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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I said I would create a letter that we may all use to send to the LDS Church in order to plead with them to reverse their decision to disallow guns in churches. Here is that letter. Please review it, if there is anything I may have left out or forgotten, or which you feel ought to be included, please let me know. Overall I feel this is a decent letter, and the more of us, and our friends & family who also send this in, the better our chances of getting the Church to change its mind.
Thanks
Robie :D

Gentlemen,

I would like to talk about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints position concerning Utah Code 76-10-530, the section of code dealing with guns and churches.
It is my understanding that the LDS Church not only supports this bill, but also helped to co-sponsor it. I would like to take this time to explain why I feel this is a bad decision, and would like to implore the Brethren to reconsider their action on this issue.
Throughout the history of the world, in most instances churches have been a place of security, which individuals in distress could go for solace, and to find peace and security from outside evil influences. As the LDS Church is aware, this has declined greatly over the past few centuries, and even more so over the past few decades. Criminals are less & less inclined to avoid entering a church in order to commit acts of violence & atrocities upon worshippers. In fact, criminals are often targeting churches as “soft targets,” where they know they can obtain their ill gotten gains or desires with little, if any resistance.
The LDS Church, in its Twelfth Article of Faith states, “We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.” Unfortunately, it profits little, to create a law, and require obedience to it, when we know that only the obedient will obey it, and in the process leave themselves at the mercy of those criminals who will not care one whit about that same law, and will violate it in order to abuse those who have no way of defending themselves.
One of the reasons I oppose Utah Code 76-10-530 is that it violates the constitution of this great land. Our constitution states that we have certain rights, which were given to man before governments were instituted among men. One of these is the right to defend oneself, family and property. Then our constitution goes on to enumerate what those rights are. Our Second Amendment says,” A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. If the LDS Church were to obey this Amendment, then it should reverse its decision to prevent legally authorized citizens their rights, otherwise the church is setting a dangerous pattern of disobedience, which will be followed by others.
Those who have been authorized by the state to carry legal self-defense weapons, for the purpose of defending self, family or others, have undergone strong scrutiny by both the state and the FBI. These people are some of the best citizens to be found. They are doctors, lawyers, police officers, government representatives, mechanics, mothers, daughters, sons and fathers. These are individuals who, in all fairness, have done no wrong. These are people who desire to protect their families and selves against evil, which presents itself too frequently today. These are men and women who commit less serious crime than even our police forces do. By last polled results the difference between police and criminal acts was 2.08% of police as compared to 0.0008% of concealed weapons holders! What I am saying here is that even with these small percentages, which in the whole mark a very minimal number of people compared to the whole body of society, is that these are the stalwarts of our society, these are those who will stand up and protect others whenever possible. No one person, or entity has the right to violate their ability to do so. This is why support for this law is not good.
It used to be that the church taught that all members should have a weapon and be familiar with it. Part of this was so that we could defend our selves or our families. Some was so that we could supplement what we had with food we brought down through hunting. Regardless, the church has always taught that a weapon and sufficient ammunition ought to be considered a stable necessity of any food storage program, along with food, clothes & medical supplies. Has this changed? Are we supposed to allow our selves and our families to suffer, as those in the recent Katrina tragedy did? If so, we would have to disagree. Those people who, granted, had ample time to get out of town, chose to stay where they were still had unalienable rights to be able to defend themselves, yet they were denied that right, and their means of defense were confiscated from them, and many suffered serious injury and even death at the hands of that element of society which takes pleasure in abusing their fellowman. Many people, and their families suffered needlessly because their rights were denied them, this was not right!
It used to be that men & women could gather in a church parking lot & transfer weapons from vehicle to vehicle & then go out on a hunt, or to the shooting range and it was not a problem. It used to be that many of us could perform in a Road show or other church production & use a real, unloaded gun, or carry a knife and no one cared. Much of that was because we the people know that we have that right. According to Utah Code 76-10-530, whether explicitly named or not, pocket knives are even banned. To see such simple, and often necessary tools denied individuals in this country is just not right.
An article on clergy, written by W. John Walsh, he states, “While violence, arson and vandalism may not be as common as in the 19th century, sometimes today Latter-day Saints are targets of arson & vandalism. And Latter-day Saints are still occasionally beaten or killed for their beliefs.” How true this is, yet just this past March a man vandalized one of our chapels causing nearly $10,000 in damages. When repaired that chapel will need to be re-dedicated. And the recent murder of one missionary & wounding of another in Virginia gives recent example of those who have been injured or murdered for their beliefs.
I contacted the Headquarters of the church to garner statistics, which I am certain the church keeps record of, so that I could display some of the information garnered from just the church in this valley, concerning violence & abuses within the chapels here. I was transferred to many different departments & no one wanted to cooperate. I know records must be kept of these occurrences, you could easily review them. I shall list other instances where atrocities have occurred, not only in LDS owned and operated buildings, but in others, and also from around the nation:

