Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2009, May 23

“Self-Defense for LDS/ Mormon Men: Why Not?” by grego

Filed under: Uncategorized — grego @ 1:01 am
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Self-Defense for LDS/ Mormon Men: Why Not?
by grego
(c) 2009

In a previous post–“Book of Mormon: What’s Worth Fighting and Dying For?” (https://bookofmormonnotes.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?action=edit&post=141), I wrote a little about, well, what’s worth fighting and dying for. Here, I want to talk about problems with carrying out our duties as husbands/ fathers/ sons/ MEN, especially relating to defense/ protection of ourselves, our families, our homes, our rights, etc.

(By the way, I consider this to be a very rough first draft! Even though, yeah, it’s published, and even though I may never get around to making it any better…)

Some, if not many, LDS men are great because they aren’t really into this “violence” thing. But defense =/= violence, and violence =/= defense. We’re discussing godly defense and protection, not ungodly violence.

So how come LDS men sometimes aren’t very good at doing what LDS men are supposed to do, as taught and shown in the scriptures?

Here are a few reasons we think, I think:

1. We think, “It’s never happened to me, it won’t, and if it does, the police will save me.”
Maybe, but it’s likely the police will get there just in time to clean up the mess that has already been made.

2. “Someone might get hurt practicing.”
Yes, it’s true, someone might get hurt in practice/ learning/ preparation/ etc. It’s definitely something that needs to be done with wisdom and according to our circumstances, abilities, and environment. Chances are, though, that someone will get hurt even worse if you don’t do something now to prepare.

3. “It’s scary crap.”
It is. The videos you can watch of real fights can be sickening, revolting, and make you queasy to your stomach. They don’t go well with the Spirit, nor bring its fruits. But imagine yourself in one of them, and you can’t do anything to defend yourself, because you were scared. Even scarier, imagine you and your family in one of them, and you can’t do anything to help them, because you were scared.
Besides, once more, defense is much more than just brawling and whooping butt.

4. “I suffer enough; do you want me to suffer more?”
As disciples of Christ, yes, we often suffer a lot. It’s so much easier to not do anything lots of times, than to stand up and say something or especially do something. But even so, shouldn’t we at least talk sometimes? Isn’t there another kind of suffering—the kind that comes when we regret not having done what we should have done? The kind that comes from watching innocent, defenseless people suffer because we don’t want to suffer?

5. “The Lord will provide; the Lord will fight my battles.”
Like He provided for Lehi, Moses, Nephi, Abraham, David, Alma the elder and his people; the early Saints. In fact, the Book of Mormon is all about deliverance, both physical and spiritual. He often does perform miracles on our behalf, but isn’t it after we have done something, or at least shown our faith, commitment, and courage? And there might be times when more on our part is required, as with the need for the Nephites to continually defend themselves against the Lamanites, unto death. Like Nephi, we hope the Lord will take care of all our Labans like He did the Egyptians—we just need to follow the Spirit and be faithful to Him, and He will do everything else; but we might have to at least raise a sword sometime.
Remember, it’s easier to ask God’s help—and get it when it’s needed—when we have done our part/ tried to do something, other than sit around and hope nothing happens.

6. “If you speak out, you will get hurt!”
Yeah, it’s pretty much always been that way, huh? It might not happen that way every time, but it could happen.
Here are a few examples in the Book of Mormon:
On the other hand, speaking out might save someone, and do much good. Here are a few examples in the Book of Mormon:

7. “I’m embarrassed.”
I have a feeling this is probably the biggest. I’m sure some LDS men would rather be caught buying pornography than a book/ DVD about self-defense! There’s something about our culture, or at least parts of it—that strongly supports and cultivates that mindset. It’s cool to go to the gym or go running, but mention you are studying kung-fu, and suddenly no one wants to talk to you… be it the girls at the party or your wife.
Do you remember the socio-religious uproar when BYU’s wrestling coach and LDS/ Mormon member, Mark Schultz, fought in the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championships)? Calls for his dismissal were all over. Calls for his excommunication came in, too. As with Professor Jones and 911, threatenings of withdrawals of donations also came in. Here’s how one writer put it (from http://www.sherdog.com/news/articles/3/Mark-Schultz-Where-Is-He-Now-15062):
“Following his one-sided thrashing of Goodridge in his MMA debut, Schultz promptly disappeared from the scene to keep his coaching job at BYU. His exit was one of the great mysteries of the sport, which was just getting its foothold in the states, along with the big money that would come a few years later.
“The president of the school at the time was already anti-wrestling, and on the front cover of the Salt Lake Tribune, there was a picture of me on top of Gary Goodridge with him all bloody,” [Schultz] said.”

And also this (from http://www.njpw.com/interviews/schultz.shtml):
“That’s because in 1996 after the UFC 9, there was a lot of publicity about it in Utah. They put my picture on many tabloid covers, but at the same time, I was the head coach of BYU, and there were many people who disagreed with my action in competing in the NHB match. This type of event was new at the time and back then, and there were not many rules. There were only two or three rules and people thought it was brutal, and a lot of people were upset and complaining to the president of BYU. So the president said to me, “You can either coach amateur wrestling at BYU or fight, but you can’t do both.” I had three kids and had to decide on taking the coaching career because I needed the health insurance and stuff.” (Sidenote: BYU stopped its wrestling program about four years after, leaving Schultz without a job.)

