Government

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The Motto of the Church of Latter-day Saints

The Constitution of our country formed by the Fathers of liberty. Peace and good order in society. Love to God, and good will to man. All good and wholesome laws, virtue and truth above all things, and aristarchy, live forever! But woe to tyrants, mobs, aristocracy, anarchy, and toryism, and all those who invent or seek out unrighteous and vexatious law suits, under the pretext and color of law, or office, either religious or political. Exalt the standard of Democracy! Down with that of priestcraft, and let all the people say Amen! that the blood of our fathers may not cry from the ground against us. Sacred is the memory of that blood which bought for us our liberty.

JOSEPH SMITH, JUN.,
THOMAS B. MARSH,
DAVID W. PATTEN,
BRIGHAM YOUNG,
SAMUEL H. SMITH,
GEORGE M. HINKLE,
JOHN CORRILL,
GEORGE W. ROBINSON
(March, 1838).

Notes:

I thought it might be of use to point out the difference between the following terms:

Aristarchy (live forever): A body of good men in power, or government by excellent men.

Aristocracy (woe to): A form of government, in which the whole supreme power is vested in the principal persons of a state; or in a few men distinguished by their rank and opulence. When the supreme power is exercised by a small number, the government is called an oligarchy. The latter word however is usually applied to a corrupted form of aristocracy.

While it seems that this wasn’t actually ever adopted by the church (it’s kind of a long motto and very politically oriented), it’s significant that it was liked enough for Joseph Smith and several other important men to put their names to it.

Screenshot 2016-05-15 20.11.13

Original document here at the Joseph Smith Papers.

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Rage Against the Machine via Junior Ganymede

This is an interesting read from MC over at Junior Ganymede. The original post can be viewed at it’s source here, but I’ve included the entirety of it here below:


My oldest will be old enough for Kindergarten in the fall. The small talk question of the moment from our fellow parents is, “Where are you enrolling him?” In our school district, that’s more than a geography question. It’s a big district with more or less open enrollment, and they’ve done an admirable job of making sure there is an abundance of options. Gifted programs, foreign language immersion schools, charter schools with a patriotic focus, etc.

He won’t be going to any of those, however. As we’ve anticipated since before he was born, he’s going to be homeschooled.

“So, if you don’t mind me asking, why are you homeschooling? Is it for academic or moral reasons or what?”

No one asks these questions of parents who send their kids to the Japanese immersion school. Only homeschool inspires such curiosity. I don’t mind answering, though. The real answer to the “academics or morals” question is “both,” although I usually focus on the academic side when answering the question. That part is easy enough for people to understand. (I’ve found that my leftist acquaintances are still put off by the idea until they find out that my wife is a former teacher with a masters’ degree. Her teaching license allows them to retain their prior stereotype of homeschoolers as Read Full Post

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Isaiah Identifies the Latter-day Archtyrant

It always amazes me how we acknowledge the historical certainty of the rise and fall of nations in the past, but we don’t seem to think that the same fate is an eventuality today.

Sure, men wanted to take over the world back then, but not today.

Sure, there were men trying to take over the world in the last century, but not today.

Sure, the newly appointed (unelected) “President” of the European Union, Herman Van Rompuy, recently stated: “2009 is also the first year of global governance, with the establishment of the G20 in the middle of the financial crisis. The climate conference in Copenhagen is another step towards the global management of our planet.”

To think that we will ever be at the mercy of power hungry men bent on world domination and global plunder is surely just some kind of crazy conspiracy theory isn’t it?

I could not more highly recommend Read Full Post

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Seventy-three Percent

In the September 2012 edition of the Latter-day Saint publication The Ensign, David Brent Marsh wrote:

God foresaw our day and called the Prophet Joseph Smith to bring forth the Book of Mormon to help us. Of the 239 chapters in the Book of Mormon, 174 (73 percent) deal with war, terrorism, murder, political conspiracies, secret combinations, threats, family collusions, and other hostilities. [source]

Consider Ezra Taft Benson’s words:

The record of the Nephite history just prior to the Savior’s visit reveals many parallels to our own day as we anticipate the Savior’s second coming” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1987, 3; or Ensign, May 1987, 4)

Consider how each of these realities apply today: Read Full Post

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Justice and Mercy: A Unique Teaching Moment With my Kids

Meet “Peter” the Lego Friends character who also happens to be the object of the latest source of contention in the Reed household.

I’m going to try my best to accurately capture a discussion that just transpired minutes before writing this article involving myself, my seven year old and five year old. For the sake of privacy, I will refer to the 7 year old as “Mary” and the 5 year old as “Tina” (I let them pick the names).

