Stay Frosty: Faith And Good Works Don’t Eliminate Risk And Tragedy, Not Even Close

I’ve frequently heard people say that as long as they have faith and do the right thing, ‘the Lord will take care of them’. This lackadaisical attitude, however, has a destructive potential. Faith and doing right in hard circumstances is crucial but folks overlook that those things don’t absolve you from risk (including others’ actions) and natural law. When risk’s consequences come to bear, they will blindside and strike at the core. Risk’s punch is magnified for the complacent and unsuspecting.

Christ and scripture are quite clear that we will have trials and He’ll sustain us. That’s why faith is crucial. But it’s also made very clear that trials will be lightened, not removed – often lightened just enough for you to make it through or survive; you will be “refined by fire”. There are times risk and it’s consequences will cost your life even when you seek to do God’s will. I have ancestors that can attest to that – one was laid in a frozen grave in Wyoming and another in Utah from ‘a broken heart’ related to the Wyoming death. There are plenty of bad things that happen to good people all the time.

Many of us have heard the Francis Webster story of the Martin Handcart Company’s faith. Typically, the story ends with ‘ faith grew and not a single person fell away from the church’. Unfortunately, the story has been misconstrued (to a borderline urban legend), providing a false sense of security, diminishing free agency, and a poor lesson of consequences of trials.

The journey was absolutely horrible and Levi Savage was right to warn of the likely impending doom. They chose to press forward, regardless, wanting to be faithful and go to Zion ASAP. Some probably firmly believed they would be fine because they were doing God’s will and He’d keep them safe. In reality, risk and consequences were in play and all were subject to the deadly and debilitating results of their decision.

The conclusion about everyone being spiritually strengthened by the experience is false and a better lesson lost. Some went in eyes open prepared to accept that they had accepted significant risk, others were blindsided but focused on God and adapted to their potential new fates, and others did not. An excellent historical analysis of the story is available from BYU: Francis Webster: The Unique Story of One Handcart Pioneer’s Faith and Sacrifice.

The report includes the following key observations:

[PAGE 3]By attempting to make his testimony the universal sentiment of each member of these companies, a valuable and inspiring lesson has been lost. In its place has arisen a common perception that the price he paid to gain his powerful testimony simply involved pulling a handcart and enduring the hardships of an early winter. The lesson at the heart of his statement, however, goes beyond having to endure the cold and snow that all in the company experienced…

[PAGE 8]Although the Martin Company truly exemplified the motto “Faith in Every Footstep,” its members were not unlike any other disparate group of Latter-day Saints, such as those who made a similar journey at a different time or those found in a modern ward. There was a majority of the company, including Francis and Betsy Webster, whose faith seemed to grow with every step they took. There were also those who trudged along the trail, their faith little changed by what they experienced. Finally, there were those whose faith seemed to weaken along the way…

[PAGE 9]… While it is not known that anyone in the company apostatized directly as a result of the trials they endured in the cold and snow, there were Martin Company members who subsequently left the Church…

Being cavalier about risks on horizon and disregarding them with ‘it’s all in the plan and God will save us’ has a high likelihood of a very rude awakening. It also unrealistically displaces responsibility onto the Lord. Sure He’s in control but that doesn’t mean he’s “controlling” and we can dump our responsibilities on Him. He isn’t a micro-manager; more a laissez-fair Father. He typically just lets things play out without ‘making it happen’ (I bet we drive Him absolutely nuts with our reactions though). Natural law (His law) pretty much takes care of consequences, good or bad. He is critically involved through his Holy Spirit as a support and a guide to help prompt the faithful to avoid undue trials, to help us fight through trials and comfort us in tragedies and failures. Those are still miracles and growing experiences, if we so choose.

Really, virtually all curses, plagues, blessings and miracles come about by natural means – life takes care of it. Our choices and faith will determine if we turn things into a blessing or a curse. Things He actively made happen are exceptions to the rule and few in number (it wouldn’t surprise me if many of those exceptions were natural events the faithful were guided to and we just haven’t figured out yet).

Life is unfair. Its inherent risks and our screw-ups are certainly refining fires. We’re going to get unfairly beat up, have heartaches and may well lose our lives along the way but we know there’s a life beyond and we take hope and comfort in Christ’s Grace and His mansions beyond. We absolutely need to follow Christ, help each other, consistently repent and faithfully pray for God’s strength and blessings on us. We best also plan to be aware, anticipate, steel ourselves and put up a helluva fight to stick around here and make the best of it.

Disclaimer: I’m warning everyone right now that I’m not going to tolerate any dumping on anyone’s religious affiliation. While religious, this post isn’t a forum to troll people on their religion.

