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Have the Brethren ever said anything about having firearms for self-defense in the home?





Dear Pam,

Here is a link to a FairMormon discussion for your consideration.

Consider the following as well, from History of the Church, vol. 6, ch. 33, p. 607, when Cyrus H. Wheelcock had expressed concern to Illinois Governor Thomas Ford regarding the safety of Joseph Smith and his fellow prisoners.

Ford replied: “I was never in such a dilemma in my life; but your friends shall be protected, and have a fair trial by the law; in this pledge I am not alone; I have obtained the pledge of the whole of the army to sustain me.”

After receiving these assurances, Wheelock prepared to visit the prison. The morning being a little rainy, favored his wearing an overcoat, in the side pocket of which he was enabled to carry a six shooter, and he passed the guard unmolested. During his visit in the prison he slipped the revolver into Joseph’s pocket. Joseph examined it, and asked Wheelock if he had not better retain it for his own protection.

This was a providential circumstance, as most other persons had been very rigidly searched. Joseph then handed the single barrel pistol which had been given him by John S. Fullmer, to his brother Hyrum, and said, “You may have use for this.” Brother Hyrum observed, “I hate to use such things or to see them used.” “So do I,” said Joseph, “but we may have to, to defend ourselves;” upon this Hyrum took the pistol.

Joseph Smith armed himself as well as his brother Hyrum. Prophets rely on the hand of God rather than the hand of flesh, while also observing the principle that God helps those who help themselves. Prophets may not enjoy the prospect of arming themselves or of visiting death upon those who seek their blood, but they don’t refuse to do so when called upon. Moroni, a great man of God and perhaps the greatest captain of arms in the history of the Nephite nation, oversaw the killing of many tens of thousands of Lamanites, doubtless dispatching many scores by his own hand. Yet he always sought to stop the bloodshed and find a peaceful means of resolution.

Defending yourself is not the same as thirsting for blood. The history of God’s people is replete with instances of righteous prophets leading armies in defense of God’s people. It is naive indeed to believe that we need take no action to protect our own lives and the lives of those in our charge, but that God will take care of all that nasty unpleasantness for us.

The Prophet Joseph Smith himself wrote, “Peace be still, bury the hatchet and the sword, the sound of war is dreadful in my ear. [But] Any man who will not fight for his wife and children is a coward and a bastard. ” In this case, I believe the word “bastard” is not a generalized vulgar insult. I believe that Joseph literally meant that such a man is misbegotten. Reminds me of those about whom Christ said, “It had been good for that man if he had not been born.”

As far as I know, God has never given any mandate that his Saints own and use firearms. But by the same token, he surely has not prohibited procuring legal and appropriate means of self-defense. In the United States of America, that would include private ownership of firearms.






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