Monday, September 3, 2007


Please read the following letter, keeping in mind the teachings of Jesus and compare our actions in Iraq:

Letter from David Christie to George Ellis The following letter from a Scottish soldier was sent to Dr. Ellis after he received the Templeton Prize in 2004. Ellis says that despite the British army's overpowering force, they risked their lives in order to achieve peace by not retailiating but by exercising restraint, even while being attacked. It's this type of sacrifice, Ellis points out, that can be applied to the situation in Iraq.

"In 1967 I was a young officer in a Scottish battalion engaged in peacekeeping duties in Aden town in what is now Yemen. The situation was similar to Iraq, with people being killed every day. As always, those who suffered the most were the innocent local people. Not only were we tough, but we had the power to pretty well destroy the whole town had we wished. But we had a commanding officer who understood how to make peace, and he led us to do something very unusual, not to react when we were attacked. Only if we were 100 percent certain that a particular person had thrown a grenade or fired a shot at us were we allowed to fire. During our tour of duty we had 102 grenades thrown at us, and in response the battalion fired the grand total of two shots, killing one grenade-thrower. The cost to us was over 100 of our own men wounded, and surely by the grace of God only one killed. When they threw rocks at us, we stood fast. When they threw grenades, we hit the deck and after the explosions we got to our feet and stood fast. We did not react in anger or indiscriminately. This was not the anticipated reaction. Slowly, very slowly, the local people began to trust us and made it clear to the local terrorists that they were not welcome in their area. At one stage neighboring battalions were having a torrid time with attacks. We were playing soccer with the locals. We had, in fact, brought peace to the area at the cost of our own blood. How had this been achieved? Principally because we were led by a man whom every soldier in the battalion knew would die for him if required. Each soldier in turn came to be prepared to sacrifice himself for such a man. Many people may sneer that we were merely obeying orders, but this was not the case. Our commanding officer was more highly regarded by his soldiers than the general, one must almost say loved. So gradually the heart of the peacemaker began to grow in the man and determination to succeed whatever the cost. Probably most of the soldiers, like myself, only realized years afterwards what had been achieved."

Now consider what President Kimball wrote in the First Presidency article in the Ensign in June 1976 when we were celebrating America's 200 birthday and saying how good and great we Americans are.

"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.)
We forget that if we are righteous the Lord will either not suffer our enemies to come upon us—and this is the special promise to the inhabitants of the land of the Americas (see 2 Ne. 1:7)—or he will fight our battles for us (Ex. 14:14; D&C 98:37, to name only two references of many). This he is able to do, for as he said at the time of his betrayal, “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matt. 26:53.) We can imagine what fearsome soldiers they would be. King Jehoshaphat and his people were delivered by such a troop (see 2 Chr. 20), and when Elisha’s life was threatened, he comforted his servant by saying, “Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them” (2 Kgs. 6:16). The Lord then opened the eyes of the servant, “And he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.” (2 Kgs. 6:17.)
Enoch, too, was a man of great faith who would not be distracted from his duties by the enemy: “And so great was the faith of Enoch, that he led the people of God, and their enemies came to battle against them; and he spake the word of the Lord, and the earth trembled, and the mountains fled, even according to his command; and the rivers of water were turned out of their course; and the roar of the lions was heard out of the wilderness; and all nations feared greatly, so powerful was the word of Enoch.” (Moses 7:13.)
What are we to fear when the Lord is with us? Can we not take the Lord at his word and exercise a particle of faith in him? Our assignment is affirmative: to forsake the things of the world as ends in themselves; to leave off idolatry and press forward in faith; to carry the gospel to our enemies, that they might no longer be our enemies.

Compare the above quotes with what we are doing in Iraq and what we are threatening to do in Iran.

What are your thoughts??


J G-W said...

Well, call me a wild-eyed radical, but I opposed the war in Afghanistan too. I knew that many more thousands of innocent Afghanis would die than those who died in the 9/11 attacks (and in fact, that is what happened). The Taliban is back, in control of most of the Afghanistani countryside (the Americans and their puppets basically control Kabul), Bin Laden is still at large, and for every member of Al Queda we have killed, ten or maybe a hundred now stand in his place. I knew from the beginning we would fail, and the reason I knew it was because our main reason for going in there was revenge. We wanted revenge for what they did on 9/11.

Iraq was even worse. We didn't go in there for revenge. We went in because the neocons who control this administration's foreign policy have been plotting for years to establish a permanent U.S. military presence in the heart of the Middle East. This is part of a global strategy that involves seizing the majority of the world's oil supplies before China becomes an industrial force to be reckoned with. They used 9/11 as a flimsy excuse, and manufactured all kinds of lies to justify the invasion. We didn't go into Iraq for revenge, we went in there for fear and greed. (Minimum estimates, by the way, of civilian casualties in Iraq are in the tens of thousands at minimum, but probably closer to a quarter million because of the destruction of the water supply, food and medical delivery systems, etc.)

Iran offers the opportunity for a war of revenge and greed -- revenge for Iran's humiliation of us after the Shah was deposed, and greed to grab their oil too.

This isn't anything new in the history of world empires. We're behaving just like all the rest. That's how the world sees us. Just the latest empire, after Babylon, Alexander, Rome, Napoleon, the British Empire.

But, if I read my Book of Mormon correctly, and if I understand President Kimball correctly, we're not supposed to be "just another empire," are we?

Beck said...

When Moroni wrote on his coat the "Title of Liberty" he did so in a spirit of being "pro-active" instead of "passive" to remember and protect belief in God, freedom, peace, family. He understood that God would not allow them to be destroyed because of their beliefs in God, but that destruction comes from our own transgressions (which would include pride, greed, fear, revenge, etc. as J G-W points out).

Though he led in righteousness, with a clever sense of strategy and position of strength, anchored in faith in God, he also was extremely pro-active in doing all that he could, including a massive amount of preparation for the inevitable attacks by the enemy and THEN put their fate in God's hands(he didn't just hand it over to God and say "Protect us because we're righteous").

It goes back to the principle that we are saved AFTER all we can do.

There never was a "righteous" motive in the Iraq War (even though it was cloaked in bringing freedom to an oppressed people). As much as 9-11 was to be a call to arms, it wasn't a "Title of Liberty" moment. But that doesn't mean that, in faith, we don't do all that we can to protect ourselves against the enemy to come.

Elbow said...

This way needs to stop NOW! I'm outraged by what we are doing as a country to justify our greed.

santorio said...

since you quote SWK and this year's ph lessons are from his writings, i am sure that there will be a chapter on "war-mongering." can't wait til i get home to look it up, and hope that i'm not working that day that it is presented.

gentlefriend said...

Thanks for the idea! I teach priesthood. I am going to creatively work this quote and the First Presidency Quote on the MX missle into one of my future lessons.

santorio said...

The MX--all those gentile constructions workers fouling zion, the thought makes one shudder