This Time Without Weapons

Repurposing the Book of Mormon for Community of Christ today – Elray Henriksen

Journeying to Nonviolence

You may have started on a difficult trek. Most of us did that also before you. Like most journeys, it probably started with a crisis, an injustice, or even a calling to do more. You were challenged to the core of your being. You didn’t recognise it first for what it was. Now in retrospect, you understand it as a mental pioneer trek, a spiritual journey back to where your faith fathers and mothers once imagined the fulfilment of the promises that God had made unto them. In that place, peace would be restored. The kingdom of peace would be built. It was promised that “The place which is now called Independence, [would be that] Center Place”.

Your Independence

You are not literally, or at least not for now, trekking back to Independence, Missouri. But you are in search of independence of thought and independence of being you previously did not know existed. Still – you don’t know for sure. However, you are tired of those things that do not resonate with you any longer, or that sit with difficulty. How do you go about challenging those things? Nomo’ is dedicated to challenging attitudes towards war and violence through the use of the Book of Mormon together with illustrations that speak to the given scripture. Readers of the Book of Mormon most often overlook the message of nonviolence and the absolute rejection of war and violence that must follow from the reading of the Book of Mormon.

Lamoni or Moroni?

If someone came back from the dead with the mission to testify of the horrors of violence and war – would you rather believe the last survivor of an extinct people long gone or would you believe the sole king who converted to nonviolence, and who laid down his weapons of war? What story would be more compelling? The fantastic story of the Book of Mormon presents you with the first alternative. From the perspective of the last survivor of an extinct people, you get to witness how it went with two peoples who believed in redemptive violence. Although the peoples also experienced peace, love and happiness in their chronicled history – because of their belief in Christ that either would or did come – their fate as peoples was sealed when Nephi cut off the head of Laban. Now, today, we have the choice between Lamoni and Moroni: between nonviolence and nonexistence.

No More of This!

Choose therefore nonviolence. In Luke 22:49-52, we read: “When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear. But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.

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This Time Without Weapons

This companion reader in nonviolence, as found in the Book of Mormon, can support you on your journey to Independence, to the Center Place. Know that the Book still speaks! When read through the lenses of the life and story of the nonviolent Jesus in the New Testament, the Book of Mormon speaks new truths to our society today: a message of nonviolence, of peace, of a journey back to where we came from, to Independence. This time without weapons and without violence!

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