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Chaplains offer peace amid perilous times

For the estimated 35,000 members of the Church on active duty in the United States military, chaplains are a "Balm of Gilead" during these times of heightened stress, said Rich Whaley of the Church's military relations.

"They live on the front lines with the troops," he said. "They are assigned wherever troops are deployed, from the Pentagon to ships at sea and squadrons in the air. They are the voice of peace in perilous times.

"There are 42 chaplains on active duty who are members of the Church," Brother Whaley said. "They have proven to be stalwart of faith. The chaplain's role increases at times like these and his life becomes hectic. Good chaplains are out among the servicemen spreading peace and strengthening faith. They learn, in new ways, to rely on the Lord."

Speaking from his experience as a chaplain and a trainer of chaplains, Brother Whaley noted how many of other religions will turn to members of the Church at times of stress. "They are not always able to define what they see and feel in [associating with] members," he said, "but they recognize a difference in the confidence and calm of members."

Most of the member chaplains serving in active duty and reserves, except those recently deployed as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, attended the annual chaplain seminar in Salt Lake City sponsored by the Church's Military Relations Department held the week following October general conference. They received encouragement and counsel from Church leaders, including Elder M. Russell Ballard and Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve during a week of workshops and meetings.

"Our servicemen and women and their families do not need to fear," Brother Whaley said. "The Lord is in charge and chaplains will offer spiritual strength and support."

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