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January 12th, 2012
Should Mormons vote for Mitt Romney?
The following is an op-ed I had published at The Daily Caller today.
This election cycle, like certain others in the past, has generated a significant amount of discussion regarding the intersection between politics and religion. While some consider the two to be irreconcilable and dangerous when mixed, others see a symbiotic relationship that can and should be allowed to flourish.
For example, Mitt Romney’s membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has provided plenty of fodder for commentary. Pundits have questioned whether his faith is a help or hinderance, with opinions running the gamut. And while the talking heads discuss at great length the impact his Mormon religion will have in conservative, southern states where evangelical Christians dominate the political landscape, they tend to believe he has automatic and near-universal support from Utahns and his fellow Mormons nationwide.
As both a Mormon and Utah resident, I find this assumption to be misguided and disappointing.
A recent Pew survey notes that 74% of American Mormons identify with or lean towards the Republican Party and that 86% view Mitt Romney favorably. One should not conclude from this trend, however, that our faith or culture somehow suggests support either for the Republican Party or Mitt Romney. Actually, Mormons have a historical and doctrinal deluge of counsel encouraging them to support leaders who adhere to the Constitution and faithfully defend individual liberty.
A cursory review of Mitt Romney’s record and rhetoric reveal a candidate whose positions conflict with the Constitution. He supports wars of aggression with no congressional declaration, as required by the Constitution. He supports the failed and unconstitutional war on drugs. He supported TARP and other bailouts which likewise have no constitutional justification nor moral defense. He wants to save and “fix” federal welfare schemes which, though popular, are also not based on any constitutional authorization of power.
In addition to being taught to uphold the Constitution, members of the LDS Church enjoy a rich theology which in many ways supports a libertarian political philosophy over a conservative or liberal one. The Church’s founding prophet, Joseph Smith, once remarked that he governed so many people so well because “I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves.” A later prophet, David O. McKay, said that “A man may act as his conscience dictates so long as he does not infringe upon the rights of others.” Thomas Jefferson couldn’t have said it any better. Our scriptures decry preventive, aggressive warfare and high taxation. One such scripture states that government must “secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life.”
These and a host of other scriptures and historical examples from our church suggest that, to be in harmony with our faith, we must support policies and politicians that are libertarian in nature. While the Bible offers some support for libertarianism, the additional scripture and teachings found in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints offer a tidal wave of supporting statements in comparison. Libertarianism will have an increasingly prominent role in the political discussion between Mormons as the years progress.
Accordingly, I believe that a sincere review of our doctrine and history in the LDS Church would lead an individual to support not Mitt Romney, a fellow Mormon, but the only candidate who has consistently shown a commitment to upholding the Constitution and defending individual liberty: Ron Paul. It is perhaps perplexing to suggest that Mormons should vote for Paul, a Baptist, but as Romney himself once said: “A person should not be elected because of his faith nor should he be rejected because of his faith.” Mormons should not simply vote for a fellow Mormon, but for a candidate who supports the Constitution and freedom, regardless of that person’s religion.
Members of the LDS Church believe the Constitution to be, as Joseph Smith said, a “heavenly banner” which was “founded in the wisdom of God.” Another leader of our Church, J. Reuben Clark, once stated that “the distortion of any fundamental principle of our constitutional government would… do violence to my religion.” A more recent leader, Ezra Taft Benson, declared himself to be a libertarian and constitutionalist. Our faith is replete with references that, when collectively considered, suggest support for a strict constitutional and libertarian view point. Mormons should therefore consider voting not necessarily for their fellow Church member, but for a candidate whose record most closely matches their own doctrine. That candidate is Ron Paul.
53 Responses to “Should Mormons vote for Mitt Romney?”
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Ron Paul may be libertarian, but he hasn’t accomplished anything in Congress. How does he expect to change things as President? I have nothing against him personally and find that his views on many things are compatible with my own; but seriously, how will he change things as president. He can’t wave a magic wand and get congress to enact the laws he wants. While Mitt Romney is not perfect he does have experience working with opposition and affecting change. His leadership abilities and experience will make him a much better Head of State dealing with foreign countries than Mr. Paul.
I think Mitt and Ron like each other and I hope they work together. Mitt is a problem solver and Ron is a conceptualist. We need both. Our problems are so big and complex today. We must be very careful how we treat the patient (US) or we may, with good intentions, do unintended harm.
I like Ron Paul & most of what he stands for. I would never vote for Mitt or any of the other candidates.
But I’m not sure Ron Paul is willing to do all in his power to get a federal ban on abortion. It seems he just wants to let each State decide what to do with abortion.
I believe the Constitution supports & includes protecting the lives & rights of even the unborn, on a national level.
We don’t let states decide if they are going to protect the lives of anyone else, so why would it be different for the unborn?
If I’m not mistaken, I believe Ron also voted for the war, which I don’t agree with. He also has voted for other things I wouldn’t have.
I also wonder if he supports having ‘No Fault Divorce’ repealed. For until marriage is once again protected & honored & divorce is not allowed, except in rare situations, nothing else we do will ever save this country.
If I were a Mormon, I don’t think I’d vote for someone who started gay marriage in his state, nor would I vote for someone whose health care plan was used as the basis for Obamacare.
And as someone whose job was destroyed by venture capitalists, I wouldn’t vote for a venture capitalist.
But, he is a Mormon. This is to Mitt’s advantage because he can at least get the Mormon vote – even if he does push gay marriage, Romneycare and venture capitalism.
Mormons also should not be for war, but peace. Mitt says he’d double the size of Guantanamo!
I’d say he’s not a very good Mormon! I remember when he stood at the bottom of Trapper’s Loop Road where the buses were shuttling spectators to Snow Basin for the Winter Olympics. Mitt appeared on the scene when one of the security people had a suspicion about one of the buses, so the bus shuttles were backed up. Mitt shouted out a blue streak of cuss words and ordered the buses back on the road – security breach or not! Maybe we need someone who cusses a blue streak to get things done in the presidency. After all, Dick Cheney was known to get bills passed by telling people to go f themselves.
Ron Paul did not vote for the war.
I am a latter-day saint and I have to say that there is nobody running for president that I can put my full support behind except for Ron Paul.
