Brigham Young University (BYU) is operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often called the “Mormon Church.” As part of their undergraduate coursework, BYU students take multiple Mormon religion classes.
Some of these students have shared their thoughts, insights, and reflections. We invite you to take a look at their epiphanies and discoveries as they delve into the scriptures.
Mormon Thoughts: Perspectives on War
During the latter part of the book of Alma and the beginning of Helaman (in the Book of Mormon), the faithful people and the disbelievers began to disagree so much with each other that they were going to war. The decision to remain strong in the faith every waking moment and to refuse to break away or back down from evil is to be admired here, just as courage is the choice to stand tall in the face of your worst fears.
We indeed now live in the latter days, even the last dispensation on earth. Therefore, failure is simply no longer acceptable for those chosen to be of this generation of souls to dwell in the world. Although the choice is up to you, the decision to use violence in defense of all that is good can be a daunting one full of solemnness. But as we learned from the example of righteous military leaders such as Moroni himself, victory can be had while not delighting in the shedding of blood. It is not required to kill all enemies, but to make sure they are no longer a threat. When you undertake to go beyond the call of duty and seek blood and vengeance, you will have lost the favor of the Almighty. As an extreme case, the 2,000 “stripling warriors” were young men who had the bravery to take up arms or fill in where their fathers could not, but they remain faithful and true to the teachings of their mothers and succeeded with God’s help.
In considering the decision between pacifism and activism, remember the duties of parents declared by the First Presidency [leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints] in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” Fathers are responsible as to “provide, protect, and preside” and mothers are to be equal partners in this sacred honor of caring for the family. I cannot personally condone the choice to stand aside as my family is attacked while not invoking my duty to protect them. There are certain unspeakable things that you must not permit to be done unto your family if you can help it. Consider the gentle hearts of the women and children that so bless our lives and remember our responsibility towards them.