Thursday, January 30, 2014

Avenging Angel

What do you think of Orrin Porter Rockwell? He is one of my hero’s. Not because he was a particularly stalwart member. And not because I would really like to be like him. But he’s one of my hero’s because of his loyalty to the Prophet and because of the way he stood up for the Church. First, a little about him.

“A very colorful part of American history is that which records the events of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, better known as the Mormons, and in that history no portion is more colorful than the life of Orrin Porter Rockwell.  Throughout his life legends began to cluster about him and it is not easy to keep fact and fable in his biography separate.
Born on June 28, 1813, in Belchertown, New Hampshire, he was one of the earliest followers of Joseph Smith, being baptized into the church in 1830.  Powerfully built, he served as a bodyguard for Smith.  In 1838 he may have attempted to assassinate the Governor of Missouri, Lilburn Boggs, after Boggs issued an order calling for the expulsion of the Mormons from Misssouri or their extermination.  The order was prompted by the Missouri Mormon War of 1838. 
Rockwell was held in jail for eight months, but no grand jury would indict him due to lack of evidence.  Rockwell defended himself with such statements as “I never shot at anybody, if I shoot they get shot!” and “He’s alive, ain’t he.” in reference to Governor Boggs.  After his release from jail, Rockwell traveled to the house of Joseph Smith in Nauvoo, Illinois, a town built by the Mormons on Christmas Day 1843.  Smith made the following prophecy after seeing Rockwell:  “I prophesy, in the name of the Lord, that you — Orrin Porter Rockwell — so long as ye shall remain loyal and true to thy faith, need fear no enemy. Cut not thy hair and no bullet or blade can harm thee.”  Rockwell wore his hair long thereafter until he cut it to make a wig for a woman who lost her hair from typhoid fever.
 Rockwell was a Danite, a secret Mormon organization dedicated to carrying out acts of violence on behalf of the Mormon religion.  In 1844 Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were indicted for treason against the state of Illinois, the culmination of ever growing tension between Mormons and non-Mormons in Illinois.  On June 27, 1844 a mob stormed the jail in Carthage, Illinois where the Smiths were being held and murdered them.  Rockwell had been away on a mission for the Mormon church at the time, and wept like a child according to witnesses when he learned of the death of Joseph Smith.
In the chaos that ensued after the death of Smith, the Mormons often engaged in battles with mobs of non-Mormons.  On September 16, 1845 Rockwell was hastily deputized by the Sheriff of Hancock County Illinois, Jacob Blackenstos.  Blackenstos was a non-Mormon but was friendly to the Mormons.  He was being chased by an anti-Mormon mob led by Frank Worrell, who had been in charge of the militia unit that failed to protect Joseph Smith when he was murdered.  Rockwell took out his rifle and stopped the mob by shooting to death Worrell.  Worrell thus became the first man killed by Rockwell, a total that would grow to 40-100, no one is certain, by the end of Rockwell’s life.  
Rockwell helped guide the Mormons in their epic trek across the US to their founding of their new Zion around the Great Salt Lake.  In the new territory of Deseret carved out by the Mormons, Rockwell was appointed a Deputy Marshal and would remain a lawman for the rest of his life.  He quickly established a reputation as a relentless tracker of horse thieves and bandits, often traveling hundreds of miles to capture or kill the men he was pursuing.  Indians, among whom he spent a fair amount of time, claimed he couldn’t be killed.  His reputation began to grow, and stories were passed from campfire to campfire about his exploits, both true and false.  A typical tale of Rockwell is the following:  A bandit came from California to make a name for himself by gunning down Rockwell.  “Rockwell, I come all the way from California just to kill you!” Porter calmly replied, “Cain’t shoot me without a cap on yer gun.” He had the kind of gun that required a cap and ball to shoot. “The outlaw was petrified.  He’d rode all the way from California, after all, and hadn’t checked the cap.  He decided he’d better have one last quick look.  No sooner did he shift his eyes from his target to his pistol, then Porter drew his pistol and blew him clean off his horse.”
Rockwell by all accounts was absolutely fearless.  I have come across only one occasion when he admitted to fear.  He was visiting a Mormon Sunday school class when he was invited to speak.  This terrified him as he had never spoken in public before, but he manfully did his best, telling the kids about one of his fights with a group of  Paiutes.
During the Utah War of 1857-58 Rockwell may, as is the case of so much of his life the historical record is not clear, have participated in the bushwhacking of a party of six California gamblers attempting to link up with the US Army under Albert Sidney Johnston that was encamped at Fort Bridger.  Earlier in 1857 Rockwell had slowed the progress of the Army of Johnston that was heading towards Salt Lake City by staging night raids to steal pins from wagon wheels and to drive off horses of the Army.   Twenty years later at the time of his death Rockwell was in jail awaiting trial charged with the murders of Jim and John Aiken, two of the members of the party.
Rockwell made a peculiar Mormon.  Outside of his propensity for violence, Rockwell enjoyed three activities heartily condemned by the Mormons:  drinking, the use of tobacco and cussing.  His plural marriages fit right in however.    Additionally, when he wasn’t killing people, Rockwell was the soul of kindness, charitable to a fault, and especially noted for his fondness for children and dogs.  As to the violence, in an impromptu street debate with Vice-President of the United States Schuyler Colfax in Salt Lake City on June 13, 1869 Rockwell stated, “I never killed anybody that didn’t need killing”, a sentiment that his fellow Mormons agreed with, and who referred to him affectionately as “Old Port”.
Rockwell died of natural causes on June 9, 1878.” 
(Courtesy of Blog Almost Chosen People Thanks to Donald R McClarey)

