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Prophets and soldiers

It has been noted by author Stephen Mannsfield that the deepest yearning of the American soldier both in this war and wars past has been to know if their cause is just, or in other words, how they stand before God in their duty as soldiers. In past wars the Chaplains were allowed to follow the soldiers into battle, encourage them and, if so moved, confirm that their battles were just and approved of by God.

In our more recent wars, politics or cultural correctness has removed the Chaplain both from accompanying the soldiers into clashes and also from offering any consoling phrases as to whether their cause is just before God. This has left a serious gap the soldier is left to fill through his own spiritual determination or self-formed groups. Fortunately for those soldiers of the LDS faith (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints), the leaders of their church have come out with a DvD for both the soldier and their families addressing this very concern called “Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled,” made specifically with the war on terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq in mind.

There is an introduction by Elder Boyd K. Packer, experiences, counsel, and wisdom from two General Authorities; Elders Robert Oaks and Lance Wickham, both of the 70 and both of whom served in Vietnam, and some final words by President Gordon B. Hinckley. I’ve decided to post some key quotes here to extend the influence of the powerful, comforting, and guiding testimonies available on the DvD. This will be an uncommonly lengthy post for me, but I think you will find it worth it.

Boyd K. Packer:
Boyd K Packer started out by promising soldiers “Great blessings come to those who serve and their families.” Referring to scriptural Book of Mormon soldiers he said, “They were not fighting for monarchy nor for power, but for their homes, liberties, and their wives and children, and their rights of worship and their church, just as you are.” He said further that we honor our countries by responding to our leaders in times of great difficulty.

Concerning a soldier’s career, Elder Packer said “It is a difficult life but it is a good life and there is a power of inspiration that goes with it.” Concluding “Many nations of the earth, particularly Asia, have been opened to missionary work by the service men and women who went there.”

Elder Robert C. Oaks:
Elder Oaks opens his remarks in answer to a soldier in the war on terror who asked him, “Elder Oaks, how do I stand with God?” ... [Read more]

Prophets should stick to prophecying

As I've said in the past, I respect the noble desires of those who believe they are engaged in a noble cause and act accordingly. However, I can see how deluded many of the leaders of our church are when they parrot the official line of our government that this is a war for the cause of freedom.

In a sense it is a war for the cause of freedom. The freedom for us to be in control of Iraq's oil. The rest of the freedom arguement doesn't carry much merit with me.

If we truly desired freedom in Iraq, we would respect the wishes of the people right?

There was a poll by the British Ministry of Defense of Iraqis done recently where 82% wanted the occupation to end soon. 1% of those polled thought the presence of US forces made them safer. 45% said they condoned attacks on US troops.

If we respect freedom, then we will pull our troops out and the noble desires of our soldiers can be put to work where they are wanted.

As for the question of the guilt of our government leadership who got us into this war I leave you with the words of Brigham Young who said: “Our traditions have been such that we are not apt to look upon war between two nations as murder… Does it justify the slaying of men, women and children that otherwise would have remained at home in peace, because a great army is doing the work? No: the guilty will be damned for it."

Perhaps I hadn't given BYU

Perhaps I hadn't given BYU enough credit in the past. Does your silence mean you agree?

Honor in service?

Maybe not all soldiers are able to reconcile their conscience to these comforting words. The Washington Post reported earlier this year, "Thirty-one Marines committed suicide in 2004, all of them enlisted men, not commissioned officers. The majority were younger than 25 and took their lives with gunshot wounds, according to Marine statistics."
The Post continues saying: "Military psychiatrists are puzzled by the suicide rate in Iraq, saying that it makes little sense in comparison with those in past conflicts. The accepted wisdom in military psychiatry is that the level of suicides--- far from increasing during wars --- drops as the survival instinct kicks in among the personnel in the conflict zone. Just two suicides were recorded among US personnel during the entire Gulf war in the Nineties."
A 44 year old with a wife and 3 kids said these words before he took his own life, "I cannot support a mission that leads to corruption, human rights abuse, and liars. I am sullied. I came to serve honorably and feel dishonored. Death before being dishonored any more."
-Ted S. Westhusing

embarrassing (!)

Wow, who to believe?

Big media pundits that get caught fabricating stories frequently, or those who are there?
Tens of Thousands of honorable soldiers, or a handful of disgruntled ones?
Polls of typical Iraqis, or of bitter Sunnis?
Self-proclaimed authorities that parrot the extreme left, or the General Authorities?

mmmmmmmm..... tough one!


