Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press
In times of tragedy, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have covenanted to mourn with those that mourn. As we face more and more tragic school shootings, it is important to use the surging emotions in our hearts to affect change.
As we pray, mourn, and comfort, we should seek for inspired ways to act. Here are six things Latter-day Saints can do after school shootings or other violent events.
Pray to know how to act
Prayer is a stepping stone to revelation. God knows how you can make a difference in your community. As you pray, don’t just pray for the victims and those left behind. Pray to know what you can specifically do to minister to those in need. Ask God to reveal to you clear ways to act.
Donate blood and offer resources
Donate blood, especially if you near on in the affected community. You can donate money to your local school for therapy counselors and services. Think of what you have access to and how you can give it back to your community.
Learn PTSD symptoms
Many students and families experience PTSD after school shootings. Educate yourself on the signs of PTSD. If you are a Church leader in an area that has been affected by a violent event, look for these signs in your young men and young women.
Gather your young men and young women to write cards and notes
As an activity, especially if your youth have been affected by violence in their area, write thoughtful notes and cards to victims and survivors. Use the time to talk with your youth about school shootings and how you dispel fear and prepare for violence. Consider inviting an educated mental health professional to come and speak with your youth as you create the cards. This can also be done on an individual and family level.
Educate yourself on gun safety issues and vote
The First Presidency consistently encourages members to be active in the political community, though it remains politically neutral on the whole. Learn about gun safety issues at a local and national level. Whatever your feelings about these issues, do not remain silent.
Here are some political ideas you can consider:
- Contact your local news station and ask them not to use the shooter’s name. If they do, express your distaste.
- Support budgets or legislation to bring more security and training to local schools
- Support budgets or legislation to provide mental health services in local schools
Register to vote and go to the polling booth to vote on these important issues.
Teach your youth about reporting suspicious behavior
Students should never be made to feel like they are to blame for school shootings or that they are responsible for not catching warning signs.
However, students are on the front lines in their schools. Parents, talk with your children about school shootings and the warning signs. Leaders, hold a mutual activity to teach your youth about how they can report suspicious behavior or notice warning signs of possible school violence.
What advice do you have?
Latter-day Saints around the world have been affected by gun violence. What advice do you have on how members can gather together and get involved.
Aleah is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English, Creative Writing, and Dance. She now works full time as a marketing and product manager, writer, and editor. Aleah served a mission in California and loves baking, Lang Leav poetry, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, and Bollywood movies.