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August 31st, 2010
10:33 AM ET

Mormon bishop shot dead in California


Editor's note: CNN's Greg Morrison brings us this story from California.

A Mormon bishop was shot and killed in Visalia, California, on Sunday, police said. The suspected gunman was killed later in the day in a gunfight with police, Visalia California Police Chief Colleen Mestas told CNN.

Bishop Clay Sannar, 42, was shot dead in an office at Visalia's Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Mestas said. About 20 minutes after the shooting, police got a call from the suspect, who told them where he was heading, Mestas said.

Officers intercepted the suspect and a gunfight ensued, during which the suspect was killed. Church members tell police the gunman was a stranger who hadn't been seen at the church before.

Read the full story here.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: California • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints • Death • United States

soundoff (73 Responses)
  1. Kate

    @Barb Ann

    I don't think you're missing much to be honest 🙂

    Just critiquin'

    September 10, 2010 at 12:21 am |
  2. Barb Ann

    FYI-I am Mormon but I don't watch CNN. I found this site on Google. I don't have any idea where CNN is on the tv. The only news I watch is on Good Day Sacramento and KCRA TV channel 3 in Sacramento.

    September 9, 2010 at 1:12 pm |
  3. Not Ted Turner

    If you are a Mormon why would you watch a depressing channel like CNN?

    September 3, 2010 at 4:00 pm |
  4. Yecats

    Religion shouldn't come into it, lives have been lost and families will suffer, Children have lost their Dad, a wife has lost her husband, a community has lost a friend!! I'm disgusted to see people bash, to use this as an opportunity to
    Criticise the LDS Faith!! Shouldn't we hve sympathy, compassion and love for the families!! People will use anything to bash the LDS faith!! I'm saddened by some comments!! We should all live our lives in way that we can meet our maker with a pure heart, knowing we nvr said a vile word or thought a bad thing about anothers belief system!! Mormon's follow and practise the articles of faith. We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let the worship how, where, or what they may.... If everyone lived by that then we'd cease arguing and fighting!! Dnt force your views and opinions on other's allow them the same privilege as yourselves to worship who what or where, or to nt believe in a God or after life, it's their privilege!! I know those who dislike the LDS faith (Mormon church) will nvr allow the same privilege to them!!

    September 3, 2010 at 6:56 am |
  5. Joe

    What a tragic death. If he were Muslim, Keith Olbermann would be decrying Islamophobia and calling for religious tolerance. But he was Mormon. So there's silence.

    September 2, 2010 at 9:52 am |
  6. Barb Ann

    for Kate-I would give anything to meet you. What an amazing open mind you seem to have. Keep letting those missionaries in and do your best to ask as many questions as you can. Even if their heads don't "implode", it's a great challenge to them to study and learn. I challenged 32 of the missionaries, read the Book of Mormon over and over constantly using my King James Version of the Bible to try to 'trip' them up but after one long year of doing so, I realized that for me, the Church of Jesus Christ, Latter Day Saints was what was right for me. I'm guessing that the athiest way is the right thing for 'Reality'. That's one of the amazing things about our lives, none of us will know for sure until our end. Thanks Kate.

    September 1, 2010 at 7:30 pm |
    • Kate

      @Barb Ann

      I'm happy with where my heart led me, even though pretty much no-one can understand why, but I enjoy actually *debating* faith with people who can argue it rationally.

      So what the heck I'm doing on these blogs I have no clue 😛

      But, our local Bishop knows that here is a "safe" spot for LDS members, cos I have family who are LDS, so they always come around every 6 months or so, a new pair every time 🙂

      I don't *try* and convert them to my way of thinking, I really don't – but they leave here having gotten not just their knowledge tested but their ability to discuss it too – perks of a misbegotten childhood upbringing at the hands of Jesuits (which the Jesuits probably regret now since I used it and discovered Catholicism incomprehensibly wanting as a kid) 🙂

      It took a warzone for me to find where I should be – I think your son might be able to explain it better than these comments would let me, at least in generalities.

      As for meeting – never say never, stranger things have happened in the world 🙂

      Oh, that offer of a website you made – I wasn't ignoring it, I was trying to figure out how to reply. I have a husband who never asks me questions, will hold me, or let me be alone, without needing words. That and faith helped me stay away from the edge. The nights aren't always as dark now. But the thanks were heartfelt.

