An LDS Perspective on War and Foreign Policy

An LDS Perspective on War and Foreign PolicyThe Lord has told us to “renounce war and proclaim peace” (D&C 98: 16), yet I am surprised at how many Latter-day saints promote the opposite viewpoint. I want to take this opportunity to share some of the teachings we have received from the Lord and His prophets on this subject. First, I want to share the following message that was sent by a friend of mine:

I was shocked and appalled when, in a recent presidential debate in South Carolina, the audience loudly booed Congressman Ron Paul for his suggestion that we should apply the Golden Rule in our international relations. I thought to myself, “What have we come to?” I thought of the cliche analogy of the frog who is placed in a pot of cold water while the heat is slowly turned up until he boils.

Today, I was reading D&C section 98. Let me quote verses 33-38:

“And again, this is the law that I gave unto mine ancients, that they should not go out unto battle against any nation, kindred, tongue or people, save I, the Lord, commanded them. And if any nation, tongue, or people should proclaim war against them, they should first lift a standard of peace unto that people, nation, or tongue; and if that peole did not accept the offering of peace, neither the second nor the third time, they should bring these testimonies before the Lord; Then I, the Lord would fight their battles, and their children’s battles and their children’s children’s, until they had avenged themselves on all their enemies, to the third and fourth generation. Behold, this is an ensample unto all people, saith the Lord your God, for justification before me.”

We, the members of the Lord’s church, are commanded to be an ensign unto the world. How many of us, (myself included), cheered when we took our own (not the Lord’s) vengeance on Iraq and Afghanistan? How many of us felt a sense of righteous release? We might say, “Well, times have changed. It’s no longer as simple as it used to be!” Really? Do we think for one minute that the Lord didn’t see our day when this scripture was written, when this commandment was given? Was the Lord so short sighted that His commandments, declared by His very word to have been in effect for His “ancients”, have lost their effect after only 150 years?

No!!!!! We must stand with the Lord, even in these difficult, complicated times. We must trust in His promise that He will fight our battles. We must “lift a standard of peace” as we have been commanded. We cannot side with those in this country, in this world, who would wage pre-emptive war against a country like Iran (only the most current example in a long list of transgressions over the past century).

If we are to truly be an ensign unto the nations, to be members of the Lord’s Zion – the pure in heart, we must seek to understand the commandments of the Lord; we must trust in them, even if conventional “modern” wisdom suggests otherwise. We must each stand as a voice of reason, a voice of obedience, a voice of peace. His commandments are eternal, they have not expired, and they are just as valid today as they were in the days of the “ancients” and in the days of Joseph Smith.

And now some words from the scriptures:

“Now the people said unto Gidgiddoni: Pray unto the Lord, and let us go up upon the mountains and into the wilderness, that we may fall upon the robbers and destroy them in their own lands. But Gidgiddoni saith unto them: The Lord forbid; for if we should go up against them the Lord would deliver us into their hands; therefore we will prepare ourselves in the center of our lands, and we will gather all our armies together, and we will not go against them, but we will wait till they shall come against us; therefore as the Lord liveth, if we do this he will deliver them into our hands. (3 Nephi 3: 18–21)

“And it was because the armies of the Nephites went up unto the Lamanites that they began to be smitten; for were it not for that, the Lamanites could have had no power over them. But, behold, the judgments of God will overtake the wicked; and it is by the wicked that the wicked are punished; for it is the wicked that stir up the hearts of the children of men unto bloodshed.” (Mormon 4: 4-5)

Quoting from Ezra Taft Benson with regard to United States Foreign Policy:

“Ever since World War I, when we sent American boys to Europe supposedly to ‘make the world safe for democracy’, our leaders in Washington have been acting as though the American people elected them to office for the primary purpose of leading the entire planet toward international peace, prosperity and one-world government.

“…We mistake the object of our Government… Conquest or superiority among other powers is not or ought not ever to be the object of republican systems. If they are sufficiently active & energetic to rescue us from contempt & preserve our domestic happiness & security, it is all we can expect from them… (The Records of the Federal Convention [Max Farrand, Editor], 1: 402)

“There is one and only one legitimate goal of United States foreign policy. It is a narrow goal, a nationalistic goal: the preservation of our national independence. Nothing in the Constitution grants that the President shall have the privilege of offering himself as a world leader.

“Nothing in the Constitution nor in logic grants to the President of the United States or to Congress the power to influence the political life of other countries, to ‘uplift’ their cultures, to bolster their economies, to feed their peoples or even to defend them against their enemies.

