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The case for Book of Mormon socialism


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#1 Matthew J. Tandy

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 03:42 AM

So a former BYU student and academic friend posted this on his facebook profile. As I have had problems in the past engaging him in politics as he tends to become a bit more heated and take things personally in these matters, I did not post against it. Nonetheless, I thought the article, which I think misses the boat on so many points in it's short length, was worthy of discussion.

A couple of rules:

1) Yes, I know this is inherently political. We try to avoid these topics on the board. But this was published in the SL Tribune and is making its rounds, so it definitely affects both doctrine and how certain members in the church plan to interact with the church (and use it) for their perceived ideas of Zion. Thus, it has relevance beyond just the politics.

2) ABSOLUTELY NO POLITICAL MUD-FLINGING WILL BE TOLERATED. This means no ad hominems, no statements such as "liberal and intelligent is an oxymoron" or "capitalist pigs". I will have you blocked from the thread if you try it. This includes absolutely no mud-flinging about Glenn Beck or Al Sharpton or such.

3) The point is to discuss both the article itself from a textual critical standpoint (ie, is it supported or not by the underlying texts and culture referenced), it's portrayal of its opponents in the context of truthful, honest, etc, and also some of the concepts of how they feel the Book of Mormon should be "reclaimed".


The case for Book of Mormon socialism
BY TROY WILLIAMS
First published Feb 26 2011 12:15AM
Updated Mar 1, 2011 03:23PM

Whether one accepts the historical or theological claims of the Book of Mormon, one theme in it is obvious: At their most righteous, the Nephites presented in the book were benevolent socialists; at their most depraved, they were greedy free-market capitalists.

In the zenith of Nephite culture, “the Lord called his people Zion because they were of one heart and one mind and they did have all things in common — and there were no poor among them.” Having “all things in common” suggests a society invested in public infrastructure and welfare for the whole.

Redistribution is not an anomaly in Mormon scriptures. Joseph Smith declared that “It is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin.” (Doctrine and Covenants 49:20).

For any conservative this is surely commie talk! Yet Smith persisted, “If you are not equal in earthly things ye cannot be equal in obtaining heavenly things” (D&C 78:5-6).

Early Mormon leaders advocated a United Order to redistribute wealth for the benefit of all Saints.

Though redistribution is the highest economic order in Mormon scripture, Sen. Chris Buttars vehemently denounced Alpine School District for allegedly advocating “democratic socialism.” He, Mitt Romney, Glenn Beck and others seem to believe that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a de facto 14th Article of Faith: We believe in the unquestioned virtue of unregulated capitalism.

But Mormon scripture makes such a belief indefensible. The notorious villains of Nephite civilization were the Gadianton Robbers, who perpetuated policies that exacerbated class inequality. They eventually “did obtain the sole management of the government, insomuch that they did trample under their feet and smite and rend and turn their backs upon the poor and the meek, and the humble followers of God” (Helaman 6:39).

Many politically powerful Latter-day Saints have also turned their back on the poor and working class in this country. The Patrick Henry Caucus, Eagle Forum and Romney are determined to eliminate the very social programs that have traditionally protected vulnerable populations. Conversely, they are equally invested in protecting the wealthy.

They demand fiscal austerity but are unwilling to fairly tax the super rich. They demand the poor make sacrifices, but are unwilling to end corporate welfare and tax loopholes that keep big business from sharing the burden. They want to cut public funding for education, arts and health care but remain unwilling to defund our military occupations abroad.

They denounce socialism but have no problem when the redistribution of public wealth goes upward into private hands. Gadianton himself would feel right at home amidst Utah’s GOP.

My reading of the Book of Mormon is not idiosyncratic. As a missionary in England I met many Mormon socialists with testimonies of the scriptural admonition for equality. They saw in their sacred texts a spiritual rationale to support their own government programs, including their prized National Health Service.

They actually believe the admonition of Jesus, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Matthew 25:40.

Fair-minded Latter-day Saints must reclaim their sacred texts from free-market fundamentalists. Don’t be taken in by the right-wing performance art of a hysterical Glenn Beck. Americans can support both a robust market economy and sustainable safety nets for the meek and humble. But it will require that corporations and affluent citizens invest deeply in public infrastructure.

