Archive for the ‘LDS’ Category

My Easter Message

John 8:31-36
31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
33 They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?
34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.
35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.
36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

The ultimate purpose of Christ’s mission was to make us free through his sacrifice and resurrection. Free from sin and ultimately free from power and control of others. Through him, those in bonds (spiritual and temporal) may become free.

The U.S. Constitution was divinely established by Him to assist in fulfilling this purpose. Fourth President of the LDS church Wilford Woodruff said of those that framed the Constitution, they “were the best spirits the God of heaven could find on the face of the earth. They were choice spirits. . . .” (Wilford Woodruff, CR, April 1898, p. 89). Today we face a great challenge in defending these noble and moral men. There are those who would tear down Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, and others, calling them immoral and trying to expose some type of filth that they never engaged in. If they had, they would not have been selected for such a work. The false notion that so many of them were deists also propagates through our education system. A brilliant new book called “Walking in Darkness at Noon-Day | The Cunning Plan to Destroy the Agency of Man” by John C. Greene addresses some of these points. The book has a lengthy chapter on addressing the Deist issue and contains some fantastic information about our founders that I had never before seen. I encourage you to get a copy because you and your children won’t be getting this in public schools. It is an LDS oriented book, but this particular chapter (which is about 60 pages) contains so much good information on debunking the falsehoods that you may want to pick up a copy even if you’re not LDS.

Do we really value freedom? I wonder sometimes when I see the number of people who claim such, but only want it for themselves and not for others. The LDS church members in particular will someday have to account for what they did in the fight for freedom since they have a greater light and knowledge concerning the true nature of the fight. Our beliefs in a pre-mortal war in heaven that continues on earth today should serve as a clear warning of the nature of this conflict and yet far too many are willing to take the wrong side in the battle today. Clear warnings from prophets of God have served as preparation for this fight and yet they are dismissed by some as irrelevant or in the past as if that somehow erases the fact that those things were ever said.

We would never go to our neighbors and tell them when to fill their gas tank up, what to teach their children tonight, what time to turn their lights off, what occupation they should prepare for, etc… Yet far too many are willing to let government overstep the powers WE GAVE IT and tell people how to do these very things. If we can’t tell people how to do these things, we cannot allow government to do them. We delegated powers to the government so it cannot do something we cannot do.

In the beginning when Satan sought to destroy our agency (our gift from God to choose how to live), there was only a simple choice we had to make. Would we let others risk losing their eternal salvation by giving them their choice, or would we force everyone to make the right choices, destroy agency, and deny everyone the opportunity for personal growth through opposition? That same battle is raging today in the form of communism and socialism. Those who embrace those principles are in reality, listening to the wrong spirit and fighting the spirit of God. They would rather try and prevent a failure through force, than encourage success through true freedom.

I have shared this quote elsewhere but it is particularly relevant to this post. In the April 1965 General Conference of the LDS church, Elder Ezra Taft Benson, an apostle of God, quoted President David O. McKay, God’s mouthpiece and prophet on the earth at that time.

Hear his words: “No greater immediate responsibility rests upon members of the Church, upon all citizens of this Republic and of neighboring Republics than to protect the freedom vouchsafed by the Constitution of the United States.” (Cited in Jerreld L. Newquist, Prophets, Principles and National Survival [SLC: Publishers Press, 1964], p. 157.) As important as are all other principles of the gospel, it was the freedom issue which determined whether you received a body. To have been on the wrong side of the freedom issue during the war in heaven meant eternal damnation. How then can Latter-day Saints expect to be on the wrong side in this life and escape the eternal consequences? The war in heaven is raging on earth today. The issues are the same: “Shall men be compelled to do what others claim is for their best welfare” or will they heed the counsel of the prophet and preserve their freedom?

In the Book of Mormon, a letter from Pahoran, the ousted/exiled governor of the Nephites, to Captain Moroni, the general of the armies conducting a war and dealing with both external and internal threats, expresses the truth that the Spirit of God is the spirit of freedom.

Alma 61:15 Therefore, come unto me speedily with a few of your men, and leave the remainder in the charge of Lehi and Teancum; give unto them power to conduct the war in that part of the land, according to the Spirit of God, which is also the spirit of freedom which is in them.

It may not surprise anyone that my favorite song has always been “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Even as a young child I always loved patriotic holidays because sometimes we would sing that hymn. The lyrics are particularly poignant and this third verse is the summation of my Easter message.

“In the beauty of the lilies,
Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in his bosom
That transfigures you and me.
As he died to make men holy,
let us live to make men free,
While God is marching on.”
-Julia Ward Howe (modern lyrics differ from Julia’s original wording, most particularly in this verse is her phrase “let us die to make men free”)

I’ll close with a rendition of this song I found this which contains a touching gallery of images set to this wonderful song, as well as my testimony that God lives and is returning. It is our solemn obligation to demonstrate our faithfulness to God by defending the truth and freedom he has given us, both spiritually and temporally, according to our capacity and opportunities the Lord sets before us.

H. Verlan Andersen Books and Prophets Speak Out on Socialism

After Hans Andersen (son of the late H. Verlan Andersen) spoke in Highland a couple weeks ago, I got to speaking with him and he later gave me a digital copy of his father’s book collection and permission to distribute them to anyone that wants a copy. You may download a copy, but only if you click the Facebook “Like” button to the right so I know how many people have downloaded these books. :)

H. Verlan Andersen Book Collection (Zip file contains 6 books: The Great and Abominable Church of the Devil; Many are Called but Few are Chosen; Moral Basis of a Free Society; The Proper and Improper Role of Government; The Book of Mormon and the Constitution; Life and Teachings of H Verlan Andersen)

From one Appendix in the book the Moral Basis for a Free Society, I found this great list of quotes from every prophet in the LDS church except President Monson who was not the prophet when the book was published in 1995.

Appendix IV
Who Opposes Socialism

At one point in my life I attempted to find justification for the position taken by members who opposed President Benson, and whose opposition to him did not slacken, one whit, even after he became the prophet.

