In my immediate prior blogpost I mention Ron Fernstedt, who was with the Utah County Sheriff’s Department when I participated in the Law Clerk – Bailiff program in Utah’s Fourth District Court. As he mentioned a 2007 incident with a suicide bomber, I did some searching on the Internet in an attempt to get some information on that incident, and came upon this book, for which he was interviewed.
The following description of this book, which was published in 1990, appears on Amazon.com: “Examines the painful dilemmas of men forced to choose between religion and bloodshed. This collection of personal accounts by more than fifty Mormon veterans of six wars, including the Persian Guld crisis, reveals how members of one religious tradition justify combat despite beliefs about the immorality of murder. It describes, in sometimes graphic detail, the horrors of battle, concentration camps, and the deaths of innocent and guilty alike. Is killing ever a solution to the differences that separate humanity?”
At present the entire text of the book is available online at the link appearing below. As today is Memorial Day, and as the book is quite engrossing, I ended up spending quite a bit of time reading this evening.
I read with particular interest as Ray Hillam, one of the authors, was my international relations professors at BYU. I focused on accounts given by several people with whom I was familiar for one reason or another: Ron Fernstedt, Ray Matheny (I worked with his wife for several years), Spencer J. Palmer (he was in the LDS temple film I first saw, was on the faculty at BYU, and colleagues of mine know him from his connections to Korea) , Kirk Waldron (my father served with him in the Air Force).
I also took an interest in accounts by Grant Ash, who had a remarkable spiritual experience while a POW, and Walter Speidel, a German POW in the United States.
I need to go back and read accounts by others, because of time I left many accounts unread.