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.

10 Responses to “Joseph Smith on Socialism”

  • cea7of9:

    Socialism is, here again, a counterfeit of the real thing that Satan hands out trying to make it sound close enough to doctrine for people to be deceived. I am constantly amazed and concerned with how easily members of the church are “driven by every wind of doctrine” and “the very elect, if it were possible” are deceived! Who have we put our trust in?

    Just read President Monson’s talk in the Priesthood session of last October conference. He talks about how Satan deceives so cleverly. 2 Nephi speaks very clearly on how cunning Satan’s teachings are. Why, then, are LDS people not more careful about who they believe? Are we not breaking sacred promises when we believe Satan’s lies over the Prophets’ words straight from God? Aren’t we showing a lack of faith when we start thinking that people must be forced to do the right thing by legislation? We must show faith in God’s plan and let others make their choices, EVEN if they are WRONG!

  • Susie:

    I agree with you cea7of9, but remember that these same men taught that we are to always support righteous people in government and always do our civil duty to protect our God-given rights. We are not supposed to sit back and let evil men take away our rights because of their wrong choices. We also have choices and with that, responsibilities. We are to always stand for freedom and liberty, and much of that takes place through legislation. Whether bad laws or actions are created by us personally or through an elected official, if we don’t stand up for righteous principles, we will be judged as if we personally caused these issues. So I agree that people must make their own choices, but if our own choice is to sit and watch as our freedoms are taken away, we will be in a very sorry position indeed.

  • The_Patriot:

    Oak, can you provide me with a list of teachers and administrators currently employed by the Alpine School District who are socialists? I would like to see specific names and all of them that you have.

  • Actually TP, I’ve never taken names. Not really into that though I could tell you some of the great teachers that don’t use fuzzy math. Socialism in teaching is a systemic problem across the whole country and it’s clearly infected the thinking in Utah and ASD as well. I’m not sure why you feel compelled to post items like this when it’s not even the discussion topic for the post, but if you’re feeling guilty about what Elders Benson or Romney said above, you could make it a topic of study and prayer for yourself and try to arrive at another conclusion. In the future your posts that are off-topic will just be deleted. I’m happy to have you debate the issue, but I’m not really into having you try to bait me or others into meaningless attacks.

  • Jared:

    So you don’t have a single name of someone inside ASD who agrees with socialism yet somehow there is a “systemic problem” with socialism that has “clearly infected” the ASD. Hmmm. It doesn’t sound so clear to me! (By the way, I’m a conservative guy for anyone out there who questions my political credentials.)

  • Sorry Jared, you’re off topic and banned for bad behavior on other posts.

  • cea7of9:

    I completely agree, Susie. I was only addressing those LDS people who seem to support socialism. I was trying to make it clear how much socialism flies in face of God’s Plan.

    Thank you for clarifying that we always need to stand up against wrong choices while maintaining freedom of choice for everyone. It truly is a balancing act!

  • Tom Westmoreland:

    After having researched the origin of the false notion held by so many otherwise good members of the LDS church, that being that the church practiced socialism under Joseph Smith and Brigham Young in its early days, that the united order and law of consecration are versions of socialism, that socialism is the the law of Zion, and that one day we will return to it, I find it interesting that this false notion originated with apostates and enemies of the church. Even though Joseph Smith repeatedly denied it vigorously, many respected individuals continue to teach he instituted it in the church as part of the higher law.

  • Anonymous:

    The members of any Christian Church, but especially the LDS Church with increased understanding of the importance of personal liberty and agency, must be the active agents of these concepts. We should be the most dynamic and imaginative and self-sacrificing implimentors of the greatest general individual liberty in our communities, nation and the world, not to mention the most driven to excellence in education to produce sober, intelligent and capable youth. Socialism is the antithesis of these Christian attributes. “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.” Leviticus 25:10 “Ye have not hearkened unto me, in proclaiming liberty, every one to his brother, and every man to his neighbor, behold, I proclaim a liberty for you, saith the Lord.” Jeremiah 34:17 The scripture from Jeremiah was a condemnation. Throughout history, this has been the cause of Christ. Those who have known it and acted upon it in the past are the shoulders upon whom we stand in our blessings of liberty, and frankly, they put us to shame. The Taking of the Savior’s name in vain is not just about how we speak!
    I have spoken to many people in an effort to make clear the modern implementation of slavery through socialism, and not one of them can deny that I speak the truth or that they understand what I am saying. Time and again the response is that they are comfortable, they are well-paid and they are satisfied living and profiting by socialism, or they haven’t the faith to challenge it. Worse yet, they think they are getting an advantage for their children, in facility, in service, in socialization. They are turning the hearts of their children to these things. They are selling thier futures for their own present ease. Heaven help them. The years that the locusts have eaten will be restored, Laban will give everything he has to Jacob, and Israel will sack Egypt on the way out. Please stop and think how the unity of the righteous cause, in eschewing the evils of the day and pursuing the LABOR of building for ourselves and our God, the institutions that will glorify His name, will strengthen and build the characters, mental, physical and spiritual, of the youth and redeem them from the diseases that beset them from idling in the spacious building. Read with them Booker T. Washington Up From Slavery, Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, The Pioneer Journals….

  • Lingwall123:

    This is a most fascinating topic! Joseph Smith & Karl Marx, roughly contemporary, had such diametrically opposed world views leading in such completely opposite directions, that any comparison is almost ridiculous.In one of the earliest accounts of the First Vision, the young prophet saw that “the whole world lieth in sin due to the inequality of one man to another.” Karl Marx saw the problems of the world stemming from essentially the same cause. But what a difference in their solutions to the problem! On one hand, the Law of Consecration, taking the Law of Moses (which never was fully lived by Israel as a whole people) to its ultimate level. As more & more of the saints keep their temple covenants, inequality is progressively eradicated. The PEF fund in the Third world nations educates the future leaders & creates opportunities to lead a better life. Fast offerings provide for the poor & needy in our own communities. All of these are voluntary. Humanitarian & welfare funds are administered with admirable efficiency, & without corruption,as even the enemies of this church must admit. All is under the direction of Christ, whose gospel demands that all of Father’s children be cared for. In contrast, Karl Marx, a failed Jew, envisioned the state taking the place of God. His system, wherever it is put into place, starves & murders those who fall under its oppressive sway. We will never know how many millions have died as victims of its evil. It has never worked yet, so its unbelievable that so many are ignorant of the grim lessons of history, & keep on trying to implement a communistic or socialistic system. The Law of Consecration has never been revoked, & as more people consider the importance of this covenant & strive to understand & live it more fully, we will prepare our hearts, & this planet, for the return & righteous reign of its rightful King.