Hans V. Andersen, Jr.

Joseph Smith

Wednesday, 13. I attended a lecture at the Grove, by Mr. John Finch, a Socialist, from England, and said a few words in reply…

Thursday, 14. I attended a second lecture on Socialism, by Mr. Finch; and after he got through, I made a few remarks, alluding to Sidney Rigdon and Alexander Campbell getting up a community at Kirtland, and of the big fish there eating up all the little fish. I said I did not believe the doctrine. (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 6, p. 33)

Brigham Young

We heard Brother Taylor’s exposition of what is called Socialism this morning. What can they do?Live on each other and beg. It is a poor, unwise and very imbecile people who cannot take care of themselves. (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 14, p. 21)

John Taylor

…the world have generally made great mistakes upon these points. They have started various projects to try to unite and cement the people together without God; but they could not do it. Fourierism (authors note: Francois Fourier was a French socialist and writer), Communism — another branch of the same thing and many other principles of the same kind have been introduced to try and cement the human family together. And then we have had peace societies, based upon the same principles; but all these things have failed, and they will fail, because, however philanthropic, humanitarian, benevolent, or cosmopolitan our ideas, it is impossible to produce a true and correct union without the Spirit of the living God, … (John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 18, p. 137)

I was speaking, a while ago, about the people there being divided into three classes. One of them you may call infidel, under the head of socialism, fourierism, and several other isms. Communism is a specimen of the same thing, … (John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 1, p. 23, August 22, 1852)

Wilford Woodruff

You may wish to know why I make these remarks. I will tell you. Because God himself grants this right to every human being upon the earth irrespective of race or color; it is part of the divine economy not to force any man to heaven, not to coerce the mind but to leave it free to act for itself.He lays before His creature man the everlasting Gospel, the principles of life and salvation, and then leaves him to choose for himself or to reject for himself, with the definite understanding that he becomes responsible to Him for the results of his acts. (Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 23, p. 77)

Lorenzo Snow

In things that pertain to celestial glory there can be no forced operations. We must do according as the Spirit of the Lord operates upon our understandings and feelings. We cannot be crowded into matters, however great might be the blessing attending such procedure. We cannot be forced into living a celestial law; we must do this ourselves, of our own free will. And whatever we do in regard to the principle of the United Order, we must do it because we desire to do it …The United Order is not French Communism. (Lorenzo Snow, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 19, p. 346, 349-350)

Joseph F Smith

…We must choose righteous men, good men to fill these positions. Hence if you will only get good men to fill these offices no one should care who they are, so that you have agreed upon them, and were one. We want you to be one both in temporal, political and religious things, in fact, in everything you put your hands to in righteousness. We want you to be one, one as God and Christ are one, seeing eye to eye. Do not try to crush anybody, or build yourselves up at the expense of your neighbor. Do not do it; it is a custom of the world, and it is a wrong principle. (Joseph F. Smith, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 25, p. 251)

Heber J. Grant

…Among the Latter-day Saints they speak of their philosophy and their plans under it, as an ushering in of the United Order. Communism and all other similar “isms” bear no relationship whatever to the United Order. They are merely the clumsy counterfeits which Satan always devises of the gospel plan. Communism debases the individual and makes him the enslaved tool of the state to whom he must look for sustenance and religion; the United Order exalts the individual, leaves him his property, “according to his family, according to his circumstances and his wants and needs,” (D&C 51:3) and provides a system by which he helps care for his less fortunate brethren; the United Order leaves every man free to choose his own religion as his conscience directs. Communism destroys man’s God-given free agency; the United Order glorifies it. Latter-day Saints cannot be true to their faith and lend aid, encouragement, or sympathy to any of these false philosophies. They will prove snares to their feet. (Heber J. Grant, J. Reuben Clark Jr., David O. McKay, The First Presidency, CR, April, 1942, p. 90)

George Albert Smith

Consider the condition in the world, the number who are determined to take from the rich man not what belongs to themselves, but that which belongs to the others. God has permitted men to get wealth, and if they obtained it properly, it is theirs, and he will bless them in its use if they will use it properly …

We must not fall into the bad habits of other people. We must not get into the frame of mind that we will take what the other man has. Refer back to the ten commandments, and you will find one short paragraph, “Thou shaft not covet.” That is what is the matter with a good many people today.

They are coveting what somebody else has, when as a matter of fact, many of them have been cared for and provided with means to live by those very ones from whom they would take property. (President George Albert Smith, Prophets, Principles and National Survival, p. 343 [compiled by Jay Newquist], CR-10/49:171-2)

God gave this nation the Constitution. No nation in the world has a constitution that was given to it by our Heavenly Father except the United States of America. I wonder if we appreciate that. The Lord gave us a rule of life for this great nation, and as far as we have lived up to it and taken advantage of it, the nation has grown, and the people have been blessed. But there are many people who prefer, or at least they seem to prefer something else.

As one man said to me, “Why not try what Russia has tried and what Germany has tried?” And my answer to him was, “Why try something that has already failed? Why not hold on to what the Lord has given?” (The Teachings of George Albert Smith, Bookcraft, Salt Lake City, [1996], p. 171)

David O. Mckay

We are placed on this earth to work, to live; and the earth will give us a living. It is our duty to strive to make a success of what we possess — to till the earth, subdue matter, conquer the globe, take care of the cattle, the ‘locks and the herds. It is the Government’s duty to see that you are protected in these efforts, and no other man has the right to deprive you of any of your privileges. But it is not the Government’s duty to support you. That is one reason why I shall raise my voice as long as God gives me sound or ability, against this Communistic idea that the Government will take care of us all, and everything belongs to the Government. It is wrong! No wonder, in trying to perpetuate that idea, they become anti-Christ, because that doctrine strikes directly against the doctrine of the Savior…

No government owes you a living. You get it yourself by your own acts! — never by trespassing upon the rights of a neighbor; never by cheating him. You put a blemish upon your character the moment you do. (David O. McKay, Statements on Communism and the Constitution of the United States, p. 23)