“The proper function of government must be limited to a defensive role.”

(Source: Ezra Taft Benson, “United States Foreign Policy“, Preston, Idaho, June 21, 1968)

And a message from Spencer W. Kimball:

“In spite of our delight in defining ourselves as modern, and our tendency to think we possess a sophistication that no people in the past ever had—in spite of these things, we are, on the whole, an idolatrous people—a condition most repugnant to the Lord.

“We are a warlike people, easily distracted from our assignment of preparing for the coming of the Lord. When enemies rise up, we commit vast resources to the fabrication of gods of stone and steel—ships, planes, missiles, fortifications—and depend on them for protection and deliverance. When threatened, we become antienemy instead of pro-kingdom of God; we train a man in the art of war and call him a patriot, thus, in the manner of Satan’s counterfeit of true patriotism, perverting the Savior’s teaching:

“”Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 5:44–45.)”

(Source: The False Gods We Worship by Spencer W. Kimball)

Other related articles:

What do the scriptures teach us about war? (Article)
United States Foreign Policy by Ezra Taft Benson
Preemptive War & The Book of Mormon As a Record of Military Strategy by Hugh Nibley (Audio)

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42 Responses to “An LDS Perspective on War and Foreign Policy”

  • Avatar for Blog @Mormon4Liberty Says:

    Fantastic article!

  • Avatar for Blog Excal Says:

    Great article. Exactly my sentiments and hopefully Glenn Beck will take notice and discuss it on the air!!

  • Avatar for Blog Travis Griggs Says:

    Well done. My thoughts for a long time, nice to have a bunch of the references colocated.

  • Avatar for Blog Nick Says:

    Thank you for writing this.

    We have become too blood thirsty.

    I’m glad you put this together so well. I’m going to share it, because you said it much better than I have been able to.

  • Avatar for Blog Kerry Says:

    Ammon speaking of his mission to the Lamanites that were an enemy. especially note verse 25. Nephites wanted to take arms and destroy their brethren. However, Alma and Ammon went and tried to save souls through missionary work rather than go to war.

    Alma 26:23 – we said unto our brethren in the land of Zarahemla, we go up to the land of Nephi, to preach unto our brethren, the Lamanites, and they laughed us to scorn?

    24 For they said unto us: Do ye suppose that ye can bring the Lamanites to the knowledge of the truth? Do ye suppose that ye can convince the Lamanites of the incorrectness of the traditions of their fathers, as stiffnecked a people as they are; whose hearts delight in the shedding of blood; whose days have been spent in the grossest iniquity; whose ways have been the ways of a transgressor from the beginning? Now my brethren, ye remember that this was their language.

    25 And moreover they did say: Let us take up arms against them, that we destroy them and their iniquity out of the land, lest they overrun us and destroy us.

    26 But behold, my beloved brethren, we came into the wilderness not with the intent to destroy our brethren, but with the intent that perhaps we might save some few of their souls.

  • Avatar for Blog Jared Says:

    I am trying to play out the idea of not influencing other nations on there pursuit of Nukes. Im trying my hardest to have an open mind about it so bare with my pointed comment about Iran. If they aquire nukes with us not getting involved it will cause the cold war to accelerate again. If everyone has nukes then sooner then later nuclear war errupts and an isolated usa would be on the receiving end of the devastating after effects of a nuclear winter. The golden rule doesnt apply to satan. Wouldnt it be better to have all the evil countries nuke free until Christ can set up a world government. Im trully tring to see how the tenants of this article will make us safer with Iran. Theres got to be more to it. Someone play out a timeline of events if we do nothing with Iran?

  • Avatar for Blog HarleyPig Says:

    You have a valid view … up to a point. However, you seem to have missed or glossed over D&C 98:23-31, especially that last verse:

    31 Nevertheless, thine enemy is in thine hands; and if thou rewardest him according to his works thou art justified; if he has sought thy life, and thy life is endangered by him, thine enemy is in thine hands and thou art justified.

    Nowhere does the Lord command us to behave like the Anti-Nephi-Lehies and accept death and slavery over violence against our bretheren. He didn’t even command it of them! They did it on their own.

    We should always try to resolve issues peacefully, but we shouldn’t shrink back from dealing violently as the need arises. And there is nothing wrong with being jubilant at winning over our enemies, though there is a difference between jubilance and being a poor winner.

