Member Push Back On Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) Anti-Gun Policy

The Church of Jesus Christ recently formalized and publicized their dangerous policy for meetinghouse security (or the lack thereof) and now there may be push back. The social justice movement has undoubtedly been successful with the church on illegal immigration and LGBT issues and the church continues to cater to them as it embraces a globalist posture. Many of these policy directions have come at the expense of undermining individual rights/choice, the doctrine on a divinely inspired US Constitution, and in seeming conflict with current and past instructions to members along with the accompanying double standards.

Interestingly, there may be push back from members who have quietly put up with all the policy shifts. Taking a page from the ‘social justice’ protesters play book (e.g. ‘wear pants to church’ day), I’m hearing of personal protests related to the policy. Thus far I’ve heard of civil disobedience (ignoring the policy), carrying a visible, empty holster (bad idea, IMO), walking out, calling church HQ and a ‘soft walk out’ (my term for it).

I like the soft walk out best (it can be combined with calling church HQ). Here’s the soft walk out theory: The church meticulously watches its weekly attendance. The attendance clerk typically runs the count immediately after the sacrament is passed. To coincide with the week of Constitution Day, on September 22nd, protesters would quietly walk out for a bathroom break or to get something from their car and return to their seat once the count was completed. Walking away from the count would be even easier if you sat out in the foyer rather than inside the chapel.

I have no idea how many will do any of these let alone how many know or have thought of the above. I don’t really care. I’m sold on the soft walk out, I’m tired of being pushed around and getting hit by friendly fire from the public affairs virtue signalers. Regardless of what you do regarding this policy or how you feel about it, please review active shooter training and be vigilant.

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The Church of Jesus Christ Enacts Lethal Policy, Ensures Meetinghouses Are Soft Targets (Update)

I’ve been documenting this dangerous policy for years, including the beginning of this year.

This new announcement  isn’t much of a change from the current policy but strengthens the gun ban and extends it to all “lethal weapons” (a vague policy letting them pick and choose what they ban). Either way, it means attending members are left defenseless in an advertised soft target. The Salt Lake Tribune has a very good article by Kathy Stephenson and Peggy Fletcher Stack on this. Read the whole thing:

LDS Church makes it clear: No guns in its meetinghouses

The article mentions two shootings that took place at a Church facility:

There have been gun incidents — even deadly ones — at Latter-day Saint meetinghouses through the years. In July, a 48-year-old man opened fire inside a church in the northern Nevada city of Fallon, killing one man and wounding another. A decade ago in Utah County, a pregnant woman was shot and killed by her estranged husband in the parking lot…

Not one of these incidents would have been prevented by the new policy. It won’t stop a criminal/murder. Worse, it reduces security. It ensures a disarmed, vulnerable set of victims to be slaughtered, particularly in a space with poor egress. This is a very tempting target for a criminal or terrorist.

This begs a few questions:

1. What will the church do to secure their facilities and ensure congregants are protected?

2. Will church leadership (including President Nelson) lead by example, eschew armed security and adhere to the policy and risk their lay members are subject to?

3. Does this reveal a significant policy/doctrinal change on the divinity of the US Constitution?

Finally, please click this post from January on this issue and I implore you to review the potentially life-saving training and resources in the last half of the post (as a start). You’re a sitting duck, best be prepared and aware.

UPDATE: The church is well aware of the threat and, in 2017, was provided a white paper through their lobbyist, Marty Stephens, on options regarding their dangerous no self-defense policy (View/download here: “Protecting LDS Church Members Against Church Shootings“). The document has plenty of background resources as well (read the whole thing including appendices). It is also noteworthy that one of the churches mentioned in the paper quietly rescinded their advertised no gun policy last year.

The Equality Act: How The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints Stepped On A Rake

Fox13 reported today that the Latter-day Saint church speaks out in opposition of Equality Act:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a statement Monday in opposition to House Resolution 5, also known as the Equality Act…

“While providing extremely broad protections for LGBT rights, the Equality Act provides no protections for religious freedom. It would instead repeal long-standing religious rights under the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, threaten religious employment standards, devastate religious education, defund numerous religious charities and impose secular standards on religious activities and properties,” the statement from the Latter-day Saint church said, in part…

Yeah, it’s bad legislation on many levels. While I oppose it, the church statement comes way too late. Their Public Affairs folks stepped right into this and were warned about it years ago when they decided to play patty-cake with LGBTQ advocates and dabble in social justice. They were happy to throw individual rights (and members) under the bus while exempting the church on this very issue in order to score fleeting political points:

Organizational Vs Individual Freedom: Elder M. Russell Ballard And Utah’s LGBT Law
LDS Church And LGBT Non-Discrimination Law Credibility
Good For The Gander: LDS Church And LGBT Non-Discrimination Laws

This year, the church tacitly endorsed the Utah Legislatures’ hate crimes bill (which undermines equal protection under the law). Now they find themselves potentially subject to the same laws they were happy to stick everyone else under while they carved an exception for themselves.

