Reading the Book of Mormon in wartime

Next year, the focus of scripture study in Sunday School and Seminary classes will cycle again to the Book of Mormon. Compared to previous years when the Book of Mormon has been the focus, war will loom larger in the background than it has since at least the 1960s, even including the messy realities of Iraq and Afghanistan in 2004. (Let’s acknowledge here that I’m talking about American citizens; the experience of war is dramatically different in other nations.) This year, as our family scripture reading has inched its way through the war chapters of Alma, what had long seemed a tiresome and irrelevant slog – the equivalent of Numbers in modern revelation – suddenly felt vitally important. The Book of Mormon, as it turns out, has a number of pointed messages about war.

The Book of Mormon does not prescribe pacifism. While some of the worst villains in the Book of Alma are those who instigate war against the Nephites, some of the book’s greatest heroes are military commanders and others who rise to defend their country, and the book takes a dim view of those who refuse to do so. What the Book of Mormon teaches is not pacifism but repentance, including the repentance of the people of the Anti-Nephi-Lehis, who forswear violence and bury their weapons to repent from their past bloodshed.

While there have been numerous senseless bloody wars during recent decades, including wars instigated by the U.S., and there is much to repent for, the application of military violence in other cases has been the least bad option. I don’t know how convincing the explanations of why God permits evil to exist in the world are, but the question that is put to us is what we are going to do about it. Some people raise food and increase the efficiency of industrial processes to fight famine, some people treat illness or research pharmaceuticals to fight disease, and some people are willing to punch Nazis. At various times, the world needs all of these people (and many more besides). The world is a better place because Kim Jong Un did not inherit rule over an undivided Korean peninsula, and Kuwait did not become an Iraqi province, and the lid was screwed back onto conflicts in the Balkans before they boiled over.

And so it is in Ukraine. What I wrote nearly two years ago, in March 2022, has held up relatively well. The war in Ukraine has been as horrific as I feared, and yet Ukrainians chose it as the least bad option, and the world is much better off for it compared to the alternative.

The authors and editors of the Book of Mormon are certainly aware of the great evil done by war, including wars of elimination marked by atrocity and savagery on each side, and the book regards such wars with horror and disgust. If we look at U.S. history or at conflicts elsewhere in the world, it’s not difficult to find examples (and so we’ll have to revisit the topic later). But the war in Ukraine is not that kind of war. This war is a clear case of resistance against wicked aggression, and pacifism in response to it would be no virtue.

What does the average American church member and their study of a tumultuous stretch of Nephite history have to do with a present-day war on a distant continent? A lot. The Book of Mormon addresses not only the battlefield, but also the question of logistics. Nephite military efforts are repeatedly undermined by dissenters who hinder the provision of supplies to armies in the field and turn the question of common defense into political controversy. Like it or not, providing military aid is the primary role that Americans now play in Ukraine. We are by far the largest and healthiest economy in the democratic world, and we have vast stores of military equipment to draw on. Whether or not to do so has become a matter of political controversy, unfortunately, which makes it impossible for American church members to ignore. We vote or make our voices heard in other ways – or remain silent. What you do – today, right now – matters a great deal. We can’t make the war stop instantly, and we can’t decide its outcome. We can only decide if we will speak up, or if we will look back on this moment with shame and regret.

25 comments for “Reading the Book of Mormon in wartime

  1. Lately it has also been really difficult for me to read Old Testament passages of promised land invasion and war concurrently with the Israel/Gaza real-time situation.

  2. This post is clearly intended as an exegesis, specifically application of the Book of Mormon to the situation in Ukraine, with skeptics of the Ukraine War clearly cast as kingmen. This assessment is reductive, uncharitable, and unjust. The situation is not the same.

    First, the United States does not possess the means to ensure Ukrainian victory with arms supplies. We literally can’t make enough. Your claim that we have “vast stores of military equipment to draw on” is false. We have been running out of the stuff that Ukraine consistently uses and needs for a while. The HIMARS supply is exhausted and it will take 3-4 years to make another one, and that’s just the cherry on top. Our reserves of all sorts of arms are tapped – in order to reinforce the Ukrainians, we would have to draw down the weapons available to active US Army units. Is that really wise at this geopolitical moment?

    The following article gives a bit of a picture into what the situation looks like right now: Follow the links. We’re not talking about Russian propaganda, these are respected US and UK sources.

