LDS Church Bans All “Lethal Weapons”

By derivative work: Entheta


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.

Petrey said:

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.

About Joshua Gillem

Josh is a lifelong practitioner and student of the gun. He grew up shooting/hunting with his dad, and was given his first gun, a 12 gauge shotgun, when just a small boy. After high school, he joined the Marines where his love for firearms blossomed as he qualified with an M16A2, an M9, and a 240G. Josh has been writing about firearms and tactics for several years, owns the blog Gunners Den, is a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment, and believes that each individual person has the right to self-defense by any means necessary. Currently residing in gun-friendly NC, he carries a concealed gun on a daily basis, even in his own house.


  1. Marcus on August 27, 2019 at 3:29 pm

    Very interesting. How do churches go about enforcing these infringing rules? I imagine “members-only” churches, like LDS, would have you excommunicated. As far as public churches go… trespassing?

    • Douglas on August 28, 2019 at 10:39 am

      The policy proscribing firearms has always existed, but likely the Church leadership consulted with their legal counsel and were advised that unless they took a more forceful stance, in the unfortunate situation where someone was harmed by either a negligent discharge, or, in a related sense, some “hero” takes on an active shooter and an innocent bystander is hurt/killed from his gunfire, it’d be the Church that would incur liability, likely at a tremendous scale, and, worse, that someone got injured/killed on Church property in a Church worship service or social activity. It should be noted that LEOs, since typically they must carry 24/7, are exempt.

      I can’t speak for other states, but here in CA, even if you have a CCW, you must not bring it into a house of worship if prohibited, i.e., your CCW doesn’t override the Church’s private property rights. Me, I can simply leave my piece in the car, unloaded and secured IAW CA law (which are, iMO, utterly in conflict with 2A, but that’s for another thread), and trust in the Lord, and not in the proverbial “ARM of the flesh”, for my well-being. I don’t necessarily like the policy myself but I trust the leadership knows what they’re doing. Besides, be realistic…though there have been notorious cases of active shooter scenarios in Churches, the actual likelihood is very remote…more likely, if the Church had a laissez-faire attitude on the subject, would be some nitwit letting his piece discharge in a negligent manner. Good grief, how many times has some nimrod forgotten to silence his/her CELL PHONE, for pity’s sake, and the stupid thing goes off at the worst possible time? The trouble with betting on maturity and responsibility is that not everyone is as diligent as I with firearms, some are more, but all too many are LESS.

    • M.J. on August 28, 2019 at 3:05 pm

      The LDS church is not ” members only “

      • JC on February 17, 2024 at 6:29 pm

        Thanks M.J. for your reply. The earlier comment about The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-day Saints being a Member only church, was completely inaccurate. All are welcome. 😀

    • James R McCracken on August 28, 2019 at 9:20 pm

      Very simple, they have you arrested for Trespassing and then the CCW Provider revokes your CCW, and the Property has you on a lifetime Trespass list so that if you ever try to come back you are automatically arrested for trespass and they do not have to deal with you. the problem with this ruling is that when the LDC says “church property” they are being Nebulous, as the LDS church is one of the five largest Landowners in the World. They are the biggest landowner in Utah, Colorado, Nevada, And if I am right both Dakotas, so if they chose to, with this ruling they could block the carrying of weapons almost anywhere in the US.

      • Adam on August 29, 2019 at 12:53 pm

        They cannot have your CCW revoked. They can ban you from their premises for life, though.

    • Jacob Paulsen on August 29, 2019 at 4:02 pm

      Marcus the church is open to the public. Says “Visitors Welcome” on every building

    • Jared on August 29, 2019 at 4:27 pm

      You obviously don’t know anything about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. It is not a “members only” church. We welcome anyone in the door.

  2. Kevin Kijek on August 27, 2019 at 5:08 pm

    If this is enforced then anyone who is shot in a lds church should be able to hold the church liable for any and all damages period.with a ruling like this the church is assuming all the liability for the safety and well being of anyone in there church .

    • Douglas L Self on August 28, 2019 at 10:43 am

      It’ll never happen in today’s judicial system. The Church’s proscription on firearms would be seen as a prudent and reasonable measure to protect folks on its property from harm by incompetent and/or negligent actions by “civilians” (note LEOs are exempt), including “friendly fire” in event of an active shooter situation. Would you, Kevin, suggest a screening process, akin to what’s common at some “ghetto” high school, to keep the “hardware” out?

