Episode 12

Principles of Safety and Self-Defense

with Kim Stevens

Meghan: Hey everyone and welcome to another episode of the Latter-Day Disciples Podcast. I am super excited to invite Kim Stevens to our podcast today. She’s also known as Concealed Carry Kim, but I have always just known her as Kim. She has been a great friend of mine for well over a decade now. And I’m really thankful for her willingness to jump on the podcast and share her wisdom on the importance and the principles of self-defense, which I think is an incredibly relevant topic to living in the last days. Kim was born and raised in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She graduated from the same high school her parents attended, which is really fun. Kim is a convert to the church. When she was younger, she kind of tried on for size a few different churches, she even attended vacation Bible School at the Church of the Block. When she was 12, the missionaries came to her house and she learned about the First Vision and when they started talking about Joseph Smith searching for the true church, it really resonated with her since that was her journey as well. She was baptized on Easter Sunday along with her brother. When they were about 17 years old, she was asked to teach a young woman’s activity on self-defense. She took Taekwondo for a few years and she’s always been very safety minded. She has been a stay at home mom for 27 years and she says that she has had a little bit of shame about that in the past, but I can’t imagine why because she’s been the busiest person that I can possibly think of in those 27 years. She has worn out her life serving others. During that time, she says that she’s had so many enriching experiences; she regularly spent time volunteering at her children’s school; she helped organize food and household supplies drives to donate to families in need, and they were always able to help seven to eight families. Individually as a family, they would put together donations for Secret Santa gifts. I remember when she turned a certain age, that I won’t share, one of the activities that she did was as many acts of service (as her age).  Acts of service is Kim’s love language.  This all just goes to prove that. Kim also worked with Girl Scouts for about five years as a troop leader, and she ran a troop of 103 girls, which is no small feat. She received the Volunteer of the Year Award from the Council one year. Another time she worked as a cooking mom, service unit director and Day Camp planning committee chair. That year they participated in the Halloween parade in Davenport, Iowa, and they won, Mayor’s choice. She also planned activities for the Council as well as many field trips. When she was pregnant with her second child, she was called to be the first counselor in the Relief Society and got to learn about servant leadership, which is such an important topic from some really amazing women. By the time her third child was born, she was called to be the Young Women’s president and has been called to serve as girls camp director, twice, pregnant both times. You think that they would be a little bit more aware when they extend those kinds of callings but I guess you were just the person for the job?  So pregnant or not, there you go. After a few years of that, she was called to be the chorister, as well as choir director and ward music chairperson all at the same time. At one point, she was even the ward organist. She said she taught herself how to play piano in her twenties. Above all of that, she was running around with four little kids while her husband started a new business after losing his job in 2000. They moved to Colorado in 2006. At that point she became the Activities Committee chairperson for a while, she served as the girls camp director while all three of her oldest girls were in Young Women’s. And then she was called to be the State Relief Society secretary.  In that calling she planned and coordinated stake women’s conference trainings and served with the missionaries at zone conferences. All along the same time, I’m guessing she volunteered to be a shooting sports director for the Boy Scouts. Her husband was a volunteer at the fire department, so she took on the role of planning the awards BBQ Christmas parties, helping with the parade and the fill the boot campaign and she also continued to volunteer weekly at the local schools. She would help with planning the middle school graduation ceremony and celebration chaperoning dances, both church and school. And it was also during this time that she attended a Relief Society 24 hour retreat at a cabin. She had recently completed her class for concealed carry permit at the time, and there were a few sisters that expressed some strong feelings about guns, mostly just fear. At that time it really sparked an interest in her to help women overcome that fear. They had moved in 2013 to some acreage outside Fort Collins, Colorado, and she and her husband were going to Maui for their 20th anniversary. He had taken a class to get scuba certified before the trip, and the weekend that he decided to do that, Kim decided that she was going to take a firearm instructor course. And she took it by herself. She says it was a little bit intimidating, to say the least, but she did it, and she passed the shooting test with 100%. It was the beginning of an amazing journey to empowering others, and she’s been teaching concealed carry classes ever since, as well as picked up a few certifications along the way. Kim is an NRA basic pistol instructor, ‘I Refuse to be a Victim’ presenter, and a range safety officer. She attended the Faster Colorado program and passed level one with 100%. She is a SAFE, which stands for situational awareness for everyone instructor certified through Usef Bedo, who’s a former marine trainer. And she joined a direct sales company called Damsel in Defense and has been an independent Rep since 2016. Most recently, Kim attended an instructor certification course for the Alive Active Shooter Survival program.  She said she’s really enjoying teaching and setting goals for herself and her future progress in this field.  Kim and her husband, Will, were sealed in the Chicago Illinois Temple in November of 1993. They have five kids, four girls and a boy. Their oldest is almost 27, youngest is 15. They currently live in Arizona, with just the youngest two at home. Her son was called just this last week to serve in the Frankfurt, Germany mission so they are excited and getting him ready for that. They have two grandkids as well, a boy who’s almost three and a girl that just turned two. So Kim, thank you so much for being willing to join and share your incredible life experiences with us. Obviously,  I said this before, but service is your love language. And you’ve found such a unique way to serve others by teaching them how to defend themselves. 

