Though I am not generally in the habit of making movie recommendations, there is a new film coming to theaters this weekend that I’d like you to be aware of. The film is “Hacksaw Ridge.” It is the true story of US Army medic Desmond Doss, a Seventh-day Adventist who was a conscientious objector during World War II.
Though he refused to carry a weapon, Doss nonetheless sought the opportunity to serve as an Army medic. He single-handedly saved the lives of over 75 of his fellow soldiers while under heavy enemy fire during the Battle of Okinawa. For this extraordinary act of courage he was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Harry S. Truman—the first conscientious objector to be so honored, and one of only 431 people to receive the Medal of Honor, out of nearly 16 million who served in the armed forces during World War II.
Desmond Doss served his country in one of the most violent battles of the war, and the events that are recreated in the film include very violent portrayals of war at its most savage and bloody—something you should know before seeing the film. Nonetheless, I believe the film effectively communicates his true character and his spiritual commitment.
As I grew up in an Adventist family, the story of Desmond Doss became very familiar to me. His faith, patriotism, and courage were often held up as examples of true bravery and true faithfulness. This new film was not produced by the Adventist church, although I believe it reflects an individual’s commitment to his country while still honoring his own personal faith.
It is rare that faith is portrayed so vividly in popular movies. I am hoping that as a result of the release of this film, many people will be inspired by the story of Desmond Doss—both his faith and his heroism. For a childhood hero from my own religious tradition to be presented in such a compelling manner is quite remarkable, and it is something I wanted to share with the readers of the Mission Moment.