February 10th, 2012

A Mormon Leader’s Promotion of Peace

Here’s my latest piece published at LewRockwell.com, written at Lew’s request after somebody emailed him an article written by J. Reuben Clark a few days ago.


In October 1946, a high-ranking leader of a large Christian church in America rose to the podium in a tabernacle, during a large conference in which were assembled 7,000 church members, with thousands more listening via radio transmission, and a million more receiving the messages in the weeks and months ahead. His message was scathing—a castigating rebuke of the use of atom bombs just over a year previous:

And the worst of this atomic bomb tragedy is not that not only did the people of the United States not rise up in protest against this savagery, not only did it not shock us to read of this wholesale destruction of men, women, and children, and cripples, but that it actually drew from the nation at large a general approval of this fiendish butchery.

Thus we in America are now deliberately searching out and developing the most savage, murderous means of exterminating peoples that Satan can plant in our minds. We do it not only shamelessly, but with a boast. God will not forgive us for this.

If we are to avoid extermination, if the world is not to be wiped out, we must find some way to curb the fiendish ingenuity of men who have apparently no fear of God, man, or the devil, and who are willing to plot and plan and invent instrumentalities that will wipe out all the flesh of the earth. And, as one American citizen of one hundred thirty millions, as one in one billion population of the world, I protest with all of the energy I possess against this fiendish activity, and as an American citizen, I call upon our government and its agencies to see that these unholy experimentations are stopped, and that somehow we get into the minds of our war-minded general staff and its satellites, and into the general staffs of all the world, a proper respect for human life.1

This man was J. Reuben Clark, a counselor to the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), and thus a member of the Church’s highest-ranking body. A lawyer by training and a diplomat and statesman by experience, Clark was an ardent advocate of peace.

Seven years prior—one month after the outbreak of World War II—Clark said the following in another church conference:

Nothing is more unrighteous, more unholy, more un-Godly than man-declared mass slaughter of his fellowman for an unrighteous cause… The law declared at Sinai was “Thou shalt not kill,” and in the Garden of Gethsemane: “All they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” With these divine commands deep-embodied in our spiritual consciousness, we can look with no degree of allowance upon the sin of unholy war, and a war to make conquest or to keep conquest already made is such a war.2

In advocating for peace, Clark was thus anti-war. In 1947, fourteen years before Eisenhower nicknamed the Military-Industrial Complex and called America’s attention to it, Clark was pointing out to his Mormon audience its many evils:

Popular feeling is being flogged into a support of this plan [to wage more war]. The press, the movies, the radio, the rostrum, all are deliberately used to build this terrible aim in our hearts. Enormous sums are expended by the military in propaganda, to scare us civilians into a blind following of their insanity. Often this propagandizing is crudely done, at other times it is carried on with great craft and cunning. We are to be made so jittery with fear that we shall follow with eyes shut where they lead.3

He continued, noting that all of this is done “in the face of the divine command: ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’”4 Many will no doubt recall the reception received by Ron Paul in a South Carolina debate when he suggested this very thing—an institutional adherence to the Golden Rule. The vociferous denigration of this moral principle by the audience was responded to by Clark in his day with the following rhetorical question: “Are we Christians? We act like pagans.”5

Unlike fellow Mormon Mitt Romney, who incessantly declares that he “will not apologize for America,” one of Clark’s biographers wrote:

[Clark] exempted no nation from the condemnation of having been a party to the introduction of “barbarous” methods of warfare. The world, he wrote, had “gone back a half a millennium in its conduct of international relations in time of war…” And then, lest his countrymen smugly blame this relapse on others, he added that “no nation has to bear a greater blame for this than our own.”6

Clark was a dedicated non-interventionist, and preached the foreign policy of Washington and Jefferson on many occasions. Praising the “great doctrine of American neutrality,” he stated:

I am a confirmed isolationist, a political isolationist, first, I am sure, by political instinct, next, from experience, observation, and patriotism, and lastly, because, while isolated, we built the most powerful nation in the world, a nation that provided most of prosperity to all its citizens, . . . most of popular education, most of freedom, most of peace, most of blessing by example to other nations, . . . of any nation, past or present, on the face of this earth. I stand for the possession of, and exercise by our nation of a full, complete, and unimpaired sovereignty that will be consistent with our membership in the Society of Nations.

In so declaring I have no diffidence, no apology, no shame. On the contrary, I have a great pride in the fact that I stand where the Revolutionary Fathers stood, who fought for, and gained our independence. . . .

I am pro-Constitution, pro-Government, as it was established under the Constitution, pro-free institutions, as they have been developed under and through the Constitution, pro-liberty, pro-freedom, pro-full and complete independence and sovereignty, pro-local self-government, and pro-everything else that has made us the free country we had grown to be in the first 130 years of our national existence.

It necessarily follows that I am anti-internationalist, anti-interventionist, anti-meddlesome-busybodiness in our international affairs. In the domestic field, I am anti-socialist, anti-Communist, anti-Welfare State. . . .