March 2005, a man walked into a church meeting in Wisconsin and opened fire Killing seven people and wounding more as he reloaded and kept shooting, then turned the gun on himself.

January 16, 1988, a bomb went off at the Marion, Utah chapel.

July 2001, Levan, Utah chapel vandalized by graffiti.

April 15, 1999, 2 dead & 4 wounded at Church Family History Library, A bomb threat had been used as a diversion.

January 14, 1999, De Kieu Duy murders one and wounds at least two others at KSL building.

August 2 or 3, 2003, Arson at Kearns, Utah chapel causing a million dollars in damage.

February and March of 2006, A trail of arson occurred throughout the Southwest destroying at least 11 chapels, some which were on the national registry of historic places, these were Baptist and Methodist places of worship

March 5, 2006, Bomb scare causes cancellation of meetings at LDS Chapel.

April 18, 2004 at the Pittsburgh Victorious Faith Evangelical Outreach Church Andrea Umphrey was grabbed by a pistol wielding assailant, pistol whipped & dragged from the choir she was singing with, her baby was also taken. Several shots were fired at other worshipers. She was found dead 20 miles away & the kidnapper was injured & taken into custody, the baby was ok.

September 15, 1999 Seven teenagers and adults murdered at service as gun wielding man storms in shooting & shouting obscenities & anti- religious propaganda. He shoots himself afterwards.

In every one of these instances violent criminals needlessly killed people. No one else had a weapon to hand to aid the other parishioners at the time of the incidents. Had there been someone with a lawfully concealed weapon with them, these scenes could have been much different. As stated earlier, churches are soft targets. Criminals know that they can find many people to vent their rage upon in a short span of time. These same criminals could care less about the laws, they are violating them anyways. Laws like Utah Code 76-10-530 are an affront to all people. The church has always taught that we will be blessed after all that we can do. Christ also admonished his Apostles that if they had a cloak and no sword that they should sell the cloak and purchase one. We encourage the Brethren to look further into this matter and consider our safety when doing so. We appreciate your time & consideration in this most important issue and would enjoy the pleasure of a response.
Sincerely Yours,

Robie Cagle
 

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A well-written letter,

Since this letter may be used as a template or perhaps verbatim by those on this board you may want to consider the inconsistency of the current statute and practice by the church of allowing those who are local, state and federal employees to be granted a "special" waiver which allows them to carry into the church.

Just because they are a prosecutor or write tickets on the highways should not given them any special allowance or more of a need for self-defense than does the protection of my family.

All for 1 or None for all.
Sincerely,
W. Clark Aposhian
 

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tapehoser said:
Great letter, Robie.

Where do we send it? I will send a letter of my own making...just let me know where.
Ditto that, good work Robie. I'll make my own and probably use parts of yours in mine, but I need to know where to send it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Sorry guys,

I have been trying to reach Mindy at BCI all week. Either she has been out of the office, or she doesn't want to return my calls. She is the contact person for churches who want to post. She should have some info available, but until I can speak to her I won't know where to write.

The other option could be either sending your letter to the Presiding Bishop, or the LDS Public Affairs Representative Bill Evans. Either could be sent to their attentionat the church office building at:

50 East North Temple Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84150

Or ou could call the church office building at 801-240-1000 to find out to whom, or to what department you may need to send your letter.

