Friday, May 11, 2007

A Comparison of LDS and Community of Christ Responses to 9/11 and the War in Iraq

after a year a procrastination, i have finally finished my paper for my independent study on mormonism and war that i took over a year ago. it's more of a history/research paper than my normal argumentative philosophical paper. enjoy(?)

The events of September 11th and the ensuing war in Iraq mark the two biggest events affecting the international community in this new millennium. With the rising fear of terrorism and the ever-increasing American military presence, questions of the roles of freedom, war, peace, patriotism, and loyalty arose in political and religious discourse. As leaders of various religious sects openly offered their support or defiance to the policies and actions of the United States, these questions for many Christians became existentially crucial as they were measured up against the Christian duties of peace and love for one’s neighbors. This paper will examine and compare the responses to September 11th and the war in Iraq from two related ‘American’ churches – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the Community of Christ (formerly known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). Both of these are continuations of the Christian restoration movement of Joseph Smith in the early 19th century, splintering apart over disagreements of leadership following Smith’s martyrdom in 1844. Though they are headquartered in the United States, both assert themselves as being international churches with congregations in various nations throughout the globe.

September 11th

In the hours, days, and weeks following the worst terrorist attack to hit the United States, LDS Church President and Prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley and other LDS leaders responded through statements, memorial services, and other means to answer to the devastating event. Like the thoughts and feelings of many during that time, the messages given by the LDS leaders reflected a deep sense of patriotic American loyalty, repeatedly referred to the United States as “our land,” and offered complete support for Bush administration in responding to the attacks. In the first of these, on the evening following the attacks, Hinckley spoke in what was originally scheduled to be a Mormon Tabernacle Choir concert, but had been changed into a memorial service due to the recent events. Following the Choir opening with “The Star-Spangled Banner,” Hinckley spoke from the Salt Lake Tabernacle, giving a short message before the Choir continued the memorial service with other patriotic and comforting songs. “Today has been a day that will be remembered always in the annuals of our beloved nation. . . . Many have been wounded, and this, our nation, has been seriously injured.” Hinckley continued his speech, welcoming those in attendance to “this historic Tabernacle, a building dedicated to the gospel of peace.” After some brief remarks of the evils revealed in the events of the day, Hinckley appraisingly noted that “The president of our nation has assured us that there will be detection and punishment.” He however noted that such will still not heal the pain and sorrow caused on that day. Hinckley finished with a brief message of Christian hope through the dark tragedy. [1]

Two days following the attack, Hinckley was invited by President George W. Bush to join other religious leaders, including Cardinal Bernard Law, Archbishop Demetrios, and Reverend Franklin Graham. After some prayer and brief remarks by those in attendance, Hinckley told President Bush, “I just want you to know, Mr. President, that we are behind you. We pray for you. We love this 'nation under God.'”[2]

The next day later on September 14th, Hinckley once again spoke from the Tabernacle in a specially planned memorial service held in response to President Bush’s declaration of a national day of prayer and remembrance. In this service, broadcast nationally to LDS chapels, Hinckley once again offered condolences to victims and affirmed the divine origins of the United States,

We are profoundly grateful for this good land of America, a land choice above all other lands. We are grateful for its Founding Fathers, for its Constitution under which we live, and for the hand of the Almighty upon this, our beloved country. May the sure hand of Providence guide the destinies of our nation, that it may remain a land of freedom, peace, goodwill, and yet a nation of power and strength, capable of striking its adversaries who would seek to destroy it.[3]

That same evening, Hinckley was invited to appear on CNN’s Larry King. Once again, he offered condolences to those all those who have suffered because of the attacks. He furthermore shared his belief in his assurance of the sovereignty of God, and offered appreciation for President Bush’s memorial speech earlier that day,

I thought it was beautiful. I thought it was very expressive. I think the President has done the right thing. I think that his words will bring reassurance to the people of America and particularly to those who have suffered such terrible losses. And certainly he's done the right thing in bringing that assurance.[4]

Finally, a few weeks later during the October 2001 Semi-Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Hinckley once again commented on the tragic events of September 11th. Hinckley began this talk by noting that the attack was not “on the United States alone. It was an attack on men and nations of goodwill everywhere.”[5] He further notes that the LDS church is “now a global organization” with “members in more than 150 nations.”[6] However, even though the conference was meant for the entire global church whose non-American membership exceeds its American membership, Hinckley once again returns to speaking from a purely patriotic American standpoint.