During the first half of the twentieth century we have traveled far into the soul-destroying land of socialism … (David O. McKay, Gospel Ideals, p. 273)

Joseph Fielding Smith

We have all been taught the doctrine of personal free agency and that no individual is ever compelled by force or other means to comply with divine edicts and philosophy. We have been informed that a long time ago in the pre-existence there was a rebellion in heaven, and because one notable character, who had been entrusted with great authority, rebelled and led many away with him, he had to be cast out of the kingdom. However we should remember that every principle and law existing in the celestial kingdom has been proved to be perfect through the eternities through which they have come. If any individual proves himself worthy for the exaltation in that kingdom, it will be by strict obedience to every principle and covenant here existing. Therefore we may be assured that every law and principle thereunto pertaining is perfect and cannot be amended or discarded because of it perfection. (Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, Vol. 4, p. 69)

The modern trend of the nations is towards dictatorship. It is taking form in two great camps, but, nevertheless, the direction is the same, although it is being reached by different routes. On the one side the direction to make an end of all nations, is through communism; … (Joseph Fielding Smith, The Progress of Man, p. 397)

Harold B. Lee

There are some things of which I am sure, and that is that contrary to the belief and mistaken ideas of some people, the United Order will not be a socialistic or communistic setup; … (Harold B. Lee, Stand Ye in Holy Places, p. 280)

Now, keep in mind with all the crowding in of the socialistic reform programs that are threatening the very foundation of the Church, we must never forget what the Lord said, “that the church may stand independent above all other creatures beneath the celestial world” (D&C 78:14). Whenever we allow ourselves to become entangled and have to be subsidized from government sources — and we think that it’s the expedient way to do business in this day — or when we yield to such pressures, I warn you that government subsidies are not the Lord’s way; and if we begin to accept, we are on our way to becoming subsidized politically as well as financially. (Harold B. Lee, The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, [1996], p. 314-15)

Spencer W. Kimball

…Assume that you become the world leader of Socialism and in it have marked success, but through your devotion to it you fail to live the gospel. Where are you then? Is anything worthwhile which will estrange you from your friends, your Church membership, your family, your eternal promises, your faith? You might say that such estrangement is not necessarily a result of your political views, but truthfully hasn’t your overpowering interest in your present views already started driving a wedge? (0/0/45) (Spencer W. Kimball, Teachings, pp. 408-409)

Ezra Taft Benson

The fifth and final principle that is basic to our understanding of the Constitution is that governments should have only limited powers. The important thing to keep in mind is that the people who have created their government can give to that government only such powers as they, themselves, have in the first place. Obviously, they cannot give that which they do not possess.

By deriving its just powers from the governed, government becomes primarily a mechanism for defense against bodily harm, theft, and involuntary servitude. It cannot claim the power to redistribute money or property nor to force reluctant citizens to perform acts of charity against their will. Government is created by the people. The creature cannot exceed the creator. (Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, Sept. 1987, p. 8)

No true Latter-day Saint and no true American can be a socialist or a communist or support programs leading in that direction. (Ezra Taft Benson, Title of Liberty, p. 190)

Our nation will continue to degenerate unless we read and heed the words of the God of this land, Jesus Christ, and quit building up and upholding secret combinations, … (Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, July, 1988, p. 80)

We must keep the people informed that collectivism, another word for socialism, is a part of the communist strategy. Communism is essentially socialism. (Ezra Taft Benson, This Nation Shall Endure, p. 90)

Howard W. Hunter

… we know from both ancient and modern revelation that Satan wished to deny us our independence and agency in that now forgotten moment long ago, even as he wishes to deny them this very hour. Indeed, Satan violently opposed the freedom of choice offered by the other, so violently that John in the Revelation described “war in heaven” over the matter. (Rev. 12:7) Satan would have coerced us, and he would have robbed us of that most precious of gifts if he could: our freedom to choose a divine future and the exaltation we all hope to obtain …

To fully understand this gift of agency and its inestimable worth, it is imperative that we understand that God’s chief way of acting is by persuasion and patience and long-suffering, not by coercion and stark confrontation… (Howard W. Hunter, That We Might Have Joy, pp. 77-78)

Gordon B. Hinckley

I am confident that it was out of what he saw, the bitter fruit of dictatorship that he developed his strong feelings, almost hatred for communism and socialism. That distaste grew through the years as he witnessed the heavy handed oppression and suffering of the peoples of eastern europe under what he repeatedly described as godless communism. These experiences further strengthened his love for the land of his birth …

He never got over his boyhood love for freedom. Rather, it grew within him. Nurtured by what he saw of oppression in other lands, and by what he observed first hand of a growing dominance of government in this land over the lives of the people. (Gordon B. Hinckley, Talk given at the funeral of Ezra Taft Benson, June 4, 1994)

The Case Against Book of Mormon Socialism

In last Sunday’s op-ed by Troy Williams entitled, “The case for Book of Mormon socialism,” (link) the author’s personal interpretation of scripture violates the principles of agency and the United Order, and in my opinion does not reflect the LDS church teachings.

The scriptures Troy refers to carry prophetic commands to take care of the poor, but those instructions are given to members of the church, not to the government. If it were forced on people through the government, then those people that did not want to take care of the poor would be forced against their will to provide for others in violation of the eternal principle of agency. In essence, this socialist line of thinking attempts to save everyone through a program of force, similar to what the LDS view as Satan’s plan in the pre-mortal life. Alma provides an example of what the Book of Mormon teaches in Alma 4 when he saw the gross inequality among the people and the oppression of the poor. He gave up the judgment-seat and began to preach the word of God to the people to pull down their pride and materialism. He did not set up a government program but he taught the people to use their agency to help the poor.

The core of the United Order is that all property belongs to God who gives man stewardship over a portion of it. He asks man to willingly give up what he does not need, and through agency, man learns how to act in doing good with that stewardship.

