When applying for Conscientious Objector (CO), the military requires you to undergo a psychological evaluation. An applicant’s beliefs are not always due to religious training, but can be the result of a highly developed ethical belief.
Therefore, an applicant just might have mental illness for believing:
1. An appeal to a priori truth is authoritative or,…
2. An appeal to an unseen being is authoritative.
Somehow beliefs in reason and God are the cause of mental illness by the cult of ego because each denies the legitimacy of man’s auto-generating authority over man. One is not diagnosed as mentally ill for a disbelief in authority, but that authority could originate in anything higher than oneself. He who wields superior violence has legitimate authority.
The key term is “auto-generating.” If the individual does not have a legitimate authority to rule others, then the individual does not have a power that can be delegated to government. Below is an example of what I conscientious objector application might look like when complete. If you are in the military and would like help determining if you qualify as C.O., someone to proof-read your application, or to determine the best route according to your beliefs and circumstances for separating from the Armed Forces, then please contact the G.I Rights Hotline.
MY CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR APPLICATION
1. A description of the nature of the belief that requires the applicant to seek separation from military service or assignment to non-combatant training and duty for reasons of conscience.
I served as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS). I am currently serving as a sailor for The United States Navy. I cannot help but contrast the two and the service I have provided for both. As a missionary, I brought peace and love and understanding meant for the peoples of all nations. As a sailor, I feel I bring war and fear and suffering to the peoples of any nation. My Commanding Officer (at the time Executive Officer) calls military service “God’s work” (DITS, deployment 2011) but I have done my Heavenly Father’s work and it is nothing similar to military service. Comparing military service with missionary service offends my conscience as much so as it deepens my religious conviction to “…renounce war and proclaim peace…” (Doctrine and Covenants 98:16, Doctrine and Covenants is modern day revelation from the Lord to the Saints through the founder of the LDS, Joseph Smith). I feel that armed hostile conflict between nation-states or by any state against a civilian population is morally reprehensible. For reasons of conscience, I must object to war in any form.
I claim the status of Conscientious Objector (C.O.). My conviction is that the free exercise of conscience by each and every child of my Heavenly Father should be preserved. This conviction requires that I seek separation from military service. I believe war, by its very nature, denies mankind this freedom to exercise conscience. It destroys life. It limits liberty. It expropriates property. For me, a continued participation in war means engaging in murder, enslavement of others, and theft. It means I am supporting and participating in attempts to control the conscience of other individuals. It means I am an agent of Lucifer, the evil one. These beliefs are inspired by my conscience and failure to act in accordance with my conscience makes me feel disloyal to my religious understanding and feel a traitor to my Heavenly Father.
My conscience dictates that I must refrain from participating in wars against life, liberty, and property. My conscience dictates that to do otherwise would constitute murder, enslavement, and theft. This is why the War in Heaven consumes my thoughts. The truths my conscience illuminates, through my understanding of the War in Heaven, apply directly to wars waged amongst nation-states and by any state that carries out violence against a civilian population. During the War in Heaven, Lucifer and his followers wanted to ensure salvation for all mankind without regard to individual preference, personal responsibility, or voluntary dedication (Doctrine and Covenants 29:36-38; Pearl of Great Price, Moses 4:1-4). Instead of recognizing the freedom of my Heavenly Father’s children to exercise conscience, Lucifer attempted to compel them to be righteous. The Aaronic Priesthood Manual 2 in Lesson 9 entitled “Repentance and the Atonement of Jesus Christ” defines the compulsion of righteousness as war against the lives, liberty, or property of individuals in order to bring about good. As a member of the Armed Forces, I am required to do exactly the above. I am required to participate in war against life, liberty, and property as a member of the United States Navy. In the name of “defending” against a foreign enemy, the lives, liberty, and property of domestic civilians is conscripted and expropriated. In my view, this constitutes murder, enslavement, and theft; if not against the “enemy” I currently am waging an aggressive war against, then against the lives and liberty of military members who object to foreign wars and against the property of United States civilians who object to war.
2. An explanation as to how the applicant’s beliefs changed or developed, to include an explanation as to what factors (how, when, and from whom or from what source training was received and/or belief acquired) caused the change in or development of conscientious objection beliefs.
