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The Book of Mormon, in the Book of Alma, advocates, praises and commends non-violence as the way of righteousness
on June 6, 2015
There are few holy books that portray pacifism in a positive light. Certainly the OT doesn't, nor does the Koran. I maintain the NT does, especially through the teachings of Jesus, but I am clearly in a minority. Most Christians do not believe that Jesus advocated pacifism. If you agree with that, then the world's two most widely accepted Holy Books, the Bible and the Koran, both abjure pacifism as a requirement of their followers, and neither praises it as desirable. Few people who are not LDS realize this, but the Book of Mormon contains a lengthy section (in the book of Alma) about a tribe called the Anti-Nephi-Lehies. These were Lamanites who had been converted to righteousness. Listen to Alma describe what their king said on this occasion:
"Now my brethren, if our brethren seek to destroy us, behold, we will hide away our swords, even we will bury them deep in the earth that they may be kept bright as a testimony to the last day that we have never used them; and if our brethren destroy us, behold, we shall go to our God and shall be saved."
...And this they did, vouching and covenanting with God that rather than shed the blood of their brethren they would give up their own lives...
This is a pretty clear statement of pacifism.
If you stop to think for a moment, the LDS church is the only widely recognized religion that was founded outside of Asia. Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and Baha'i were all founded in Asia, and still flourish today worldwide. The only world religion not founded in Asia is Mormonism, and for this reason it deserves special attention.
These passages from the Book of Alma clearly approve of the determination of the Anti-Nephi-Lehies to refuse to resort to violence, even in self-defense. It was connected with their conversion to righteousness. There is no getting around the obvious approval of the Book of Alma concerning their pacifism. The Book of Alma recognizes it as admirable and proper.
Of the major world religions, Jainism and Baha'i both adhere to non-violence as an essential part of their faith. I thought Buddhism was also in this camp, but recent studies have shown me otherwise; Buddha may have opposed violence, but his followers have certainly become comfortable with it. Sikhism rapidly lost any impulse towards non-violence it had, once the Sikhs began to be persecuted in earnest.
So it is rare for an established religion to contain sacred writings that eschew violence, and praise non-violence. Like the Sikhs, the Mormons, after their persecution began in Missouri and elsewhere, did defend themselves in Utah, and even engaged in a little violence of their own (see Juanita Brooks' pioneering work, The Mountain Meadows Massacre). This does not detract from the fact that the Book of Mormon in the Book of Alma, advocates, praises and commends non-violence as the way of righteousness, even to the extent of allowing yourself and your loved ones to be destroyed.