Conscientious Objection and Community of
1. The church has from its earliest beginnings strongly affirmed individual
free will, conscience, or what is sometimes called agency. This also applies
to the question of military service. The right of individuals to be sincerely
motivated conscientious objectors, and register that objection with church
headquarters, has existed by World Conference Resolution since 1960 (WCR
1020:3). That right has been affirmed several times since in 1968 (WCR
1061:IV), in 1970 (WCR1087: IV, VII), in 1974 (WCR 1129), in 1982 (WCR
1177:VI), and in 1996 (WCR 1249). At the same time the church has affirmed the
conscientious right of those who choose to serve in the military. As the 1996
resolution puts it:
[A] person making a decision of conscience either to participate or not to
participate in military service has the respect, the support, and the
ministry of the church.
The World Peace Committee for 1998-2000 produced a leaflet for church
members and friends who are citizens or permanent resident aliens in the USA.
Called “Conscientious Objection and Military Service," it outlines the
various options available for conscientious objection and military service. A
registration form has also been produced whereby a young person can register a
statement of conscientious objection to military service with the Church
Secretary in the First Presidency’s office at World Church Headquarters.
Advice is also available from a both military and pacifist perspectives by
contacting Peace and Justice Ministries at World Church Headquarters.
All men aged 18-25 in the United States are legally obligated to register
with the Selective Service. Although nobody is currently being drafted in the
U.S.A. the Selective Service System has procedures and regulations currently in
force that can be implemented by the U.S. government. It helps a young
person’s case if they can present evidence of a well-thought-out
conscientious stand if called before a draft board. Registering a stand with
the church is one such piece of evidence of a thought-out conscientious
It is possible to obtain copies of this leaflet and the registration form
from by writing to: Conscientious Objection, Peace and Justice Ministries,
1001 W. Walnut, Independence MO 64050 or calling (816) 833-1000.
For other nations the Peace and Justice Ministries office is willing to
work with local church members to develop appropriate procedures within that
nation. A list of nations and their position on military service and
conscientious objection can be found at web site of based on a report from the
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva,
Free subscriptions to the Herald are also available for active-duty
military personnel. Call Herald House at 1-800/767- 8181 for more information.
Both conscientious objectors, as well as those serving in the military,
will continue to have access to the full ministry of the church.
Resources for further study: Military
Service, Pacifism, and Discipleship