Las Vegas, General Conference, Sex and Murder

Why do Mormons have such an anti-porn thing going on, but no one ever talks anti-guns in general conference?

Because I am kind of tired of people telling me to avoid porn at all costs, that our bodies are temples, and that sex is something sacred and reserved. Comparatively, gun ownership is overlooked as something sporty, and presumed to be used rarely (for the Harvest Holiday, I presume?) but it is not reserved, it is not for the sacred purpose of feeding you family. It’s just plain A-okay.

For example:

October 2017 General Conference Anti-Porn statement:

I promise that as you daily immerse yourself in the Book of Mormon, you can be immunized against the evils of the day, including even the gripping plague of pornography and other mind-numbing addictions.” -Russell M. Nelson, “The Book of Mormon: What Would Your Life Be Like without It?” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2017, 62–63. Quoted by Neil L. Andersen in The Voice of the Lord, October 2017 General Conference.

October 2017 General Conference Anti-Gun statement:


October 2017 General Conference Anti-Murder/anti-shedding of blood statement:


To be clear, I am no fan of porn. I’d prefer pornography to end. But I also prefer the sale of guns to private citizen to end, too.
Because I view gun ownership to be just as, if not more wicked than pornography. I recall as a child going to a friend’s house and playing with her in the attic that we easily unlocked because she knew where her parents hid the key. It was there that we discovered her father’s collection of playboy magazines. And her mother, regularly checking on us, discovered us – luckily before we saw anything bad. She chided us for getting into things that are “only for daddies.” But like old playboys, guns are locked away in closets and attics “only for dad.” And a handful of years later, I learned that one of the boys I walked to school with in the morning had died. From suicide. He knew where the key to the gun closet in his house was. And I went to his funeral. And I saw his mother, sobbing, being dragged out of the church, unable to walk. We were 12.

It is said that sexual sin (and it’s cousin, pornography) is “next to murder in seriousness.” Therefore, is it not reasonable that we, as Mormons, look at gun ownership and it’s cousin, MURDER as being as serious as sexual sin?

I lived in Las Vegas for a time. I was a young single adult and was very active in the church. I went through the temple for the first time there and loved it. As a YSA, friends and I would gather and go to the temple together, often listening to country music on the way there and the way home– soothing meoldies that invited the spirit and longed for “true love” in the way that YSAs sometimes do. I remember looking from the temple—high on the hill behind The Strip, and seeing the grid-pattern planning of Mormons dotted with the lights of the Luxor and Ceasar’s and others. From the vantage of the temple, I could tell exactly where to drive to get home, fiind a dozen local chapels, stake centres and even the Institute– all sans GPS. If I ever felt lost, I could drive to te temple, see my beloved city and find my way home.

And now, I love seeing the scores of Mormons in line offering to donate blood, and donating quilts to calm the injured and in shock…. And yet, I can’t help but wonder if those same Mormon hands have argued for the “right” to own guns, standing firmly alongside the future gunmen that would cause crisis after crisis. Because I know these people. And my heart is broken.


Spunky lives in Queensland, Australia. She loves travel and aims to visit as many church branches and wards in the world as possible.

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10 Responses

  1. Kamian Coppins says:

    While I was in college I had the realization that if murder is the “worst” sin, with sexual sin being the “next worst,” it didn’t make sense to eschew sexuality in media but not violence. Since then I have mostly avoided watching action movies or consuming media where people are killed off carelessly (think James Bond). I just can’t believe that watching stuff like that doesn’t affect our attitudes towards violence and gun use.

  2. Heather says:

    This is so important and people don’t even think about it. Thanks for laying it out so neatly.

  3. EFH says:

    I completely agree with you Spunky. You always write thoughtful posts.

    I would like to point out though that people that are against gun control, do not approve of them being used for mass shooting or murder. And we have to be careful with this kind of logic because it is damaging to all and it prevents all of us from listening and discussing the matter. Same logic inhibits the conversation on abortion to elevate itself to the right framework for discussion – to liberals, abortion is simply a right but does not mean that we want all women to have abortions. So, we just have to be careful with the assumptions we make as we connect the dots of complex issues.

