In May 2003, Captain Anthony Horton of the 1st Military Intelligence Battalion received a phone call that would change his life. He was told to pack his bags; he was being reassigned to a unit that had just deployed to Iraq, and the group needed a Chaplain. He soon took a flight straight to Baghdad International Airport and began an emotional spiritual adventure, ministering to American soldiers and to the people of Baghdad, Iraq.
Chaplain Horton quickly met Iraqi families who claimed ancestral lineage to the ancient Chaldeans and Assyrians. One particular group he became familiar with was a group of people claiming to be the original Iraqis, a remnant of those ancient people of Ur, where Abraham dwelt. This group calls themselves the Mandaeans and practice a religion they believe was handed down from Adam to Abraham to John the Baptist.
Wherever Chaplain Horton traveled in Iraq, he spent time among the people, discussing religion and God’s plan of happiness for all of His children. In some of these communities, Chaplain Horton became close friends with the people, being invited into their humble homes to eat from their tables or floors.
After his arrival in the Mideast, Chaplain Horton was also set apart by the Arabian Peninsula Stake President in Kuwait to serve as the 13th member of that Stake High Council, giving him ecclesiastical authority to organize Servicemen’s Groups and to lead soldiers in weekly sacrament services, not to mention the many hours spent providing counsel and advice to many U.S. soldiersboth LDS and non-LDSfrom the various units stationed in Iraq. His account of the many individual miracles among the U.S. soldiers is truly inspirational.
This account and accompanying photos give readers a better understanding of the conditions and struggles the Iraqi people are enduring. Chaplain Horton and other soldiers have been participants in the miraculous opening of the minds and hearts of the Iraqi people, preparing them for the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.
Read an interview on Bella Online
"Anthony W. Horton is a chaplain in the Army. This powerfully inspiring book follows him to Iraq during the challenges of Operation Iraqi Freedom. How do you bring faith, courage, morality and love to men and women who are daily placing their lives in danger far from home? How do you convince them that a Latter-day Saint can have the answers, when they’ve been raised to hate or distrust them?
This is one of the most uplifting books I have ever read. It has taken me a long time to read it because I find I read a bit, and then put it away to ponder. Many of the passages, thoughts and stories lead me on a search for greater answers. Brother Horton’s responsibility is to soldiers of all faiths, and that adds to the challenges and to the need to think deeply about the gospel teachings. During his time in Iraq, he has faced prejudice from other chaplains and from soldiers who have never been expected to receive their religious counsel from a Latter-day Saint. He is frequently called upon to share his beliefs. His explanations of gospel principles reach far beyond the ordinary and will make you see the gospel in ways you never imagined.
One of the challenges Elder Horton faces is that soldiers often fool themselves into believing that “what happens in Iraq stays in Iraq.” This means they convince themselves that they can live in ways contrary to their beliefs and to the vows they have made to family members and it somehow doesn’t count because they are far from home. When they find their conscience has followed them to war, they end up in his office seeking comfort and help as they strive to rebuild the lives they have damaged as a result of their mistakes. Elder Horton’s honest but compassionate discussions of repentance have value for any member who may have strayed but wants to return home.
The glimpse into Iraqi homes and faith is particularly inspiring. He met a group of people who believe they are practicing a faith that has been handed down to them directly from John the Baptist. Some are the only Christians in their area and struggle to keep their faith in the most challenging of circumstances. . .
However you may feel about the war, this is a life-changing book that should not be missed. Meet the Iraqi people in their homes, struggling to keep their faith in times of war, and soldiers working hard to mingle faith with war. How do you find peace when the world is at war, either literally or spiritually? Brother Horton knows the way.