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

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

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West Valley, UT

I am amazed and stupefied by the comments on this board. They fall into four categories:

1. Appreciative of Bradshaw; Very few of these.

2. Argue Mormon doctine about mercy/justice and punishment for murderers and so forth. Too many comments.

3. Outright hatred and condemnation for Ronnie.

4. Suspicion about Mr. Bradshaw's motives.

Thanks to all who fall into the first category. No thanks to #2 comments; this is not at all about what the articles are about. I am amazed at the vitriolic comment of the 3rd group against someone they probably had never met. And, finally, I am aghast at the 4th group.

Tremonton, UT

John Adams quotes:
'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....(Teachings, p. 339) "

I am totally aware of this quote. I am also totally aware, and you may be also, that most LDS church prophets since have specifically avoided confirming this teaching, and have repeatedly taught that the only unforgivable sin is denying the Holy Ghost. This teaching is much more in harmony with Holy Scripture.

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

Members of the LDS church need to be much more cautious about teaching doctrine not founded in scripture or LDS doctrine. For example, one above eludes to a "different" atonement outside that of Jesus Christ. This is not only without scriptural or doctirnal foundation, but contradicts Christ's own teachings.

belted kingfisher
West Valley, UT

I had a brother who was treated very cruelly by my father. He struggled with alcohol, drugs and several marriages. He eventully committed suicide.

I cannot judge him as he went through hell as a child and adolescent. He suffered emotional, verbal and physical abuse almost on a daily basis. I cannot think how different his life would have been with a supportive loving father.

When I see criminals, I see many who had hellish childhoods and were dealt a very bad hand. They chose to do ill but it might not have been.

I refuse to hate them, judge them and only feel empathy for them. We do not know the live they lead. Ronnie suffered from sexual abuse which is very difficult to overcome.

I hope his family will be at peace. I hope the family's of the victim's will find peace.

Highland, UT

As one in need of repentence and forgiveness for more things in my life than I can ever possibly remember I sincerely hope for mercy from my Father in Heaven. I hope for the same for all of us.

This story really moved me. It has given me alot to think about.

West Jordan, UT

This was an interesting article. While I'll refrain from commenting on whether I think Gardner's punishment was justified or not, I think it serves as a vivid example of how one person's misdeeds can affect so many people. Obviously it deeply affected the families of the victims (as well as Mr. Bradshaw.) They all had to deal with the consequences of Gardner's actions.

But I think the real lesson in all this (for those who share Bradshaw's opinion) is that the person who ultimately suffered from Gardner's actions wasn't the impulsive young man who robbed the bar or shot the attorney, it was the arthritic remorseful man who was executed. I personally believe that people can dramatically change (but I won't speculate on whether that was the case with Mr. Gardner or not, I merely use it as an example.) People often fail to see how their actions will not only affect others, but how their own lives will be forever changed because of their choices.

princeton, IN

It has been said that there is only one unforgivable sin, the denial of the holy ghost. I woulkd say that there ia another one, an unforgiving heart. We are commanded to forgive, He will forgive who He will forgive. Remember even the smallest of sin that is not repented for separates us from recieving the full grace.

princeton, IN

Murderers areforgiven eventuallly but only in the sense that all other sins are forgiven except thesin against the Holy Ghost; they are not forgiven in the sense that celestial salvation is made available to them. (teachings,p.356-357) After they have paid the full penalty for their crime,they shall go on to a telestial inheritance(Rev.22:15)

Sarah B

Alma 24:13 "Behold, I say unto you, Nay, let us retain our swords that they be not stained with the blood of our brethren; for perhaps, if we should stain our swords again they can no more be washed bright through the blood of the Son of our great God, which shall be shed for the atonement of our sins."

Joseph Smith also stated that the murderer cannot be redeemed until he had "paid the utmost farthing."

so you see BH, this is what I was taught in Seminary. Not that there is a "different" Atonement, but that Christ paid the price for our sins with the exception of murder, which we will pay for ourselves. After we pay the price and repent there will be forgiveness but not exaltation. Of course, that is after murderers are judged and found to be accountable for their actions.

Rugeley, Staffs

"Moroni 7:19.

18 And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged."

I don't know how you folks that are commenting on here feel about your own positions concerning the Judgement. Personally,I know I fall far short of the perfection I see in my Saviour. I may not have murdered or committed adultery, but I am far from perfect. Do I always help the needy without any feeling of superiority, or do I always home-teach without resenting having to go out AGAIN? Do I ever smile inwardly when someone I don't like gets come-uppance? Unfortunately,the answer is not always as it should be. Do I want mercy, rather than judgement for such transgressions? I do, and therefore must forgive others, and not judge them, not even murderers. (It doesn't say "except murderers in the scripture above.) I need the Atonement in my life. Therefore, I don't feel qualified to judge Mr Gardner. I leave that to my Saviour. He is without sin.


Beautiful story. Beautiful perspective. And to those of you who think Dan Bradshaw would ever do this for his own gain, you clearly don't know the man. He is, quite possibly, the finest person I know. Thanks for sharing the story, Dan and Doug.

Gallatin, MO

Matthew 25:36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. I would say when ye are in the service of your fellow beings you are only in the service of your God. Thanks for being an example of the believers. Great story.