Great are the promises concerning this land of America. We are told unequivocally that it “is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall posses it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven.” . . . The Constitution under which we live, and which has not only blessed us but has become a model for other constitutions, is our God-inspired national safeguard ensuring freedom and liberty, justice and equality before the law.[7]

Hinckley also stands in support of the Bush administration and their policies following the attack, ““Those of us who are American citizens stand solidly with the president of our nation. The terrible forces of evil must be confronted and held accountable for their actions.”[8] Though he argues that Latter-day Saints are “people of peace” and “followers of the Christ who was and is the Prince of Peace,” Hinckley compares terrorism to the Gadianton robbers of the Book of Mormon, and offers support to military retaliation as justified means of defense. “There are times when we must stand up for right and decency, for freedom and civilization, just as Moroni rallied his people in his to the defense of their wives, their children, and the cause of libery.”[9]

A year later, the LDS church issued a statement and held a memorial service in remembrance of the attack. Once again, they invoked American patriotic language and sentiments. The brief statement begins with dismay at the “infamy of those cowardly attacks,” offers condolences and sorrow for those who died as victims or sacrificed their lives to save others, and praises the “greater sense of unity and purpose in ridding the earth of evil and providing for the freedom and security of all people.” The statement closes with a brief prayer for comfort for the victims and guidance for “the leaders of nations in the quest for justice and liberty.”[10] That same day a brief noon memorial service was held by Hinckley’s counselors, Thomas Monson and James Faust. In this service Faust mourned the victims of the attacks and finished by affirming the “divine origins” of America, noting “Ours is the most favored nation ever established on this planet. . . . God Almighty established this land.”[11]

The response to the events of September 11th from the smaller Community of Christ in Independence, Missouri was not as elaborate and did not possess the same American patriotic sympathies as did their Salt Lake counterpart. While encouraging local congregations to gather for their own memorial services and opening up their Temple for prayers, Community of Christ President and Prophet W. Grant McMurray gave his reflections on the attacks in an open letter to his congregation. After recalling his own emotional struggles following the attack, Grant affirmed the pursuit of peace that his church sought, “We are a church that has declared our name will be Community of Christ, dedicated to the pursuit of peace, reconciliation, and healing of the spirit.” Rather than appealing to American patriotic sympathies, he emphasized the tragedies that already exist in the global community,

[W]e must recognize that our affirmation of community moves us to be a global family. National pride is very high in the United States right now, as it understandably must be. But this awful act is not an attack on one country but rather is an assault on the human family. We believe in a God who has created all people and who yearns for us to live in peace with each other. That is the symbol of our church, it is the message of the seal we love so much. Our church around the world moans in agony over what has happened here, just as we all must cry in indignation when we see famine in Africa, ethnic cleansing in nations divided by race and religion, and violence perpetrated upon innocent people by forces of greed and power.[12]

While Grant also supported retributive justice, he did not offer any clear support of the Bush administration, nor their policies. Rather he urged restraint and Christian love in responding to the attacks.

This is a time when people of faith must be among those voices which are measured and restrained, and speak of acts of love. Clearly, justice demands finding those responsible, punishing them for their deeds, and doing everything possible to insure that such things never happen again. But, as hard as it may be at a time like this, we must remember that for the Christian justice is an act of love, not vengeance. It would be so easy for us to respond to these despicable acts by behaving in a manner not unlike those who perpetrated them. If our response to the death of thousands of innocent persons in this land is to bring death to thousands of innocent persons in another land, we will have been destroyed by the very hate that attacked the human family. As Christians, our voices must be reasoned, compassionate, forgiving, and unfailingly loving.