  • Avatar for Blog ThreeLetter Says:

    The regimes in third world countries started their own wars with their people long before the US got involved with them. As soon as the US claims “war” on another country, the US will get blamed for ALL battles and deaths in those countries. The US should get a head start on N. Korea as today (February 25) was a mild start to negotiate a closure for cold war. See the article: (2nd LD) Talks with N. Korea’s new regime ‘good beginning,’ U.S. envoy says.

  • Avatar for Blog Bob Aillery Says:

    Thank you for the courage to say what many of us have wanted to shout from the rooftops for so long!

  • Avatar for Blog Evan Says:

    You’re right on all counts.

    Here’s my problem though. In Doctrine and Covenants, while the Saints were being persecuted in Missouri, the Lord mentions that we are to forgive our enemies 3 times before we defend ourselves. Our enemies (particularly those of radical Islam) have attacked us multiple times within the last 200+ years. We should always seek peace, yes, but what if the other side does not want peace? That was the situation with the Nephites and the Lamanites throughout the war chapters in Alma. To say that it’s because of our presence in the Middle East for the last 80 years is the reason for the rage against the US is ignorant and naive.

    Does anyone know of the First Barbary War? Does anyone know what the Ambassador from Tripoli told Thomas Jefferson and Sam Adams in 1785? For those of you who need a history refresher, here it is:

    “It was written in their Koran, that all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave; and that every mussulman who was slain in this warfare was sure to go to paradise.” (“American Peace Commissioners to John Jay,” March 28, 1786, Library of Congress)

    We have sought peace multiple times. They don’t want it. They have demonstrated that time and again.

  • Avatar for Blog Benjamin Says:

    The really sad side of America, and the world at large is the fact that plenty of politics and the process involved really is pretty much spoon-fed. Again, it often appears that for a politician to get accepted into some club status as opposed to thinking whether or not any of the ongoing wars are really all that great? Even just the wars involving airstrikes aren’t so great, but other issues seem to matter more. As a matter of fact, I agree with Kerry, and would even add the story of Jonah, who was asked to preach and hope for the repentance of a city called Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrian Empire, among Israel’s worst enemies at the time. Yet the Lord chastised Jonah severely for not having or acting in a compassionate manner toward the people of that city. It’s touching, and challenging to think about it, but it’s sometimes worth it to reconsider the kind of awareness the Lord has asked of his prophets, or his disciples, at various times and places, and recognize today’s situation for the issues involved, unjust wars and corruption included.

  • Avatar for Blog Lio Brown Says:

    The so-called radical islamic member is no threat to us. As stated in the article by Ezra Taft Benson, “The proper function of government must be limited to a defensive role.” Meaning that we can only be right and just if we involve ourselves in defensive wars.

    One of the main reasons that the so-called radical muslim “hate” of Americans is because of the corrupt involvment of American foreign policy in Islamic countries. No, other country in the world in the last 50 plus years has meddeled more in any other countries business’s than that of the government in the United States of America. And I don’t blame them. As Ron Paul repeats several times in the GOP debates, how would WE feel if China had a military installation on U.S. ground? Would we not feel threatened? Would we not feel disgusted that a foriegn country is attempeting to exercise dominion over us?

    It is no different for the the Muslim countries. We have numerous military bases in the Middle East. How many bases does Iran have overseas? How many air planes do they even have? Even if they had means to a nuclear weapon, how would they even get it to the U.S.? It is impossible and God would judge us harshly if we follow blindly into another war with Iran or any other preemptive war.

    It is wrong. It is immoral. It brings destruction to not only the “enemy” but also to the loved ones of our our soliders, through destroyed marriages, loss of body parts, post war syndrome, etc, etc, etc. Is freedom so precious that we need to bomb the rest of the world?

    Satan’s plan is not only destruction of the physcial realm but also of freedom. Satan’s plan of force to “take car of everyone” is the exact plan of most if not all the governments in the world. Freedom & Peace is the answer. Not preemptivewar. If anything we should be building up our defences, so that when we ARE attacked we can DEFEND and fight our enemies off our land, rather than having a wild goose chase for supposed “terrorist” (who are nowhere, but everywhere, and could be anyone……even YOU).

    May we learn to have more faith. Learn to live by peace. Learn to believe God more than man. And to really be a people prepared to usher in the Second Coming of Christ.

