“New DVD Reaches Out to Members in the Military,” Ensign, Jan. 2006, 75
A new DVD, Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled: A Message of Peace for Latter-day Saints in Military Service, has recently been released for members of the Church serving in their countries’ armed forces. The DVD addresses the spiritual and emotional difficulties that confront military personnel, including the difficult separation from family, the challenging atmosphere of military life, and the emotional burden that accompanies combat.
The DVD, released in September 2005 and distributed to priesthood leaders and chaplains in English-speaking areas, contains remarks by President Gordon B. Hinckley and President Boyd K. Packer, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. It also includes messages given during a fireside for members of the military by Elder Robert C. Oaks of the Presidency of the Seventy and Elder Lance B. Wickman of the Seventy. Both men drew on their own military experiences.
“We are all indebted to those of you who serve,” President Hinckley said on the DVD. “You have taken upon yourselves an obligation that frequently requires great sacrifice. Whether you serve in combat or in a support role, your life is not your own. You have given your allegiance to the nation of which you are citizens. We commend you for your willingness to do so.”
Elder Oaks quoted President Hinckley, who remarked about some individuals’ quest for peace but also their obligation to fight for their governments. “I believe that God will not hold men and women in uniform responsible as agents of their government in carrying forward that which they are legally obligated to do,” President Hinckley said.
Elder Oaks warned: “Never become too comfortable in this role of warrior, even though the war must indeed be fought. War has a frightening ability to numb our Christian sensitivities.”
The messages on the DVD help to assure servicemen and women that the gospel will bring them the peace sufficient for them to handle their burdens.
Elder Wickman said the Book of Mormon is a source of perspective and spiritual strength and pointed out how in the Book of Mormon some of the most righteous, noble figures are soldiers who serve as role models for the latter days.
He pointed out that with a righteous foundation, the honorable warriors in the Book of Mormon had enhanced strength and insight. “[The Book of Mormon] tells us that service on the battlefield in time of war does not by itself remove one from the ranks of the righteous,” Elder Wickman said. “Mormon and Moroni saw and participated in a carnage so widespread and terrible that the experiences you and I have had pale in comparison. … They were soldiers because they had to be, because their people needed them, because it was the right thing to do. Is not that also the case with you, my beloved friends?”
Elder Wickman advised those who are in the armed forces not to get caught up in the politics of war. “Do not despair because there are some who question the rightness of the cause in which you are enlisted to fight and for which you may sacrifice so much,” he said. “The Lord will find a way eventually to turn the course of political events to his purposes.”
Although young men and women involved in military service are in a challenging position, President Hinckley said they are also in a position of influence and honor. “Your effort to live the gospel can do wonders,” he said. “You can influence others to change their ways and improve their lives, and you will be blessed in the process.”
The speakers encouraged members to stay worthy and keep the Spirit by clinging to their scriptures, by attending church services regularly, by praying frequently, and by attending the temple whenever possible.
“Even in seasons of conflict, the gospel is a message of peace and love,” President Hinckley said. “It is a comfort and a strength, even in circumstances where man’s inhumanity to man is plainly evident.”
“[War] is dreadful,” Frank Clawson, director of Military Relations for the Church, told the Church magazines while explaining the reasons for creating the DVD. “Anyone who has a sensitive heart and knowledge of God and Christ wants to know how war and their participation in it affects their status with God.”
Brother Clawson said he thinks the DVD brings a great deal of comfort for those involved with the armed forces. “I think that often our emotional and spiritual sensitivities are harmed during war, and I think this video will help [those so affected] to reconnect with God.”