Socialism rewards idleness which is clearly not scripturally supported. The parable of the talents illustrates the need to work and the reward given to the laborer. In D&C 42:42 the Lord said “Thou shalt not be idle; for he that is idle shalt not eat the bread nor wear the garments of the laborer.” Socialism violates this law and puts man in a category of being acted upon which violates the nature of man’s existence (D&C 93:30).

Do we have mega-rich people in this country that are not generous? Certainly. Is it our place to forcibly take from them and ensure they pay their share to the poor? Absolutely not. Speaking to the rich members of the church, King Benjamin said:

“And if ye judge the man who putteth up his petition to you for your substance that he perish not, and condemn him, how much more just will be your condemnation for withholding your substance, which doth not belong to you but to God, to whom also your life belongeth; and yet ye put up no petition, nor repent of the thing which thou hast done.

I say unto you, wo be unto that man, for his substance shall perish with him; and now, I say these things unto those who are rich as pertaining to the things of this world.” (Mosiah 4:22-23)

How can there be a just judgment unless the rich have a chance to use their wealth for good and then neglect it? We supplant God’s judgment when we enact socialist policies.

Socialism is inconsistent with the scriptural command to “be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect.” (Matt 5:48) If God does not compel individuals, no Christian can argue that forced righteousness is a principle of the gospel.

For anyone confused about the difference between socialism and the United Order, here are two excellent talks that address the subject.

J. Reuben Clark, “The United Order Vs. Communism,” General Conference, October 1942
Marion G. Romney, “Socialism is not the United Order,” General Conference, April 1966

Communism: a perfect government under the right leader???

After Buffy Snell’s article exposing the indoctrination her child’s teacher engaged in in his classroom, a few emails were sent to Buffy from people expressing their feelings. Among them was one which this clip is from:

Dear Mrs. Snell
After reading your blog post on teachers at the Junior High, I would like to have you understand a few points from my opinion…

2. Karl Marx invented Communism to be the perfect government. The reason communism doesn’t work is because of selfish and corrupt leaders. If leaders did not become corrupt, but were more like King Benjamin, then communism could be the perfect government. Also have you ever noticed how similar the law of consecration and communism are?

An American Fork City citizen

This person, obviously LDS for a couple of the references used, has fallen into the same trap that so many others do in our society because we are being enculturated into a social and political democracy.


I am honestly at a loss to understand how so many LDS people have the mistaken belief that communism would ever be ideal or that it is related to the law of consecration. Communism is the great deception.

I have already posted a couple times on this topic on these 2 pages, but I might as well post a few more quotes below.

These quotes come out of a file I have and just to be perfectly clear, I did not look all of these up. I just looked up a couple which I have access to, but cannot validate all of them with my own resources. If anyone knows if one is incorrect, please let me know and I’ll remove it, but I think they’re all likely accurate.

David O. McKay, President of the Church, in Conference Report, April 1966, pp. 109–110:
The position of this Church on the subject of Communism has never changed. We consider it the greatest Satanical threat to peace, prosperity, and the spread of God’s work among men that exists on the face of the earth. In this connection, we are continually being asked to give our opinion concerning various patriotic groups or individuals who are fighting Communism and speaking up for freedom. Our immediate concern, however, is not with parties, groups, or persons, but with principles. We therefore commend and encourage every person and every group who are sincerely seeking to study Constitutional principles and awaken a sleeping and apathetic people to the alarming conditions that are rapidly advancing about us. We wish all of our citizens throughout the land were participating in some type of organized self-education in order that they could better appreciate what is happening and know what they can do about it. . . . No member of this Church can be true to his faith, nor can any American be loyal to his trust, while lending aid, encouragement or sympathy to any of these false philosophies, for if he does they will prove snares to his feet.

Letter from David O. McKay’s Office, signed April 12, 1969:
By reason of his office and calling, Elder Benson is entitled to inspiration when addressing Church groups, and, since Communism is a definite threat to the eternal principles of free agency, it cannot be considered that he is “out-of-line” when discussing it in talks.

First Presidency Letter (signed by Heber J. Grant, J. Reuben Clark, and David O. McKay), written to U. S. Treasury, 30 September, 1941:
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.” . . . 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. . . . 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.

David O. McKay, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in Conference Report, April 1962, p. 125:
Men today are rapidly classifying themselves into two groups: believers and nonbelievers. J. Edgar Hoover, and I quote, says: “There is no place here in America for part-time patriots. This nation is face to face with the greatest danger ever to confront it, a sinister and deadly conspiracy which can be conquered only by an alert, informed citizenry. It is indeed appalling that some members of our society continue to deplore and criticize those who stress the communist danger. Public indifference to this threat is tantamount to national suicide. Lethargy leads only to disaster. Knowledge of the enemy, alertness to the danger, everyday patriotism are the brick and mortar with which we can build an impregnable fortress against communism.

David O. McKay, President of the Church, in Conference Report, October 1959, pp. 4–9:
On the fly-leaf of the book, The Naked Communist, by W. Cleon Skousen, we find this quotation, (and I admonish everybody to read that excellent book of Chief Skousen’s): “The conflict between communism and freedom is the problem of our time. It overshadows all other problems. This conflict mirrors our age, its toils, its tensions, its troubles, and its tasks. On the outcome of this conflict depends the future of mankind.”

David O. McKay, in Conference Report, October 1962, p. 8:
Above all else, strive to support good and conscientious candidates of either party who are aware of the great dangers inherent in communism and who are truly dedicated to the Constitution in the tradition of our founding fathers. They should also pledge their sincere fealty to our way of liberty—a liberty which aims at the preservation of both personal and property rights. Study the issues, analyze the candidates on these grounds, and then exercise your franchise as free men and women. Never be found guilty of exchanging your birthright for a mess of pottage!

David O. McKay, in The Instructor, February 1856, p. 34:
Next to being one in worshiping God, there is nothing in this world upon which this Church should be more united than in upholding and defending the Constitution of the United States! May the appeal of our Lord in His intercessory prayer for unity be realized in our homes, our wards, our stakes, and in our support of the basic principles of our Republic.

