Partaking in Freedom

There are many in this country and throughout the church that don’t believe religion and politics should ever intermingle. However, a cursory study of the scriptures proves that it is important that we make our thoughts, beliefs, morals, and principles known to our politicians.

In Doctrine and Covenants 134, we read:

1 We believe that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man…
2 We believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life.
3 We believe that all governments necessarily require civil officers and magistrates to enforce the laws …
4 …we do not believe that human law has a right to interfere in prescribing rules of worship to bind the consciences of men, nor dictate forms for public or private devotion; that the civil magistrate should restrain crime, but never control conscience…
5 We believe that all men are bound to sustain and uphold the respective governments in which they reside, …and that sedition and rebellion are unbecoming every citizen thus protected…
6 We believe that every man should be honored in his station: rulers and magistrates as such, being placed for the protection of the innocent, and the punishment of the guilty; and that to the laws, all men owe respect and deference, as without them peace and harmony would be supplanted by anarchy and terror…
7 We believe that rulers, states, and governments, have a right, and are bound to enact laws for the protection of all citizens in the free exercise of their religious belief…
8 We believe that the commission of crime should be punished according to … the laws of that government in which the offense is committed…
9 We do not believe it just to mingle religious influence with civil government, whereby one religious society is fostered, and another proscribed in its spiritual privileges, and the individual rights of its members as citizens, denied.

These are prophetic words that apply to our time today.  There are such things as “bad” laws. Can LDS Church members be involved in changing them and how should they do so? The answer is a resounding “yes.”  President Grant said we merely need to “Uphold the right, though fierce the fight, [which] should be the motto of every Latter-day Saint.” Even so, it is generally our duty to obey the law, especially if that law has been through the courts.

Latter-days Saints are loyal Americans. Politically, they are republican, democratic, independent, libertarian, and a wide-variety of other parties. LDS soldiers have fought and died in all the major wars of the last century. We have fought and died in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We believe the U.S. Constitution to be an inspired document.  We believe in being loyal citizens. We believe in solving problems through legal means. We uphold the law, but will work hard to correct bad or inadequate laws.

In Book of Mormon times, corrupt governments were overthrown and tossed out.  In Alma, we read that Moroni’s army and people suffered greatly because of a wicked and slothful government.  Story after story in that book tells of the downfall of the righteous because of the wickedness of an unchecked government.

In 1833, the government heavily persecuted members of the church.  We are advised to be politically active.  D&C 98:8–10 states

8 I, the Lord God, make you free, therefore ye are free indeed; and the law also maketh you free.

9 Nevertheless, when the wicked rule the people mourn.

10 Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil.

So, what can we do?  President Ezra Taft Benson gave us an idea of at least where we can start.

1. Keep your own families strong.  Part of the downfall of our society has been the increase in divorces and separations among married couples.  A nation that values the institution of marriage and loyalty and dedication to one’s spouse at home is a nation that can handle the stresses of life outside the home.

2. Live by the fundamental principles of work, thrift, and self-reliance and to teach your children by your example.  Our youth today are being raised to think that self-reliance is not an important trait.  We are taught that there are no consequences to our actions—that the government will provide for us.  While it is convenient that there is a government in place to assist in our times of need, our children should be brought up knowing that such reliance comes at a price.  That price is liberty.  When you rely on others for your comfort and wants, THEY set the rules by which you are required to live your life.

3. Learn about the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and other basic documents of our great country so that you can sustain it and the free institutions set up under it. The Constitution of the United States was inspired by God.  D&C 101:80 tells us the Lord established the Constitution “by the hands of wise men whom [he] raised up unto this very purpose.”  If you value your freedom, you must inform yourself about what this document means and the liberties it provides.  You must defend those rights for yourself and others, whether you agree with them or not.

