Serving in the Military: Is It Compatible With LDS Values?

We have a little more than two years to go before we have to decide whether or not Oliver is reenlisting. For many reasons, this is not going to be an easy decision. At this point, I have no idea what Oliver is going to choose, nor which side of the fence I am standing on. At the center of my struggles with this has been the question of whether or not the military lifestyle is compatible with staying true to what we believe. After having watched more than one friend leave the Navy because they wanted more family time, I have been left wondering that if we choose to stay, we are somehow putting less value on our family than they are.

Serving in the military means the family takes a backseat to duty. We've spent countless birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays apart. Our oldest child entered the world while his daddy was fathoms deep in the Pacific ocean. He didn't meet his son until he was six weeks old, and then deployed again when he was 6 months old for almost four months. These were all things we'd expected in one way or another, but knowing that didn't dampen the grief in any way when they happened. If we stay in, we can expect to experience more of the same. So is reenlisting actually wrong? Would we be disobeying all that gospel doctrine concerning the family if we stay Navy?

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