But it goes beyond that. They may have set the means for their youth-turned-LGBT-advocates to be indoctrinated into supporting this stuff. I posted on this subject in 2013: Turning Point: Did The LDS Church Lose Its Youth On Gay Marriage With KSL?. Then, in 2017, they doubled down on the same decision: Repeating History: LDS Church And KSL Programming (Note: that is a CBS show they’re running on an NBC affiliate – it’s 100% their choice and not an affiliate mandate from NBC).

To be frank, I was a decade late on this. This programming gambit was really was set in motion a decade before I opened my fat yap. Steve DeVore gets the credit for sounding the first warning on this: Utahn battles raunchy TV online.

I mentioned him and his now defunct CleanTV site in my 2017 KSL programming blog post (above). Read that post and take note of the damning quotes from the church-owned KSL programming execs. They unwisely made themselves “friends of the mammon of unrighteousness” and got burned, big time.

Coming back to this year, BYU youth and profs now cheer and herald a BYU valedictorian coming out as gay. In local Utah schools, being gay, trans, or any one of multiple gender variations is viewed as something to be respected and applauded while being heterosexual is suspect and considered a potential oppressor (definitely unjustly “privileged”).

This whole PR press has certainly worked wonders. Now the church can look forward to battling its own (now indoctrinated) members over the Equality Act (you know, like bill co-sponsor, Rep. Ben McAdams).

Many have warned them they were playing a game with groups who were not concerned for the church’s welfare and would certainly not be satisfied until a full victory. Here’s the SOP put more succinctly:

Plenty have followed gospel truths and admonitions from ecclesiastical leaders to put aside bad influences and advocate for traditional and eternal moral values. They’ve spent their time and treasure sitting on the front line and taken all sorts of flak and retaliatory strikes from the media, Hollywood and very groups the church tried to curry favor (or reprieve) with. They’ve been derided and defamed. While the church backed down, the ‘front line members’ were told to hold the line…essentially with no material higher echelon support while watching the church roll over or outright help opposing advocates successfully pursue their goals.

At least for now, the church is holding firm on this (see Fox13 link):

But homosexual behavior is considered sinful and would disqualify a member from temple privileges, and therefore employment at a church-owned business.

Whatever comes next, the church media group (and me!) owes Steve DeVore a damned good apology for not heeding his warning.

Hillbilly Elegy, The Utah Republican Party And The Salt Lake Chamber Of Commerce

I wrote about political insiders effectively consolidating their take over of the Utah GOP. The outgoing party Chair then told conservatives and other grassroots folks they are not welcome and to get out and find another party. The GOP entrenched elites headed by Governor Gary Herbert have some fellow travelers, most prominent of which is the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce. These select groups have formed various policy front groups which they control and employ to provide a false veneer of neutral analysis to champion/justify their political goals/policies; a self-licking ice cream cone. The roll up of the GOP will certainly strengthen the local oligarchy they have formed.

They operate under the premise that what is good for business and GDP is good for everyone. They seem to believe in a one-size-fits-all silver bullet that stock values and business profits and growth equate to a healthy society. But that’s a lazy half truth that they (and many conservatives) fall for. To wit, with the power consolidation, we’ll likely see further business costs/risks being pushed onto the backs of of struggling families, onto low and middle income Utahns and onto small businesses — socializing the costs and privatizing profits. This will be done to improve the (big) business environment and to ensure the continued growth of government by broadening the tax base.

Certainly, having jobs is important to society but business success doesn’t always translate into jobs (e.g. automation and outsourcing) nor does it mean jobs are created where they’re needed (such as the rust belt and the vacating of rural Utah and especially where there is a seemingly blind focus on the Wasatch Front for government-assisted economic development measures). Nor can business success serve as a surrogate for the health of the foundational unit of society – the family and it certainly does not ensure a higher quality of life.

At the beginning of this year, Tucker Carlson gave a monologue on this issue which should be considered by everyone. I was going to quote part of his talk to capture his main point but decided against it because it is too important. It really must be considered at in full. Watch the segment or read the transcript here: Mitt Romney supports the status quo. But for everyone else, it’s infuriating.