In addition to all the points you made above, I would add this: if elected, the four years Mitt spends in office would be the only exposure to “mormonism” that tens of thousands of people may ever have in their lives. For this reason, I’m doing everything I can to keep him out of office! He is not a great example of what I believe in, and I would hate to have my religion judged by his example. He has no integrity, no passion in his beliefs (which is understandable considering all his beliefs changed when he decided to run for the republican ticket in ’08). He has had a chance to testify of our LIVING gospel on nation television… and has cowered stating “I don’t recall God having spoken to man since Moses and the burning bush or a few others”. What an opportunity he had to tell the nation that we believe God still speaks to his prophet on the earth!
I have found that *most* of my LDS friends that are leaning toward Mitt are doing it because of his religion. I’ll ask what they like about him, and they don’t really know, except that he is Mormon. They use the argument that the priesthood is going to save the constitution, so we need a priesthood holder in the white house. I disagree emphatically. We’ve been told the “elders” will save the constitution… not just one guy. I think this means that all the elders (and the sisters too for that matter) need to pull their heads out and learn about each candidate, and then vote for the one that “is truly dedicated to the constitution in the tradition of the founding fathers” as we are counseled every time an election comes around. There is only one candidate that fits that description, and it is Ron Paul.
So, how to help our fellow mormons? Open our mouths! Last week my brother got on my facebook wall and said that he thinks Ron Paul is an idiot. I opened a discussion with him. 3 days later he called me back to say “okay, I get it, I totally understand why you like him, he’s the best chance we have” We need to open our mouths!!!!
As a Mormon returned missionary I’m of course voting to reelect Barack Obama.
Even though I disagree with Mitt Romney on a lot of things, I don’t find the things Connor listed as unconstitutional.
Thomas Jefferson fought an undeclared war in Libya as President.
And so did James Madison as President.
And though Connor didn’t say it in this post, he said in the Orrin Hatch post that foreign aid is unconstitutional even though George Washington did it as President, sending $400,000.00 to Haiti.
So the founders didn’t find these things unconstitutional.
You know I don’t support Ron Paul but I think you’re saying some things that just aren’t true about him.
But I’ll let the other commenters expound on this.
Kelly, I’m sorry you lost your job but you’re spreading a lot of untruths about Mitt Romney. Romney did not start gay marriage in his state – that’s a ridiculous statement! It was the courts in MA that did it. He fought it as best he could without over-extending his powers (which means he made statements against it but his hands were tied – he doesn’t make laws and he cannot revoke a judicial ruling). He has stated many times over the years and has never changed his position on his opposition to gay marriage.
Obamacare is not what was passed in Massachusetts. Besides, what is okay at the state level is not necessarily okay at the federal level. Mitt Romney has made that clear many times. He supports what he helped pass in MA but does not support it at a federal level. That is a classic federalist/state’s rights argument, which has been used ever since our country was founded.
Sometimes you need to go to war to promote peace. The Book of Mormon clearly teaches that. Not that we ever want war but it is a necessity. There was even a war in Heaven (maybe not what we think of as a war but it’s called a war nonetheless). Peace at any cost only works if “any cost” includes war.
“I’d say he’s not a very good Mormon” – thankfully, that’s not for you to say.
As for your cussing story about Mitt Romney, that sounds like a fabrication. I’m sorry, but knowing Mitt Romney’s character, it’s just so much out of his character that it doesn’t pass the sniff test.
I think Mormons should support whomever they feel comfortable supporting. That’s the wonderful thing about Mormonism – we don’t have to judge others based on what candidates they support. There is a lot of latitude for personal beliefs. That doesn’t make them all right, certainly, but we need to do the best we can with what we have and know.
Jared, try telling my neighbors who heard Mitt’s own cuss words personally about your sniff test.
Ron Paul sticks to his principles. He’s honest. He speaks the truth. He doesn’t compromise. It’s easy to “get things done” in government by compromising away the people’s rights, liberties and property. Ron Paul doesn’t role that way. Besides, look at what compromise and “getting things done” has done to our country: We’re broke. We have unsustainable and morally corrupt entitlement programs. We use our military to “secure our interests” and impose our will all across the globe. Our government has adopted most of the communist manifesto whilst rejecting most our Bill of Rights.
Yes, Mitt Romney would probably “get more done” as president. But that’s not what this country needs. We need to scale back. Besides, Ron Paul has gotten more done for this country ideologically than Mitt Romney (or any other candidate) ever has.
The war I was talking about that Ron Paul voted for was the war in Afghanistan after 9/11 happened.
First, great article. I think the most important thing is to study and talk about these things. Regardless of who gets elected, we need to put the pressure of public opinion on them to stick to Constitutional government.
You mentioned that Ezra T. Benson declared himself to be a Libertarian and a Constitutionalist. Just wondering for my own study if you have a reference available.
“I am a libertarian. I want to be known as a libertarian and as a constitutionalist in the tradition of the early James Madison—father of the Constitution. Labels change and perhaps in the old tradition I would be considered one of the original whigs. The new title I would wear today is that of conserva- tive, though in its original British connotation the term liberal fits me better than the original meaning of the word conservative.”
Ezra Taft Benson, The Red Carpet (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1962), 206.
Thank you! Great quote. Just for information for other readers, 19th century Liberalism could best be equated to today’s Libertarianism. 19th Century Conservatism was closer to today’s Liberalism, though somewhat different. The Conservative movement in the 1960’s led mainly by Barry Goldwater was closer to Libertarianism than today’s Bush style big government Conservatism.
Some open questions to anyone deeply familiar with the LDS faith. In the LDS view are all of the constitutions in the world considered inspired?
What is the explanation of D&C 134: 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.”
The above statement sort of sounds like a desire to keep civil government and religious authority from mixing.
Just out of curiousity I looked up J. Reuben Clark, who died in October of 1961. Has any of the Amendments to the constitution since his death, done violence to the lds faith?
I found some interesting things which are worthy of discussion concerning this person. He apparently opposed inter-racial marriages between blacks and whites. There is also a strange idea, he was opposed to whites receiving blood transfusions from blacks. During his apostleship that would have rendured the priesthood authority of a male useless. There also were some anti-semtic statements he made on several occations, in one statement he is quoted as saying that jews do not have free-agency. That is strange, as I thought lds people stated that everyone has that.
