While I usually let the more articulate (and verbose) bloggers on Wheat & Tares cover things like this, I thought I’d give it a stab and write about the war in Ukraine and in particular the First Presidency statement on the war.
The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has issued the following statement:
We are heartbroken and deeply concerned by the armed conflict now raging. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has members in each of the affected areas and throughout the world. Our minds and hearts have been turned toward them and all our brothers and sisters.
We continue to pray for peace. We know that enduring peace can be found through Jesus Christ. He can calm and comfort our souls even in the midst of terrible conflicts. He taught us to love God and our neighbors.
We pray that this armed conflict will end quickly, that the controversies will end peacefully and that peace will prevail among nations and within our own hearts. We plead with world leaders to seek for such resolutions and peace.
The First Presidencylds.org 2/25/2022
There was some complaining on Mormon internet groups that the Church had not made any comment, and then when they did, there was comments that they didn’t go far enough and never mentioned Russia. So lets talk about the hard place the church is in. They are already in a pretty precarious position in Russia, with missionaries in the past being deported for violating their visas and laws passed where missionaries are prohibited from preaching in private homes or on the street. A Russian temple was announced in a “major city” four years ago, but no further word has been published on its progress.
The Church has a history of playing nice with dictators with horrible human rights records in order to allow missionary work and temples to be build in those countries. It is well documented the stories on how a temple was built in the German Democratic Republic during the height of the cold ward. Also while I was a missionary in Chile in 1977, President Kimball visited, and had a friendly meeting with the Military Dictator Pinochet, who just a few years before had killed and “disappeared” countless people who supported the previous elected government of Allende. I even had a Chilean companion who was a student in a local university who had a classmate taken from class by solders and never seen again. From the 1977 Church News
—President Augusto Pinochet Ugarte of Chile. General Pinochet sent a government helicopter to take President Kimball and his party from Santiago to the “summer White House” in Vina del Mar on Monday, February 28.1977 Church News
Pope Francis also refrained from naming Russia when he urged political leaders to examine their conscience before God and avoid actions that harm civilians and “discredit international law.” The Catholic church is trying to make nice with the Russian Orthodox Church, so that probably played into the statement.
What do you think of the FP statement? Did it go far enough? Does the hundreds of missionaries we currently have in Russia play a part in the wording of the statement? Could they have named Russia without putting the missionaries in danger? Is it time to bring all the Russian missionaries home?