There was a conflict over a toy that belonged to Mary, the toy was “Peter” as pictured above. Tina had come along and picked up the toy while Mary had momentarily been distracted and small riot ensued as Mary realized that her toy had been seized without her permission. It just so happens that I had spent the afternoon pondering the principles of justice and mercy, so I declined my initial instinct to barge into the room and fulfill Bill Cosby’s uncomfortably familiar observation that “Parents are not interested in justice — they want QUIET!”

I decided to be interested in justice…and mercy and take this unique time on a Sabbath-day afternoon to try and teach about both.

I gathered them both together and told them that Read Full Post

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There are two consequences in history…

There are two consequences in history: one immediate and instantaneously recognized; the other distant and unperceived at first. These consequences often contradict each other; the former come from our short-run wisdom, the latter from long-run wisdom. The providential event appears after the human event. Behind men rises God. Deny as much as you wish the Supreme Wisdom, do not believe in its action, dispute over words, call what the common man calls Providence “the force of circumstances” or “reason”; but look at the end of an accomplished fact, and you will see that it has always produced the opposite of what was expected when it has not been founded from the first on morality and justice.

– Vicomte François René de Chateaubriand, Memoirs from beyond the Tomb (Chateaubriand was a forerunner of the romantic movement in French literature, and a royalist of the Bourbon stamp in politics. He served the restored Bourbon monarchy, after Napoleon’s fall, as ambassador to England and Germany and as Minister of Foreign Affairs. His most famous works were The Genius of Christianity andMemoirs from beyond the Tomb.).

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George Washington’s 1796 Farewell Address

Friends and Citizens:

The period for a new election of a citizen to administer the executive government of the United States being not far distant, and the time actually arrived when your thoughts must be employed in designating the person who is to be clothed with that important trust, it appears to me proper, especially as it may conduce to a more distinct expression of the public voice, that I should now apprise you of the resolution I have formed, to decline being considered among the number of those out of whom a choice is to be made.

I beg you, at the same time, to do me the justice to be assured that this resolution has not been taken without a strict regard to all the considerations appertaining to the relation which binds a dutiful citizen to his country; and that in withdrawing the tender of service, which silence in my situation might imply, I am influenced by no diminution of zeal for your future interest, no deficiency of grateful respect for your past kindness, but am supported by a full conviction that the step is compatible with both.

The acceptance of, and continuance hitherto in, the office to which your suffrages Read Full Post

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Let Us Have Peace by J. Reuben Clark Jr.

by J. Reuben Clark, Church News, November 22, 1947.

The international gospel of the Founding Fathers was forecast by Jefferson in 1793. It was voiced by Washington in his Farewell Address in 1796, when he declared we should have “as little political connection as possible with Europe,” because Europe has a “set of primary interests” with which we had “none or a very remote relation,” wherefore “must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concern;…why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor, or caprice? It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world.” The Monroe Doctrine declaring against the future colonization of the American continent by Europeans, against the extension therein of their political system, against interposition by European powers to control the destinies of the Latin Americas, implemented the principles of the Address. And Jefferson, commenting in 1823 on the Monroe Doctrine Read Full Post

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Persuasion vs. Force

by Mark and Jo Ann Skousen

Copyright 1992 by Mark and Jo Ann Skousen. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

A version of this essay originally appeared in the September, 1991, issue of Liberty magazine.

Sometimes a single book or even a short cogent essay can change an individual’s entire outlook on life. For Christians, it is the New Testament. For radical socialists, Karl Marx’ and Friedrich Engels’ The Communist Manifesto is revolutionary. For libertarians, Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged is pivotal. For economists, Ludwig von Mises’ Human Action can be mind-changing.

Recently I came across a little essay in a book called Adventures of Ideas, by Alfred North Whitehead, the British philosopher and Harvard professor. The essay, “From Force to Persuasion,” had a profound effect upon me. Actually what caught my attention was a single Read Full Post

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Was 9/11 our Mormon 3:10?

Today is the 10th anniversary of the horrific events that began with the deaths of over 3000 people here in the United States and that continues to this day with a total human death toll that has climbed well over one million dead, 4.5 Million Displaced, 1-2 Million Widows, 5 Million Orphans and almost 5000 dead U.S. soldiers. [source]

Are we any closer to justice or peace? Where is the end to all of this? How does one win a war that is not declared on any nation but on individuals we arbitrarily identify as “terrorists”.