As I proceed, some will say, “Oh, he is talking about the past; but this is a new world, new conditions, new problems,” and so on. To this I will content myself with answering—human nature does not change; in its basic elements it now is as it was at the dawn of history, as our present tragic plight shows. Even savages inflict no greater inhumanities than are going on in the world today.

In the mad thrusting of ourselves, with a batch of curative political nostrums, into the turmoil and tragedy of today’s world, we are like a physician called in to treat a virulent case of smallpox, and whose treatment consists in getting into bed with his patient. That is not the way to cure smallpox.7

As the second world war broke out across Europe, Clark said, again in a large church conference, that America’s entrance “would be an appalling prostitution of our heritage.”8 His consistent excoriation of unjust, immoral warfare, both at the pulpit and in secular settings, was accompanied by a Christian-based promotion of persuasion and peace. For example, in 1944:

For America has a destiny—a destiny to conquer the world—not by force of arms, not by purchase and favor, for these conquests wash away, but by high purpose, by unselfish effort, by uplifting achievement, by a course of Christian living; a conquest that shall leave every nation free to move out to its own destiny; a conquest that shall bring, through the workings of our own example, the blessings of freedom and liberty to every people, without restraint or imposition or compulsion from us; a conquest that shall weld the whole earth together in one great brotherhood in a reign of mutual patience, forbearance, and charity, in a reign of peace to which we shall lead all others by the persuasion of our own righteous example.9

In 1973, a new law school was founded at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah—one of the leading universities in America, which is owned by the LDS Church. It was named after J. Reuben Clark, Jr. At its founding, students then enrolled in the law school, along with their future counterparts, were counseled as follows: “Every time you hear or read the name of your school you can be reminded of the great man whose life you can emulate to your profit.”

Clark’s biographer writes that “the avoidance of war… was one of J. Reuben Clark’s great political objectives…”10 To emulate such a man suggests, then, that Mormons should likewise be non-interventionist advocates of peace. In the scriptures used by members of the LDS Church, the following related commandment from God is found—one which in many ways serves as a fitting slogan of the life of J. Reuben Clark, Jr.: “Therefore, renounce war and proclaim peace…”

Clark’s criticism of the government’s “fiendish butchery,” his support of a non-interventionist foreign policy, and his Christian-based advocacy of peace through persuasion is something every individual would do well to emulate, Mormon or not.

——

Footnotes:

1 In Conference Report, October 1946, 89.
2 Ray C. Hillam, ed., J. Reuben Clark, Jr., Diplomat and Statesman (Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1973), 120.
3 “Slipping from Our Old Moorings,” in David H. Yarn, Jr., ed., J. Reuben Clark Selected Papers, vol. 5 (Provo: Brigham Young University, 1987), 161.
4 Ibid, 162.
5 Hillam, Clark, 204.
6 Ibid, 203.
7 Ibid, 22.
8 Ibid, 133.
9 Ibid, 210.
10 Ibid, 120.

52 Responses to “A Mormon Leader’s Promotion of Peace”

  1. Brint Baggaley
    February 10, 2012 at 3:13 pm #

    As I look at the world today, especially our fears that make us think we need to have a huge military, spread all over the world, I always think of Isaiah 54:17-”No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper….This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.”

    If we would repent and serve the Lord, we may realize just how wrong our fears really are.

  2. Kelly W.
    February 10, 2012 at 3:58 pm #

    How easily Mormons disregard the teachings of the modern prophets.

    Sadly, many non-Mormons will listen to Romney and surmise that we are a war-loving people (and I’d guess they’d be right – we are a stiffnecked people).

    Romney’s campaigning for increased war and doubling the size of Guantanamo, etc., will be a net negative for the Church.

  3. Brandon
    February 10, 2012 at 4:18 pm #

    Loved this post! Thanks for digging up these great J. Reuben Clark quotes.

  4. iamse7en
    February 10, 2012 at 11:43 pm #

    Awesome. I’m so glad Lew asked you to write this. To feature all weekend too! Great Sabbath material for me to send to my LDS friends. ;)

  5. Gil
    February 10, 2012 at 11:52 pm #

    What’s wrong with the atomic bombs? The U.S. had a trump card to end the war so they used it. Atomic bombs = bad but firebombing and machine-gunning those Japs into oblivion = alllllright? Pffff!

  6. Jon
    February 11, 2012 at 8:33 am #

    Gil,

    The Japanese were ready to surrender pre nuclear bombs. Eisenhower wanted complete surrender, which he never got, even after the second bomb was dropped, they were truly useless. Of course, there is much more history to it than that too, but in government schools we don’t learn that history.

  7. Phil
    February 11, 2012 at 8:53 am #

    Jon,

    Would like to see historical document showing Japanese ready to surrender before Hiroshima. Never encountered this assertion in even revisionist history. Therefore inclined to agree with Gil, saved American and Japanese lives in the long run. I would have preferred that America had chosen a more military target for demonstration, but it isn’t as if the Japanese had the moral high ground in treatment of civilian populations.

  8. Gil
    February 11, 2012 at 9:51 am #

    Surrender means to put a white flag and put down your arms, i.e. it unconditional in itself. But then if you a Libertarian who believe the U.S. started the war then the U.S. was wrong, period.