The Book of Mormon narrative, regardless of its historicity, admonishes contemporary Latter-day Saints to reject riches and to care for the poor and needy. Democratic socialism is the very essence of Mormon theology and scripture. It is our common quest for Zion.

---Troy Williams is the executive producer of RadioActive on KRCL 90.9 FM.--


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#2 Tribunal

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 05:52 AM

That's a pretty good article.

I would argue that our entire society in the US has become full of socialized capitalists. Our very tax structure in the US creates an environment of socialized capitalists. With tax cuts I want to be as 'charitable' as possible because I'll get more of a return with my taxes. With government subsidizing corporations and foreign nations our taxes go to a very special class of people, corporate officers and tyrants. With government subidizing people's wants, and not neccessarily their needs, we have created a welfare class. With the media and their fans promoting government-entrenched unions this is only going to get worse. And with the media and their fans promoting democracy around the world this is only going to get worse.

I would also argue that no where in government do we have representatives with a strong moral character or an understanding of the United Order so it is going to become much worse before it gets better.

I would also argue that too few outside of government have an true understanding of the United Order to make a difference.

Socialism is NOT the United Order and does NOT follow the Law of Consecration. But with an ignorant population co-dependent with government you are going to need some big event, or a critical mass of people willing to make that change. Either way its going to be very painful.

Edited by Tribunal, 07 March 2011 - 05:56 AM.

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#3 thesometimesaint

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 06:55 AM

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
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#4 Jeff K.

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 07:08 AM

Funny how those words meant something different when they were written than what they mean now, and what they mean now is interpreted in many different ways.
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#5 Sevenbak

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 07:42 AM

Doesn't the Trib have access to the same Conference database we do? I mean, they're supposed to be the leading newspaper in the state, right?


Socialism and the United Order Compared
Elder Marion G. Romney
Of the Council of the Twelve Apostles
Marion G. Romney, Conference Report, April 1966, pp. 95-101
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"Now, we have not been using the Book of Mormon as we should. Our homes are not as strong unless we are using it to bring our children to Christ. Our families may be corrupted by worldly trends and teachings unless we know how to use the book to expose and combat the falsehoods in socialism, organic evolution, rationalism, humanism, etc."

 

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#6 LeSellers

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 07:53 AM

Funny how those words meant something different when they were written than what they mean now, and what they mean now is interpreted in many different ways.

"Funny" is the last word I'd use to describe this phenomenon. It's lamentable, deplorable, despicable, abhorrent—just to start with.

Irrespective of the objectives (and I do not give most socialists any credit for compassion—I believe they're almost always about Satanic power over the minds and souls of men), socialism absolutely must rely on coercion and lethal force to implement its mechanisms. Coercion is not a first principle nor a first ordinance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Rather much the contrary.

Just to be clear, however, I do not subscribe to the opposite, either. So-called conservatism is just as much an apostate form of government. It relies just as much on coercion as does liberalism/socialism/communism.

Joseph Smith, as usual, got it right: "I teach [the Saints] correct principles and they govern themselves." Only when people are motivated by a desire to serve Christ by serving their fellowmen can we begin to achieve Zion. Coercion (which is the primary, and often sole recourse of the state) cannot lead us to Zion. It would, quite to the destruction of this goal, lead us to destruction, as it has always done. Destruction, both spiritual and temporal, is the natural and exclusive end of all such schemes, not matter how lofty the (usually merely stated) goals of the "fixers" may sound.

Lehi
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#7 thesometimesaint

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 08:27 AM

Lehi:

Letting them govern themselves is a good idea.

http://www.constitut...ed/federa51.htm

If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.
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#8 Jeff K.

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 09:12 AM

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.




We the people
(In other words, from whence we derive our power to establish this)

In order to form a more perfect union
(The Articles of Confederation, created as a reaction to the Revolutionary War were in effect destroying the nation at that point)

establish Justice
(many states in the North found themselves closely tied and manipulated by Great Britains trade control and their local governments had pretty much been bought off by Great Britain, so too in the South)

ensure domestic tranquility
(Shay's rebellion proved that no state could protect itself from small groups who seek to overcome or destroy the state.

provide for the common defense
(any state could veto the establishment of an army in order to protect the nation, whether it be the British or French or Indians)

promote the general welfare
(now here the original interpretation was to ensure that everyone had the same opportunities to succeed, not ensure that everyone had the same thing. Indeed the idea of modern welfare was considered an anethma to the founding fathers who felt that the riches of the nation were such that anyone could succeed if they but worked - I still feel that today.)

secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity
(those blessings being the abiltiyt ot succeed or fail, at least from the writings of the Federalist Papers).