Utah Republican And Democrat Parties Demand You Give Away Your Personal Information If You Want to Vote

Prior to 2018,  the personal identifying information of ever Utah voter, including yours, was sold by the Lt. Governors office to political parties and consultants, to voterrecords.com, and to anyone else with $1,050. The political parties use the information to contact you but they also give the information to thousands of campaign workers, pollsters, consultants and to those compiling and maintaining political databases  Voterrecords.com posts the information to the web in a format that lets users track you down, obtain a map to your home, find your neighbors and even access other family members records. It also allows people who wish to do harm to others find them.

Finally, in 2018 a bill was passed that allows voters to make their records private so they can only be used by election officials for official purposes. Once private, your records are no longer sold. In spite of the fact that this change was not widely publicized, 14% of voters have now made their records private–97,000 in Salt Lake County alone.

This, however, didn’t sit well with the Democrat and Republican parties, their agents and their independent contractors because these people see you as a resource to exploit and they are convinced everyone owes them their private information. While businesses have to use various means to get your information, these political consultants and major parties prefer to use the law and force you to cough up your information…at the penalty of losing your right to vote.

Enter Senator Jake Anderegg. He’s come up with SB83 Voter Registration Information Amendments. It will wipe out all private records and open them up for exploitation by Republican and Democrat parties and the consultant/lobbyist class. They can then spread the information out to their buddies and so forth. Worse, it also wipes out the private records of people with protective orders, police officers, members of the military, teenagers and others with security concerns or who just wish to keep their records off of voterrecords.com. Under SB83, individuals who have make their records private will have their records made public unless they plead their case to the county based on the restrictive rules enacted at the behest of the political consultants and the Democrat and GOP parties. That or they can just not bother voting any longer and cancel their voter registration.

Because big political parties and their consultant cronies believe they are entitled to your information that entitlement trumps your right to vote. It’s the nouveau poll tax – Want to vote? Pay the swamp with your personal data to do with as we please.

For now, set your personal voter information as a private record – Here’s how, it’s quick and easy. At least it will keep your information safe until the bill passes. Then contact your Senator and ask them to oppose this bad bill so your information will remain private.

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For all posts on this topic, click here. Also, be aware that these are not the only groups abusing your personal information and have an entitled attitude – The UofU takes your personal information via the Driver License Division without asking your permission too.

Will Texas Church Shooting Lessons Get Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) To Rethink Deadly Policy?

This past Sunday, two congregants were killed in Texas by an armed loser. The reason the death toll was limited to two victims is thanks to an armed worshiper (serving as volunteer security) quickly killing the shooter as he was preparing to target his next victim(s). Lives were certainly saved by the concealed carrier’s actions.

This would not have happened in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints as members are prohibited from effective armed defense. It should serve as a stark warning.

This is how stark of a warning: Two innocent people were killed within six seconds despite having armed security volunteers who responded after two shots. The killer only shot twice before being taken down. It shows that in a shooting casualties are a virtual certainty despite rapid response, precisely because responses take time and the attacker frequently has the advantage of surprise. What would the toll have looked like after twelve seconds, thirty seconds…for law enforcement to respond…

Now think of this at a church with a gun ban policy directing members to run, hide and do their best while they wait for law enforcement to respond. The death toll would have been much higher. No wonder I called the Church of Jesus Christ’s guidelines “inadequate” a few months ago. That was charitable then. Given that the church has still not made any effort to even have those guidelines read over the pulpit, woefully inadequate would be an understatement.

The church’s current policy is deadly and will only serve to exponentially increase effective response time and, therefore, innocent casualties. I again call on their public affairs and attorneys to rescind this lethal policy and respect the lives of lay members.

That said, there are still lessons to be learned from the Texas shooting. Start by reviewing and practicing the resources here. As noted above, they won’t stop casualties, there will still be plenty. Prepare for that. Below, is an analysis of the Texas shooting. It includes video of the shooting (Warning: if you are squeamish about such things, don’t watch the video). The analysis is very good and will help you think through the lessons for us (constant vigilance, shooting response plan in place, preparation, trauma kits, training etc., etc.):

Addendum: Orthodox Jews certainly aren’t fooling around after the NYC Hanukkah stabbing.

UPDATE: This recent Fox13 report may also help in terms of resources (it also notes the Church of Jesus Christ’s lack of preparation): ‘Shift in paradigm’: Utah self-defense trainer says shooting at Texas church shows preparation can save lives

Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) Public Affairs Coming To Terms With Lethal Anti-Gun Policy?