4. Seek out good, wise, and honest men for public office, and then support them with your vote.   We are in the political, economic, and social situation we are in today because we have not voted for people that share our values.  There is a prevailing wisdom that in most elections, we have only two choices.  It is incumbent upon ourselves to look into the lives, beliefs, values, and opinions of the people we elect to any public office.  We need to be active in our local elections just as much as our national elections.  We must attend City Council meetings, if possible, and get involved in decisions being made on our behalf.  Many of our national problems can easily be solved at the state or local level.

5. Strictly heed the commandments of God, particularly the Ten Commandments. We also need to keep before us the truth that people who do not master themselves and their appetites will soon be mastered by others.

If we as Latter-Day Saints wish to enjoy the liberties and freedoms we experience today, we have to make our collective voices known and stand up for our values.  We must not neglect the responsibility of demanding accountability from our government and electing people of strong moral character that will vote for righteous laws.  If our voices aren’t heard, you can be guaranteed that the voices of those desires and values contrary to ours will fill the vacuum.  In order to continue to enjoy freedom, we must partake in it!

Image: Water of Mormon – LDS Media Library

2 comments

  1. Just a little commentary on D&C 134 From Joseph Fielding Smith in Doctrines of Salvation vol. 3 p 195

    “I hold in my hand a copy of the Doctrine and Covenants published in 1869, one of the last before that article was taken out. Do not forget what I am going to tell you, that at this conference held on August 17, 1835, Joseph Smith and Frederick G. Williams, one of the counselors in the Presidency, were not present; they were in Michigan. That is a matter of recorded history. We know where they were because we have it in the documentary history of the Church. 31

    Article on Marriagea-Smith, Joseph FieldingTP195So this article on marriage and this article on laws and government in general were written by Oliver Cowdery in the absence of the Prophet Joseph Smith, and the Prophet knew nothing of the action that was taken ordering them printed with the revelations. These were not revelations, never were so considered, were ordered printed in the absence of Joseph Smith, and when Joseph Smith returned from Michigan and learned what was done-I am informed by my father, who got this information from Orson Pratt-the Prophet was very much troubled. Orson Pratt and Joseph F. Smith, my father, were missionary companions; they traveled together, and my father learned a great many things from Orson Pratt of these early days. When the Prophet came back from Michigan, he learned of the order made by the conference of the Church and let it go through.”

    And from Joseph Fielding McConkie In Revelation of the Restoration, the introduction to D&C 134

    “On 17 August 1835, a conference of the Church was held in Kirtland, Ohio, to examine and approve the compilation of revelations that had been prepared for publication in the Doctrine and Covenants of the Church.

    After the priesthood quorums and the congregation had voted unani mously to accept these revelations for publication, W. W. Phelps arose and read an article on marriage. This was voted on and ordered to be published with the revelations. Then Oliver Cowdery arose and read the article on laws and governments that constitutes this section. It too was accepted for publication in the Doctrine and Covenants. Neither article was accepted as a revelation or thought to be other than a general expression of belief. Oliver Cowdery was the author of both articles.

    Joseph Smith was not present at this conference. He and Frederick G. Williams were on a short mission to Michigan. He did not learn about the inclusion of these two articles until his return. He did not approve of either action but chose to respect the vote of the conference (Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 3:195). The article “Marriage,” which was written before the revelation known to us as Doctrine and Covenants 132 was committed to writing, was dropped from the Doctrine and Covenants in the 1876 edition. Section 132, which contains the Lord’s law of eternal marriage, was added at that time.”

  2. The USA and almost every country on earth have, as their official civic religion, Marxism.

    Most Mormons are practicing Marxists: See the Communist Manifesto’s ten planks and it is clear that most Mormons lend aid, sympathy and assistance to this Civic Religion of Marxism.

    Most Mormons pay the voluntary Marxist 2nd plank income tax.

    President Grant warned members that Social Security is in direct opposition to the teachings of Christ and yet members flock to voluntarily get Social Security numbers for themselves and children. The elderly Mormons flock to get Socialist Social Security benefits which enslave them.

