Christian philosophers and scholars have debated the moral acceptability of war for well over a thousand years. Most accept that war is justifiable under some circumstances — the true pacifists who reject the whole idea of “just war” are a relative minority — so the debate has principally revolved around the jus ad bellum criteria for going to war, and the jus in bello criteria for conduct in war. With regards to preemptive warfare, jus in bello tenets do not explicitly forbid it; but some Christian thinkers and LDS scholars believe that they lean away from it, enough for some to conclude that preemptive warfare can't be justified. However, others believe that preemptive warfare is entirely compatible with Christianity generally and the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ specifically, as demonstrated in Morgan Deane's essay “Kishkumen’s Dagger: First Strike in the Book of Mormon.” In that piece (published in this edition of SquareTwo), Deane proposes that:

“If an enemy shows intent, means, and imminence (however sometimes vague the last might be), like Helaman’s servant, they have a right to strike first with preemptive and even preventive war.”

As alluded in his essay's title, Deane offers the story of Kishkumen's execution by Helaman's servant as primary evidence for that thesis, which he defends through two major arguments:

  1. “The Book of Mormon contains many examples of preemptive war,” and the “lack of editorial dissent” from either Mormon or the Lord declaring them immoral suggests preemptive warfare must be morally justifiable.
  2. We should assess the morality of preemptive warfare against the Caroline Test of 1837.

In this response to his essay, I will address both arguments in defense of the position that the Kishkumen story does not give enough moral guidance to greenlight preemptive warfare in the face of cautionary admonitions against it from ancient and modern prophets.

First Things First: Offensive Warfare vs Preemptive Warfare vs Preventive War

Before addressing Deane's arguments, we must first ensure that we are not conflating offensive warfare, preemptive warfare, and preventive war. The terms are not synonymous and the distinctions matter. In military terms:

Offensive warfare and preemptive warfare aren't just related concepts — the latter is a subset of the former. Preemptive warfare is always offensive warfare, but offensive warfare isn’t always preemptive. So preemptive warfare inherits all of offensive warfare's moral complexities, but as a subtype it may have its own additional issues to consider. Because “prevention” as defined above is a motive for going to war and not a method of warfare, preventive war is a jus ad bellum question rather than a jus in bello issue and should be addressed separately.

Are There Examples of Preemptive Warfare in the Book of Mormon?

I do not believe the Book of Mormon proscribes all offensive warfare. As Deane notes, there are several examples in the book where Nephite armies commanded by righteous leaders go on the offensive, but those campaigns always occur in the context of a larger defensive war, with the Nephites always fighting “to defend their lands and their country, their rights and their liberties” (Alma 43:26) from Lamanites or Gadiantons. Captain Moroni — Mormon's paragon of righteous military leadership — clearly believed that offensive strategies and tactics were justified in defensive war:

… as Moroni knew the intention of the Lamanites, that is was their intention to destroy their brethren, or to subject them and bring them into bondage that they might establish a kingdom unto themselves over all the land;
And he also knowing it was the only desire of the Nephites to preserve their lands, and their liberty, and their church, therefore he thought it no sin that he should defend them by stratagem … (Alma 43:29–30).

Captain Moroni did demonstrate a preference for defensive tactics whenever possible. These included using maneuver to gain an insuperable geographic advantage before battle could commence, then springing the trap and demanding his surprised and surrounded opponent's surrender; or preparing strongly fortified positions to deter an enemy from attacking altogether. But Nephite armies were routinely outnumbered and “the defensive form of warfare is intrinsically stronger than the offensive.” [3] So we should be careful not to declare Captain Moroni's defensive style to be a moral precedent driven by the worth of enemy souls, when a desire to not see his troops butchered in frontal assaults against a larger foe was probably a major factor, if not the governing factor, in his strategic calculus.

We do not see in the Book of Mormon any indisputable example of “righteous preventive war.” At no point do Nephite armies under a righteous leader march into Lamanite territory even during an ongoing war, much less to “break the peace” and stop an enemy invasion before they can cross the border.