    The Washington Post has a pretty good two-part series about how the war went this year if you would like more detail and anecdotes:

    The hard truth is that the US does not have the industrial facilities to ramp up production for a near-peer conflict. The hardware just isn’t there. We’ve known this since June. See this article published at the blog of the UK’s Royal United Services Institute, a defense-oriented think tank:

    The main problem is that we don’t have the industrial facilities to fill those orders. We have ONE factory producing small-arms ammunition! The material capacity is not there and all the budget allocations in the world will not change that until the new factories can be put together. I wholeheartedly support doing that; this war has made it clear that we are not ready for peer warfare, that our strategies of the past 30 years have been found miserably wanting. But it will take time, because modern armaments are more complicated and require more skilled labor than those used during WWII, and the US has a much weaker industrial base to start with. We converted civilian factories into producing wartime materiel during WWII; those civilian factories are no longer here in the first place.

    For a somewhat more optimistic take, see here: You will note that it will take us until 2025 to raise our monthly production of NATO-standard 155m shells to 100,000 a month. Russia uses 20,000 per day and are expanding their industrial facilities no slower than we are. Our reserves are already running dry. The United States is not a bottomless pit of weapons. It is unclear if we can sustain the Ukrainian war effort for the time it will take to get those facilities online. We are not Captain Moroni, who spent peacetime years preparing his people for total war. We have been caught flat-footed and have to deal soberly with the consequences of that.

    This leads me to a second critical point: this is not an existential conflict like the Amalickiah/Ammoron wars. Ukraine and Russia had a tentative peace agreement in April 2022 before the US and UK torpedoed it:

    If Ukraine accepts neutrality between Russia and NATO and gives up eastern territory, is that so much of a loss? Why should we have expanded NATO so far eastward anyways, in contravention of our promises to the Russians at the end of the Cold War? (see here:

    Is the continuation of that policy really worth the continued hemorrhaging of an entire generation of young Ukrainian men and the possible depopulation of the Ukrainian people as refugees continue to flee? (see here: What happens if it doesn’t work? If Russia breaks through, are we supposed to get involved ourselves and risk escalation? Wouldn’t it be better to try and negotiate our way out of this now?

    I’m sorry for the density of the source links, but I want to demonstrate that there are factual grounds for being skeptical of the continuing war effort in Ukraine. The OP obliquely equates people who hold that opinion as kingmen, as wicked saboteurs. That’s not true: it ignores the specific circumstances of this war. That said, skepticism of this war is often met with smears of being, well, a wicked saboteur, and so I decided to buttress myself against that by submitting facts to the candid readership. Democracy will survive a settlement in Ukraine. Ukraine is unlikely to win, and we make any eventual outcome other than victory worse by prolonging the war instead of pushing for peace (or at least removing our opposition to it!) The United States has been revealed as overextended and unready to meet the challenges of the modern geopolitical environment. Captain Moroni’s situation is not a good model for ours, and skeptics are not mere expys for kingmen!

    I suggest we look instead to Lachoneus and Gidgiddoni. They realized that they weren’t strong enough to defend the whole Nephite country and instead opted for a delaying strategy while building strength. These great Nephites of a different generation serve as balances to passionate crusaders like Captain Moroni and Teancum. Thus the Book of Mormon models prudence as well as daring, sobriety alongside courage. I love it for that reason, and I think that is the lesson this moment calls for.

  3. Nephite military efforts are repeatedly undermined by dissenters who hinder the provision of supplies to armies in the field and turn the question of common defense into political controversy. Like it or not, providing military aid is the primary role that Americans now play in Ukraine. We are by far the largest and healthiest economy in the democratic world, and we have vast stores of military equipment to draw on. Whether or not to do so has become a matter of political controversy, unfortunately, which makes it impossible for American church members to ignore.

    There are several point in this post that I would want to push back against or at least contextualize, Jonathan, but for this particular gauntlet you throw down, I can only applaud. Let’s see if any of T&S-reading defenders of Senator Mike Lee care to comment.

  4. ACW, fortunately we aren’t reading the OT this year or next, and we have a variety of ways to deal with its difficulties. But yes, Israel/Gaza raises a bunch of issues, a few of which I hope to address next time.

    Russell, I think the chapters from the second half of Alma to the first part of 3 Nephi have strong and quite straightforward electoral implications for 2024, and we’ll be studying those chapters right around the time of the presidential primaries, and there probably won’t be anything hypothetical about what any particular candidate might do in a given situation at that point. Fun times ahead for sure. But I’m also trying to avoid making this a simple partisan issue, and we’ve been told to avoid straight party-line voting. So if somebody make the right choices on the issues I most care about, I might vote for them! Fortunately, Lee isn’t one of my senators. I don’t think what he’s done can be defended either scripturally or strategically.