  • Avatar for Blog Kerry Says:

    Insightful thoughts from Jacob on war:
    JACOB 7
    23 And it came to pass that peace and the alove of God was restored again among the people; and they bsearched the scriptures, and hearkened no more to the words of this wicked man.
    24 And it came to pass that many means were devised to reclaim and restore the Lamanites to the knowledge of the truth; but it all was vain, for they delighted in wars and bloodshed, and they had an eternal hatred against us, their brethren. And they sought by the power of their arms to destroy us continually.
    25 Wherefore, the people of Nephi did fortify against them with their arms, and with all their might, trusting in the God and rock of their salvation; wherefore, they became as yet, conquerors of their enemies.

    Here is the summary as I understand it:
    CIRCUMSTANCE: Enemy delighted in war and bloodshed and had an eternal hatred against them – sought by the power of their arms to destroy us continually
    ACTION TO RESOLVE: Fortify against the enemy and trusting in God became conquerors of their enemies

    Thus, I conclude that the military strategy was a posture of defending their lands/properties and not an offensive or pre-emptive military invasion of enemy lands.
    Of course, trusting in God was also crucial to their success.

  • Avatar for Blog Kerry Says:

    also important in Jacob 7 was their intent for dealing with the Lamanites. They did not want to destroy them through war. Instead, note this attitude: “many means were devised to reclaim and restore the Lamanites to the knowledge of the truth”

  • Avatar for Blog Kerry Says:

    Evan – a couple of thoughts regarding your comments.
    Agreed, there are many threats to our rights to life, liberty, and property. Some threats are under the cover of religion others under government powers. Those threats are real and thus we must prepare and defend ourselves. Note that throughout the Book of Mormon that there was consistently an enemy and a threat to the rights of the people.

    Now, the question is: How do we deal with those threats and defend rights to life, liberty, and property? I can not think of any instances where the people of God successfully went and invaded enemy lands, especially in pre-emptive strike. Furthermore, I can not think of any examples where a nation or people were commanded to pre-emptively invade another “enemy” nation from God.

    Open question for all: Is there an instance where pre-emptive strikes and invasions of other lands/nations were successful in the scriptures and commanded of God? Thanks for your help in looking for this.

    Note in Mormon 4:
    4 And it was because the armies of the Nephites went up unto the Lamanites that they began to be smitten; for were it not for that, the Lamanites could have had no power over them.
    5 But, behold, the judgments of God will overtake the wicked; and it is by the wicked that the wicked are punished; for it is the wicked that stir up the hearts of the children of men unto bloodshed.

    I conclude that in this instance the pre-emptive strike or invasion led to their destruction. Also note that it is by the wicked that the wicked are punished. Could it be that we become wicked when we pre-emptively strike or invade a nation?

    I guess it is called national DEFENSE and not national OFFENSE for a reason.

  • Avatar for Blog Scott Says:

    A lot of good comments here about how to be a pacifist. When we get the call to re-locate to Illinois, was told by an apostle during a fireside meeting that we were the chosen dispensation, how do you expect to make that journey when the world will be in chaos? There are many in church history who had taken up arms to protect the members. Such as porter Rockwell, who protected the prophet and his family. Many of us will rise up and take on the mantle of protector for our families and members.
    We simply cannot sit by and watch as the world is being destroyed.
    This country was prophesied as “land of milk and honey”, with that comes great responsibility. We are the great peacemaker. We don’t go out looking for countries to invade, take over and rule. We right injustices in the world. How many people have to die by the various dictators around the world before it becomes a concern for us? We must be aware of all that is happening in the world and act when appropriate.
    Israel must be protected. We cannot let outside forces destroy ours, and the Jews, promised land.

  • Avatar for Blog Jack Says:

    Having just retired following 22 years of military service, seeing more conflict and the brutal impact it has on all, I would only say this to those arguing this post.

    Your argument is with God. Do ye suppose yourself wiser than He?

  • Avatar for Blog Rick B. Says:

    I wonder how many of those pro-moting war have actually ever served in the Military?

    After serving my God as a LDS missionary for 2 years,
    I turned right around and served my Country in the USAF for 6 more.

    War is h-e-l-l.
    No one should wish it, want it, dream about it, or secretly hope for it.

    The best war, is the one never fought in the 1st place.

    Satan was cast out for REBELLION and insighting the War in Heaven….not for is [Socialist, Communist Plan].

  • Avatar for Blog Spencer Bingham Says:

    In 2003 President Hinckley said there were times war is justified. In Hitlers day people thought we should leave him alone. Chamberlein did. Europe called on the US for help long before we went to war.

    Did not go until after attacked at Pearl Harbor and did not attack Japan first. Vietnam and Korea there to fight the Cold war. Communism was a threat to world peace and our country.