  9. TRON
    February 11, 2012 at 10:00 am #

    First, I disagree with J. Reuben Clark’s racism, his anti-semitism and his pacifism.

    We took Okinawa (the only Japanese island we took that had a civilian population also) by “the normal way”. We lost 12,500 soldiers with an additional 49,500 wounded. The Japanese lost 142,000 civilians with 90% of their buildings destroyed. The suicides were horrendous and still bring controversy today. The pre-invasion population is estimated to be 500,000 which means they lost almost a third of their population during our taking of the island.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_okinawa

    The pre-war population of the Japanese mainland was 73 million. If a land invasion of the mainland followed the casualty rate of Okinawa, that would mean a death rate of over 20 million Japanese. Douglas MacArthur estimated that we would lose one million American soldiers in taking the mainland. By comparison, the two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki killed an estimated 200,000 and no American casualties at all.

    I am not trying to downplay the horror (my own grandpa was killed in that war), rather, I’m trying to show that the bigger horror which would have taken place without the atomic bombs is unimaginable. And even after the Atomic bombs, there was a coup attempt to keep the Emperor from surrendering. They certainly weren’t ready to surrender before the bombings.

    (Jon, you reveal yourself. Eisenhower was supreme commander over Europe, MacArthur was supreme commander over Asia and Truman was President.)

    Lastly, the Libertarian’s response after 9/11 was the reason I left the Libertarian party. Even though proclaiming otherwise, they seem to be pacifist. Their presidential candidate Harry Browne (whom I voted for twice) even wanted 9/11 to be treated as a police investigation. No war declared. Obviously, I disagreed with this.

  10. Jon
    February 11, 2012 at 10:11 am #

    Phil here you go:

    http://www.doug-long.com/hiroshim.htm

    The winners of war always make up some history to justify their murders.

  11. Jon
    February 11, 2012 at 10:13 am #

    Gil,

    Then you would have multiple world wars. Have you learned nothing from the unchristian-like conditions that we put on the German people that led to WWII? Love is the solution not hate and fear.

  12. Jon
    February 11, 2012 at 10:21 am #

    TRON, yes, I made a mistake, I meant to put Truman, I wasn’t thinking, I admit it.

    TRON, you reveal yourself, by your logic the Japanese would absolutely refuse to surrender unless 20 million people were killed but magically they were OK surrendering because only 200,000 people died? No, it is because Truman finally realized that unconditional surrender was folly and made conditional surrender OK.

    As for 9/11, imagine if instead of saying, “you killed innocent people now we will rack havoc over your population that did nothing wrong.” Imagine if we instead said, “Let us repent of the evils we have done and lay down our weapons of war. We have gone all over the world for over 50 years or so and claimed dominion [see 3 Ne 16:10] and overthrown democracies and replaced them with dictatorships, we have ravaged the world with economic sanctions that have hurt the poor and the elderly and children most, we have caused this harm, let us repent and turn away from these evil deeds.” What if we had done that, would not the world stop hating us – including the so-called terrorists (who are nothing more than freedom fighters of their own homelands – I don’t condone the innocent shedding of blood but neither am I blind the facts)?

  13. Phil
    February 11, 2012 at 1:05 pm #

    Jon,

    That link does not support your contention that Japan was ready to surrender. At least not based on any terms America would have accepted. Just because there were doves in the Japanese cabinet does not mean they would have risked all against the hawks to try peace talks with conditions.

    Coulda shoulda wouldas by those evaluating American options after the fact is historical arm chair quarterbacking not good revisionist history.

    Given your subsequent posts it seems you place greater weight on the atrocities and economic sanctions America committed than on the atrocities committed by other “cultures”. I don’t know if you believe in an Objective standard by which the acts of men are judged, but American atrocities don’t rank anywhere near Japanese (Nanking Massacre), or German (holocaust). Was American policy and intervention one of the causes of the war, absolutely. The only cause for it which we bear all blame? Please tell me you are not in of those haters.

  14. Gil
    February 11, 2012 at 7:51 pm #

    Yes Japan would have sacrified more when the odds weren’t so harshly against them. Losing 200,000 in a couple of flashes would do that to an army. After all, WW2 saw tens of millions die from “conventional” weapons.

  15. Kelly W.
    February 12, 2012 at 8:39 am #

    But I still choose to denounce war and proclaim peace. War is a tool of Satan. To try to rationalize the acts of war to make the USA look like the good guy is wrong.

  16. Christine
    February 12, 2012 at 10:34 am #

    Great Post! It is about time that some distance is put between the true doctrine of the LDS church and what Mr. Romney says and people assume to thus be the doctrine. He doesn’t represent the LDS church, only his own political aspirations.

  17. TRON
    February 12, 2012 at 1:59 pm #

    @Christine

    Interesting. In your opinion, is J. Reuben Clark a source of true doctrine? Let me quote him on other things and see if everything he says is “true doctrine”.

    “There is nothing in their history which indicates that the Jewish race have either free-agency or liberty,”

    “‘Law and order’ are not facts for the Jews.”