When I joined the Armed Forces in January of 2009, I could see military service as a morally justifiable stepping stone to further my life’s aspirations, or even make it a career. Since a change in my religious understanding and belief about ethics, I no longer feel military service is morally justifiable, either as a means to an end or an end in itself. Before I joined the Armed Forces, I believed that war in any form was justifiable so long as it was declared by Congress. After all, war in any form could be constitutional and, as such, I believed I could participate in war and even kill in war, if necessary. So when I joined, I was only selectively against war, those wars which were undeclared by Congress. My beliefs about constitutional wars have changed. While in the Armed Forces, I began to read scripture even more carefully than before and to ponder what the freedom to exercise conscience means for people in their daily lives and in the way they cooperate with each other to achieve common goals. Exploring ethical theories about how society exchanges goods and services and makes cooperative decisions that affect everyone has made me realize that war is not only immoral, but impractical. Closer consideration of my religious beliefs, supported with truths illuminated by my conscience in the fields of ethics and economics, were in conflict with my support of constitutional war.
Being a member of the Armed Forces presents the very real and necessary condition of preparing for war, not only physically and emotionally, but spiritually and intellectually. Contemplating the LDS view of the War in Heaven and its emphasis on freedom to exercise conscience introduced serious questions about my participation in war and whether war could be moral simply for having been declared by Congress. I sought answers to these questions in schools of thought which I felt had the highest respect for freedom to exercise conscience. During my transfer leave from San Diego, CA to Pearl Harbor, HI from September to October of 2010, I began reading ethical and political treatises from institute of Austiran Economics. The literary works in which my conscience illuminated the greatest amount of truth are “The Ethics of Liberty” and “Anatomy of the State” by Murray N. Rothbard as well as “Democracy: The God That Failed” by Hans Herman-Hoppe. Over the next six months, before deployment in April of 2011, I continued to study Austrian views and LDS scripture while developing my ethics and deepening my religious understanding. Having reconciled Austrian ethics with the LDS view on the War in Heaven, I was constrained by my conscience to reject that a foreign nation could be justified in waging war against me or my community merely because its parliament, congress, or ruling body arrogated unto itself power and authority to do so in a constitution. The thought was and continues to be repugnant to me because it reeks of idolatry. I no longer believed constitutional war was just war. Nevertheless, as a result of my reading of Austrian literature, I still advocated violence through the use of defensive force, whether through insurgency in order to repel an invading nation-state or in self-defense to repel an individual aggressor. Protecting the freedom to exercise conscience took on the form of defensive force. It is called the Non-Aggression Principle or Axiom. I continued to believe this way for some time.
My Visitation, Boarding, Search and Seizure (VBSS) experience described below, set me on a path that caused me to reject even this excuse for violence. It set me on the path to declare myself a Conscientious Objector against war in any form. I soon realized that my conscience was cultivating my intellect and belief with an ethic of avoiding violence and, where violence against me cannot be avoided, of nonviolent resistance. The process of study, experience, contemplation and inspiration through the lens of an awakened conscience was long and led me to produce numerous versions of my C.O. application. I pored over a significant amount of scripture, most notably, and for the first time, revelation from the Lord to the Saints about war in Doctrine and Covenants 98. I struggled in prayer that the Lord would grant me the humility to personally renounce war, the integrity to live in and proclaim peace amongst a culture of violence, and courage to accept death, if necessary. My efforts were rewarded. In the end, I am happy to say that I conscientiously object to war in any form. I know war in any form to be wrong. I no longer feel pulled between two loyalties, my conscience and my military duty. My loyalty is to my conscience and to my Heavenly Father. For me, protecting the freedom of conscience no longer takes on the form of defensive force, but of nonviolence.
I had not expected my conscience to illuminate and apply truths in so many fields of thought to my objection against war. These fields include my current adult understanding of my faith, my readings in philosophy, law, economics, and politics, as well as in the decisions I make in my daily life. I believe there is light in all things. Not everything in philosophy, politics, economics, or legal theory is true, but I would say that there is much truth in these fields. My conscience exists to help me identify truths where ever I may find them. Conscience is light and it illuminates truth. When I discover and accept those illuminated truths, like the snow ball effect, they become added light to the light of my conscience. As the intensity of my light grows, I am more easily able to discern more and more truth. But this accumulation of truth, I believe, is strongly determined on whether I am willing to embrace and act upon truth when my conscience illuminates it. I believe that failure to act on these truths, which my conscience illuminates, results in a numbing of my conscience. The longer I fail to embrace and act on illuminated truths, the more dim the light of my conscience becomes until it is extinguished. I am dedicated to aligning myself with and acting on the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth where ever my conscience may find it; in politics, economics, law, philosophy, etc., as well as in religion.