    To use the sword to conquer a nation is wrong. We have left Canada alone. But as duty to country and to preserve freedom for Heavenly FAthers children than it is justifiable to enter a war. In OT times the Lord commanded people to go to war. Joseph Smith said whatever he requires is right. One time he says not to kill others to utterly destroy.

    Moroni, General Eisenhower and our good men in the Military today do not or did not delight in bloodshed. HOwever loved liberty more than life and because SAtans forces are on earth times to preserve liberty that bloodshed is unfortunatly necessary. Do to evil leaders of the nation and the US had good leaders who wanted to only preserve freedom for as many of Heavenly FAthers Children as possible. Don’t seek to take lives but preserve liberty.

  • Avatar for Blog Benjamin Says:

    Spencer Bingham, even moreso, even though we did have World War II, we did rebuild the former enemy states of Germany, Italy, and Japan after the war. We helped rebuild and repair some of the damage that we caused in fighting those countries in war. It’s called the Marshall Plan.
    Rick B., you’re correct in stating that war never was pleasant. In fact, Captain Moroni was an important figure in the fact that throughout the war, he pushed the offer of peace to his enemies consistently. Hopefully, the sooner they could call it over, the better.
    The biggest issue I see, is the importance of consistently seeking the companionship of the spirit, because without it, there is that vulnerability to forgetting what the Lord can do in potentially sparing or reducing the conflict we could end up engaging in.
    Jared, the biggest issue with nuclear weapons is that it gives a nation the means to retaliate, and discourages the idea of trying to go to war with said nation, because since both nations have the weapons to pretty much wipe each other’s law, order, and resources out with a nuclear holocaust, there’s no sane reason to engage in all out war, because in simple terms, it means there is a state of mutually-assured destruction, or MAD. In all honesty, even if Iran had them, they would have some severe caution before using them because the whole world over would likely fight over the entangling alliances in play, including Israel-America, China-Iran, and Russia-Iran. Again, there’s bigger powers at play here that Iran would reasonably think twice, because they wouldn’t have anyone or anything to rule over once it’s over.

  • Avatar for Blog Mike Griffith Says:

    I think we need to adopt a reasonable non-interventionist foreign policy, a sensible halfway between the neocon war-first policy on one end and Ron Paul’s extreme version of non-interventionism on the other end.

  • Avatar for Blog Grant Miller Says:

    I don’t see references on this site to anything written by current prophets, seers and revelators that are similar to the things written by Ezra Taft Benson, Cleon Skousen, etc. Wondering why is that? There are no clear calls for assertive peace or cessation of aggressive war from anyone in authority as there were in generations past. Does the church condone US foreign policy by its silence? Is it no longer appropriate for the apostles and presidency to speak out clearly as in the post WWII generation? Have the dangers so clearly spoken of in earlier generations gone away? Or perhaps I just haven’t found those quotes. Can anyone point me to current warnings that corroborate the earlier ones with the same clarity? If not, why not? What has changed?

  • Avatar for Blog G. Michael Craig Says:

    Most of you know absolutely nothing about the reasons behind Americas current foreign policy. You don’t know because you don’t read the BOM or don’t understand what you read, neither do you have any contacts within our federal government, or the C-I A, nor are you aware that the C-I-A has been compromised, and is now an extension of the Israeli M-O-S-S-A-D, who planned and carried out the controlled demolition of the WTC on 9-11-01. The prophecy in Ether 8:24-25 has been fulfilled. A latter-day secret combination has completely taken over our federal government, just as happened among the Nephites in Helamans day(Helaman 6:38-39), and is using our military to accomplish its objectives “…to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries…and the destruction of all people”. Iran has not invaded another country in over 300 years. By contrast, we have invaded 56 separate nations since just the end of WWII. NO ONE in Iraq or Afghanistan ever harmed us or intended to, yet so far we have murdered over 1.6 million of them. The same secret combination that has usurped authority here has done likewise in Israel. Israel has between 300 and 600 nuclear weapons, one of the largest such arsenals in the world, according to the former head of the Israeli nuclear weapons program, Mordici Sunnunu, who was imprisoned by the Israeli government for telling the truth. By contrast, Iran has a total of 0 nuclear weapons. So, Iran has every reason to feel threatened by Israel, while Israel has no reason whatever to feel threatened by the modern secular nation of Iran, whose typical cities look identical to American cities, except for being cleaner and more crime free. Yet, the mainstream media, which is owned by the same secret combination, is telling us that both we and Israel are justified in planning the destruction of Iran, and the slaughter of millions more innocent men, women, and children. I get disgusted to the max when LDS tell me they believe the pro-war propaganda coming from the media and from the White House and Congress. Apparently the Gift of the Holy Ghost has done them no good whatever. I wish everyone would get a copy of “Confessions Of An Economic Hit Man” by former C-I-A operative John Perkins. Reading it would impress you with why America is now indisputably the most satanic nation on earth, and why so many people around the world hate us. Suffice it to say that we have become a nation of murderers. Murder is now the foundation of American foreign policy. LDS and non-LDS are mostly content to ignore this fact, but now that drones are patrolling the skies of America, watching everything we do, and children are being forcibly removed from their homes because their parents refuse to turn them into drug addicts by giving them Ritalin or Prosac, or refusing to allow their children to become autistic by giving them toxic laden vaccines, it is getting increasingly difficult to ignore the FACT that America is just like Nazi Germany was in the mid to late 1930’s. We had better soon heed the warning by Moroni in Ether 8:24, and “…AWAKE TO A SENSE OF YOUR AWFUL SITUATION…!!!

