You will get the updates to the amazing things going on here before the rest of the internet even has a chance!
This post is mostly a response to this post on the-exponent.com.
“[They] prostrated themselves before [the Lamanites] to the earth, and began to call on the name of the Lord; and thus they were in this attitude when the Lamanites began to fall upon them, and began to slay them with the sword. And thus without meeting any resistance, they did slay a thousand and five of them . . .” Alma 24:21-22
The group referenced above, the Anti-Nephi-Lehies, having repented of the sins and many murders they committed, chose to die rather than risk committing more sin. They covenanted with God to never again take up their weapons to shed man’s blood. Few groups of people in all of history have ever shown the kind of conviction these people did in choosing to bury their weapons of war rather than fight. As a boy and now as an adult, I feel I have gained much from this Book of Mormon story. It has made me a more Christ-like person. But this story is not a good example of how to curb gun violence. Their choice resulted in a slaughter 17 times more deadly than the recent mass shooting in Las Vegas. 17 times more deadly.
God told the Anti-Nephi-Lehies to flee rather than continue to die. They fled. God protected them. But how did he protect them? He sent them to the Nephites who had a well-established army. In return for protecting them, the Anti-Nephi-Lehies financially supported the military. Years later, during a different war, many of these people were tempted to break their covenant and fight to protect their families and friends. But once again, they showed their level of conviction by instead sending their sons (possibly teenagers) to fight this war in their place. They were willing to send their sons to fight and kill their enemies with weapons they themselves would not use. Clearly, the Book of Mormon does not teach pacifism as a principle to prevent gun violence. But it does show a better way.
“And now, as the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just—yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them—therefore Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the virtue of the word of God.” Alma 31:5
The best way to prevent gun violence (and all other forms of violence) is the same as it was was in ancient America. Preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the first thing we should do. Utah has always been a leader in this area. But we can do a better job.
From a civic standpoint, always support issues, laws, etc. that are based on principles of the Gospel. Sometimes the church takes a stand on particular issues. Support the church. You can confidently trust that following the prophet is the right thing to do. Where the church has not taken a firm viewpoint, prayerfully consider the issues.
From a Gospel standpoint, preach the gospel. Share with it your friends and enemies, your family, and all of God’s children. Diligently do your home and visiting teaching. Like Jesus Christ, help others. In the October 2017 General Conference, Bonnie L. Oscarson said “Pray for help in recognizing those in your ward families who need love and encouragement. Instead of attending church with the question of ‘What am I going to get out of this meeting?’ ask, ‘Who needs me today? What do I have to contribute?'” Living and sharing these principles is the best response to the threat of violence.
If you must have gun legislation, support the idea of gun education and safety taught in public high schools. Why not prepare our children to protect others and themselves? In the future, the nations will beat their swords into plowshares and not learn war any more. But that day is not yet. Today, we need to be like the Nephites – armed with the principles of the Gospel first, weapons of war second, ready to protect His children from oppressors and tyrants.