As a Latter-day Saint, I refer often to the Book of Mormon which has much to say on the situation of war. I have learned that is it just to fight to defend certain things:

Nevertheless, the Nephites were inspired by a better cause, for they were not fighting for monarchy nor power but they were fighting for their homes and their liberties, their wives and their children, and their all, yea, for their rites of worship and their church. And they were doing that which they felt was the duty which they owed to their God; for the Lord had said unto them, and also unto their fathers, that: Inasmuch as ye are not guilty of the first offense, neither the second, ye shall not suffer yourselves to be slain by the hands of your enemies. And again, the Lord has said that: Ye shall defend your families even unto bloodshed… – Alma 43:45-47

Preemptive/Offensive Wars

Innocent people were killed on 9/11 and we declared ourselves as a nation under attack. If we look to the Book of Mormon for perspective, we will find recorded in 3 Nephi an account of a band of “terrorists” living out in the wilderness who threaten the Nephite civilization. The people conclude that the best decision is to fall upon them in the wilderness and destroy them in their own lands Read Full Post

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60 Great quotes on war

These are a few quotes on war that I feel express great wisdom that we would do well to understand and practice. Pay attention to #42 and #43. Read Full Post

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Joseph Smith on Three Truths

“We say that God is true; that the Constitution of the United States is true; that the Bible is true.” (TPJS 147-48)

I love the simplicity in that statement. Joseph Smith it seems was trying to make a powerful statement about the importance and divine origins for the Constitution of the United States by placing it between God and the Bible and thereby elevating it to the level of scripture.

The Constitution of the United States has brought more than just liberty and good government to the world, the results of liberty have spawned technological revolutions that have launched mankind by leaps and bounds into prosperity and knowledge.

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The Book of Mormon Condemns the New World Order

One of the past great leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was a man named Ezra Taft Benson. He had this to say about the Book of Mormon:

The Book of Mormon brings men to Christ through two basic means. First, it tells in a plain manner of Christ and His gospel. It testifies of His divinity and of the necessity for a Redeemer and the need of our putting trust in Him. It bears witness of the Fall and the Atonement and the first principles of the gospel, including our need of a broken heart and a contrite spirit and a spiritual rebirth. It proclaims we must endure to the end in righteousness and live the moral life of a Saint.

Second, the Book of Mormon exposes the enemies of Christ. It confounds false doctrines and lays down contention. (See 2 Ne. 3:12.) It fortifies the humble followers of Christ against the evil designs, strategies, and doctrines of the devil in our day. The type of apostates in the Book of Mormon are similar to the type we have today. God, with his infinite foreknowledge, so molded the Book of Mormon that we might see the error and know how to combat false educational, political, religious, and philosophical concepts of our time. (The Book of Mormon Is the Word of God, President Ezra Taft Benson, Jan 1988.)

The purpose of this article is to show how the Book of Mormon calls out and condemns the biggest threat to liberty that mankind has ever faced – a threat that already encompasses us.

The Setting

It is somewhere around A.D. 29-30 on the American continent. A group of elites, rich, powerful and connected, seek for more power Read Full Post

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Natural Rights and Civil Rights as Taught by Thomas Paine

“Natural rights are those which always appertain to man in right of his existence. Of this kind are all the intellectual rights, or rights of the mind, and also all those rights of acting as an individual for his own comfort and happiness, which are not injurious to the rights of others.”

“Civil rights are those which appertain to man in right of his being a member of society. Every civil right has for its foundation some natural right pre-existing in the individual, but to which his individual power is not, in all cases, sufficiently competent. Of this kind are all those which relate to security and protection.”

And there you have it, two points beautifully illustrated by the incomparable Thomas Paine.

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Has the final thread snapped?

The now famous or infamous “White Horse” prophecy is something that has made the rounds over the years. It is an alleged record of a prophecy recorded by Edwin Rushton and Theodore Turley who claim that they heard Joseph Smith make some predictions in their own home around May 6, 1843.

It may very well be all true and recorded accurately, partially true at least, but some of the details of the statement are in doubt since we don’t have record of Joseph stating many of the details elsewhere. The main oft-repeated idea from the ‘prophecy’ is the concept that the Constitution of the United States would “hang by a thread” and that the “Elders of Israel” or “The Church” would be the means somehow “preserve” it or “bear it away” from total destruction.

President Joseph F. Smith said in the October 1918 General Conference  said that the prophecy “…was never spoken by the prophet in the manner in which they [Rushton and Turley] have put it forth.” What Joseph Smith actually said, that we have record of was:

“Even this nation will be on the verge of crumbling to pieces and tumbling to the ground and when the Constitution is on the brink of ruin this people will be the staff upon which the nation shall lean and they shall bear the Constitution away from the very verge of destruction.” – President Joseph Smith, Jr (19 July 1840, as recorded by Martha Jane Knowlton Coray; ms. in Church Historian’s Office, Salt Lake City)

Eliza R. Snow recollected Joseph Smith saying: Read Full Post

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The Constitution—A Glorious Standard by Ezra Taft Benson

Ezra Taft Benson, “The Constitution—A Glorious Standard”, Ensign, Sept. 1987, 6

From an address delivered at a BYU devotional held Tuesday, 16 September 1986, in commemoration of the bicentennial of the Constitution of the United States.