David O. McKay, in Deseret News, “Church Section,” 18 October 1952, p. 2:
During the first half of the twentieth century we have traveled far into the soul-destroying land of socialism and made strange alliances through which we have become involved in almost continuous hot and cold wars over the whole of the earth. In this retreat from freedom the voices of protesting citizens have been drowned by raucous riots of intolerance and abuse from those who led the retreat and their millions of gullible youth, who are marching merrily to their doom, carrying banners on which are emblazoned such intriguing and misapplied labels as social justice, equality, reform, patriotism, social welfare.

Joseph Fielding Smith, in Conference Report, April 1950, p. 159:
Now I tell you it is time the people of the United States were waking up with the understanding that if they don’t save the Constitution from the dangers that threaten it, we will have a change of government.

First Presidency Statement, in Improvement Era, vol. 39 (August 1936), p. 488:
With great regret we learn from credible sources, governmental and others, that a few Church members are joining directly or indirectly, the Communists and are taking part in their activities. . . . To support Communism is treasonable to our free institutions, and no patriotic American citizen may become either a Communist or supporter of Communism. . . . Communism being thus hostile to loyal American citizenship and incompatible with true Church membership, of necessity no loyal American citizen and no faithful Church member can be a Communist. We call upon all Church members completely to eschew Communism. The safety of our divinely inspired Constitutional government and the welfare of our Church imperatively demand that Communism shall have no place in America.

First Presidency Statement, in Conference Report, April 1942, p. 90; italics added:
We again warn our people in America of the constantly increasing threat against our inspired Constitution and our free institutions set up under it. The same political tenets and philosophies that have brought war and terror in other parts of the world are at work amongst us in America. The proponents thereof are seeking to undermine our own form of government and to set up instead one of the forms of dictatorship now flourishing in other lands.

President Spencer W. Kimball, Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, pp. 405:

“The only way we can keep our freedom is to work at it.  Not some of us.  All of us.  Not some of the time, but all of the time.  So if you value your citizenship and want to keep it for yourself and your children and their children, give it your faith, your belief, and give it your active support in civic affairs.”

Ezra Taft Benson (do I even need to start quoting him???) :), April 1965 General Conference

“Hear his words [speaking of President David O. McKay]: No greater immediate responsibility rests upon members of the Church, upon all citizens of this Republic and of neighboring Republics than to protect the freedom vouchsafed by the Constitution of the United States.” (Cited in Jerreld L. Newquist, Prophets, Principles and National Survival [SLC: Publishers Press, 1964], p. 157.) As important as are all other principles of the gospel, it was the freedom issue which determined whether you received a body. To have been on the wrong side of the freedom issue during the war in heaven meant eternal damnation. How then can Latter-day Saints expect to be on the wrong side in this life and escape the eternal consequences? The war in heaven is raging on earth today. The issues are the same: “Shall men be compelled to do what others claim is for their best welfare” or will they heed the counsel of the prophet and preserve their freedom?”

Joseph Smith on Socialism

In April 1965, Elder Ezra Taft Benson delivered a landmark talk on the subject of being Anxiously Engaged in the fight for freedom. In that address he quoted President McKay and followed up with his own inspired counsel.

Hear his words: No greater immediate responsibility rests upon members of the Church, upon all citizens of this Republic and of neighboring Republics than to protect the freedom vouchsafed by the Constitution of the United States.” (Cited in Jerreld L. Newquist, Prophets, Principles and National Survival [SLC: Publishers Press, 1964], p. 157.) As important as are all other principles of the gospel, it was the freedom issue which determined whether you received a body. To have been on the wrong side of the freedom issue during the war in heaven meant eternal damnation. How then can Latter-day Saints expect to be on the wrong side in this life and escape the eternal consequences? The war in heaven is raging on earth today. The issues are the same: “Shall men be compelled to do what others claim is for their best welfare” or will they heed the counsel of the prophet and preserve their freedom?

It is a bit surprising to me how many LDS people say they understand the concept of the pre-mortal war in heaven and the choice we made for agency, yet now believe in socialism (Satan’s doctrine) and even say that Joseph Smith taught it. He did not.

From the History of the Church, volume 6, pages 32-33, we read:

Wednesday, 13.—I attended a lecture at the Grove, by Mr. John Finch, a Socialist, from England, and said a few words in reply.
Thursday, 14.—I attended a second lecture on Socialism, by Mr. Finch; and after he got through, I made a few remarks, alluding to Sidney Rigdon and Alexander Campbell getting up a community at Kirtland, and of the big fish there eating up all the little fish. I said I did not believe the doctrine.
Mr. Finch replied in a few minutes, and said—”I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness. I am the spiritual Prophet—Mr. Smith the temporal.”
Elder John Taylor replied to the lecture at some length.

As further evidence, Elder Marion G. Romney was specifically asked by the brethren to deliver a talk in General Conference on the subject, Socialism is Not the United Order. I encourage everyone to read that talk to understand the difference if you are confused on the matter. Socialism is incompatible with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Please feel free to link to this post anytime someone says the LDS church practiced socialism in the past.

Agency: Doing the Lord’s work in the Lord’s way

(If you want a printer friendly version of this you can go to the bottom and click the printer icon)

This is an LDS related article, but whether or not you are LDS, I believe there is something for everyone here in the principles I’m discussing. These are my thoughts alone and should not be construed as an official LDS church position.

I’d been thinking about writing this article for a while and then a few weeks ago a friend sent me this quote and that triggered the impetus to get writing. In April 1983 General Conference of the LDS church, President Marion G. Romney made this statement.

“We of this Church can come to a unity and a oneness which will give us strength beyond anything we have yet enjoyed if we will obtain a sounder understanding of the principles of the gospel and come to a unity in our interpretations of present world conditions and trends. This we can do by prayerful study of the Lord’s word, including that given to us through the living prophet.

