Comments about ‘LDS bishop recounts Ronnie Lee Gardner's final days before execution’

Return to article »

Published: Sunday, July 17 2011 10:00 p.m. MDT

  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Most recommended
Salt Lake City, UT

Macnsmuck- Good try, but prisons do have kitchens, which is probably where the hot oil originated. Ronnie was not on death row when these incidents took place. Once again, if you are going to comment, please, read the whole article more than once so that you understand it. Clergy have the special privilege of being able to visit at the prisoners request when they are about to be put to death. Anyone who doubts this mans story obviously has not learned the act of forgiveness themselves and how dare you challenge this mans story. The correctional officers do what they can to make a death row inmate make peace with those they have wronged in life so that they might have peace in death. Ronnie was a part of the lives of everyone at that prison for 25 years that they were able to show him such compassion, shows me that Ronnie was a changed man and I pray he was shown mercy. Besides, if the families can find it in their hearts to forgive this man for taking the lives of their loved ones, we have not the right or reason to condemn him any further.

Iowa City, IA

Mr. Gardner was a murderer, however, thanks to an amazing Bishop he was more prepared for the next stage of life. There is no way we can determine what happens next but he has been taken home to that God who gave him life and he will be judge by the Eternal Judge of both quick and dead at the appropriate time. It is the best place for him to be, away from the harsh and judgmental world under the care of a loving God. I'm sure Mr. Gardner will pay the penalty for his own sins but it will be done according to God's system, not man. If this bishop can have so much compassion on Mr. Gardner while trying to help him reconcile, how much better will God be towards him.

God bless this great Bishop.


John Adams | 8:14 a.m. July 18, 2011
Miami, FL

Interesting comments by John Adams... To see these comments in context go to Mormon Doctrine pg 520

Layton, UT

Prior to Saul's conversion on the road to Damascus, he was a persecutor of and condemned to death many of Christ's followers, but yet the Master himself found the good in Saul (Paul) and made him one of the greatest missionaries in Christiandom. If the Lord has that much mercy for Saul, could He not have an equal amount for Ronnie Lee Gardner? When Christ was on the cross, he freely forgave the robber that was crucified along Him. Yes, mercy cannot rob justice, but I do believe that the changes in a persons heart will be looked at favorably by the Lord at judgement and many people who we determine as unfit for mercy might be given more than we can comprehend. Let's let the Master judge and let us ask mercy for those who have transgressed.

My wife's older brother was murdered a few years back and her family cannot forgive the murderer. They live with hatred and resentment and it festers in their souls like a deep sliver. Forgiveness is required of all of us. Period. The Lord will forgive whom he will forgive.

Alaskan Ute
Fairbanks, AK

As someone who as seen the effects of horrific child abuse, I felt sympathy reading this article. Sympathy for the victims families, Mr. Garnder, and the Bishop. Mr. Gardner's character evolved long before the actual murders.

With that said, Mr. Gardner got what he deserved, and I respect a Bishop who devoted hours away from his own family, helping Mr. Gardner understand the law of mercy and justice.

I remember this terrible series of events, but this tiny ray of light in the end, will hopefully help some of us take something positive from the situation.

Sarah B

Please correct me if I am wrong. I understand that the Atonement pays for all sins except murder. I thought that a murderer like King David could repent and be forgiven but never receive exaltation. Doesn't the murderer have to pay the full price for their behavior instead of the Atonement making up the difference? I'd understood that was b/c restitution could never be made for wrongfully taking another's life.

Eagle Mountain, UT

@ Sarah B

If that were true then all murderers would be Sons of Perdition. To enter even the Telestial Kingdom, one must be cleansed of all sin, and that requires the Blood of Christ.

Tremonton, UT

Sarah B:

King David was a very unique situation, quite different from the case of Gardner. King David conspired to have a husband killed because of his own lust for the man's wife. Part of King David's harsh judgement from God was because he had been so blessed by the Lord, yet he gave it all up for lust.

One should be careful not to take this one instance out of the Holy Scriptures as a measurement of the punishment of murder. There are so many other examples and teachings that must also be considered.

In all the words of modern day LDS church leaders, the overwhelming teaching is that, there is only one unforgivable sin - denying the Holy Ghost.

I have done a lot of scripture study and have come to only one sure conclusion about repentance and forgiveness for murder. And that is, it will be up to Christ to judge.

Cottonwood Heights, UT

A powerful story and great reporting. Imagine, a newspaper story that doesn't just regurgitate an AP line. AMAZING

Thanks also for avoiding the politics and morality of the death penalty. Thanks Doug and DNEWS.

Salt Lake City, UT

Appreciate the time required to write and bring about this story. For the good men willing to give of their time, for those bad men who, given the time, find a way to better their lives. God loves all of his children, even those who go astray. Fortunate for all, His judgment will be just and merciful.