Sorry, this is all I have for now.
Cinhil
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Guys,

I just got a call from Mindy @ BCI. She has been on vacation so that is why this took so long.
She says that our contact for writing letters is Nicole Starks with BCI. Evidently she is the Firearm Supervisor & liason officer with the LDS Church as well as any others who have chosen to deter lawful ccw people from carrying within the confines of their structures.
To send a letter address it like so:

Bureau of Criminal Identification
Attention: Nicole Starks, Firearms Supervisor
3888 West 5400 South
PO Box 148280
Salt Lake City, UT 84114-8280

nicole will then pass these letters to her contact at the LDS Church Headquarters.

On another note, when writing your letters, or if using the form letter I posted, you could address the issue that the LDS Church has always taught, and still practices, that the church buildings are to be a place of security & meeting--for the whole community, should any disaster occur. If this is so, we certainly want to be able to carry legally, if for no other reason than to protect self and family, rather than be left to the rapists & murderers, which we all saw occured at the Superdome!

Anyhow, I hope this helps. Have a great day guys/gals!
Robie
 

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rather than be left to the rapists & murderers, which we all saw occured at the Superdome!
Robie, not to get too far off topic but since you brought it up - everything that I have read states that the initial reports of murders and rapes at the Superdome were gross exagerations, that there were no murders at all in the Superdome (6 total dead - 4 died of natural causes, 1 suicide and 1 overdose). Do you have any verifiable information that details whether murders and rapes (and other crimes) actually occured in the Superdome and whether the figures I gave are incorrect? Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Car Knocker,

I did some looking, and it appears, according to The Independant Media Center, that Ray Nagin & Mr. Compass, proliferated the misleading stories concerning hundreds of dead, wounded & raped at the Super Dome last year.
When 1,000 National Guardsmen & a refridgerated semi showed up with three doctors to process the numerous bodies of the dead, they found ten dead, only one apparently as the result of a murder, they had anticipated a couple of hundred dead. As for rapes, substantiation of the allegations was unable to be determined (in other words, no one came forward as a witness, or to report having been raped). It appears Nagan & Compass did this so they could have more control, as well as steal legal property to fulfill their own agendas. There were many reports of hearing gunfire, of watching armed thugs steal beer & other commodities from within the dome, though.

So I guess you were right, not as much happened at the dome as was reported initially, but the effects of the gun confications & rampant criminals roaming the streets & trying to take what they wanted were accurate.

It is important to note, though, that even with this info coming to light, in any emergency anything can & will happen. Therefore it is imperative that our rights not be trampled on so that we can defend self, family & others.

I thank you for making me do further research though, it was enlightening.

Robie
 

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I think I would rather send my letter directly to the Church, I just want to know that it is getting there and being read. I don't see why the Church needs a liaison with the BCI, members should take up issues directly with the Church at Church headquarters.

I urge all LDS members out there to make you voice heard regarding the BCI prohibition. Write your thoughts, feelings and rationale (and perhaps a scripture or two) down and mail it to the Church.

NOTHING WILL CHANGE UNLESS WE MAKE OURSELVES HEARD.

Please, do everything you can to allow us the right to defend ourselves in the last private, prohibited location in this state.
 
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Prefix it "Brethren" instead of "gentlemen." :p

I'm not sure if this letter'll take. The fact of the matter is that the Brethren know all the reasons why we think arming ourselves is a good idea.

But they've done a simple risk/benefit analysis and they believe that the likelihood of a negligent discharge is greater than that of a terrorist needing to be shot.

Moreover, the public opinion of the Church could be seriously damaged if one member, even in justified defense of self and family, did an Ammon among the Lamanites impression and sawed a badguy's arms off.

People would ask: "Aren't you a church of peace? Of faith in Christ? Doesn't carrying weapons kind of fly in the face of both?"

Sure, those people would be wrong but that doesn't change the fact that it'd hurt the Church's PR system.

I understand why they've applied for their presence on the BCI's no-carry list. However much I disagree, I don't fault them for it.
 

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Ishpeck said:
I understand why they've applied for their presence on the BCI's no-carry list. However much I disagree, I don't fault them for it.
Likewise.

It's quite unlikely that this will be undone by the church (can you imagine the PR hit they would take?). If we want this to change, I think it'll have to happen through the legislature.

