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I'm a single Mormon Democrat, an NPR & BBC news junkie, a dog lover, opera buff, bookavore, migraineur, knows just enough about technology to be a danger to myself, fan of James Bond and Godzilla. 

Micah 6:8; D&C 11:20 

"do justly, walk humbly, judge righteously."

Friday, March 15, 2013

Joseph Smith's View of Government

Reading Section 134 of the Doctrine & Covenants - which is dedicated to showing the early Church's dedication to certain liberal democratic standard - I was struck by how so many of the statements they make apply more to liberals than conservatives. At what point, did Mormons become such staunch conservatives (at least in considering government)? Why did so many stop believing and supporting the values set out in Section 134?

From verse 2, "unless their religious opinions prompt them to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others". Incredible, right? Yet, they spend a lot of money to stop others from having the same rights as they do based on their religious opinions (i.e, marriage equality). 

From verse 5, "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;" 

I really think that many of my friends need to reminded of this one. Way too many of them have no respect for our current government. Many of them spout reasons why shouldn't even be President. Some may even be supporting nearly seditious beliefs. 

Hugh Nibley, that great Latter Day Saint scholar, himself was a Democrat. He did not support Richard Nixon as he was running for office. But when he became President, he put all that behind him and supported him. (See Hugh Nibley, World's Worst Politician)

From verse 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." This shows how Joseph Smith realized that the separation of church and state was incredibly important. That if it weren't for that he would not have had the opportunities he had. Also, it was the influences of religion in government, that led to his martyrdom. Many members forget that. 

We need to remember this when people try to institute creationism into our schools, basing foreign policy on Biblical prophecy as in our support for Israel, social policy as in the fight against contraception and abortion, etc. Even the Prophet Joseph saw the danger in this in 1844. 

There are many other statements in the Section that I support. Many of the verses could be considered libertarian. Others could be considered liberal. I am very impressed that the Prophet Joseph considered it important enough to put down in writing for the benefit of posterity.

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