  5. Frankly, I think the kingmen = Ukraine war skeptic equalization is reductive, uncharitable, and unjust, and I posted a comment to that effect. I got informed that it ended up in moderation, and I’d rather avoid a double post, so we’ll wait and see what moderation has to say.

  6. I think it’s important to acknowledge the role we/NATO played in instigating this war in the first place. Ignoring that makes the comparison to those in the Book of Mormon who were “dissenters who hinder the provision of supplies” kind of strange.

    I think the Ukrainians are right to fight and their cause is just. I also believe American involvement in wars around the globe is generally a bad thing and our involvement here will cause more harm than good in the long run.

  7. Michael, we can ignore the U.S./NATO role in instigating the war because it doesn’t exist. Discussing possible future NATO membership does not constitute grounds for all-out invasion.

    Hoosier, sorry for the delay – comments with several links often get caught in moderation. I disagree with basically all of it, but thanks for stating your case.

  8. The BoM may not insist on pacifism, but it clearly tells the story that constant cycles of war across generations will absolutely and totally destroy a civilization, even if one side starts out righteous.

    Good thing we don’t see that in our… oh wait.

    Reading between the lines, I see the wars not only causing a cycle of grievences, but undermining and replacing efforts at teaching the gospel with each generation.

    So, while fighting for what’s right might be valid, we have to be very careful if the cost of turning the other cheek, so to speak, isn’t the better long term option and save those just-wars for the necessary day.

    Being peacemakers needs to be the first, second, and third response in most cases.

  9. Now a substantive answer to Hoosier. I think his arguments can be fairly summarized as first, that it’s not possible for the U.S. to provide sufficient arms to Ukraine, and second, that it’s not necessary.

    My answer to the first is that there are many more weapons that could be delivered right now from U.S. storage (more Bradleys, more Strykers, etc.), and limited numbers of one or more types of weapon (which I don’t think is nearly as drastic as Hoosier presents – I think he’s confusing HIMARS stocks overall with the ATACMS variety, for example) shouldn’t prevent the provision of other types. There are also many nations providing aid and ammunition, not just the U.S., so the limit of U.S. manufacturing capacity isn’t an obstacle in itself, although the signals the U.S. sends remain very important to what those allied nations do. Given the economic realities, it does not seem true that Russian manufacturing capacity is greater than that of the United States and the rest of the democratic world. If there are deficiencies affecting military preparedness, then it seems like we should address that immediately as an extremely high priority.

    Hoosier’s second argument is that the war is not necessary, as giving up some eastern territory and accepting neutrality would be an acceptable loss for Ukraine. But there’s no reason to think that this would be an acceptable gain for Russia – it had already acquired much of that territory in 2014, and Ukrainians were until then generally well-disposed towards Russia. And there’s no reason to think that Russia would honor any peace deal brokered in 2024, not after violating prior agreements to respect Ukrainian borders. A Blitzkrieg assault on Kyiv is not the opening gambit in a war that aims only to seize a bit of eastern territory. I think Hoosier vastly underestimates what Russia would attempt to do in the absence of Western aid to Ukraine. It’s realistic to see a much larger territory grab, vast flows of refugees into the rest of Europe, and continued Russian attempts to destabilize European countries and disable NATO, including by military force, as the likely consequence of Ukrainian defeat – since that is what Russia was attempting before 2022, and would be in a better position to do after victory.

    I also think Hoosier’s skepticism is wrong because the skeptics have already been proved wrong. When Russia was threatening to invade in 2021/2022, some argued against providing aid to Ukraine because it wouldn’t make a difference and Russian forces were unstoppable. But they were wrong. U.S.-provided aid made it possible for Ukraine to throw Russian forces out of Kyiv and Kharkiv and Kherson. I don’t see any reason to think that the wrong course of action 2 years ago is now right.

    Finally, even if a ceasefire is the best possible outcome now, the only way that can be achieved is to continue arming Ukraine to make it impossible for Russia to achieve its goals. Cutting off aid to Ukraine will only suggest to Russia that it can have everything it wants and more if only it’s patient.