    And then there is this:

    “As noted in D. Michael Quinn’s 2002 biography, Clark’s attitude toward the equality of African Americans was nuanced. Clark was opposed to interracial marriage of white and black people, and he advocated the separation of blood in hospitals to ensure that white people were not given the blood of black people. (African Americans were denied LDS priesthood until 1978, and some Latter-day Saints believed that such a mixing of blood would invalidate the white recipient’s priesthood status or his future potential priesthood status.)”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._Reuben_Clark

    We are to study, ponder and pray about the truth of all things. I think I have clearly shown why I disagree with him in some things. He did much good and has a good heart, but that does not make him infallible.

  18. TRON
    February 12, 2012 at 2:05 pm #

    @Jon
    To quote you “TRON, you reveal yourself, by your logic the Japanese would absolutely refuse to surrender unless 20 million people were killed but magically they were OK surrendering because only 200,000 people died? No, it is because Truman finally realized that unconditional surrender was folly and made conditional surrender OK.”

    So your conclusion is that if we did a land invasion, the Japanese would have surrendered before 200,000 were killed and we would not have lost one American life? The Japanese themselves killed over 1000 people in Okinawa just because they spoke a different dialect.
    Even if they fought “only” until one million had died, the bombs would still have saved 800,000 lives.

    And even after the atomic bombs look how close they came to not surrendering:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ky%C5%ABj%C5%8D_Incident

    As for Truman not getting “complete surrender”, his whole compromise was letting them keep their figurehead the Emperor. It was a very smart compromise. It would be like taking over England but letting them keep the Queen.

  19. TRON
    February 12, 2012 at 2:07 pm #

    @Jon

    And lastly to quote you:

    “We have gone all over the world for over 50 years or so and claimed dominion [see 3 Ne 16:10] and overthrown democracies and replaced them with dictatorships,”

    Very true.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Covert_United_States_foreign_regime_change_actions

    Some of these things I thoroughly disagree with. Some were huge blunders. The intention of most was to keep us out of war. Right or wrong, that was the intent.

    I find it odd that you don’t mention the dictatorships we have overthrown and replaced with Democracies, though.

    Here are a few of them:

    Germany, Japan, Italy, South Korea, Panama, Haiti, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya.

  20. Clumpy
    February 14, 2012 at 7:25 pm #

    @TRON

    That’s probably one of the best and most damning Wikipedia articles I can think of. But “keep us out of war”? With nations thousands of miles away or further, often without militaries that could represent any threat to the United States?

  21. TRON
    February 15, 2012 at 5:35 pm #

    @Clumpy

    Way too many things to address. We are an empire. And because of that no matter what we do some people will suffer. I think you will find this link way more interesting than the wikipedia link.

    http://www.carnegiecouncil.org/resources/video/data/000370

  22. Clumpy
    February 16, 2012 at 12:55 pm #

    It’s not streaming right now, but I’ll check it again later on, and maybe have a response. I imagine I’ll disagree with much of the video but I’m always willing to leave the door open for being surprised.

  23. jimz
    February 18, 2012 at 4:25 pm #

    I am not sure where Mr. Clark gets the idea that christians behave any better than pagans. For example Charlemagne made practicing paganism a capital crime, unless they converted to the christian faith. Without Charlemagne, christianity might not have spread throughout europe.

  24. outside the corridor
    February 18, 2012 at 4:54 pm #

    It’s hard to believe that J. Reuben Clark said such things, and it makes me question the integrity of his biographer–

    I guess I would need more documentation to accept that, but then *I* don’t believe anyone is infallible–

    I appreciate reading about Clark’s peaceable preaching, however–

    As for his ‘anti-semitism’ and racism towards African Americans–

    it’s hard to know what to think. He was a product of a different time. While he may have held some of the prejudices of his time (I am older and remember well the people who were his age talking about other ‘races’; even the most open-minded and peaceable among them tended to be suspicious of other cultures)–

    so his words need to be sifted in that respect–

    BUT, since he was alive during the time when Europe was in turmoil–

    he had a perspective that those of us who were not (I was born just a few years after the end of WWII) cannot have–

    *you* take the good with the bad–

    I can condemn his racist attitudes while realizing that he may have understood some things *we* cannot understand–

    I have a unique perspective on Japan, but I won’t share it here. Not only am I part Japanese (not very much), but my father fought in Japan, and I served a mission there. I DID see the other side of things.

    The idea that there are entire groups (collectivism) who are more barbaric by nature is something that Americans like to believe as long as it is not said about Americans!

    Justifying American atrocities by mentioning those committed by people of other nations isn’t God’s way either–

    Where has ethnocentrism and collectivism taken this world? To violence and carnage–

    Better to start the changes of heart with *me*–

    and not blame others–

  25. Allen Levie
    February 19, 2012 at 12:31 pm #

    Thank you for the article Connor. I really enjoyed the dialogue that follows in the comments especially that from “outside the corridor”.

    It seems to me that we assume too much. I think we believe we understand the Lord’s perspective but that His view is so much more broad.

    I do believe that many terrorists believe themselves to be freedom fighters fighting against large established nationstate machines in ways that seems most realistic and that catch their attention. These nation states are allowing for and perpetrating huge amounts of moral havoc in the world.