It is interesting that the discovery of truths in areas of thought other than my religious beliefs have led to an illumination of those religious beliefs and of the scriptures which support them. Before I entered the Armed Forces and began to read more widely and think about LDS religious material more deeply, I simply did not know there was so much LDS material that supported the ethic I was developing from my reading of law, economics, and philosophy. Ultimately, the belief that illuminated other truths in many fields originated in the LDS view of the War in Heaven, which dealt with mankind’s freedom to exercise conscience. It is my study of this LDS view of the War in Heaven which has illuminated for me truths in other fields and developed not only my religious understanding, but also my ethics. Indeed, my conscience is illuminating all these areas and, after many months of working hard—and successfully—to align these areas with my conscience, I can say that my religious understanding and my belief about ethics are mutually supportive. When it comes to the chicken or the egg (the question of whether it is my religious beliefs or my ethical beliefs that are primary), both are essential. Neither is primary. My sense of right and wrong comes first. The light of my conscience is primary. It is the light of my own conscience that illuminates the meaning for me in LDS religious teachings and also sheds light on the beliefs which develop my ethics. My conscience confirms that my deepened understandings of my religious tradition, of my ethical beliefs, and of how I should live in the world, conduct my life and act are now in alignment. They all reinforce each other, solidifying my opposition to my participating in war.
I am saddened that my conscientious objection to war has come while enlisted in the Armed Forces and not before. But I am happy that it came before the hour of destruction and return of my Lord. As a member of the Armed Forces, I must be constantly prepared to wage war. Readiness for war is a daily task and so war is constantly on my mind. I believe this helped me consider war in context, outside the arena and numbing influence of polemics. It has awakened my conscience and made me confront whether I truly believe war in any form is morally justifiable. It has made me confront what I might do or how I might feel when the time comes to wage war.
3. An explanation as to when these beliefs became incompatible with military service or combatant duties, and why.
In July 2011, while on deployment from April to November of the same year, I had my first VBSS mission. It was during this VBSS boarding that my beliefs became incompatible with military service through experience and not inspiration only. My belief that war is an attack on the life, liberty, and property of individuals, and not a defense thereof, was fully crystallized the moment I suited up, boarded the Leighton and was ordered to rummage through the personal belongings of foreign individuals while either rounding them up as cattle on the ship’s flight deck or having them stand watching in their towels just out of the showers. My conscience was offended and not only was I embarrassed while doing so, I became angry as well. This violation of natural rights was an abuse by force I was ordered to carry out against foreign civilians. I was never more opposed to war in any form than from that time to the present. From experience, my conscience upheld a truth it had recently illuminated in my religious beliefs and readings of law, economics, and philosophy. If life, liberty, and property are to be protected, to war in any form I must conscientiously object.
Knowing that my continued participation in war will require me to act against my conscience and the truths which have been illuminated for me while in the Armed Forces makes me apprehensive about carrying a weapon in war. As a member of VBSS, I had to consider what I might do if a fire-fight broke out. Since I was required to participate on VBSS, to leave my ship to board foreign ships, even to leave my country to enter the waters of a foreign country, to secure compliance from foreign nationals, and to “defend” what I clearly felt were not my or my fellow countrymen’s interests, I would be required to use not only violence, but the greatest degree of violence: aggressive force. I believe boarding, searching, and making seizures on foreign vessels, especially one which demonstrates no threat to me or the ship upon which I serve, while in foreign waters, or even international waters, could incite those boarded, searched or seized to pursue armed, hostile, and retaliatory responses against the peoples of the United States.
In the case stated above, my conscience will not allow me to kill in order to preserve my life or the lives of my fellow team members. I believe I would be in the wrong knowing that I am being required to use violence against individuals who believe they are justified using force to defend themselves. I would be acting contrary to my conscience. I do not believe that the Armed Forces’ exploitation of a soldier’s sense of self-preservation, by ordering a soldier to use violence, justifies the act of killing when victims resist and/or retaliate. Regardless that I have withdrawn my consent to participate in war, the fact that I am being required to use violence against foreign nationals, places me in an unjustifiable position to “defend” myself through the act of killing. As a result of my VBSS experience, and subsequent contemplations thereof, I began preparing my application in early September of 2011. I have gone through numerous versions before I felt it truly expressed what I was thinking and feeling.
