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Gospel Welfare Principles: Zion vs. The Great and Spacious Building


Loran Howard Blood

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For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord (Isaiah 55:8 ).

A further, deeper, and more fully rounded discussion of the proper understanding of gospel welfare principles, as taught in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, is clearly necessary, as a wide and deep gorge has, it would appear, opened between some members as to the proper and appropriate conception of the concept "welfare" and just how the Church and its people are to negotiate that concept, especially as compared and contrasted with certain alternative secular belief systems, or variations of them, claiming similar priorities and concerns.

I will not, as I do not have David's expertise in Near Eastern studies and most certainly cannot read biblical Hebrew, concentrate upon scriptural prooftexting or the use of scripture, to any great extent, as the sources of my core propositions here, save to the extent they will be used as supporting material for assertions made as drawn from the writings, teachings, and counsel of the modern, contemporary living oracles of the Lord Jesus Christ in our day. The emphasis will be upon the inspired teachings of the living prophets and special witnesses, with scripture used to reinforce and substantiate their words.

I will use only teachings of the General Authorities of the Church as published in official Church sources (nothing from Deseret Book or such, even if the material is duplicated there), and which is neither obscure or cryptic. What I want to emphasize, if possible, is at least two major points. The first is that we, as Latter Day Saints, are governed by and covenant bound to follow the modern, living oracles in our day first and foremost, according to the principle of continuing, ongoing, ever unfolding modern revelation, both our own for ourselves and for us, as Saints, from the Brethren. Connected to this is that the scriptures, while they are to be "likened unto us" are of varying value depending upon their provenance.

The OT and NT are deeply valuable bodies of scripture, but were also written primarily for the people and under the conditions of the times, culture and milieu in which they arose. The Book of Mormon and D&C, on the other hand, are different in that both were written, one in ancient times, and the other in modern, for the Saints and people of the earth in contemporary terms, moving forward to the Second Coming of Christ.

Secondly, as all words, teachings, or counsel that come through the spirit of revelation, or spirit of prophesy, is scripture (D&C 64:, the teachings, doctrinal clarifications, and doctrinal interpretations of the contemporary oracles take precedence over any preceding scriptural interpretation or exegesis, on any given point and to any specific degree. The Church is developing, not static, and its doctrines, thought true, are incomplete.

To initiate the discussion, I'd like us to critique and think about some salient points from the talk by Boyd Packer, given below in 1975 and published in the Ensign of Aug 1975. Are Packer's thoughts, and the thoughts of the other special witnesses of the Lord he quotes, consistent with the concepts and doctrines being taught by some here as the correct, or authentic understanding of gospel welfare/economic principles? The title of the talk, the entire subject of which is temporal welfare principles within a gospel framework, is "Self Reliance." I assume at the outset that Boyd Packer is as aware as any that in the future Zion, there will be "no poor among us." It would appear, however, that for Elder Packer, the means, or form such eradication of poverty will take, as a matter of both principle and application, are not those of some others here proposing an alternate perspective.

We can open it up for discussion and, please, I will not plead that the thread not become political. I will only ask and maintain to the best of my ability, a position that only to the extent that gospel principles clearly do intersect with political theory and principles, should the discussion attract political comment. In other words, please keep poor Brother Beck out of it, and let's see if we can clear the air a bit.

The first couple paragraphs of his talk set state fundamental principles:

The Church was two years old when the Lord revealed that,
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I think I'm one of those who you think needs to be taught and other then your snarky bits at the beginning I agree pretty much everything said.

The idler shall not eat the bread of the laborer. In Zion this will also be true because all will work.

I agreed with Droopy......life takes strange turns some times.

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I think I'm one of those who you think needs to be taught and other then your snarky bits at the beginning I agree pretty much everything said.

This, again Nehor, is what creates ill will here and why we do not get along. Show me please, what was "snarky" here, and explain please, why you perceive that to be the case (Good $#%!@!!!, I went out of my way here to be strictly intellectual and idea oriented, and still someone finds bleedin' SNARK in this post!

If anyone else wishes to derail this post, or attack me personally by finding something, anything they can possibly stretch to meet the definition of "snark," please do so, and get it out of the way now, because I really would like to have, and continue a serious discussion of these matters.

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This, again Nehor, is what creates ill will here and why we do not get along. Show me please, what was "snarky" here, and explain please, why you perceive that to be the case (Good $#%!@!!!, I went out of my way here to be strictly intellectual and idea oriented, and still someone finds bleedin' SNARK in this post!