I have a clue about these supposed suicides. When a soldier gives up his life, makes great sacrifice to free a people in bondage, then helps them rebuild, trains and protects them, and even comes to love them, BUT always hears the people back home calling him a baby-killer, accusing him of atrocities, and working so hard to protect and encourage the terrorist enemy---I bet that can really bring you down. Our dear Vietnam soldiers faced very similar things (So much for no comparison to past conflicts).

Fortunately, our soldiers returning home nowadays are often greated with great fanfare, often approached by strangers and thanked warmly when in public, and receive many generous donations to help them overcome serious wounds incurred in the line of duty. To bless a soldier, try these links:

Salute America's Heroes

America Supports You

"I think that I may be


"I think that I may be researching the evidence more than most for whatever that's worth."


"Plus, I can pretty much guarantee that I know more about church history, theology, and institution than you or most anyone on provopulse."


"O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish.

But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God."



Epitomizing the problems of historiocity:

This board is a perfect example of the problem of Monday-morning quarterbacking.
Chonquey, you weren't alive when Joseph Smith was. Ergo, you are dependent on the words of others to inform you as to what happened when he was alive. Some of these people are more or less reliable than others. You choose who you are going to believe and then make intelligent deductions based who you have chosen to believe. You chose to believe a different "history" than other, more believing members on this board. Thus, the dissent. The notion that somehow we can even come close to understanding what Joseph Smith did is nearly impossible, as most historians have become so polemicized that figuring out what actually happened is a difficult undertaking. I write this in reference to your comment about Joseph Smith commanding 14-year-olds to marry him; the only place I've ever seen that has been in Krakauer's "Under the Banner of Heaven," and it was cited without any endnotes or footnotes. What I'm saying is, arguing between all of us right now is useless, because even people during Smith's own time were unable to agree upon what he actually did. How do you think any of us could possibly understand better? And if you would like an interesting lesson on the notion of "objective truth," I would strongly encourage you to read "The Structure of Scentific Revolutions," by Kuhn; I'm sure you'd find it fascinating.

Trent (sorry, "Trey Money"), our elected officials (and for those of you over 18, what are you complaining about? If you don't like what happened, VOTE) have decided that war is the best course of action.

As far as the Church goes, the Church has a longstanding policy to support its members who choose to go to war, no matter which nation they are fighting for. On a grassroots level, I've heard people say a lot of retarded things, but I doubt the leadership has any delusions about the war (Faust, Packer, and several others are all veterans with combat experience; who here can say the same?). They're simply trying to provide some positive religious experience for people compelled to do very unfortunate things.

Last of all, some of the smartest people in this country, including most of the federal government, thought the war was a good idea. You guys know more than them? Smarter than them? Maybe, just maybe, YOU'RE the deluded ones, not the CIA and NSA? I'm just sayin', there's more than one position to hold. Your opinion does not automatically impel others to delusion.

And to "The Narrator," AKA Tyler D., I've found your posts on another forum discussing second amendment issues both erudite and well-thought. Here, though, I find them somewhat biased (narrow-minded, maybe?). No offense, just saying it would be better for all of us to recognize that others legitimately hold opinions differing from our own.

No problems

Sorry for wording things in such a way that they may be misconstrued. If I told you my political affilation starts with an L, will you know who this is?

i'm sitting here at borders,

i'm sitting here at borders, sipping my eggnog latte, and listening to some guy loudly giving his arguement to his friends about why he knows joseph smith and the book of mormon are frauds.

i want to stand up and tell him that even though i don't believe in the historicity of the book, that i think his arguements are pathetically stupid. if you're going to argue that it's a fraud, use some intelligence.

for some reason i always feel a need to defend a church i don't believe in from idiots who can't ague cogently.

i guess i'm an equal opportunity arguemtor.

project mayhem

In spite of my comments, I

In spite of my comments, I still respect the soldiers who give so selflessly. I do not share that sentiment with those in power who use them as pawns to gain more power, influence, or money.

This administration is far from being honorable.

"Knowing what I know today,

"Knowing what I know today, I'd make the decision [to invade Iraq] again," Bush said. "Removing Saddam Hussein makes this world a better place and America a safer country."

(Pulled from CNN, I don't know how to make links)

And some people wonder why we question our President's integrity.

And some people wonder why

And some people wonder why we question our President's integrity.

I'm still wondering.

Care to clarify?

No, it doesn't bother me,

No, it doesn't bother me, because with all the horrors of war there has come a tremendous amount of good from the campaign in Iraq --things which the President also cited as reasons for the war from the very beginning. In his address to the nation on the eve of the war, he said:
"...coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger."
"...helping Iraqis achieve a united, stable and free country will require our sustained commitment."
"We have no ambition in Iraq, except to remove a threat and restore control of that country to its own people."

