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Discussion in 'Religion and Ethics' started by MeBelle, Nov 8, 2012.

  1. MeBelle
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    MeBelle Mebellien Mothership © Supporting Member

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    A friend of mine wrote this recently:

    Mobs of the early 1800s and Governor Boggs’ “Extermination Order,” Missouri Executive Order 44, in 1838 branded the people of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with a nickname by which we are best known, Mormons.

    Today, people are most familiar with our participation in community service projects and the young missionaries seen riding bicycles and walking throughout our neighborhoods. Even with our aggressive proselyting efforts, our religion remains largely unknown and even more so our beliefs as to the divine purposes of the institution of government.

    Today, the evolution of candidates for civil service in our society provides an opportunity to introduce the belief held collectively, by a worldwide congregation of 14 million individuals, regarding governments and laws as adopted by church leaders 17 August 1835 so “that our belief with regard to earthly governments and laws in general may not be misinterpreted nor misunderstood.”

    We believe that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man; and that he holds men accountable for their acts in relation to them, both in making laws and administering them, for the good and safety of society.

    We believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life.

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

    We believe that religion is instituted of God; and that men are amenable to him, and to him only, for the exercise of it, unless their religious opinions prompt them to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others; but we do not believe that human law has a right to interfere in prescribing rules of worship to bind the consciences of men, nor dictate forms for public or private devotion; that the civil magistrate should restrain crime, but never control conscience; should punish guilt, but never suppress the freedom of the soul.

    We believe that all men are bound to sustain and uphold the respective governments in which they reside, while protected in their inherent and inalienable rights by the laws of such governments; and that sedition and rebellion are unbecoming every citizen thus protected, and should be punished accordingly; and that all governments have a right to enact such laws as in their own judgments are best calculated to secure the public interest; at the same time, however, holding sacred the freedom of conscience.

    We believe that every man should be honored in his station, rulers and magistrates as such, being placed for the protection of the innocent and the punishment of the guilty; and that to the laws all men owe respect and deference, as without them peace and harmony would be supplanted by anarchy and terror; human laws being instituted for the express purpose of regulating our interests as individuals and nations, between man and man; and divine laws given of heaven, prescribing rules on spiritual concerns, for faith and worship, both to be answered by man to his Maker.

    We believe that rulers, states, and governments have a right, and are bound to enact laws for the protection of all citizens in the free exercise of their religious belief; but we do not believe that they have a right in justice to deprive citizens of this privilege, or proscribe them in their opinions, so long as a regard and reverence are shown to the laws and such religious opinions do not justify sedition nor conspiracy.

    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.

    We believe that men should appeal to the civil law for redress of all wrongs and grievances, where personal abuse is inflicted or the right of property or character infringed, where such laws exist as will protect the same; but we believe that all men are justified in defending themselves, their friends, and property, and the government, from the unlawful assaults and encroachments of all persons in times of exigency, where immediate appeal cannot be made to the laws, and relief afforded.”

    God bless the United States of America.

    This was the rebuttal:
    What do you call a column lacking context, accuracy, meaning and takes valuable space?

    I will highlight a few of the many problems .

    First, Missouri Executive Order 44 did not brand LDS members with the nickname, Mormon. Joseph Smith, the first Mormon prophet, brought forth what Mormons believe to be an additional volume of scripture, “The Book of Mormon.”
    Non church members called them Mormons in the early 1830s, due to the book title.

    Second, is there really something called the “evolution of candidates for civil service?” A civil servant is a term to describe a government employee, like a building inspector, IRS auditor, welfare claims specialist, etc. The term he may be searching for is “candidates for public office.” The oddity is that he was a candidate for public office before he became a public official. Hmmm, how was that mistake made?

    Now the challenging part is to make sense of his hack job over “governments and laws as adopted by the church leaders.” The Doctrine and Covenants (D&C) of the Church was first published in 1835. The D&C contain 138 sections. Mormon beliefs on government and laws are presented in Section 134. This section was included as a rebuttal to accusations against the Saints in the early 1830s. Their enemies in Missouri and elsewhere believed the church was opposed to law and order. The LDS was also portrayed as setting up laws in conflict with the laws of the country. Section 134 was meant to clarify their beliefs about government and laws.

    There is much more to the story but the point is that he treats this complex topic in a simplistic and inaccurate manner. How the “evolution of candidates” provides an opportunity to introduce the Mormon faith is a big leap of faith to me. Pun intended.

    Finally, he misrepresents the church’s beliefs on government and law by omitting three of 12 components.
    **************

    Your insight, please.
     
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  2. there4eyeM
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    there4eyeM unlicensed metaphysician

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    "We believe that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man..."

    If this indeed is the position of the LDS, then there is automatically a conflict with the concept of separation of church and state.
     
  3. JakeStarkey
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    JakeStarkey Diamond Member Supporting Member

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    Yes, there is, and, no, absolutely no, Americans should never, ever adopt the Mormon positions on the confusion of church and state. Study LDS government in Utah from territorial days right through today. I love Utah, as most of you know my summer home is in SLC, but the Utah extremist legislature reminds one of a peaceful communist party: everyone does what the religious wants.
     
  4. Avatar4321
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    Avatar4321 Diamond Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Mormons were called Mormons long before the Extermination order.

    Section 134 pretty much shows the Church's position on government.
     
  5. JakeStarkey
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    JakeStarkey Diamond Member Supporting Member

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    Avatar4321 knows that I like LDS and find much to admire. However, a tremendous difference of kind exists between LDS government in the Utah Territory up until today and what is considered responsible, open government.

    One example: the legislature (90% LDS) changed the law after a signature-collecting process to get a measure on the ballot to force openness in government got the numbers. The measure was removed from the ballot.

    Another example: a super-conservative GOP legislator who hated anything to the left of Ezra Taft Benson, once he got his five terms so he could collect life-time medical care for himself and the government free at the taxpayer expense, then resigned to take a better paying job.

    Believe me, people, this type of government is not what you want.
     
  6. MeBelle
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    MeBelle Mebellien Mothership © Supporting Member

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    Is my friend wrong or right?
    Is the rebuttal wrong or right?
     
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  7. JakeStarkey
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    JakeStarkey Diamond Member Supporting Member

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    Your friend is quoting Mormon propaganda that goes back to the Joseph Smith's thirteen Articles of Faith. Good words, poorly followed.

    However, in fairness, in Utah today, LDS and non-LDS GOP are generally sheeple being led by a far-right LDS-dominated caucus system that really does discourage the average guy and gal getting involved. It wants a small number to dominate the mass. And the mass so far permits it.

    I imagine Catholic Rhode Island is similar.

     
  8. Avatar4321
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    Avatar4321 Diamond Member Gold Supporting Member

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    About which part?
     
  9. MeBelle
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    MeBelle Mebellien Mothership © Supporting Member

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    Any part-

    I don't know a lot about the Mormon faith, but I do know my friend very well.

    I don't know anything about section 134. I was hoping for a Cliff Notes version.
     

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