Okay, this is easily construed as talking down to everyone:

A further, deeper, and more fully rounded discussion of the proper understanding of gospel welfare principles, as taught in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, is clearly necessary, as a wide and deep gorge has, it would appear, opened between some members as to the proper and appropriate conception of the concept "welfare" and just how the Church and its people are to negotiate that concept, especially as compared and contrasted with certain alternative secular belief systems, or variations of them, claiming similar priorities and concerns.

Note the surety you have here about what needs to be critiqued and the silly 'us' here as you are doing the teaching here and declaring what is right. We are not jointly figuring this out:

To initiate the discussion, I'd like us to critique and think about some salient points from the talk by Boyd Packer,

From everything I've read of David's this is a mischaracterization:

1. Idlers have no place in the Church, and if so, then by definition, they have no claim on the Bishop's strorehouse. What does this imply with respect to David's longstanding concept of "the poor" as a special class

within the gospel with a collective, as well as individual, claim upon the property and labor of others within the community?

If anyone else wishes to derail this post, or attack me personally by finding something, anything they can possibly stretch to meet the definition of "snark," please do so, and get it out of the way now, because I really would like to have, and continue a serious discussion of these matters.

I'm done, please continue.

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This, again Nehor, is what creates ill will here and why we do not get along. Show me please, what was "snarky" here, and explain please, why you perceive that to be the case (Good $#%!@!!!, I went out of my way here to be strictly intellectual and idea oriented, and still someone finds bleedin' SNARK in this post!

If anyone else wishes to derail this post, or attack me personally by finding something, anything they can possibly stretch to meet the definition of "snark," please do so, and get it out of the way now, because I really would like to have, and continue a serious discussion of these matters.

FWIW, I actually think you made a nice post. I disagree with you, but I thought it was a level headed exposition of your view.

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FWIW, I actually think you made a nice post. I disagree with you, but I thought it was a level headed exposition of your view.

Thank you Brade. There are some people here just itching for a personal dust up over what they choose to read into certain uses of language. I know its not the language I used (who on earth could disagree, given the history of this subject in this forum that the issues involved could use a "further, deeper, and more fully rounded discussion.") but the poster who is the center of the torturing of posts looking for snark and other character defects.

I frankly think its a very real fear of just where the debate might go (not saying this of you) when the battle is joined and we get into the deeper end of the pool.

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Okay, this is easily construed as talking down to everyone:

It should be, because I was raking you across the coals for claiming I was talking down to people, which I consider ludicrous (and for good reason, because I wasn't). I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.

Note the surety you have here about what needs to be critiqued and the silly 'us' here as you are doing the teaching here and declaring what is right. We are not jointly figuring this out:

I can't note it because I don't see it in my post. If that's your interpretation of it, then it is. As to surety, why is that a sign of condescension or paternalism, and not just...well, surety?

From everything I've read of David's this is a mischaracterization:

Its not a mischaraterization in any sense of the term. You are free to peruse the "social justice" thread, as well as the "United Firm" thread (and several others you will find in close proximity to it) in the archives, which is a very long and detailed debate upon the same subjects. His view of "the poor" as a special class of humans having claim to, as a class, the property of others (welfare) has been well established by David himself.

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I frankly think its a very real fear of just where the debate might go (not saying this of you) when the battle is joined and we get into the deeper end of the pool.

Yes, who knows where it might go?

The reanimation of McCarthy as a Zombie? "Must crush communism and eat brains....."

The end of socialism as we know it?

The establishment of a free-market utopia?

Restarting the Cold War?

Satan himself reanimating Marx as the AntiChrist?

Or...

Okay, I'm genuinely sorry but your line basically demanded that I make a joke out of it and I could not forbear.

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David has further made quite clear, on a number of occasions, that the transfer of property to the poor is a moral imperative, not just because the poor stand in need, but because the poor are poor because the affluent are affluent.

They stand in a causal moral relationship to the poverty of the poor by the very fact of their greater wealth.

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David has further made quite clear, on a number of occasions, that the transfer of property to the poor is a moral imperative, not just because the poor stand in need, but because the poor are poor because the affluent are affluent.

They stand in a causal moral relationship to the poverty of the poor by the very fact of their greater wealth.

I wouldn't establish a causal relationship in all cases but yes, the transfer of property to the poor is a Zion principle. The parable in the D&C about the 12 sons establishes. As does Jacob's speech at the Temple.