Along these lines, Grant writes in his letter that he signed and supported a statement by the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA. This statement urges that “we must not, out of anger and vengeance, indiscriminately retaliate in ways that bring on even more loss of innocent life. We pray that President Bush and members of Congress will seek the wisdom of God as they decide upon the appropriate response.” The letter continues to push for Christian love in seeking justice, arguing that “we can deny them their victory by refusing to submit to a world created in their image. . . . Lets us rededicate ourselves to global peace, human dignity, and the eradication of injustice that breeds rage and vengeance.”[13]

War in Iraq

In the months preceding and following the beginnings of the United States’ military effort in Iraq, leaders from both the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Community of Christ commented and responded to the divisive war, both in sermons, letters, and various media outlets. However, unlike the responses to September 11th, the Community of Christ promoted much more discussion concerning the issue, while LDS Church in Salt Lake City kept with their policy of political neutrality and kept comments concerning the war to a bare minimum.[14]

In the October 2002 Semi-Annual General Conference of the LDS Church, as the war in Iraq was becoming an imminent possibility, LDS Apostle Russell M. Nelson gave a talk entitled “Blessed are the Peacemakers.” In what would quickly be called (and later disavowed as) an anti-war message, Nelson begins by addressing the sorrow, pains, and evils of war, arguing that the only cure to avoid and end war is “when that natural inclination to fight is superceded by self-determination to live on a loftier level.”[15] After citing numerous teachings of Jesus to be peacemakers, loving neighbors and enemies, turning the other cheek, forgiveness, and the Golden Rule, Nelson says,

Wherever it is found and however it is expressed, the Golden Rule encompasses the moral code of the kingdom of God. . . . It is equally binding upon nations, associations, and individuals. With compassion and forbearance, it replaces the retaliatory reactions of “an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.” If we were to stay on that old and unproductive path, we would be but blind and toothless.

This concept of treating others as one would like to be treated is easy to understand. And it acknowledges the precious nature of each of God’s sons and daughters. Scripture asks parents to teach children not to “fight and quarrel one with another, and serve the devil, who is the master of sin.” Instead, we “teach them to love one another, and to serve one another.”[16]

Though Nelson briefly mentions that at times war may seem necessary to defend families and freedoms, he still affirms that “Peace is possible.” Because of the common goal for peace ultimately held by the human family, he believes we “can learn to love our fellow human beings throughout the world.” However it is not easy. “Resolution of present political problems will require much patience and negotiation.”

Looking forward to the prophesied days of peace, Nelson sees the true patriots as those who use Christian love to avoid aggression and create peace.

These prophecies of hope could materialize if leaders and citizens of nations would apply the teachings of Jesus Christ. Ours could then be an age of unparalleled peace and progress. Barbarism of the past would be buried. War with its horrors would be relegated to the realm of maudlin memory. Aims of nations would be mutually supportive. Peacemakers could lead in the art of arbitration, give relief to the needy, and bring hope to those who fear. Of such patriots, future generations would shout praises, and our Eternal God would pass judgments of glory.[17]

Nelson finishes with what appeared to be an official pacifist stance for the church, “Now, as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, what does the Lord expect of us? As a Church, we must ‘renounce war and proclaim peace.’”[18]

That evening several news outlets reported on Nelson’s talk, referring to it as an anti-war statement. For example CNN reported that “The Mormon church issued a strong anti-war message at its semiannual General Conference, clearly referring to current hostilities in the Middle East, advocating patience and negotiation, and urging the faithful to be peacemakers.” As evidence for this, CNN refers to Nelson’s reference to the Middle East, present political problems, and the need for the descendants of Abraham to be the peacemakers.[19]

In response to this and other reports, the LDS Church released an official statement declaring that Nelson’s talk had been misinterpreted, implying that it was not an anti-war message. The statement encourages reporters “to consider the full text of Elder Nelson’s remarks which is available on our Web site,” and then proceeds to cite the only two paragraphs (1/17th of the thirty-four paragraph talk) which refer to the obligations to defend families and freedom, and the obligation of military personnel to fulfill the duties to which they have been entrusted.[20]

Six months later, a few weeks after the Iraqi invasion had begun, LDS President Gordon B. Hinckley offered what appeared to be a very different position on the war in Iraq. Speaking in the April 2003 General Conference, Hinckley begins by asserting that the “present war is really an outgrowth and continuation of [the war on terror]”[21] which he had spoken of and given support to a year earlier. While noting that the war is “a very sensitive subject for an international congregation. . . . [because we] are now a world Church with members in most of the nations which have argued this matter,” he recognizes the right to dissent the war, but then asserts that “we all must be mindful of another overriding responsibility, which I may add, governs my personal feelings and dictates my personal loyalties in the present situation.”

