Printed on: November 11, 2012

Doing our duty

Contrary to what was said and written prior to the election, serving an LDS mission is not seen as a way to avoid military service, writes Reed Moss.

Recently on "The View," Whoopi Goldberg, conversing with Ann Romney, seemed to be of the opinion that members of Mrs. Romney's faith try to avoid military service. Ed Marohn, in an Oct. 18 column for the Post Register, made a similar assertion about Mitt Romney. This is not correct. Following are a few examples to the contrary. I cite these particular ones only because I know the facts quite well.

My cousin was serving a mission in Texas when Pearl Harbor was attacked. Upon release from his mission, he married the girl he had left behind and lived with her for three months, then went into the Army Air Corps and underwent intensive training to be a turret gunner on a B-17 Flying Fortress. He was allowed to come home and see his newborn son for 30 minutes before he was sent for further training and then on to Europe. On his first flight over Berlin, his plane was shot down.

Through the efforts of a devoted mother and a supportive stepfather, his son graduated from law school and eventually became a district judge for the Seventh Judicial District in Madison County. Several years after the war, his father's remains were found and brought home and buried with full military honors in the Ririe/Shelton Cemetery.

My brother was serving a mission in Hawaii when Pearl Harbor was attacked. When he returned home, he was drafted into the Army. He was shipped to Europe where his unit fought in the Battle of the Bulge and helped free prisoners from concentration camps.

I was sent on a mission to war-torn West Germany shortly after World War II when the Korean War erupted. Upon my release, I was drafted into the Army and was trained to be a "special agent" in the Army Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC), where I was then told that because of my knowledge of the country and my fluency in the German language, I was going to be assigned to V Corps in Frankfurt. There I worked, either in uniform or undercover as circumstances dictated, with the West German police and intelligence services, and with the CIA and FBI countering espionage and sabotage activities of the Soviet Union and East German Stasi because the Cold War had heated up.

Serving a mission is considered a duty for young men of my faith. Serving in the military is also considered a duty. Both involve sacrifices. Marriage, education and careers are usually put on hold. But there can even be a special benefit to the military after one serves a mission because thousands of young people return home fluent in foreign languages. Many also seek careers in the intelligence and diplomatic services.

Moss is a retired Idaho Falls attorney.