Wednesday, February 29, 2012

LDS SEAL's?

Why Warriors?

"But, Bro. Peters, aren’t warriors blood-thirsty killers & adrenaline junkies that get a thrill out of hurting people?"

Well...NO…they are not.

Let me tell you a personal story.

In my line of work, I have to occasion to work with members of the United States Military organizations.  Across the board I have been impressed with the level of professionalism, respect and genuine kindness they have shown to me and my co-workers.  They are some of the finest people I’ve ever met.  I sincerely wish that more of us would be like them.

One individual in particular struck me with his demeanor, his genuine personality and his intelligence.  He wasn’t a huge, muscular guy but you could tell he was physically powerful.  I wasn’t around him for very long, but I instantly took a liking to him and I had two distinct thoughts/feelings around him.  The first was that I’d like to have spent more time with him…the kind of guy you’d like to hang out with.  The second was that he could easily kill me at any moment.  The power of his presence carried with it the sense that you did NOT want to mess with this guy…he could more than take care of himself.

Later, I found out that he was a Navy SEAL.


I was so impressed by this guy (and others that I have subsequently met and worked with) that I began a study that has become a personal hobby.  I wanted to know what kind of man it takes to become one of these elite warriors.  What I’ve found is incredible.  If you want to know what goes into their selection, training, and missions there are a lot of good books out there, I can highly recommend Lone Survivor by Marcus Lutrell and The Warrior Elite by Dick Couch as a starting point.  Be warned though that once you start reading about these warriors you will be hooked.

Let me tell you just a little bit about Navy SEALs...

To even be considered to become a SEAL you must meet certain requirements.  First off you must be male and you have to be in the Navy (there are a few exceptions for Marines and Coast Guard).  You must pass a rigorous physical test that includes:

•    500 yard swim in under 10 minutes
•    80 push-ups in 2 minutes
•    80 sit-ups in 2 minutes
•    11 dead hang pull-ups
•    1.5 mile run in less than 10 minutes (in combat boots and long pants)

If you pass this test, along with a psychological/mental evaluation, you are admitted to the BUD/S program.  BUD/S stands for Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL, it is the school where warriors are selected for the SEAL teams.  It is an 18 month process where the men are tested physically, mentally and in a way spiritually to see if they have what it takes to be the best of the best.  Most classes begin with about 120-140 candidates and end with about 20-30 men still  vying for a spot.  Quitting is completely voluntary.  Almost 80% never make it.  The Navy only wants the best.  One of the most grueling and demanding parts of this training is what is widely known as “Hell Week”.  One week of sheer torture where the candidates for the SEAL teams endure sleeplessness, strenuous physical tests, challenges, freezing temperatures and the constant stream of harassment from their trainers.  This one week sees more men quit than any other.  What is fascinating is that you can have two nearly identical men who are fit, smart and up to the challenge, but one will quit and another will not.  I believe it is because one has that spiritual component to his existence while the other doesn’t. That component that says “I will not give up…and I will die before I quit” that comes from deep inside.

When a man completes BUD/S, he is qualified to enter the SEAL teams.  His training will go on. In really his training will never end.  SEAL’s train constantly. That is part of what makes them so good at what they do.

There is a saying among the SEAL teams that goes: "To find us you must be smart. To catch us you must be quick. To kill us you must be kidding". They are simply the best of the best. They are the elite. They define what it means to be a warrior.

So why is that important?  How does all this apply to the priesthood?

I’m using the example of Navy SEALS to talk about what it means to be a warrior…so let’s apply this all to being a Priesthood Warrior.

In the US Navy there are about 450,000 active duty men and women.  Out of that total only about 2500 are SEALs.  That is less than 1%.

If you take the population of the Church (@ 14 million) about 55,000 are full-time missionaries.  That is less than 1%. 

If you take a look at my home page, there is a quote from the Greek philosopher Heracletus that says that the real Warrior is that 1% individual that defies the odds and brings his brothers home.  Isn’t that our job as bearers of the Priesthood? To bring our brothers home with us?

The Lord has called us his “Warriors” (D&C 105:16, D&C 101:55) Prophets have called us Warriors… we are warriors… we fight spiritual enemies with ferocity and diligence.  We go behind enemy lines to rescue our brothers and sisters from the darkness of the world.  We train and plan our work diligently and we cannot accept defeat.

If you have any doubt about this calling to be warriors…go back a listen to Elder Jeffery R. Holland’s talk from the Oct. 2011 General Conference. http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2011/10/we-are-all-enlisted?lang=eng

So now you kind of understand “Why Warriors”…now it’s time to get to work becoming one.