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Posted 14 May 2001   For week ended May 11, 2001
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
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Sent on Mormon-News: 10May01

By Vickie Speek

With McVeigh Execution Approaching, LDS Church Remains Neutral on Death Penalty

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- As the execution date for Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh approaches, the Utah state parole board must make a similar decision - whether to put inmate Elroy Tillman to death or whether to allow him to live. According to some religious leaders and church members, that's not necessarily a choice the state should make. Other religious organizations, including the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, maintain a hands-off attitude toward the death penalty, taking the position that the death penalty is solely a matter of law.

While stopping short of barring the death penalty, the Catholic church has decreed there is virtually no reason to put prisoners to death. The United Methodist Church, the Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of American also oppose the death penalty. Jewish leaders have declared that "God alone is the author of life."

According to spokesman Dale Bills, the LDS Church "regards the question of whether and in what circumstances the state should impose capital punishment as a matter to be decided solely by the prescribed process of civil law." "We neither promote nor oppose capital punishment," he said.

While Mormons are typically considered conservative and Republican, there are many who oppose capital punishment. This may be especially true of members who live in foreign countries.

But Mormon history doesn't make the issue any clearer. That history includes some rogues who either were or who would have been candidates for the death penalty if taken to trial today. Mormons have also been the victims of criminals who may have been eligible for the death penalty. One of Timothy McVeigh's 168 victims was an LDS Church member.


LDS Church remains neutral on death penalty
Ogden UT Standard-Examiner (AP) 5May01 T1
By Hannah Wolfson: Associated Press Writer

See also:

LDS Bombing Victim's Family Remembers, Awaits Execution


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