I also just finished J.D. Vance’s book Hillbilly Elegy. I can’t recommend a better book. Just read it. It is a must for anyone who cares about their neighbors and community (and for those involved in politics/policy) or preparing for a church mission*.

Vance also took note of Carlson’s monologue (The Health Of Nations: Conservatives should heed Tucker Carlson’s advice. We shouldn’t assume that what is good for markets is good for all of us). He notes:

This raises a fundamental question with which so many of Tucker’s critics refuse to even engage: What happens when the companies that drive the market economy — and all of its benefits — don’t care about the American nation’s social fabric? What happens when, as in the case of a few massive narcotics sellers, they profit by destroying that fabric?

Surely our response can’t be: “Well, the market will take care of it.” The market is not a Platonic deity, floating in the sky and imposing goodness and prosperity from on high. It is the creation of our choices, our laws, and our democratic process. We know, for instance, that pornography has radically altered how young boys perceive their relationships with women and sex, and that the pornography industry has acquired a lot of wealth…

Again, please read the entire article (AND his book). It is true that both parties have rejected the social aspect of policy. National Republican economic elites have basically cast out and silenced social conservatives. We’re told the way to win elections is to limit ourselves to economic issues and definitely avoid anything about morality or “traditional family values”.

Meanwhile, in his book, JD Vance refers to family values with strong church and community support as part of the remedy to the situations he was faced as a youth:

…So I wasn’t surprised that Mormon Utah—with its strong church, integrated communities, and intact families—wiped the floor with Rust Belt Ohio.

When I read this, it was a source of pride. But it vanished quickly and I was chilled when I realized that I know kids and families much like JD’s in my own neighborhood and in our classrooms*. Utah is not immune. We all know someone or a family just like JD’s. It’s already here and we’re not talking about it. Nor is it helpful when local churches waver on foundational moral principles that give the stability cited by Vance to Utah and, most importantly, its families.

I hope we’ll wake to this and not continue to be lead by the nose by the Salt Lake Chamber and that we will recognize that gross economic growth does not ensure a thriving society and economy. As individuals, we don’t get absolution by blaming our oligarchs and doing nothing. We need to get ourselves together, inculcate religious values in our children, take political action, and reach out to those like JD.

*If you want to understand those near you and those you teach or will serve. Read Hillbilly Elegy. His was an Appalachian family but the experience, consequences, and ‘enduring monsters’ that JD faces transcend Appalachia and exist next door, sit in an elementary school, and can be found behind the door missionaries knock on as they proclaim Christ’s gospel. There’s plenty of swearing but it isn’t gratuitous – it’s the way they talk. Get passed it and look at the heart and lessons, and act!

Church President Russel M. Nelson, Personal Opinion And Inspiration (UPDATE: PBS Report On Congregation Security)

I had a recent experience on Sunday where Church of Jesus Christ President/Prophet Nelson attended our service. The talks were really good and President Nelson offered a few concluding words. His words were an example that the Church President is a man and is fallible.

President Nelson noted he had recently visited church members in Sri Lanka and the sadness he felt for the despicable attack on Christians. He then stated how grateful he is that we are ‘fortunate to live in a country where we can worship in peace and safety’.

I assume he was not aware of the attack (Saturday – the day before) on the California synagogue that left one dead and maybe forgot about the Tree of Life synagogue attack six months ago along with the other shootings that have occurred at US Christian/other churches over the years. Then there’s ISIS’ explicit threat on Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints facilities. At least, I sure hope he was made aware of these items and not oblivious to them.

Basically, he was wrong. I agree that we are blessed to live where we do and all of us take it for granted but we are absolutely not safe in a church anymore. To think so doesn’t acknowledge the reality on the ground. He was ‘ad-libbing’ and some of his words were inspired but others were simply misinformed. It’s a good example that church leaders (to the highest level) may be good folks but they’re certainly not omniscient and it’s unfair to them (and lazy) to suggest all blindly agree with everything they say (hint: Nephi didn’t buy off on Lehi’s teaching/directions, he questioned it and spent some time praying to get confirmation, meanwhile, it appears Laman/Lemuel just went along for the ride without seeking personal confirmation and it didn’t end well).

It is also easy for President Nelson to say we’re safe when he happens to have an armed security detail that protects him in church. I’ll admit that doesn’t sit well with me at all. The rest of us are prohibited from effective means of self-defense, so we’re all sitting ducks when we go to church. It’s also particularly ironic that the prior day’s synagogue shooting was interdicted by a malfunction and an armed congregant and another brave soul who rushed the shooter (I expect several people owe their lives to their actions).

Again, I call on President Nelson and the church to terminate the dangerous and ridiculous gun ban*.

