Take Up Arms to Defend Ones Country

Church Educational System

As citizens we are subject to the governing laws of our country. Elder Russell M. Nelson offered the following counsel when faced with the duty of taking up arms to defend one’s country:

“Men really are brothers because God really is our Father. Nevertheless, scriptures are studded with stories of contention and combat. They strongly condemn wars of aggression but sustain obligations of citizens to defend their families and their freedoms [see Alma 43:45–47; 46:11–12, 19–20; 48:11–16]. … Members of this Church will be called into military service of many nations. ‘We believe that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man; and that he holds men accountable for their acts in relation to them, both in making laws and administering them, for the good and safety of society’ [D&C 134:1].
“During the Second World War, when members of the Church were forced to fight on opposing sides, the First Presidency affirmed that ‘the state is responsible for the civil control of its citizens or subjects, for their political welfare, and for the carrying forward of political policies, domestic and foreign. … But the Church itself, as such, has no responsibility for these policies, [other] than urging its members fully to render … loyalty to their country’ [in James R. Clark, comp., Messages of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6 vols. (1965–75), 6:155–56]” (in Conference Report, Oct. 2002, 42; or Ensign, Nov. 2002, 40).

Book of Mormon Student Manual (2009 Edition)