The 16 million-member (6.7 million in the US) Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often referred to as Mormons, has just gone on the record in a policy change to prohibit the carrying of “lethal weapons” on church property. The policy change does not apply to current law enforcement officers.
Previously, the wording said that bringing weapons to church was “inappropriate” but didn't place an outright ban on them. Earlier this month, that changed, and a prohibition on firearms was put into place and sent out to some Church leaders, with a letter sent to the Church's leaders in Texas.
The letter was sent to Texas leaders specifically because the law just changed there, soon allowing churchgoers of all religions to carry a gun onto church property. This change in Texas law came about after a mass killing of over two dozen worshipers at a Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
That church was filled with unarmed people but was ultimately stopped by a good guy with an AR-15.
This change in Texas law is seemingly the reason behind the policy change.
The new policy reads:
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.
The decision has reportedly been made to not place signs on the doors of the LDS Church buildings but to communicate the lethal weapons ban verbally during their worship services. Texas LDS Church leaders have until September 1 to relay this, with other local churches communicating this ban “soon.”
I should say here that some states have already prohibited firearms in LDS Houses of Worship for many years. One example is Utah.
An Expert Opinion:
According to Taylor Petrey, an expert on religion and chair of the religion department for Kalamazoo College, many the more conservative pro-gun rights activists from the Church disregarded the earlier wording where it was “inappropriate” to bring a weapon to church.
This is why, according to Petrey, the Church developed a more concrete prohibition on weapons in church.
The reason for the stronger policy is conservative gun activists who flouted the previous warnings not to bring guns into church.
Whether this church policy is legally enforceable will vary from state to state. Still, at the very least, this leaves church members who want to follow the policy unable to protect themselves from bad guys intent on killing, who will undoubtedly not follow these policies, leaving church members as soft targets unless they're a police officer. And, in fact, the argument can be made that soft targets are more preferred by bad guys who want to harm, which is why places of worship are being targeted more and more by these sickos.
One thing remains certain, John Moses Browning, one of the most brilliant firearm minds to have ever lived, also a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is likely not too happy right now.
Leave your thoughts on this in the comments below. Also, find out more about carrying in a church here.