God and country: Mormons mix missions, military service

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  • The Atheist Provo, UT
    Oct. 2, 2012 9:42 a.m.

    Missionaries not knowing how to work?

    So you want them to learn from the (secular) military?

    Why and how are LDS homes failing so dramatically to raise children who know how to work?

    Just for the record, all my children know how to work, and to work hard and smart. No authoritarian/military experience necessary!

  • Butch70 Spokane, WA
    Oct. 1, 2012 8:19 p.m.

    Good idea. When they come back they will make better soldiers or Marines. God help us all.

  • timpClimber Provo, UT
    Oct. 1, 2012 7:39 p.m.

    I served a mission and and then served full and part-time in the Army and USAf for 22 years. I enjoyed many spiritual experiences while stationed around the world. What happens in the military depends on how an individual behaves. I made many friends, had numerous religious discussions and learned to love many of my spiritual brothers and sisters of all races and creeds. My none member military friends were always looking out for me and explaining to those who asked questions or made fun of me that I had standards. I also received valuable and job related training. Its what you make it.

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    Oct. 1, 2012 6:47 p.m.

    Re: LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    "Do you want to know WHY we don't talk about it ..."

    Several reasons come to my mind. Vietnam was nothing to brag about, our leaders couldn't explain the purpose behind our mission and what we were dying to protect, we lacked the will to win the police action (war), and we left with our tails between our legs.

    No, I can't think of one single solitary reason for bragging about that conflict. It certainly did nothing to change my conservative mentality about the folks running the zoo in Washington.

  • jmason San Diego, CA
    Oct. 1, 2012 3:54 p.m.

    LDS Liberal says that those who have not experienced war first hand are the first to start beating the war drums, the first to "cry for war". I believe this is true, and I believe we saw this amply demonstrated in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. People like Dick Cheney--who took 6 deferments during the Vietnam War--or George W. Bush--who could have gone to Vietnam but chose instead to stay stateside when he was in the Nat'l Guard--were the loudest and the most insistent in our foolish and pre-emptive rush into Iraq.

  • JWB Kaysville, UT
    Oct. 1, 2012 3:04 p.m.

    I am not sure that everyone should go into the military prior to a mission. Having been there, I believe too many have temptations that are not easy to be around 24-hours a day unless you a unless you are founded in solid teachings and experiences from family and church members.

    There are too many that end up on the wrong side of going on a mission. The military teaches some good aspects for living such as discipline and establishing a schedule of events but those can be learned at home before graduating from high school and seminary.

    On the other hand, going on a mission first with the goal of being ready for that important process in a young person's life, has so much more advantages. The gospel centered preparation and living Christ's teachings prior to and during the mission will prepare a person 100 percent for military service, no matter which branch of service.

    The temptations are sitll there but a person is more prepared for the answers and responses of your comrades in arms. You can be a positive example. Integrity, honesty, morality, drug type substances and other issues will not be as threatening.

  • RockOn Spanish Fork, UT
    Oct. 1, 2012 1:10 p.m.

    Joseph... good article, but... I'd like to have seen more discussed about the comment made at the end: "I just feel that I will be a better missionary because of what I've already experienced in the Marines." Yes. He's right. Too many young men have not been taught work ethic and when they become missionaries they don't know how to work. Going into the Marines FIRST is a great help to the young men and women when they then serve a mission. I would bet few if any return home "depressed" or homesick or whatever mental illness is the reason du jour. Marine Corp doesn't allow such things and works it out of you. As a missionary I noted that every guy who had been in the military had greater purpose, greater work ethic and determination to succeed. (I did not serve in the military so was an impartial observer.)

  • JWB Kaysville, UT
    Oct. 1, 2012 11:39 a.m.

    I too admire those that went into the military, either voluntary and especially those who weren't volunteers. Volunteers are important but it took strength for those that were drafted into service to really serve.

