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David Bokovoy

The Sermon on the Mount and the LofC

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Here is what you said:

Yep I said all our surplus. And then I suggested we define surplus. Glad you're on board.

But a problem still remains, and it is the same problem David faces: the idea that an expanding and never ending redistribution of wealth is somehow the solution to the human problem of poverty, and not productive work.

Well, according to Elder Maxwell, some "practicing Christians" were able to accomplish it on a society wide scale on this very continent. I'm betting that work was a core doctrine for their Zion as it must be for any other. But work does not mean there is no charity and that there is no willing redistribution of wealth.

*For the second time, I never said we should impoverish ourselves to give our surplus. The definition of surplus is "something that remains above what is used or needed". If the money you have is needed to hire new employees or do R&D for a new vaccine or buy more dairy cows for your farm, then it really isn't surplus now is it? The whole straw man of giving beyond what you can and thus impoverishing yourself is your creation. But if you are trying to justify an unnecesarily oversized home with a tv/laptop in every room and name brand everything while your neighbor starves.... we'll let's just hope there's no Lazarus outsiide leaning against your fencepost.

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I already have. You just don't want to go to those particular places.

No, you haven't, Droopy. Again, the purpose of this thread is to examine a scriptural theme. You've expressed your disagreement with my scriptural analysis via a series of political statements and contemporary philosophical rhetoric, without ever addressing the evidence found within the standard works. You cannot justify your views concerning the poor and the Kingdom of God via the Sermon on the Mount, nor via the teachings on this topic as presented in the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants. Personally, I'm really not interested in reading anyone preach the philosophies of men mingled with scripture.

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Mansquatch said:

I believe that we should not take care of the poor, because there should be no poor among us. It is true that the world lieth in sin. Capitalism has inherent flaws rooted in selfishness.

Now, let me just calmly, rationally, and with eyes only partially glazed over, attempt a clear and concise analysis of this comment, so that there might be some clarity of thought on the matter from which more productive discourse can come.

"Capitalism" does not have "inherent flaws rooted in selfishness" "Selfishness" is a personal, individual trait or characteristic that exists independent of and irregardless of the social environment in which one lives. The old socialist societies of the Iron Curtian countries, including the Soviet Union, were countries riddled by institutionalized graft, bribery, and dishonesty, much of which came by way of desperate attemtps to eek out a life somewher above destitution, and other aspects of which were simply imintation of the behavior and example of the ruling political class of that country.

Now this is key: socialism does not create or incentivize unselfishness, nor does it even create equality. Socialism in practice generates a mentality that sees access to those who control whether one is a success or failure in life as the overriding purpose in economic and social affairs. It creates a viciously selfish, grasping mentality of special interest group entitlement to government privilege, and an attitude of hostility and resentment towards anyone who "stands out" in any material or personal way.

Socialism, once we move beyond academic theory, generates a mass of competing and hostile tribes, coalitions, in-groups, out-groups, and sycophants who's fortunes in life are determined, not by independent achievement, industry, and creativity, but by access to those who control those fortunes.

Redistribution of wealth of the kind and of the scale supported by David Bokoyvoy is a wonderful means of leveling a society to a low economic mean that can be fairly easily maintained even with a seriously hobbled economy. It is not a good way of raising the poor out of poverty (as it destroys both the incentives and mental attitudes necessary to create wealth).

Much of David's philosophy and eclectic scriptural exegesis here, one will have noticed if one has followed it for any length of time, is rooted deeply, as much in a concern for the poor as in a mentality of class ressentiment. There may be attempts to paper this over, here and there, but it always bubbles to the surface beaches itself, sooner or later, in one form or another. There is a strong and pervasive sense of resentment toward "the rich" as a class, and a sense of a kind of nobility or inherent group privilege within the class of the poor qua the poor, that makes a preemptive and absolute, almost Kantian moral claim against the property of all others.

Perhaps most importantly, however, is that there is no such thing as "capitalism". The classical liberal philosophers of the 18th and 19th century never created any system or grand theory of social and economic organization that could logically support such a title.

Capitalism is a creation of the original Marxists as a foil against there own system (Marx needed it too, as a part of the dialectic of history of which socialism was the inevitable victor), which is, indeed, a grand organizing theory or template of economic and social order. What has come to be called "capitalism" is nothing more than liberty in the economic sphere; it is free agency in the realm of economic matters.