    Some of it likely stems from our incessant quest for gain, adultery and selfish lasciviousness, gluttonous entertainment, our love for disgusting pornography, selfish drug and food indulgences both over and under the counter, obsessive warmongering attitudes and the entertainment that follows this trend is evident by the gaming and movie industries. These are still just part of the picture. We have sins of omission and we engage in slavery through indulging in personal and community debt, educational suffocation and poor family-culture habits that probably dwarf some of the other problems.

    Until we can make headway in some of these areas our libertarian reduction of government intrusions will be somewhat hollow and short lived. Our government will continue to become more embarrassing as it represents our immoral population. Libertarian solutions do not provide sufficient answers to these problems but need to at least acknowledge these huge needs more often in their efforts to retract the power and control.

  26. AV
    February 19, 2012 at 3:36 pm #

    When considering Elder Clark’s attitude & beliefs about blacks, we must realize that even Prophets have to learn line upon line. Prophets can & sometimes do error on doctrine & can even fall from grace. The Lord allows even Prophets the agency to lead people astray.

    Thus it’s our vital personal responsibility to be able to discern all truth from error, even from Prophets, or we will have to suffer the consequences for following or believing falsehoods.

    We must make sure that everything that anyone, even a Prophet, preaches, is not contrary to what the holy scriptures say or we can know it’s false.

    Even Joseph Smith’s beliefs about blacks seemed to evolve over time & he began to understand their equality & even allowed them to receive the Priesthood.

    But many of the other early Prophets of the Church & many members did not understand nor accept Black’s equality & thus it took over 100 years before they were willing to honor Black’s right to have the Priesthood, like Joseph Smith did.
    .

  27. jim
    February 19, 2012 at 4:26 pm #

    Av,
    “We must make sure that everything that anyone, even a Prophet, preaches, is not contrary to what the holy scriptures say or we can know it’s false”

    I don’t understand, aren’t the scriptures written by prophets? If there is any degree of error, how can they be a foundation of anything?

  28. AV
    February 19, 2012 at 10:04 pm #

    Jim,

    Yes, even ancient Prophets weren’t perfect & have been wrong about things & errored in judgement, action & doctrine, especially in the Bible, which also may not always be translated correctly.

    But the Book of Mormon is far more reliable & correct, it’s teachings were considered the best & most vital & true for us today, handpicked by the wonderful & valiant Prophet Mormon. So it can be considered & trusted as the most correct book on earth, though maybe not a perfect book.

    Also, Joseph was a great Prophet & we can trust his words in the D&C as long as they don’t contradict anything in the BoM or things Christ taught. Joseph knew that even he could not teach anything contrary to what the BoM says.

    As Joseph taught, truth never contradicts itself, and true revelation from Prophets or anyone will never be contrary to what the Book of Mormon or Joseph Smith or any other true Prophet taught.

    All true Prophets will teach the same doctrines, they will never contradict each other.

    The scriptures & the words of Christ & the Holy Spirit will be 3 witnesses for us to discern all truth from error & will tell us all things that we should do.

  29. jimz
    February 20, 2012 at 6:59 pm #

    Av, Sounds like the BOM is foundational for your faith. Kind of the yardstick to measure everything else?

  30. AV
    February 21, 2012 at 1:28 am #

    Yes, Jim, I would say I trust the Book of Mormon more than any other scriptures. Even Joseph Smith acknowledged that he couldn’t teach anything that was contrary to what the Book of Mormon taught.

    He warned us to never accept, trust or listen to anyone, even a so called ‘prophet’, if they teach contrary to what the Book of Mormon teaches.

    For true Prophets never contradict each other, they will always preach the very same doctrines. That’s how we know they are true Prophets & not false ones.

  31. Jon
    February 21, 2012 at 7:58 am #

    Tron,

    I find it odd that you don’t mention the dictatorships we have overthrown and replaced with Democracies, though.

    And that is the point, isn’t it? That we shouldn’t be bossing around other nations and telling them what form of government they should have. Didn’t I quote 3 Ne. 16:10 that says the very same thing?

    All war lovers,

    Also, the wars with Japan and Germany, we didn’t go into them following the just and true and common sense commandments given in D&C 98, therefore they are unjust no matter what machinations you come up with.

  32. outside the corridor
    February 21, 2012 at 8:39 am #

    Jon, I have always ‘suspected’ the second world war and was never ‘for’ it, but I was born a few years after its end, and my father, father in law and three uncles and two of my husband’s uncles and several of my father’s cousins . . . fought in that war; some of them died.

    Anyone who grew up right after WWII will remember that WWII was almost ‘sacred’ to the people who were involved–

    well . . . to me it was ‘creepy’–but I was quiet about it–

    if I had EVER begun to question the war to my parents, in spite of the fact that my father suffered horrific ptsd and health problems until his death and that neither of my parents lived as long as any of their parents did–

    I would have been silenced, possibly not even welcome in my parents’ home–

    they were GOOD people; they were loving parents, but WWII was sacred–

    it’s scary; it’s truly very scary–

    there needs to be a generation that stands up and says, “we want to go into the land of milk and honey; we want to leave the flesh pots behind”–

    I think it is beginning–

    http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/02/veterans-for-ron-paul-rally-at-white-house/

    I watched the livestream for this, and it brought tears to my eyes–

    it was truly inspiring–

    it is not well described in this article; the MSM completely ignored it on TV–

    something is happening; weapons are being beaten into plowshares–

    it is beginning–

    those of us who silently protested Viet Nam (I had friends who came home in body bags; my husband and one brother had high draft numbers; the other brother was 4F)–

    were silent then; it was VERY difficult for LDS youth to stand up against Viet Nam; the leaders of the church were still basking in the glory of WWII–

    can now speak up, and I DO!

