Wars and Rumors of Wars

Captain MoroniWe definitely live in a time of wars and rumors of wars. There are many people who have friends and relatives who are involved directly in the war in Iraq and the war against terrorism. My heart goes out to those individuals and families.

For many of us these wars are something that concerns us, but may not affect us greatly day-to-day. These are wars which for the most part are fought ‘over there’. Many of us go about our lives much the same way we always do. But this might not always be the case.

With the world getting smaller and smaller we may face great danger right here at home. The future of terrorism particularly concerns me. What was once a problem for people in other parts of the world may someday become something that each of us will need to be concerned about. Not merely for political reasons, but for reasons of personal and family safety. Are we prepared for this?

I wrote a post about gun ownership over at Small and Simple here. This was a more general post. But I might now ask what any of us are willing to do to defend our own lives and the lives of our families if we need to. When many of us think of self defense we might think of what we hope is the slim chance of a burglar breaking into our home. This is bad enough. What if the threat got even worse? What if terrorist threats became a real threat in the city we live in?

I have often thought about an interesting contrast that I read in two different stories in the Book of Mormon. One is the story of Captain Moroni, and the other is the people of Ammon.

In Alma chapter 43, as Alma and his sons preach the word, the Lamanites come against the Nephites in war. Moroni prepares the people for battle, and the following verse is given:

And again, the Lord has said that: Ye shall defend your families even unto bloodshed. Therefore for this cause were the Nephites contending with the Lamanites, to defend themselves, and their families, and their lands, their country, and their rights, and their religion. (Alma 43:47)

In contrast to this example we have the people of Ammon. After they were converted they had a very different feeling. It was said of them that:

Now there was not one soul among all the people who had been converted unto the Lord that would take up arms against their brethren; nay, they would not even make any preparations for war…(Alma 24:6)

As a result of this more than a thousand were slain without any resistance.

As I consider the last days, it seems that things will likely get worse than they currently are. Wars and rumors of wars will continue and grow. Wickedness and crime will surely increase. And while we are told that the righteous have no need to fear, what might the righteous do to prepare for difficult times in the last days? Are you prepared to defend yourself and your family unto bloodshed, as was the attitude of Captain Moroni? Or will you refuse to take up arms against your brethren as the people of Ammon?

9 Responses to “Wars and Rumors of Wars”


  1. 1 Okie August 14, 2006 at 8:57 pm

    This is a pretty interesting question. Its actually something I think about quite a bit. I myself fall on the side of Capt. Moroni. I will to my utmost strive to protect my family and myself. I believe if it is in you to survive and protect, you should. I know there are others who won’t and I believe if thats within them that’s probably the right course… for them. -

  2. 2 mullingandmusing (m&m) August 14, 2006 at 11:07 pm

    I think Doctrine and Covenants 98 gives excellent guidance with regard to this concept (it’s long but I will include it anyway because it’s really helpful, IMO):

    23 Now, I speak unto you concerning your families—if men will smite you, or your families, once, and ye bear it patiently and revile not against them, neither seek revenge, ye shall be rewarded;
    24 But if ye bear it not patiently, it shall be accounted unto you as being meted out as a just measure unto you.
    25 And again, if your enemy shall smite you the second time, and you revile not against your enemy, and bear it patiently, your reward shall be an hundredfold.
    26 And again, if he shall smite you the third time, and ye bear it patiently, your reward shall be doubled unto you four-fold;
    27 And these three testimonies shall stand against your enemy if he repent not, and shall not be blotted out.
    28 And now, verily I say unto you, if that enemy shall escape my vengeance, that he be not brought into judgment before me, then ye shall see to it that ye warn him in my name, that he come no more upon you, neither upon your family, even your children’s children unto the third and fourth generation.
    29 And then, if he shall come upon you or your children, or your children’s children unto the third and fourth generation, I have delivered thine enemy into thine hands;
    30 And then if thou wilt spare him, thou shalt be rewarded for thy righteousness; and also thy children and thy children’s children unto the third and fourth generation.
    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.
    32 Behold, this is the law I gave unto my servant Nephi, and thy afathers, Joseph, and Jacob, and Isaac, and Abraham, and all mine ancient prophets and apostles.
    33 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.
    34 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;
    35 And if that people did not accept the offering of peace, neither the second nor the third time, they should bring these testimonies before the Lord;
    36 Then I, the Lord, would give unto them a commandment, and justify them in going out to battle against that nation, tongue, or people.
    37 And 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.
    38 Behold, this is an ensample unto all people, saith the Lord your God, for justification before me.