Jim, try to keep it relevant and undistorted.
The central theme of the article is about finding a candidate who supports the constitution, with supporting quotes from LDS leadership. Mitt Romney is really secondary to the introductory statement.
Doing a little search on one of the leadership quoted and that lead me to some remarkable discoveries. Sorry if you find that distorted, maybe I could do some more research and see if the sources are accurate, and keep the results to myself.
I also found the quote from the lds D&C where it sounds contradictory to the first paragraph. I don’t quite understand how thats not relevant.
For 17 years, Massachusetts couples have asked friends, family and loved ones to solemnize their marriage under an obscure state law allowing the governor to grant one-day certificate to officiate a wedding. Since same-sex marriage became legal in May, 2004, Governor Mitt Romney has approve at least 189 requests from same-sex couples in 2005, along with about 1,040 applications for heterosexual couples. The one-day certificates, which cost $25, allow virtually anyone to legally solemnize a marriage anywhere in the commonwealth….
Romney’s decision to issue the special one-day marriage licenses is purely discretionary. Romney could have easily not issued any one-day licenses. Even if one assumes homosexual marriage was legal in Massachusetts, Romney was not mandated to issue any one-day licenses. -January 2, 2006 Boston Globe
Here is the actual statute: http://www.malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartII/TitleIII/Chapter207/Section39
Additionally, Gov. Romney ordered all Town Clerks and Justices of the Peace to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples or lose their jobs. The following is a Resignation letter that immediately followed Gov. Romneys orders.
Romney is believed to have advanced same sex marriages in Massachusetts as he was not mandated to issue licenses. He issued them without order.
I use to be in Mitt Romneys ward. I thought he was a wonderful person, but based on his political record, not a good presidential candidate. I agree with Conner,”but the only candidate who has consistently shown a commitment to upholding the Constitution and defending individual liberty: Ron Paul.”
I think it should also be mentioned that while Romney supposedly dislikes Obamacare, there are parts of it he agrees with. He still agrees with the personal mandate. This is the most unconstitutional part of it!!!! As a mother of six who has paid for all my own medical issues without any insurance, I feel that I have taken responsibility for myself and my needs. Under the individual mandate, I am punished for this. How is that right? I also want to mention the fact that under romneycare abortions were paid for by the goverment (i.e. If I lived in MA, my taxes would be paying for murder, without me being able to do anything about it.)
Regardless of his flip-flop status and whether or not he is truly changed, or politically-conveniently changed, his track record speaks for itself. After watching what he did in MA, there is no way I want him in charge of the whole country. By their fruits…… his fruits are rotten.
I am not a collectivst, as a “Mormon” or as an American or as an ‘anything’–
don’t believe in collectivizing, though that’s an uncomfortable position for most human beings (including myself), because humans LOVE to be part of groups; human beings are very ‘tribal’.
But, I couldn’t be a Mormon if I believed that I was required to support any and all other Mormons, simply because they are Mormons.
I guess that is just not part of my personal religion. To me, Mormonism is very much about Jesus Christ, and, as far as I have been able to discover, He loves everyone.
why should *I*, as a Mormon, vote for Mitt Romney any more than any other person?
My ‘gut’ feeling about the man is that he isn’t very substantial.
I should not judge, of course, but he’s running for the GOP nomination for POTUS, for crying out loud, so I guess I have to get in tune with my gut on this–
The things he stands for seem very shallow to me. But, then, I’m not a business person; I’m a poet, not an MBA.
To me the manner in which he has made many political decisions (and financial decisions) does not resonate.
I wouldn’t be tempted to vote for him because of that.
IF he were a more openly compassionate person . . . if he had a more compassionate/responsible business record–
would I vote for him if he were still not more constitutionally sound? I don’t know. If he weren’t as disciplined as Ron Paul regarding the constitution, I probably still wouldn’t vote for him.
He may be ‘nice’, but his record is ruthless. I know people in my ward who are ‘nice’ and ruthless (and also wealthy), and they aren’t *my* fellow saints. I don’t deny they have a right to be there at church, but I don’t feel spiritually safe with/around them–
I have known people who can be ‘nice’ at church and have ‘blood’ on their hands. Oh, my–
I’m older and I’ve seen a few things–
Goodness, “Tron”, if those founding fathers really did those things, then there has NEVER been a strict adherence to the constitution.
I suspected it. If what you say is true (though where have you found documentation for it? I know about the Barbary Pirates only)–
then the constitution wasn’t ever taken very seriously.
Maybe it’s time–
As for Roe versus Wade, though I HATE it–
and partly for this reason; abortion should NEVER have become the concern of the federal government. Because it did become the concern of the federal government, this nation has much blood on its hands (quite literally)–
it’s not going to be overturned; it’s too late–sad, but true–
when Jesus comes, there will be no more unwanted babies–
As for ‘marriage’, it should be strictly a religious ordinance, nothing else.
Let religions decide what to do about it–
My biggest beef with Mr. Paul is that he is a career politician. Been there for DECADES. He, along with Gingrich, Santorum, and Bachmann as personable as they may be at times, ARE THE PROBLEM. Washington D.C. is such a caustic environment, the career types are compromised within 4-6 years, and that’s the tough ones! Let’s get the new guy in, the private sector guy. A little competence, if you please.
Dear Liz and others….
Please read Dr. Paul’s book, END THE FED before
making any great decisions.
There are three important things I remember from reading it. #1. Many think a successful business person would make a great president in our day. Dr. Paul gives a few good reasons why it takes more than a private sector guy. But my comment further is…Why not elect one who has not been corrupted and has the
experience in politics and withstood the moral traps?
Let’s cast our vote of confidence while we have the
#2. We are in a moral crisis.
#3. In his chapter on the Constitution he quotes Lenin:
“There is no subtler, no surer means of destroying capitalism than to debauch the currency. The process
engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the
side of destruction,….which not one man in a million
is able to diagnose” (foresee).
I find much competence in this compassionate doctor
who has rightfully foreseen our economic destruction,
warned us beginning in 200l, has written eight books
and has been re-elected twelve times. He has the
guts and years of experience and study to be a great President and a great example. America needs a
Ron Paul for such a time as this.
