I urge all readers to take time to peruse Jeff Lindsay’s excellent article in Meridian.
Lindsay’s point is that we as Latter-day Saints should be very hesitant to trust so many government authorities who are calling for American involvement in the Russian invasion of Ukraine, including calls for “no-fly zones” and other military exercises that would widen the war.
Lindsay’s essay is long, but here are the key paragraphs:
The specter of war these days, as in days of old, is linked to corruption and villainy of all kinds. War is now the ultimate playground for the greedy and power hungry. We must approach war with the caution and alertness that Eisenhower calls for. It’s not a time for trust and blind faith in humans who tend to be wicked and easily corrupted. We want America to be the good guy, the knight on a rainbow-colored horse that brings happiness to the masses of the world, but as the Book of Mormon sort of says, constant warfare never was happiness.
As we begin a new round of “rumors of war” and the “patriotic” stirring up of the masses to prepare us to engage in another major war far from our borders, this might be a good time to ponder the red flags of war and of misguided trust before we blindly trust what we are told and asked to do. With the numerous and increasingly popular calls for the US and NATO to enforce a “no-fly zone” over Russia, we need to understand that such intrusion marks the beginning of a real war. Wars are often promoted as something simple — “we’ll just use a few airplanes and missiles, no boots on the ground” — but once engaged, things always get more complicated especially when we learn, sometimes year later, that the goal was not victory after all.
If the cause for war is just, we don’t need to rely on propaganda and censorship and must utterly shun deceit and lies. Let it be debated based on facts and let Congress declare it. But the cause for war is appropriate under the Constitution of this land, explain why it is necessary. There are bad guys causing war and invading countries all the time. Can we really be expected to join every battle? We seem to trust in bullets and bombs as the way to right every wrong, almost to the point of idolatry, as President Spencer W. Kimball once pointed out in one of the most neglected and most important messages from a modern prophet. In his June 1976 message in the Ensign, “The False Gods We Worship,” President Kimball made some strong comments that challenged many in the Church:
In spite of our delight in defining ourselves as modern, and our tendency to think we possess a sophistication that no people in the past ever had—in spite of these things, we are, on the whole, an idolatrous people—a condition most repugnant to the Lord.
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 become antienemy instead of pro-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.)…
What are we to fear when the Lord is with us? Can we not take the Lord at his word and exercise a particle of faith in him? Our assignment is affirmative: to forsake the things of the world as ends in themselves; to leave off idolatry and press forward in faith; to carry the gospel to our enemies, that they might no longer be our enemies.
We must leave off the worship of modern-day idols and a reliance on the “arm of flesh,” for the Lord has said to all the world in our day, “I will not spare any that remain in Babylon.” (D&C 64:24.) …
As we near the year 2,000, our message is the same as that which Peter gave. And further, that which the Lord himself gave “unto the ends of the earth, that all that will hear may hear:
“Prepare ye, prepare ye for that which is to come, for the Lord is nigh.” (D&C 1:11–12.)