I started my blog last year as a way to keep track of my pregnancy. Well, I didn’t do much of that, but I have spent a lot of time writing on a variety of topics. And I have picked up some readers on the way. It is humbling to know that people who I have never met are willing to take time from their days to read the things I have to say. Out of curiosity, I installed one of those visitor maps to see where my readers are coming from. So far today, I’ve had two hits from across the pond. (Hi there!) Really, it is amazing.
But, knowing that so many of my readers are people who don’t know me or where I am coming from does put a certain responsibility for my words on me. I don’t hide who I am, nor do I apologize for it. Where appropriate, though, I do try to explain things that I think many of you wouldn’t get.
Today, I received a comment on one of my recent posts. My general rule on comments is that I will approve them as long as they don’t attack someone other than me, they are not abusive, and they don’t contain foul language. I approved this comment. But that doesn’t mean that it sits well with me.
It isn’t because the commenter obviously disagrees with my religion. I can handle that–I’ve had to my whole life. It is the idea of commenting on someone’s blog for the very first time and referring to their deeply-held religious beliefs as “myth.”
After posting my brief summary of Nephi killing Laban, I went to bed and thought a lot about the discussion with my children, as well as how the story might be perceived out of context (although, based on the fact that this commenter had a blog called “Recovering Mormon” on her bloglist, I’m detecting the possible sound of an axe grinding…). And you know, I can see where the idea of God telling someone to kill another person could sound sort of odd.
Maybe it was because I had the Fourth of July celebration to look forward to the next day, but I laid in bed and thought about a young man that I have known for years. He attended my church growing up, and was my little brother’s best friend. After graduating high school, he entered the military, where he went on to become a very notable sniper in Iraq. Several years later, I can still easily find an article that mentions him on the internet (I would link to it, but it mentions my town–all one traffic light of it–and we all know how I feel about my privacy). At the time that the article was written, when he was still in Iraq, they estimated that he had killed somewhere in the vicinity of 50+ insurgents.
Do I think this makes him evil?
Would I be afraid to have him around my family?
Did I, the next day, celebrate him and others like him, and all that they have done to protect this wonderful country and the liberties that we enjoy?
The parallels between Nephi and this young soldier are not lost on me. Even if you take the self-defense angle out of the story (Laban had robbed Nephi and his brothers, then tried to have them murdered), Nephi’s task–as unpleasant as it was–served a much greater purpose. During the course of that story, in 1 Nephi 4:13 it says:
Behold the Lord slayeth the wicked to bring forth his righteous purposes. It is better that one man should perish than that a nation should dwindle and perish in unbelief.
If Laban had lived, an entire nation and their posterity would have lost the words of God.
Similarly, without brave young men like my brother’s friend, terrorists would have greater success, despots would rule, and thousands more would have died for nothing more than the nature of their ethnicity.
Maybe the title of my post was misleading. I do believe there is right and wrong. But sometimes, you just have to look a little closer to perceive the reason that something is right.
So, let me take the opportunity to offer up my sincerest gratitude to all those (past and present) who have done the hard things to save a nation.
God bless you.