Joseph Smith & guns

This is an archived article that was published on in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

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.

Thomas Jones

Salt Lake City