Deane cites a few instances that he believes could be interpreted as preemptive, but I believe each is questionable.

If the Book of Mormon offered an unequivocal case of righteous preemptive military action, I don’t doubt that Deane would’ve used it (and I probably wouldn't be responding to his essay now). The fact that he holds up the Kishkumen story, which isn’t a war story at all, indicates a lack of strong evidence for his thesis.

The Question of Mormon’s “Lack of Editorial Dissent”

When referring to several of these stories, Deane notes Mormon’s “lack of editorial dissent,” implying that Mormon must agree with the morality of the actions taken since he doesn’t explicitly denounce them in the text. It’s a “silence equal complicity” argument. I agree that historians infuse their narratives with their own moral views to some degree through editorial decisions of which stories and details to include and exclude. Also, Mormon wasn’t even trying to be unbiased, having crafted his narrative to promote the ideas he describes in the Book of Mormon’s Title Page and in Mormon 3:17–22. That said, I don’t believe that we can just assume that Mormon must have found morally acceptable anything and everything that he didn’t explicitly denounce. I can’t say that Deane is wrong, but I believe that proving a “silence equals complicity” claim would require much more insight into Mormon’s editorial process than we have (which is almost none).

The Restored Gospel's Primacy over the Theories of Just War Scholars

Before Deane takes up the task of applying the Caroline Test to the Kishkumen story, he first takes his fellow LDS national security thinkers to task for “failing to engage the great [Just War Theory] texts that have guided discussion for a thousand years.” This, he says, “seems incredibly short-sighted and, I’m sorry to say, borderline chauvinistic of LDS intellectuals.”

The short history of Mormon thought and the interactions of that thought with just war would benefit immensely from using those thousand-year-old texts, not ignoring them. The great thinkers have wrestled with questions, like the morality of preemptive war, for ages longer that Mormonism itself has existed and that Mormon thinkers have only briefly considered in the last few decades …
The common reason given for ignoring these theorists is that the restoration scriptures create a higher bar than what they see as “neither broad nor comprehensive enough” just war sources. And Latter-Day Saints aren’t beholden to what the “higher bar” scholars imply are fallen or narrow minded Catholic theologians.

As evidence of this "failure to engage," he points to a lack of LDS works on the subject. I question how many such works he imagines LDS scholars could have produced only “in the last few decades.” There's irony in Deane publishing that particular critique in SquareTwo, an online journal initiated by our community precisely because there were no academic or commercial outlets willing to publish a periodical devoted to LDS national security perspectives. Some journals are willing publish the occasional article along those lines, but LDS writers compete for those slots against countless other religious and secular scholars, many writing on subjects of much wider general interest in their fields. As for commercial publishing houses, good luck convincing Deseret Book to publish LDS Perspectives on the Works of Samuel Pufendorf. Our community does manage to get published through secular outlets on occasion, but we’re sailing against the winds of market forces and I don’t expect to see a torrent of publications through those venues any time soon.

So it's ungenerous of Deane to accuse his peers [4] of ignoring those texts. No one is calling on our community to ignore past Just War thinkers on the grounds that they are “fallen or narrow minded.” On the contrary, in my first paper on the subject where, after noting a few cases where “LDS perspective on US history and the Book of Mormon” clash with Just War principles, I said:

This is not to say that these “just war” rules are unhelpful. On the contrary, they often fulfill their purpose, but clearly we Latter-day Saints should not consider ourselves in total agreement with them all the time. [They] are a fine start but without explicit gospel-based benchmarks that define “just” underlying them, those principles will never hold up in all cases. … Accordingly, I propose that the gospel must contain a definition of justice in the restored gospel that can act as that explicit moral benchmark. Any “just” traditions not based upon “justice” as defined by the principles of the restored gospel will inevitably come up against situations where those “just” traditions will fail to offer best guidance. [5]

