President Hinckley Addresses War Concerns

President Hinckley Addresses War Concerns

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Religion Specialist Carole Mikita reporting At the close of the 173rd Annual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Gordon B. Hinckley addressed the concerns of church members throughout the world.

As leader of a worldwide church, President Hinckley addressed conference-goers knowing many live in nations divided over the war in Iraq.

He told church members he really prayed over how to talk about this subject, and began by mentioning Marine Staff Sgt. James Cawley, a Utahn recently killed in Iraq.

Twenty years ago, Staff Sgt. Cawley served as a church missionary in Japan.

"This life, his mission, his military service, his death, seem to represent the contradictions of the peace of the gospel and the tides of war," President Hinckley said.

He made it clear that Latter-day Saints have no quarrel with the Muslims, or people of any faith.

"We recognize and teach that all the people of the earth are of the family of God," he said.

In a democracy, he said, some people renounce war.

"Many have been speaking out and doing so emphatically. That is their privilege. That is their right, so long as they do so legally," he said.

There are times when governments fight against tyranny... President Hinckley agrees with that. But, he said, it is difficult for followers of Jesus Christ.

"This places us in a position of those who long for peace, who teach peace, who work for peace, but who also are citizens of the nations.

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," he said.

And a strong word from President Hinckley to Latter-day Saints around the world to be at peace with one another.

"Let us pray for those who are called upon to bear arms by their respective governments, and pray for the protection of heaven upon them," he said.

President Hinckley concluded the final session of general conference with a plea to pray for peace "that the nations may not rage against once another," and to pray for the weather-- to stop the drought in one area - the floods in another.

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