The problem that all utopian collectivists and communitarians have with "capitalism" is with its individual liberty. Their problem is ultimately that, when humans are left free to rise to whatever level their talents, abilities, aptitudes, characterological attributes, and life choices determine, there are disparate outcomes, and innumerable differences, some great, in economic state.

We know very well where this consuming hatred of the unique individual and his freedom to be that unique individual began, and we know very well its fundamental place in the plan of salvation and the "war" that began in the preexistence and has continued here, unabated, until the present moment.

The passion for equality is a consuming fire. It knows no boundaries once it has been set free to roam at will.

That it should have infected any within the gospel fold is a tragedy. That it could seep further, as Hellenism did after the 1st Century, into the Church in a larger way, is something that could, and should, produce sleepless nights among the virgins whose lamps are trimmed and full.

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Mansquatch said:

Now, let me just calmly, rationally, and with eyes only partially glazed over, attempt a clear and concise analysis of this comment, so that there might be some clarity of thought on the matter from which more productive discourse can come.

"Capitalism" does not have "inherent flaws rooted in selfishness" "Selfishness" is a personal, individual trait or characteristic that exists independent of and irregardless of the social environment in which one lives. The old socialist societies of the Iron Curtian countries, including the Soviet Union, were countries riddled by institutionalized graft, bribery, and dishonesty, much of which came by way of desperate attemtps to eek out a life somewher above destitution, and other aspects of which were simply imintation of the behavior and example of the ruling political class of that country.

Now this is key: socialism does not create or incentivize unselfishness, nor does it even create equality. Socialism in practice generates a mentality that sees access to those who control whether one is a success or failure in life as the overriding purpose in economic and social affairs. It creates a viciously selfish, grasping mentality of special interest group entitlement to government privilege, and an attitude of hostility and resentment towards anyone who "stands out" in any material or personal way.

Socialism, once we move beyond academic theory, generates a mass of competing and hostile tribes, coalitions, in-groups, out-groups, and sycophants who's fortunes in life are determined, not by independent achievement, industry, and creativity, but by access to those who control those fortunes.

Redistribution of wealth of the kind and of the scale supported by David Bokoyvoy is a wonderful means of leveling a society to a low economic mean that can be fairly easily maintained even with a seriously hobbled economy. It is not a good way of raising the poor out of poverty (as it destroys both the incentives and mental attitudes necessary to create wealth).

Much of David's philosophy and eclectic scriptural exegesis here, one will have noticed if one has followed it for any length of time, is rooted deeply, as much in a concern for the poor as in a mentality of class ressentiment. There may be attempts to paper this over, here and there, but it always bubbles to the surface beaches itself, sooner or later, in one form or another. There is a strong and pervasive sense of resentment toward "the rich" as a class, and a sense of a kind of nobility or inherent group privilege within the class of the poor qua the poor, that makes a preemptive and absolute, almost Kantian moral claim against the property of all others.

Perhaps most importantly, however, is that there is no such thing as "capitalism". The classical liberal philosophers of the 18th and 19th century never created any system or grand theory of social and economic organization that could logically support such a title.

Capitalism is a creation of the original Marxists as a foil against there own system (Marx needed it too, as a part of the dialectic of history of which socialism was the inevitable victor), which is, indeed, a grand organizing theory or template of economic and social order. What has come to be called "capitalism" is nothing more than liberty in the economic sphere; it is free agency in the realm of economic matters.

The problem that all utopian collectivists and communitarians have with "capitalism" is with its individual liberty. Their problem is ultimately that, when humans are left free to rise to whatever level their talents, abilities, aptitudes, characterological attributes, and life choices determine, there are disparate outcomes, and innumerable differences, some great, in economic state.

We know very well where this consuming hatred of the unique individual and his freedom to be that unique individual began, and we know very well its fundamental place in the plan of salvation and the "war" that began in the preexistence and has continued here, unabated, until the present moment.

The passion for equality is a consuming fire. It knows no boundaries once it has been set free to roam at will.

That it should have infected any within the gospel fold is a tragedy. That it could seep further, as Hellenism did after the 1st Century, into the Church in a larger way, is something that could, and should, produce sleepless nights among the virgins whose lamps are trimmed and full.

See Ibid.

(i.e. Paragraph after paragraph presenting his views on Marxism, Capitalism, Socialism, Hellenism, yet not a single reference to the scriptures, nor an effort to counter my scriptural analysis with anything more than unsubstantiated opinion). Yawn!!