Kim: Yeah, it’s been an interesting journey. When I started, my main main goal was just to teach women not to be afraid of firearms.  Within the last few years, I’ve really started to teach more and more in the LDS community. Mainly young women. I’ve traveled to Texas, I’ve traveled to Arizona, Utah, just to teach young women not only how to protect themselves, but why it’s important for them to because I think we kind of gloss it over that we don’t want to be violent. And as young women, I want the girls to know that they are important, that they are worthy of being protected and being safe. I talk to them about healthy boundaries. They’re in that dating age, and I can’t stress enough what is healthy for them and what is not.  We don’t teach those things so much. At least I don’t feel like  we were taught that when I was a young woman. It’s been interesting. I always title it five things that Captain Moroni taught us to keep us safe. Because I learned all these things from Captain Moroni. I’ll read to you my favorite scripture about Captain Moroni.

Meghan: Yes, please do. And you’re going to have to tell us the five things now.

Kim:  I know, right?

Meghan:  We have to know all the five things.

Kim:  Alright! So Alma 48, verse 17. “Yea, verily, verily, I say unto you, if all men had been and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men.”  I tell the girls, dude, Captain Moroni is where it is at. That is what you want in a husband. 

Meghan: So although I think Sherry Dew said that she called dibs on him. So we will bow to Sherry Dew.  I have a husband so I’m taken but, she won the prize there.

Kim: So five things that he taught us;  to put on our personal armor, he taught us boundaries, he taught us how to stay ahead of our enemies, situational awareness and then that gut instinct. So I made them in terms that are everyday, layman terms that we can identify with. But Captain Moroni, it says in the scriptures he did not delight in bloodshed. So it’s not that he was just going out and seeking these things. He was protecting and defending. 

Meghan:   Which I think is an amazing characteristic of any leader. The leaders that I want are the leaders that are hesitant. And they’re not seeking their own glory. They’re not trying to fulfill a vision of themselves. They’re not seeking after pride or honor. And Moroni was that, exactly like you said,  he fought but he didn’t want to.  He would have much rather had an era of peace. Unfortunately, his life was characterized by violent times, but he was still willing to make that sacrifice.

Kim: Yep, and President Hinckley said this, “When war raged between the Nephites and the Lamanites, the record states that the Nephites were inspired by a better cause for they were not fighting for power but they were fighting for their homes and their liberties, their wives, their children, and their all, yea, for the rights of worship in church.” That is what they were fighting for. They weren’t fighting for power, they weren’t fighting for recognition. It was to protect themselves and their families. So I correlate that with what I do because I want everybody to be able to feel like they can protect their family. Captain Moroni sends that letter off, he’s had it.

Meghan: Yeah, to Pahoran.

Kim:  Yes. And he basically says, I am going to call up women and children and search you down to the ends of the earth and exterminate you basically.  Well, I tell the women, Moroni doesn’t just think, oh, these women can handle it because I said so. No, we are doing the things that we need; we are praying, we are filling our home with the spirit, we are doing all the things that the Lord is requiring us to do.  When the Prophet talks to us about needing covenant, keeping women, that is what we are, and that is why we will be ready when we are called up if we are called to defend our family. It’s not that we delight in bloodshed, but we know that come the time, we will be able to protect ourselves. Our world is very tumultuous. There are things going on and so many people come to me filled with fear. And that is one of the things that I like about being able to go out and teach people is that I have a way of calming their fear. My husband tells me it’s amazing and it’s my superpower. But more and more I’ve tried to recognize when I’m speaking.  A couple months ago, I went and spoke at a youth activity and I had boys.  I’ve never spoken to the young men and young women together. And my husband looked at my paper and I had maybe five things written down.  And he said, “I don’t know how you’re going to fill an hour and a half.”  I replied that I just try to be in tune with the spirit and be in tune with what they need at that time, because it’s important. It really is. Everybody is in fear. I feel like so many people are in fear. And when we have the gospel, we feel that peace.  It’s not  like, oh, life is good, nothing’s bad. No, we know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. We know we have a Heavenly Father. And I feel like our Heavenly Father loves us. And we should love ourselves as much as he loves us.  I always think of the Young Women’s values, individual worth is in there. And I think at times girls just kind of internalize things and shame themselves for things. And don’t think that they have that individual worth where they’re worthy of things. Our family father loves us and he wants us to feel of worth, and I believe having that right to protect ourselves falls within that category of individual worth.