I am a Mormon and I support Ron Paul 100%
Gosh, Harry Reid is a Mormon! I don’t think 74% of Mormons would support him? Why Roomney then? I have read many books on J. Rueben Clark Jr. David O. Mackay & ET Benson. I also have read the works from Ron Paul. I honestly can not tell the difference in who is writing them! They all agree 99%. Mitt doesn’t compare! I don’t know where he stands? If Romney wins the GOP, buckle up for another 4 from Obama! GO RON PAUL! GIVE ME LIBERTY or GIVE ME DEATH!
Bottom line we can find instances in history were the President didn’t follow the rules (the constitution).
Unfortunate this habit of breaking or bending the rules has brought our country on the bring of economic collapse which will turn into a social collapse and civil war.
We have an opportunity to turn this around by apply the correct principle that God has tough us. You can find those same principles in the constitution. We as LDS folks have been told that we need to teach correct principle and let them (US) govern ourselves. The greatest gift God gave us was the freedom to CHOOSE. When the Government/bureaucrats take it upon themselves to legislate their morals upon us, we loos that ability to choose, and we also loose our religious freedom. We are the perfect example of loosing religious freedom. We no longer practice plural marriage, because some bureaucrat felt plural marriage was wrong.
If we don’t elect leaders (like Ron Paul),who understand this concept of personal freedom and responsibility, than we will continue down the road were on. Bottom line these bureaucrats have made laws that gave big businesses the power to manipulate the economy and enslave the the American people. Case in point we all get paid in fake money printed by the FED (which is a private business) they print this money from thin air and loan that money to the Government, which you and I pay the interest on.
Ron Paul is the only person running for president who see this, and has actively tried to stop it. Yeah he is only one person, but if we continue to elect leaders who understand the principles behind freedom and liberty, than they/we will make a difference.
outside the corridor,
Are you saying that States should have the right to determine if people in their state can kill unborn babies?
I believe that no one has the right to an abortion, it should be a national & constitutional law & issue that ‘all life from conception’ should be protected, as it used to be.
Should all laws regarding murder be only a ‘state’ issue?
Do you believe that states have the right to legalize murder of anyone, born or unborn? I do not believe God nor the founding fathers believed that.
I would only support a candidate who’s 1st priority was to do all in his/her power to make all abortions illegal nationwide & who would protect all life from conception, for I believe that is what the Constitution calls for.
Which sadly, I don’t think there is one.
Oh, dear, AV–
You do jump to conclusions.
It was wrong for Roe versus Wade ever to be passed.
Yes, individual states DO have much to say about punishment for murder. There are states that use capital punishment and states that do not.
I do not believe in abortion. At all. I am strictly pro-life. However, Pandora’s box was opened with/by Roe versus Wade–
and . . . this decadent nation will never accept any federal authority with regard to the sanctity of life.
HOWever, some states might. If there are states that will protect unborn life, then there might be a possibility that, in time, all life, unborn, elderly, etc.–
will be protected.
I don’t see it happening any other way. It’s a nice thought to believe that it will, but certainly not before Jesus Christ comes to reign.
This isn’t about what *I* believe; this is about what is possible–
And, yes, you are correct; if you have seen the movie “Come What May” you will realize how easily Roe versus Wade could have been prevented–
but it wasn’t–
Abortion is definitely against the constitution, but so many, many practices that are accepted in the U.S. as ‘regular’ are also anti-constitutional–
It’s going to take a lot of cleaning up, and, frankly, I think only Jesus has a big enough mop to do it–
And AV, I don’t believe in divorce any more than anyone else does. I am staunchly anti-divorce–
but I don’t believe that it is possible to use laws to change the hearts of human beings.
Santorum would have ‘police’ in the bedrooms and homes of the people of the U.S. in order to protect ‘morality’–
at that price what would be the value of morality?
Take Iran, for example. I am one of those ‘rare’ LDS who honestly likes Muslims (and has known many, all of whom have been good/righteous people)–
but even *I* can see, though I don’t believe that Iran is a danger to the U.S. at all–
that the imposition of religious laws on that nation have made the people less faithful–
only if there is true agency can righteousness have any value.
I won’t go into any detail about why *I*, personally, feel very strongly about pro-life issues, but it is the APPROACH that matters more than anything–
If I were to meet you and tell you about my life and my family–
you would see me as a person who decries abortion more than possibly anyone else you have ever met.
BUT . . . *I* can do nothing about those who use:
‘morning after’ pills
birth control methods that destroy tiny embryoes–
herbs that contribute to abortions–
If people make those choices . . . then I canNOT force them to value their ability to procreate–
nor would I.
If I did . . . then I would be taking an anti-agency stand and would be in satan’s camp.
Because I don’t believe in those things doesn’t mean that I believe that I can control the behavior of others–
if people choose to destroy life, they will reap their ‘reward’–
I won’t take that agency away any more than Jesus did–
but if we disagree on this, we disagree.
If you were to meet me, and I were to tell you my story, I think you might find that my feelings on abortion are even stronger than your own.
I suspect it, because *I* know my history, and I know that it is an unusual one–
I have very strong reasons to find abortion abhorrent–
and, no, I never participated in it either–in any way–
Thats an interesting idea, never thought about abortion as being unconstitutional. Not everyone is in agreement about when a person becomes a person. I took an A&P class last year and that topic came up. I don’t think the professor was supposed to talking about such things, but he mentioned that the catholic church varied from time to time in history was to when someone was considered a person.
There are worse things. I read an article about how in the ancient world infanticide was pretty much universal. Some cultures the rate was as high as 80%. There was one culture which was different, the ancient jewish culture. I am pretty sure that they did not shed ‘inocent blood’. But there were some offenses by which one could have lost their life, like breaking the sabbath, disrespecting parents, practicing idol worship, adultry. I am glad things have changed, and am glad these aren’t practiced in many places today.
I am so glad to hear how strongly you stand against abortion, even in terms of pills & artificial birth control. I totally agree with you on that.
And I agree that states should have the right to pass anti-abortion laws, along side a righteous U.S. President (if we could get one into office) trying to pass national anti-abortion laws, as small as that chance may be today.