That is no wholesale rejection of past Just War thinking and conclusion. On the contrary, it's an acknowledgement of their worth, followed by a suggestion that the restored gospel can improve on them. That’s not an irrational idea for an LDS scholar. We believe there was a Great Apostasy, and the resulting loss of truth and revelation led otherwise intelligent, well-meaning Christian thinkers to mingle scripture with the philosophies of men. If we don’t believe the restored gospel can improve on that, then what are we doing here? Do we believe the purpose of the LDS National Security community is to merely figure out how our doctrine can support non-LDS scholars' claims and conclusions? I hope not. To paraphrase Albert Einstein, we can't solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them, and the world has been thinking about "just war" on the levels of Augustine, Aquinas, Grotius and the rest for over a thousand years. Their work has been foundational and uplifting, but Christ expects us to be the philosophical "leaven" that elevates the world's thinking by bringing restored gospel truths to the discussion.

Therefore, historical scholars and theologians cannot be the final authorities on Just War ideals for Latter-day Saints. To say that we shouldn’t consider ourselves beholden to them is not synonymous with “ignore them.” Rather, it means that we shouldn’t consider their conclusions to be morally authoritative and binding on us. I’m all for studying the classics in any given field, and the more the better. We should certainly read their writings, question their assumptions, and dissect their logic. But no matter how intelligent or educated those writers were, how oft-cited their works have been, or how many laws and policies are built on their ideas, they must fall below the 17 Church presidents and 96 apostles called since 1830 on our list of authorities who determine our Just War ideals. If the situation was reversed, could we rationally expect Catholic scholars to hold up Parley P. Pratt and Neal A. Maxwell as higher moral authorities than the Pope and the College of Cardinals? Obviously not, so there’s no other tenable position for us. Prophets, apostles and the Standard Works get the final say on moral questions, including Just War issues.

Judging the Morality of the Kishkumen Story by the Caroline Test

After that critique, Deane proceeds to apply the Caroline Test to the Kishkumen story in support of his thesis. To briefly recap the tale told in Helaman 2:6–9, the Chief Judge's unnamed servant infiltrates a seditious band (later known as the Gadianton Robbers) and learns of an imminent assassination plot against his master, the Nephite head-of-state. The disguised servant intercepts Kishkumen while the latter is en route to commit the murder and claims to be a fellow Gadianton and willing accomplice. Kishkumen accepts the servant’s offer to lead him to Helaman, but at some point on their way to the judgement seat, the servant knifes Kishkumen in the heart, killing him instantly. The servant then reveals the plot to Helaman, who moves to capture the Gadiantons; but they escape, having fled after Kishkumen failed to return within some expected time frame.

We should also briefly review the Caroline Test, first proposed by Secretary of State Daniel Webster in an 1842 letter to British Ambassador to the US Henry Stephen Fox. In 1837, Canadian settlers rebelled against British officials after a train of events that reminded some US citizens of immediate forefathers’ reasons for revolting against the British. The US Government remained officially neutral, but some Americans started privately delivering supplies to the rebels using the steamboat Caroline. Upon learning that, the British launched a night raid into US territory and destroyed the Caroline by setting her on fire and releasing her into the Niagara River to go over the famous falls. During the attack, Canadian sheriff Alexander Macleod shot and killed Amos Durfee, a US citizen. When the US government protested the killing, the British claimed Macleod had acted in self-defense. Webster disagreed and said that to justify a claim of preemptive self-defense, the need to strike must be “instant, overwhelming, leaving no choice of means, and no moment of deliberation.” [6] Later formulations of Webster’s criteria have distilled those criteria down to intent, means, and imminence.

Returning to the Book of Mormon, Kishkumen had already murdered one chief judge, so we can safely assume that he had intent and means the second time. That leaves imminence as the outstanding Caroline Test issue. The four verses we have confirm that Kishkumen was en route to kill Helaman when the servant intercepted him, but otherwise lack enough detail to determine whether the servant truly had “no moment of deliberation.” Deane addresses this by drawing a parallel with the Paanchi story I mentioned previously, arguing that similarities in Mormon’s language in both cases can resolve the immediacy issue.

