Even unto Bloodshed: An LDS Perspective on War


by Duane Boyce
“A critical text for anybody that wishes to understand Mormon thought on war. — Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture

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Book Description:

When carefully examined, both secular and scriptural arguments for pacifism ultimately fail. Once such pacifist arguments are considered, rebutted, and respectfully set aside, it is possible to construct a sound framework for a scriptural view of war, at least in general terms. Such a framework is not pacifist, but it is anything but aggressive, and includes the quality of heart—not to mention, the wisdom—expected of all disciples of Christ, whatever their task or circumstance. It was not an anomaly when the Lord instructed the Nephites to defend their families “even unto bloodshed;” comprehensively understood, the statement expresses a genuine, profound, and conceptually rich scriptural principle.

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Praise for Even Unto Bloodshed:

“A careful and detailed argument against pacifism has long been needed, and it is hard to imagine someone doing a better job of it. The scholarship in this volume is impressive, and it is likely to be the definitive work on the subject for years to come. Truly a major accomplishment.” — K. Codell Carter, Professor of Philosophy, Brigham Young University

“The question of how (or whether) participation in war can be reconciled with Christian ethics has occupied the minds of such great thinkers as Augustine, Aquinas, and Grotius. Latter-day Saints, however, have given little systematic attention to the matter thus far. But it’s time. This book brilliantly opens a long overdue conversation. Carefully and systematically weighing all of the relevant scriptural texts as well as applicable statements of modern prophets, it will be indispensable for all future Mormon discussions of the subject.” — Daniel C. Peterson, professor of Islamic studies and Arabic at Brigham Young University, founder of the Middle Eastern Texts Initiative, and editor of Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture

“Finally, we have a comprehensive and thorough discussion of war from an LDS perspective. Even Unto Bloodshed is a sustained argument that is impressive in what it delivers. It considers and rebuts a wide expanse of arguments regarding war, including time-honored claims by Hugh Nibley and Eugene England. The book brings to bear every important passage and narrative in the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants and creates a general framework for thinking about war from an LDS perspective. The book is clear, careful in its analysis, and comprehensive in its approach. I highly recommend it!” — Royal Skousen, Professor of Linguistics, Brigham Young University, Editor, Book of Mormon Critical Text Project

Even Unto Bloodshed is a critical text for anybody that wishes to understand Mormon thought on war and stands as a much-needed reassessment of pacifist ideas.” — Morgan Deane, Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture

I recommend this book as an excellent treatment of an LDS point of view of war. Boyce has clearly spent much effort in studying and understanding Book of Mormon and other texts bearing on war and violence and in studying and answering the arguments of those who feel it is a pacifist book. I suggest any that any interested Latter-day Saint buy it and read it. That includes teachers, parents, young people, old people. As for me, I am going to give it to our children for Christmas.” — B. Kent Harrison, SquareTwo

About the Author:

Duane Boyce received his Ph.D. at BYU and conducted his postdoctoral study at Harvard University. He has been on the faculty of BYU and is the co-author of four books. He has also published scholarly LDS papers in BYU Studies, The FARMS Review, The Religious EducatorJournal of the Book of Mormon and Other Restoration Scripture, and Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture. He is a Founding Partner of The Arbinger Institute, a worldwide leadership-training and consulting firm, and Executive Vice President of a large healthcare organization headquartered in California.

More Information:

322 pages
978-1-58958-630-7 (paperback)

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