Church makes official statement condemning violence following Pittsburgh shooting

Following the Saturday, Oct. 27, shooting in a synagogue located in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released an official statement expressing solidarity with those affected in the tragic event.

"We express our deepest grief and solidarity with our Jewish friends around the world after the heinous violence perpetrated against congregants of the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh," the statement said. "It is our constant prayer that God will heal and protect those affected by such tragic events. When the security and religious freedom of our Jewish brothers and sisters is violated, we all suffer. Houses of worship should be safe, inviolate places for people of all faiths to join in sacred fellowship and seek communion with God.

"We condemn the environment of hate-filled rhetoric that has become so prevalent. Anti-Semitism has no place in our society. It is the responsibility of good people everywhere to speak out and stand up for each other’s rights to worship and live peacefully."

The shooting resulted in 11 fatalities and six additional injuries, with a 46-year-old suspect taken into custody. The synagogue dates back to the 1920s.

President Russell M. Nelson spoke on the topic of community violence two days prior to the shootings while on his South America ministry tour in Montevideo, Uruguay.

"We should love one another," he said. "So violence has no place in society.”

Responding to a question from author Sergio Rubin about how he copes with reports of violence, President Nelson told the Deseret News that mass shootings are "a great offense to God." He said, "Hatred, violence, murder: All are against the teachings of the Lord."

Following the tragic shootings in 2015 at the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, Elder D. Todd Christofferson offered condolences to the communities affected.

"Let me begin by saying, in the wake of the tragic shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, Wednesday night, out prayers are with the families of the victims and with the members of the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston," Elder Christofferson said to a nationwide audience on occasion of the Freedman's Bureau Announcement. "We pray that all who mourn may find the peace that comes only from God. There, unfortunately, regrettably we saw hate. Here today we’ll talk about love.”