4. An explanation as to the circumstances, if any, under which the applicant believes in the use of force, and to what extent, under any foreseeable circumstances.
My conscience requires me to ask myself, “What should I do?” were my life or the lives of those within my community threatened by armed hostile violence. My conscience will not allow me to take life, even in the defense of my person or my community. I should resist sure, but through non-violent resistance and only, if it were my last resort. In Force Protection, it is called active resistance. This means that I should use all options available to me to prevent armed hostile violence, even if it means accepting subjugation. But I should not use force categorized, in Force Protection terms, as active aggression. This I should do so that I would not have to kill or see others be killed (John 18:11, Jesus submits to prevent an escalation of hostilities and the death of His apostles). Jesus admonishes to live a higher law, to give my cloak if a thief takes my coat, to turn the cheek when slapped, and to love my enemies even by giving my life for them (Matt. 5:39-48; Matt. 10:10; Micah 2:8, Save life by resisting not the thief, by having nothing which a thief might want, and by renouncing war). Although I believe submission would be very difficult, it is what I should do if it would prevent killing. Even if the chances of succeeding in my own defense or that of my community through killing are great, rather than kill, I should attempt to reason for peace with those who use violence (Doctrine and Covenants 98:34, Lift a standard of peace to those who seek war against you). I should attempt to resolve any concerns through peaceful negotiation and adjustment (Luke 14:31, Seek negotiation and peace, not war).
However, if the chances of successfully defending against armed hostile violence used against me or my community are slim (Psa. 68:30, Violence will bring war and a scattering of the people), then my conscience directs me to negotiate for favorable terms of surrender to prevent the unnecessary murder of myself or those within my community. If unconditional surrender is demanded (meaning that murder and genocide await me and my community upon surrender), then I would flee (The Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 1:13, 18-19; 1Nephi 2:2, 13, Lehi commanded by the Lord to depart Jerusalem because it will be destroyed due to the violent nature of its inhabitants; The Book of Mormon, Alma 50:21, A violent culture precipitates war, not peace; James 4:1-2; The want of war is a lustful desire and those who have it are enemies of the Lord; Isa. 21:15, Those who fled the destruction of Jerusalem by Babylon lived to see Babylon fall). Finally, if I or my community is cornered and death at the hands of those who use violence is certain, then my conscience tells me to accept the course the Anti-Nephi-Lehies took when war was waged against them. In accepting death, the Lord counted it as righteousness to lose one’s life for one’s enemies rather than to disobey His commands or break their covenants by killing (Alma 24: 5-22, Anti-Nephi-Lehies bury weapons and covenant to make war no more; Doctrine and Covenants 98:23-32, The Lord counts it as righteousness unto those who can bear violence with patience; 2 Sam. 1:27; Isa. 2:4, The return of the Lord will be hastened by the destruction of the wicked in wars amongst themselves and by the renunciation of war by the righteous).
To renounce war and proclaim peace is the standard my Heavenly Father taught the Nephites in The Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi 3:20, 21 and Mormon 3:10-15 (God does not support retaliation, revenge, or retribution) and to the LDS in Doctrine and Covenants 98:33-48 (Saints not to participate in war because vengeance belongs to the Lord). When faced with armed hostile violence from a nation-state, the course I should take is the one which God commands (1 Sam. 15:22, To obey better than killing.) I believe this is the course my Heavenly Father would want me to take. I realize that not all members of the LDS church choose C.O., but some do, and that the church does renounce war and cannot regard war as a righteous means of settling disputes. In the last days before the Lord’s return, it has been revealed that the Lord’s people will be “the only people who shall not be at war” (Doctrine and Covenants 45:69). I want to be counted amongst Zion, not those whose wars amongst themselves surround the Saints (The Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 22:13-14; Isa. 21:9; Matt. 26:52, Those who wage war will find death; Revelations 13:7 Satan surrounds the Saints on all sides with war).
My conscience can no longer justify war on moral grounds. I do not believe in a “just” war. My conscience dictates that armed hostile violence, either in conflict with nation-states or against individuals and civilian communities, defeats the purpose of authority, e.g., Doctrine and Covenants 121:37-46 and 134:2, 4 (Any authority which undertakes to control conscience by denying the free exercise thereof is morally reprehensible). Like one cliché states, “It is not might that makes right, rather right that makes might.” The Lord has demonstrated that His people are not to participate in war and that He will bring an end to war for them in His own due time (1 Samual 8:7-20, Lord admonishes Hebrews against lustful desires to be like the gentiles who are constantly at war; Jeremiah 42:14; Exodus 13:17, Egypt, once a place of refuge from war, developed an attitude for war against the Hebrews. The Lord leads the Hebrews out of bondage and away from war; Exo. 15:3; Ps. 46:9; Ps. 68:30, Lord called “Lord of War” for bringing an end to the armed hostile violence of Egypt against the Hebrews; Doctrine and Covenants 98:37, Lord will fight battles for the Saints who renounce war).