This is the way to come to a unity. If we will study the word of the Lord as it comes to us through the standard works and through the instructions of the living prophet and not harden our hearts, but humble ourselves and develop a real desire to understand its application to us in our own peculiar circumstances, and then ask the Lord in faith, believing that we shall receive (see Doctrine & Covenants 18:18), all the while being diligent in keeping the commandments of the Lord, surely the path we should follow will be made known unto us, and we will be able to face the world as a solid unit.”

President Romney gives a powerful promise toward unifying the church and all mankind as they understand the gospel. I would like to address the most basic tenet of the LDS faith, the foundation principle of all of God’s eternal laws, and the one point of doctrine which I believe if everyone understood and lived would serve to fulfill this statement by a prophet of God. The law is agency.

In the LDS church we often hear the phrase “free agency” in gospel discussions. What does that mean? The term “free agency” doesn’t appear in scripture, so what is agency and is it really free? Can a person be on the Lord’s side if they follow the devil’s means to get to the Lord’s end? Read the rest of this entry »

Democracy vs. Republic in the Scriptures

If you’ve never watched the republic video linked to in the top right corner of this website, may I suggest you make it a priority to understand there are only 2 forms of government. There never has been a lasting form of government other than a type of totalitarian government, and a republic.

In the scriptures we see various examples of this. Kings wield sovereign rule in 2 ways. Righteous kings (benevolent dictatorship) included King David (Bible) and King Benjamin (Book of Mormon-BOM), and wicked kings included King Ahaz (Bible) and King Noah (BOM) [sidebar: back in 1993 after President Clinton had been in office a year, I wrote a list of about a dozen parallels between his governmental actions and that of King Noah as found in Mosiah 11–it gave me a new perspective for how King Noah may have been a real schmoozer with the people and not just some fat gluttonous fellow as depicted in Arnold Friberg’s picture].

We also see conniving individuals in the scriptures who formed what the BOM calls “secret combinations” so they could achieve dictatorships and bring all the people under their power and control. An example of this would be Amalikiah (BOM).

It will be recalled that in the Old Testament, the Lord had given Moses the law and they had a system of representatives to offload the burden from Moses. Someone was appointed over 10, 50, 100, etc… This was a republican form of government. A written law existed and the people had a scheme of representation.

Later, Samuel the prophet gave the people judges but the people found them corruptible so they demanded a king so they could be “like all the nations.” (1 Samuel 8:5). How many people in America today are clamoring for us to be “like all the nations.” Where are “all the nations” today? They are either under totalitarian rule or quickly getting there by use of democracy.

Democracy is a dangerous form of government because it devolves into anarchy over time as the people lack the ability to closely watch all the issues and they begin to only vote for the things that benefit them and not the country. The passing of the 17th amendment was a breakdown of the separation of powers to hold the voice of the masses in check by those specifically put in place to represent the voice of the state (ie. to strip away the protection of states’ rights).

What did it mean when the people in Samuel’s day wanted to be like “all the nations?” The Lord answered that in 1 Samuel 8:7.

“And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.”

Turning to a dictatorship is a rejection of God. Why? Because the primary element in worshiping the Lord is found in the principle of agency, or the freedom to choose. God doesn’t force you to worship him and he doesn’t force people to be good. He lets their own actions speak for themselves. When we choose to do good and charitable things, we are blessed for it. When we do evil, we are cursed. When we choose to have a king, we reject the one true King which is God. We can find many examples in the scriptures of wicked kings leading the people to do sin or bringing them into bondage by government policies or by morally weakening the people to the point that outside forces easily conquered them.

Concerning America, one Book of Mormon prophet wrote:

“Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ, who hath been manifested by the things which we have written.” (Ether 2:12)

I believe our Founding Fathers were divinely inspired to set up a republic in America precisely because that is the only form of government that preserves agency and allows people the freedom to choose to serve God. They rejected the government of the king of England because God is King. Our freedoms have rapidly eroded over the last century the further God has been pushed from public dialog and from our schools.

Concerning democracy, the word doesn’t appear in scripture, but the word republic does appear one time in the LDS canon. Doctrine & Covenants 98:3 states:

“We believe that all governments necessarily require civil officers and magistrates to enforce the laws of the same; and that such as will administer the law in equity and justice should be sought for and upheld by the voice of the people if a republic, or the will of the sovereign.”

There are only 2 forms of government. A republic that is upheld by the voice of a moral people, or a form of a dictatorship. When people lose their morality and their worship of God as king, they embrace destructive government policies which tell them what to do and how to live and as that monster grows, liberty is destroyed.

To those that come across this article and believe socialism is taught in the scriptures, including the teachings of Jesus, may I refer you to Marion G. Romney’s classic talk, “Socialism is not the United Order.”

If any of you would like to read a paper I wrote on why socialism is the devil’s plan, please click here to read my LDS perspective on freedom and agency.

Dealing with Korihor

This post is for an LDS audience, though all are welcome to read it. This is a personal view of some of the doctrines of the LDS church and as such should be viewed solely as my opinion.

Members of the LDS church view the Book of Mormon as a second witness of Jesus Christ and a guide to living a Christ-like life. This is true, but it is more than that. Members of the church believe the Book of Mormon was written for our day, not only to bring the world this witness of Christ, but also to use as a guide in combating the errors of the day.

President Ezra Taft Benson said:

“Not only should we know what history and faith-promoting stories it contains, but we should understand its teachings. If we really do our homework and approached the Book of Mormon doctrinally, we can expose the errors and find the truths to combat many of the current false theories and philosophies of men. I have noted within the Church a difference in discernment, insight, conviction, and spirit between those who know and love the Book of Mormon and those who do not. That book is a great sifter.” (“Jesus Christ-Gifts and Expectations,” Christmas Devotional, Salt Lake City, Utah, 7 December 1986.)

Unfortunately, for over 150 years, the church has stood under condemnation (D&C 84:54-57) precisely because the members of the church refuse to use the book as it was intended by the Lord to be used. Are we ready to escape that condemnation yet?