Laws may not change people’s hearts, but consequences sometimes do. It is God’s last chance to try to save & awaken people before they become completely past feeling. Laws against serious sin, like divorce & abortion, will also keep people from harming others by their unrighteous behavior.
Laws against serious sins do keep most people from committing those sins. That’s why God wants us to have laws according to his high laws. The scriptures teach that if we don’t have laws & apply consequences for serious sin, it’s as if there is no law against it.
But our leaders now refuse to uphold God’s laws & apply consequences for them, thus causing our nation to become increasingly wicked. Thus such leaders will be held accountable for those sins committed also.
I believe having laws against serious sin & applying needed consequences for such sins does not take away anyone’s agency, it only applies the consequences for their choices.
Satan didn’t want anyone to even be able to make wrong choices period.
While Heavenly Father knew people needed to have the agency to choose right or wrong but then he wanted them to receive the consequences for such sins, in hopes that it will help them repent before it’s too late for them.
Thus God expects civil & religious leaders to apply those firm consequences for things like divorce or abortion, etc, or those sins will be upon their own heads too.
But perhaps we disagree on that point.
But when so-called ‘good’ men do nothing, it just allows evil to triumph & spread. We are not to support evil, even by our silence & passivity or we become unrighteous also.
Moroni, with his perfect understanding on these things, is our example of standing for the right & actively enforcing God’s laws.
Unfortunately today, even most religious leaders, even in our Church, usually fail to apply the needed consequences for serious sins like divorce & remarriage & adultery, etc, & instead just encourage, support & even reward such serious sin, thus causing such sins to become increasingly rampant in every ward today, which the leaders that allow it to happen will have to answer for.
And I agree with you, that things are so dire in our nation & church, that only Christ can turn things around & return things to their righteous state.
Jim, I often wondered what those ‘groves’ were for–
I believe that worship of Baal involved things we don’t even understand (and maybe don’t want to)–
and the Israelites did participate–
AV, I have a ‘fear’ of the same thing happening with abortion and divorce that has happened with the ‘War on Drugs’–
only those without money will be punished–
In other words . . . there will always be those who will find ways to avoid the consequences, and only those who are in various ways handicapped or in lower ‘classes’ will end up ‘paying’–
my husband and I have a friend, a young man we helped to raise who is older than our own children . . . who is now in prison–
he shouldn’t be there. He did some very bad, very wrong things–
but unfortunately he married into a family with ‘connections’–
and those who had the ‘connections’ were enabled to put him into prison and avoid the consequences for their own behaviors–including perjury.
Even those his wife did everything in her power to work with her family, one of her in-laws had powerful and wealthy relatives who escaped the consequences.
In theory, it always sounds good, but in practice . . . those who have less . . . will always pay, while those who have more will not–
this is my concern about anti-anything laws–
money always seems to release some of the worst perpetrators–
if laws don’t protect everyone, they are of no value–
I would be more inclined towards pro-laws . . .
such as . . . rewarding good behavior–
but then I have always believed, and perhaps I am not right–
that the Ten Commandments with their ‘thou shalt nots’ were intended for people with lower understanding, whereas the ‘thou shalts’ were intended for those with greater refinement of character–
yes, the ‘lower’ laws are needed in ‘lower’ societies, but this culture has become SO depraved that those ‘lower’ laws generally only apply to people without power–
this is my concern, so I guess we don’t agree on that–
I really do believe, because of things that have happened to me and my family . . . that most justice must wait for the Judgement–
and Jesus Christ is the only true Judge–
commandments without justice, in other words (I had to leave for a while) is what happened in Jesus’ time–
when the Pharisees brought the woman taken ‘in sin’, He knew that those men had committed the same sin(s) and had probably exploited the woman who may have been in her circumstance because of poverty–
Jesus said, “He who is without sin among you cast the first stone”, because He knew they were guilty men, but they were ‘respectable’ men who had gotten out of paying for their crimes–
Without a good justice system all the ‘anti’ laws in the country will not only not protect babies . . .–
but will bring to justice those who will be most easily ‘caught’ and will allow many who have ‘advantage’ to escape consequence–
The judiciary branch of this government is corrupt beyond comprehension which is why instead of public service and rehabilitation our young friend (who was addicted to prescribed medications) got trapped and is now in prison–
So making new laws, while it sounds admirable . . . is not always effective–
especially in a depraved culture–
How does a culture become un-depraved? People must be born again–
and that is the result of love and spiritual conversion, not punishment–
Unfortunately, the priorities in every possible way of this present culture (in and out of the church, meaning “western” culture) are antithetical to spiritual conversion and even love–
it’s truly a crucible–
those who survive it will be ready to meet the Savior; those who don’t will need to be dealt with in ways that only Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ are capable of dealing–
with mercy and justice–
We encourage our young friend, in spite of a faulty justice system, to take his time in prison to become a healthier person (hardly a good place to do it) and to focus on the Savior; he is a returned missionary and has a college education and we keep his name on the prayer roll all the time–
more laws won’t help him at this point–
he was always a very good young man; he got bungled up by prescription medications–
I agree that as long as everyone, but a rare few, in a state or our nation remains unrighteous & thus deceived to vote for or sustain unrighteous leaders, civil or religious, who will not uphold the laws of God & protect the innocent, while letting the guilty go free because of their money & position, then we can only pray for Christ’s return to see justice done & God’s laws once again established.
I’m sorry to hear about your friend, so many are in similar bondage in various ways today, because of the total corruption that abounds around us.
As 2 Nephi 28 warned, everyone today in & out of the Church, except a few, have become corrupt & deceived to support or do evil, while thinking themselves to be righteous. So it does seem that there is little hope for any change until Christ comes.
The more people pray for his return the quicker it will happen. But few people even see how dire things are to even pray for deliverance.
It was probably a more brutal time period on earth for everyone. I should not pretend to understand it. However, it is amazing that these ancient people kept the earths population at zero growth for a very long period of time. I just can’t imagine the whole earth with less than 1 million people. I do sustain a certain amount of disbelief that this ever occured, as it it seems to amazingly calculated.
Ancient jewish people did perform animal sacrifices, and had capital punishment for things that most people would not think anything of today. There are a few examples of what some critics think of as human sacrifices in the O.T. But in general believers don’t accept that, as there are probibitions against that in several places in the O.T.