Meghan: You said so many things that I love. First off, I love the fact that you very clearly have been given a spiritual gift,  to teach people to not be afraid. I think that’s so powerful because fear doesn’t come from Heavenly Father. There are so many situations in our life that we don’t necessarily have control over.  And yet you reminded me of the scripture that says, if you are prepared, you shall not fear. And one of the challenges of living in the last days is to make sure that we’re prepared;  spiritually and temporally with things like food storage and water and all of that. But self-defense is no less important in ensuring that we really are prepared for whatever comes our way and if we were put in a situation where our life or the lives of our loved ones is at risk, the only way that we’re not going to be afraid in that situation is if we have prepared beforehand and we have taken the steps that we need to be able to mitigate that risk as much as possible. So I just think that that’s so important and so powerful and it’s a unique perspective.

Kim:  Yeah it probably is.

Meghan: Well, unique in that, we don’t talk about it very much, which is a little bit strange because we know that the Book of Mormon is a template for our day and it is replete with examples of defending yourself by force.

Kim: And it’s interesting too, because it shows us how covenant keeping people acted during those wars. We stayed within our covenants, we stayed within what we know to be true. It’s not just all free willy nilly. They go out and fight each other. 

Meghan: Yeah, it’s very intentional. Well, it’s really interesting the way that you said that, it makes me realize that we never covenanted to not ever shed blood. That’s really uncomfortable to say.  And I think that depending on the situation, the way that you could interpret your covenants certainly means you should not shed blood. Like you said, we don’t want to shed blood, but what we do covenant  to do is, we covenant to sacrifice and we covenant to be obedient and sometimes to be obedient means we shed blood. I think about Nephi and Laban, that’s the first example that everyone will think of and that was a situation where God said, ‘You need to kill this person, and under any other circumstances killing is not OK.’ But when God says you need to do this or you need to defend yourself then it becomes okay and you are still living within the guidelines of your covenants. I’ve never thought about it like that before. 

 And that’s upholding a covenant. And following the commandment to love our brothers and sisters, even when you have to fight against them.  Why do you think it is so uncomfortable to talk about this sometimes? I’m not a squeamish person. I own a firearm. I know how to use it. We’ve taken steps for our personal self-defense, but it’s still so challenging to talk about it and to come to the realization that there is a doctrine of self-defense that is compatible with all the other aspects of the gospel that we normally characterize as peaceful and loving.  Why do you think it’s so hard to come to terms with that?

Kim: So I think…this is just my opinion, I think that as people, we naturally don’t want to hurt one another. We don’t seek to hurt other people. We love everybody.  So when this comes into play, I state in my presentations, it’s love over fear. You have to come to terms with loving yourself over fearing, hurting someone because that person doesn’t care and they don’t play by the rules that you think are common knowledge. Their rules are no rules because obviously they want to hurt you. So I just think of the love for myself, the love that I have for my family and that I want to protect them at all costs and so I could hurt somebody if I absolutely had to, but I don’t ever want it to come to that. But I think getting to that mindset is difficult for people because we don’t want to hurt people. That’s what it boils down to, I don’t want to hurt somebody.

Meghan:  I think that there’s also this fine line where we don’t want to be selfish. Do we know what the line is between self love and selfishness?

Kim: I think we know. I mean, I really do. Selfishness is taking advantage of people. Self love is protecting yourselves at all costs.  I really feel strongly that there are two types of people; there is the person that prays that their credit card debt will go away and then they sit and wait for it to go away. And then you have the person that prays that their credit card debt will go away and then they get to work and make a plan to make it happen. Heavenly Father tells us to pray, but then we have to get to work. Which prophet was it that said to get on your knees and pray and then get on your feet and get to work?

Meghan:  All of them? So what do you tell people about cultivating that degree of self love?  What do you tell people to help them understand that they are worthy of being safe and of defending themselves, even if it could cost the life of another person?