My conscience tells me that armed hostile violence against any nation-state or against civilian populations only incites more war and terrorism. To condone or facilitate the chaos and perpetuation of war through my continued participation in the Armed Forces is unconscionable for me. I believe that to insist upon other nation-states to give me their hearts and minds by using or threatening armed hostile violence can lead only to retaliation against me and, potentially, subjugation of myself and my community to a foreign power. I can no longer be a part of fomenting hostilities by imposing my or anyone else’s ideals on the world. War and my participation therein presently bring retaliation against Christians and LDS the world over, something which I do not believe pleases my Heavenly Father. As a missionary for my church, winning hearts and minds simply did not require that I use armed hostile violence. I believe that it is undoubtedly an evil to compel good through the use of armed hostile violence.
5. An explanation as to how the applicant’s daily life style has changed as a result of the beliefs and what future actions the applicant plans to continue to support his or her stated beliefs.
I use to own guns before I joined the Armed Forces. Upon discharge, I am resolved to never again own guns. Carrying a gun use to give me a heightened sense of security and confidence. There is no way I would ever have shot someone who was not immediately threatening my life. Nevertheless, having owned guns made me more likely to escalate situations. There have been times when I was made fun of, swore at, spit upon, threatened to have my throat slit and even held at gunpoint. I ignored or submitted to the affronts and the situations were quickly defused. I can only imagine that were I to have had a gun and stood up for myself, I might have ended up shooting somebody, being seriously injured, or killed. I am no longer confident or comfortable carrying a gun. The escalating effect of violence, even merely the threat thereof, convinces me that it is safer for me and others that I remain unarmed. I have promised myself that I will never, under any circumstance, cause bodily harm or death to another human being. As one who objects to using violence, I must avoid the temptation to do so that comes from owning conventional weapons. This inspiration afforded by my conscience holds true for the use of violence in general. As a result, my conscience has forced me to reevaluate my lifestyle. I choose routes to walk home more carefully, not to go to certain neighborhoods, not to stay out alone at night, not to associate with individuals who endorse violence, and to end my participation in war. Taking the option of violence away and choosing nonviolence deescalates situations and makes everyone safer. I cannot deny that I am somewhat guilt stricken by the fact that I cannot say “what I should do” is “what I would do” because congruency between action and belief is lacking. (And who, but the hardhearted, would not be guilt stricken knowing they are failing to love others, either by willingly going or being forced to go against what they should do.) Upon discharge, what I should do is what I would do, no longer being constrained by membership in the Armed Forces to do otherwise.
I desire a change in the institution with which I choose to associate. The fact that my conscience is awakened and my religious beliefs deepened places strain on my participation in the Armed Forces. My participation in the Armed Forces has become more platonic, less personal, and is limited. Being part of an institution that glories in war or which, as Admiral Ponds put it, desires to instill “fear in the eyes of those who see us coming over the horizon” is extremely uncomfortable (TMIT/INSURV in February of 2012). This sentiment is offensive to my conscience. It makes me uneasy and this uneasiness defines my participation in the Armed Forces.
The message of my social activism has changed. Where I once was able to endorse war if declared by Congress, I no longer want to limit the times when war is used. I want to eliminate war entirely. My objection to war is no longer selective in the message of my social activism. I want to be more socially active by participating in groups that renounce war and proclaim the gospel of peace. My goals for career and life have equally changed. Where I once could see military service as a morally justifiable stepping stone to further my life’s aspirations, or even make it a career, I no longer feel military service is morally justifiable either as a means to an end or an end in itself. I want discharge for the purpose of pursuing a career that produces goods and/or services which add to the capital stock of an economy and provide for the general welfare of society. My conscience will not allow me to continue employment in a job defined by the use of violence to expropriate the capital stock of an economy, to destroy life or to impose limitations and restrictions upon the self-determination of individuals or of communities.