    A man will not recognize the inequalities around him and voluntarily, through the gospel plan, come to the aid of his brother, he will find that through “a democratic process” he will be forced to come to the aid of his brother. The government will take from the “haves” and give to the “have nots.” Both have lost their freedom. Those who “have,” lost their freedom to give voluntarily of their own free will and in the way they desire. Those who “have not,” lost their freedom because they did not earn what they received. They got “something for nothing,” and they will neither appreciate the gift nor the giver of the gift. Teachings of Howard W Hunter pg 169 Publisher: Bookcraft (1997)

    President Benson was clear that Social Security is Socialism.

    The chief weapon used by the federal government to achieve this equality is through so-called transfer payments. This is a term that simply means that the federal government collects from one income group and transfers payments to another by the tax system. These payments are made in the form of Social Security benefits, housing subsidies, Medicaid, food stamps, to name a few. President Ezra Taft Benson, 1987 AD

    “How can sons and daughters… agree to a scheme [Social Security?] which would make their fathers and mothers the objects of public organizations that help the poor and cast the burden of their support on the community and stigmatize them with the loss of independence and self-respect.” President Monson, First Presidency Message, Guiding Principles of Personal and Family Welfare 1986 AD

    Mormons, like the Nephites of old have embrace the plans of modern-day Ganianton Robbers (Socialist/Fascists) if not with their hearts and minds (and many have embraced it with those) then with their own actions.

    In General Conference, October 1951, President David O. McKay stated: At heart communism is atheistic, and fascism is equally antagonistic to freedom and to other Christian principles—even denying the divinity of Jesus Christ and the existence of God.

    Mormons have enslaved themselves and placed the chains of tyranny upon themselves and their children.

    [A]s a nation we ignored the warning signals which preceded the great depression; we were also unready to face the onrushing realities of Fascism and Communism—whereas today many are blind to the dangers of self-oppression, the chains we put on ourselves, which is the real tyranny of our time. Neal A. Maxwell, 1972

    Many Mormons, if not most American Mormons, will lose their salvation because they will not oppose socialism. The First Presidency was VERY clear about this Mormon problem that has only become worse since they warned us.

    As God’s children all, and as brothers and sisters in Christ, we must as a matter of spiritual responsibility and pursuant to positive divine command care for the helpless, the unfortunate, and the needy. Furthermore, it is essentially a neighbor to neighbor obligation. It is not a function of civil government. This is fundamental…. Viewing all of these things it will be easy for you to understand that the Church has not found it possible to follow along the lines of the present general tendency in the matter of property rights, taxes, the curtailment of rights and liberties of the people, nor in general the economic policies of what is termed the “New Deal”. … This we feel we can definitely say, that unless the people of America forsake the sins and the errors, political and otherwise, of which they are now guilty and return to the practice of the great fundamental principles of Christianity, and of Constitutional government, there will be no exaltation for them spiritually, and politically we shall lose our liberty and free institutions…. The Church as a Church does not believe in war and yet since its organization whenever war has come we have done our part…. we do thoroughly believe in building up our home defenses to the maximum extent necessary, but we do not believe that aggression should be carried on in the name and under the false cloak of defense. We therefore look with sorrowing eyes at the present use to which a great part of the funds being raised by taxes and by borrowing is being put.…We believe that our real threat comes from within and not from without, and it comes from the underlying spirit common to Naziism, Fascism, and Communism, namely, the spirit which would array class against class, which would set up a socialistic state of some sort, which would rob the people of the liberties which we possess under the Constitution, and would set up such a reign of terror as exists now in many parts of Europe. We confess to you that it has not been possible for us to unify our own people even upon the necessity of such a turning about, and therefore we cannot unfortunately, and we say it regretfully, make any practical suggestion to you as to how the nation can be turned about. Faithfully yours, /s/ Heber J. Grant, J. Reuben Clark, Jr., David O. McKay. (First Presidency letter to U.S. Treasury, September 30, 1941 AD)

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