Kim: So when I talk to people individually or as a group, I try to meet them where they are because many people are not here. They’re just baby stepping right here. And that’s what’s been so interesting about my journey is being able to help people get over that hump of the fear of hurting someone. I had a woman who I was training on the range one day and it was her turn to get up to the range to the line to shoot and it was the first time she’s ever done that. She was just standing there and she was so afraid. And I leaned over to her and I said, “You are in control. Nothing is going to happen until you want it to happen. There is nobody behind you saying ‘hurry up, lady, come on, let’s go’. This is all you. You are in control. You have all the power.”  She probably stood there for five more minutes and then she just straightened up and said, “The Lord did not give me the spirit of fear.” And she fired her gun for the first time.  That is so cool. Because we just have it in our mind that it’s so scary and it is really scary. It really is.  So those baby steps, you start out here and think, okay, ‘I can do this, I can be more alert in my surroundings’ because people don’t even realize that 90% of the time situational awareness is what you need. But having a weapon levels the playing field. So if you are attacked by someone and you beg for your life, you have a 5% chance of survival.  If you have a weapon,  your chance rises to over 95% survival.  I can talk to statistics all day, but it’s the stories of people that have sent me messages saying thank you, you saved my life that make all the difference. The first time I received that message, I thought, oh ha ha, yeah, yeah, whatever. And then she sent me a picture of her, from the police report. She was all black and bruised because she was being attacked by her boyfriend and the only way she could escape was by using her stun gun.  I was so relieved to hear that she had taken her safety seriously because. Domestic violence is another thing that we don’t talk about and abuse and all those things. And when a woman goes to leave her abuser, that is when it gets the scariest because he becomes the most violent.  We don’t even realize that that’s just people just talking within our community.  It surprises me how little we know about all the things we don’t know.

Meghan:  I can relate to that because of producing this podcast and then some of the things that we talked about on our podcast. The topic of the last days and preparing for Christ to return is super dark. It’s dark and it’s scary. And we’re not good with dark and scary. We have been so blessed with true joy and with the light of Christ and it’s really easy to forget about the shadows and that some people live in them. We see Shadows cross our path, heaven forbid that you haven’t experienced something like that where your life is truly in danger. That happens. But some people live there, and we’re so blessed and we would do well to learn how to acknowledge the shadows. Not to live in them, but one to know how to handle them when they do cross our path and also so that we can be more compassionate for people who live in those shadows, because there are so many people that do, and unless we realize the possibility of, maybe my neighbor and my friend is in an abusive situation or I don’t know what this person has grown up with in their life and what they experienced in childhood. It’s important and empowering, for the sake of being Christ-like and and being able to serve each other. 

Kim: Yeah, absolutely because we take on those covenants when we get baptized, to bear one another’s burdens. It is hard to know though, it really is.  In the beginning when I started doing this I didn’t know how to react when people would tell me their stories. And now I just hug people because when they share their story with me, it is so brave and amazing.  I cry a lot and I pray a lot.  And if I meet somebody that I am worried about, then when I go to the temple to put a name on the prayer roll… I’ll just say ‘the lady that I met at the gas station today’.  Father knows who that is. It’s called normalcy bias, we are Pollyannas; nothing bad has ever happened, nothing bad ever will happen. And that just gets us in trouble because we have blinders on and there’s so much going on out in the world!  We don’t need to absorb it all and take it all upon ourselves but we do need to be aware of what’s going on out there in the world. For instance, everyone always thinks of ‘stranger danger’, yet 95% of the time a child knows who their molester is. It’s not ‘stranger danger’, it’s all around and we can’t be naive to it.  Those shadows that people are in, we don’t know what they’ve lived through, what they’ve survived. I’ve met some pretty amazing people.

Meghan:  I love your story. I love listening to you talk because you’re an instrument in the hand of God and you’re a gun instructor! He uses you to bless people and to strengthen them and to give them confidence. And to help them escape terrible situations. 

Kim:  I cannot tell you how many women I’ve met at 5:00 o’clock in the morning so that I can do training with them because either their ex-husband is out of jail and already stalking them…It can be late at night, I meet them where they are. I meet them when I can, as soon as I can, because everyone deserves to be safe.

Everybody needs that. Heavenly Father loves us and we deserve to be protected. So whether they’re LDS or not, they get a little bit of my gospel according to Kim whenever I teach anything, because that’s just who I am.

Meghan:  It’s such a Christ-like pattern because it’s exactly what he would do; he would meet people where they are in the most inconvenient of circumstances, he would sacrifice whatever comfort, whatever time, energy that he had to meet someone where they are, to save them. He’s a savior. And I just love that, I love that pattern. OK, we’ve gone way off topic, but we needed to go back to Captain Moroni.  So you listed the five principles.

Kim: Do you want me to read the scriptures that go along with them?

Meghan: Sure.