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Well, according to Elder Maxwell, some "practicing Christians" were able to accomplish it on a society wide scale on this very continent. I'm betting that work was a core doctrine for their Zion as it must be for any other. But work does not mean there is no charity and that there is no willing redistribution of wealth.

Neither Elder Maxwell nor the Book of Mormon ever mentions "redistribution of wealth". Nor is the term "communitarian" or any other similar term ever used to define that society. They had all things in common, or, in other words, they lived the covenant relationship of the UO. That is all the scriptures tell us.

For the second time, I never said we should impoverish ourselves to give our surplus.

I know. You said we should give away "all" of our surplus, the end result of which would be your impoverishment, if this was in any sense a really substantial quantity. If businesses gave "all" of their "surplus" (after tax profits) away, they would cease to exist.

The definition of surplus is "something that remains above what is used or needed". If the money you have is needed to hire new employees or do R&D for a new vaccine or buy more dairy cows for your farm, then it really isn't surplus now is it? The whole straw man of giving beyond what you can and thus impoverishing yourself is your creation. But if you are trying to justify an unnecesarily oversized home with a tv/laptop in every room and name brand everything while your neighbor starves.... we'll let's just hope there's no Lazarus outsiide leaning against your fencepost.

Ahhhh...now we're getting somewhere, and inevitably we come to the classic value judgments such as "unnecessary", "oversized", etc. Who decides, mercy, what constitutes "unnecessary" or "oversized"? How is it determined? How many of your neighbors are starving? How is having a large home related to someone else having a small home, or to someone else having little food in his cupboards?

Is it the case that sharing our wealth with others in need is not enough, but that unless we undergo significant declines in our own living standards (even if doing so does not change our neighbors condition much), our charity should be seen as insufficient?

Is there a symbolic leveling that must go on here, to make charity authentic charity, or is sharing, assisting, and supporting our neighbor until he gets on his feet again sufficient?

If my house is "too big", must I sell it and move into a smaller home to prove my moral rectitude, even though I give abundantly to my starving neighbor?

Where do all these arbitrary value judgments and symbolic self flagellations end and real "charity" begin?

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See Ibid.

(i.e. Paragraph after paragraph presenting his views on Marxism, Capitalism, Socialism, Hellenism, yet not a single reference to the scriptures, nor an effort to counter my scriptural analysis with anything more than unsubstantiated opinion). Yawn!!

Unsubstantiated opinion? Yeah, virtually all of the General Authorities of the Church over the last 100 plus years, not to mention Joseph himself; Hayek, Von Mises, Hazlett, Friedman, Locke, Jefferson, virtually all of the American Founders; Smith, Bastiat, and many other of the best minds of the last two centuries...unsubstantiated opinion.

Again, the scriptures do not support your thesis, but, like the EVs, you can prooftext to your heart's content with the scriptural record, while ignoring counter-evidence from equally legitimate sources, as well as the evidence "out of the best books", whatever their provenance.

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Unsubstantiated opinion? Yeah, virtually all of the General Authorities of the Church over the last 100 plus years, not to mention Joseph himself; Hayek, Von Mises, Hazlett, Friedman, Locke, Jefferson, virtually all of the American Founders; Smith, Bastiat, and many other of the best minds of the last two centuries...unsubstantiated opinion.

Again, the scriptures do not support your thesis, but, like the EVs, you can prooftext to your heart's content with the scriptural record, while ignoring counter-evidence from equally legitimate sources, as well as the evidence "out of the best books", whatever their provenance.

See Ibid.

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Ahhhh...now we're getting somewhere, and inevitably we come to the classic value judgments such as "unnecessary", "oversized", etc. Who decides, mercy, what constitutes "unnecessary" or "oversized"? How is it determined? How many of your neighbors are starving? How is having a large home related to someone else having a small home, or to someone else having little food in his cupboards?

YOU decide because it's a voluntary system. And people living the LOC would by their very nature extend as much mercy and offer as much charity as they desire to receive from the Lord.

Is it the case that sharing our wealth with others in need is not enough, but that unless we undergo significant declines in our own living standards (even if doing so does not change our neighbors condition much), our charity should be seen as insufficient?

Didn't we already talk about King Benjamin's counsel to those who had not enough to share?

