Latter-day Saint leaders issue guidelines in case of shootings at church

Oct 10, 2019, 4:31 PM | Updated: 6:51 pm

church guidelines guns policy...

FILE - In this July 23, 2018, file photo, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints church where a longtime rural Nevada volunteer firefighter was fatally shot during a Sunday services is shown in Fallon, Nev., about 60 miles east of Reno. Church leaders recently stressed that guns should not be brought to church. On Oct. 10, the presiding bishopric issued new guidelines addressing what members should do in the event of a shooting or other emergency. (AP Photo/Scott Sonner, File)

(AP Photo/Scott Sonner, File)

A day after a shooter killed two worshippers outside a synagogue in Germany, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is issuing new guidelines intended at keeping its members safe.

The new guidelines are about putting resources into members’ hands, church spokesman Eric Hawkins says.

The Presiding Bishopric of the church sent a letter with the instructions to members and leaders, dated Oct. 10.

The letter says the change is due to “changing conditions around the world,” and does not specifically reference the shooting in Germany, which took place on one of Judaism’s holiest days.

A fatal shooting occurred at a church building of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Fallon, Nevada on July 22, 2018.

Preventing problems

The church’s new guidelines instruct members to be aware of their surroundings. Common safety practices that the church is recommending includes reporting suspicious behavior.

“First, if something seems out of the ordinary, doesn’t fit or doesn’t feel right, tell someone immediately,” a statement from the Church News reads.

Members are warned against being alone in the church’s buildings.

Leaders should consider canceling interviews with persons who pose “a potential security problem,” the guidelines say.

In case of emergency

In the instance of a shooting or other emergency at church buildings, members are instructed to “rely on local law enforcement.”

The instruction also applies to emergencies at church-sponsored events, the guidelines state.

If a shooter enters the building, the church recommends that members run or hide.

If members choose to run, the Presiding Bishopric says, they should do the following:

  • Move quickly and quietly to a safe location away from the building.
  • Don’t draw the assailant’s attention.
  • Don’t return for personal items.
  • Don’t carry any items that could be mistaken for a weapon by law enforcement.

If members are unable to escape, the guidelines state members should do the following:

  • Close, lock and barricade doors to rooms where hiding.
  • Stay away from windows and keep low to the floor.
  • Turn off lights.
  • Silence cell phones.
  • If exchange of gunfire occurs between law enforcement and assailant, stay in barricaded rooms until instructed by law enforcement.

As a last resort, members should “fight back against the assailant,” the guidelines state. The Presiding Bishopric says members should defend themselves.

Should an intruder make threats with a weapon, the letter tells members to “comply with the person’s demands.”

Complying with the orders of armed intruders includes complying with a demand for cash or other money donated to the church.

Hawkins says that the church hopes members use these instructions at any time in their lives when emergencies happen.

“What we do see is members using these tools in their everyday lives outside of the Church — at shopping malls, movie theaters, grocery stores and other places. Even outside the Church, we want people to be safe. We want them to have these tools for any circumstance,” Hawkins says.

The full letter can be read here.




We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Crime, Police + Courts

Former president Donald Trump, Manhattan trial...


With trial starting next month, Manhattan DA asks judge for a gag order in Trump’s hush-money case

The Manhattan DA's office asked that Trump be barred from making or directing others to make public statements about people involved in the case.

19 hours ago

Kathy Brandel and her husband of 27 years, Ralph Hendry...

Sharif Paget, Chris Boyette and Polo Sandoval, CNN

Family of Americans believed dead after yacht allegedly hijacked in Grenada describe scene of violence

The family of two Americans who may have been killed in an alleged yacht high jacking in Granada hope the couple might be found alive.

1 day ago

Police tape drapes the crime scene on a trail behind Lake Herrick at the University of Georgia in A...

Ashley R. Williams, Raja Razek, Priscilla Alvarez, Isabel Rosales and Jaide Timm-Garcia, CNN

Questions remain in investigation of death of Augusta University student found on UGA campus

As the investigation continues into the death of an Augusta University student, officials confirmed the immigration status of a suspect.

1 day ago

A car ran into a house in Hurricane Sunday morning, police say. No injuries to the driver or the oc...

Devin Oldroyd

Car crashes into house in Hurricane Sunday morning

A car ran into a house in Hurricane Sunday morning, police say. No injuries to the driver or the occupants of the house were reported.

2 days ago

FILE — Handcuffs hang from a rail inside the Wasatch entry of the old Utah State Prison in Draper...

Mary Culbertson, KSLTV

Man accused of manslaughter after allegedly selling fentanyl that led to overdose

One man was arrested and accused of manslaughter after authorities believe he sold fentanyl to a victim who died of overdose.

2 days ago

Charles E. Escalera, 21...

Michelle Watson and Maria Sole Campinoti, CNN

Kentucky man arrested in connection with death of Campbellsville University student

A man has been arrested in connection with the death of a student at Campbellsville University in Kentucky.

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Latter-day Saint leaders issue guidelines in case of shootings at church