Less significant changes (which are permitted as a member of the Armed Forces) include a change in the media outlets I frequent, literature I read, and movies I view. I use to get my daily news and commentary from internet websites which endorsed wars declared by Congress, like Spectator.org or HumanEvents.com. Now I frequent websites which promote views more in line with my recently developed beliefs, like Antiwar.com or Mises.org. I use to read apologetic publications that encouraged an international commitment to promoting “democracy,” like Foreign Affairs Magazine or The Pentagon’s New Map by Thomas P.M. Barnett. Now I read publications that denounce war, generally, and which question the morality of nation-building, counter-insurgency, and the use of weapons of mass destruction, specifically, like The Journal of Libertarian Studies and The Costs of War by John V. Denson. My personal views of the gospel of Jesus Christ are more closely aligned to those in literature written by Gregory A. Boyd and John Howard Yoder. Before a change in my beliefs, I enjoyed movies that glorified war, like Patton. My preference for movies is now for those which reveal the depravity and grotesqueness of using violence to compel righteousness, like The Human Condition Trilogy.
6. An explanation as to what in the applicant’s opinion most conspicuously demonstrates the consistency and depth of the stated beliefs that gave rise to the applicant’s claim.
The consistency and depth of my stated beliefs are demonstrated most conspicuously by the very submission of this Conscientious Objector application, to end my participation in war. To continue to share my convictions with others while failing to make any attempt at bringing my actions into congruency with my beliefs would only demonstrate most conspicuously that my beliefs are not sincere, that I have no real desire to live by them or that my conscience is not in control of the decisions I make in my daily life, including my military commitment. For me there exists no such thing as sacrifice by claiming Conscientious Objector status and in applying for discharge. To follow my conscience is to pursue joy and happiness. I have already achieved a cursory peace of mind in formulating my beliefs and in acting upon them by preparing this application. I am happy, but not satisfied.
Approval of this application would mean I can pursue full autonomy in action and belief and develop my ethic of nonviolence into a discipline. It means I can regain control over my life and enjoy the satisfaction of genuine peace of mind. The potential loss of benefits is not a sacrifice at all. They cannot compensate for the emotional and psychological effects associated with a lack of congruency in action and belief. The real sacrifice is the time I have lost cultivating relationships with like-minded individuals. It is the anxiety suffered by my conscience during sleepless nights caused by my participation in war and the offense it gives my Heavenly Father.
I have spent a considerable amount of time and made vigorous efforts to explore my views and feelings on war since my VBSS experience in July of 2011. At first I was not sure what to do about my feelings against war. I decided I would follow my conscience and lift the standard of peace and of negotiation by applying for discharge. Over the next two months, from July to September of 2011, I researched the regulations for C.O. I began accumulating the scriptures which my conscience had illuminated to get me where I am now. I prayed for guidance and help to portray simply, directly, clearly, and concisely my objections to war and the process which brought me to them. The process was long amounting to a total 12 months and producing 22 versions of my application. This was no simple task amidst the remaining three months of deployment, TMIT/INSURV for two months, a month surge to N. Korea, several underway maneuvers to include Pacific Dragon and a second TMIT/INSURV while TAD with the USS Russell, from September 2011 when I started to September 2012 when I finished.
I often had to sacrifice my sleeping hours and liberty hours to finish my application. Each day seemed to present set-backs for me. I continued to feel I was failing to express my feelings and beliefs. Other times I was not sure I had faith that the Lord would fight my battles for me or that I had the courage or the discipline to accept death as a potential consequence of objecting to the use of violence, especially in my defense. I knew forsaking violence was the correct thing to do and like the Anti-Nephi-Lehies, I wanted to covenant with my Lord that I would never use violence again. But I struggled to believe I could follow in Christ’s footsteps, to be humiliated, persecuted, and potentially killed as a result of my conscientious objection. I struggled to believe that I could ever overcome the very real and refined temptation that plagues the greater majority of humanity, of egocentric altruism, of making oneself the personification of a good and blameless cause for which others may justly be made to suffer, of compelling good or of desiring vengeance for injuries and humiliations suffered. It mattered not if the blameless cause personified was my own or if I was merely a tool in the personification of an other’s cause for good; could I overcome where so many others fail? Even though I continued forward, there were times when I just wanted to quit my application and wait until I finished the remainder of my enlistment. I prayed to Heavenly Father to give me courage and strength to finish my enlistment. Instead, and I am happy to say, my Heavenly Father gave me courage and strength to finish my application.