commit his crime. Both JWs and Mormons have found homes where a tell-tale odor has meant that a dead body was inside and they have notified authorities. I also remember one of those religions going to a door where a person just attempted suicide by hanging – that person was seen through the door or window and their life was saved as a result. I would rather have these good intentioned people in my neighborhood or even at my door for a few seconds as I say “sorry not interested, have a good day” than have bad-intentioned persons be there for any reason. I see they do it in all sorts of weather (no doubt as Jesus and his disciples/apostles did) and I cannot help but marvel at their sense of integrity. So I ask that all here respect these people as they are not peddling for money but rather are giving of themselves and their literature, no doubt at their own cost even if it’s only the gas money they spend in getting to our neighborhood. Let’s all just be nice in our refusal (or listen to what they say as it may benefit us in some way) – put up a “No religious callers!” sign so no confusion can exist, and just be grateful that their very presence in our neighborhood may make it safer while they are there, and that their being there may even mean bringing rescue to us or our neighbors someday when no one else is there to help us. That just brought to mind a perfect example of that – my cousin once was under his big car working on it and the only jack he was using slipped. He was a big man and held the car up for a few seconds while screaming at the top of his voice – and 2 Jehovah’s Witnesses working in the street raced to his rescue. They literally saved his life. That also reminds me of a comment made about these missionaries made here by someone – Mormons and JWs don’t just work together in twos to train someone. Quite often they are two experienced persons. But the obvious commonsense reason they work in pairs or more is because of safety reasons – they too can be attacked by humans or dogs etc. In finality please be nice to these people or if you want them to not come then change the sign from ‘no soliciting’ to ‘No religious callers’ and do yourselves and the religious callers a favor.

  11. I have told them that I would pray for them to be confounded so that they would not be able to spread their false doctrines. Yes the JWs and LDS are both cults as is the Roman Catholic Church. The Bible tells us that we should not bid them a good day.


  13. It depends on what they are selling or pushing. A 2002 Supreme Court Decision (Watchtower Bible Tract Society of New York v. Village of Stratton) declared the local ordinances requiring solicitation permits for religious organizations and political canvassing (whether issue based or candidate based) was unconstitutional. The courts stated that the Village’s interest in deterring fraud did not out weigh the interests afforded to religious and political organizations through the First Amendment.

    Therefore, your local police force can no longer issue citations to political or religious canvassers. Essentially, no solicitation signs do not apply to these particular organizations. Furthermore, by registering to vote one is tacitly agreeing to being contacted by political campaigns.

  14. Great response, John. A typical sign on a door would normally be taken in the more formal/legal definition, not a colloquial one that could include the peddling of religious or political agendas or ideologies. For that, I guess one would need a second sign…

  15. Upon moving into our new neighborhood, I felt the need to connect to my new neighbors.

    The idea of a “Community Yard Sale Weekend” was born. I would get to meet a bunch of neighbors during the event, which is exactly what I wanted.

    Our little neighborhood consists of three culde-sacs, each with eight homes. My plan was to advertise the yard sale event with my own money, create and hand out flyers explaining the event to my neighbors. All they had to do, if they wanted to participate was to put their stuff on the driveway of their own home and the ad I paid for would direct people to our neighborhood that weekend.

    When I arrived in the next culde-sac over, one of the homes had a NO SOLICITATION sign posted on the front door.

    I paused for a moment to think. My mind came to the conclusion that I was not selling vacuums or seeking donations, this did not apply to me.

    With flyer in hand I rang door bell. An irate man answers and says, “Can’t you read??”, as he points to the sign.

    Shocked, I try to show him the flyer, which he refuses to take. He orders me off his property before he calls the police. He never allows me time to even explain anything.

    Walking away, I become angered and crumple up the flyer and leave it in his yard. He then yells at me that he’s going to call my boss and that I’ll be fired.

    On the big weekend event, the home owner in question particpated in the event. His driveway was bustling with people. I was irritated. I don’t think he even remembered my face.

    When I told my now estranged mother the story, she said I was in violation of his rights and went on a rant about property rights. She had no concern for my point of view, it was me who was violating HIS rights. This is the reason I’m not speaking to her.

    She sees no conflict in him participating in the yard sale event and keeping me off his property.

    I read the legal definition of solicitation was that of trying to get money for charities. Can someone please straighten my mothers crazy thinking out so I can make up with her?


  16. For me…I prefer that no one rings my bell…We live in a quiet neighborhood and I have some religious group who has come to my door several times. I am not rude to them.
    Truthfully, I have young children and it more scares me to answer to these groups, as I do not know who they are, they could be posing as something they are not.
    I am not against them, although not interested in what they are preaching either. I feel it is not ok for them to come on my property, including anyone else ‘soliciting’ anything, it should be against the law. If the world was different, maybe, but I have to be concerned that it is not a criminal…..After reading this, I am putting up a sign!

  17. I run a canvassing operation for a window company; all my canvassers are college students trying to pay rent and tuition. Many homeowners have forgotten what it is like to be under severe financial strain–they treat my canvassers like garbage. Remember where you were at when you were 20 and show some respect to the young men and women who come to your door. If you don’t want people knocking on your door, live in a gated community with posted “No Soliciting” signs.

  18. I’m in the financial services industry. I’ve gone door to door for 3 years now. It’s how I build trust and introduce myself. I knock on no solicitation doors, gated communities, etc. The way I see it is if I don’t talk to them there is zero chance of me helping them. If I do at least explain who I am and what I do then there’s a chance. I don’t try to sell them anything a the door. My first words are “I’m not trying to sell you anything” with a big smile and people tend to loosen up. When I get someone rude at the door I just tell myself that’s someone I wouldn’t want as a client anyway. I’ve been hassled by the cops one time and they tried to tell me that I was going be arrested for “peddling” w/o a permit. I politely explained that peddling is offering a good or service in exchange for $”, I’m simply introducing myself. They let me go w a warning. My advice to you is look at the guidelines of your town. If it just says “no soliciting” then go by the legal definition and you shouldn’t have a problem…hopefully.

  19. I have a “No soliciting” sign on my door. To me this means no selling anything, no signing anything, and no religious stuff. It really annoys me that no one knows what this means…I need ten signs for everyone to not ring my bell? This is an intrusions of my privacy.

  20. I agree with Lynn. as a single mother with a handicapped child, do they really believe i will answer the door at almost the time of night when it’s dark out? In this day and age-NO WAY! i have had a “no soliciting” sign up for a few weeks. These people have been knocking on my door every weekend for 3 months now and it is starting to get to the point that i may have to call the police to get them to stop. It’s not right .

  21. I wouldnt mine if they would ring my door bell in the afternoon or later in the day but y do they have to ring it early
    Onetime i had someone ring my doorbell at 7:00 am on a Saturday
    It’s hard not to be rude but when you’re tired & had a long week
    I’ve tried ignoring them but they don’t leave they just keep on ringing it so I have to answer it so they won’t wake up anyone else in my house
    I also have a sign that says this is a roman catholic house hold & we do not accept anything from other religions I have that in both English & Spanish but even that seems not to work
    I am going to try a no soliciting sign see if I have more success with that

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