  10. I’m afraid the OP is unlikely to persuade anyone. The Lamanites declared war on all the Nephites. So the Book of Mormon has a clear message that if your nation is attacked you have a duty to defend it (with a limited set of valid exceptions), but it doesn’t say anything about neutral third parties because there weren’t any. If you see Putin’s invasion of Ukraine as an attack on a community of nations that includes both Ukraine and the US (“The West”, democracies, etc.) then you probably feel like the Book of Mormon message applies–but you’re probably already in favor of supporting Ukraine. If not, then you probably don’t think the Book of Mormon has anything to say about the situation.

    I support aid to Ukraine, so let me respond to one of Hoosier’s points anyway. The invasion of Ukraine has shown us what it takes to win a real war, as opposed to a counterinsurgency or trouncing a third-world country. And it’s true that we’re not prepared. But the important thing for getting prepared is getting production lines up and running for the things that are needed. If we do that now, we’ll be ready to stand up to China before China is actually ready to challenge us. In the meantime, we can afford to continue sending arms to Ukraine knowing the replacements (and more) are on the way.

    To do that, it’s essential that we reform our military procurement system. (Frankly, it’s essential even if we abandon Ukraine.) We can no longer afford to buy overly complex and ridiculously overpriced platforms like the F-35 in small quantities on the assumption we’ll never really need all of them. Fortunately some of that will come just from focusing on what’s actually needed, like 155mm shells.

  11. I suppose one could make an argument that the Book of Mormon justifies wars of defense, but to Sute’s point, I think a more fruitful discussion could be had around choosing peacemaking and reconciliation (especially within families), breaking the cycle of intergenerational conflict, and tearing down unnecessary divisions (“-ites”) with our neighbors. That being said, for as long as I can remember, the standard way to apply the BofM “war chapters” in Sunday School class has been that the Lord will help the faithful overcome adversity and fight their “spiritual battles.” The same goes for much of the 0T curriculum as well. Personal, I think this approach is incomplete at best, and rather trite at worst, but this seems to be the way it is. For this very reason, I also do not expect to hear any geo-political content (on Ukraine or otherwise) happening in the second hour of church next year, and in my view, a prudent would shut those discussions down immediately.

  12. Mat, don’t get your hopes up. I moved and changed wards over the 2002-2003 holidays, and either my first or second week there the Gospel Doctrine teacher was _leading_ the discussion on the feasibility of an Iraq war. My time in the ward for the first couple of years only got more disappointing.

  13. John Taber: That’s unfortunate. I don’t remember experiencing anything to that extreme at church during that time. A lot of the widespread post 911 patriotic fervor found it’s way into churches in general during that time period and George W. Bush leveraged that quite successfully from a political standpoint. I guess the point I was trying to make is that the Correlation Committee has been streamlining (or dumbing down, if you like) the Sunday School lessons, in part at least, to encourage teachers to “stick with the script” to avoid situations like the one you described – which in my view is a good thing. Unfortunately, it also tends discourage mining the scriptures for deeper topics that may be more relevant to our daily interactions with society at large. For example, the BofM has a lot of potential to explore such topics as peacemaking, reconciliation, zion-building, taking care of the poor, in-group – out- group dynamics, and the pitfalls of “othering” of whole groups of people. What I’m afraid what we’re going to get next year, however, is 24 lessons on the covenant path.

  14. John T., I think the U.S. is in a very different place compared to 2002-2003, which seemed to be a particularly awful time. I don’t remember any fallout from it in Sunday School where I was, although I can easily imagine it. The intra-party politics are a lot messier compared to 2003, though, which I suspect will suppress a lot of the political discussion this time. Hitting the king-men chapters during the political conventions could get very interesting, however.

    mat, one thing that helps is the addition of family/small group lessons. I’m okay with treating Sunday School as mostly about worship and spiritual application, with some of the more interesting discussion saved for home-based lessons. Of course that assumes a family configuration where that’s possible, or some other format, and I don’t know what other people do to find that.

  15. It’d be interesting to relate the kingmen saga to the war in heaven and then see what kinds of political comparisons the class would come up with. Of course, a wise teacher would have to be prepared to demonstrate that there’s plenty of room for comparisons across the entire political spectrum.

  16. Mormon was a soldier, and war was not a symbol or allegory for him–it was a reality he hated. He meant to convey very specific messages about when nations are and are not justified in going to war, and how individual soldiers (especially those with command responsibilities) should conduct themselves. It’s unfortunate that we didn’t listen to him more carefully during the 2001-2003 period, as two of those messages were “No imperialist or preemptive wars” (see 3 Nephi 3:20-21 in particular on preemptive wars) and “Take prisoners, and treat them decently.”