Is there a symbolic leveling that must go on here, to make charity authentic charity, or is sharing, assisting, and supporting our neighbor until he gets on his feet again sufficient?

You are the one talking about leveling. Not me. I never said we'd all have the same. I said we would voluntarily redistribute (i.e. pass around) our own wealth to lift others up. Receivers are under just as much obligation as givers to take only what they require and to work and act charitably toward others as they are able.

If my house is "too big", must I sell it and move into a smaller home to prove my moral rectitude, even though I give abundantly to my starving neighbor?

If you have to sell your house to "prove" your moral rectitude, you have bigger problems. Like pride. Were I to sell my house out of my own desire to decrease my mortgage and increase my surplus so that I could help someone else, it wouldn't be to prove anything. I probably wouldn't even tell anyone why I moved. But that's just me.

Where do all these arbitrary value judgments and symbolic self flagellations end and real "charity" begin?

When you stop making them and learn to serve out of love rather than to be seen of men? If they are symbolic to you, then you aren't being charitable, you're just checking boxes.

Was Gethsemane a symbolic self-flagellation? Are "infinite" and "eternal" arbitrary value judgments? The Savior descended below all things to save you even though you didn't deserve it. Do you believe you can be His joint-heir without a little inconvenience?

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Neither Elder Maxwell nor the Book of Mormon ever mentions "redistribution of wealth". Nor is the term "communitarian" or any other similar term ever used to define that society. They had all things in common, or, in other words, they lived the covenant relationship of the UO. That is all the scriptures tell us.

You are quite right Droopy. LDS doctrine says:

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You are quite right Droopy. LDS doctrine says:

...

This is sort of tangential to this discussion, but given that the meaning of the expression 'they had all things in common' is not that they had all things in common and that the meaning of the expression 'endless punishment' is not that punishment is endless, I'm beginning to suspect that God and/or his prophets fell asleep during their semantics lessons on quantifiers.

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Sorry to be so late in noticing this very interesting thread. I've now scanned through most of it, although I have not read every single post. Still, I think I have a pretty good idea about the issues at the heart of the controversy.

As might be expected, I think I have a few ideas on this topic, but first I'm curious as to Br. Bokovoy's thoughts on this recent publication: The Book of Mammon: A Book About A Book About The Corporation That Owns The Mormons.

Also, is there an inherent incongruity in the fact that an organization whose declared "prime directive" is the establishment of Zion is so thoroughly enmeshed in the fabric of modern American capitalism--even to the point that they are just now approaching the completion of the construction of a multi-billion dollar commercial real estate development that will cater, primarily, to the relatively wealthy?

How are we to reconcile this apparent fact with the declared objectives of the restored Church of Jesus Christ as articulated in the revelations of the prophet Joseph Smith?

This is the first I've heard of the book. Looks like an interesting read. However, as I have said before, I applaud the Church's efforts to accumulate property and wealth and anticipate that we will see more of these types of ventures in the future. Joseph's view of the kingdom was not so much the need to establish a "church" as it was the need to create a cooperation, i.e. a "United Firm." Since the Church is headquartered in this country, of course its financial efforts will accord with the laws of the land.

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I think we are having a failure to communicate accurately. I hope these adjustments will clarify.

So again, they return with more quotes on Communism.

Communism (and even Socialism) is the FORCED/COMPULSORY redistribution of wealth.

"redistribution of wealth" is not the problem. The "FORCED/COMPULSORY" (or the elimination of agency) is the problem.

Droopy . . . has repeatedly denied the scriptural fact that Christ's kingdom will eradicate all poverty via a VOLUNTARY redistribution of wealth.

The fact is, however, that as Mercyngrace pointed out, a Fast Offering is very much a VOLUNTARY redistribution of wealth. Those who have the means VOLUNTARY give some of their wealth to those who lack.

The United Order, unlike communism, is joined VOLUNTARILY!!! And a person can VOLUNTARILY leave the UO any time they choose.

Moreover, the United Order described in the D&C requires that the wealthy and the poor consecrate their means to the Lord who then redistributes the substance to each individual according to their wants and needs. Under this system, the wealthy may not have as much as they did prior to consecrating their substance. This is the way God has ordained for the Saints to take care of the poor, and it most certainly is a VOLUNTARY

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Vance,

I could kiss you. ;)

Unfortunately, this distinction has been pointed out countless time to the same audience with no measurable impact. :P

MnG

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May I suggest a variation of the following scripture?

