My Dad only spanked me once. It was either with a shoe or a belt, I can’t remember, but as I cried he teased me and said my singing (crying) sounded pretty. I was 14 when a male authority figure held my head against a wall and punched me in the face so hard it knocked me out. I remember once being whipped with a vacuum cord by that same adult. I was 17 when I saw someone get shot for the first time. It’s strange that the first thing I noticed was the smell of gun shot. The next thought I had was, “I didn’t know a bullet could do that.” It looked like flesh, blood, and jeans all mixed together. I saw my first stabbing years after that. That was the worst. I’ve been shot at more than once (it doesn’t take much of a man to pull a trigger) but it takes a monster to look someone in the face and repeatedly stab them. Such an act is mind-blasting. I’m inclined to be physical. I’ve had my share of scuffles. I’m certainly not innocent in matters of violence. These types of stories usually make people very uncomfortable. I almost never talk about them. There’s usually no reason. Most judge me in one way or another for my past and it always stings. It is what it is I guess.

So why am I sharing all of this? So that you might know that I’ve seen first hand the horrors of violence. With that unique perspective let me say without equivocation that violence is evil. It is horrible and amoral. It cannot in any way be reconciled with the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. No way whatsoever. None.

Including and especially torture or enhanced interrogation techniques.

So what about those two Mormon guys who had a role in the torture of some of God’s children? If I were to venture a guess I imagine they did what they did because they see violence and the associated fear, pain, and suffering in the abstract. There’s no reference point for them. It’s all cerebral and academics. To be frank, I couldn’t care less, except to say that I hope things work out for them. I’m sure healing, forgiveness, and mercy will come. I’m positive God understands the why’s of it all and will succor them in this difficult time.

But let me be clear, as a special witness to the horrors of violence, torture is evil in every way. There is no way to justify it. THERE IS NO WAY TO RECONCILE THE TORTURE OF GOD’S CHILDREN WITH THE LIFE AND MINISTRY OF JESUS CHRIST! You can dance around the definition of torture all day, but the light of Christ will convict you. Violence is wrong. Surely God, and his children, can find ways to peaceably work through life’s issues. To be sure, God is a God of peace and love, and will not co-sign the evil practice of torture. His divinity, and the divinity within us, testify of these simple facts. There is but one way to identify a disciple of Jesus Christ, and that is that’s he or she  has love for one and all. There are no qualifiers. No exceptions.

As one who has seen the evils of violence, trust me when I say, violence is a violation of our infinite responsibility to all of those within our circle of influence. Love and peace are always the answer.

 

There are surely individuals who for one reason or another lack the ability to discern truth from error, and in those unique circumstances I am happy to surrender judgment to God.

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Viliami is married with 4 daughters and currently resides in South Jordan Utah. I love Bob Marley more than Brigham Young but not as much as Joseph.

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