Kim: OK, so I have Moroni equipped those in his military with personal armor that shielded the more vital parts of the body. So in Doctrine and Covenants 27: 15-18, we learn about that; protecting the loins, the heart, the feet, the head, putting on that personal armor. I like to talk to the youth, especially when I talk to them about protecting the things that go in your mind because we have pornography, which is a huge, huge plague on our society and I feel like Satan’s thinking, I got them in, now I’m going to work on the women. I feel like he really does women a disservice with all the comparisons on social media. Why do your lips look like that? And why do you want to be molded into that? Heavenly Father created us perfectly the way we are. We are individuals. We are talented. We’re all unique in our own way. So I feel like that brain, what you put in there, if you’re putting in garbage, you’re going to get out garbage.

Meghan:  I have to interject here because you just hit on legitimate last days prophecy. I don’t know if people know this because it’s Isaiah and Isaiah can be scary. But it’s in Isaiah, and it’s also re-recorded in Second Nephi. Nephi saw our time, he saw a vision through the end of time and he was limited in what he could share. The Lord said, after pretty much the founding of America, OK, you’re done, someone else, John the Revelator, is going to write this next part. So he couldn’t describe all of the things that he saw in his own language. He said, the spirit stoppeth mine utterance, but what could he do?  He could share, Isaiah and Isaiah saw the same things, and he very intentionally included what he did from Isaiah and one of the things, one of the chapters that he talks about is he talks about the daughters of Zion and he talks about the the sons of Zion. Zion is the church, this is not just the men and women of our time. He was talking about the things they were going to plague the church. And for the men, it was sexual sin, it was immorality, it was fornication. It’s pornography. That’s what it is. I always remember, there was a study done BYU some time ago asking the new freshman there how many of them had willfully sought out pornography, and it was 100%. It’s insane. It’s crazy. But that is the plague of our generation, specifically for the men. And for the women, it was materialism. It was the wimples and the crisping pins. It was the bells, fashionable outfits and the filters. And I can say this because I have no makeup on and my hair is not done right now, so I’m not being hypocritical at this very moment. I’m sure at a later moment I will be hypocritical on this. But this is our challenge, right? And so you’re so right that this is last day prophecy being fulfilled.  The men are struggling through a plague of pornography.  And women are struggling through a plague of materialism and worldliness. 

Kim: I feel for the youth. We’ve got some strong youth too. I have been amazed when I go and I teach and I talk and they come up to me and talk to me afterwards and I think, wow, there’s a reason that you are living in this time. I can  feel their spirits and it’s amazing.

Meghan: OK. So I’m sorry I took us off topic.  The armor of God, tell me your thoughts.

Kim: So that’s the big one that I go with because that’s what we need, especially in these days, to protect ourselves, is to guard our hearts and guard our minds. Keep those commandments. They’re there not to be a hindrance, they’re there to keep you safe. They really are.  So, personal armor and then number two is boundaries, which are physical, emotional and digital boundaries because they live in a technical world.  You get spammed with text messages or you get all the hate on something you post, just those sorts of things.  I tell them you have to create boundaries for yourself. Boundaries are to keep yourself safe. They’re not mean to people. They’re for your safety, and it’s OK to make boundaries. I don’t know why we don’t think it’s OK. Maybe we think that it will hurt their feelings. I say ‘No! Just make the boundary’!  The scripture reference for that one is 1 Nephi 15:24 “And I said unto them, that it was the word of God; and whoso would hearken unto the word of God, and would hold fast unto it, they would never perish; neither could the temptations of the fiery darts of the adversary overpower them unto blindness, to lead them away unto destruction.” So when we have those boundaries in place with others it keeps us safe. I make a little pamphlet, a booklet that I hand out to the youth that I teach, and I send it home with them. Because it’s an uncomfortable topic, and I know that it’s an uncomfortable topic,  I still want them to go home and think about it.  I also give them my email, they can follow me on social media, they can always reach out to me and ask me any questions.  There’s also a section in here for their parents too,  it gives them examples of setting boundaries and what to do. It’s just another way to protect yourself.

Meghan:  I want to emphasize that Christ set boundaries.  I think that we may think we are not being Christ-like unless we are willing to sacrifice all of ourselves for other people, to make other people comfortable, to give them everything that they feel like they need and it’s just not true.

Kim:  I always tell people, do not sacrifice your safety for someone else’s comfort.  You do realize that eventually Nephi had to finally set some boundaries with his brothers.

Meghan:  You know, we’re studying the Old Testament this year and Abraham was another great example.  He had a dad who was abusive, who literally wanted to sacrifice him to false idols and he eventually got to the point of okay,  I’m leaving.  That is a way that we set boundaries to say that I am worthy.  I am worthy of being safe.  I am worthy of being protected and this situation or this person is not respecting that and I am going to take action. I am choosing to be in control of this situation rather than becoming a victim.

