Are guns and gun violence a moral issue for the LDS Church to address?


Religious scholars note that members revere the Prince of Peace and that church founder Joseph Smith often told his followers to “ask for peace”. But will leaders engage in this highly charged political issue?

(Ivan Pierre Aguirre | The New York Times) A ​​woman cries at the 21 crosses bearing the names of the victims of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School during a memorial erected in the town square in Uvalde, Texas, on May 27, 2022. In this week’s “Mormon Land” podcast, two religious scholars discuss whether leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will or should weigh in on the issue of firearms and armed violence.

In recent weeks, the United States has seen two more mass shootings – one at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, and the other at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

Although President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has made at least one comment suggesting that gun laws are too lax and Apostles David A. Bednar and Jeffrey R Holland lamented the shootings, the Utah Faith has made no official statement about those specific tragedies or the gun violence in general.

Is this a moral issue for Latter-day Saints? Should it be? What does Latter-day Saint theology have to say on the matter?

Patrick Mason, head of Mormon history and culture at Utah State University and author or editor of several books, including “Mormonism and Violence: The Battles of Zion” and “Proclaim Peace: The Restoration’s Answer to an Age of Conflict,” and Janiece Johnson, American religious historian and author of books on Latter-day Saint women and the Mountain Meadows Massacre, including the upcoming “American Punishment: The Mountain Meadows Massacre and Mormon Transgressions.”

Listen now:

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