State of Mankind

A New Way Of Thinking

The Case For Peace

We hear the calls and conditions for war from all around the political spectrum.  No matter if it is Iran or Syria or the Democrats or the Republicans, it seems we could be caught up in wars on foreign soil for a number of years.  For a different view, we will look at the scriptural case for peace.  This will be analyzed in light of the “Bush Doctrine” of preemptive strike, and the “Obama Doctrine” of protection for the people within a country.

First, the “Bush Doctrine”.  The basic premise of the preemptive strike is that of fighting a war on our terms instead of our enemy’s.  If they are going to attack us, then we should choose the time and place where we are strong and they are weak and attack.  Does this stand up to scriptural scrutiny?  Enos 1:14 states:

For at present our strugglings were vain in restoring them to the true faith.  And they swore in their wrath that, if it were possible they would destroy our records and us, and also all the traditions of our fathers.

Verse 20 adds:

And I bear record that the people of Nephi did seek diligently to restore the Lamanites unto the true faith in God.  But our Labors were vain;  their hatred was fixed,…

The Nephites knew the Lamanites hated them, and wanted to destroy them.  What was their response?  To try and teach them the gospel, even though this was not working.  It would seem the idea of military conquest wasn’t considered at this time.  A military conquest was considered later, but notice the better way shown in Alma 26:23-26:

Now do ye remember, my brethren, that we said unto our brethren in the land of Zarahemla, we go up to the land of Nephi, to preach unto our brerthren, the Lamanites, and they laughed us to scorn?

For they said unto us:  Do ye suppose that ye can bring the Lamanites to the knowledge of the truth?  Do ye suppose that ye can convince the Lamanites of the incorrectness of the traditions of their fathers, as stiffnecked a people as they are; whose hearts delight in the shedding of blood; whose days have been spent in the grossest iniquity; whose ways have been the ways of a transgressor from the beginning?  Now my brethren, ye remember that this was their language.

And moreover they did say:  Let us take up arms against them, that we destroy them and their iniquity out of the land, lest they overrun us and destroy us.

But behold, my beloved brethren, we came into the wilderness not with the intent to destry our brethren, but with the intent that perhaps we might save some few of their souls.

In this scenario, the Lord granted great success to Ammon and his companions to bring many Lamanites to the truth.  This also helped in a pivotal way later on when they had to defend themselves from a Lamanite attack.

So what about the “Obama Doctrine” of defending a people from their own government?  Is that justification for war?  We’ll re-visit these same examples.  Enos 1:20 describes the Lamanites, from the Nephite point of view:

And I bear record that the people of Nephi did seek diligently to restore the Lamanites unto the true faith in God.  But our labors were vain; their hatred was fixed and they were led by their evil nature that they became wild, and ferocious, and a blood-thirsty people,…

Alma 18:4 gives an idea of how the Lamanite Kings ruled:

And now, when the king heard these words, he said unto them:  Now I know that it is the Great Spirit; and he has come down at this time to preserve your lives, that I MIGHT NOT SLAY YOU AS I DID YOUR BRETHREN.  Now this is the Great Spirit of whom our fathers have spoken. (emphasis mine)

This latter example came as Ammon was serving the King of the Lamanites in order to teach the gospel, which caused him to repent.  There was no military intervention.

Finally, I scanned the Book of Mormon for a time when the Nephites did attack on Lamanite soil.  If anyone finds an examle I missed in my quick reading of chapter summaries, please let me know.  I had to go all the way to Mormon, chapter 3 (near the end of the book), when the Nephites were only a few years from destruction and had hardened their hearts against the Lord (v. 3).  Verses 9-10 talk about the Nephites winning a great battle in defense, and their response:

And now, because of this great thing which my people, the Nephites, had done, they began to boast in their own strength, and began to swear before the heavens that they would avenge themselves of the blood of their brethren who had been slain by their enemies.

And they did swear by the heavens, and also by the throne of God, that they would go up to battle against their enemies, and would cut them off from the face of the land.

Verse 11 has Mormon’s response, he being a righteous man:

And it came to pass that I Mormon, did utterly refuse from this time forth to be a commander and a leader of this people, because of their wickedness and abomination.

It will be left up to the reader to decide how applicable these scriptures are for our day.  In my opinion, the arguments we hear for war have been tried in scriptural times and the answer seems to be that we should defend our own country and not fight wars on foreign soil.  I understand that there are differences between now and then.  What about a nuclear warhead?  For a final thought, I’ll leave some words of Isaiah (which are also found in the D&C) to ponder.  Isaiah 54: 17:

No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn.  This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.


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