There are some gaps in the narrative that could suggest Kishkumen was miles and or hours away from the chief judge, which in turn might make the danger sound less imminent and less justified. Changing the narrative to achieve the preferred analytical result is common in debates about anticipatory strikes and is part of the difficulty in determining their validity. That is why it is important to consider the text we do have, which closely mirrors the language and events surrounding the preemptive seizure of Paanchi. Helaman 1 describes an imminent threat as Paanchi was “about to flatter” the people (Helaman 1:7–8). … Just like Kishkumen’s assassination, it is not indicated how imminent his rebellion was. The imprecise immediacy of his rebellion shows us the difficulty of judging how just an action is and suggests caution in inventing potential details to support our preferred arguments. But the threat was close enough for Nephite leaders to order Paanchi’s arrest and execution. Mormon did not editorialize against those actions or record any displeasure from the Lord. This suggests that whatever details we don’t have doesn’t change the underlying rationale and justification for preemptive actions.
Just a chapter later, Helaman’s servant seems to follow the example of Nephite leaders. The chapter about Helaman’s servant used the same language about a threat, with similar preemptive actions, with the same results from the chapter before. Kishkumen formed a plot, moved to execute the plot, and found himself preemptively killed for it. In total, the strong similarity of the accounts suggests that Kishkumen was as close to accomplishing his objectives as Paanchi was in starting a rebellion.

Deane admits that we don’t know how close Paanchi was to starting a rebellion — the text only says "about to" — which is a mile-high problem when trying to determine immediacy. In the context of a sedition plot, "about to" could mean minutes, hours, days, or longer. So after asserting that similar language must mean similar timelines, Deane says:

We don’t know, and again, don’t want to invent details that aren’t in the text. But what we do have still suggests the servant had to wait until the murder was imminent, and then he used the only option available to him, and this made it justified.

But in the context of an assassination attempt where minutes could make or break and immediacy claim, "we don't know" isn't a satisfactory answer. Deane also admits that the Nephites' answer to Paanchi was arrest and a trial, not an on-the-spot stabbing in the street. That doesn't suggest "instant, overwhelming, leaving no choice of means, and no moment of deliberation." So the claim that the linguistic similarity between two passages solves the immediacy problem doesn't hold because the Nephites' response to the threat posed by Paanchi is very different from how Helaman's servant responded to the threat posed by Kishkumen. If the Nephite government had dispatched a soldier to terminate Paachi as he was walking on stage to whip his supporters into a frenzy, Deane would have a much stronger argument. But it does not appear that the Nephite government saw Paanchi as a sufficiently imminent threat to warrant bypassing regular legal processes.

So Deane invokes the "no editorial dissent from Mormon or God" argument again, implying that Mormon may have known other details about the event but they didn't change his mind about the moral rationale of the story, so he didn't bother to include them. We don’t know if that’s true. Deane says we "don't want to invent details" — and he's right — but he effectively does something similar by implying their existence and then proposing that Mormon left them out because they didn't disprove the preemption argument. That's trying to claim the support of (unknown and unspecified) historical evidence that Deane doesn't have, while avoiding the analytical responsibility to show that such evidence aligns with his thesis by asserting Mormon has already done the job. It's quite possible that Mormon may not have had more details to give; [7] or perhaps what he knew was a different moral justification for the servant's actions.

An Alternative Hypothesis for the Actions of Helaman's Servant

At this point, I want to offer an alternate plausible theory, unrelated to the Caroline Test criteria, for why Helaman’s servant might have considered himself morally justified in killing Kishkumen. Consider that:

  1. Kishkumen’s murder of Pahoran, the previous chief judge, had revealed the existence of the Gadiantons to the Nephite government, which began searching for conspirators and “as many as were found were put to death” (Helaman 2:12). That language suggests that the Nephite state was treating the Gadiantons as criminals.
  2. The servant was an agent of the state who answered directly to the Nephite government's highest ranking official and who was engaged in a (successful) covert operation to infiltrate the Gadiantons.
  3. Death was the legal penalty for first-degree murder (including assassination) under the Law of Moses, upon which Nephite Law was based. [8]
… if a man come presumptuously upon his neighbour, to slay him with guile; thou shalt take him from mine altar, that he may die” (Exodus 21: 14).

