Most of you have heard by now about the raid on the Yearning for Zion Ranch. There’s some excellent coverage at Messenger and Advocate.

I’ve been watching this anxiously for many days. As a 5th-generation Mormon, descended myself from polygamous families, and as the person I am (personal history, opinions, experiences and such), this hits a very sore spot.

Yesterday, I’d had enough. I was going to start a letter campaign. I was going to tell the Governor of Texas, my Congressman, the ACLU and anyone else I could think of exactly what I thought of the situation and I was going to encourage anyone who would listen to do the same. I was sure I was in the right. As I said my prayers last night, I asked for guidance, for help saying the right words.

The response was not what I’d expected. Instead of feeling uplifted and supported, I felt cautioned. I felt that, while He appreciated my willingness to go to bat for these other people, He also thought I should stay out of it. Not in a “this isn’t your fight” way but almost in a “this is not in accordance with My plans” way.

His plans? Surely, He can’t want what’s happening, right? But “My ways are not your ways,” He has said, “and My thoughts are not your thoughts.” So I pondered.

This history of the FLDS is longer and more involved than this but the gist is that it was formed in 1935, contrary to the counsel of the Prophet. Faithful Mormons believe that the Prophet speaks to us the will of the Lord. So it could be said that the FLDS did defy and are defying the will of the Lord. Yes, He gave us polygamy as a principle. But He also said “For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things.”

Could the YFZ raid be simply a consequence of disobeying the Lord? “For whom the Lord loves, He chastens.”

He certainly chastened the Hebrews. The Persians and the Babylonians are just the most famous examples of the outside forces that came to bear and turned the Hebrews back to their God.

As Nephi learned, being a tool in God’s hands isn’t always about putting a smile on a care-worn face. Sometimes it’s about cutting off someone’s head.

I don’t find this to be a particularly comforting thought. But perhaps that’s the point. Maybe we’re not supposed to be comfortable in this role. Nephi didn’t want to kill Laban, but did so because the Lord commanded him. Perhaps the Lord could command Nephi to do so because He knew Nephi would not want to kill again. The Lord’s plan for His children may sometimes call for things that look evil to us — like invasion — but that serve a larger purpose. He may need us to do things we’d rather not; that doesn’t mean He wants us to like them. If we were comfortable with these actions, if we liked them, then we’d be tempted to do them all the time. If we liked them, we might not bother to stop.

But when we don’t like them, we question. We question whether to start and we worry about when to stop. Maybe that’s exactly what God needs in His tools. Even as He uses us to show His love to others, He needs us to show the same love. “Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy.”

There’s a lot of suffering going on right now. Homes and other sacred spaces have been violated. Mothers weep for empty arms and children weep for their mother’s embrace. But there have been, for many years, indications that all is not well in Yearning for Zion. This raid may be wrong in many ways; it may also be necessary.

So as I watch the coverage from YFZ, I wonder. As the stories of conquest made their way to the homeland, did some Babylonian woman gnash her teeth and decry the unrighteous acts she heard of? Did a group of Persians somewhere give of their time or goods to help the conquered people?