This weekend, I witnessed the baptism of my friends’ daughter. It was beautiful. I laid my hands on her head and listened to her father extend the Holy Ghost and bless her. I felt the power of God and hope. After, while people enjoyed the sundry baked goods, I spoke with the girl’s grandfather. He is a professional historian of the Church and is currently working on a history of the Tabernacle.
I was enthralled by all the fun details that he casually dispensed. He spoke of the shortage of metal, and how the saints would forage for the army’s detritus to fashion into washers. He mentioned that when the army left for the Civil War, they left their cannon balls. The Saints smelted them into nails. I repeated the litany of peace in my mind — that the Lord shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
I also remembered a couple excerpts from Brigham Young’s office journal (Book D):
The President remarked that whenever any nation had commenced making arms and ammunition, it has always been with a view to the death of their fellow men and when was there a time when these implements of death were not used; and in a few years these murderous feelings will strengthen to such an extent that the work of death will commence. (August 23, 1860, pg. 128)
Then the next day:
President [Young] remarked if we look into the history of the Nations of the Earth we shall always find that Every nation that invented new kinds of Instruments of war, and whetted up their old ones always used them to the destruction of their fellow man. (August 24, 1860, pg. 129)
Perhaps the greatest blessing our society enjoys is that President Young’s words have not been proven prophetic in regards to our most destructive weapons. All nuclear devices are not created equally. In 1961 the USSR detonated an hydrogen bomb. Over 50 million tons of TNT. The blast was so hot that it caused 3rd degree burns over 60 miles away.
This weekend, North Korea decided to show the world its own capacity for destruction. I pray that Brigham Young can be wrong again. It is a popular conception in some circles of the Church that the flood was necessary for the World to be baptized, but I don’t believe it. I also don’t believe in its baptism by fire. This weekend, I participated in the baptism by fire. There is no evil in the ordinances of the Lord.