LDS Church releases statement on Charlottesville riots

Steve Helber
White nationalist demonstrators clash with counter demonstrators in Charlottesville, Virginia, Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency and police dressed in riot gear ordered people to disperse after chaotic violent clashes between white nationalists and counter protestors. (AP Photo)

Update: Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The LDS Church updated its statement regarding the situation in Charlottesville, Virginia. The update reads:

“It has been called to our attention that there are some among the various pro-white and white supremacy communities who assert that the Church is neutral toward or in support of their views. Nothing could be further from the truth. In the New Testament, Jesus said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matthew 22:37-39). The Book of Mormon teaches “all are alike unto God” (2 Nephi 26:33).

White supremacist attitudes are morally wrong and sinful, and we condemn them. Church members who promote or pursue a ‘white culture’ or white supremacy agenda are not in harmony with the teachings of the Church.”

The original story is as follows:

The LDS Church issued a statement Sunday, August 13, condemning the racist motivations behind rioting in Charlottesville, Virginia.

A “Unite the Right” rally held to protest the removal of a Confederate statue in Charlottesville turned to violence on August 11. White supremacist groups clashed with counter protestors throughout the weekend, resulting in the Virginia governor declaring a state of emergency and three deaths.

Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates of the Virginia State Police died in a helicopter crash after being dispatched to the area.

According to a spokesperson for Charlottesville, 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr. drove a Dodge Challenger into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring at least 19 others.

Fields was charged with one count of second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding and one count of hit-and-run. He was denied bail at his first court appearance Monday, Aug. 14.

The statement from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reflected on an address given by former church President Gordon B. Hinckley and calls for people to treat each other with greater kindness, compassion and goodness. The statement reads:

“It is with great sadness and deep concern that we view the violence, conflict and tragedy of recent days in Charlottesville, Virginia. People of any faith, or of no faith at all, should be troubled by the increase of intolerance in both words and actions that we see everywhere.

More than a decade ago, the late Church President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910-2008) addressed the topic of racism when speaking to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He powerfully and clearly taught this principle: “No man who makes disparaging remarks concerning those of another race can consider himself a true disciple of Christ. Nor can he consider himself to be in harmony with the teachings of the Church of Christ.” For members of the Church, we reaffirm that teaching today and the Savior’s admonition to love our neighbor.

Our prayers are with those who are suffering because of this intolerance and hatred. We pray for peace and for understanding. Above all, we pray that we may treat one another with greater kindness, compassion and goodness.”

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