They Were Divided the Army of Shiz and the Army of Corianutmr

Bryan Richards

Hugh Nibley

“Patriotism shows itself in times of crisis: ‘These are the times that try men’s souls!’ is the refrain of the earliest purely patriotic odes—those of the Greek lyric poets, who describe the true patriot as one who stands shoulder to shoulder with his fellow citizens, facing any odds. In this atmosphere of crisis, an attitude of defense and defiance naturally associates patriotism with the panoply of war…There is something wrong with this patriotism, which is based on conflict. As Froissart tells us forcibly, under chivalry the only way to prove one’s nobility was by fighting somebody. The tradition survives, and to this day there are many whose patriotism is not a widening but a contracting circle, recalling the defensive-aggressive posture of the Roman trux et minax (dour and threatening), the walled towns and castles of the Middle Ages, the family shelter of the Jaredites in which ’every man did cleave unto that which was his own; … and every man kept the hilt of his sword in his right hand, in the defence of his property and his own life and of his wives and children’ (Ether 14:2), and finally, the narrowest circle of all, with every man ’walk[ing] in his own way,’ seeking his own interests amid the rich offerings of Babylon (see D&C 1:16). The passion for security ends in total insecurity, with the would-be patriot fancying himself as a lone frontiersman, facing the world with his long rifle, his keen eyes searching the horizon for enemies and finding them everywhere; until one day as he draws his circle even smaller, we find him coolly keeping his next-door neighbor and fellow countrymen in the sights of his trusty .22, lest the latter make a suspicious move in the direction of his two-years’ supply.” (Brother Brigham Challenges the Saints, p. 250 – 251)