We can plausibly conclude that Helaman's servant was acting in some official capacity when he put Kishkumen down; and both Nephite criminal and Mosaic religious law decreed the same penalty for murderers. So the servant could have been justified on both grounds in executing Kishkumen at any time and place the servant could reach him, much less during a second assassination attempt.

That's just a theory, but integrates the known facts, invents no details, and explains why neither Helaman at the time nor Mormon centuries later questioned the morality or legitimacy of the servant's actions. And, if correct, the factors of intent, means, and imminence would have influenced the timing of Kishkumen's execution, but not necessarily the servant's moral decision to do it. That doesn't mean the servant’s actions weren't preemptive to some degree, as Kishkumen’s death did ensure Helaman’s safety; but it does suggest that the servant's moral motivations were not what Deane's thesis assumes. Christ has since replaced the Law of Moses with the higher law of the gospel, which imposes a divine mandate on us to use a different moral calculus for determining responses to imminent threats than the one Helaman's servant probably used.

This is a problem for Deane's thesis. The Caroline Test is a variation on Just War ideals, which are based in Christian thought. As such, trying to justify Helaman's servant through the Caroline Test is an attempt to justify a Law of Moses-based action using a post-Law of Moses, pre-Restored Gospel Christian moral framework. That would violate the methodological rule of historical studies that we must evaluate a past person's actions in the context of his culture and beliefs, not ours, to derive the right lessons. If we retroactively superimpose later moral frameworks, such as Just War ideals, on the past, then all we have to do to justify any conclusion we prefer is find a story that lets us checks the right boxes.

Christ's Post-Law of Moses Commandments Regarding Self-Defense

This would mean that the Caroline Test cannot establish the Kishkumen Story as a moral precedent, which leaves LDS preemptive warfare advocates in the position of still needing to justify their position in the face of numerous statements from Christ, apostles, and prophets against being aggressors. Historical Just War thinkers have debated the Biblical injunctions and we won't resolve that debate here. But Latter-day Saints have additional examples of such warnings and injunctions in our other Standard Works. D&C 98 is the most pointed example, notably verses 33–38 (see also vs 23–31 and 34–43).

And again, this is the law that I gave unto mine ancients, that they should not go out unto battle against any nation, kindred, tongue, or people, save I, the Lord, commanded them.
And if any nation, tongue, or people should proclaim war against them, they should first lift a standard of peace unto that people, nation, or tongue;
And if that people did not accept the offering of peace, neither the second nor the third time, they should bring these testimonies before the Lord;
Then I, the Lord, would give unto them a commandment, and justify them in going out to battle against that nation, tongue, or people.
And I, the Lord, would fight their battles, and their children’s battles, and their children’s children’s, until they had avenged themselves on all their enemies, to the third and fourth generation.

Deane recognizes the inherent challenge that these verses pose to justifying preemptive warfare, much less preventive war, and addresses it as follows:

Many Latter-Day Saints wrongly presume that scriptures like section 98 are a strict guide to foreign policy and argue the aggrieved party should receive three attacks before being justified in responding. Discussing the application of this section deserves its own piece, but as Duane Boyce pointed out, even the simplest command is a confusing criterion. While “patiently bear[ing]” three “smites” or “trespasses” (v23, 40), (both of which are more broadly defined than “attacks”,) do you count three bullets, three magazines, or three battles? And how could Helaman “patiently bear” (D&C 98:23), three daggers strike to the heart? Or should America wait to receive three Pearl Harbors, or three dirty bombs from terrorists before striking them? Additionally, many people seem unaware of Abraham’s sneak attack that didn’t follow section 98. Even the individual blessed by a prince of peace (Alma 13:18), didn’t lift the standard of peace before attacking.
Section 98, like the Sermon on the Mount refers to the heart a person should have, and not a prescription for foreign policy. Even the most loving and forbearing person has a God given right to defend themselves. And they have a right to defend themselves by preemptively attack a charging assailant with sword in hand (or more importantly, its modern, often nuclear, equivalent.) The simpler and stronger explanation of section 98, consistent with God’s word and his desire for all mankind to enjoy their rights should be our guide.