Wasatch Front, UT

A story about an unrepentent, angry murderer changing his attitude before being put to death is simply not an interesting story, and certainly not a story worth telling. The lives of two people, and all of the joyful stories of family, personal accomplishment, service and love were cut-short and destroyed by this monster. Blaming his upbringing or detailing how he (maybe) gained some small bit of conscience will not replace the lost lives or the stories that never were.

This story is not worth of this news organization.

John Adams
Miami, FL

It never ceases to amaze me how so many members of the Church know so little regaring Church doctrine.

no fit in SG
St.George, Utah

Confidentiality clause?
The medical professional in me is cringing.
Hope nobody writes personal, private stuff about me.
Wondering about a monetary exchange here.......


Wow! Another criminal finding God. Forgiveness is nice. Justice is better, thank goodness the state finally did what it should of years ago. This isn't even news and shouldn't be a concern of any news media. I'd rather see pictures of Osama's dead body, get those, that's news.

John Adams
Miami, FL

"In all the words of modern day LDS church leaders, the overwhelming teaching is that, there is only one unforgivable sin - denying the Holy Ghost."

That is totally and completely false.

"A murderer, for instance, one that sheds innocent blood, cannot have forgiveness. David sought repentance at the hand of God... for the murder of Uriah; but he could only get it through hell: he got a promise that his soul should not be left in hell....

:This is the case with murderers. They could not be baptized for the remission of sins, for they had shed innocent blood." (Teachings, p. 339)

Mark C
Gilbert, SC

I ask myself, will this story change my attitude toward some teen who makes me upset with their behavior, enough to turn to them and be the mentor who could help save them from a similar outcome? How many young people have I "thrown to the dogs" just because I didn't care for their attitude and despised their actions? We all need to reach out with compassion and love toward our fellow travelers in this life and provide love, comfort and guidance, giving him or her a sense of self-worth and listen to their concerns. Be the compassionate mentor that could have made a difference in this story. Oh, that that one person had crossed paths with Ronnie! It is tragic that some who could have helped turned out to further abuse him and hurt his character. They will yet pay an awful price.

Sarah B

I know that murder can be forgiven. I just thought it required a different process than other sins b/c of its seriousness. I also know that people will be judged righteously b/c some may have mental problems due to illness or injury that will affect their behavior. They will be judged differently than those who are evil. Personally, I don't put alot of stock in excuses like "I had a bad childhood." Lots of people have horrendous upbringings and they become responsible, law abiding citizens, in part b/c they don't want to repeat their own childhood in the lives of others. We have the ability to choose good over evil.

Somewhere in Colorado, CO

Manipulating manipulator manipulating.

The stone-cold killers interactions had absolutely *nothing* to do with repentance.

This is what it had *everything* to do with:

(from the article) "which included new shoes, colored pencils for drawing, an additional hour out of his cell, additional phone time to take care of his personal and legal matters, and a CD player with audio versions of the scriptures. He has had no write-ups for 10 years and feels he is being treated more harshly than necessary."

Smart move to get a powerful "leader" in the prison to start trying to "get" you stuff.

All those things were purchased by the Utah taxpayer.

Good job, Bishop. You got a stone-cold killer some (extra) "stuff" he wanted.

That was the beginning and end of the killers interaction with the Bishop. Pretend an interest in the scriptures so you can get a CD player on Death-Row. Pretend an interest in the LDS Church so you can get colored pencils.

A manipulating manipulator manipulated. Beginning and end of the story.

Eagle Mountain, UT

@John Adams,

Even in the case of David he will eventually have forgiveness, for he is not a Son of Perdition. His sould will not be left in Hell.

David will not enjoy exaltation, but will eventually be redeemed. The only reason we know this is because it has been revealed to Joseph Smith.

While not 100% certain, I would wager that King David had substantially more knowledge and light than RLG when this heinous act was comitted. I have to believe that has a lot to do with his standing before God.

While the scriptures are clear that Denying the Holy Ghost is both unpardonable and unforgiveable, it is not so clear in the case of murder. Why was Paul able to be redeemed for his actions, and not David? David was not the one who killed Uriah, only arrainged his death. Paul may not have killed anyone, but played as big a part in the killing of what he deemed to be heretics.

belted kingfisher
West Valley, UT

I found the articles about Ronnie Lee Gardner and Mr. Bradshaw to be highly human and beautiful. Bradshaw is a remarkable human being. This story fully discloses the power of the human being either to be both destructive and constructive or positive and negative. Our impact in this world will be felt by those around us. Bradshaw chose to be a change agent for the betterment of the prisoners he worked with including Ronnie.

Ronnie was very much a product of a horrible childhood but also he came to realize the harm he had commited and was truly contrite and sorrowful. His life exhibited the fact that as humans we make mistakes and we are both positive and negative.

Thank you, Mr. Bradshaw for this compelling story of redemption.

to comment

DeseretNews.com encourages a civil dialogue among its readers. We welcome your thoughtful comments.
About comments