I've received several circular emails that quote the Mormon prophet Joseph Smith:
"I never carry any weapon with me bigger than my penknife. When I was dragged before the cannon and muskets in Missouri, I was unarmed."
It's a high principle, and Joseph's life shows how hard it is to follow.
When taken to Carthage Jail, the prophet said, "I am going like a lamb to the slaughter; but I am calm as a summer's morning; I have a conscience void of offense towards God, and towards all men." Yet, Joseph didn't die peacefully, like Jesus or Gandhi.
On the day of his death, Cyrus Wheelock visited and "drew a small pistol, a six-shooter … 'Would any of you like to have this?' Brother Joseph immediately replied, 'Yes, give it to me.'"
When the mob shot his brother, Joseph "instantly arose, and with a firm, quick step, and a determined expression of countenance, approached the door, and … snapped the pistol six successive times," and "two or three were wounded."
Joseph Smith died with a gun in his hand shooting his enemies. The presence of a gun tempts even the best people to use it.
Salt Lake City