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Latter-day Saint Leader Shares Lessons from Lockdown During Maine Shooting

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A Latter-day Saint mom named Cindi B. shared her thoughts about what it was like to be locked-down in her local ward building when a gunman went on a mass shooting that killed 18 people and injured 13 more at a bowling alley and bar in Lewiston, Maine. 

“Safe and locked down at the church,” Cindi shared. “I will be taking youth that live in the area home with me tonight.”

When local news reporters responded to her posts on X, formerly known as Twitter, she said, “I’m in a church with a bunch of scared teens who can’t get home tonight. I don’t actually know a lot. The kids are getting a lot of texts from friends. Lots of rumor and speculation.”

Cindi, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was at the church with youth for an activity when the call to lockdown reached them. 

After the shooter was caught two days later, Cindi shared what she learned from the experience. She wrote: 

Now that the #lewiston shooter has been found (deceased), here are just a few things I wish I had down while I was in lockdown with a bunch of teenagers in a ‘safe’ location.”

“1. I wish the adults in the room had monitored teen phone use better. The kids were checking in on their friends but the misinformation was intense. We were getting reports from locals of multiple shooters at 7 different locations. It definitely amped up the fear and anxiety.”

“2. And I would have had the teens check in with their parents first thing. I took their word for it that they had talked to their parents. It was only an hour in when I talked with parents that I found out most had not texted their parents. They were texting mostly with friends.”

“3. I will get some various phone chargers and keep them in our YW room for emergencies.”

“4. Stick to established news media as sources. They didn’t get everything right but they were much closer to the truth than a lot of other tweets. Our local newspaper was a good source.”

“5. It was actually very nice to be with our community during this ordeal. My own teens appreciated being with their closest friends. The teens prayed together and comforted each other. I am impressed by their compassion and love.”

“Our ward has its own building and we do keep the kitchen stocked with after church snacks. The peanut butter and fluff sandwich fixings was a blessing since many kids hadn’t eaten dinner before coming to the youth activity.”

“I was also so glad I had been grocery shopping because we moved the group to my house and they were ravenous. I hosted the bishop and his family and the YW girls. Food is comforting.”

She also shared the following day that the ward had planned an impromptu trip to the Boston temple. “We’re thankful for the invite from another ward in our stake. Time for healing,” she wrote. 

A shelter-in-place order was given after the shooter disappeared. The suspect’s body was found near his abandoned vehicle and those affected in Maine could begin to grieve. 

Featured Image | Sophie Park for The New York Times
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Aleah Ingram
Aleah Ingram
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.

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