I have to disagree. First, the Boyce argument is a Pharisee's argument, nitpicking the details of the commandment to nullify the spirit of the law. The Lord often presents us with general principles and lets us wrestle with their practical application to the real world. If he had given precise definitions as "three bullets" "three battles" or even "three nuclear strikes," some would argue that the commandment didn't apply whenever a type of attack occurred that didn't fit the exact definitions. So the Lord speaks in the broadest general terms so that his directive can be "an ensample unto all people." Our struggle to apply it to specific situations is an invitation for us to seek further revelation from him, not to ignore the commandment and its spirit altogether. Because no matter how we define an attack, when the Lord tells us repeatedly across multiple books of scripture to "turn the other cheek," "love thy enemies," "do unto others," and repeatedly bear injury without responding in kind, the spirit of D&C 98 becomes painfully clear — "Thou shalt not hit thy enemy first."

Second, Section 98 does refer "to the heart a person should have" but it also contains some very plain counsel on how we should act in the face of enemies threatening violence and not just how we should feel. It's not just about our hearts; rather it's ultimately about our choices, and the Lord promises blessings if we forebear, with the blessings increasing the more we return good for evil and peace for war.

Deane then says that we must approve of preemptive warfare because the destructiveness of modern weapons demands it:

… in the modern era, having the means often becomes more important than the imminency of the threat. Keeping in mind the fundamental ethical claims of natural law, if a terrorist group fulfilled the first two criteria, means and intent, but the timing of the attack remained unclear, it would be incredibly dangerous to the point of foolishness and neglect for leaders to wait and accept a single blow or wait until the attack was commenced but not carried out. Instead, as an act of justified self-defense America would be justified in launching an anticipatory strike to remove the threat.

That is, of course, was the same argument that George W. Bush and other senior leaders of his administration invoked to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq. President Bush first phrased it this way:

America must not ignore the threat gathering against us. Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof, the smoking gun that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud. [9]

That tosses the Caroline Test's imminency criteria out the window altogether and argues that means and intent alone are enough to justify preventive war, much less preemptive warfare. But the 2003 US invasion of Iraq demonstrated the danger of thinking we know with certainty a hostile foe's means or intent. As fallible mortals, we must remember that everything we think we know about another’s means and intent could later be proven entirely wrong, leaving us with no moral justification for hostile actions towards them. Raising the possibility of the most negative outcomes is not a fallacy in and of itself, but we must be careful not to lean on such arguments to the point that they become an appeal to fear. Fear twists logic, leading us to see citizens of hostile nations as enemies to be feared and attacked instead of children of God to whom we are commanded to extend Christlike charity and forbearance. Charity and fear of others cannot coexist in our hearts.

For that very reason, the Lord sometimes asks us to adopt a course that appears foolish to the world; and, admittedly, telling our non-LDS counterparts, in face of serious threats, to “Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord” (Exodus 14:13) may be an impossible sell. But for LDS scholars, when God says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord,” (Isaiah 55:8), I suggest that we shouldn't invoke fear as a reason to set His counsel aside and do what appears to the world to be common sense.


While I do believe that offensive warfare in the context of a defensive war can be justified, I believe that the Kishkumen story is not a viable example of morally justified preemptive warfare. Not only is the detail in the narrative too sparse for us to draw firm conclusions need to satisfy the Caroline Test, Helaman's servant would have judged the morality of his decision using a different moral code than the one that underlies Just War ideals generally and the Caroline Test specifically. The lack of detail also suggests that justifying preemption isn't even why the story is in the book — given the importance of such a moral lesson, I suspect Mormon would've included far more details (if he had them) if he'd wanted to show that preemptive warfare can be moral. Accordingly, I don't believe that this single four-verse story about a single law enforcement action carries enough weight to overcome the several other injunctions against preemptive violence given later by Christ in the Bible and modern scripture, and by latter-day prophets and apostles.