Hinckley notes that “tyrants have arisen from time to time who have oppressed their own people and threatened the world. Such is adjudged to be the case presently.” He then refers to a letter he had received from an LDS soldier called into the conflict who told his family, “Mom, I have to go so you and the family can be free, free to worship as you please. . . . And if it costs me my life . . . then giving my life is worth it.” After citing scriptural accounts from the Book of Mormon that mirror this soldiers justification for war, Hinckley states that “it is clear from these and other writings that there are times and circumstances when nations are justified, in fact have an obligation, to fight for family, for liberty, and against tyranny, threat and oppression.” He takes this further to say that “it may even be that [God] will hold us responsible if we try to impede or hedge up the way of those who are involved in a contest with forces of evil and repression.”[22]

Though Hinckley still affirms Nelson’s claim that Latter-day Saints should denounce war and proclaim peace, Hinckley who is sustained as a prophet of God for the LDS Church, in answering the question, “Where does the Church stand in all of this?” answers:

But as citizens we are all under the direction of our respective national leaders. They have access to greater political and military intelligence than do the people generally. . . . One of our Articles of Faith, which represent an expression of our doctrine, states, "We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law."[23]

In the fall of 2002, as the Bush administration was preparing to invade Iraq, the leaders of the Community of Christ released statements and materials to open discussion concerning the war among members of their congregations. The first of these asked the question, “What should we do as the Community of Christ?”[24] It begins by recognizing the various viewpoints held by those in the Community:

Members of the Community of Christ have sincere but different convictions about the use of military force. Unlike the Quakers, the Mennonites, and other historic peace churches, the Community of Christ has not had a single and united ethic about war. Nevertheless, because we are an international church dedicated to the pursuit of peace, reconciliation, and healing of the spirit, we must seek the most ethical ways to bring this about.[25]

The letter then follows with five various theories concerning war, each of which is provided with historical background, scriptures that are typically used to back up such positions, and implications of the theory when applied to the war in Iraq. The five theories are: 1. Obey the Law of the Land; 2. Non-violent Action; 3. Just War; 4. Holy War; and 5. Christian Realism. While each is given at least some credence, Holy War is mostly downplayed, recognizing that it “has little support today among most Christians.”[26]

Furthermore, dialogue and discussion outside and inside the church was encouraged by the Community leadership with information on how to contact governmental and church leaders with opinions and thought on the imminent war.[27] A few letters that had been written by local congregations had also been circulated by the Community of Christ leadership. Each of the letters advocated support for non-violent measures and plead for the United States and British governments to not enter into war. For example, after pointing out the horrendous costs of a war with Iraq, the British Columbia, Canada District wrote,

That until clear evidence exists that Saddam Hussein has the capability and intent of using weapons of mass destruction, the BC District encourage its members to support efforts (a) that oppose any non-UN backed war on Iraq, and (b) that present viable alternatives to such a war and that will hopefully free the Iraqi people from such tyrannical rule.[28]

The British Isles Region added,

In terms of Christian teachings on war, those of us who are pacifists and feel commanded by Jesus to always love our enemies, and those of us who hold to the Just War tradition, are together united against British support for or involvement in a pre-emptive attack against Iraq. . . . In terms of last resort we are not satisfied that all diplomatic attempts have been exhausted.[29]

A couple days after the United States began their pre-emptive invasion of Iraq, McMurray and his counselors in the First Presidency of the Community of Christ presented an open letter concerning the new military operation. After re-asserting that they had urged the U.S. to “use every possible means to avoid military action and to seek every peaceful avenue to resolve the conflict,” they write that they “are deeply regretful that such an effort, if some national leaders believe it must occur, is not undertaken with wider international support.”[30]

While acknowledging that Saddam Hussein was a tyrannical threat to his own people, it is their “belief that peaceful means were still available to resolve the conflict.” It is their hope in Christ that leads them to believe that peaceful resolutions are possible.

Our church has dedicated itself to the pursuit of peace. That is not a statement of political philosophy or even social conscience. It is a divine call to us as a people, inspiring us to erect a temple as a symbol of our commitment to peace. Our voices must be those of a people who see in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ the call to love one another and to discover pathways of understanding among all of God’s children. . . . It is our faith that God is the creator of all people and loves each person and each nation without qualification. May we see the face of Jesus Christ in all of God’s children, including those defined as enemies.[31]

Some time after the war began, both the LDS Church and the Community of Christ issued media directly related to the war in Iraq. The LDS Church produced the DVD, Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled-a Message of Peace for Latter-day Saints in Military Service and the Community of Christ printed the book, Military Service, Pacifism, and Discipleship: a diversity of callings? Both of these were created to provide answers and insight to those who were troubled by the recent events.

Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled, released over two years into the war, is a DVD geared directly and solely for Latter-day Saints serving in the military, specifically those serving in Iraq and the Middle East. The DVD begins with a short introduction by LDS Apostle Boyd K. Packer who begins to address LDS military persons by quoting from Book of Mormon scriptures referring to Nephites who once righteously fought for their liberties, adding that they were doing “just as you are.”[32]

The bulk of the DVD consists of LDS Seventies Robert C. Oaks and Elder Lance B. Wickman speaking to the LDS military persons, both of whom served in the military during the Vietnam War. In his presentation, Oaks makes no distinction between the war in Iraq and the war on terrorism, but rather asserts that the former is an extension of the latter. In doing so, he appeals to the events of September 11th and claims that the United States military is “on the Lord’s side” in both Iraq and the rest of the Middle East. Though he argues that this is a war that “must be fought,” Oaks acknowledges that war can have terrible consequences, the worst of these being “how easily war can transform soldiers with Christian values into enthusiastic killers. That may be one of war’s greatest tolls on humanity.”[33]

Though Wickman begins his portion by claiming that he will make no judgments on the validity of the policies of the Iraq war campaign, he nonetheless asserts that the war in Iraq is “not necessarily evil.” He encourages those in the military to “not get caught up in the politics [of the war].” Instead, Latter-day Saints serving in Iraq and the Middle East should see the war as “portentous.” By this, Wickman means that whether or not the war is right or justified, it has immense “potential for the Lord’s work.”[34] Those serving in the military need not worry if the war is just, because God will work the war for His advantage in the end.

Military Service, Pacifism, and Discipleship: a diversity of callings? is a ninety page workbook published by the Community of Christ in the fall of 2003. Written for those both inside and outside of the military, it is in many ways an expansion of the First Presidency letter issued earlier that year. Like the letter, it looks at issues concerning the war from multiple perspectives, while making no concrete claims and leaving judgment up to the reader.

The Community of Christ’s First Presidency, in the preface to the book, writes, “We cannot neglect thinking through this question [of war and violence] if we are to be serious about being a worldwide movement dedicated to the pursuit of peace, reconciliation, and healing of the spirit.”[35] After giving a very brief history of the church’s experiences with war, they close the preface with a hope that the members will use the contents of the book to open further discussion and awareness of the issues.

We recommend this text to members and friends of the church to foster continuing discussion in good fellowship of the issues of discipleship and the use of violent force. . . . We are on a journey with the Prince of Peace. The challenge to look “beyond the horizon” beckons us to be open to new possibilities and yet calls us to be gentle with each other as we travel.[36]

The first chapter of the book contains eight different testimonies from members of the Community of Christ sharing their perspectives of being Christians in a war-laden world. These testimonies range from Scott Jobe, a captain in the United States Air Force who believes that sometimes Christian love requires us “to hurt or kill offenders or combatants through the legitimate use of force to protect the innocent;”[37] to Ron Romig, the Community of Christ’s archivist who shares his story about his conversion to passivism and decision to be a conscientious objector. Through each of these testimonies, a wide spectrum of responses to violence and war are given, each from a perspective of Christian love.

The rest of the book expands on the various Christian views of war given by the leaders of the Community of Christ prior to the war in Iraq. Closing the book are testimonies and experiences by the two editors, David Anderson – a colonel in the United States Air Force, and Andrew Bolton – the peace and justice specialist for the Community of Christ. These testimonies once again reiterate the wide spectrum of responses to war available and encouraged within the Community of Christ.


In conclusion, while both the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Community of Christ responded to the events of September 11th and the Iraq War in some similar fashions, there were some substantial differences as well. While the Community of Christ was tentative on making any strong claims supporting the United States government (especially the Bush administration), the LDS Church very often adamantly offered complete explicit support for the President and his plans. And though they both recognized the struggle of balancing the Christian duties of peace and love with the Christian ideals of freedom and defense, the LDS Church’s responses laid much more heavily on the latter while the Community of Christ placed more emphasis on the former.