Like his good friend Joseph Smith, Porter was known for good and evil. I for one like a man who can handle a weapon and still remain faithful to the Church, Joseph Smith, and his religion. Yes he had faults but like all of our Brothers and Sisters and ourselves, we should not judge. I will let God take care of that. He remains someone I admire from the history of the Church. I love the Mormon Proverb that says: “God can use a thunderstorm. Or Porter Rockwell”.

I would hope that I could be as loyal to the faith, the Church, and the Prophet as Orrin Porter Rockwell.
Share with us your thoughts on Rockwell.
Semper Paratus

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Protection in Church

Can you carry in Church? Well, that depends on where you live. Every state is different. It appears that by law and by counsel, you can not carry at LDS meetings or activities in Utah. I know that is different in Arizona, Texas, and Florida. By counsel, it is “inappropriate” to carry within the walls of a Church building. I’ve known early morning seminary teachers who have carried, I’ve known Bishops and Bishopric members who have carried, and even a Relief Society president who carries. All of them carry everywhere, always. Now, I do not write this article to start a debate or controversy. I merely want to know what you do and how. I do not need to know the why.

As for the “why”, I will only say this. We all have agency and we must decide what we will do. I will only say that I understand both ways of thinking. How would I feel if I needed my weapon and did not have it? But, following counsel is right and has never steered me wrong. (No, I don’t want to hear your stories of following counsel and how disaster ensued, please!) I also am a firm believer in personal revelation and following what the Lord would have you do. I have learned to determine the difference between my own will and the influence of the Spirit in my own life. If you are unsure of this, be very careful that your will is not being used in lieu of the Spirit and personal revelation. Also, if it is illegal to carry in Church where you are, know that you risk legal problems including arrest, and suspension of your concealed carry permit. That is all I will say on the “why”. I know you are tempted to comment on your own personal “why”, but please hold that for the “why” post that will come.

I am blessed to live in a state and town where the Church must post a sign which they do not do. So legal-wise I am good. I was asked by one of our Stake Presidency, who is a gun collector, if I was armed before a High council meeting one time. We were the only two in the room at the time, but my answer was and will always be, “If I was, you wouldn’t know it.” That's the way I want to keep it under any condition.

This is the Church's policy from Handbook 2.
Churches are dedicated for the worship of God and as havens from the cares and concerns of the world. The carrying of lethal weapons, concealed or otherwise, within their walls is inappropriate except as required by officers of the law.

Here is the text of the 2004 letter the church sent out to its leadership:

To: Area Presidencies, Area Authority Seventies, Temple Presidents, Stake Presidents, Bishops, and Branch Presidents in Utah

Dear Brethren:

Firearms in Houses of Worship

Churches are dedicated for the worship of God and as havens from the cares and concerns of the world. The carrying of lethal weapons, concealed or otherwise, within their walls is inappropriate except as required by officers of the law.

Utah law permits churches or other organizations operating houses of worship to prohibit firearms. Any person, including a person licensed to carry a concealed firearm, who knowingly and intentionally transports a firearm into a house of worship or who, while in possession of a firearm, enters or remains in a house of worship where firearms have been prohibited, is guilty of a crime. An exception will be provided for law enforcement personnel, as contemplated by law.

The church plans to invoke the Utah law and give public notice that firearms are prohibited in the church's houses of worship, including temples, meetinghouses, the Assembly Hall, the Salt Lake Tabernacle, and the Conference Center.
Scouting merit badge and other activities where firearms are legitimately involved should be held in facilities other than houses of worship.