    As for the church not making statements on violence and other important matters, it used to bother me a lot too. But not anymore because I feel that they usually get it wrong every time they talk about social issues. They are not sociologists, psychologists etc., so they come across as always speaking from a judgmental position. I want the church leaders to stick to advise for spirituality only. I do not want their advise on other matters. It is my right to translate my spirituality into other aspects of life. And I prefer to be the only author for that.

  4. m says:

    I would guess the reason murder, shootings and violence isn’t addressed in General Conference is that Latter-day Saints, in general, don’t really have a problem with those things. While many in the Church are gun owners, they aren’t using them in violent or illegal ways, for the most part. And gun ownership isn’t, again for the most part, leading people away from their families or the Church.

    But many Church members are using pornography and it IS leading them away from their families and/or the Church.

  5. Franklin says:

    Republicans are all about rights. But with rights come responsibilities, which they are reluctant to talk about. If we ignore the responsibilities, we lose the rights. Gun ownership is a right. If over 100,000 gun injuries (and 33,000) deaths per year are any indication, we have neglected the responsibilities associated with this right and should therefore lose it. End of story. No other country puts up with the crap the NRA feeds us.

    • Are you saying Democrat should be denied the right to own guns? The ones who are out killing people are most often registered Democrats. There are more people killed in car accidents that by guns, am I to believe they are being careless with automobiles? Should they too be banned?

      My answer to these questions in

      No, No, and No.

      We need to focus on loving our neighbors and helping our neighbors. If we know them we should see issues of mental illness and help them through it.

  6. Ziff says:

    I like this, Spunky. Porn and guns do provide a good contrast. Unfortunately, it feels to me like much (most?) of what we hear in Conference boils down to a few GAs’ gospel hobbies rather than actually being at the top of any list of importance.

  7. Violadiva says:

    I’m in agreement with this line of thinking. I think it starts all the way in childhood when we allow our children to engage in gun play. I am very against gun play, much to my children’s dismay, and I don’t allow guns and “i killed you!” imagination games at my house. I get some flack from other parents about this, some telling me that it’s just a “normal” way for kids to play.
    Role-playing murder is normal?
    We don’t let our kids role play “fornication” or “adultery” — why is playing “murder” somehow okay?!?
    If kids were ever to role play “fornication” we’d think they had been horribly abused and needed to see a counselor.
    I think it’s a double edged sword: making guns and murder not a big enough deal and making sex too much of a big deal. It’s disproportionate in my mind.

  8. Em says:

    I’ve been listening to a lot of news reporting about guns in the last little while for obvious reasons and one thing I’ve heard is that men in particular feel a pleasure in recreational shooting that is akin to sexual release. So the link between pornography and recreational murder play goes beyond what you’ve written here.

    As for the argument that church leaders don’t address this because most church members aren’t killing people with their guns…they may not be. But murder is the final end point of the violence continuum, it doesn’t make every step short of that okay. I have family members (not in my home) who own guns and take self defense classes. I hate to say it, but Christ said things like “lay down your life” and “turn the other cheek” and “if a man compel you to give him your coat, give him your cloak also” not “murder people who try to steal your TV.”

    It’s not okay to murder/commit adultery. It’s not okay to play murder (shoot things for fun) or play sex (using pornography for self-stimulation). It’s not even okay, according to our Lord and Savior, to think angry or lustful thoughts. As I see it, the only reason that owning a gun (or shooting it) can fit with the Gospel of Jesus Christ is if you’re providing food for your family according to the laws of the land. Can you imagine if Mormons were as willing to clutch pearls about having guns in the home as we are about seeing someone buy coffee?

    • spunky says:

      I have extended family who own guns for hunting, too. But it’s weird– they use the meat, to be sure. But they hire a tracker to even go and show them where to hunt, along with buying the hunting license, guns and the follow-up taxidermy head in the house. It seems like they spend a awful lot of money to “provide for the family”, so I struggle to see it as a right instead of a hobby– and, like you said, the sexual release and triggering from eating the meat through the year is something that always creeps me out.

      A friend said to me years ago that she thought the attraction to guns is about power. It’s not about artistry or gun collecting or meat– it is about power. Like rape is not about sex. We see it on tv like that– someone pulls a gun, and everyone else freezes and does that they can to make the gunman happy. It’s crazy! So that thought has always stuck with me.

      Thank you and everyone, for your comments! <3