In church on Sunday we were reading The Family: A Proclamation to the World, perhaps the most seminal work released by the church in the last 20 year, and I noticed...

By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families.
You can probably imagine my thoughts as I read that.
 

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Ishpeck said:
But they've done a simple risk/benefit analysis and they believe that the likelihood of a negligent discharge is greater than that of a terrorist needing to be shot.
I agree with you assessment that they certainly know both sides of the issue and have made a calculated decision. That being said, I think it grows more obvious by the day that people who are making these calculations are doing their math completely wrong. Just this morning on the radio I heard of yet another case of a man being found dead in a Church with a bullet through his neck... a simple google-search will pull up NUMEROUS Church murders... how many google hits can you find on ND's, though???

Ishpeck said:
I understand why they've applied for their presence on the BCI's no-carry list. However much I disagree, I don't fault them for it.
I do fault them for it. From what I understand, this decision was made by the Church's PR dept. (as opposed to the Church's leadership). I don't understand how the Church allows their members' right to self-defense to be taken away by a PR guy. It shouldn't have to an equation that results in "either save your soul (go to Church) and risk your life or save your life and risk your soul (by opting to not go)". To be fair, I'm not LDS -- but I'm no Atheist either. Accepting the LDS Church's claims at face-value with good intent, why are they making such calculated decisions instead of deferring the issue to their President and PROPHET???

As a non-member, being told to go to special services (baptisms. blessings, etc. of family) unarmed is a very large deterrent.
 

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The way I understand it, the ban on firearms by the Church only applies to Utah (we're the only state that got the letter?) so, in my mind, that negates the argument about liability or PR issues since people in other states (where it's not forbidden by law) are free to carry in LDS buildings.
 

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I am disappointed that the church took this stand after so many scriptures and the proclamation all, by my interpretation, contradict that decision. Even if there is a ND in the building the church should put blame where blame is due. It wouldn't be the churches fault and if someone got hurt the blame would lie with the person who discharged the weapon.
 

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bane said:
...
Accepting the LDS Church's claims at face-value with good intent, why are they making such calculated decisions instead of deferring the issue to their President and PROPHET???
...
I don't know the internal decision-making process that went into this, but it was a letter from the First Presidency of the church (the Prophet and his counselors) that invoked this ban.
 

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If anyone else has letters they have sent, please post them. I would love to see several different versions as I would like to write a letter also. The more letters we generate together, the better I would expect them to become.

-PW
 
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Car Knocker said:
The way I understand it, the ban on firearms by the Church only applies to Utah (we're the only state that got the letter?) so, in my mind, that negates the argument about liability or PR issues since people in other states (where it's not forbidden by law) are free to carry in LDS buildings.
No, the PR incentive still stands. The fact that it only works in Utah is a natural result of the fact that Utah's the only state where the Church has so much sway on any legislative matter.

If an LDS lobbyist were to go to Oklahoma's state legislative meetings and make a request, he'd be laughed out of the building.
 

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Car Knocker said:
The way I understand it, the ban on firearms by the Church only applies to Utah (we're the only state that got the letter?) so, in my mind, that negates the argument about liability or PR issues since people in other states (where it's not forbidden by law) are free to carry in LDS buildings.
Yes, Utah is the only state with a CC law regarding churches as far as I know. Just like some states restrict carrying in bars or other places. MT law prohibits me from protecting myself in any city, state, federal or any other government building, as well as any restaurant that serves alcohol (and believe me, there are a lot of those!) Virginia is famous for prohibiting CC in bars, but allowing open carry. Hence, the "Virginia tuck."
 

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Well, other states restrict carry in church also - Texas comes to readily mind. My point in my last post was that the Church, to the best of my knowledge, didn't distribute the "no-guns" letter outside Utah. Therefore, you can't legally carry in an LDS "place of worship" in Utah but it is perfectly legal, and apparantly OK with the Church, to do so in Idaho, for example. The...selectiveness of the ban by the Church puzzles me. If it's a danger to the members or a liability issue in Utah, surely it is no different in other states. The logic behind this state-specific ban escapes me.
 
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