President Benson also stated:

We have not been using the Book of Mormon as we should. Our homes are not as strong unless we are using it to bring our children to Christ. Our families may be corrupted by worldly trends and teachings unless we know how to use the book to expose and combat the falsehoods in socialism, organic evolution, rationalism, humanism, and so forth… And our nation will continue to degenerate unless we read and heed the words of the God of this land, Jesus Christ, and quit building up and upholding the secret combinations which the Book of Mormon tells us proved the downfall of both previous American civilizations. (A Witness and a Warning, p. 6.)

The Book of Mormon exposes several types of characters specifically as a warning to those in the last days. We are to use that information to expose those who would overthrow our religious and political freedoms.

Some members of the church focus on living the faith, hope, and charity of Christ, and forget the other aspect of Christ in cleansing the temple, driving out the moneychangers, and exposing the Pharisees. In becoming like Christ, we have a responsibility to muster the courage to speak out and perform similar duties within our own sphere of stewardship.

I would like to discuss the story of one of these characters, namely Korihor, a man identified as an Anti-Christ and humanist. There are numerous questions that could be asked to help us understand the story and why it was included in the Book of Mormon.

Was it simply to share a story that the prophet has power to address problems with false doctrine being taught in the world, or is there a message for all members of the church? What knowledge can we gain from this story and what are we to do with that knowledge? If Korihor himself were here today, what would he look like? What would he teach? Would you allow your children to be taught by him? Would you allow them to be taught by him even a little? Would he be a danger to our liberty? Would he be a danger to our families? Would he be a danger to our faith? How subtle a message would he espouse to make himself look harmless?

The story starts in Alma 30 with the Nephites just finishing a battle with the Lamanites and Amlicites. After the people had buried the dead and mourned for them, the account says the people were “strict in observing the ordinances of God” (vs. 3) and there was “continual peace” in the land (vs. 5). These were good people trying to live good obedient lives, much like the people in our community. However, within another year, a man came into Zarahemla and the account says “he was Anti-Christ, for he began to preach unto the people against the prophecies which had been spoken by the prophets, concerning the coming of Christ.” (vs. 6)

By this verse we see that an Anti-Christ is simply anyone who teaches that Christ will not come. It is someone who is an atheist, and more specifically, one who is vocal in teaching such false doctrine. Korihor was not a psychotic murderer or petty thief or he would have been put in prison. He was a learned individual who desired to promote his belief that there is no Christ.

The Book of Mormon warns us that if we want to remain a free people we must serve the God of this land which is Jesus Christ.

Ether 2:12 “Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ, who hath been manifested by the things which we have written.”

The corollary is that if we fail to serve Jesus Christ, we will fall into bondage. Is there a danger in ignoring the Korihor story? Personally? As a community and nation? Why would the Lord have inspired Mormon to include this story if it wasn’t to expose modern day Korihors and protect ourselves from Anti-Christs? Do we have any responsibility to our friends and neighbors to warn them when we recognize an Anti-Christ?

I believe when we fail to warn our neighbors of humanist/atheists we fail to use the Book of Mormon as the Lord intended and we further endanger our political and religious freedoms by ignoring the dangers of failing to serve Jesus Christ and failing to heed the warnings of the Book of Mormon.

Ezra Taft Benson wrote:

“Now, that divine duty to be a faithful fighter for freedom requires that those of us who have been warned do our duty to warn our neighbor, for our neighbor’s involvement in this struggle can bless his soul, strengthen his family, and protect him from pitfalls while he helps his country. The blessings far outweigh the burden when we stand up for freedom. With gall comes glory; with a cross comes a crown; with thorns comes a throne, if we will persevere in righteousness. There are still more victories to be won in this fight for freedom, the most important of which is to save our own souls by taking a stand for liberty with the Lord. For amid the encircling gloom, the kindly light of the Lord can lead us on—can help expose and stop evil in some places, slow it down in others, give the forces of freedom the chance to become better entrenched, provide righteous alternatives, and develop faith and hope to keep on keeping on in the divine assurance that in the brightness of the Lord’s coming, the darkness of Satan’s conspiracy will eventually be fully exposed and destroyed.” (God, Family, Country: Our Three Great Loyalties, pg. 404)

So what kinds of things did Korihor extol that we should watch out for?

In Alma 30:14 Korihor mocks prophecies of Christ and calls them the “foolish traditions of your fathers.” Applying that to our local situation, we’ve seen Korihors clearly identify similar “foolish traditions” in the humanist agenda that denies Christ and exalts man. This comes from John Goodlad and John Dewey. Both humanists like Korihor. We’ve also clearly seen that William Meyers wrote that our divinely inspired Founding Fathers initially gave us a republic, but Mr. Meyers was grateful we were moving toward democracy. A shift from God’s law, to man’s.

Verse 16 Korihor mocks the righteous people again expressing that their belief in Christ is the effect of a “frenzied mind” and says “this derangement of your minds comes because of the traditions of your fathers.” Again he is trying to tear down their righteous heritage.

Verse 17 Korihor commends the humanist religion preaching “that there could be no atonement made for the sins of men, but every man fared in this life according to the management of the creature; therefore every man prospered according to his genius, and that every man conquered according to his strength; and whatsoever a man did was no crime.” This dangerous doctrine is the same doctrine espoused in the Humanist Manifesto, signed by John Dewey and taught by his disciple John Goodlad.

In the April 2010 General Conference, Elder D. Todd Christofferson emphasized this modern day problem saying:

“The scriptures, for example, discredit an ancient philosophy that has come back into vogue in our day—the philosophy of Korihor that there are no absolute moral standards, that ‘every man prosper[s] according to his genius, and that every man conquer[s] according to his strength; and whatsoever a man [does is] no crime’ and ‘that when a man [is] dead, that [is] the end thereof’ (Alma 30:17–18).”

Verse 18 expresses the sad success Korihor had in getting many people to believe what he was teaching and many of them fell away from their beliefs in God.

