Quaker House suggests that there are three tasks to master to apply for conscientious objector status: to decide, to discern, and to document.
Reaching a decision about your conscientious objector status is based on considering your beliefs. this process is a soul searching that is part of reaching a decision about your conscientious objector status – well before the draft is reinstated.
These are some of the questions to ask yourself.
- Can you express your deepest beliefs clearly and concisely?
- What do you believe about God?
- What are your beliefs about what God requires of you?
- What are your thoughts about the kind of a world that God wants us to support and maintain?
You may find it useful to examine any statement of creed that your denomination holds to, and see what that statement suggests. You can Google terms you aren’t sure you understand, and ask your clergyman to talk with you, and help you formulate a statement of what you believe. Is your objection to military service primarily focused on violence and killing, or is the focus more on “love your neighbor”?
The central document you need to prepare for the draft board, if you decide to apply for Conscientious Objector status, is the CO letter, addressed to the Draft Board laying out your beliefs and how you came by them. It is important that this letter is sincere and straight-forward, phrased in your own words and consistent with your words and actions.
Ideally, an applicant for C.O. status will formulate a letter to the Draft Board around the time of required Registration for the Draft (age 18) and will reconsider and reformulate (if necessary) that letter every couple of years until the age of 26, when the draft age expires (or at least has in the past).
We discuss this letter on this page.