On guns, wars, and real power

The unjust and immoral wars of aggression being waged by the United States are tragic and despicable.  Of course they are couched in the faux language of freedom and liberation.  But make no mistake; we are the occupiers and empire builders whose run should end shortly.  We are, ironically, the bad guys, and most (in the U.S.) don’t even realize it.  It baffles me that members of the Church so mindlessly support war when our scriptures counsel otherwise:

“Therefore, renounce war and proclaim peace, and seek diligently to turn the hearts of the children to their fathers, and the hearts of the fathers to the children”  (D&C 98:16)

The Lord lays out the rules for righteous engagement of war for families and nations (see D&C 98).  Let them come against you or your family at least three times, forgiving them each time, before you even threaten them.  After that you solemnly warn them that if they threaten your family again (and the warning apparently lasts for several generations), you will retaliate.  At the national level we are also supposed to forgive three overt acts of aggression, after which we should take our grievance to the Lord, and He promises to fight our nation’s battles for us.

We don’t play by those rules.  We falsify justification (e.g. weapons of mass destruction) and then act like we’re morally obligated to stay and finish a war based on false pretense.  I recommend The Forever War by Dexter Filkins if you think we are doing the people we have invaded any favors.  War is about killing people.  It is senseless.  It should be avoided at all costs.  We not only tolerate it, we enthusiastically support it (if you doubt that simply attend the next great and spacious Stadium of Fire), even in the face of prophetic counsel.  We thus don’t deserve the Lord’s blessings.  It seems like the house of card ought to fall soon.  President Kimball summed the problem up beautifully:

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 align ourselves against the enemy instead of aligning ourselves with the 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.” (Matt. 5:44–45.)

We forget that if we are righteous, the Lord will either not suffer our enemies to come upon us—and this is the special promise to the inhabitants of the land of the Americas (see 2 Ne. 1:7)—or he will fight our battles for us.”

So why do I own a gun?  I am  sometimes conflicted by my possession of a lethal firearm.  I truly hope to never use it.  My plan is that it may act as a deterrent at some point to keep bad guys far away.  But I don’t want to ever have to shoot somebody.  I long for the day when Zion is on the earth so I can check in and trash the firearm (assuming they’ll let me in).  It’s my belief that real power comes from God–the kind of power that allows a man to move mountains and change the course of rivers.  That’s the power that allowed Enoch to repel armies by the word of his mouth alone.  That’s the power that will ultimately prevail in the coming calamities.  But until I have access to that power or somebody that can protect me and my family using that power, I plan on keeping my Glock.  I take solace in Nephi’s approach:

“And I, Nephi, did take the sword of Laban, and after the manner of it did make many swords, lest by any means the people who were now called Lamanites should come upon us and destroy us; for I knew their hatred towards me and my children and those who were called my people.” (2 Nephi 5:14)

As I am not physically imposing, a pistol seems an appropriate tool for the task.  That task, lest there be any confusion, is for the defensive protection of my family.  And, ten years after section 98 was written, it was Joseph Smith who taught “any man who will not fight for his wife & children is a coward & a bastard.” (Words of Joseph Smith, p. 162)

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