Once such public notice is given, persons who bring firearms into a church house of worship should be informed of the church's position and politely asked to take their firearms to another safe location. Persons who refuse to take their firearms from the house of worship or repeatedly ignore the church's prohibition should be referred to local law enforcement officers for possible criminal prosecution. However, every reasonable effort should be made to avoid confrontation and to defuse emotional situations so as to prevent violence and misunderstanding. Questions regarding particular situations may be referred to the Church Security Department and the Church's Office of General Counsel at church headquarters.

Sincerely your brethren,


Gordon B. Hinckley

Thomas S. Monson

James E. Faust

Like I said, I don't want to comment or debate on the Church's policy in this article. I have my own opinions and I'm sure all of you have yours too.
What I want to ask of you is what you use in the way of gear, holsters, or clothing if you carry at church. I have other items in my every-day-carry (EDC) including a knife, flashlight, and multi-tool.

I would use a belly band or clothing with a holster sewn into it. After I turned 40 my mid section grew more than I would like and it's been a battle trying to keep it where I'd like it. If I could use a in the waistband holster, I would use that too.
Of course, concealed carry, means concealed. Being aware of how your weapon is retained, if it prints with certain movement, or at what point or angle it would no longer be concealed, is something you need to be aware of. Maybe a pocket holster might be what will work for you. Please share with us your experience or ideas with carrying at Church.
Most belly bands do not usually have a retention strap but it can be added. Under Tech makes an undergarment that looks pretty good. I've never used one and they seem pricey but it's not really any more expensive than many holsters. I've used pocket holsters many times but I've never been the most comfortable with them.

I wait for your comments!

Semper Paratus


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

How do I love Let me count the ways…

Have you ever wanted to buy ammo or magazines online but were intimidated by the hits on Google? (18,100,000 for just the word ammo!) I have been shooting since I was 8 and reloading for about 20 years so when the last ammo “scare” happened, I had the components and ammo I wanted. The problem is, I shoot a couple of times a week. So, I like to replace what I use. During that stressful time I found it difficult to find certain ammo and components. I guess it wasn’t really stressful, but frustrating. It’s still frustrating that it’s sometimes difficult to find .22 ammunition. But that frustration was eased with This site is great for finding what you need in the area of ammunition, reloading components, and magazines. I like the no nonsense way this site is set up and that they tell you when something is out of stock or not. It also will show you the total price of ammunition but also the price per round. You can set your “good deal” threshold which means you can pick a price per round that you’re looking for and the site will let you know in red letters or a “beep alert” that you can set. I found this site easy to use and simple (like my brain). Now, I know that there are other similar sites out there but this was the first one I came across and it helped in my time of “need”. There is even a list of retailers that they follow on this site that is ever growing.
If you order these items on the internet, this website could help. Please take a look and let me know what you think?

Semper Paratus


Monday, January 27, 2014

Why This Website Exists

Why this website exists

Not too long ago I was looking for some information on the web. I went to Google and typed in several forms of what I was looking for. I couldn’t really find anything. I was looking for information on LDS concealed carry. As you may or may not know, Mormons try to dress modestly. For those who have been to the temple we also wear a garment as underwear. These are not too different from a t-shirt and boxer shorts. But because of this, we may have different issues with how we would conceal carry that others may not have. Also, I have a fascination for guns throughout LDS history. When Joseph and Hyrum Smith, and others with them, were martyred, they were given weapons to protect themselves. Another of my hero’s in LDS history was Orrin Porter Rockwell. He was the prophet Joseph Smith’s bodyguard and life-long friend. He is controversial to be sure, but he is someone I admire. No where on the internet could I find a site that dealt exclusively with “LDS guns” as I call it.
I want this to be a place where we discuss guns, tactics, gear, and things related to this lifestyle. Whether you are in law enforcement, the military, or just have a love for weapons, this is your home.
In keeping with this, I do not want doctrine or doctrinal, religious disputes here. This site is for all who are interested regardless of back-round or religion. Always be mindful of others and know that I will control the content on this site.

I am known as Burn. (My callsign is Burning Bush). My backround is military. I have many friends all over the country and world. Many of them work still in security and combat rolls. Many of them are now in law enforcement rolls from federal to church security. I still work on a federal installation and deal with security daily. I have been a practicing Mormon my whole life, have served a mission, and have served in many positions in the Church. I have been shooting guns my whole life and was a weapons instructor in the military. I am also a concealed carry permit holder. I have a wonderful wife of over 30 years and several great kids (my slice elements) spread all over the country. I am also a great believer in this country. I love the United States and all it stands for. I believe we should move closer to the Constitution and of course have Christ centered lives. I do not, however, belong to any party. That’s it in a nutshell.

Please feel free to comment. Please be respectful if you disagree with some one. We'd like this to be a "clearing house" for what works and what doesn't. If you'd like additions to this site or have ideas, please share them. Please share your expertise and experience.

Semper Paratus