About a month ago, I put up a post continuing a years-long documentation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saint’s steps on an unrealistic, deadly policy. The policy also resulted in some members pushing back. This week, it looks like they maybe starting to think of the consequences of public affairs’ political correctness patty-cake. The church is now acknowledging the threat of active shooters:

Updated Security Guidelines for Church Meetings and Events

The update includes a baby step (like a newborn baby step) forward. They now acknowledge the threat and provided some very basic (and, frankly, inadequate) guidance in the above document…in the very last page:

Run. Flee immediately if a safe path is available. Move quickly to the safest exit and away from the building to a safe location. Exit quietly, without drawing the attention of the assailant. Adults are to ensure all children are supervised and accounted for. Do not return to the building or to an office or classroom for personal items. Do not carry anything that could be mistaken for a weapon by responding law enforcement.

Hide. If you are unable to escape safely, hide out of sight of the assailant’s view. If possible, close, lock, and barricade the doors to the classrooms, offices, or other rooms where you are hiding. Turn out the lights, silence mobile phones, and keep low to the floor and away from windows. If there is an exchange of gunfire between law enforcement and the assailant, everyone in the building is to stay in their barricaded rooms until instructed otherwise by law enforcement.

Fight. As a last resort, if there is no time to run or hide, fight back against the assailant. Use
anything available as a weapon, and fight to stop the assailant. If others are present, organize to defend yourselves.

Unfortunately, none of this was read over the pulpit and likely virtually no one knows about it. The media reported on it briefly but there appears to be no plan to provide training or actual security to lay members (not even to get this into the hands of members). Here’s the biggest irony highlighting the double standard from the “Fight” section:

…Use anything available as a weapon…

Great. After they take lay member’s best means of defense and prohibit weapons, they say to…use a weapon. Riiight.

Meanwhile, higher church officials will continue to enjoy armed security details. This sure looks like members are being “divided into classes” with some worthy of armed protection and others not.

Finally, start with the above guidelines and please review and practice the resources here.

Member Push Back On Church of Jesus Christ (LDS) Anti-Gun Policy

The Church of Jesus Christ recently formalized and publicized their dangerous policy for meetinghouse security (or the lack thereof) and now there may be push back. The social justice movement has undoubtedly been successful with the church on illegal immigration and LGBT issues and the church continues to cater to them as it embraces a globalist posture. Many of these policy directions have come at the expense of undermining individual rights/choice, the doctrine on a divinely inspired US Constitution, and in seeming conflict with current and past instructions to members along with the accompanying double standards.

Interestingly, there may be push back from members who have quietly put up with all the policy shifts. Taking a page from the ‘social justice’ protesters play book (e.g. ‘wear pants to church’ day), I’m hearing of personal protests related to the policy. Thus far I’ve heard of civil disobedience (ignoring the policy), carrying a visible, empty holster (bad idea, IMO), walking out, calling church HQ and a ‘soft walk out’ (my term for it).

I like the soft walk out best (it can be combined with calling church HQ). Here’s the soft walk out theory: The church meticulously watches its weekly attendance. The attendance clerk typically runs the count immediately after the sacrament is passed. To coincide with the week of Constitution Day, on September 22nd, protesters would quietly walk out for a bathroom break or to get something from their car and return to their seat once the count was completed. Walking away from the count would be even easier if you sat out in the foyer rather than inside the chapel.

I have no idea how many will do any of these let alone how many know or have thought of the above. I don’t really care. I’m sold on the soft walk out, I’m tired of being pushed around and getting hit by friendly fire from the public affairs virtue signalers. Regardless of what you do regarding this policy or how you feel about it, please review active shooter training and be vigilant.

The Church of Jesus Christ Enacts Lethal Policy, Ensures Meetinghouses Are Soft Targets (Update)

I’ve been documenting this dangerous policy for years, including the beginning of this year.

This new announcement  isn’t much of a change from the current policy but strengthens the gun ban and extends it to all “lethal weapons” (a vague policy letting them pick and choose what they ban). Either way, it means attending members are left defenseless in an advertised soft target. The Salt Lake Tribune has a very good article by Kathy Stephenson and Peggy Fletcher Stack on this. Read the whole thing:

LDS Church makes it clear: No guns in its meetinghouses

The article mentions two shootings that took place at a Church facility:

There have been gun incidents — even deadly ones — at Latter-day Saint meetinghouses through the years. In July, a 48-year-old man opened fire inside a church in the northern Nevada city of Fallon, killing one man and wounding another. A decade ago in Utah County, a pregnant woman was shot and killed by her estranged husband in the parking lot…

Not one of these incidents would have been prevented by the new policy. It won’t stop a criminal/murder. Worse, it reduces security. It ensures a disarmed, vulnerable set of victims to be slaughtered, particularly in a space with poor egress. This is a very tempting target for a criminal or terrorist.

This begs a few questions:

1. What will the church do to secure their facilities and ensure congregants are protected?

2. Will church leadership (including President Nelson) lead by example, eschew armed security and adhere to the policy and risk their lay members are subject to?