D&C 50:21 Therefore, why is it that ye cannot understand and know, that he that receiveth the word wealth by the Spirit of truth receiveth it as it is preached freely given by the Spirit of truth?

22 Wherefore, he that preacheth freely giveth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together.

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Just to be clear - to my understanding, no one here is suggesting coerced charity or forced redistribution.

I made no particular accusation. I will say that anyone that wants governments to handle "charitable" social programs from taxes and fees taken from the people is supporting coerced charity and forced redistribution.

Now, let me just calmly, rationally, and with eyes only partially glazed over, attempt a clear and concise analysis of this comment, so that there might be some clarity of thought on the matter from which more productive discourse can come.

"Capitalism" does not have "inherent flaws rooted in selfishness" "Selfishness" is a personal, individual trait or characteristic that exists independent of and irregardless of the social environment in which one lives.

Sorry Droop, next time I will write an entire paragraph, assuming that no one can understand that what is called capitalism does not have personality traits because it is not a person. I hope you read my caveat. You should de-glaze your eyes and reread my post. What I mentioned eradicates many economic concerns as it eradicates economy as we know it. If we had enough good people in this world then "capitalism" will work well enough because they will inherently choose to impart to others from what they have. Free enterprise definitely reflects what can be found in the people.

I agree with you that individual rights are very important; paramount even. If an individual does not choose to be charitable but is forced to, then it is a bad thing in multiple ways. As I mentioned I abhor socialism, communism, collectivism and other isms that force people to give up what they have. I love the LoC which is done by one's own free will and choice and will help us to have no poor among us.

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Good morning friends,

What I find amazing about this thread is Droopy and BC

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Actually what the problem is that we have a problem with your private interpretation of scripture. I know you feel it is all justified. Droopy has called you out on part of your thesis about wealth redistribution. THat has largly been ignored. As far as I am concerned only the prophets are able to interpret scripture as authortive. What they are saying and what you are saying seems to be evidently two different things. I think the talks that Droopy have brought up should not be dismissed (You asked for scripture and those talks are scripture just not cannonized scritpure like the D&C and BoM) because they go against politcal and theological views.

Any way lets just agree to disagree on few of the points that you ahve brought up? Take care David.

Surely you can't be serious! Would you like to point to one of the statements from the Brethren that Droopy provided that runs contrary to what I have posted concerning the poor and the Kingdom of God! Good grief! I don't have a thesis regarding the redistribution of wealth! It's a fact! It isn't that complicated! A Fast Offering is a redistribution of wealth! The United Order is a redistribution of wealth. Please, explain how they are not!

Moreover, the only quote so far from one of the Brethren that is directly pertinent to the issues I've raised came from Elder Pace's General Conference address in 1990, who in reference to King Benjamin's counsel not to judge the person in need said," When a person has been hit by a truck, we don

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I am a staunch advocate of the Law of Consecration as the means by which Zion can and will be established.

Indeed, I am personally convinced that it is already happening, even as we speak.

Some of it

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Will,

I agree with every word in your post. I would simply add for clarification the following Book of Mormon mandate to the following statement:

But great wealth is being produced, accumulated, and employed consistent with the commandments of the Lord:

"But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God. And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good

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And yet, we are faced with a seeming paradox, being that in one place the Lord has said:

Ye cannot serve God and mammon

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David,

I love that you start threads on consecration. This, after all, is the end of the law - to become one with God and each other. To love God and love each other. It is charity which is the bond of perfectness and peace. (Col. 3:14; D&C 88:125)

We see the rich young ruler who has kept all the commandments from his youth turn away in angst when he is unable to sell all that he has and give to the poor. What he clearly did not understand is that it is through willing abasement that one is exalted. Temporal consecration is a temporary salvation for the hungry but it is an eternal exaltation for the one who learns to descend below all things so that another can be raised up.

5 That you may be equal in the bonds of heavenly things, yea, and earthly things also, for the obtaining of heavenly things. 6 For if ye are not equal in earthly things ye cannot be equal in obtaining heavenly things;

7 For if you will that I give unto you a place in the celestial world, you must prepare yourselves by doing the things which I have commanded you and required of you.

~ D&C 78

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Will,

I agree with every word in your post. I would simply add for clarification the following Book of Mormon mandate to the following statement:

"But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God. And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good

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