    I include myself in that “we” as I was foolish enough to think we would make Iraq a better place by invading it.

  17. Jonathan Green: Fair enough point. I suppose that was part of the reasoning behind the home-based, church supported program in the first place. However, I would push back on the idea the topics I mentioned (peace-making, zion-building, inclusion çaring for the poor etc.) fall outside of what would be considered “spiritual application.” To me, they are among the most important aspects of what it means to be a follower of Christ. I guess I’m not grasping what “spiritual application” if those things aren’t included. Anyway, thanks for taking the time to respond to my comment.

  18. Jonathan, I thank you for the substantive response. I would hope you don’t think me a king-man. If that’s the case, then I’ve accomplished what I came for. I don’t care about pushing back on the idea of Ukraine funding half as much as I care about pushing back on demonization of Ukraine war skeptics.

    This is not an ostensibly political/wartime blog and I don’t want to clutter it with off topic conversations, so I’ll just post this from Elder Gong’s former employer the Center for Strategic and International Studies: There’s also this article from today’s Wall Street Journal:

    Tl;dr weapons and their factories aren’t interchangeable, they all play a pretty important role on a battlefield and the ones you run out of fastest are the ones you need the most. We can’t just “run out of some weapons and send them others.” Furthermore, it doesn’t matter how much bigger our GDP is than Russia’s if they have more of the specific skilled labor, tooled-up factories, and refined mineral supply chains to build these specific items than we do. It’s a fact that Russia’s ally China has more than we do of all of this, so it’s not like our European allies are really gonna put us over the top here. The American security umbrella is overextended, and if China goes for Taiwan in the next year or so America will be have three allies with existential fights on their hands. We’ll have to triage, and Ukraine is the least strategically important to the US. You’ll have to be prepared for that, and so does the country at large. The money we are sending now could be used to upgrade our surge capacity and make it so we can actually handle extended peer conflict, as opposed to shoveling our reserves out the door like a fire sale.

    Ukraine’s not going to win this. They just won’t. The average age of their soldiers is 43. They have millions of potential workers and soldiers who fled to the West as refugees and probably won’t go back, causing a demographic crisis. Their situation is tragic (and yeah, we got them into it and it’s a national disgrace) but it is not something we can reverse by sending more weapons. I actually support keeping things going until a peace deal can be made but a deal HAS to be made, stat, because it’s just a delaying game now.

    @RLD I agree with most of what you said, but I think you overestimate how much time it will take to refresh our weapons inventories. The CSIS study that I linked to gives a mean MDAP replacement lag of 7.2 years. That means that they took an index of the various products (vehicles, weapons, etc.) the military needs, all with separate pipelines, and calculated how much time would be needed to replace the US’ current inventory at maximum surge manufacturing capacity (presuming money is not an issue.) The mean program time is 7.2 years. For smaller products like the Standard Missile it’s about 2 years to replace the whole US inventory. For the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle or the F-35 it’s more like 17 years at current maximum capacity. It would take about 10 years to swap out our F-15EX fleet. For the Navy it’s especially bad – it would take us upwards of 50 years to replace our aircraft carrier fleet. We’re expected to lose at least two of the eleven supercarriers in any fight with China over Taiwan – that’s the best case scenario. Murphy’s Law says it will be worse, and one thing is uncontested – China has more build capacity than we do. Which means they’ll just wear us down with time. We cannot win a war of attrition with the Eastern bloc, which means we either put our resources into tooling up now, or we win quick and decisive victories. I leave you to decide how urgent that is and if such victories are now possible in Ukraine.

    That’s all I have to say. Times & Seasons is not War on the Rocks or a similar military policy blog and I don’t want to sidetrack it further, but for the love of all things holy, don’t use the Book of Mormon to call people wicked saboteurs of the righteous for thinking your approach is imprudent. The Nephites would have been screwed if Lachoneus had decided to go “Not One Inch” in the face of Giddianhi. Our situation is more like his than it is pleasant to admit.

  19. @Hoosier, thanks for the thoughtful reply. We could probably have an interesting conversation, but I agree T&S is not the place for it.

    I don’t buy that the Zelenskyy administration’s determination to take back all their territory is a facade and it’s really the US keeping them from signing a peace treaty, but I think we agree that the rise of Xi Jinping means we need to reverse the decision (always a mistake) to let China do our manufacturing for us. We may also agree that the best Ukraine can do right now is a stalemate.

