Mormon Monday: A Heavy Heart

Yesterday a Mormon Bishop was shot and killed in his church in Visalia, CA.  I wanted to embed the local new coverage but I can’t get it to work.  You can see it here.

The suspect is now dead, and no motive is known.

My heart is so heavy for that Bishop’s family: his wife and six sons, ages 3 months to 14 years.  And my heart is heavy for his congregation.  And my heart is heavy for the young man I know from my previous ward who is serving his mission in that area, who is currently assigned to that ward, who was just down the hall when the shooting occurred and was one of the first to see the Bishop after it happened.

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints we do not aspire to leadership positions.  Such positions, all positions in the church, are callings extended by higher leaders, and our choice is to accept or decline the calling.  We do not vie for callings, we do not campaign for them, we do not get paid for our church service, we just do it.  This man seems to have died because he accepted the call to be a bishop, a call which is demanding and requires a great deal of personal sacrifice (though there is some speculation it may have had something to do with the company he owned, witnesses say the suspect came in asking for the leader of the church but did not ask for him by name).

I cannot imagine the depth of grief and sorrow his wife and children must be feeling.  I cannot imagine how difficult it will be for the members of his ward to go back to church.  Church . . . a place that is supposed to be safe, a place that is supposed to be like a second home; a place where we go to feel uplifted and edified, not downtrodden and terrified.

I also cannot imagine how the family of the suspect must be feeling.  Grief, sorrow, probably confusion.  It is horrible.

Because I have a crazy father-in-law who hates the Mormon church and loves to shoot things, I have contemplated this kind of thing in the past.  What if . . . what would I do?  How would I protect my children?

Apparently, this bishop took what little opportunity he had to yell for people to get out of the building.

Today my thoughts and prayers are with everyone who is suffering due to yesterday’s events.

6 thoughts on “Mormon Monday: A Heavy Heart

  1. Oh, my goodness. I hadn’t heard about that. It hit a little too close to home for me. (I’m about 3 hours away, but this state is so riled up about a lot of things right now, it could have been anywhere.) I’ll be praying, for everyone involved.


  2. Christina

    What a horrible tragedy. I can’t even imagine – or rather, I don’t even want to let my imagination go there. Praying for his family and church family.


  3. Terrible. Sad to hear about this. We have cops at our church who just work there all the time. It’s sad to think we may need something like that. The thought of what I’d do if something happened at church has crossed my mind. It’s sad we even have to have those thoughts.


  4. The daughter of my sister’s college professor was standing right there when it happened. Needless to say, the college professor has taken a leave of absence in order to help her daughter deal with the tragedy. It is all so sad and senseless. Our prayers have been with the family and ward.


  5. Candace Barrows

    My heart goes out to all of those involved in this tragedy including the family of Mr. Ward.
    Not one of us know which day will be our last so we must always strive to be lovong and kind
    to our family and others around us. Mental illness is a devastating condition and causes
    so much pain and grief.
    May our hearts be filled with forgiveness and peace.


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