We interpret things differently, but the preamble in a sense tells us what the Constitution is for, and what its goals should be, and why it was written.
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I would rather deal with a hundred ravenous wolves than sully myself with one dishonest man. The wolves are honest, straightforward and you know what it is they want. The battle is hard fought but open and free. The dishonest man though, he is a thing, like Cain, that should be shunned, exiled.

"You will rise or fall to the kingdom within which you feel the greatest comfort."

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#9 Vance

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 09:12 AM

Irrespective of the objectives (and I do not give most socialists any credit for compassion—I believe they're almost always about Satanic power over the minds and souls of men), socialism absolutely must rely on coercion and lethal force to implement its mechanisms. Coercion is not a first principle nor a first ordinance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Rather much the contrary.

True!

Socialism is a system for the COERCIVE government redistribution of wealth. It also, inherently, is a disincentive for the production of wealth. Coercion does that. (Wealth being defined as items of food, clothing, shelter, transportation, convenience, comfort, and luxury.)

I don't see any evidence in the BoM for the COERCIVE redistribution of wealth by the Lord's people.

Edited by Vance, 07 March 2011 - 09:12 AM.

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#10 Matthew J. Tandy

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 09:30 AM

I have some time to share a few quick thoughts:

Though redistribution is the highest economic order in Mormon scripture, Sen. Chris Buttars vehemently denounced Alpine School District for allegedly advocating “democratic socialism.” He, Mitt Romney, Glenn Beck and others seem to believe that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a de facto 14th Article of Faith: We believe in the unquestioned virtue of unregulated capitalism.


This is a straw man. Every person Mr. Williams mentioned believes there should be at least minor regulation in the market. None of them are anarcho-capitalist.

But Mormon scripture makes such a belief indefensible. The notorious villains of Nephite civilization were the Gadianton Robbers, who perpetuated policies that exacerbated class inequality. They eventually “did obtain the sole management of the government, insomuch that they did trample under their feet and smite and rend and turn their backs upon the poor and the meek, and the humble followers of God” (Helaman 6:39).



The Gadianton robbers did not create class warfare between those who have more or less. They wanted power more than anything, but yes, they also wanted wealth. And they wanted it all to themselves. This is not surprising, as those who seek only power tend to do so for the supposed perks. They wanted a system where those in power would gain those things. However, they achieved it through organized crime, murder, outright theft, etc. They were also quite fond of opposing anyone who believed in Christ. Mr. Wilson again errors by simply saying it was about class inequality.

Many politically powerful Latter-day Saints have also turned their back on the poor and working class in this country. The Patrick Henry Caucus, Eagle Forum and Romney are determined to eliminate the very social programs that have traditionally protected vulnerable populations. Conversely, they are equally invested in protecting the wealthy.


Another straw-man. To turn on's back on the poor literally means to look the other way, to pretend they don't exist. There is a very legitimate conversation in this country on whether the government or individuals are better able to help the poor and down-trodden. There is also a legitimate discussion about whether it matters who is better, as the government is required to take by force, whereas God expects us to be engaged in many goof things of our own free will. None of the groups or Mitt Romney mentioned in the article have ever "turned their backs on the poor". However, they do believe in agency, and people like Mitt Romney has invested great amounts of his own money into helping the less fortunate. Could he do more, yes, many can. But that does not equate to turning his back on the poor.

They demand fiscal austerity but are unwilling to fairly tax the super rich. They demand the poor make sacrifices, but are unwilling to end corporate welfare and tax loopholes that keep big business from sharing the burden. They want to cut public funding for education, arts and health care but remain unwilling to defund our military occupations abroad.