    As some have pointed out, it is not an easy place to live and be. When they put dog tags on you, shave your head and everyone has the same type and color of clothes to wear everyday, you are in a completely different world. You are on-duty 24-hours a day and especially in the Cold War, you were ready every minute of everyday to go to places and do duties that you don't and couldn't talk about, even with your family.

    The training in fox holes, crawling under things and hiding in places you don't want to talk about, does give one the feel for actual experiences minus the people on the other side, against you.

    I think of the things I have done and experienced that I couldn't share with my wife and the alert times waiting for a mission or to fly to that remote part not knowing the outcome.

    People give and gave their all.

  • John C. C. Payson, UT
    Oct. 1, 2012 11:35 a.m.

    Mormons, members of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, are nick-named after a man in the Book of Mormon who was both prophet and general. Interestingly, even he temporarily resigned from serving his own armies as general for about thirteen years, as he considered them to be as morally corrupt as their enemies.

    War is destructive and abominable. The leaders on at least one side of every war are guilty of the death and mayhem it brings. I pray for soldiers on both sides, including a hope that our leaders avoid unjust war. Soldiers and our families on both sides suffer as innocent victims. Our enemies include, given other circumstances, families I would rather give loving service to as a missionary.

    Having served a mission in Europe I believe I became a better soldier. I also learned it is difficult to both fight and love your enemy.

    I have a serious warning for those who go to war. Even in peacetime, military service has the potential to bring out the worst animal instincts in us. It's not particularly family friendly, except that the military may ultimately preserve our lives and freedoms.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Oct. 1, 2012 10:00 a.m.

    ute alumni
    Tengoku, UT

    no people that REALLY experience it, war, really don't talk about it.

    So, are you saying that LDS Lib didn't "REALLY" experience war?

    Are you making that judgement because you dislike his viewpoint?

  • donn layton, UT
    Oct. 1, 2012 9:52 a.m.

    RE: Sfcretdennis, I had the honor of serving our nation for 21 plus years,1975 to 1996.

    Iguarded airplanes in the jungles of Vietnam and Laos(NKP)from 1969-70, (Air force infantry) and on several occasions the Paid Chaplains(sky pilots) would be around for communion, prayers and such for 24 hours.
    Yet #6. The true church[Mormon] must have no paid ministry.
    ordain “elders” in every city, as I had appointed thee: If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. (Titus 1:5,6).

    Missionaries, Elders(presbuteros,) should be married to one wife to qualify .

  • Owl Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 1, 2012 9:50 a.m.

    Having served a mission and served in the military I am more convinced that the principles of individual effort, responsibility and loyalty are integral to life's success. Liberal or conservative, these should be component values in either political philosophy. To suggest otherwise is subordinating integrity to party loyalty, a depressingly common practice.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Oct. 1, 2012 9:42 a.m.

    ute alumni
    Tengoku, UT
    no people that REALLY experience it, war, really don't talk about it.

    9:03 a.m. Oct. 1, 2012


    Do you want to know WHY we don't talk about,
    becuase people who've never been there don't want to get sick and throw up at dinner.
    or feel guilty that they sent someone else's kid into it.

    You can get anyone who's been in REAL war to talk, if you get them drunk enough.

    Pray tell "ute alumni", what branch and where did you serve?
    or are your going to just not talk about it?

  • ute alumni Tengoku, UT
    Oct. 1, 2012 9:03 a.m.

    no people that REALLY experience it, war, really don't talk about it.

  • sfcretdennis Nice, CA
    Oct. 1, 2012 9:02 a.m.

    I had the honor of serving our nation for 21 plus years,1975 to 1996. My first assignment was in an all male unit,then I was in units were both men and women served together and we served as soldiers. No female was ever sexually mistreated,the only problem I saw was when the weather was changing the men would be told they could not wear their PT sweat pants but the females could steel wear theirs our if it was hot the men would be told to remove their work jackets but the females had a choice to remove or not remove, which was not right, you could not see anything with the work shirts underneath the work jacket so if the men had to remove then the women should be required to as will, this was the only division in how everyone was treated. There were some women who tried to use their femininity to get over but those were fare and few. 99% conducted them self's professionally and with honor and distinction. I treated none of my soldiers under my command differently, they were all soldiers and treated and expected to act as such.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Oct. 1, 2012 8:56 a.m.

