‘Need to protect ourselves’: Church issues new safety guidelines to Latter-day Saint members and leaders

Religion

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Run, hide or fight: that’s what the Presiding Bishopric of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is telling members to do in an active shooter situation. 

It’s part of a new set of safety guidelines for Church buildings and activities that was just issued Thursday.

A Church policy calls Church buildings “havens from the cares and concerns of the world” but the world sometimes creeps in. Last December two men were seen breaking into cars during Sunday services at a ward in Eagle Mountain. In May of 2018 a man broke in and vandalized the St. George Temple then in November a teenage intruder attacked a 71 year old woman as she played the organ at a Centerville meeting house, knocking her unconscious and most seriously, in July of last year a man named John Kelley O’Connor shot a killed fellow church member Charles Miller during a meeting at a ward house in Fallon, Nevada.

“I think there are so many crazy, evil people that we need to protect ourselves,” LDS Church Member Karen Carbine told ABC4 News Friday.
The document cites “changing conditions around the world” and provides guidance such as  “Always follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost”, “Avoid being alone in Church buildings”and “If an intruder threatens to use a weapon, comply with the person’s demands.”

“It is kind of scary that it’s even something you have to worry about,” Clayton Holdstock said. 

“It’s sad that we have to have a stance on all this security,” Megan Garrett said. “Just that there are people who are going to fight against what other people believe in.”

In the event of an active shooter at Church, the guidelines say members should run, fleeing immediately to the nearest safe exit or hide behind a locked and barricaded door. As a last resort, members should fight, using any available materials or tools as a weapon.

“I’d be one of the first people to hide because I’m a big chicken first of all but I think that’s a good idea,” Kandi Anderson said. 

“I’m prepared for whatever happens,” Rob North said. “If the time comes that a shooter comes and it’s my time, that’s OK. I’m ready for it.”

“I’d like there to be people trained in the congregation that can carry concealed weapons,” Carbine said. “I would feel safer.”

In August, the Church changed the wording of its firearms policy, prohibiting all lethal weapons except those carried by law enforcement officers. 

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