    One of my LDS friends burned his draft card and got put in jail–

    Mitt Romney . . . protested the war protesters–

    ?

  33. Peter Borner
    February 26, 2012 at 7:58 am #

    Great article. I made a comment once to another member of the church that we as Americans and as members of the church are suffering from “blood lust.” Until we step back out of this moral and political morass, we can never truly understand what is really going on.

  34. Rabble Rouser
    March 8, 2012 at 5:44 pm #

    The points I’m getting from this article and most of the comments are:

    1- The US should never ever get involved in anything, ever.

    2- We should never have gotten involved in World War II, because an old man thought it was “creepy”

    3- Hitler ruling Europe and Japan brutalizing Manchuria is better than America getting their hands a little dirty

    3- As soon as we bend over and turn a blind eye to evil dictators, Jesus is going to come.

    Remember, kiddies (and old man in the corridor), the Nephites still defended the Anti-Nephi Lehites. War is not condemned by God. Exodus 15:3.

    I agree with the concept of “peace through persuasion” though. Sometimes situations require little more persuasion than words. Sometimes persuasion is superior firepower.

    I’m never going to apologize to anyone for my military service, much less a bunch of molly-coddled “intellectuals” like those in this august congregation.

  35. outside the corridor
    March 9, 2012 at 9:54 am #

    You need to learn about the Veterans for Ron Paul.

    Those people have been around a few blocks themselves. The idea that everyone who has served in the military has the same perspective is not right. The idea that wars can be wrong without blaming those who are ‘on the ground’ is something you don’t seem to be able to accept.

    And I’m not a man. LOL!

    When a person develops the ability to look beyond what the propaganda says and what the government leaders are saying, then he or she can understand what President Clark was saying.

    It was the Nephites’ choice to defend the people of Ammon.
    There was no prophetic request to confirm the goodness or badness of entering into WWII.

    FDR didn’t come to the prophet. When the Nephites did that, yes, of course, they were blessed.

    You are seeing things all in ‘black and white’, Rabble–

    I’m too old to be troubled over it. And I had my share of friends come home in body bags. And I’ve done my share of mourning with Viet Nam vets who were rejected when they came home by unthinking people who didn’t criticze the leaders of the government who sent them there–

    So I don’t see war as a game needing me as just another cheerleader, and I see the military members as individuals in a dangerous place?

    Yes, I do.

    I have great respect for Adam Kokesh and his group. You ought to check them out. There are some old ones in the group, but most of them are those who served in the middle east. These kids and oldies make me cry.

    I’ll get you a link, or you can look at it for yourself. You don’t have to support the warmongers to be a good soldier.

    Dr. Ron Paul says that war can be entered if it’s constitutional. I’ll agree with that, but the last time it was constitutional (though I argue with the motives of FDR) was WWII. I saw the other side, and you have accepted the American propaganda. Still . . . it was constitutional. Many of us paid; children of vets paid, too–

    I am one. My dad is long gone, but the ptsd lasted ’til his death, bless him.

    Check out the Veterans for Ron Paul. This is, after all, Connor’s blog, and he supports Dr. Paul.

    :)

  36. outside the corridor
    March 9, 2012 at 9:56 am #

    Yes, my parents’ ‘passion’ (especially my mother’s) for WWII was ‘creepy’.

    It was like it was a ‘great game’–

    and ‘didn’t we all have a good time, and oh well, a few died, but it sure pulled the country together’–

    :(

  37. outside the corridor
    March 9, 2012 at 12:42 pm #

    Rabble Rouser,

    I hope you come back and read this.

    I didn’t serve in the military.

    1–I’m a woman, 60s. In *my* day it was rare for a woman to be in the military, much less fight. One brother had a high draft number; the other was 4-F; my husband had a high draft number during Viet Nam. One friend came home with more metal in his body than bones; he married my best friend, and they had five children, and . . . he has been in pain for over 40 years. I know more about what happened to him than most, and it’s not pretty–

    if J. (my friend) recommended war, I would listen.
    Not that I would approve if congress didn’t–

    *I* won’t listen to anyone who hasn’t been in war who recommends war–

    I see massive hypocrisy in the ‘chickenhawks’ who are running for president:

    Romney; none of his sons have served either
    Gingrich; didn’t serve
    Santorum; didn’t serve

    All of them are pro-war. They have NO right to recommend war; they didn’t fight; they didn’t even join the military.

    One of my sons did. He was injured before seeing combat and given an honorable discharge; it was at the height of Iraq, and I wept when he joined, but I supported him. He got letters every day, and then I found out that he never received them. A year later they all came back to me, after he was safe, but not sound–still injured.