    Kuddos to all those who served.

    I enlisted AFTER my LDS Mission.
    I felt a sense of duty to God and my country.

    I echo the same thing as NeilT --
    Great way to pay for college, see the world, develop job experience, ect.
    It also completely change who I am....

    After seeing REAL poverty,
    I learned how blessed we really are.

    After seeing REAL war,
    I will NEVER be the 1st to cry for it.

    After being the minority [Religous, Race, Nation],
    I became more tolerant and inclusive of ALL God's Children.

    After wearing the same, eating the saem, earning the same, and living the same,
    I learned about Social Equality.

    Instead of finding errors and critisizing the Government of my Country,
    I became part of and learned to love and appreciate and find the goodness of the Government of my Country.

    I went in ultra-Conservative,
    I came out a bleeding-heart Liberal.

    Those who are the 1st to cry for war,
    have never experienced it.

  • JWB Kaysville, UT
    Oct. 1, 2012 8:29 a.m.

    The opportunity to be a Missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and also serve the best country in the world as a military member or spouse of a military member of the United States of America is great. However, having done both a mission and serving in the military, the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force, as enlisted and also as an officer for most of the time, there are some things to think about.

    Serving a mission for the Church has no limitations and that is what God wants for all young men in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Men and women will be blessed for their service to God and His children, wherever that may be.

    Military service brings with it some choices and some things to think about. Having been in various positions in wards and branches in various parts of the world, you can still be a missionary for the people you work with and meet in the local community. You may be single to begin with, but your family or potential family is something to think about if you have a career and impact.

  • NeilT Clearfield, UT
    Oct. 1, 2012 8:14 a.m.

    Doing away with the all volunteer force is a bad idea. Many are not suited for military service and would hate it if forced to enlist. I enlisted in the Utah Army National Guard after my mission. It was quite a shock. There was a lot of drinking, profanity, and immoral practices in the military. Still is based on what been in the news lately with all of the allegded sexual misconduct. With that in mind I have no regrets. I ended up spending 26 years. Best part time employment one could ever hope for. Earned money for college and I will receive a small pension in 3 yers. Waa able to travel to places I never would have dreamed of visiting if I had not enlisted. It was right for me. Again I emphasize military service is not for everybody and extended deployments can place severe strain on marriages and families. God Bless America.

  • Go Utes! Springville, UT
    Oct. 1, 2012 7:16 a.m.

    I am not sure Military brings out the best in ALL of us, but most of us for sure.

    My girlfriend is thinking about enlisting, to be honest the thought makes me sick. Having been a student of military history for the past 2 years i am well aware of the despicable conditions in which most women serve; they are often sexually harassed or even raped. Their commanding officers refuse to bring the perpetrators to task and many women come back with Military Sexual Trauma or MST which is to date the most debilitating form of PTSD known to man.
    While she is LDS i do believe that she is a very low risk for such things to happen to her, but it is still a concern and something i do not want her to have to live with.

  • My2Cents Taylorsville, UT
    Oct. 1, 2012 4:07 a.m.

    I commend those serving their country and what ever god they believe in and they are companion duties and a choice to be proud of. Our laws, our country, our compassion in wars and conflicts are based by the character and teachings of right and wrong and justice in our American culture and way of life. Its why we are the most respected and revered military the world has ever known.

    This group of americans, not including those selfish foreign mercenaries in it for personal gain, are our national pride and deserve self satisfaction in all they do. When religion and mercenaries are hired is the time we loose face and honor as a nation. Most religions are war tolerant and know that war is godly and with purpose and always a threat to peace and tranquility. This is why the american solder is the best American and is the backbone of this nation as a united force of truth and justice.

    Every american should serve their country, do away with volunteers and make a national pride requirement of all citizens. Military brings out the best in all of us and America is the best because of it.