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David has further made quite clear, on a number of occasions, that the transfer of property to the poor is a moral imperative, not just because the poor stand in need, but because the poor are poor because the affluent are affluent.

They stand in a causal moral relationship to the poverty of the poor by the very fact of their greater wealth.

David

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The underlying problem here seems to be the United Order is Socialism position, which is a false statement.

The Modern Prophets have repeatedly and consistently argued that the voluntary concentration policy of the United Order is not the forced redistribution of wealth of socialism.

Socialism is immoral and destroys society, it takes away choice and to take away choice is was Lucifer's rejected plan for us in Heaven, and we still must reject his attempts to deceive the world into removing the agency of man through socialism.

A man who argued against the evil of Socialism very passionately was President Erza Taft Benson, here is one of his talks on the evil of Socialism:

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The underlying problem here seems to be the United Order is Socialism position, which is a false statement.

And just who is claiming this?

One of the ones being accused of saying this has specifically stated otherwise, multiple times:

For the last time, I do not believe that socialism or any other man made "ism" is Zion, nor can secular institutions create Zion. Again, my perspective is that the closer a secular government can get to incorporating the principles of Zion, the better off, yea even the more blessed that society will be.

I don't think I've read one thread where this was not a strawman of another's comments.

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I wouldn't establish a causal relationship in all cases but yes, the transfer of property to the poor is a Zion principle. The parable in the D&C about the 12 sons establishes. As does Jacob's speech at the Temple.

This is what I've maintained all along, but with important caveat's grounded in the teachings of the Restoration and the consistent, traditional teachings of the modern Brethren:

1. Such transfers of wealth for the alleviation (and eradication of it in the future Zion society) are an integral aspect of the UO, but do not define its primary economic focus.

2. The central theme of the UO is economic independence and self sufficiency. The transfer of wealth (the charitable "welfare" component of the economics of Zion) is a deeply important but secondary characteristic of such a society, made possible only by the first.

3. The poor are not seen as a special, set apart identity group within gospel doctrine, but as with "the rich" as individuals who are as individual in a set of unique circumstances and conditions (classified as "poor" or "affluent" or whatever), and who are dealt with in a Zion sense as individuals before gospel law and according to gospel principles.

4. In a strictly instrumental, or material sense, the actual having of and accumulation of wealth or being poor per se, carries no moral, spiritual, or ethical weight. It is only our perception of and personal attitudes toward our individual condition that is of spiritual and moral concern. If we are rich, but also greedy and consume our wealth "upon our lusts," or if poor, if our "eyes are full of greediness" and we set our eyes and hearts "upon other men's goods (the very core of class envy Nehor, which is why I emphasize it so much in discussions such as this in which gospel teachings intersect with economic and political ideas) and consume what we have upon our lusts (the lifestyles of many of the underclass poor that prolongs and entrenches the condition of poverty itself) then it is these individual characteristics, and not the material conditions within which we develop and manifest them, that are important to the gospel.

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And just who is claiming this?

Good grief! A number of people here have been claiming this here for quite sometime.

One of the ones being accused of saying this has specifically stated otherwise, multiple times: http://www.mormondia...__p__1208989665

The problem is that virtually every aspect of David's thought and specific prescriptions as regards how such a Zion society would actually go about abolishing poverty, and according to what fundamental principles, are in fact grounded in precisely a collectivist mentality and theoretical framework that both implies and, if actually put into practice, would invariably lead to just the kind of socialistic state of affairs David claims, on occasion, he does not support.

A rose by any other name, however, still remains the proverbial rose - whether intended or not. Ideas have consequences, and that, for me, remains of greater importance than what one specific theorist claims is or would be, if applied, the results of this theories.

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And just who is claiming this?

One of the ones being accused of saying this has specifically stated otherwise, multiple times: http://www.mormondia...__p__1208989665

I don't think I've read one thread where this was not a strawman of another's comments.

Socialism is not coming close to Zion because it is done by force through taxation and other means, Zion is done by voluntary concentration of property to the Lord's Kingdom on Earth.

The idea that the government has to foster the environment to make people want to give is not of God, it is of the devil. God rejected anyone or anything forcing man to progress when he chose Christ to be our Savior over Lucifer, only through selfless sacrifice can one progress spiritually. Socialism stops all spiritual progression because it removes agency and without agency you have no progression.

Also socialism is detrimental to the growth in production needed to sustain a growing population, when you have socialized anything you have to start rationing goods eventually because you run out of goods to steal from Peter to give to Paul.