Salt Lake City, Utah

Re: rubycrownedkinglet | 3:14 p.m. July 18, 2011

There are actually five categories: The fifth category are those cast judgement on categories #2, #3 and #4. They are broad minded to a fault, are quite willing to forgive a killer they've never met and are equally quick to condemn others who don't share their opinion.

We all make this world a better place. Some because we came, and some because we got sent home early.

Castle Rock, CO

Judgment is not ours. We can judge acts but we will never know the intent behind the act.

I enjoyed reading the story. It was a great perspective. I really liked the quote by President Faust. We all pray for mercy.

"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." We are all debtors (Matthew 18:21-35). I have heard some say, "well I don't have to extend mercy and I can judge because I have never done _____, which this person did." What a foolish statement. We are required to forgive and to be merciful. It does not matter what act people commit. Judgment is not ours. Some acts make it so people lose the privilege of living among the rest of us, and they rightfully spend the rest of their days in prison, but we are not the judges of their souls. It is required that we forgive all men.

Salt Lake City, Utah

Re: BYUCOLORADO | 8:26 a.m. July 19, 2011
"Judgment is not ours."

Everyone makes judgments about other people each and every day. The God of the Bible doesn't expect us to run around with blinders on. Diligent parents approve or disapprove of the people their children associate with. Wise parents don't want our children hanging around with drug addicts, and most of us support Megan's Laws that red flag sex offenders living among us.


This story moved me deeply and reminded me again of the power and mercy of the infinite atonement. When a great wrong happened in my life, I discovered that I had been given an opportunity to learn that the only way to peace and happiness is through forgiveness of those who hurt me severely. Perhaps this virtue of forgiveness as exemplified in this story, the recent example of a forgiving Bishop whose family was killed by a drunk driver and why the forgiveness exemplified by Corrie Ten Boom, Gandi and many others is why they have such a deeply moving impact in our souls. To develop that compassion and forgiveness and even love for those who have wronged us is a great blessing and hopefully something that we all deeply admire and yearn for.

Peace comes from this example.

Alma 24:10 And I also thank my God, yea, my great God, that he hath granted unto us that we might repent of these things, and also that he hath forgiven us of those our many sins and murders which we have committed, and taken away the guilt from our hearts, through the merits of his Son.

A voice of Reason
Salt Lake City, UT

People who complain about such "Mormon" comments should consider the following.

They chose, according to their own free desire, to come to the website of a 'Mormon' owned newspaper, that has a 'Mormon' themed insert paper every week, and online has a whole section dedicated to 'Mormon' topics.

Also, that 'Mormon' comments being found in abundance in a Utah newspaper is no different than if we all were reading a paper published by the Vatican. Catholic comments outrageous or tiresome? No, not really. Comments saying 'there are too many catholic comments' actually are the comments that people tire of.

I would also like to point out that this article is about an LDS bishop's story.


Now, in the friendliest way of saying this possible I will conclude with this. I often tell people that if you are uncomfortable living in Utah, why would you stay? I don't mean it rudely, only in that I would leave boston if I hated it there. If people don't like an LDS themed paper, or the comments on here... no one should feel unwelcome here, but there is another paper in Utah much less friendly to the church. We choose what we read.

Castle Rock, CO

I was anticipating someone bringing that up. I remember that conference talk where they said you must judge, and sometimes people, to ensure that you are being safe and your kids are safe too. Sometimes you may even say "I feel like that person isn't a good person to be around right now." I have made that decision in my life. I don't usually summarily dismiss people (I think we are to minister to everyone, no matter who they are. You can't minister if you can't be around them!).

That said, we are talking about two different things (which I alluded to in my comment). There is a difference between judging an action and judging a person. Ronnie committed acts that would make anyone say he should be removed from society. That is one thing. It is another matter entirely (and this is what I was referencing) to say that he will burn in hell or anything of that nature. We have no idea what God's judgements will be for a person. We do know how certain acts are viewed by God (murder=bad). We don't know where Ronnie's final destination will be.

Aaron the Ogre
Provo, UT

After reading many of the other comments, I think a few have missed what is happening within the text. RLG and an LDS Bishop shared a relationship that needs to be heard. This would make an amazing book.

Is RLG guilty? I don't care. Is he waiting the resurecction of the damned? I don't care.

I care about the amazing article that is presented here and the experiences of this bishop. I he transformed this into a book and published it (possibly donating all profits to charity or the victims), I would buy it. I want to know more. This story has the making of a classic in literature much like In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, but I hope without the plagarization and blatant textual barrowing.

The story is compelling, because of how it affected the Bishop. It is compelling by the way it affected me. It's important by the potential it has to affect many who think murders/killers and other criminals are beyond forgiveness, redeption and (emotional/spiritual) rehabilitation. There is hope for the most severe of criminals and this article shows this. I want more and I hope the good bishop is willing to provide it.

Salt Lake City, Utah

Re: BYUCOLORADO | 4:50 p.m. July 19, 2011

You're trying to complicate the issue. Our society elected a group of citizens to sit in judgment of this man and the crimes he was charged with. They listened to the evidence, judged him to be guilty, and voted for the death penalty.

When it comes to forgiveness neither you or I can grant it because we personally weren't harmed by his actions ..... other than the damage he did to society. I often wonder about people who eagerly announce that they've forgiven somebody they don't even know.

Our society sent this convicted killer home to his Maker and what happens to him after he left our jurisdiction is outside the scope of my concern.

Colonia, Yap, FSM

Powerful story. Thanks for sharing.

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