Military service of Latter-day Saints in wartime will be the topic of this week’s Tuesday devotional at Brigham Young University. The March 15th speaker will be Professor Dennis Wright of the Department of Church History and Doctrine.
The topic of Dr. Wight’s address will be Courage in a Season of War. Dr. Wright is associated with the Saints at War Project at BYU that is dedicated to preserving the legacy of Latter-day Saint service in the military. Organized in the year 2000, the Project has accumulated over 1,700 accounts of LDS veteran’s of modern conflicts. The Project is also a partner in the national Library of Congress, Veteran’s History Project in Washington D. C.
In the past, the success of the Saints at War Project at BYU has hinged on the sharing of personal stories and accounts of veterans who have served in times of war. The future of the Saints at War Project is more closely tied to sharing such stories from family histories and the ability of people to dig up and share stories of ancestors who gave military service in the distant past. For those Latter-day Saints who served in conflicts from the Mormon Battalion involvement in the Mexican-American War to World War I it is too late to interview them personally to learn of their experiences. For this chapter in history, Project directors are going to have to rely on the posterity of those who served.
The current objectives of the Saints at War Project are to compile the stories of past veterans as provided by their descendants. The goal of the Project for the next two years will be to learn of these stories and to publish them in both documentary and book form to an audience eager to learn of such service. The release of the film and book are planned to coincide with the opening of a special exhibit at BYU to commemorate the 65th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor and U.S. involvement in World War II in the fall of 2006.
The reality is that very little is understood of Latter-day Saint service in the Civil War, the Spanish-American War and World War I, in particular. There is an urgent need for such information. If anyone would like more information on how to participate in the Saints at War Project, please call 801-422-2820 or email Bob Freeman at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Project maintains a website which provides key information as well. Those wishing to view the site can go to: http://www.saintsatwar.org/
The public are encouraged to view this devotional and to participate in this ongoing research. Anyone who is interested in participating with the Project is encouraged to call 801-422-2820 for a free information packet. The Saints at War Project has also established a website for those interested at www.saintsatwar.org.
Air times for this devotional will be March 15, 11:05 a.m. (MST), live broadcast, KBYU and BYUTV; March 27th rebroadcast, 6 a.m. and 11 a.m. (MST), KBYU, and 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. (MST), BYUTV.