Latter-Day Saint Church Tells Members “No Guns Allowed” Ahead Of Controversial New State Law In Texas
Southside Light News
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints addressed a new Texas gun law that goes into effect on September 1. In a letter sent to local church units, the church has said that they are no longer allowing the carrying of lethal weapons including firearms into church property.
The controversial move only allows for one exception and that is for current and active law enforcement officers, said church spokesman Daniel Woodruff on Monday. Due to Texas Senate Bill 535 that was recently signed by Governor Abbott allowing firearms to be carried into places of worship unless prior notice has been given, Woodfruff said that local Bishops (Pastors) were to deliver the very clear message sometime before the law goes into effect.
Up until Sunday, the church had taken a largely neutral stance on the issue despite concerns of many within their membership and episodes of violence not only within the church but beyond. The handbook formerly stated that the church felt that firearms and lethal weapons were only considered “inappropriate” in places of worship. However, the new guidance expressly prohibits the action totally.
In the letter, read aloud on Sunday church members were told explicitly that “Churches are dedicated for the worship of God and as havens from the cares and concerns of the world. With the exception of current law enforcement officers, the carrying of lethal weapons on Church property, concealed or otherwise, is prohibited.”
Though politically neutral, the church is considered to be one of the most conservative voting blocs in the United States and around the world. Sunday’s move however, aligns the church more liberally and that has some concerned.
“I’m sorry but I have been a member of this church for 49 years and I don’t like this one bit,” says Robert Jones, a faithful member of the church from Texas. “The church says to abide by the laws of the land and this is the new law of the land in Texas.”
But others like Jeanine and Randy Fischer feel differently. They think that the move is a solid move and that oftentimes the presence of firearms distracts the intimate mood of the spirit.
“I’ve seen some pretty scary and questionable behavior with firearms within the church,” Janine says. “It’s not that the church is turning liberal or left wing at all. I see it as the church being considerate and respectful of those who might be uncomfortable around firearms.”
Janine’s husband Randy agrees. He feels that it is not a move to liberalize the church and that it is a move to become more sensible about very sensitive issues.
“If you have ever been into one of our churches you know that there are young kids and sleepy parents everywhere and that just opens the door to plenty of potential accident opportunities,” Randy says. “If you feel like you need to bring a gun to church then you really need to examine some other items in your life.”
As for the new church policy, it will not only apply to individual units in Texas but will encompass the global membership of the church which has more than 30,000 meeting locations and just over 16 million members worldwide.