Desmond Doss: A Testament to Faith and Resilience Amidst Conflict

Desmond Doss: A Testament to Faith and Resilience Amidst Conflict

Private Desmond T. Doss, a Seventh-day Adventist, embodies an extraordinary tale of faith, courage, and sacrifice that came to life during one of World War II’s most ferocious confrontations, the Battle for Okinawa. His narrative, accentuated in the critically acclaimed film “Hacksaw Ridge,” provides a nuanced exploration of an unconventional hero’s fervid faith and the conviction that spurred his outstanding acts of bravery.

Debuting at the Venice film festival on September 5, 2016, “Hacksaw Ridge” was met with an exceptional 10-minute standing ovation, a rare honour at Venice, underscoring the potent influence of one man’s Christ-like character.1 “Hacksaw Ridge” extends beyond the realm of a traditional war narrative by rendering an unfiltered portrayal of Doss’s strong religious convictions. His steadfast belief in life’s sanctity, mirrored by his relentless adherence to his faith even amidst severe discrimination and the spectre of court-martial, echoes the quintessential ethos of the Seventh-day Adventist community. Doss’s life chronicle embodies Christ-like virtues, including kindness, patience, love, and unyielding conviction.

Despite its R-rating and stark depictions of war, “Hacksaw Ridge” was greeted with a ten-minute standing ovation at the Venice film festival. This response is an indelible testament to the transformative power of Doss’s life. As David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter insightfully remarked, the film is a “forceful comeback… a violent drama about pacifism that succeeds in combining horror with grace.”3 It emphasises that the brutal reality of war should neither be muted nor sanitised while concurrently illuminating Doss’s unwavering compassion for his fellow soldiers.

Doss’s boundless bravery, manifested as he returned into the fray to save lives, can only be ascribed to enduring love. Alone on the ridge following a failed Allied attack, he responded to a plea for help. Unperturbed by the looming danger, Doss tirelessly laboured through the night, saving a minimum of 75 wounded men. This touching moment in the film, where Doss prays, “Please Lord, help me get one more, just one more,” is a potent reminder of the Adventist faith’s dedication to service and empathy.

“Hacksaw Ridge” provides the Seventh-day Adventist community with an exceptional opportunity to interact with the world of cinema, offering a conduit to express their faith. The film enables a deeper exploration of Doss’s story and invites a broader audience to investigate the Seventh-day Adventist faith, recognised for its compassion, courage, and conviction in life’s trials. This initiative aims to stimulate conversations about shared beliefs and promote proactive engagement in our faith, bringing “just one more” into the sphere of love and hope underpinning our convictions.

In conclusion, “Hacksaw Ridge” transcends the boundaries of a conventional war film. It embodies the potency of faith, celebrates a hero’s courage, and provides thoughtful introspection on the Adventist faith’s resilience. Desmond Doss’s legacy is a beacon of hope and inspiration, compelling us to remain steadfast in our beliefs, even in adversity. His narrative prompts us to seize every opportunity to propagate Doss’s legacy through engaging in discussions and acting as peace advocates in a world frequently punctuated by conflict.

1 Nancy Tartaglione, “Mel Gibson’s ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ Rivets With 10-Minute Ovation At World Premiere – Venice,” Deadline, 5 September 2016,

2 “Desmond Doss Council,” n.d.,

3 Harry Windsor, “Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge Premieres at Venice to (Mostly) Raves – IF Magazine,” n.d.,

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