Another loaded statement. What does it mean to "fairly tax"? The top 5% percentage of the wealthy already pay about 50% of all income tax. There have been times where the wealthiest were charged income tax at a rate of 87% of all money over a certain level. So what is fair? In a socialist system, it is not fair until their is no real personal income, only income distributed by the government. Perhaps Mr. Wilson feels that is right, but it is not the system, under which some like King Benjamin operated. It seems he had the ability to take for himself, but did not. So in the mindset of those such as Mr Wilson, no tax cut on the wealthy will ever be fair because they view the wealthy as inherently hateful of the poor and that all such income should be 100% controlled by the government.

Further, study after study has shown that pouring gobs of more money into poor schools did not change results. People such as the previously mentioned groups of Mr. Wilson's do like school funding on a state level but view the DoA, which came into existence in the 1970's, as a failed experiment. Also, people like Beck have called for large cuts to the military, which they and others view as bloated, inefficient, etc.

They denounce socialism but have no problem when the redistribution of public wealth goes upward into private hands. Gadianton himself would feel right at home amidst Utah’s GOP.


The implication of course is that the Utah GoP is full of hateful, greedy individuals who desire to trample on the poor and anyone who is not part of an exclusive private cabal, and are indeed willing to steal and murder, then cover up for each other. I think we can see how ridiculous and offensive such a statement is. Further, the Utah GoP is full of people who donate large amounts of time and money to helping the poor. Seems rather un-Gadianton to me. Of course there are a few who are greedy, but that does not equal condemnation of the whole. There are greedy, power-hungry socialists also who distort the basics of socialism also. Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, etc are extreme examples. They do not represent the better people in Socialism, but they were part of that political system. Should we then label all socialists as genocidal nut-cases?

They actually believe the admonition of Jesus, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Matthew 25:40.



Once again, this is a most egregious straw-man. The implication is that if you are not a socialist, you don't "actually believe" in Christ's admonition. This of course false. See Who Gives and Who Doesn't?. Here's a good excerpt:

Arthur Brooks, the author of "Who Really Cares," says that "when you look at the data, it turns out the conservatives give about 30 percent more." He adds, "And incidentally, conservative-headed families make slightly less money."

And he says the differences in giving goes beyond money, pointing out that conservatives are 18 percent more likely to donate blood. He says this difference is not about politics, but about the different way conservatives and liberals view government.

"You find that people who believe it's the government's job to make incomes more equal, are far less likely to give their money away," Brooks says. In fact, people who disagree with the statement, "The government has a basic responsibility to take care of the people who can't take care of themselves," are 27 percent more likely to give to charity.


So it seems that those who are both more capitalist leaning AND conservative tend to give more than those who feel the government should handle it. Note that 30%, while significant, is by no means a majority. There are plenty of bad apples and good apples when it comes to giving in both groups. However, Mr. Wilson's argument is that Utah GoP and others of their economic philosphy don't actually believe and follow Christ's admonition, which is clearly false. They just don't believe Christ referred to government based welfare.

Fair-minded Latter-day Saints must reclaim their sacred texts from free-market fundamentalists. Don’t be taken in by the right-wing performance art...

This is what really bothered me the most about the article. Not the character assassinations and distortion of scripture, but that it includes a rallying cry to "reclaim" the scriptures from those un-fair minded (and majority in the US) free-market members. He is essentially saying that if you are LDS and not socialist, you are either not fair-minded (Gadianton references would apply) or you have been deceived by propaganda. Either way, the result is the same, he is calling for reclaiming the scriptures from the majority of faithful US latter-day saints. Nice.

The Book of Mormon narrative, regardless of its historicity, admonishes contemporary Latter-day Saints to reject riches and to care for the poor and needy.

Close, but no cigar. The Book of Mormon does NOT call for contemporary Latter-day Saints to reject riches (in fact, I don't think it ever specifically addresses the topic of riches to a future audience directly, though we can of course learn from the mistakes of the past). Instead it encourages the use of wealth to aid the poor, the fatherless, the widow, etc. It encourages benevolent individual giving.

Democratic socialism is the very essence of Mormon theology and scripture. It is our common quest for Zion.

