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Just out of curiosity... does anyone know why the church singled out Utah for banning guns? As far as I know, the church does not have a similar ban in other states.
I have to say, I was extremely disappointed when the Utah gun ban policy came out. You would think that a people who have historically suffered so much violence at the hands of others would understand the need for self-defense. One has to wonder what Porter Rockwell would think. Or Joseph Smith for that matter, who was packing (and got a few good shots off) the day he was murdered.
 

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I see. Thanks for the clarification on why Utah is the only state (so far). So the church was going to support a blanket gun control bill, huh? Very disappointing. And unfortunately the church's top-down "do as we say" attitude frowns upon petitions and grass roots opposition to any policy within its membership. I'm fortunate enough to live in a very safe neighborhood, so I'll PROBABLY never need to use a firearm at church, but you never know. It only takes one rotten egg to ruin the whole omelet. I guess the only real solution is to find a ward where the bishop has a "don't ask, don't tell" policy! Either that or just be VERY careful to never let anyone know you're carrying. Still, it's unfortunate to have to resort to being underhanded and breaking rules. Those of us who have the courage to protect our loved ones shouldn't have to live in fear of bureaucrats and tattle-tales (as in, "Oh! I see that bulge on your waist! I'm telling the bishop!"). I haven't heard of anyone being prosecuted for violating this law at an LDS church, but I don't want to be the first, either.
 

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I'd like to be part of an effort to make my voice heard by the church, too, but quite frankly I have dim hopes of how any such effort would be received. Once the First Presidency (or any significant authority) officially signs off on something, it's very hard to oppose them without being treated like an apostate. And the higher church leadership isn't big on taking orders from the little people (which in many cases would certainly be a bad idea). The LDS church is, for better or for worse, very much a top-down authoritarian organization that claims near-infallibility for its leaders (particularly the first presidency). In some cases this is a good thing because it makes it difficult for false doctrines to creep in at the local level and keeps the church reassuringly uniform throughout the world. Unfortunately it also gives misguided leaders a cultural inertia that is very difficult to reverse. Case in point, while in Texas I was in a stake where the stake president decided that the stake would enthusiastically (and without qualification) encourage ALL El Paso members to attend the newly constructed temple across the border in Ciudad Juarez, despite the dangers associated with that city. When a friend of mine, also a member, told the stake president that Juarez was becoming increasingly dangerous for Americans and that the drug cartels had actually put a bounty on the heads of any US federal agents caught in Juarez, he was, in essence, told to shut up and not worry about it. The bounty was of particular importance because my stake had several members who were in fact federal agents, including my friend. (Incidentally, it was about this time that my friend got his first CCP and talked me into doing the same.) In the end, after being brow-beaten and ostricized by those who should have been his friends in Christ, my friend pushed the issue, and the stake president responded by giving a talk at church wherein he promised that "God would protect anyone who went to the Juarez temple." During my stake's first outing to the Juarez temple two cars were stolen, one was vandalized, and a month later one couple narrowly escaped the city with their lives after being threatened by thugs at gunpoint. My friend finally succeeded in persuading some of the people in our stake to go with him to the Albuquerque temple instead. The stake president, with the full support of the stake high council, and in spite of the violence that the members were facing, continued to encourage ALL members to attend the Juarez temple AND continued to try to dissuade my friend from "misleading the Saints" by going to the Albuquerque temple. I guess the stake president wasn't one of the ones whose car was stolen. Or perhaps his idealism blinded him to the venal nature of the real world outside of his perfect little bubble. In any case, the point is that the church expects its members to bow their heads and humbly submit to any and all authority, so good luck trying to change anything with grassroots activism. Please note that I'm not saying that all Mormons are authoritarian tyrants and lackeys. I know quite a few Mormons who are thoughtful, freedom-loving patriots, as I strive to be. I'm just saying that there is a culture of "don't think, just do what you're told" within much of the church.
Sorry to go off topic, but I just wanted to point out some of the difficulties that are likely to be faced by anyone trying to use down-up pressure on the church to restore a wise gun policy. And again, I hope I haven't offended the sensibilities of any Mormons who feel that their church leaders can do no wrong.
By the way, I like the chain of command analogy. I also feel that my God-given duty is at odds with this church policy. While I do understand that if I get caught with a gun at church this will put the Bishop in a moral quandry, I feel that not protecting my family (and fellow ward members, for that matter) is an even bigger moral issue.
And like everyone else here, I am neither confessing to or explicitly encouraging anyone to break the law. Inform yourself, think about it, and then make your own personal decision.
 

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Two comments.

First, D&C 134:5 states "We believe that all men are bound to sustain and uphold the respective governments in which they reside, while protected in their inherent and inalienable rights by the laws of such governments" (emphasis added). In other words, man is obligated to obey the law only to the extent that the law is just. Now, there are no doubt many cases where the law is slightly imperfect but one is better off obeying it anyway just to avoid trouble. However, there comes a point where laws are so immoral that to obey them would be immoral also.

Anyone who claims that people should always obey the law needs to think about terrible laws (or government decrees given the force of law) like the Extermination Order or the Final Solution. Would you have obeyed those laws? I certainly hope not. So any statement to the effect of "we submit to and obey the law" should be understood to have an unspoken caveat of "as long as the law is just."

Second, in regards to the examples that were given of the US president being able to declare any place he visits a temporary gun-free zone, I would see that as an example of why there SHOULDN'T be double standards for gun rights, rather than the opposite. Should the presence of a "high visibility VIP" be allowed to infringe on my civil liberties? And why should a government agent, whose powers are based on MY delegation of rights and responsibilites to him, claim to be superior to me in terms of being able to carry a gun? I find it ironic that many of the most die-hard promoters of gun control, including celebrities and members of Congress, have personal bodyguards who are armed at all times. And I am very sad to see that top LDS leaders have joined the list of celebrities who make use of guns for self defense (even if indirectly through their bodyguards) while forbidding that right to the people around them.

Here's to hoping against hope that some day the LDS church will come to its senses and "proclaim liberty throughout all the land" (Lev. 25: 10), including Utah!

-The Butcher
 
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