The video provided is a talk from President Benson that covers this topic quite well.

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Good grief! A number of people here have been claiming this here for quite sometime.

I have seen you claiming that they must mean Socialism, I have not seen them claiming that they mean Socialism....and I don't generally approve of mind reading to determine what someone actually believes.
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I wouldn't establish a causal relationship in all cases but yes, the transfer of property to the poor is a Zion principle. The parable in the D&C about the 12 sons establishes. As does Jacob's speech at the Temple.

I would dare edit this to say "The willing and consensual transfer of property to the poor is a Zion principle." If the transfer is not willingly given and done with the full consent of the donor it is NOT a principle of Zion, but a principal of Satan. He is the one that wants to force us into perfection, not Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, they seek for us to willingly come and consent to strive and become as perfect as we can.

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I have seen you claiming that they must mean Socialism, I have not seen them claiming that they mean Socialism....and I don't generally approve of mind reading to determine what someone actually believes.

OJ Simpson also claims that he never murdered his wife, people can claim one thing and mean or do another thing.

Comments like this don't belong on this board.

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I have seen you claiming that they must mean Socialism, I have not seen them claiming that they mean Socialism....and I don't generally approve of mind reading to determine what someone actually believes.

I can easily name a number of people here who have staunchly defended socialism, broadly speaking, neo-communism, and Marxian oriented views of economics and the UO for years in this forum (we even have one unalloyed Marxist-Leninist here, who posts at another forum as well) . Some of them have come to David's defense just in the last few days.

State your own positions here, Calmoriah, and let's see how they hold up under critical analysis.

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I can easily name a number of people here who have staunchly defended socialism, broadly speaking, neo-communism, and Marxian oriented views of economics and the UO for years in this forum (we even have one unalloyed Marxist-Leninist here, who posts at another forum as well) . Some of them have come to David's defense just in the last few days.

State your own positions here, Calmoriah, and let's see how they hold up under critical analysis.

This board is not a political board, I am not required to state my political position.

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I have seen you claiming that they must mean Socialism, I have not seen them claiming that they mean Socialism....and I don't generally approve of mind reading to determine what someone actually believes.

I have seen such claims made here for years on end. You must have missed them. Oh, not David perhaps. He has never made a specific claim, of the kind others have, indeed made here, that the UO is a communist system and is a divine justification for socialist ideas.

David doesn't have to made that specific claim, does he? All he has to do is articulate his theoretical vision of Zion and its economic structure, and we can see in its logical implications and resemblance to other, preexisting and similar ideas, its intellectual provenance. My understanding of it, to the degree its economics are of concern, is grounded in a libertarian/modern conservative understanding of the principles involved, and sees in the UO a weeding out, refinement, and perfection of free market economic principles adapted to a Zion society within which a number of present weakness (mostly dealing with sin qua sin) will not be an inhibiting factor, as it is now.

I'll freely admit to such. Would it be better if I just said "leftist," instead of socialist, as this is a much broader term that encompasses all schools of egalitarian collectivism?

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This board is not a political board, I am not required to state my political position.

Why not just take the fifth Cal?

Look, if your views on the economics of Zion and how our conception of them affects our view of the human condition within a larger gospel context - which is the ultimate subject of all these threads - is a big secret, then fine, you need not participate in any intellectually substantive discussion in this area.

To each his own.

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OJ Simpson also claims that he never murdered his wife, people can claim one thing and mean or do another thing.

So, when you claim to be a faithful LDS, I should be thinking that OJS claims not to have murdered his wife?

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So, when you claim to be a faithful LDS, I should be thinking that OJS claims not to have murdered his wife?

Most definitely, if the evidence in a public trial doesn't support my claim that I am a faithful LDS, you should be thinking of OJS and how he lied about murdering his wife.

Now seeing that I have been approved to be ordained into the Melchizedek Priesthood last Sunday, that is evidence that supports that I am a faithful LDS since I have been deemed worthy to have the Holy Melchizedek Priesthood conferred to me in a few days and be ordained into the office of Elder in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Also further evidence is my holding a current limited use temple recommend (I cannot obtain a full recommend until I hold the Melchizedek Priesthood). Both of these things require interviews from the Bishop and Stake President, and are not given to members who do not live up to the moral standards of the Church.

Just as one should think that something is off, when someone claims to not be supporting socialism but there argue for the State to make policy that redistributes wealth (which is socialism).

You can claim to not be a socialist or support socialism all you want, but if you argue for socialist policies then you just might be making false claims, IMO.

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