Kim: Absolutely. Alright, moving on to number three,  so I call this one the OODLE loop which is a term coined by the Air Force Colonel Cooper and it stands for Observe, Orient, Decide and Act. We constantly do that all day long; we observe things, we orient ourselves to it, then we decide and then we do whatever.  So Moroni was in an ongoing mode to prepare and implement improved forms of defense so that he could stay ahead of his enemies. Alma chapter 48:8-10 says, “Yea, and he had been strengthening the armies of the Nephites in erecting small forts or places of resort, throwing up banks of earth round about to encloses armies and also build walls of stone and thus he was preparing to support their liberty, their lands, their wives, their children, their peace; that they might live unto the Lord their God, that they might maintain that which was called by their enemies the cause of christians.”  We need to stay ahead of the enemy, right? And again, I bring up pornography and I talk about the dog poop brownies that I would try to feed my children because they’ll say, “Can’t we watch this, mom?  It just has a little bit of swearing!”  And I tell them, I’m making brownies and I’m only going to put a little bit of dog poop in them. I promise, it’s just a little bit…” So every time we go back to the dog poop brownies. It’s just a little bit.


Meghan: That is a gross example but a great one.  That is a great analogy and I’m sure all of the parents take note of that. If you have a dog there’s a way that you can recycle.  The thing that I love about Moroni is that when he was doing that, when he was throwing up the banks and encircling the camps and the cities and building the fences and building the towers the Lamanites were not coming into the land. They had encroached a little bit and then they fought him back and now he’s doing all of this. He did it before they came and it was times of peace when he was choosing to prepare.  I mean the universal applicability of that principle in terms of our times that we live in right now is endless, we could talk about that for days.  Being willing and active in sacrificing now to ensure your future security is such an important principle.

Kim: Yes and it’s not just what you’re letting in, you’re talking about he did it in times of peace. So are we getting casual in our commitment with Christ? Are we attending the temple regularly? Are we saying our prayers, journaling, scripture study, all of those things are what go into protecting and fortifying our homes. We don’t need war to be protecting and fortifying our homes.

Meghan: I hope not. 

Kim: No.

Meghan: Because if you wait for that you’re not going to be ready.

Kim: That’s exactly right, that is why we prepare now; little drops of oil filling, our lamp every single day, that’s what builds up those walls, that’s what prepares us for when the enemy does come. Yes, staying ahead of our enemies, we have to do that.  Let’s see, number four; Doctrine and Covenants 101: 54, we are talking about situational awareness, keeping our head on the swivel, and staying off the x, which x marks the spot. Moroni erected towers to overlook the fences surrounding each city and not only were those towers strategic places from which watchmen threw stones and arrows, but he could see the enemy from afar off. Our bodies have this built sense in our brain that signals when there is danger.  When I teach most people I call it our gut instinct, sometimes when I teach the youth I tell them it’s the spirit.  We need to be doing all those things; praying, going to church, reading our scriptures, so that we can have the spirit and know how to listen to it and know how to be ready when it speaks to us so that we can see the enemy far off.  Because you can turn down a dark alley and if the hair on the back of your neck stands up are you going to continue? Or are you going to turn around and walk a different way? It’s really that simple, because our brain can sense danger before we actually see it. Our brains are amazing. 

Meghan: It’s like someone designed it that way or something… 

 I love the connection to the fact that this is the Spirit.  Going back to what you were saying with the previous principal about filling our lamps and one of the objectives, I think sometimes we have the tendency to think that scripture study and going to the temple and praying is an end unto itself and I think we do ourselves a disservice because we think, ‘well then I’m not really getting anything out of it other than just doing it’ and that’s so not the point. That is so not the point! Because we get a thousand things out of it when we do.  One of the points is that it tunes us to the spirit and we need that on a minute by minute basis because you never know what you are going to encounter in a single day. We had an experience back in the beginning of January. My husband and I went to Salt Lake to see Hamilton and it was good, it would have been better if I hadn’t already watched it on Disney plus so you know a trade off there. This Hamilton was much more likable than Lin-Manuel Miranda, you kinda want to hate him by the end of it. But anyway, while we were in town we decided to go down to Sandy to the giant Scheels Superstore where they have a ferris wheel inside, that’s super fun.  My husband and I were just going there to do some shopping and we were walking in the front entrance and there was a man who was walking out and I kid you not, I looked at him and I kind of smiled because that’s  what I do, I try to smile at people and always make people happy so I try to smile at them and make them happy.  Anyway I don’t remember, he didn’t really do anything he kind of just looked at me and then I had this sinking feeling, like this was not a good person, this was not a safe person and we passed by him.  He exited and we were going in the building and I looked back over my shoulder and he was looking right at me. We went in and I turned to my husband,  “Did you see that guy?” “Yeah he was shifty.”  That was a scary person that we just passed going into a store and it was kind of a terrifying experience.  If you’ve ever had that happen, there are scary people in this world and I just encountered one.  I never spoke to him, we never really engaged with one another but I know for a fact that that person was not safe. I found myself just feeling so very grateful that I was in tune with the spirit because if I had had an opportunity to engage with him more I could have been hurt.  It just attests to the importance of spiritual preparation for anything that we might face.

