Alyssa Peterson, Mormon, Stood Against Torture

April 24, 2009 at 7:46 am | Posted in American politics | 4 Comments

Few Mormons have spoken out against torture. Few took stands of any kind. It is quite sad, because torture is so strongly against our principles and values. One Mormon did stand against torture. Alyssa Peterson. I don’t know how many remember her story, but some do. She was a Mormon soldier in Iraq who, in 2003, was ordered to use these torture techniques on Iraqi detainees. She refused. Greg Mitchell has more:

I am reminded of the chilling story of Alyssa Peterson, who I have written about numerous times in the past three years but now with especially sad relevance. Appalled when ordered to take part in interrogations that, no doubt, involved what we would call torture, she refused, then killed herself a few days later, in September 2003.

Of course, we now know from the torture memos and the U.S. Senate committee probe and various new press reports, that the “Gitmo-izing” of Iraq was happening just at the time Alyssa got swept up in it.

Alyssa Peterson was one of the first female soldiers killed in Iraq. A cover-up, naturally, followed.

Peterson, 27, a Flagstaff, Ariz., native, served with C Company, 311th Military Intelligence BN, 101st Airborne. Peterson was an Arabic-speaking interrogator assigned to the prison at our air base in troubled Tal Afar in northwestern Iraq. According to official records, she died on Sept. 15, 2003, from a “non-hostile weapons discharge.”

The military, of course, covered up her actions and didn’t tell her parents that she killed herself because she didn’t want to torture prisoners.

I don’t want more Mormons to commit suicide to send a message, but we can speak out more. Torture is anti-Christian. Torture is against the principles of the Gospel. Yet torture is approved of by most Mormons. How can this be?


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  1. Maybe because the lesson too many members took from the Helmuth Hubener incident is that it’s “always wrong” to speak out against your country.

  2. I don’t know about that incident. What’s the situation?

  3. This link ( should tell you all you need to know, and then some.

  4. I was astounded when those of my LDS faith supported Mitt Romney AFTER he stated that he would “double Gitmo”.

    Such a profound disrespect for social justice shocks me, especially when the founder of our faith, Joseph Smith, was unjustly imprisoned numerous times and finally shot to death (along with his brother, Hyrum).

    I wish people would go back and study a bit of Church history and return to our roots instead of embracing the “political Gods” of this new century.

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