Now the story gets applicable. After Korihor was successful in areas of Zarahemla, he travelled to the land of Jershon to preach this same doctrine to the people of Ammon who were converted Lamanites. Verses 20-21 say when he arrived, these people “were more wise than many of the Nephites; for they took him, and bound him, and carried him before Ammon, who was a high priest over that people. And it came to pass that he caused that he should be carried out of the land.” These people knew how to deal with Korihor. They rejected his teachings and cast him out.

Korihor then travels to the land of Gideon and thankfully these people also show wisdom and take him to their high priest Giddonah where Korihor again preaches his doctrine of the foolish traditions of the fathers in believing in Christ. He mocks prophecy, and says the priests glut themselves on the labor of the people thus keeping them in bondage so they cannot enjoy their “rights and privileges.”

Giddonah recognized the hardness of Korihor’s heart and orders him sent to Alma in Zarahemla. There, Korihor again preaches his doctrine and the account says he proceeds to blaspheme God. Alma then corrects the notion that the priests are glutting themselves by identifying their ministry as a lay ministry. Then Korihor asks for a sign and Alma strikes him dumb by the power of God so that he may not promote his lies any further.

Korihor expresses regret and sorrow and says that the devil came to him and taught him what he should teach the people. He then wrote Alma “I have taught his words; and I taught them because they were pleasing unto the carnal mind; and I taught them, even until I had much success, insomuch that I verily believed that they were true…”

So Korihor taught the devil’s doctrines because they are pleasing to the carnal mind, and once he had success convincing others, he was convinced they must be true.

I believe the application of this account is, don’t give Korihor a voice. We should reject his words just as the people of Jershon and Gideon did. In the end, the Lord struck him dumb to silence his voice. When we give voice to the Korihors of today, we receive the sermons of the devil, the teachings of an Anti-Christ, truth mixed with lies that will lead us away from Christ and away from the safety of our homes and the righteous traditions of our fathers.

Certainly, not everything Korihor ever said was false. Truth mixed with falsehood makes it tough for people to discern if they are not firmly rooted in the truth. Hearing truth opens the heart and then when lies are presented to an open heart, they may hit fertile ground and begin to grow unless that person knows to reject the seed.

In the October 1970 General Conference, Elder Ezra Taft Benson said:

“As a watchman on the tower, I feel to warn you that one of the chief means of misleading our youth and destroying the family unit is our educational institutions. President Joseph F. Smith referred to false educational ideas as one of the three threatening dangers among our Church members. There is more than one reason why the Church is advising our youth to attend colleges close to their homes where institutes of religion are available. It gives the parents the opportunity to stay close to their children; and if they have become alert and informed as President McKay admonished us last year, these parents can help expose some of the deceptions of men like Sigmund Freud, Charles Darwin, John Dewey, Karl Marx, John Keynes, and others.

John Dewey and John Goodlad are modern day Korihors teaching there is no Christ and that children should be separated from the foolish traditions of their parents and taught by the state who they teach has rights to our children.

These false doctrines will destroy families and give rise to a generation that struggles to believe in Christ. Regardless of how much truth these Anti-Christ’s may espouse, all their words must be rejected because their Agenda is to open the hearts of people and plant the seeds of the destruction of their faith. They must not be given a voice of authority in our community and schools. We must not let their lies be entertained here.

Socialism is NOT the United Order

This is mostly for those of you that are LDS, but of course, if you’re not, you’re still welcome to read it. :) The talk by Marion G. Romney I reference below, is one of the greatest sermons ever given exposing the evils of socialism and how it destroys the agency and freedom of man. It contains an excellent lesson in the background of socialism and the extreme importance of the U.S. Constitution. I believe all people would be benefited by reading it regardless of religious preference.

A couple weeks ago when my op-ed reply to Brian Jackson appeared in the Deseret News, someone posting under the name “LDS Liberal” responded to someone with this statement advocating socialism:

Do you live in a Family?
City of Enoch was what?
1st Century Christians practiced what?
Nephites/Lamanites had what in common?
The problem I see is that Religion actually teaches Socialism.
Do unto others….
Give to the poor and the needy.
etc., etc., etc.
Too bad we can’t recognize Religion and the Bible as History — you’d really blow a gasket.”

I tried to post a comment but it never got to the board. What I posted was essentially this.

First of all, these 3 scriptural societies did not practice socialism, they practiced what was called the United Order and it was fundamentally different from socialism. How important is this distinction? So important, that at the 1966 April General Conference of the LDS church, Elder Marion G. Romney of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles started his talk on this subject by saying this:

“What I am going to give you now is a statement I have prepared in answer to the question, “Is Socialism the United Order?” Some of you may have already heard it. This is the first time I have ever attempted to give a talk a second time. My excuse is that the Brethren have asked me to give this talk here tonight.”

Elder Romney’s talk is much longer than a normal conference talk which also shows the high value the leadership of the church placed on ensuring these doctrines were taught. I am going to post a pdf of his talk here with my own highlighting for those that want to just skim it, but I strongly encourage you to read the whole thing. One relevant quote I found in the talk is:

“We have much to do, and fortunately for us the Lord has definitely prescribed the course we should follow with respect to socialism and the United Order.

Constitution God-inspired

He has told us that in preparation for the restoration of the gospel, he himself established the Constitution of the United States, and he has plainly told us why he established it. I hope I can get this point over to you. He said he established the Constitution to preserve to men their free agency, because the whole gospel of Jesus Christ presupposes man’s untrammeled exercise of free agency.”

…[quotes scriptures]…

“These scriptures declare the Constitution to be a divine document.”

There you go folks, the official position of the LDS church is that the U.S. Constitution is a divine document.

Oh, and as for the comment from “LDS Liberal” about families practicing socialism, that would mean nobody in the family has any private property. Try to tell your teenager that his iPod really belongs to everyone. :)

“Socialism is not the United Order” by Marion G Romney (click to open PDF, right-click to save PDF to your desktop)