In the process, we have dismantled terrorist training camps, apprehended and killed foreign terrorists who came to Iraq to fight us, gathered intelligence for the plans and whereabouts of other terrorists, and ended financial sponsorship of Palestinian suicide bombers. We've also liberated millions of Iraqis and established democracy there, which has influenced mideastern politics in other ways --Syria withdrew from Lebanon, Lybia's dictator voluntarily gave up his WMDs, and Palestinians are holding elections.

So no, after accomplishing all this, it does not bother me that the president said he would've still gone into Iraq.

The real reason for this war

The real reason for this war was that after 9/11 America needed to hit someone in the Arab-Muslim world... We hit Saddam for one simple reason: because we could, and because he deserved it, and because he was right in the heart of that world.

--Thomas Friedman

Sounds about right to me.

Iraq air war

According to CENTAF (Central Command Air Force) in November alone, 996 sorties were flown. That number doesn't include Navy fighters who dropped 26 tons of ordnance on Fallujah alone in November 2004.

According to U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski who used to work in the Pentagon and for the National Security Agency before retiring in 2003,

"We have a foul-mouthed Texan in the White House, facing a domestically unpopular war that he never expected to have to fight. In order to stop a persistent anti-American insurgency in a faraway country, this President will now escalate the use of air power, striking deep into the heart of insurgency strongholds and destroying the will of those that support the insurgency.

"This sounds like a replay of Rolling Thunder, March 1965. The Pentagon, led by the last remnant of those who were supposed to have directly experienced the danger of politicized wars managed out of the White House and the sheer uselessness of air power to win hearts and minds, must indeed be out of its collective mind to support a strategic shift like this."

Check here for a detailed analysis of the current and imminent air war in Iraq.

I didn't think this post was

I didn't think this post was a war debate in the first place.

Well, then...

Maybe doctors should stick to doctoring, too.

I can see how deluded many

I can see how deluded many of the leaders of our church are when they parrot the official line of our government that this is a war for the cause of freedom.

Care to follow this to its logical conclusion for us?

I disagree entirely.

Bless them (bring them home)

I don't want to depress soldiers. I want to bring them home where they are needed and wanted. Did you read the numbers I gave above of the recently performed poll of Iraqi people by the British Ministry of Defense? If real Iraqi's on the ground in Iraq want us out of there then we should go. It doesn't have anything to do with depressed soldiers or with their sense of self-worth. We don't need to be calling them baby-killers. We can reserve that sort of terminology for the real criminals, those who started this war in Washington.
I want to bless our soldiers by bringing them home.

I can see how deluded many

I can see how deluded many of the leaders of our church are when they parrot the official line of our government that this is a war for the cause of freedom.

you perceive them to be deluded, only because they are saying something against what you believe. You then take that belief one step further and declare it as the truth:

In a sense it is a war for the cause of freedom. The freedom for us to be in control of Iraq's oil.

It is upon these assumptions that this whole debate is based. 1) The Iraq war is not a cause of freedom, but a cause of greed. 2) Because the war is over oil, the whole operation is corrupt; therefore, 3) anyone who speaks as though the war is about freedom has been misled by the government, and 4) if a church leader holds this opinion they are lacking knowledge and not receiving revelation on the issue.

This is a pompous stance to take; to say that you hold the definitive knowledge about the reasons for the war, and that you leave no possibility for error on your part; either in having an incomplete understanding of the war itself, the circumstances surrounding the war, or God's will pertaining to the war. And because you have this definitive knowledge, the leaders of the church must be deluded. There is no possibility that they have more knowledge on the subject than you, or that they understand God's ways better than you.

If anything, this is the for-or-against-us attitude that is poisoning the church. The attitude that you understand things better than anyone else, and so, if others disagree with your position, they are misled and confused.



Let's see, I'll just post a scripture that says people who try to think for themselves are always wrong. There! That settles it! I'm right, they're wrong. Boyd K. Packer sure would be proud of me and the way I handled these so-called intellectuals.

Sarcasm aside, Trying to use scripture as the final authoratative say in a debate with people (like me) who thinks that the BoM is less than inspired wins you no points. In fact, it just makes you appear foolish and arrogant.

Jacob tells us to be learned

I don't have any problem with Jacob's scripture. He admits that it is good to be learned. The problem starts when we think we are wiser than God. I have probably researched more on this issue of war than Pres. Hinckley has (he's a busy guy), but not more than God has.
To see what God might be thinking about this war please see a post I did a while back entitled, "War and the Gospel of Jesus Christ."
It is good to, as the scriptures say, "waste and wear out our lives in bringing to light all the hidden things of darkness..." and that takes a bit of learning.

