I’m currently 17 years old and I am joining the army in a couple months. I was curious about how my duties in Iraq, (which I will most likely be sent to) will reflect on our Mormon beliefs. I know that there are Mormons in the military and I was wondering if you have any scriptures referring to serving your country, and possibly taking somebodies life in the name of the protecting freedom. I just need a little reassurance about this matter seeing as how it is a pretty big decision and I wish to feel comfortable in my decision and know that what I am doing will be justifiable and righteous. Thank you for any insight.
Congratulations for accepting to opportunity to defend your country and uphold its values! Military service is an honorable and essential profession. We could cite numbers of the prophets of God in our own dispensation that have held high posts in the military, both in time of peace and in time of war. I think that the best advice I could give you in regards to your concern is a statement from my own patriarchal blessing that I received on the morning of the day that I enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Force during the Second World War. I was told, “Seek not to shed blood wantonly, but do your duty to protect this land as a land of liberty and a land of righteousness.”
The Iraq war is a different kind of war. We are involved in a type of warfare that has never been fought before. There is no opposing organized military force which may be confronted. The enemy soldiers in this war dress in civilian clothes and mingle among the population in many countries, including our own. They are determined to destroy the United States. Against a unified force of both civilians and soldiers they would have no chance of success. But they have as their allies many U.S. citizens who, while not necessarily in favor of their goals, are adamantly set against our defense against their objectives. If such opinions against this war were expressed during the Second World War conflict, the proponents would be imprisoned as traitors.