Vengeance not a justification for war

      Mormon's attitude toward war is clearly demonstrated in his refusal to lead the Nephite armies in an offensive battle after he already had led them in routing the Lamanite invaders. (See Mormon 3:8-11.)

      "He became as an idle witness' (Mormon 3:16), as the Lord had commanded him. In the midst of this narrative, Mormon changed his authorial stance and directly addressed his audience, exhorting them to repentance and to an awareness of the impending final judgment" (See Mormon 3:17-22), wrote Thomas W. McKay, BYU professor of Greek and Latin, in Studies in Scripture, volume 8."So he indicated implicitly his disapproval of warfare, particularly for vengeance or for any purpose other than what had motivated Moroni. Defense, not offense, and compassion, not annihilation, should be the motivating forces. He clearly stated this principle in his final words:Know ye that ye must lay down your weapons of war, and delight no more in the shedding of blood, and take them not again, save it be that God shall command you.' (Mormon 7:4.)"

      Mormon rescinded his refusal when the Nephites were again threatened by an invading Lamanite force. (See Mormon 5:1.) His behavior in both this and the earlier instance is consistent with the belief that defensive - not offensive - war is justified.

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