And that is a major leap in logic from his previous statement. More than that, it is heresy. The Atonement stands as the essence of Mormon theology and scripture. The next issues tied to this are the Fall, Creation, etc. High up there is personal worthiness and how it affects national righteousness. There is much talk on the personal worthiness side about those who don't give to the Lord and to the poor. I see no talk about those who don't give all that they have to the government. The closest is Christ saying to render to Caesar what is is Caesar's, but that's a whole different issue and scenario. I do see lots of condemnation about governments who took great amounts from the people under the auspices of national improvement but instead used the funds unwisely.


In short, while there may perhaps be outstanding scriptural arguments in support of socialism, Mr. Wilson's argument is not one of them. It is filled with bad logic, straw-men, hateful views of others to the point of demonization, and poor scripture use.


One final thing:
LeSellers, I appreciate your participation. However, please refrain from referring to large amounts of socialists as being about Satanic power, etc. It has no place in this discussion, and is in fact the same thing Mr. Wilson is implying from the other side. It's just mud-slinging and can't be proven either way. Let's stick to the arguments at hand.
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#11 Jeff K.

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 09:49 AM

Nice analysis, saves alot of us time to put it together.
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I would rather deal with a hundred ravenous wolves than sully myself with one dishonest man. The wolves are honest, straightforward and you know what it is they want. The battle is hard fought but open and free. The dishonest man though, he is a thing, like Cain, that should be shunned, exiled.

"You will rise or fall to the kingdom within which you feel the greatest comfort."

"There are those who would define the family in such a nontraditional way that they would define the family out of existence."
President Spencer W. Kimball 1980

#12 DispensatorMysteriorum

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 11:11 AM

This scripture sums up my belief with regards to socialism vs. capitalism:

"And again Alma commanded that the people of the church should impart of their substance, every one according to that which he had; if he have more abundantly he should impart more abundantly; and of him that had but little, but little should be required; and to him that had not should be given. And thus they should impart of their substance of their own free will and good desires towards God, and to those priests that stood in need, yea, and to every needy, naked soul." (Mosiah 18:27-28)

We have a personal responsibility to take care of the poor. The richer you are, the more you should give. However, it should not be by compulsion (aka, state welfare), but by your "own free will and good desires towards God" and your fellow man. Should the state play a role in this? Perhaps if it were agreed upon by all that they wanted the government to administer the program. Sure! However, that's pretty much impossible in a world where few people feel or see alike. In Zion (as a political entity), however, it will happen because all will be united and all will give freely. There will then be no poor at all.

Edited by DispensatorMysteriorum, 07 March 2011 - 11:31 AM.

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#13 BCSpace

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 11:38 AM

I actually posted in the comments for the SLTRIB article a few days back and made the LDS case that there is no approval of socialism in the scriptures or LDS doctrine and in fact socialism is contrary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I thought it was a great article. Socialism does not require coercion as some have suggested. Socialism is simply a system where the ownership and control of the means of production is by the workers themselves - not the " government".


This is not correct. Coercion is not righteous whether is comes from one or many. The bottom line is that socialism always requires a dictatorship to be implemented and carried out. The Law of Consecration, on the other hand, demands that private property rights be respected and that one can use his stewardship (considered private property) as he pleases even to the point of accumulating wealth which is not necessarily removed each year, only what is necessary to sustain the poor.

The Lord, being a freemarket capitalist by doctrinal example, seems to understand that under socialism, no wealth is created and over time, nothing remains to help the poor as everyone becomes poor.

Edited by BCSpace, 07 March 2011 - 11:44 AM.

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#14 BCSpace

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 11:48 AM

This scripture sums up my belief with regards to socialism vs. capitalism:

"And again Alma commanded that the people of the church should impart of their substance, every one according to that which he had; if he have more abundantly he should impart more abundantly; and of him that had but little, but little should be required; and to him that had not should be given. And thus they should impart of their substance of their own free will and good desires towards God, and to those priests that stood in need, yea, and to every needy, naked soul." (Mosiah 18:27-28)


I have been edified. I will add this scripture to my repertoire.
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#15 Mola Ram Suda Ram

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 01:59 PM

This is really quite simple. We can either obey God by investing in riches in heaven, by giving up worldly things, or we can invest in the world (private property). It seems to me that if Satan were involved at all, he'd be encouraging the latter.

Since when did private property = "investing in the world". I reject that notion.
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#16 BCSpace

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 02:04 PM

I have been edified. I will add this scripture to my repertoire.