*Click on the last link for active shooter resources – it could save your life.

UPDATE: First, PBS updated a good background report (How safe is your place of worship?). The data on Jewish congregations addressing security is reflected locally: Once Soft Target For Terror In Utah Hardens Itself

Better yet, PBS just ran a report today that starts with a list of attacks on churches in the US: Amid rising attacks on places of worship, how religious leaders are responding (video and transcript at the link). Church leaders discuss the issue with Bishop Sutton noting a church shooting (of a priest and secretary) in his diocese. The discussion turns to security. Pastor Elmore discusses experienced, armed congregants as part of their security plan which begins in the parking lot. As Rabbi Marcus states:

In the end, we made that choice to move to armed guards, for a number of different reasons. One, as was demonstrated at Chabad, first of all, it decreases the appearance of being a soft target. And people who come in to do these attacks often flee immediately when they are confronted with other people who are armed and trained.

So we didn’t do this because we glorify violence or we celebrate guns. We’re very much not in favor of a violent culture. We made the transition to switch to armed guards because we felt that it was the best way to keep everyone in our community safe.

End Exploitation: Illegal Immigration, Tax Credits, ID Theft, And The Border Crisis

I was tipped off to a 2015 KSL article in the comments (thanks Jen). The report is super as it has several illustrations for today: Republicans say Obama giving immigrants ‘amnesty bonuses’

Armed with new Social Security numbers, many of these immigrants who were living in the U.S. illegally will now be able to claim up to four years’ worth of tax credits designed to benefit the working poor. For big families, that’s a maximum of nearly $24,000, as long as they can document their earnings during those years.

Obama has issued executive orders shielding about 4 million immigrants from deportation. Some were brought to the U.S. as children; others are parents of children who are either U.S. citizens or legal residents.

They’re referring to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). It’s something that should sound familiar if you’ve read this blog. It involves illegal aliens not only engaging in identity fraud but tax fraud as well and the IRS basically doesn’t care. To catch up, read the posts on WTHR’s Bob Segall’s outstanding investigative reporting on this issue. Better yet, check out all his reports from the source: WTHR Tax loophole investigation.

Based on the above, it may be possible for one of the illegal aliens who used a fake ID to ‘game the system’ and get a huge EITC for ineligible family members to turn around and file again (thanks to Obama’s unconstitutional amnesty) but under the new social security number they were assigned. Thus, they could double their take of taxpayer funds.

One means that this may be prevented is if the IRS flags their earnings documentation as having already been reported under a different SSN but, given Segall’s findings, that appears unlikely.

Then there’s the identity theft aspect that goes hand-in-hand with illegal immigration:

How does Social Security know when it receives taxes from immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally? There is no foolproof method, Goss said. One way is by tracking reported wages in which the Social Security number does not match the name the agency has on file.

Some of these are clerical errors or unreported name changes, But Goss estimates that a majority of these wages come from immigrants who have made up Social Security numbers or used someone else’s.

The numbers are huge.

It’s well known and well documented that illegal aliens engage in identity theft (along with credit fraud and medical ID theft) and leave plenty of innocent victims in their wake (besides those murdered, drunk/other vehicular deaths, and sexual assault and decades long humanitarian/drug border crisis). Amnesty, HB116 and/or cheap labor proponents like the media, Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce, and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints prefer to ignore it and hope no one notices the one-sided compassion for the perpetrators and blind eye to victims. But so does the Federal Government.

The IRS upper echelon obviously doesn’t care. Even before Obama’s amnesty, Segall found frustrated IRS officials upset at the abuse and blind eye to the identity theft. The Treasury Inspector General wasn’t happy either. With Obama’s amnesty, the “supporting documentation” they provide will clearly, again, indicate earnings via a fraudulent social security number. Fortunately, you can count of IRS chief, Koskinen, to thumb his nose at victims, citizens/legal immigrants, IRS workers and the IG.

The IRS accepts these tax returns without reporting the taxpayers to immigration authorities, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said. That encourages the workers to pay taxes.

“We don’t enforce the Social Security laws, we don’t enforce the immigration laws,” Koskinen said of his agency. “In fact, the reason illegal immigrants file taxes with us is they know we aren’t sharing that data with anybody. We treat it as taxpayer-protected information.”

The IRS was supposed to finally take action with a rule change but I have no idea if it was ever implemented (Segall’s investigation ends there).

Finally, the article ends with a line that unwittingly exposes and condemns the Chamber of Commerce:

“Let’s not forget that these workers receive the lowest wages for what they contribute to their communities and local economies,” said Ellen Sittenfeld Battistelli, policy analyst at the National Immigration Law Center. “What do we as a nation gain by further impoverishing them?”