      September 1, 2010 at 9:40 pm |
  7. Dean

    I'm sure God would want us to be intelligent stewards over the resources he gives us. As shown to us in countless parables...

    September 1, 2010 at 1:06 am |
    • Selfish Gene

      So, you know god?

      September 1, 2010 at 9:38 am |
    • Barb Ann

      to Dean-in reference to 'Reality'-"I refuse to have a battle of wits with an unarmed person." Obviously, this person has no knowledge of the Mormons. Non-members are unaware of the millions of dollars given to the needy both members and non-members. If 'Reality' wants to know the real truth, our churches are always open to anyone and we will be glad to honestly explain anything and everything. So, as predicted, a tragedy of the loss among two families has become another reason for the uneducated in reference to the Mormon church to voice their opinion. Thank God for a free country to be able to do so.

      September 1, 2010 at 12:12 pm |
    • Kate

      @Barb Ann

      I seriously suspect the local Bishop sends missionaries to my place just to test them, on the theory if they can leave here without their heads imploding, they can face anything 🙂

      September 1, 2010 at 12:28 pm |
    • Reality

      Tis interesting, that Mormons never say anything about the "angelic-con job" that Joe Smith pulled on them. Actually, they are not alone in this silence:

      Joe Smith had his Moroni.

      Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

      Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tinkerer" got around).

      Jesus and his family had Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day d-emon of the de-mented.

      The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

      Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.

      Some added references to "tin-ker bells".

      "Latter-day Saints also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

      Apparently hallucinations did not stop with Joe Smith.

      September 1, 2010 at 12:37 pm |
    • Kate

      @Reality

      You're back to leading questions again: Tis interesting, that Mormons never say anything about the "angelic-con job" that Joe Smith pulled on them.

      Why would they say anything about an "angelic con job" since they don't believe there was one to begin with? You're asking a ridiculous question with a faulty premise then using the fact someone doesn't answer it on the grounds it is a ridiculous question with a faulty premise to prove the premise is right to begin with!

      Just sayin'

      September 1, 2010 at 1:09 pm |
    • Reality

      OK, for all the non-Mormons out there since (as per Kate) the Joe Smith con continues to brainwash our Moroni brothers and sisters:

      Joe Smith had his Moroni.

      Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

      Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tinkerer" got around).

      Jesus and his family had Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day d-emon of the de-mented.

      The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

      Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.

      Some added references to "tin-ker bells".

      "Latter-day Saints also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

      Apparently hallucinations did not stop with Joe Smith.

      September 1, 2010 at 4:51 pm |
  8. Reality

    Chapter 2 continued:

    Single test question for the course, yes or no : Is Mormonism a business c-ult using religion as a front and charitable donations and volunteer work to advertise said business? Yes!!!!

    September 1, 2010 at 12:43 am |
    • Dean

      Ha! Not a business, dude. Mormon church leaders don't make any money for their service. They're what you call smart people. Investing money...hmmm that's a thought!

      September 1, 2010 at 1:05 am |
    • Reality

      The Mormon "prophet"/"profit" is not paid? References please and do include any references noting that said "profit" does not own stock in Mormon companies, does not receive free room and board, free insurance (life and health), unlimited expense account, chauffers, free use of company cars, and a very large 401K plan.

      September 1, 2010 at 12:32 pm |
    • mormon mom

      Mormon bishops aren't paid a penny to be the bishop! The do it for free. They will get paid by a higher sorce someday 🙂

      September 4, 2010 at 12:18 pm |
  9. Reality

    Chapter 2 continued:

    Members of the church celebrate the Lord's Supper with water rather than wine or grape juice. They believe their President is a prophet who receives new revelations from God. These can su-pplant older revelations, as in the case of the church's historically most con-troversial doctrine: Smith himself received God's sa-nctioning of pol-ygamy in 1831, but 49 years later, the church's President announced its recision. Similarly, an exp-li-cit policy barring bla-ck men from holding even the lowest church offices was overturned by a new revelation in 1978, opening the way to huge missionary ac-tivity in Africa and Brazil.

    Single test question for the course, yes or no : Is Mormonism a business c-ult using religion as a front and charitable donations and volunteer work to advertise said business? Yes!!!!

    September 1, 2010 at 12:40 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.