Fortunately, the teachings of Jesus Christ do not carry such qualifiers. Christ commands us to give to the poor because nothing we have is truly ours to begin with. Free agency is taken for granted, but that doesn't preclude the commandment. Everything we own belongs to God. We earned nothing. And as his followers we are entrusted with these things only so we can righteously distribute the wealth to those who need it most. Christ said to give your shirt and your coat to the poor who have neither. He didn't say we should offer him a job so he can "earn" clothes, nor did he say do it only if you want to.

This is really quite simple. We can either obey God by investing in riches in heaven, by giving up worldly things, or we can invest in the world (private property). It seems to me that if Satan were involved at all, he'd be encouraging the latter.


I think the error in your logic is neither did Christ command government enforcement of this nor did he or his apostles set up any type of "Christian Communism" or socialistic society according to LDS doctrine on Acts 4 etc.

And how do we know what Alma said wasn't just his own opinion?


There is no LDS doctrine that this was his opinion plus his statement is consistent with other doctrine such as agency and personal responsiblity. Plus, by your own logic which I don't agree with, should we not then assume that other statements, seemingly in support of socialism, are just opinion? Rather, I consider all the scriptural statements on the issue and I find them all taken together to be consistent with already stated LDS doctrine on the subject.

If we are to use the Book of Mormon as a model for perfect government then we'd have to abandon our Republic and go with a Monarchy.


Maybe or elected judges. Doesn't change the fact that Christ did not institute an economic system but rather has essentially reguired a free market capitalist system for his welfare system to be able to operate in.
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#17 Jeff K.

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 02:59 PM

Christ didn't make this distinction between helping the poor via government or private means. His main focus was that the poor receive help. He wasn't interested in politics, but I don't see how this helps your case as you're still stuck with the commandment to give what you have to the poor because it really isn't yours. You guys seem to be more interested in the means, rather than the end. I think Christ was more interested in the end, which was abolishing poverty because he didn't want people to suffer. Some people seem to think people suffer because of their own fault, not because they are born in a system that requires poverty (which Capitalism does).


In other words, neither socialists nor capitalists can call upon Christian doctrine to enforce their worldview upon Christians. However, doctrine also speaks to the fact that coercion, or government forceably taking what is yours or what you have earned, and then by governments good graces decide which distribution is best. I don't see Christ as viewing Ceaser as a partner in Christianity. That being said, those who do not espouse a socialist system tend to be more involved in doing charitable work because of personal internally driven concepts. When the government forces you to do good, are you truly doing good or abrogating your agency to a non Christ entity. I find that a dangerous position personally.

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Plus, by your own logic which I don't agree with, should we not then assume that other statements, seemingly in support of socialism, are just opinion? Rather, I consider all the scriptural statements on the issue and I find them all taken together to be consistent with already stated LDS doctrine on the subject.


And yet you cannot reconcile the scriptures I reference. You've yet to acknolwedge what Christ taught. Telling me he didn't set up a communistic system is not an answer to your problem. You still have to deal with the New Testament teaching against private property, and that we are commanded to take care of the poor. We're not commanded to chastize them for being lazy, freeloaders, slackers, or whatever slur FOX News is using this week. Because when you do this. you're essentially judging them, as if you would do any better if you were in their shoes. And Christ said to judge not for we will be judged in the same way. I think too many people think that everyone in American can actually become rich, if they were so motivated or what not. The fact is it this is an impossibility in a Capitalistic system. Under Capitalism, a poorer class must always exist. In short, what Christ preached against, is actually a necessity in this system.


The reconciliation I think of is personal responsibility versus letting a powerful system with no allegiance to God take my money and have faith in its benevolence. We are commanded to help, but also not to waste talents. We are not supposed to be foolish servants who bury or give away our talents. If you consider the parable of the talents, you will find that it is not only ideal in describing how we are supposed to use what we have, but also to use it in a capitalistic way. If we look at talents as we do social security, burying it in the government and then taking pretty much that same talent at the end of our lives, we are indeed poor servants since we did not use those talents to expand what was available.

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Doesn't change the fact that Christ did not institute an economic system but rather has essentially reguired a free market capitalist system for his welfare system to be able to operate in.


