One of the major factors in Mormons’ support of guns is the pioneer culture. Many Latter Day Saints are proud descendants of pioneers who crossed the plains and settled in the Salt Lake Valley over 150 years ago. Pioneers are held in high esteem for the sacrifices and hard ships they endured to build Zion. Latter day sermons in Latter Day Saint services often include stories about these early church members, they sometimes sing songs about the pioneers in church, and the state of Utah even has a state holiday on July 24 called “Pioneer Day” to celebrate Brigham Young and the first group of saints arriving in the Utah Valley. As frontiersmen and farmers, guns were a part of daily life for pioneers to hunt, and also for protection. Today Latter Day Saints continue strong values of self-reliance and emergency preparedness. Despite the easy availability in grocery stores, many Mormon families hunt for a lot of their meat. It is certainly economical, but many also enjoy the sport and the pride of carrying on family traditions and providing for their families.
Hunting culture is also evident from the story of Nephi’s broken bow contained in the early chapters of “The Book of Mormon”. Nephi’s father Lehi was a prophet and lead their family into the wilderness to escape the destruction of Jerusalem. While in the wilderness they got most of their food from bow hunting. One day Nephi broke his bow and his brothers bow’s had “lost their spring”. Knowing what I know about Laman and Lemuel I assume this was a result of laziness and incorrect care. Nephi’s family began to complain and murmur against the Lord because of their hunger, but Nephi had faith. He made another bow and asked his father, the patriarch of the family, to pray and ask the Lord where he should go to find food. As a result, Nephi was able to obtain food for his family. I think every boy in primary wants to be like Nephi- I know I sure did. The Church also uses Boy Scouts as part of the Young Men’s program. which teaches young men many outdoor survival skills including hunting and fishing.
Many of the areas that are heavily populated with Mormons, such as Utah and Idaho, have a lot of rural communities and have a lot of ranching and farming. Guns continue to be of use today to protect cattle from predators.
Mormons strongly believe that fathers have a responsibility to protect their families. The Family: A Proclamation to the World states: “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.”
In The Book of Mormon there were groups of different people who inhabited the American continent. Those who followed God were known as Nephites and those who did not were known as Lamanites. The Nephites were an organized and industrious people whereas the laminates were a bloodthirsty and slothfulness, they would often attack and pillage Nephites. The Nephites would try to make peace with the laminates but the Lamanites hated the Nephites because they believed that they had stolen land that had rightfully belonged to their fathers. The Nephites showed Charity towards the Lamanites often making treaties of peace when they had the upper hand in battles. While the Nephites did not want to fight the Lamanites, they had no choice. The Lord commanded them: “Ye shall defend your families even unto bloodshed. Therefore for this cause were the Nephites contending with the Lamanites, to defend themselves, and their families, and their lands, their country, and their rights, and their religion.” (Alma 43:47). Defending family, property, country, rights and religion remain important to members The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints today.
Defense Against Tyranny
In the book of Mormon there was a righteous king named Mosiah. When Mosiah grew old none of his sons wanted to take over the kingdom because they desired to go on missions to share the gospel with the laminates. King Mosiah feared that there may arise disputations about who was the rightful heir so instead of appointing another king he appointed judges to judge the people according to the commandments of God. King Mosigah said: “Therefore, if it were possible that you could have just men to be your kings, who would establish the laws of God, and judge this people according to his commandments, yea, if ye could have men for your kings who would do even as my father Benjamin did for this people—I say unto you, if this could always be the case then it would be expedient that ye should always have kings to rule over you.” (Mosiah 29: 13) – 92bc
About two decades later there was a man named Amalackiah who wanted to be King. Amalackiah through his flattering words convinced many of the Nephites to follow him that they might destroy the church and take power and raise themselves up to rule over the other Nephites. Moroni, the Nephite captain “rent his coat; and he took a piece thereof, and wrote upon it—In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children—and he fastened it upon the end of a pole.” (Alma 46:12) Moroni rallied the righteous against Amalackiah and the Nephite descanters and drove them out of the land. Modern prophets have taught that America is a promised land, founded by inspired men who wrote an inspired constitution. The second amendment to the constitution reads: “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.” Many members of the church believe it is important to be armed and prepared to defend the “security of a free State “against a government that may someday seek to take away the liberty of its citizens.