Disappointing

The final Presidential debate was… disappointing. It was filled with some great one-liners that will have some funny memes (‘the 1980s called, they want their foreign policy back’ ‘We have these things called aircraft carriers and planes land on them. We have ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.’). Romney frequently came off as naive saying sanctions should have been put on Iran sooner (which would have been prior to Russia and China being on board, meaning they’d be buying and selling from/to Iran nullifying our efforts) and with comments like “America hasn’t dictated to other nations.” However, the most disappointing aspects of the whole debate were on points that each of the candidates agreed upon, namely America’s war-like nature.

We spend more on our defense than almost the rest of the world combined. Why are we willing to spend SO disproportionately on military and yet are the only first-world nation without a national health care system? Why aren’t more Americans angry about how war-like we are?

President Spencer W Kimball said the following:

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” (Matthew 5:44-45).

How can we call ourselves a Christian nation while being so heavily involved in wars? How can we be a country that prides itself in justice when we are all seemingly ok with drone killings of American citizens on foreign soil? Why are we so eager to ignore the innocent deaths caused by our military efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan? Here were President Joseph F Smith’s feelings on war during WWI:

One thing is certain, the doctrine of peace by armed force, … is a failure, and should without question forever be abandoned. It has been wrong from the beginning. That we get what we prepare for is literally true in this case. For years it has been held that peace comes only by preparation for war; the present conflict should prove that peace comes only by preparing for peace, through training the people in righteousness and justice, and selecting rulers who respect the righteous will of the people… The true religion of Christ, which teaches peace on earth and good will to man, and which would prevent them [the rulers] from engaging in war and slaughter, they have never adopted. While they seemingly acknowledge allegiance to the Christian religion, they are not touched nor influenced by its teachings, for these are fundamentally opposed to war and discord, and look to a final gathering of all mankind into one great brotherhood ruled by love. These leading, so-called Christian rulers of the nations pretend to pray to the God of peace and love, and yet with all their might make preparation to fly at each others’ throats, even as the uncivilized heathens do who have never heard of Christ. Some are inclined, therefore, to consider their course an indictment against the gospel of Christ, because it has had no influence on their lives. It is not so much an indictment against the gospel as against those professing Christian rulers “who draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; they teach for doctrines the commandments of men; having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”

 

Add to this the LDS doctrine about war in Doctrine and Covenants section 98. We are to “Renounce war and proclaim peace” and are to never commit the first OR second attack. Additionally, if we choose to not return attack then God promises to multiply our blessings.

 
This brings us to the other item that was an irritant: Israel. Israelis and Palestinians are all our brothers and sisters. Palestinians were not mentioned once. It was a contest to see who loved Israel the most. Israel has been violating international agreements by consistently building on Palestinian land. If we as Mormons want to take the view that we need to side with Israel because they are the ‘chosen people’ returning to and reclaiming their ‘promised land,’ are we also willing to allow Native Americans to reclaim the land we’ve taken from them through genocide?

Hopefully in the near future we’ll be willing as a country to elect leaders more interested peace and life than continued war.

4 Responses to “Disappointing”

  1. Luisa Perkins
    October 23, 2012 at 9:28 am #

    Agreed. Also crushingly disappointing was NO mention of the global climate change crisis and our hand in it.

  2. T
    October 28, 2012 at 5:13 pm #

    Regarding Israel and Mormon doctrine, the reality is a latter-day apostle, Orson Hyde, did dedicate Israel for the return of Judah. It is clear where church doctrine stands on Israel. An excerpt of Orson Hyde’s dedicatory prayer in 1841: “Thy servant . . . has safely arrived in this place to dedicate and consecrate this land unto Thee, for the gathering together of Judah’s scattered remnants, according to the predictions of the holy Prophets . . . Their children are scattered and dispersed abroad among the nations of the Gentiles like sheep that have no shephard, and are still looking forward for the fulfillment of those promises which Thou didst make concerning them . . . Let the land become abundantly fruitful when possessed by its rightful heirs; let it again flow with plenty to feed the returning prodigals. Incline them to gather in upon this land according to Thy word. . . Let them know that it is Thy good pleasure to restore the kingdom unto Israel – raise up Jerusalem as its capital, and constitute her people a distinct nation and government.”

  3. geoffsn
    October 28, 2012 at 9:41 pm #

    T: Yes, but as I recall John the Baptist (whom Jesus called the greatest prophet) pointed out that “God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.” Ethnicity and nationality don’t bring special favor/position with God, black/white, male/female, all are alike unto God (2nd Nephi 26:33). If Israel is guilty of repeated offenses against Palestine, they can count on (based on scriptural precedent) ‘punishment’ in the form of karmic backlash. We are called upon to love our enemies and be charitable to all. I don’t see how blindly backing one side of a conflict falls in line with these commands we have to follow.

    • Bill
      November 2, 2012 at 1:01 pm #

      Well said, geoffsn. While we understand the importance of the gathering of the House of Israel in the last days, that doesn’t justify Israel’s poor treatment of the Palestinians. Israel obviously cannot give away their country, and they have to maintain their basic security. However, the way they treat their neighbors in the name of security is reprehensible.

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