Kim: It really does.  The spirit that we have when we are keeping the commandments and doing what we know is right, the spirit can speak to us very strongly. We had a home teacher once and he came over for the first time.  A week later the elder’s quorum president asked me how I liked him and I said I don’t ever want him in my house again.  He was taken aback but two weeks later he was arrested for child pornography.  I had never met him before, I had never talked to him before, but that vibe that I got from him did not make me feel comfortable, it was indescribable at the time but now looking back that was definitely the spirit saying, you don’t want this person in your home.  I feel we get too trusting because we think we’re all the same religion and everything’s all good.

Meghan: I’ve noticed this too, when you try to be an honest good person you assume that other people are honest good people and a lot of them are just not.

Kim:  And our standards are all different too. Sometimes when my kids would go to somebody’s house and watch a movie that I haven’t even seen…

Meghan: There’s still a lot of subjectivity in how people use their agency to apply commandments and covenants.  That’s very true.

Kim:  And it’s been interesting to learn that along the way as a parent because I, being a Pollyanna, was totally like ‘Yay, I am in the LDS religion and everybody’s the same as me!’ And because I come from a convert background and so I’m very excited about all the things that I get to experience in church, it’s just cool and not everybody feels the same way.

Meghan: Unfortunately not. I wanted to make a distinction too, what we’re talking about right now is we’re talking about the spirit teaching you when something is not safe and I want to clarify that that’s not the same as being judgmental because I think that that’s another hesitation;  we think, I don’t want to judge this person. Christ never said don’t judge, he said judge righteous judgment and what that means is you have to make judgment calls in terms of who and what kind of influences you are going to allow into your life. It is possible to say, I love you, you’re a child of God and  I’m not spending any time with you.  And that’s okay. I just wanted to make that quick clarification here that there is a way to acknowledge that there are people that you do not want influencing you or your family and still keep your covenants.  I feel like we keep going back to this, that we can apply these principles and we are still totally within the bounds of our covenants and keeping the commandments.

Kim: Okay, back to Moroni, he’s still my favorite. The last one is number five in Alma chapter 52:17. Moroni and his military captain used wisdom by not attacking the enemy in their stronghold. They waited patiently for the proper time and place. He also counseled with the prophet, so should we be listening to our prophet? Everything all meshes together.  It’s on the Lord’s time, it always is, so we need to be patiently waiting but as we’re waiting we’re not just twiddling our thumbs, we’re anxiously engaged. We’re going about our father’s business, doing what we need to be doing and when that moment happens we will recognize it because we’re in tune with the spirit; everything will just all fall into place, it’s just that simple. 

Meghan:  It’s so true, he’s such a great example and yes following the prophet.  One of the things I was thinking about earlier today is that there are so many voices and good voices; there are people who are well meaning and well educated and who have good intentions and who seem to care about other people and they make judgments and yet they have their own interpretations and their own advice and their own admonitions but the prophet’s voice is the only one who is in direct communication with the Lord. So while some of these people  are going to hit on things that are right once in a while, we can certainly use the spirit to discern that and gain value from it but the prophet is the only one who’s going to have the whole picture at the end of the day and it makes me so grateful because it’s a sea of voices. We know that there’s one voice in addition to our own communication with the Lord and our own revelation but there is one voice that we can look to that we know is sure.

Kim: Isn’t that awesome? That’s what it all boils down to is listening to our Heavenly Father who speaks to the prophet who speaks to us and then listening to the Holy Ghost testify to us what we need in our life. I feel like sometimes it’s so simple and we complicate it.