3. Does this reveal a significant policy/doctrinal change on the divinity of the US Constitution?

Finally, please click this post from January on this issue and I implore you to review the potentially life-saving training and resources in the last half of the post (as a start). You’re a sitting duck, best be prepared and aware.

UPDATE: The church is well aware of the threat and, in 2017, was provided a white paper through their lobbyist, Marty Stephens, on options regarding their dangerous no self-defense policy (View/download here: “Protecting LDS Church Members Against Church Shootings“). The document has plenty of background resources as well (read the whole thing including appendices). It is also noteworthy that one of the churches mentioned in the paper quietly rescinded their advertised no gun policy last year.

Annual Warning: LDS Church Publicly Announces Soft Target Status, Demonstrates Some Lives More Valuable Than Others

Each January, I check to see if the LDS Church has renewed it’s firearm ban and publicly announced itself to be a soft target for terror and/or other violent crimes (and, yes, islamic terrorists have specifically named the LDS Church as a target). The trend continues this year. However, there is something else I picked up on during the last year and I was reminded of when reading their January 9, 2019 legal notice:

NOTICE OF FIREARMS PROHIBITION Notice is hereby given that, pursuant to Section 76-10-530 of the Utah Code Annotated, firearms are prohibited in all houses of worship, including temples, meetinghouses, chapels, stake centers, tabernacles, the Assembly Hall, the Tabernacle and the Conference Center, of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the “Church”), except for firearms in the possession and control of individuals who (a) are specified in Section 76-10-523(1)(a)-(e) of the Utah Code Annotated or (b) are otherwise engaged in the protection of Church members, visitors, personnel or facilities and hold a written authorization issued by the Managing Director of the Church’s Security Department. This notice is effective upon publication and shall remain in effect until revoked or the first anniversary of the publication of this notice, whichever first occurs. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 50 East North Temple Street Salt Lake City, Utah 84150 1238909 UPAXLP [Emphasis added]

First, “members” with “written authorization” does not apply to general membership. Trust me, if you’re not in upper church leadership that bold section doesn’t apply to you. You’re expendable.

Earlier this year, I attended a couple of meetings where the church’s president was in attendance. Both were in a church facility where the gun ban applied. In both instances he had an armed security detail. They either were advertising to potential trouble makers that they were armed or didn’t do a very good job concealing their weapons. It’s another instance of “good for me but not for thee”.

Members should be aware of three things:

1. Upper leadership is afforded protection that you and innocent members (particularly children) are not. Apparently, their lives aren’t as valuable as others (‘some lives are more equal than others’?…). As far as I’m concerned a child’s, middle-aged mother’s, or sleepy 75-year-old member’s life is just as important as the Prophet’s or other General Authority’s life. If they refuse to let members protect themselves, they should at least either provide security or active shooter (and first aid) training.

2. Just because an armed security detail is in a meeting you attend, do not count on them protecting you or your family. Their priority is the individual(s) they’re assigned to. If crap hits the fan, they’ll get them out of the danger which may mean neutralizing the threat (if you’re lucky) but more likely, just getting out to safety. It’s possible they’ll come back to engage the threat but there will be a long delay (they have to secure their client) and most of the damage will be done. Basically, you’re on your own.

3. Given the two items above, you need to plan for your own security, reaction and egress. You should hold a family home evening on it. I would also suggest looking into some sort of trauma first aid training to help in the aftermath if you survive. Here are a few resources to start off:

Everything You Think You Know About an Active Shooter Situation Is Wrong
Recognizing 8 Signs of Terrorism
How Situational Awareness Can Save Your Life In A Terror Attack

Notes on the videos:  In Auburn’s you’ll notice everyone concentrate in one corner of the room. That isn’t best practice IMO (see the Ohio video where they mention spacing out). Also in Ohio University’s video, note the “…bring along a weapon in case you encounter the shooter along the way” comment. The best weapon (IMO) has been denied to you so grab what you can quickly (don’t waste time evaluating/looking for something, however). Remember, ALICE  means Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate.

There are plenty of other resources so check them out but be sure to apply them to your situation as each method will have deficiencies for different scenarios (e.g. differing room type, size, configuration, obstacles, number of shooters, etc.). Try to play out realistic scenarios in your mind (don’t get into fantasy where you come out the hero). Plan on casualties and steel yourself mentally for the screaming, gore and likely death you will encounter.

Finally, The LDS Church remains one of only two churches in Utah with this dangerous policy. I hope the LDS Church will reconsider their policy just as another congregation did when faced with a threat. It should also be noted that prior to the change a few years ago, concealed carry had been allowed for decades in LDS facilities without incident.