    • M.J. on August 28, 2019 at 3:07 pm

      I 100% agree, my only problem is that I don’t want to get shot.

  3. [email protected] on August 27, 2019 at 8:05 pm

    As a life long member I find this disturbing. Advertising members shouldn’t carry

    • M.J. on August 28, 2019 at 3:09 pm

      I’m right there with you brother, and I ccw in California.

  4. John on August 28, 2019 at 6:31 am

    As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I am disturbed by this announcement. As more churches are attacked by mentally deranged people, I’ve always believed that my church would be safe from these catastrophes because there are always members who carry in the wards I attend. I have a great friend who I personally know carries concealed as a member of the Bishopric. I am interested in hearing why our leaders have come up with a policy that makes our members more vulnerable to violence. I will continue to attend church and plan to continue carrying concealed at all times. I imagine our church will lose some members due to this change. I pray that we don’t encourage an attack on church members with this announcement.

  5. Douglas L Self on August 28, 2019 at 10:48 am

    John – as much as I’m pro-2a ALMOST to the point of fanaticism, I’d advise you to observe what the Brethren have asked re: firearms on Church property, and trust in the Lord that He knows what He’s doing, and not just your own ability with firearms, which is perhaps superior to mine (Jeremiah 17:5). Yes, being a “soft target” for some looney-tooney deranged fool doesn’t set well with me, either, but please consider that even the notorious active shooter situation is quite rare, compared to the still unlikely (but more likely) scenario of a negligent discharge.

    • M.J. on August 28, 2019 at 3:11 pm

      Like the Baptist church Texas ?

    • BS on August 30, 2019 at 10:41 pm

      Douglas your heart is in the right place but I fear you are a bit niave. Prophets are human and have made multiple mistakes. Church policy change back and forth like the wind when their is a new prophet. Do you really think God is the one constantly changing? The apostles disagree all the time, we should follow there example and be capable of thinking for ourselves. This is a bad policy decision, that’s it. Politically they can’t condone carry guns in church, too much liability. In a church that openly preaches emergency preparedness has anyone ever had any kind of emergency plan at church for fire, first aid, active shooter? I have never seen it. This is a huge failing. The gospel might be perfect but the church is far from it.

  6. jace on August 28, 2019 at 11:23 am

    Good thoughts Douglas. I have been concealed carrying at church for a long time, but I think that I will have to exercise a bit of faith here and follow the counsel of church leadership. Guns and physical self defense are very important to me but there are definitely things that are more important. As disappointing as this is, I will no longer be carrying at church and would encourage others to do the same. Or maybe I will just go into law enforcement so I can still carry. 😉

    • Ray on August 28, 2019 at 12:28 pm

      I understand their position on this but wouldn’t you think that in today’s world that they would at least consider an armed and well trained security team? I attend a Baptist church where I live and our CPL clearly states no weapons in churches unless approved by that church. Today such announcements could put churchgoers at risk because disturbed people seem to seek out defenseless groups so you’re telling them, NO RESISTANCE HERE!!!

  7. Terry Story on August 28, 2019 at 12:29 pm

    It is unfortunate that the leaders of the Church are willing to submit their membership to the unpredictable whims of those that would take advantage of “gun free” zones to carry out their mayhem, but that is exactly what they are doing and all of the faithful will abide by their error in judgement. There are a lot of the people in the Bishopric that would ask their savior to protect them in the church, but I am firmly in the camp of “the Lord helps those that help themselves”. I would be firmly against that policy and I would tell the elders that they are indeed in violation of the will of the Lord! It is my belief that He would want the church to protect its brethren and taking care of them involves lethal force when necessary!

  8. Dan on August 28, 2019 at 12:30 pm

    Why would they publicly announce this? The policy itself is stupid but it is more stupid to announce this to the general public. They might as well say come into our church and shoot us.

  9. M.J. on August 28, 2019 at 3:02 pm

    I’ve been carrying in our ward house (church) for years, in a state that is very unfriendly towards gun and there owners. Church is supposed to be a place where we feel safe from the outside. I feel safe from the outside knowing that I can protect my family and other church members as well as myself in case a nutjob that does not agree with the Mormon religion decides to come in and sacrifice or Slaughter us. This will definitely cause me to rethink going to church on a regular basis. As well As church activities on church grounds. As it stands now I think I will simply continue going and carrying concealed, like I always have. And if anything comes of it they may just lose a family of members. The world is too unpredictable today to make a blanket statement like that thinking that every Ward house is safe across the U.S.A as we hope they are.