This is an admission that points that illegal aliens are getting paid below market rates (thereby likely artificially depressing wages and innovation) and underpaid employees are dependent on these credits. Unscrupulous employers (and the Chamber of Crony Capitalists) are quite happy to have taxpayers subsidize their lust for cheap labor.

This exploitation of various victims needs to end. The wall must be built and it is essential that E-Verify be implemented to turn off the magnet and perverse incentive to hire underpaid, illegal labor for competitive advantage.

Annual Warning: LDS Church Publicly Announces Soft Target Status, Demonstrates Some Lives More Valuable Than Others

Each January, I check to see if the LDS Church has renewed it’s firearm ban and publicly announced itself to be a soft target for terror and/or other violent crimes (and, yes, islamic terrorists have specifically named the LDS Church as a target). The trend continues this year. However, there is something else I picked up on during the last year and I was reminded of when reading their January 9, 2019 legal notice:

NOTICE OF FIREARMS PROHIBITION Notice is hereby given that, pursuant to Section 76-10-530 of the Utah Code Annotated, firearms are prohibited in all houses of worship, including temples, meetinghouses, chapels, stake centers, tabernacles, the Assembly Hall, the Tabernacle and the Conference Center, of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the “Church”), except for firearms in the possession and control of individuals who (a) are specified in Section 76-10-523(1)(a)-(e) of the Utah Code Annotated or (b) are otherwise engaged in the protection of Church members, visitors, personnel or facilities and hold a written authorization issued by the Managing Director of the Church’s Security Department. This notice is effective upon publication and shall remain in effect until revoked or the first anniversary of the publication of this notice, whichever first occurs. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 50 East North Temple Street Salt Lake City, Utah 84150 1238909 UPAXLP [Emphasis added]

First, “members” with “written authorization” does not apply to general membership. Trust me, if you’re not in upper church leadership that bold section doesn’t apply to you. You’re expendable.

Earlier this year, I attended a couple of meetings where the church’s president was in attendance. Both were in a church facility where the gun ban applied. In both instances he had an armed security detail. They either were advertising to potential trouble makers that they were armed or didn’t do a very good job concealing their weapons. It’s another instance of “good for me but not for thee”.

Members should be aware of three things:

1. Upper leadership is afforded protection that you and innocent members (particularly children) are not. Apparently, their lives aren’t as valuable as others (‘some lives are more equal than others’?…). As far as I’m concerned a child’s, middle-aged mother’s, or sleepy 75-year-old member’s life is just as important as the Prophet’s or other General Authority’s life. If they refuse to let members protect themselves, they should at least either provide security or active shooter (and first aid) training.

2. Just because an armed security detail is in a meeting you attend, do not count on them protecting you or your family. Their priority is the individual(s) they’re assigned to. If crap hits the fan, they’ll get them out of the danger which may mean neutralizing the threat (if you’re lucky) but more likely, just getting out to safety. It’s possible they’ll come back to engage the threat but there will be a long delay (they have to secure their client) and most of the damage will be done. Basically, you’re on your own.

3. Given the two items above, you need to plan for your own security, reaction and egress. You should hold a family home evening on it. I would also suggest looking into some sort of trauma first aid training to help in the aftermath if you survive. Here are a few resources to start off:

Everything You Think You Know About an Active Shooter Situation Is Wrong
Recognizing 8 Signs of Terrorism
How Situational Awareness Can Save Your Life In A Terror Attack

Notes on the videos:  In Auburn’s you’ll notice everyone concentrate in one corner of the room. That isn’t best practice IMO (see the Ohio video where they mention spacing out). Also in Ohio University’s video, note the “…bring along a weapon in case you encounter the shooter along the way” comment. The best weapon (IMO) has been denied to you so grab what you can quickly (don’t waste time evaluating/looking for something, however). Remember, ALICE  means Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate.

There are plenty of other resources so check them out but be sure to apply them to your situation as each method will have deficiencies for different scenarios (e.g. differing room type, size, configuration, obstacles, number of shooters, etc.). Try to play out realistic scenarios in your mind (don’t get into fantasy where you come out the hero). Plan on casualties and steel yourself mentally for the screaming, gore and likely death you will encounter.

Finally, The LDS Church remains one of only two churches in Utah with this dangerous policy. I hope the LDS Church will reconsider their policy just as another congregation did when faced with a threat. It should also be noted that prior to the change a few years ago, concealed carry had been allowed for decades in LDS facilities without incident.