    My son has become against the current wars. But he saw things that I never saw–

    Ron Paul, only, served. He was a flight surgeon. That means he saw the worst. He heard the cries, and he saw the blood.
    And he is against these perpetual wars.

    Wars should only be fought in defense.

    There is some doubt about whether WWII was a defensive war, because it is now widely known that FDR KNEW the Japanese were going to attack Pearl Harbor. The Japanese attacked a group of aging ships and killed military men. It was sad, but it could have been averted. American intelligence knew, but they didn’t stop it.

    The war “had” to be ended by dropping nuclear bombs . . . on two large Japanese cities–both of which had large Christian populations; many civilians were killed; more were maimed.

    America had sanctioned Japan, which Dr. Paul calls an act of war–

    so . . . what did *we* expect? Why was it done? To get America into the European war.

    Europe was not our business. America COULD have rescued more Jews; the governments of England and America did NOT rescue the Jews they could have rescued–

    so . . . something is wrong with that ‘picture’–

    It was not a defensive war, now that we know the truth.

    I served a mission in Japan; one of my companions was a survivor of Hiroshima. In her language I . . . heard a lot about the war that most Americans will never hear–

    entire families who had done nothing shot down by American soldiers, on order.

    One of my closest friends in Japan spent the war in prison–

    Yes, the Japanese were capable of atrocities; I don’t deny that, but so are Americans.

    YOU do have a right, if you have been involved in war . . . to speak up and say that war is good.

    Nobody who hasn’t . . . has that right.

    Not Mitt Romney. Not Newt Gingrich. Not Rick Santorum. Not Barak Obama.

    Ron Paul does, and he’s not crying for war.

  38. Jon
    March 9, 2012 at 1:13 pm #

    Rabble,

    The points I’m getting from this article and most of the comments are:

    “…the Nephites still defended the Anti-Nephi Lehites.”

    Remember the Anti-Nephi Lehites were within the Nephite borders, so they weren’t going to different lands to fight battles.

    Also, remember, in D&C 98 the Lord is very clear that we are to denounce war, not only in word but action.

    “Sometimes situations require little more persuasion than words. Sometimes persuasion is superior firepower.”

    This is not what the scriptures teach, the scriptures teach that the wicked destroy the wicked. Also, when we go into other people’s land we invariably kill innocent people and then the blood is on us.

    “I’m never going to apologize to anyone for my military service, much less a bunch of molly-coddled “intellectuals” like those in this august congregation.”

    Liberty dictates that we become responsible for our own actions. When you wake up to your awful state, you will need to repent for those actions. I need to repent for my follies and ideas that were/are wrong. Let us come to Christ and leave the failings of men.

  39. MuchoBrento
    March 30, 2012 at 1:13 pm #

    Connor… Fantastic article. Thank you!

    I am, however, disappointed with the subsequent support for the wars from the pulpit. Of course, I don’t mean to say that from the pulpit it has been mentioned that “war is good”. However, ultimately, all teachings are most powerfully taught through example, and in our era, many of the general authorities recount their years of military service during the war as a basis for some other principle that they mean to teach.

    The implication is that it is ok to go to war; it is ok to kill another if your government calls you to do it; that the higher path that the gospel teaches us can be put to the side when the country says so.

    I personally have imagined what I would do if the USA decided that it would draft me or my son into one of our modern wars. I can say that, unless my family and neighbors were directly being threatened, I would refuse to take part; whatever the consequences.

    I would love to see somebody from the pulpit teach the gospel as lived by the anti-Nephi-Lehites. I believe that J. Reuben Clark was doing so.

  40. AV
    March 31, 2012 at 12:56 pm #

    It seems from what many church leaders say, that the Church would have considered ‘innocent’ those people who supported Hitler & who carried out & operated his Concentration Camps.

  41. outside the corridor
    March 31, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

    from a family member who spent time in Germany decades ago I learned that, indeed:

    –Jewish members were not treated well in some wards (not all ward)

    –those who questioned Hitler were not treated well by some local church leaders

    Many of those who questioned Hitler came to America.

    Very sad.

    This is only what one family member learned while in Germany–

    There were some LDS young people who lost their lives, also, fighting against Hitler–

    I am not sure how other members of the church treated them while they were alive, but they were martyrs.

    That is in response to AV–

    MuchoBrento,

    Does anyone on here know about that young man who came home from the middle east and decided to walk the length of Utah protesting the war(s)?

    He sounded like a wonderful young LDS husband and father, and I got the idea that some people in the state did not receive his message well–

    http://www.usustatesman.com/2.5353/u-s-soldier-walks-in-protest-1.561340#.T3dZjTFunlo

    http://www.democracynow.org/2006/9/27/iraq_war_veteran_plans_a_protest

  42. Gordon
    April 13, 2012 at 2:40 pm #

    Who is your neighbor that you are commanded to love as yourself?

    Would it be acceptable to sit back in comfort while the holocaust took place?
    What kind of people would that make us that could do such a thing?
    The parable of the good Samaritan comes to mind, should we cross the road and avert our eyes?