As for the word Baal, I think that generally refers to any god that isn’t Yhwh. But it can refer to a human, and can mean ‘lord’. I think in one case it does refer to a particular god.
Jim, the point I was trying to make about ancient Israel (and btw, AV, I REALLY appreciate what you say about praying for Jesus to come–oh, YES!)–
is that, whereas so many Americans have come to realize that the constitution has never really, ever, been honored completely . . .
and that the early saints in this ‘dispensation’ didn’t accept and live the commandments Joseph Smith gave (especially with regards to consecration and not embittering neighbors)
so did ancient Israel never really fulfill its covenants completely–
the ancient Israelites consistently turned towards other gods, BUT there were always those few who were righteous–
just as there are some Americans who really care about the constitution, there are LDS and other Christians (and Bhuddists, Hindus, Jews, and Muslims) who really want to do what is right and succeed much of the time–
but large portions of this country (and other nations) and all religions . . . are careless.
Thank you for helping *me* (my husband and a few other family members and one or two friends) feel less alone about a powerful desire for Christ to return.
Have a good day–
Jim, you make a good point about Ba’al (sp?) . . . I remember how Hugh Nibley made a case for idolatry not having to be a ‘god’, that anything *we* worship is a ‘god’, even if not a ‘being’–
In college I used to keep two photos in my dorm room on my desk, one of Jesus and another of Spencer W. Kimball. When I worked at a christian hospital I saw an LDS person with an image of the salt lake temple, and the famous painting of christ returning in air. LDS people do make use of images to help them remember certain things, or to create a certain mood. Although they are more careful not to use such things in chapels, that might look too much like idol worship.
A few years ago I had a poster of Shiva in my room. I noticed that the pale blue of his face did have a very cooling and relaxing effect on me. I think that really helped me get by some difficult times in my life. Currently I have a picture of a Taoist god of wealth on my wall. I don’t fully understand the imagery, but hes heavy with a beard and very jovial, looking like hes laughing really hard. He has some cloth around his shoulders, caught in mid air, so it suggests action, hes rubbing his beard, which makes me think of wisdom. In his left hand he holds a scroll, which also suggests study and wisdom. The prime colors are red and gold, which in chinese culture is good fortune.
I actually am not sure why I wrote all that. But in hinduism the use of images is called ‘murti’. If you are interested I am sure there are lots of commentaries online about it. I always wanted to understand the use of images and imagery. Its something I was not raised with, but I have come to appreciate.
I love art, good art, but many Christians carry the fear of idol worship so far as not to have any art or photographs–
what you say is something that needs to be considered–
it’s important for *us* to question ourselves–
I am not ‘afraid’ of other religions; I find them fascinating, and I have a personal belief that there have been many Godly people who have inspired many in religions other than Mormonism–
what did “idol” mean in the Old Testament? I honestly don’t know–
the culture was very different from the ‘modern’ western culture–
I know a Mormon who keeps a bhudda around and occasionally rubs the bhudda’s ‘tummy’–
Christians in Japan in the 1600s carried little books with them that had all the ‘signs’ of Christianity–
it wasn’t a good thing to be caught with one of them on the body, as Christianity was not seen as a good thing, but there were many more Christians than most people realize–
one of the largest Christian communities was Nagasaki–where, three hundred years later, many people were killed by American atomic bombs–
rambling thoughts sometimes help–
OTC, Exodus 20:3-6 uses the term ‘graven image’. Usually thought to refer to something carved in stone or wood. It could be metal or drawn or painted on canvas. Some have suggested that even sustaining a mental image of something could also be an idol as long as its worshipped.
I often wondered about what that means to people, exactly, as there were the two seraphims on the arc of the covenant and the use of brozen serpents by moses. Of course some christians use the cross, images of jesus or mary or some saint, or even the bible itself can be a sort of idol.
One of the more interesting articles I came accross was by a jewish guy researching this particular commandment. Its odd, as he thought the command was an effort to make it difficult for outsiders to know what god they worshipped, and to impart a particular psychological quality for the jewish people. He also suggested something pretty ironic, that the actual hidden god was the forbidden Baal, at least forbidden in the outer form. I thought that was an interesting conclusion, as there is a sort of fixation in the O.T. around that, and he pointed out some similiarities between Baal and YHWH, and even some connection between the names themselves.
Very interesting thing you noted about Nagasaki having a christian community. I never thought about it, something to think about.
The old testament can be . . . baffling, I have found, and I have read it diligently–
I have come to center on particular parts, out of a desire not to spend my time being confused. LOL!
The Jewish religion can also be baffling; there are some pretty distinct schisms.
But then we LDS are probably VERY baffling; there are so many variations in human thought and belief even within a religious system.
OTC, What do you find so particularly baffling? Probably a too open ended question that would use up connors disk space, I am sure. I feel like I understand it better as a nonbeliever, with no desire,ego or mental filter, to make things read a certain way.
For some reason I felt the desire to revisit the general conciousness of the LDS faith, and quite often my response is ‘oh yeah, forgot about that’ or ‘that’. I have completely lost the unquestioning faith in it. Now that you point it out, there are a number of things that I find baffling, not that they are difficult concepts, but more like ‘how’ or ‘why’ do people believe certain things that to me are not things I believe. I never thought of the LDS body as having too much variation in thought, but I guess it does.
Yes, the Church members & leaders today remind me of how Joseph Smith described the four churches, one on each corner, in Palmira when he was a boy questioning which Church was true.
He said that each church had a different or opposite interpretation of the same scriptures or doctrine. Today it also seems most members & leaders of the Church have different interpretations than the next person or leader. You can get one interpretation of a doctrine from one bishop or apostle & yet another completely opposite belief from another bishop or apostle. Even modern Prophets have taught opposite doctrines from each other many times.
Everyone has their own version & interpretation of the Gospel & it’s doctrine & the scriptures.
It’s like the LDS are all members of different churches, for most people have personal beliefs on doctrine that are so contrary from one another’s.
It’s getting like the tower of Babel. Where no one understands what the other is taking about. Few talk the same doctrinal language as the next person.