Amen, brutha'

Since we've been through all the particulars of the various arguments going on here before (a few times over), I'll just add my 'amen' to this comment.

Who to follow?

Who gives a rat's bleep what General Authorities think about the war if God thinks something else? What is God's mind on this war? Well, our prophet hasn't been forthcoming on this issue has he.
I gave you a poll of the typical Iraqi's opinion done by the British Ministry of Defense. That's one you would probably like to ignore.

You are dependent on the

You are dependent on the words of others to inform you as to what happened when he was alive.

Too true. It is a double edged sword. I can not trust the words of another and their version of history even if they claim to be the Lord's annointed. In the end all I can do is trust my own logic and reason in conjunction with my ongoing learning and my innate sense of right and wrong.

I write this in reference to your comment about Joseph Smith commanding 14-year-olds to marry him; the only place I've ever seen that has been in Krakauer's "Under the Banner of Heaven," and it was cited without any endnotes or footnotes.

It's a brief overview (and an ugly website) but you can read all the accounts of coersion and manipulation of the young girls right there, complete with footnotes and references. Sure, some of the women happily consented. Still many did not. Many of the quotes are taken right out of the girls own journals. Not to mention the accounts of Joseph co-opting other mens wives without their knowledge.

And if you doubt the honesty of the information on that website there are many other sources that will give you the exact same picture of Joseph's tactics in getting his extra brides. I suggest you read "In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith." by Todd Compton, an active member of the church. You can pick it up at Deseret Book.

The smart people

RC said:
"Last of all, some of the smartest people in this country, including most of the federal government, thought the war was a good idea. You guys know more than them? Smarter than them? Maybe, just maybe, YOU'RE the deluded ones, not the CIA and NSA?"

Here is what the smart people knew according to Senator Graham. Still think they're so smart?

"At a meeting of the Senate intelligence committee on Sept. 5, 2002, CIA Director George Tenet was asked what the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) provided as the rationale for a preemptive war in Iraq. An NIE is the product of the entire intelligence community, and its most comprehensive assessment. I was stunned when Tenet said that no NIE had been requested by the White House and none had been prepared. Invoking our rarely used Senatorial authority, I directed completion of an NIE."

"Tenet objected, saying that his people were too committed to other assignments to analyze Saddam Hussein's capabilities and will to use chemical, biological and possibly nuclear weapons. We insisted, and three weeks later the community produced a classified NIE".

"There were troubling aspects to this 90-page document. While slanted toward the conclusion that Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction stored or produced at 550 sites, it contained vigorous dissents on key parts of the information, especially by the departments of State and Energy. Particular skepticism was raised about aluminum tubes that were offered as evidence Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear program. As to Hussein's will to use whatever weapons he might have, the estimate indicated he would not do so unless he was first attacked."

"Under questioning, Tenet added that the information in the NIE had not been independently verified by an operative responsible to the United States. In fact, no such person was inside Iraq. Most of the alleged intelligence came from Iraqi exiles or third countries, all of which had an interest in the United States' removing Hussein, by force if necessary." (Note by jw: Who do you suppose those "third countries" were that were fanning the flames of war?)

"The American people needed to know these reservations, and I requested that an unclassified, public version of the NIE be prepared. On Oct. 4, Tenet presented a 25-page document titled 'Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction Programs.' It represented an unqualified case that Hussein possessed them, avoided a discussion of whether he had the will to use them and omitted the dissenting opinions contained in the classified version. Its conclusions, such as "If Baghdad acquired sufficient weapons-grade fissile material from abroad, it could make a nuclear weapon within a year," underscored the White House's claim that exactly such material was being provided from Africa to Iraq."

"From my advantaged position, I had earlier concluded that a war with Iraq would be a distraction from the successful and expeditious completion of our aims in Afghanistan. Now I had come to question whether the White House was telling the truth -- or even had an interest in knowing the truth."

"On Oct. 11, I voted no on the resolution to give the president authority to go to war against Iraq. I was able to apply caveat emptor. Most of my colleagues could not."

Do I know you, RC? I did

Do I know you, RC?

I did vote, just not for the guy who won. Thanks for assuming I didn't, though. I'll just assume that you don't wear pants.

You should really start wearing pants, RC.

Also, I don't understand how someone getting elected means that they automatically make the right choices.

You son of a %$!@#!

You son of a %$!@#!

Hey, dude. No wonder we can't get along, har.