Christ never required a free market capitalistic system. This is something which you will never be able to substantiate. Most of the people with wealth in the New Testament had inherited wealth, they didn't "earn" it through entrepreneurial means as you probably envision. When it came to taxes, Christ said give it all up because all the wealth belonged to Caesar anyway. What Christ taught was investing in heavely riches and independency from earthly riches.


How does one increase talents in a socialist system where the government decides where to spend our money? In a capitalistic system, we increase the talents through various means. In a socialist system we cannot increase wealth and depend on the Ceaser to make our lives better. I don't like depending on Ceaser, I prefer to use my individual basis, at least until a system directly aligned with God creates the environment where I can, with faith give the money I earn.
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#18 zelder

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 03:19 PM

Povery is not a virtue. Being wealthy is not a sin but loving your wealth more than God or your neighbor is a sin. We should be free to produce as much as we want. We should be free to excel at what ever we want to do. There is nothing wrong with it as long as we are chritable with the poor. You can't create a society of equal people by beating down the people who want to excel. Equality can only happen through love. The only hope for equality we have is though the united order under the priesthood. Everything else is evil and will result in unrighteous dominion.

I don't think equality means that we all have the same amout of substance. It means that we are all treated fairly and that we all have the same opportunities and that we are not restricted from doing what we want.

I don't think the United States is a "free-market". The US has been heading down the road of socialism for 100 years and thats what is wrong with america. There are tax loopholes for the mega rich which is wrong. But thats not as much of a problem as the existence of an income tax. There was no income tax for over 100 years in america. We don't need one. Most of the money from the Income tax goes toward paying interest on debt. Most of the debt is owed to banksters who created fiat money and loaned it to the treasury in echange for bond notes. In america we are free as long as we are not threatening the interests of big business or big government. All governents in the world are the same. If you try to make and sell of solar panel that is 80% efficient instead of 19% efficient you will quickly realize that you are not free.
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#19 zelder

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 03:43 PM

Christ didn't make this distinction between helping the poor via government or private means. His main focus was that the poor receive help. He wasn't interested in politics, but I don't see how this helps your case as you're still stuck with the commandment to give what you have to the poor because it really isn't yours. You guys seem to be more interested in the means, rather than the end. I think Christ was more interested in the end, which was abolishing poverty because he didn't want people to suffer. Some people seem to think people suffer because of their own fault, not because they are born in a system that requires poverty (which Capitalism does).



And yet you cannot reconcile the scriptures I reference. You've yet to acknolwedge what Christ taught. Telling me he didn't set up a communistic system is not an answer to your problem. You still have to deal with the New Testament teaching against private property, and that we are commanded to take care of the poor. We're not commanded to chastize them for being lazy, freeloaders, slackers, or whatever slur FOX News is using this week. Because when you do this. you're essentially judging them, as if you would do any better if you were in their shoes. And Christ said to judge not for we will be judged in the same way. I think too many people think that everyone in American can actually become rich, if they were so motivated or what not. The fact is it this is an impossibility in a Capitalistic system. Under Capitalism, a poorer class must always exist. In short, what Christ preached against, is actually a necessity in this system.



I would agree with you that in America (and every onther country in the world), there is a requirement for poverty. Not everyone can be rich. This however is because of a corruption in the constiution. All money is debt (created as loans through banks) therefore there must be debt if we are to have money to buy the things we need. We can't all be free and weathy under the current system. Socialism will not fix this, only a free money system will fix this. The united order under the priesthood will permanently fix this propblem becauase under the united order there will be no need for money.

Socialism does not abolish poverty; on the contrary, under socialism, everyone is poor (except the ruling elite). There is no such thing as charity under socialism becasue the choice to give is taken from you, its evil. God wants us to help the poor because we are a loving people not becasue we were forced to give. Being forced to do good will not help us become like Christ. The means is extremely important - even paramount. If God wanted to force us to do good we would not be here making choices, we would be minions serving a dictator god. The purpose of life is to learn how to love. Having poor people to give to is a means to that end.

Edited by zelder, 07 March 2011 - 03:46 PM.

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#20 Loran Howard Blood

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 04:06 PM

I see little has changed while I've been away.
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