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Articles of War

Before being “sworn in” publicly under the Salvation Army* flag, a soldier must be converted, serve a period as a recruit, be accepted by the local corps board, and sign the Articles of War. This document blends Methodist doctrines of holiness with a measure of military discipline. The recruit declares that he or she “now, and forever, renounces the world with all its sinful pleasures, companionships, treasures and objects . . . no matter what I suffer, do or lose. . . .” Other articles include abstinence from alcohol, baneful drugs, “low and profane language,” “impurity,” and “the reading of any obscene paper or book”; renunciation of “deceit or dishonesty” and of “oppressive, cruel or cowardly” behavior; and pledge to give everything to the “salvation war,” and to obey the lawful orders of officers and carry out “all the orders and regulations of the Army.” Within this framework of total obedience the Army keeps strict discipline with the aim of setting its members free to concentrate on their Christian service. In recent years there has been some evidence of restiveness, particularly on the part of the younger generation.