Much could be said concerning the reasons behind this difference of emphasis and should be the topic of another paper. The LDS Church and the Community of Christ historically have had very different relationships with the United States government. Because of the LDS Church’s former practice of polygamy, they were once seen as the enemy of the United States and American values. The current rhetoric of patriotism may be an attempt to still mend that rift. The Community of Christ did not have this problem (at least not to the same extent). Furthermore, the LDS Church is much larger than the Community of Christ and receives much more attention from the media. Because of this, the LDS Church has more pressure to be careful of how it presents itself to both those in the United States and in the international community.

[1] Gordon B. Hinckley, “Mormon Tabernacle Choir Concert,” in Discourses of President Gordon B. Hinckley Vol 2: 2000-2004 (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 2005), 502-503.

[2] “President Gordon B. Hinckley's Visit to the White House,” Meridian Magazine, September 20, 2001, retrieved from on April 24, 2007.

[3] Gordon B. Hinckley, “Memorial Service,” in Discourses of President Gordon B. Hinckley Vol 2: 2000-2004 (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 2005), 504-505.

[4]America's New War: Recovering From Tragedy,” transcript of the September 14, 2001 CNN Larry King Live broadcast. Retrieved from on April 24, 2007.

[5] Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Times in Which We Live,” Ensign, Oct 2001, 72.

[6] Ibid.,

[7] Ibid.,

[8] Ibid.,

[9] Ibid.,

[10] LDS Newsroom, “President Hinckley September 11 Remembre

[11] LDS Newsroom, “‘In God We Trust’ Church Leader Emphasizes on Sept.11,” retrieved from at

[12] W. Grant McMurray, “Faith Overcoming Fear: Pastoral Reflections on the Events of September 11,” retrieved from on April 25, 2007.

[13] “Deny Them Their Victory: A Religious Response to Terrorism,” retrieved from SojoNet, the online Sojourners magazine at on April 25, 2007.

[14] However, as will be seen. For the most part, official comments and messages from the LDS church tended to highly favor the military effort.

[15] Russell M. Nelson, “Blessed are the Peacemakers,” Ensign, Oct 2002, 39.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Ibid.

[18] Ibid.

[19], “Mormon church makes anti-war statement,” retrieved from the website at on April 25, 2007.

[20] “Message of Peace Misinterpreted,” retrieved from the official LDS website at on April 25, 2007.

[21] Gordon B. Hinckley, “War and Peace,” Ensign, April 2003, 78.

[22] Ibid.

[23] Ibid.

[24] “Going to War Against Iraq,” retrieved from the Community of Christ website at on April 28, 2007.

[25] Ibid.

[26] Ibid.

[27] “What Can You Do?” retrieved from the Community of Christ website at on April 28, 2007.

[28] “From British Columbia, Canada,” retrieved from the Community of Christ website at on April 28, 2007.

[29] “Letter to Tony Blair,” Ibid.

[30] W. Grant McMurray, “Proclaiming Peace in a Time of War,” retrieved from the Community of Christ website at on April 28, 2007.

[31] Ibid.

[32] Boyd K. Packer, Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled-a Message of Peace for Latter-day Saints in Military Service, DVD, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2005.

[33] Robert C. Oaks, ibid.

[34] Lance B. Wickman, ibid.

[35] The First Presidency of the Community of Christ, “Preface,” in Military Service, Pacifism, and Discipleship: a diversity of callings? ed. David Anderson and Andrew Bolton (Independence, MO: Herald Publishing House, 2003), 5.

[36] Ibid.

[37] Scott Jobe, “What Does It Mean to Pursue Peace in a World of Violence?” in ibid.


  1. Thanks for posting this. Wow. That's all I can really say. Wow. I'm really impressed with how the CoC responded.

  2. As am I. They really do not receive even a tenth of the media attention the LDS church gets. It's too bad, that the peacemakers and pacifists are overshadowed...

    It is refreshing to see such initiatives taken, and such discourse in regards to true Christian avlues and precepts. Maybe we should visit the CofC church afterall...

  3. Absolutely outstanding essay. I have suspected this, but have never focused on researching the substantive issues.

  4. long paper. I actually didn't read the whole thing. But I can say that you did a good job keeping things in context.

  5. Maintaining some aloofness from political war policy may not be so terrible. But the more I think about it, the weirder it seems, that the comment of any church claiming any divine conductivity, upon such a paramount moral question as war, would amount to the Joker's hostage challenge: "You choose!"


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