Meghan: Simple, not easy. But there’s so much beauty in the simplicity. And if you want it to go deeper it will, you can. That’s something I’ve been learning.  There is no end to the depths of God so if you want more and you’re ready for it he’ll give it to you. So where do you suggest someone start?  What if we have someone who’s listening to this and is kind of dawning on them, the importance of this topic or you know maybe they’ve dabbled in it a little bit and started to gain an understanding of self defense and an understanding of home protection, of taking care of family…Obviously in the context of the last days we are all going to face challenges, it’s almost inevitable that you’re going to be in a situation where you have to defend yourself. Where would you suggest someone start?

Kim:  There is a talk that I really like by Quentin L. Cook called Let There Be Light, it is a conference talk. The little blurb says, “In our increasingly unrighteous world it is essential that values based on religious belief be part of the public discourse.” And this is kind of where I really started getting my testimony for what I am doing solidified. One of the things that he said in his talk is, “In addition to protecting our own families we should be a source of light in protecting our communities. The Savior said, ‘Let your light shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.’”  I feel like that is what I really want to do; get out there and protect my community, protect my people, protect is what I do.  But I cannot be with you, you can’t carry me in your purse, I can’t be at your side everywhere we go, so I teach you what you need to do to protect yourself because we need that in our lives.  It’s not just good luck and somebody will be there to save you, we know that that’s not how it really works. We know that when we call 911 it could be twenty minutes before they show up.  Gordon B. Hinckley said, “There are times when we must stand up for right and decency, for freedom and civilization just as Moroni rallied his people in his day to the defense of their wives, their children and the cause of liberty.”  We’re living in those times!  I don’t know how you felt when we couldn’t go to church and then when we did go to church we couldn’t sing? I just didn’t like it, I felt like our freedoms were being infringed upon and that is what Moroni fought for, was their freedoms and their liberties. That’s what we have to look to, Moroni. I also had a cool experience one time. I got to be part of the security team at a temple open house where I met 53 sister missionaries who  I equipped with pepper spray.  I talked to them about experiences that they had had.  My favorite sister said, “Sister Stevens, we want to believe that people are inherently good but we also have to be smart about the situations that we put ourselves in.” I thought she said that perfectly because we do think that people are good.  We don’t want to think they are bad but we also need to be smart, we need to listen to the spirit and let it guide us. I also got to be part of President Uctdorf’s security team, so if we’re not supposed to protect ourselves, why did I get to protect one of the first presidency members when he came to dedicate our temple? That was a really cool experience, really cool.  Like I said before, there are all these little things along the way that just solidify that it is important for us to take our safety into our own hands and be responsible for it.  And we can do it.

Meghan: Thank you.  Oh man, those are cool experiences. You got to do some fun stuff.

Kim:  I’ll put this out there. So I told my husband years and years ago, I always wanted to be a bodyguard for the general Relief Society Presidency or the prophet’s wife.  So when I got to do that with President Uctdorf it was so cool.

Meghan: A dream come true! Oh my gosh, you’re so funny! Most people are like, ‘I want to shake their hand someday’ and you’re like, ‘I want to tackle some guy that wants to shoot them!’ That’s so awesome! Well, thank you so much. I feel like I’ve learned so much and it’s opened up a new perspective for me. These are principles that I believe are eternal principles and are incredibly important.  I think that it was divinely inspired that the right to self defense was enshrined in our constitution, that was inspiration from God, which tells us that that’s an eternal principle but as I said, sometimes we have a hard time squaring that with the rest of our beliefs but you’ve done such a great job of showing that it’s all compatible and it all comes back to the fact that we are children of God and we are worthy of safety.  Certainly God is invested in our safety. We have a Savior who wants us to be safe but we are in conditions right now that are not safe and since that is the case and since we’ve been given agency we are given an opportunity to act in accordance with Heavenly Father’s will for us by choosing to protect ourselves and to protect our family. I think that that’s just a really unique and beautiful perspective, so thank you for sharing your testimony with us. Tell us a little bit about what you’re doing now and if someone wanted to connect with you and learn more from you where could they find you. 

Kim: They can find me on Facebook and Instagram and I joined TikTok, finally.  I feel like I need to put something positive on that platform because it’s just so full of yucky stuff.  So Concealed Carry Kim is everything that I do.  I teach a lot of different classes. The active shooter survival class is my most recent one that I really have wanted to teach because that one gives the power back to you when you find yourself in that sort of a situation. Because nobody ever wants to be in that situation but more and more frequently it happens. 

Meghan:  Are you going to consider doing any virtual classes? Is that something that’s on the road map for your business?

Kim: It is.  I also travel, I love traveling.

Meghan:  Awesome! So someone could ask you to come and teach a class in their area?

Kim:  Yeah, absolutely.

Meghan:  Thank you again so much! You’re amazing.  Thanks everyone for listening. We’ll talk to you next week.

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