War in the Book of Mormon has always bored me. The war chapters in Alma, for example? Sure, my eyes have gone over the words of those verses and chapters multiple times, but my brain cells were focused on more pleasant things, like Star Trek or rocky road ice cream or… the dentist. I love the Book of Mormon, but it’s the doctrinal aspects that I love. Even the stories take a distant second. I’m all about the doctrine.
War from a couple thousand years ago? Who cares? (I’ve also never really been that into history, as you might imagine.)
But it seems applicable to my life now. I’ve been a defense contractor for almost a decade. The first 8 years, however, seemed far removed from anything military-like. Even though it was the Army, and even though I even lived on a military base, it was all very science-focused and very defensive-only, and there were so few military people actually around. Things we tested often seemed to have civilian uses as much as military uses. Honestly, the military aspects of that life were simply an annoyance that sometimes crept up from the background. The war parts in the Book of Mormon seemed as relevant to me then as they did in high school (i.e., not).
Then I moved to a new job supporting the Navy. Now, the Navy is a lot cooler than the Army (I’m told them’s fightin’ words), but the change that matters for the purposes of this post is that there is no longer any doubt: I am in the business of war. I mean, I’m not a soldier, and I’m far, far removed from battle, but I am in the business of war.
Now, there’s no need to overstate things – I’m merely a technical writer. Master of nouns, keeper of verbs, lover of prepositional phrases. No, really, prepositional phrases are my favorite part of speech; they really give me a bit of a thrill. But I write for the Navy. Warships, missiles, guns, mine hunters… these are my world. And I like my world. It’s interesting work, and I believe what I do is important and I’m proud to serve my country in this way.
But my point: my world is war. I’m safe and secure and far removed from anything traumatic, far removed from the horrors of war, but still… it is my world. And so I have recently found myself actually curious about those verses and chapters in the Book of Mormon that I’ve so fully ignored all of these years.
Thus, I am beginning a multi-part series as I share with you what I learn as I read through the Book of Mormon, focused solely on war.