Yet the truth is, the Holy Spirit would tell everyone the same things. Thus it seems very few have the Spirit, but instead are getting their various doctrines & interpretations & revelations from various false Spirits or we wouldn’t have all this confusion.
Jimz, I am a believer in Jesus Christ . . . ‘attempting’ to be a ‘true’ believer, who affiliates with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
What AV says applies to me–or I agree with her; line five from the bottom of *her* post–
I discovered about 20 years ago a trend among LDS, or I should say, multiple trends, which have been very divisive. There are ‘social’ LDS, who honestly are involved to be part of a society–which isn’t always bad but isn’t the only purpose of religion–
I depended upon ‘the ward’ and ‘the brethren’ for my spiritual sustenance, and as I sensed that the church was becoming stratified by economic, political, social, educational . . . markers–
I fell, hard. I never ‘went inactive’, but I went through a terrible time, spiritually, and I “met” myself–
I was also going through some very difficult trials with my family, things that tested my ‘metal’–
and after I came through it I acknowledged that I eithr had to have a personal ‘relationship’ with Jesus Christ (something that few people dared to discuss back then) or I would become a non-believer or at least an unchurched person–
I developed that relationship; it wasn’t easy, but I did. It’s precious to me.
All those years of intense church service didn’t really seem to matter to me anymore; they meant very little. All of the cultural things about the church that had been SO crucial to me meant very little–
not that I began to wear blue jeans to church or . . . stopped going to the temple; I continued to be outwardly everything (to a reasonable extent) that was expected of me while no longer leaning on ‘people’–
so I do understand what you mean when you talk about . . . “no ego, desire, or mental filter”–
I see the church as an organization, and its functioning is literally out of MY hands–
It’s up to Jesus Christ to do what He will with it–but LDS are not the ‘only’ people . . . who are blessed or enlightened; I did find that out–
when I meet other members of the church I meet them as other human beings, not as being special because they are LDS–
they are my brothers and sisters, but no more than my Catholic neighbor or my Jewish nieces and nephews or my SDA sister in law or my Lutheran sister in law–
or my husband’s Catholic cousin and his wife who are Eucharist priests (lay)–
I don’t ‘discriminate’ any more based upon ‘labels’, but by my spiritual feelings–
which are sometimes surprising.
Not too long ago I went to church and felt . . . flat–one particular Sunday, which doesn’t happen all the time, of course, and I came home, and I was praying to find some sense of fellowship–
and my close Lutheran elderly neighbor’s daughter in law was out in her garden, and we began to talk, and we were discussing prayer and our faith in Jesus Christ, and there were tears shed and testimonies expressed, and I went in the house and realized my prayers had been answered.
LDS culture DOES baffle me, and I’m a 7th generation LDS, returned missionary with a current temple recommend–
I leave it alone, though; I don’t have the mental/emotional capacity to do battle with cultures anymore–LOL!
I am old(er), and I am not in good health–I wander around on the computer and try to share my testimony of Jesus Christ–it’s not a very unique one or a very . . . interesting one, but I do like to share it, even in odd ways like this post.
I hope that answers your question.
and I respect agnostics . . . for their honesty–
I respect atheists out of principle; I have met some VERY good atheists; I just don’t understand how a person can gain a ‘testimony’ that God doesn’t exist–
to not claim to know is another thing (agnosticism)–
at least according to *my* limited understanding. I try not to judge by labels, but it is very important to me that religious beliefs (or lack thereof) be respected–
I hope this helps–
right . . . computer space–don’t understand THAT either; I am old enough that personal computers are rather new to me–
Went all the way through college without knowing what a computer was; THAT should tell you something!
Just wanted to chip in my little bit, hope it helps someone. Personally, I enjoy the diversity within the church. In my experience, the simple truths taught on Sunday are held very much in common church-wide. As one searches and expands out from those things, the spirit teaches people according to their experience and readiness. I find that I gain a lot by accepting everyone, within or without the church as a brother or sister (equal), and simply listen and learn what I can from them and share my thoughts in hopes there is some benefit. I don’t think the Lord ever intended for us to think the same or view everything the same. I believe he did intend for us to love one another and learn from one another. I guess I think there is some good application of the saying “In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, love.”
OTC, My partner is an atheist, but he is very spiritual and ethical. Thats a strange idea of a testimony that god doesn’t exist. If I asked him about that I am sure he would be open, but very skepical for any real evidence of god or anything supernatural. He has a deep conviction that its all fairy tales. He just has a lot of experience with working in science and genetics, and I think that makes one skeptical. I am currently in a program of radiography, the more I understand about physiology and anatomy, I think the less apt I am to believe in anything supernatural.
I have had some interesting experiences to say the least. Something that make me wonder, but they cannot be confirmed or tested by anyone else. That is a weak point, because not every experiences such things. I even doubt the importance of these events simply because they have not withstood critical tests. For example I gave basically all my money to some homeless people a few years back. It left me without a ride home. But to my amazement everything I gave materialized back into my pocket! My partner thinks that I somehow acquired it by some other means, that I simply forgot.
The other thing that I find so interesting, and rather annoying is the tendancy for people to think of either atheism or the christian faith, or perhaps something in between like agnosticism. There is Islam, hinduism, paganism, tribal religions, and who knows what else. I have found more comfort in paganism and hindu gods recently than anything else. At one point I found sikhism appealing, but I found out some inherent qualities of monotheism that I find rather annoying, and for me inherently disruptive to spirituality. The biggest for me is the tendancy to be polarizing and rather controversial and confrontive. It could just be my perception, but thats how I perceive it.
As for the constitution being pro-life, anti-abortion–
it is for the same reason that murder is prohibited by the constitution–
you see, once a baby is conceived . . . only an act of violence of some kind (yes, drugs could be considered violent, not to mention anything mechanical)–
can terminate that life. Hence–
that life is protected.
Interference with out-of-womb life is considered murder, unless it is natural–
anything mechanical or chemical that murders an out-of-womb person . . . is murder.
if there is no chemical or mechanical interference with an in-womb human being . . . there will be life.