  43. TRON
    April 13, 2012 at 5:09 pm #

    @Gordon

    AMEN!

  44. MuchoBrento
    April 13, 2012 at 5:37 pm #

    @Gordon

    I’m not trying to pick a fight, but I can’t see how the holocaust is useful in proving your point. Correct me if I’m wrong, but as far as I know, our soldiers did not go over to fight in WWII because we knew that the Nazis were sending the Jews to concentration camps to be slaughtered in masses. Wasn’t it discovered only after we had pretty much won the war?

    If that’s the case, then it was coincidental that they were there, and doesn’t justify us being there at all (at least in the context of being “good Samaritans”).

    As an aside, we didn’t really care too much about Stalin or Mao killing tens of millions more people than Hitler did in that time of history. And in recent times, the US has turned a completely blind eye to genocide in Rwanda and other parts of Africa that are bigger than the holocaust in Germany.

    So, again, I can’t see how the US as good Samaritans is descriptive of our foreign policy, nor how our foreign policy somehow fits within the context of Christ’s teachings.

  45. MuchoBrento
    April 13, 2012 at 5:45 pm #

    So, in answer to your question “Who is your neighbor that you are commanded to love as yourself?”, I would say that that answer must be answered in the context of a question that Ezra Taft Benson asked, which is “What is the proper role of government?”.

    So, is every person on the planet our “neighbor”? Maybe. But, is it practical to help every person on the planet in desperate situations? Clearly not.

    Some people falsely believe then, that if they cannot personally be a good Samaritan to their “neighbors” abroad that they can empower their government to be good Samaritans on their behalf. But, this explicitly goes against what Ezra Taft Benson taught about the proper role of government.

    It would seem that the only way to reconcile the two teachings is to treat anybody that we personally come into contact with as “our neighbor”, and when necessary to treat them with our own substance (and not the substance that we can commandeer from our other neighbors)

  46. TRON
    April 13, 2012 at 10:38 pm #

    @MuchoBrento

    Rwanda 1,174,000 people killed
    Rest of Africa 582,000
    Germany 10,227,500 people killed

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genocides_in_history

    Rwanda was NOT bigger than the holocaust in Germany.

    Just because we can’t or don’t stop all killings doesn’t mean it’s immoral when we do.

  47. Jon
    April 14, 2012 at 12:01 am #

    Principle: Killing innocent people is bad and is murder. Principle:Stealing from others is immoral.

    Application: Going to other countries and shooting people you will kill innocent people and commit murder.

    Application: Taxes are theft. Taxing to support the military is still theft. Only a voluntary tax would truly be OK to support a military. The majority of people would most likely not give their money to support foreign wars. Hence the reason you need the mafia to gather the money for the military.

  48. MuchoBrento
    April 14, 2012 at 7:39 am #

    @Tron

    Thanks for the correction. For some reason I had it in my head that African genocide (not just Rwanda) had bigger numbers. I guess I was wrong about that.

    My point still stands though.

  49. TRON
    April 14, 2012 at 11:27 am #

    @Jon

    The declaration of war by the United States in world war 2 had a 97% approval rating. Is that high enough?

    The support for the attacks on Afghanistan after 9/11 were 89%.

    Judging from your comments that’s still not high enough. I stand by my comments that libertarians are pacifists.

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/4954/support-war-terrorism-rivals-support-wwii.aspx

  50. Jon
    April 14, 2012 at 1:50 pm #

    @Tron,

    I’m talking principles, I’m not talking mob and mafia rule. Taxes are theft, period. The monies to support the troops need to be received voluntarily from voluntary contributions.

    Killing innocent people is murder, period. There is no way around it. If you believe the BoM to be the word of God then the same conclusions is reached.

    I am not a pacifist, I do believe in rule of law and natural law, which would end most wars. If you wish not to live by those principles that is your choice. But the consequences will be reaped by you and your children and grandchildren, etc.

    The time to live by love is now, we must raise our children with love and no violence.

  51. TRON
    April 14, 2012 at 6:29 pm #

    @Jon

    Alma 51

    13 And it came to pass that when the men who were called king-men had heard that the Lamanites were coming down to battle against them, they were glad in their hearts; and they refused to take up arms, for they were so wroth with the chief judge, and also with the people of liberty, that they would not take up arms to defend their country.

    14 And it came to pass that when Moroni saw this, and also saw that the Lamanites were coming into the borders of the land, he was exceedingly wroth because of the stubbornness of those people whom he had labored with so much diligence to preserve; yea, he was exceedingly wroth; his soul was filled with anger against them.

    15 And it came to pass that he sent a petition, with the voice of the people, unto the governor of the land, desiring that he should read it, and give him (Moroni) power to compel those dissenters to defend their country or to put them to death.

    16 For it was his first care to put an end to such contentions and dissensions among the people; for behold, this had been hitherto a cause of all their destruction. And it came to pass that it was granted according to the voice of the people.

  52. Jon
    April 14, 2012 at 9:52 pm #

    @Tron,

    Moroni was defending the people in his own land from the King-men who wished to take away their liberty. There is nothing there that is contrary to what I have written.

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