On the 17th day of September, 1987, we commemorate the two-hundredth birthday of the Constitutional Convention, which gave birth to the document that Gladstone said is “the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man.”1

I heartily endorse this assessment, and I would like to pay honor—honor to the document itself, honor to the men who framed it, and honor to the God who inspired it and made possible its coming forth.

To understand the significance of the Constitution, we must first understand some basic, eternal principles. These principles have their beginning in the premortal councils of heaven.

Some Basic Principles

The first basic principle is agency. The central issue in that premortal council was: Shall the children of God have untrammeled agency to choose the course they should follow, whether good or evil, or shall they be coerced and forced to be obedient? Christ and all who followed Him stood for the former proposition—freedom of choice; Satan stood for the latter—coercion and force. Read Full Post

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Why We Celebrate the United States Constitution

It was noon, October, 19, 1781, when two lines formed on the Yorktown battle field. Washington and the Americans stood in one line. The French in the other. Between them slowly marched the defeated British. The British General Cornwallis did not come. He excused himself as being indisposed. Instead, he sent his sword of surrender by the hand of General O’Hara. O’Hara tried to surrender the sword to the French commander, but he was waved back to Washington.

When Washington saw that a subordinate officer had come with the sword of surrender, he told O’Hara to make his presentation to one of his own subordinates, General Benjamin Lincoln. The sword ceremony was the signal for the British to march forward and surrender.  At that very moment, on the Yorktown battlefield, America was given her freedom.

The miracles of the Revolutionary War that lead up to the victory in Yorktown were numerous:  I am reminded of one on a cold, Christmas evening. Washington’s troops were near collapse. Thankfully, the British, who could have finished the troops off decided to wait until Spring and took up Winter quarters. The paid Hessian solders, who customarily had a big celebration on Christmas day, would be sleeping off their drunkenness.  It was a perfect time for an attack. Read Full Post

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Interpreters and Combinations

The purpose of this article is to explore the physical description of the Nephite “interpreters” (or Urim and Thummim as they were called by Joseph Smith) and their purpose. This article will demonstrate that these artifacts have been passed down for thousands of years and their primary use is for revealing the history of secret Satanic conspiracies upon the American continent as a warning to future inhabitants of this land.

What were they and what did they look like?

Joseph Smith claimed that he translated ancient records with the assistance of a “Urim and Thummim”. The Urim and Thummim were part of the sacred vestments that the high priest wore during the period of Mosaic Law. Here is what the LDS Bible Dictionary says about the Urim and Thummim:

Heb. term that means Lights and Perfections. An instrument prepared of God to assist man in obtaining revelation from the Lord and in translating languages. See Ex. 28: 30; Lev. 8: 8; Num. 27: 21; Deut. 33: 8; 1 Sam. 28: 6; Ezra 2: 63; Neh. 7: 65; JS-H 1: 35.

Using a Urim and Thummim is the special prerogative of a seer, and it would seem reasonable that such instruments were used from the time of Adam. However, the earliest mention is in connection with the brother of Jared (Ether 3: 21-28). Abraham used a Urim and Thummim (Abr. 3: 1-4), as did Aaron and the priests of Israel, and also the prophets among the Nephites (Omni 1: 20-21; Mosiah 8: 13-19; Mosiah 21: 26-28; Mosiah 28: 11-20; Ether 4: 1-7). There is more than one Urim and Thummim, but we are informed that Joseph Smith had the one used by the brother of Jared (Ether 3: 22-28; D&C 10: 1; D&C 17: 1). (See Seer.) A partial description is given in JS-H 1: 35. Joseph Smith used it in translating the Book of Mormon and in obtaining other revelations.

This earth in its celestial condition will be a Urim and Thummim, and many within that kingdom will have an additional Urim and Thummim (D&C 130: 6-11).

It is very difficult to tell what the purpose of these particular implements were used for from the text of the Old Testament. There are a few passages that indicate that they had something to do with revelation; that they were oracles of some kind, but there is nothing indicating that they were used for translating languages Read Full Post

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The Proper Role of Government

The Proper Role of Government

by The Honorable Ezra Taft Benson
Former Secretary of Agriculture [The Eisenhower Administration – ed.] Published in 1968

Men in the public spotlight constantly are asked to express an opinion on a myriad of government proposals and projects. “What do you think of TVA?” “What is your opinion of Medicare?” How do you feel about Urban Renewal?” The list is endless. All too often, answers to these questions seem to be based, not upon any solid principle, but upon the popularity of the specific government program in question. Seldom are men willing to oppose a popular program if they, themselves, wish to be popular – especially if they seek public office. Read Full Post

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None Dare Call it Conspiracy

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