    We can honorably disagree on the feasibility of maintaining that stalemate rather than allowing Ukraine to collapse; the relative humanitarian cost of continuing a bloody war vs. putting the population of Ukraine under Putin’s brutal regime with the corresponding destruction of their language, culture, and many of their lives; and how to best deter China from invading its neighbors. But I completely agree (and here’s what’s relevant to T&S) that that disagreement does not make you a kingman.

  20. I said at the time in January 2003, in Sunday School, that that was neither the time or the place. Unfortunately, I came to feel like I was Helmuth Hubener in the Sankt Georg Branch. My wife has different political opinions than me (based in part on being raised by different parents and in a very different place) but her first impression of the ward was a Memorial Day 2004 weekend sacrament meeting all about US military might, with one talk comparing Iraq to a backfire so that we wouldn’t face combat at home. Fortunately she was teaching Primary the time in late October when the bishop’s counselor hijacked Sunday School with a lesson on the Saints’ duty “to vote the right way”.

    I didn’t say much in church about all this, in fact I often wasn’t motivated to go early on. By early 2004 I was coming more regularly, but I would bring the Church Almanac and World Almanac to meetings. (Check your calendar for the FBI bulletin on Christmas Eve 2003.) The rhetoric (and the passing around of the Wall Street Journal opinion page in priesthood opening exercises) took a long time to calm down. And that bishop didn’t see a problem. He was actually replaced by the brother who gave the “backfire” talk. (I did report him to the stake president fo having the deacons pass the sacrament in uniform on Scout Sunday. Other than that, I did try to get along with him.)

    Things have changed in this country, Jonathan, albeit slowly in this ward. Part of it is that most of the older generation in my ward has died or moved to Utah. That bishop’s counselor is now stake president. He gave a talk in stake conference about “no political differences” before the 2020 election, and I reminded him of how Alisa and I had felt our first few years in the ward. He seemed to understand where I was coming from and apologized for having rubbed me the wrong way. (Next stake conference, though, he gave a talk praising the brother who had brought in the WSJ weekly, but had since died.)

    And now I’m ward Sunday School president, so hopefully if something starts I can try to squash it.

  21. Hoosier, replacing one weapon system with another has been going on since the beginning: TOWs in place of Javelins, 105mm artillery with plentiful ammunition to make up for 155mm, etc. Sending more HMMWVs would still be useful. We are not at the limits of what we could do. In any case, we aren’t sending piles of money: see the recent article in the Washington Post about how most of the spending is going to U.S. companies and U.S. production facilities. If you’re worried about future capacity, it seems like more aid to Ukraine is precisely what’s needed now: long-term procurement orders that let companies invest in production capacity in the knowledge that the investment will pay off.

    Israel is not facing an existential conflict right now, and in any case it has a highly capable defense industry of its own. Taiwan is at peace and has a 70-mile moat to make an invasion extremely difficult, and I don’t see how letting Russia seize territory would do anything to dissuade China from attempting the same. It’s Ukraine where there is a conflict right now against a strategic threat to the U.S., and where American aid is actively degrading the forces of a strategic opponent. Aid to Ukraine is a relatively minor investment with gigantic strategic payoff, and it would be foolish not to provide it.

    But I do appreciate your reasoned presentation of your case. As to whether you’re the equivalent of Alma’s king-men, the unhappy reality is that king-men are likely to be on the ballot next year, and abandoning Ukraine is their policy, and I’m not familiar with the rest of your views. Do you support gaining, exercising or maintaining political power by force contrary to the law and the will of the people? I don’t want to make assumptions.

  22. I do not support gaining, exercising, or maintaining political power by force contrary to the law and will of the people.

    I also think that we need to be very careful about writing “the law” a blank check, because things are done in the name of the law which are not lawful.

    I hope that, as you liken the scriptures to our current situation, you don’t declare somebody a Moroni who is not, or downplay their own wrongdoings simply because they oppose your king-men. I’d say I expect that, but hey, I don’t want to make assumptions.

  23. Hoosier, thanks for that. 2024’s going to be a bumpy year. And it’s completely reasonable to ask me what I think maps from Alma onto today. Sadly, I do not see any Moronis on the horizon. I’d like to see a contest between a couple Pahorans – competent if sometimes disappointing officeholders who aren’t always effective but whose hearts are generally in the right place. Right now it looks like we’ll get Pahoran v. Trump, a self-avowed king-man at best.

    What kinds of unlawful things do you have in mind that are done in the name of the law, by the way? I’m just curious in case it’s relevant to some future post.

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