Sixty years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki were destroyed with atomic bombs, my family was blessed with the friendship of a wonderful Japanese woman who stayed with us for a few days before returning to the region of Kanonji, a sister city of Appleton, Wisconsin. She made a remarkable impression on us with her kindness and graciousness. Her heavy suitcase was loaded with gifts and amazing food for us – what a cook! And what a friend we found in her. We learned so much and hope to meet her again.
On this anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki in her native land, my recent delightful encounter with Japan makes me all the more pensive about the bombing. I cannot help but ponder the horror of wasting entire cities in warfare. I know the arguments for the bomb, the arguments about how it was needed, but I don’t accept them. Surely there was another way. Surely if Captain Moroni had been around, things would have been different. Captain Moroni, that valiant general from Book of Mormon times who loved liberty and despised bloodshed, was a righteous man who found brilliant solutions to win battles without the need to slaughter opponents. Surely he would have been appalled at the suggestion of bombing entire cities.
Today, while trying to clean my basement office in preparation for an open house on Sunday (in honor of my son Daniel who departs soon on a mission to Nevada), I ran across an old magazine article my mother gave me a couple years ago about the bombing of Japan. It’s an article from a very conservative magazine, be warned, but I think it raises some important points (about halfway down especially) that call into question the need to bomb a nation that was already offering to surrender. But whether that article is right or wrong, I cannot get over the horror of entire cities of people like my new friend from Japan, and people like my own family, being incinerated with nuclear weapons. Of course, whether it’s 100,000 people all at once or 100,000 people one at a time in different parts of the world, each untimely death from war, crime, or other factors is worthy of sorrow and remembrance – each soul counts. Each crime or act of brutality makes this earth less than it should be.
How terrible the trauma that we inflict on one another! How much the world needs righteous leaders like Captain Moroni to resist war and bloodshed. The terror of modern warfare and the daily individual inhumanity of man would overwhelm us all with despair were it not for the true and living hope provided by the Hope of Israel, Jesus Christ, who has conquered death and will wipe away the tears of those who mourn and come unto Him. We must endure many sorrows now, but there will be victory, life, hope, and mighty reunions of joy thanks to Him and His infinite Atonement. Truly He is the Messiah. How much we need Him now.
May the horror of atomic warfare never be seen again on this earth – but that wish may be vain. Hundreds of millions have been slaughtered in the past century – whether it is done with bombs or machetes, it is terrible enough. We must mourn and seek to stand for the principles of life and charity embodied in Captain Moroni or, much more perfectly, in the true Captain of our souls, Jesus Christ.