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Billboard: Why did LDS leader say Mormons are warlike?

Published April 5, 2012 6:45 pm

Politics • Sign on I-15 references Kimball's article "The False Gods We Worship."
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Since Friday, drivers on southbound Interstate 15 have been confronted by an LDS Church leader's claim that "we are a warlike people."

The billboard, paid for by a group of libertarians and constitutionalists, asks "Why did [LDS Church President] Spencer W. Kimball say: 'We are a warlike people'?" It directs readers to a website that goes into more detail on Kimball's remark.

Connor Boyack, a conservative blogger and author from Lehi, said the purpose of the billboard was to get Mormons to think about their support for America's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"There is an [LDS] scripture that says to renounce war and proclaim peace," Boyack said. "But we think there is a lot of [Mormons] renouncing peace and proclaiming war."

The quote on the billboard references an article Kimball wrote for the church's Ensign magazine in June 1976, "The False Gods We Worship."

In the article, Kimball chastises church members who place worldly riches and desires before the gospel. He also claimed that people were too quick to clamor for war instead of proclaiming Christ's message of peace.

"When enemies rise up, we commit vast resources to the fabrication of gods of stone and steel — ships, planes, missiles, fortifications — and depend on them for protection and deliverance," Kimball wrote.

While Boyack has noted that GOP candidate Ron Paul has spoken out against war — and been ridiculed for it — and Mitt Romney has supported U.S. military actions, the billboard is not endorsing a particular candidate.

"We're looking to not change who gets elected, but change the minds of the electorate," Boyack said.

So far, he said he has received emails from people who agree and disagree with the message. And he's soliciting funds to keep the billboard up another month.

The billboard doesn't appear to be causing much political or spiritual strife.

Utah County Republican Chairman Dave Acheson said he hasn't seen the billboard, nor has anyone talked to him about it.