  • Avatar for Blog Sam Says:

    Ron Paul’s “extreme version of noninterventionism” is just what the Founding Fathers intended when they constructed the Constitution. One of them said there is no extreme when it comes to DEFENDING the Constitution. But that did not mean being an aggressor. They cautioned America to avoid foreign entanglements. Rick B., above, is right. War is hell. I had a look at it in Vietnam. While I was not out in the jungle, there was much hostile action around the area where I was, and we were on the receiving end of that hostility many times. It makes you think when someone is trying to kill you. I came back from over there with an entirely different attitude than when I first went there. For all the war-mongering chicken hawks in America who think it is great for our military to invade other countries, why don’t YOU put on the fatigues and battle gear, shoulder a rifle, and volunteer to go do it yourself? It is SO easy to send someone else to bleed and die. It amazes me to see this attitude with so many in the church.

  • Avatar for Blog Erik Says:

    Isolationism is not only immoral it is naively irrational. Why would we allow our fellow brothers and sisters be ruled and terrorized on this planet just because they do not have the good fortune and blessing to live in the USA? We don’t have to nation build, but we can and must stamp out dictators and evil wherever it rears its ugly head in the world.

  • Avatar for Blog Missy Says:

    Thanks for sharing this! I was in a discussion the other night with a bunch of right wingers and they were saying that the BOM says that wars are justified. I was making the argument that war is bad and immoral. I really could have used this to share with them to show them another way of looking at it. Thanks again, I am going to hang onto this in case I ever find myself in that situation again.

  • Avatar for Blog SGS Says:

    Sorry for jumping into this discussion so late, but I want to reply to Kenny’s claim that scriptures do not contain any instance of righteous people going out into the emeny’s land to fight them (comment #15). You are forgetting the leadership of Joshua and the settlement of the israel’s people after their exodus from Egypt. They swept into the promised land, and killed every single soul, even the babies. Again, the war is permissible only if we have extended every effort to make peace with them, and if we do go to war, it must be absolute. A good example of that would be Japan during WW2 – the absolute and unconditional surrending part anyway. I won’t say whether we did extend every course to peace with them. See how they have turned out.

  • Avatar for Blog Benjamin Says:

    Missy, even of more concern is what morality, such as say, honesty, chastity, and so on, goes a great way in actually allowing a military to be efficient. A good example is Mormon, chapter 4, verse 5 “But behold, the judgements of God will overtake the wicked, and it is by the wicked that the wicked are punished, for it is the wicked that stir up the hearts of the children of men unto bloodshed.”
    There is a whole lot of unrighteous behavior going on in America, among our political and military leadership. It is very sad considering that among the problems is a lack of honesty, personal accountability, and so forth. A few examples are where people pirate intellectual property, when that movie in question could be legitimately bought, usually if they spent time earning and saving up to get it. There’s impatience in the mix, and willingness to turn it into stealing rather quick, it’s sort of like the General Conference talk by Robert C. Gay, “What should a man give in exchange for his soul?” sadly enough, plenty of people would make a deal over a matter of mere dollars, but the good news is, one can repent of it too. The real problem, however, is about how common it is for people to adopt this mentality of “give it to me, or I feel bad and call myself a victim.” It’s a popular attitude, and very disturbing at the least.
    Then there is the very real fact that our government behaves in a very two-faced manner towards the governments of other nations. It could make an alliance one day, then declare a nation an enemy the next. It has been done with nations all over the Middle East and world at large. There were times where our government praised genocidal regimes like Augusto Pinochet in Chile, or the oppressive Shah in Iran, simply because they said awful things about Communism, yet had all the anti-freedom attitudes against freedom of speech and freedom of the press that the communists had.
    Then there’s the widely circulated excuse that it’s too dangerous to grant people constitutional rights, think about it, if people in our nation really had faith that God would prevent it’s destruction, would they really need to fear a loss of life to defend and uphold constitutional rights for people, even terrorists? The answer is unequivocably no, they wouldn’t. We wouldn’t need to bomb out villages with drones, missiles, and airstrikes, we would be attempting diplomacy to arrest Anwar Al-Awlaki and hhis teenage son, or at least have a trial with someone to represent him in court, and have the evidence for said treason suspect reviewed and recorded for all to see.
    Well, all I can say is this, yes, history repeats itself, and there’s plenty of elements of what constituted wickedness in the BoM among the Nephites that is being done by our government right now. I do have a prayer for those who serve honorably in our military, as they like Mormon, do so out of law, and concern for our country, despite the awful truth about the kinds of things our government does right now.

  • Avatar for Blog Eduardo Says:

    @Benjamin, there were cases where “constitutional rights”, such as the right to a trial, were suspended among the Nephites in the Book of Mormon, as mentioned in

    ” 19 And it came to pass that there were four thousand of those adissenters who were hewn down by the sword; and those of their leaders who were not slain in battle were taken and bcast into prison, for there was no time for their trials at this period.”

    However, it’s important to note the vast difference between the United States today versus the Nephites then. We don’t have people both invading, occupying our nation, and holding entire American cities under their control like the Lamanites did, yet our politicians are somehow treating it like it is a comparably severe emergency to justify such measures.

    In addition, I believe that since there were numerous difficulties regarding alliances, such as American colonists being drafted to fight in the real World War I, a.k.a. the Seven Years’ War a.k.a. the French and Indian War, and America’s fickle nature, Washington had a good idea about this firsthand, which is why he strongly warned against permanent alliances, and meddling in other nations’ business in his farewell address.

  • Avatar for Blog Eduardo Says:

    The scripture linked is Alma 51: 19. I must have made a typo on the html for the link.

  • Avatar for Blog Mikey Says:

    Why would a government, that has been systematically attacking and removing liberties of its own citizens; be so benevolent and concerned with the liberties of other nations people?

    Why would a government that has all but abandoned Its own Constitution; be so concerned with the establishment of similar forms of government in foreign nations?

    These wars have nothing to do with freedom. Nothing!

    Someone lumped Eisenhower in with Moroni. What a travesty of comparison. Eisenhower starved almost 2 million German soldiers to death. Moroni was a righteous man. Moroni had the Title of Liberty. Eisenhower had Kay Summersby.

  • Avatar for Blog Kerry Says:

    SGS, thank you for that reference to Joshua in comment 17. I will study that and see what I can learn.

  • Avatar for Blog Ilyan Kei Lavanway Says:

    Patriotic Talk on how the Book of Mormon helps us follow Christ, given during Sacrament Meeting in the Rockledge Ward of the Cocoa Florida Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Sunday morning, March 10, 2013.

    The link below contains the entire talk as presented, and includes videos and hyperlinks to sources and references quoted in the talk.

    Interestingly, the Hymn that immediately preceded this talk was LDS Hymn 21, titled “Come Listen to a Prophet’s Voice.”

    The sister who spoke just prior to that hymn shared scripture about a patriot prophet named Moroni who fortified his people in ancient America as they faced much of the same political perils we face today. This cannot be mere coincidence.

    Please feel free to share this.

  • Avatar for Blog Ilyan Kei Lavanway Says:
  • Avatar for Blog Roger Says:

    While peace is what I always seek…

    •Human life is sacred. Taking an innocent life is “an abomination in the sight of the Lord” (Alma 39:5). One may justifiably take another’s life, however, when defending oneself, family, freedom, religion, or country. President Gordon B. Hinckley helped explain the concept of war and bloodshed:
    “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 and their children, and their all, yea, for their rites of worship and their church.

    “‘And they were doing that which they felt was the duty which they owed to their God’ (Alma 43:45–46).