    • Milt on August 30, 2019 at 3:37 pm

      Sounds like you need to seriously reflect on your faith. If this kind announcement makes you decide that you are not going to Church anymore and you are willing to take your entire family down with you, then your faith in the restored gospel is highly questionable.

      • Captain Moroni on September 8, 2023 at 2:15 am

        The brethren’s policy against handguns in church is policy, not doctrine and definitely not revelation and inspiration from God. So no his faith and my faith is still absolutely congruent with JESUS CHRIST and His Gospel and I go concealed carry in church and in the Temple with a clear conscience.

  10. J.A. on August 29, 2019 at 2:45 pm

    M.J.has good sense.

    • Danny Watkins on August 30, 2019 at 7:26 am

      I’m being told this is false and no such edict has gone out. Can you link to an LDS source?

  11. Dr. Terry on August 29, 2019 at 3:58 pm

    Most LDS men carry weapons in church and try to begat about five or more children.
    What is your weapon of choice???

  12. Chris on August 29, 2019 at 4:00 pm

    I have no problem with this, in fact church is probably the second most comfortable place I feel not carrying. Got to trust God. We would be sorely mistaken to think that just because you aren’t caring a firearm you are a soft target. Remember your training in all things. and go forward with faith. God knows who we are.

  13. Gary Mabey on August 29, 2019 at 4:22 pm

    I do not have a problem with leaving my firearm locked in my vehicle on a Sunday. Unfortunately i have a problem with the description of “Church Property”. I have live in areas where church assignments put me in the mountains doing a welfare assignment where coming across rattlesnakes are a distinct possibility. Will I be asked to keep my sidearm at home versus being able to take care of my safety concerns on other than LDS meeting houses?

    • Milt on August 30, 2019 at 3:41 pm

      It says carry. Locking it in your car is not carrying.

  14. Greg Bohman on August 29, 2019 at 4:30 pm

    I have been inactive in the “Mormon” church for a long time for personal reasons. I still try to live the principles of the gospel on a daily basis. I am afraid this is just one more reason not to attend the meetings. For such a conservative church, this just is not right in my opinion

  15. KB on August 29, 2019 at 9:45 pm

    I am disappointed in the church making this a public announcement. It’s like advertising that they can come shoot us because we aren’t carrying. Does anyone have any idea how many unstable people are on all the social media sites alone? Not counting all the other avenues to get this news. I will be praying for each and every person attending any activities of the church. May Heavenly Father bless and protect everyone!

  16. Michael Cannon on August 30, 2019 at 8:33 am

    The part I disagree with the most as a member is the nebulous nature of the term “lethal weapon.” We interpret that to mean firearms, but what about belts, tactical pens, pocket knives, ties (a ban on that I would support).

    I have just started carrying in Utah so I imagine I will leave my weapon of choice in the car just off church property.

  17. bruceb64 on August 30, 2019 at 11:11 am

    The whole purpose of CCW is to “carry” without people knowing you are. Unless the time comes that you are needed. I pray that Heavenly Father will protect us all. But, I would feel better with that “extra” bump in the small of my back, or the extra weight in my scripture tote.

  18. Sean L Parnell on August 31, 2019 at 11:46 pm

    I think this may be a case where President Nelson may need to clarify this policy for the membership. fChurch policy has also been to obey the law of the land. The Seecond Amendment says we may “own and bear arms”. It does not specify what kind of “arms”. A pencil.pen can be a “lethal weapon” in “competent” hands.
    Sean Parnell, MSgt, USAF, Ret.

  19. Brenton Doncouse on September 4, 2019 at 8:53 pm

    I’ve been a member my whole life. The LDS church has always restricted carrying firearms on private property. If they discover that you are carrying they will simply ask you to leave. Many church properties are highly secured and it is like walking through secret service security when the church leaders are in the building.

  20. Mike on September 8, 2022 at 1:43 pm

    More proof the Church is led by fallen prophets in a lot of cases, both historically and currently. D&C 101:80 says God established the 2A. Cased closed.

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