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Dear Gramps,

I always have been wondering about this question. You are a police officer and you have just shot or killed someone because it is a part of the job. Does Heavenly Father hold you accountable for those people that you killed while on this particular job? Also, would Heavenly Father hold you accountable if you shot someone purely out of self-defense? Thank you in advance. Sincerely,



Dear Curious,

If you were a police officer and you should have shot someone as part of your job but didn’t, God would probably hold you accountable for dereliction of duty. We have a rather large number of faithful members of the Church who have sensitive positions involving the public safety, who are under obligation to use deadly force if the situation were to warrant it.

The Prophet Joseph, shortly after his brother Hyrum’s baptism, called him to serve as Oliver Cowdery’s bodyguard as he delivered a few pages of the Book of Mormon manuscript each day to the printer in Palmyra. Later, the prophet became commander of a military force called the Nauvoo Legion.

Howard Egan, who had joined the Church in 1842, served as a major in the Nauvoo Legion. He was later a policeman and a bodyguard for President Brigham Young.

The brother of Elder Matthew Cowley of the Quorum of the Twelve, Sam Cowley, was an agent for the U.S. Bureau of Investigation (that later became the FBI). On November 27, 1934, Sam Cowley killed the famous gangster, “Baby Face” Nelson at Barrington, Illinois. He was also shot to death by Nelson in the same gun battle.

Think of the great military leaders who were at the same time the Lord’s servants, such as General Moroni, and some military leaders were even anointed prophets, such as Mormon and his son, Moroni.



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