As that makes it clearly known and seen, many Mormons—especially Utah Mormons, it seems—don’t like the idea, plain and simple. I mean, a true disciple of Christ, a staff member at the Lord’s university, would never do that! Unless, perhaps, you’re taking some form of “spiritual karate” lessons or “we don’t even hurt bugs” martial art.

On the other hand, those nonviolent sports—such as BYU football and church basketball (especially with the clawed women) or church fast-pitch softball–are so much more Christ-like and becoming a Saint…

Sure, there’s no reason to be pro-violence; but unless you’re on the stature of an Anti-Nephi-Lehi, is there a reason to support others being “pro-violence”, in that you let others violate you, your family, and others?

8. Some men just aren’t very good at defense; it’s not their cup of postum.
I understand. (Believe me, I understand!) Maybe if we physically contended with a 6th grader, we would lose. We think it wouldn’t be worth putting in all the time and effort into something that’s just not for us. I mean, why spend hours and hours when all it would mean is we’d get knocked out in five seconds instead of three?
Once more–and especially here–defense doesn’t just mean violence.
Besides, with preparation, and the Lord’s help, who knows what might happen? Here’s a story to illustrate:
There was a troop at Scout camp that was bigger and more numerous than us, bad, and they didn’t like us (they were the only other LDS troop there, go figure). Contention was growing, I was trying really hard to be good, and we went swimming. I was doing the freestyle with eyes closed (hey, it was in the lake!), when I felt a very slight bump. Weird–I had checked my path, it had been clear. I got to the pier I was swimming to, got out and sat, and quickly noticed a commotion on the other pier I had just swum from. One guy had a very bad bloody nose! Then I noticed someone pointing at puny old me (I was a skinny 90 lbs. in 9th grade). A-ha! Now I knew what that bump was… Well, we had no more problems with that troop afterward.

What to do?

So, here are my suggestions:
1. Know thyself, and then don’t.
Check out all these different ways. Decide which ones fit you best, and prepare. But who knows, maybe you actually have talents you and no one else know about, and would have never guessed.

2. You need a plan plans.
There are lots of different situations to prepare for: personal vs. couple vs. family vs. group, inside vs. outside vs. car, isolated vs. in a crowd, troublesome vs. life-threatening, etc.

3. You need to practice the plan.

4. Let the words of prophets (particularly the living), the scriptures, and especially the guidance of the Holy Ghost lead you. I share one account about this, and its importance:
I dreamed I was with a huge dude. He was big, bad, late 20’s/early 30’s, bald head, muscular. The situation was bad. He said to follow him, I thought yeah, no one could take him, it would be good. I had another feeling—like from the Holy Ghost—not to. We started walking, a group came but I still didn’t worry—until one guy pulled out a gun. Whoops. No amount of muscles beat that…
I’m glad it was just a dream.

Another example, from church history:
A mob was crossing the river to attack the Saints; the local Mormons were ready to ambush what would have been easy targets wading in deep water in a restricted area; a messenger just arrived from Joseph Smith saying the prophet says to submit, not fight; the local leader prayed, felt the Holy Ghost say to follow the prophet; they submitted instead of fought, were captured but were later released; even though as they were leaving in a straight line (like old English battlefield shooting) they were fired at twice at close range by the whole mob, not one Saint was shot or even hit.

Here are some other ways for success:
*get your family involved. This might also help everyone’s self-confidence. Let everyone explore their own skills and talents.
*think of a list, in order of preference, you could use and areas to work on.

Ok, I keep saying defense and protection is more than just physical confrontation and violence. Here are some things to consider:

Let them know you’re watching.
Sometimes, just one other person being around, or watching, is enough to deter problems before they start. Especially if you’re holding a videocamera, or a cellphone, or both.

Talk.
Maybe a reminder–hey, I’m here watching.
Maybe just a short plea. You can talk of God, of family, police problems, jail, etc.
Maybe a talking to. It doesn’t have to be a threat—it might even be the opposite. An invitation could work where a threat might make it worse.
Getting other people’s attention and help.
Calling for help.

Do.
This doesn’t necessarily mean violence. It could be: trying to calm the situation, pulling people apart, seeing if someone’s ok, especially if it was “on the spot” violence.

Get involved.
Depending on the threat, it can be “standing by” someone, physically fighting, or even using a weapon. Realize there are many more crimes deferred by a weapon than crimes committed with a weapon, and many situations are helped by weapons.

Take a look in the Book of Mormon at what the Nephites did in particular. Weapons, armor, strong defenses and forts, stratagems galore, praying for help and having faith, and yes fighting—all providing safety to the Nephites, protecting them from the Lamanites, and especially discouraging the enemy.

I hope this has helped in some way to remind and encourage LDS men to become a little more like many of the great men in the Book of Mormon who abhorred violence yet were ready and wiling to defend and protect to death.


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