    “The Lord counseled them, ‘Defend your families even unto bloodshed’ (Alma 43:47). …

    “It is clear from these and other writings that there are times and circumstances when nations are justified, in fact have an obligation, to fight for family, for liberty, and against tyranny, threat, and oppression. …

    “… We are a freedom-loving people, committed to the defense of liberty wherever it is in jeopardy. I believe that God will not hold men and women in uniform responsible as agents of their government in carrying forward that which they are legally obligated to do. It may even be that He will hold us responsible if we try to impede or hedge up the way of those who are involved in a contest with forces of evil and repression” (in Conference Report, Apr. 2003, 83–84; or Ensign, May 2003, 80).

  • Avatar for Blog Leslie Says:

    Someone mentioned that it was justifiable for war to be pre-emptive and used Joshua as their reference. This is true. It did happen. God commanded it. My question is, has God commanded any of our current pre-emotive wars? This answer is an obvious no.

    Another question was asked about current prophets speaking out about this like Benson and Skousen. Historically, when the people reject the prophets, God takes them from their midst. Why would God continue to have His prophes speak out against what we as LDS have rejected?

  • Avatar for Blog Joseph Larsen Says:

    As we all learn in Ecclesiastes, to every thing there is a season and a time and a purpose under the heaven: even war. I have had the pleasure of partaking of these latest wars 2001-2002 Afghanistan, 2004-2005 in Iraq, and I can say that the people that we were fighting against were not of those countries but invaders themselves. The Taliban were oppressors that fled to the hills while the population unburied their treasures, hidden away in hopes that the Taliban would someday leave. In Iraq, we caught terrorist after terrorist, and 9 out of 10 would be from Egypt or Syria or Jordan or Yemen or any other country but Iraq. That lone 1 of 10 would be former regime or someone that had been forced into doing something against his will.
    In northern Iraq, I realized we were just we found mass grave site after mass grave site. Sometimes wars are just.

  • Avatar for Blog Edward Says:

    Strange how people can do psychological and even spiritual gymnastics to justify a position they claim they do not support. Maybe this has the answer:

    Obama’s followers have a cult-like devotion to him. We should not get caught up in their worship of war and spying.

  • Avatar for Blog Tom Says:

    What about NATO? I live in a country next to Russia (Estonia) and we are part of NATO. We know about NATO article 5.

    The principle of collective defence is at the very heart of NATO’s founding treaty. It remains a unique and enduring principle that binds its members together, committing them to protect each other and setting a spirit of solidarity within the Alliance.

  • Avatar for Blog James-T-Prout Says:

    Yes, that same exact situation that George Washington said of “No entangling alliances” (paraphrased) is the basis of a peaceful existence.

    I wrote about this concept in the book: “The Last Days Timeline”

    The Monroe Doctrine from the early days of our republic is the basis of the 1800s. However, as the U.S. turned from that doctrine about 1900, the whole world became enmeshed.

    The prophecies of the future in the scriptures say that this will be an ongoing problem for many years to come and will get much worse.

  • Avatar for Blog Wes Hasson Says:

    Last time I checked we were attacked by terrorists on 9-11 bent not only on our destruction but also on Israel’s and anything Western or Christian. They were based in Afghanistan and had ties, including training, to Iraq. They want to destroy anything good or with which they disagree. They are dangerous and have to be fought. Period. This is not “entangling alliance” but rather self-preservation and defense of a free and even Christian way of life. If you don’t think so ask people who have suffered under ISIS or the Taliban. And those type groups want to bring it here.

  • Avatar for Blog TradMan Says:

    The article and comments have so much good information. As with all complex issues, the devil is in the details.

    Captain Moroni said he didn’t think it was wrong to use strategy against the Lamanites because they were seeking to destroy the Nephrite nation.

    Captain Moroni said he would arm women and children, which surprised me when I first read it, but I guess if they were going to die, they might as well die fighting.

    Captain Moroni said he would invade the Lamanite lands and carry on a war of extinction if he had to.

    If you look at US military history, you will see that we have been at war for over 200 years, mostly with the Native Americans.

    I agree with Ron Paul that we need Congress to ratify all wars instead of relying on emergency first strike then policing for decades. If the US people were drafted, we would not be so quick to enter foreign wars. Volunteer (non-drafted) armies are great, but the government can take advantage of them.

    I disagree with our joining UN forces. Our Constitution states that all people in the world have God-given rights, but that our government is only responsible for supporting the rights of our own citizens. We can’t and shouldn’t Police the world. Our worst enemies after all are within.

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