The constitution, by this argument, protects human life in ANY of its stages–
Having said that, my ‘fear’ about making abortion illegal is the same thing that has happened with ‘street’ drugs–
making them illegal increased their useage and made the selling of them for profit a HUGE business–
whenever the ‘government’ gets involved in this way . . . things grow out of control–
I have a real fear that . . . there would be ‘police’ who would find ways to determine who is pregnant and when they are due and monitor them–
which is a horrible idea–
but I don’t think it’s beyond the scope of imagination, sadly.
I don’t think that any of us who are older could imagine how much the government would be involved in the lives of Americans now–
I agree with the Catholic church on this; would-be mothers who are violated by mechanical or chemical abortion techniques . . . are victims–
Most women who ‘want’ abortions do so for economic reasons, so the prisons would be filled with impoverished women, probably mostly black, as they are now filled with impoverished men (for drugs), mostly black.
Something has to be done for these women, but it’s not going to be government interference. Only . . . new hearts will work–
and new hearts aren’t likely to happen in the present conditions of our world, so I fear.
Jimz . . . my father was a scientist, and . . . I have to say that I have had the same experience with science that many have had with religion–
I am skeptical about science–LOL!
I don’t claim that others should not study it, but I have seen some horrific abuses of science, things unmentionable–
just as others have seen abuses of religion (which I, too, have seen)–
*we* can say that if “pure” people practice science then . . . science will be benign or at least neutral, but I have seen ‘pure’ people duped by science as well. I lived in a world of science, and I . . . well, I just stay away from it now–
science is, in a very real sense, a ‘belief’ system–
you must believe in certain principles in science, as well as in religion–
scientific laws are not always ‘predictable’–
Having said that I realize that in this ‘culture’ we are not taught to be skeptical of science–
I am wary for very valid reaosns, but I will not go into it on here; it’s entirely too personal; I don’t want to be traced–
oh, but, Jimz–outside of the stratification found in Indian society (almost worse than here in America!) . . .–
I think that truth is big enough to encompass all religions, lived with integrity–
I have a private belief, so maybe I shouldn’t state it, and I am not alone in this; there have been other LDS, though not often non-LDS Christians . . . who believe that minor prophets are sent to every people–to give them as much truth as they can ‘contain’ at given times–
I have met some very fine Hindus; I think there are some good things in that religion; their healing systems are very amazing–
but then I feel the same way about Bhuddists and Muslims and Jews–
there are some religions that are virtually unknown to most Americans that are highly refined–some of them have practices similar to those that many mainstream LDS would not find abhorrent–
your last three lines, Brint–
very enjoyable to read!
There is a rather narrow, somewhat perverted ‘culture’ that is comfortable to some LDS–
that I find almost frightening . . . a ‘gnat straining’ sort of belief system that these people think is ‘latter day’, but which feels perverse to me, from a standpoint of having done much Book of Mormon reading and studying the words of Christ–
sometimes it is found in Sunday school classes; in our present ward . . . there is some real concern about this; two SS teachers (one adult; one who teaches the teens) give a lot of ‘personal beliefs’, both political and social, in their classes; the stake SS president is very concerned; too many people are getting up and walking out of classes; several young people are discouraged with the incorrect history and geography lessons being given by the man who teaches the teens–
what to do? I don’t know; culture is very powerful–
the adult SS teacher is a personal friend; we do NOT agree on politics at all, but she believes her politics are approved by Father in Heaven, and so she preaches her political beliefs in the class and then claims that it is ‘doctrine’ when confronted; there are now more adults in the hallways and foyers than in her class–
what to do?
our friend believes that true believers canNOT be anything other than ‘neo-conservatives’–
the stake SS president has confided this to us, because of some common concerns we have had–
and . . . our friend has confided to us that she is merely teaching doctrine. We (as libertarians and RP supporters) are her project for reclamation! LOL!
I hope you laugh; it’s better than crying!
OTC, I just realized something OTC could also mean over the counter. I was just curious and did a search on the constitution and murder. Amazingly enough the opinion of a lot of people is that murder is not specifically mentioned in constitution, and that its state regulations that deal with murder, not federal law. I will have to read the constitution again sometime when I have more time, but I am not sure that the constitution is really to protect anyone. I would like to believe that it does, but from a certain perspective its how leaders and government are allowed to control and regulate the population. Of course its meant to place limits on that, but I am not so sure its main purpose is for protection.
over the counter–LOL!
You could be right about the constitution–certainly. I have heard that before–
perhaps this is why it is so important for the states to have ‘rights’–
I did the quick read of the Constitution. From the Bill of Rights, Article V: “…nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law…”. I could see that this could be interpreted as only a restriction on the government killing someone (which they seem to ignore). In the beginning of the Constitution it also states as a purpose to “insure domestic tranquility”, which to me seems to cover citizen killing citizen. The Declaration of Independence has been used by judges on occasion to help interpret the constitution. It makes the protection of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness a priority of government. I understand that people may find other interpretations, but I think the Constitution clearly protects life.
OTC, probably best to just laugh, although I must admit, I may find it entertaining to be a ‘project for reclamation’ of the conservatives (outside of church time). At least if they were willing to have meaningful discussion about ideas, in which case I would be willing to seriously consider their case, and they would need to be willing to seriously consider mine. This is how some of us ended up being Libertarians in the first place.
Brint, Thank you for the pointers on the constitution, that about covers it, so I guess that proves that one should take more than 30 seconds to research a subject on google. I am so busted! I spoke to a friend, and he said of course murder is a federal offense. But to tell you the truth, he honestly didn’t know if it was in the constitution. Good job!
After looking closely at the issues on both Romney’s and Paul’s campaign websites, these two men really aren’t that different. That is why they don’t attack each other in the debates.
wake up and smell the reality – we are currently held hostage by a a two party political system (which I hate). A Vote for Ron Paul makes a statement, but will actually help to reelect Obama, who is the greater evil. I’m no Mitt fanatic but the way things ARE now, he will do less harm.
There is something really strange. A wiccan webpage endorsed Mitt! The author said it would be refreshing to have someone elected thats not a (evangelical) christian. (I added the word evangelical for clarification. But the wiccan webpage doesn’t consider Mitt a true christian. It went on to mention something about comparing crystal balls to J.S. use of the urim and thummim.
Apparently the author believes that mormons are more open to new age ideas and alternative religions. I never knew that, or would have never believed that.