We claim that the restored Gospel is for all people, that its principles are applicable to everyone, regardless of culture or other factors, in all circumstances and at all times. It is the only universal moral foundation that can bring real and lasting peace to all of God’s children. So instead of trying to prove that the restored gospel can justify preexisting moral frameworks such as Just War theory or the Caroline Test, I suggest that we should instead be rethinking and revising those frameworks using the restored Gospel as their foundation, and offering them to the world to consider. Latter-day Saint national security scholars should consider whether that kind of task is not part of the Lord’s call for us to “renounce war and proclaim peace” (D&C 98:16) and to “let [our] light so shine before men” (Matthew 5:16). And then, with our own LDS-centric Caroline Test in hand, we might revisit the debate over whether the precepts of the restored Gospel can allow for preemptive warfare in an age of terrorism and nuclear weapons.

Full Citation for this Article: Henshaw, Mark E. "Book Review: “A Response to ‘Kishkumen’s Dagger: First Strike in the Book of Mormon’," SquareTwo, Vol. 16 No. 1 (Summer 2023),, accessed .


George W. Bush. 2005. “Address to the Nation on Iraq from Cincinnati, Ohio, October 7, 2002,” in Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: George Bush, 2002, Book II – July 1 to December 31, 2002. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office.

Clausewitz, Carl von. 1989. On War. Edited by Michael Eliot Howard and Peter Paret. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Henshaw, Mark E. 2003. “Murder to Get Gain: LDS Thoughts on US Elements of National Power,” in Moral Perspectives on U.S. Security Policy: Views from the LDS Community. Edited by Valerie Hudson and Kerry Kartchner. Provo, UT: David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies, Brigham Young University.

US Army. 2022. Field Manual (FM) 3-0, Operations. Washington DC: US Army Training and Doctrine Command., accessed April 2023.

Webster, Daniel. 1848. The Diplomatic and Official Papers of Daniel Webster While Secretary of State. New York: Harper Brothers.


[1] US Army, Operations, 1-8. [Back to manuscript].

[2] A prime example is the Japanese Navy’s raid on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, a preemptive warfare attack that initiated what Tokyo hoped would be a successful preventive war that would eliminate the US’ ability to hinder Imperial Japan’s future expansion in Asia and the Pacific. [Back to manuscript].

[3] Clausewitz, On War, 358. [Back to manuscript].

[4] Despite his earlier general reference to “LDS intellectuals,” Deane uses identical language to criticize my recent 2023 LDS National Security Conference presentation as “severely misguided and borderline chauvinistic.” See (accessed April 2023). [Back to manuscript].

[5] Henshaw, “Murder to Get Gain,” p. XXX. [Back to manuscript].

[6] Webster, Diplomatic and Official Papers, 110. [Back to manuscript].

[7] Mormon wrote his narrative sometime shortly before 385 CE, while the Paanchi story takes place sometime around 50 BCE. That’s a 435-year gap, leaving Mormon and Paanchi as far removed from each other as we are from the Jamestown Colony, William Shakespeare, and the first publication of the King James Bible. We know Mormon had access to the Large Plates of Nephi, upon which Nephite leaders kept a secular historical record; but without knowing what other records Mormon had from that period, it's impossible to even guess at how much detail, if any, he had to leave out of the story. That would depend on the diligence of the original record keepers, so the answer could range anywhere "almost none" to "entire volumes." [Back to manuscript].

[8] For example, see Alma 1:12–15; 30:10; 34:11–12; 3 Nephi 6:29. [Back to manuscript].

[9] Bush, “Address to the Nation on Iraq," 1754. [Back to manuscript].

Full Citation for this Article: Henshaw, Mark (2023) "A Response to “Kishkumen’s Dagger: First Strike in the Book of Mormon” by Morgan Deane," SquareTwo, Vol. 16 No. 1 (Spring 2023),, accessed <give access date>.

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