‘Mormon Land’: Are firearms and gun violence a moral issue the LDS Church needs to address?

Religion scholars note members worship the Prince of Peace and church founder Joseph Smith often told his followers to “sue for peace.” But will leaders wade into this highly charged political issue?

(Ivan Pierre Aguirre | The New York Times) A woman mourns before the 21 crosses bearing the names of the victims of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School at a memorial set up in the town square in Uvalde, Texas, May 27, 2022. On this week's "Mormon Land" podcast, two religion scholars discuss whether leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will or should weigh in on the issue of guns and gun violence.

In recent weeks, the U.S. 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.

Though 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 have lamented the shootings, the Utah-based faith has not made any official statements about these tragedies specifically or gun violence generally.

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

Discussing those questions and more on this week’s show are Patrick Mason, head of Mormon history and culture at Utah State University and the 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, historian of American religion and the author of books on Latter-day Saint women and the Mountain Meadows Massacre, including the forthcoming “American Punishment: The Mountain Meadows Massacre and Mormon Transgressions.”

Listen here:

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