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How come after the 200 stripling warriors’ fathers learned about the gospel they were forgiven for the murders they committed but now if someone has murdered and then learned about the gospel, they still can’t be forgiven?(Don’t worry I haven’t killed anyone, I was just reading something about it and wondered)
Beth, from the United States

Dear Beth,
We have a very difficult time arriving at the specific details of any such deeds that occurred over 2000 years ago in a culture that is completely foreign to our own. And of course we have a great tendency to judge all others by the norms of our own society. During the Second World War LDS soldiers were required to kill the enemy, and there were members of the Mormon Church in many of the enemy camps. With my fading memory, I am not all sure of the details of an interesting circumstance during the campaign in Africa. However, as I remember it, an LDS U.S. soldier had been badly wounded and wanted to have a priesthood blessing, but they could find no LDS members in the camp. So he asked his companions to go look among the German prisoners. In that group they found a member of the Mormon Church who held the priesthood, and he was allowed to come and administer to the soldier in distress.
We don’t know about those ferocious Lamanites. Maybe they were defending their land against the Nephites, or maybe they were aggressors in a military conflict. It is not deemed a murder if a soldier is following orders in the military campaign of his country. There is a phrase in my own patriarchal blessing, that was given on the very morning that I joined the U.S. Air Force in WWII, that says: “Seek not to shed blood wantonly, but do your part in defending this land as a land of liberty and a land of righteousness.” So I think that none of us is in a position to judge anyone else, especially those in long ago cultures about which we have only the scantiest of details from the written records.

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