    I would only want to go to war if I knew it was God’s will and would not be on my head. And even then, I find it interesting that while the Lord will justify war in certain situations (repeated offenses), He will also reward those who stay their hand against their enemies, regardless of the divine justification that may be applicable.

    That said, it would be very, very hard to not want to immediately go and fight to protect my family. That mother bear in me is pretty fierce….. :)

  3. 3 Connor Boyack August 14, 2006 at 11:55 pm

    I would like to think that I could rise to the occassion and be like Captain Moroni, if and when the time came.. but when it comes down to it, I think I’m a big wuss :)

  4. 4 Eric Nielson August 15, 2006 at 6:35 am

    OKIE:

    Thanks for your comment. I do not know that there is a right or wrong here for every situation. Let the Holy Spirit guide.

    M&M:

    That is a great passage of scripture to bring up. I have used it before, but did not think of it for this post. I might question, however, if what we may face is more than just harrassment or pursecution. We may only get one confrontation, and one of us is going to go the way of all the earth. In a way, part of what I am saying is that much of this is in the preparation. Like one of my favorite songs says:

    If you choose not to decide,
    You still have made a choice.

    If things get pretty bad, it may be too late to decide what you are going to do when the moment comes.

    Connor:

    You da man!

  5. 5 BrianJ August 15, 2006 at 10:57 am

    Interesting questions. I’m sure I would try to defend my family, but I doubt I’d be very effective–maybe more of a diversion while my loved ones slipped away. I don’t think I would consider things the same as M&M (“if I knew it was God’s will”). I can’t see myself thinking through it that way. And I would take it “on my head” without hesitation.

  6. 6 mullingandmusing (m&m) August 15, 2006 at 11:39 am

    When many of us think of self defense we might think of what we hope is the slim chance of a burglar breaking into our home. This is bad enough. What if the threat got even worse? What if terrorist threats became a real threat in the city we live in?

    Call me simplistic, but since I haven’t heard the prophets tell us to have a stash of weapons in our homes, I am not to the point of feeling pressed to own any. That said, I don’t fault people who do. I completely understand the desire to do so. I don’t think I would be able to prevail upon my husband to own any guns (he’s concerned about safety on the flip side), so in our home, for now it seems a moot issue.

    (BTW, if food storage is sufficient, I fail to see the need to go out and hunt for survival, unless one was compelled to leave home and camp for ages.)

  7. 7 Eric Nielson August 15, 2006 at 12:34 pm

    BrianJ:

    It seems you feel much the same way I do. I am certainly no gunslinger or marksman.

    M&M

    I am certainly not trying to promote gun ownership, just trying to stir some thoughts. On my own I might not own any guns, but since I have them…

    You are right about the prophets not specifically telling us about having weapons. But there are a lot of specifics not mentioned. It would be impractical and perhaps illegal in many areas of the world to do so. And it is therefore unlikely for that specific instruction to ever be given. It would fall under general preparation counsel, and left up to the individual of how best to prepare for tough times.

    Tough times demand tough talk.
    Tough times demand tough hearts.

  8. 8 mullingandmusing (m&m) August 15, 2006 at 1:46 pm

    Eric,
    I agree about specifics not always being given, but, then again, on the other hand, sometimes they are.
    I think this is an interesting topic, btw.
    One other thought I had is that the people of Ammon decided to bury their weaons in part because they didn’t want to come close to the sins they had committed before. So we have to take that into account, I would say. Note that others fought in their place, so the point is not that not going to war is necessarily the highest answer; for them it was because they had made the covenant and others wanted to be sure they kept that covenant. There is more at play here than just a “to fight or not to fight” dichotomy.

  9. 9 Eric Nielson August 15, 2006 at 2:59 pm

    Of course. Mr. Small and Simple often over simplifies.

    You bring up good points. In addition the people of Ammon considered going back on their oath but were convinced not to. They also sent their sons to war.


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