Jump to content

What Is The Lord'S Position On Socialism?


BCSpace

Recommended Posts

I was asked this question in another thread, so here is the answer straight from official LDS doctrine.

Tell us exactly what is the Lords position on Socialism.

I just gave it from the D&C Student Manual Enrichment Section L on the Law of Consecration. Here is another from the same source, notice that it includes doctrine on entitlements as well:

(L-6) The Lord’s Way Versus the World’s Way

Some have suggested that the practice of the law of consecration and the system of the united order are only a religious kind of socialism or communism. Others assert that it was a development either from the economic philosophies of Joseph Smith’s day or from communal experiments within the new religion. Such assumptions are false. The Prophet Joseph Smith attended a presentation on socialism in September 1843 at Nauvoo. His response was to declare that he did not believe the doctrine” ( History of the Church, 6:33). In more recent times Elder Marion G. Romney outlined the differences between the revealed system of the united order and the socialistic programs:

“(1) The cornerstone of the United Order is belief in God and acceptance of him as Lord of the earth and the author of the United Order.

Socialism, wholly materialistic, is founded in the wisdom of men and not of God. Although all socialists may not be atheists, none of them in theory or practice seek the Lord to establish his righteousness.

“(2) The United Order is implemented by the voluntary free-will actions of men, evidenced by a consecration of all their property to the Church of God. “. . . Socialism is implemented by external force, the power of the state.

“(3) . . . The United Order is operated upon the principle of private ownership and individual management. “Thus in both implementation and ownership and management of property, the United Order preserves to men their God-given agency, while socialism deprives them of it.

“(4) The United Order is non-political. “Socialism is political, both in theory and practice. It is thus exposed to, and riddled by, the corruption that plagues and finally destroys all political governments that undertake to abridge man’s agency.

“(5) A righteous people is a prerequisite to the United Order. “Socialism argues that it as a system will eliminate the evils of the profit motive.

“The United Order exalts the poor and humbles the rich. In the process both are sanctified. The poor, released from the bondage and humiliating limitations of poverty, are enabled as free men to rise to their full potential, both temporally and spiritually. The rich, by consecration and by imparting of their surplus for the benefit of the poor, not by constraint but willingly as an act of free will, evidence that charity for their fellowmen characterized by Mormon as ‘the pure love of Christ.’ [ Moroni 7:47 .]” (In Conference Report, Apr. 1966, p. 97.)

President J. Reuben Clark Jr. said: “The United Order has not been generally understood. . . . [it] was not a communal system. . . . The United Order and communism are not synonymous. Communism is Satan’s counterfeit for the United Order. There is no mistake about this and those who go about telling us otherwise either do not know or have failed to understand or are wilfully misrepresenting.” (In Conference Report, Oct. 1943, p. 11.)

President Marion G. Romney warned about the continuing imitations of the adversary: “In this modern world plagued with counterfeits for the Lord’s plan, we must not be misled into supposing that we can discharge our obligations to the poor and the needy by shifting the responsibility to some governmental or other public agency. Only by voluntarily giving out of an abundant love for our neighbors can we develop that charity characterized by Mormon as ‘the pure love of Christ.’ [ Moroni 7:47 .]” (In Conference Report, Oct. 1972, p. 115; or Ensign, Jan. 1973, p. 98 .)

President Romney noted:

“I suggest we consider what has happened to our agency with respect to . . . government welfare services. . . .“The difference between having the means with which to administer welfare assistance taken from us and voluntarily contributing it out of our love of God and fellowman is the difference between freedom and slavery. . . .“When we love the Lord our God with all our hearts, might, mind, and strength, we will love our brothers as ourselves, and we will voluntarily, in the exercise of our free agency, impart of our substance for their support. . . .

“President [J. Reuben] Clark, . . . referring to government gratuities, said: “‘The dispensing of these great quantities of gratuities has produced in the minds of hundreds of thousands—if not millions—of people . . . a love for idleness, a feeling that the world owes them a living. It has made a breeding ground for some of the most destructive political doctrines that have ever found any hold, . . . and I think it may lead us into serious political trouble. . . .“ ‘. . . Society owes to no man a life of idleness, no matter what his age. I have never seen one line in Holy Writ that calls for, or even sanctions this. In the past no free society has been able to support great groups in idleness and live free.’ ( CR, Apr. 1938, pp. 106–7.) .

“. . . Both history and prophecy—and I may add, common sense—bear witness to the fact that no civilization can long endure which follows the course charted by bemused manipulators and now being implemented as government welfare programs all around the world.

“Babylon shall be destroyed, and great shall be the fall thereof. (See D&C 1:16 .)

“But do not be discouraged. Zion will not go down with her, because Zion shall be built on the principles of love of God and fellowman, work, and earnest labor, as God has directed.” (In Conference Report, Apr. 1976, pp. 164–66, 169; or Ensign, May 1976, pp. 120–21, 123 .)

http://institute.lds.org/manuals/doctrine-and-covenants-institute-student-manual/dc-in-200-j-l-l.asp

This has been the doctrine for quite a long time now and it remains the doctrine today. I don't mind discussing LDS doctrine, but if LDS doctrine is not to be discussed here, feel free to lock it for informational purposes only as this merely is the Church's position.

Link to comment

There seems (but only seems) to be a dichotomy between the lord's commanding us, as individuals and as a church to care for the poor and the needy and His desire for all to exercise their agency. The two are, as I imply, not at odds with each other in the least.

Nowhere in scripture, or official or even quasi-official statements by the Brethren, has He told us that the state should use coercion to compel such care, nor, indeed, to provide any service to our brothers and sisters who need our help. The commandment is to us as Saints, not as citizens.

The problem with socialism is that it makes those who provide services into slaves (the produce of their efforts is taken without compensation and against their will), but those who receive it do not even get the benefit of being slave owners: politicians and bureaucrats control who pays, who gets, and when and how much, and under what circumstances.

Socialism, no matter its guise, is a form of slavery, and a form of the worst sort because even if one of those who receive determines to free his slaves, he cannot.

Further, it reduces the natural desire to love one's fellows. It encourages racism, it weakens families, it undermines individuals and their self-worth/love. There is little or no good that arises from socialism, and if any does exist, its value is greatly over-weighed by the evils it entails.

Agency, one of the greatest of all of God's gifts to us, His children, is negated, people are trained to "let Sam do it", and the natural gratitude of the recipients becomes a sense of entitlement, such that gracious acceptance is lost. There are cases where, individuals acting out of generosity, gave gifts at Christmas to "underprivileged" children, and they and their parents (who could not provide anything) were incensed that the gifts were not from a store, but had been homemade. A riot ensured.

No wonder the Lord is dead set against it.

Lehi

Link to comment

I think one of socialism's most pernicious problems is that it seemingly lifts the "burden" of caring from the poor from individuals for whom giving charity would change hearts and bind communities, and gives it to governments which have no capacity to sanctify. Then individuals believe some else is responsible for the charity and that they only need to "give" what the government compels them to do so.

Link to comment

It is also important to note that there is no doctrine that claims capitalism is the Lords economic system.

It's probably a sure bet that no man made economic system is completely endorsed by the Lord. They all have flaws, they are all bad imitators of true principles in some respect or another.

Link to comment

It's probably a sure bet that no man made economic system is completely endorsed by the Lord. They all have flaws, they are all bad imitators of true principles in some respect or another.

I definately am in agreement. I don't like the Korihor philosophy that "every man fared in this life according to the management of the creature; therefore every man prospered according to his genius, and that every man conquered according to his strength" Alma 30:17. If people need help they should be able to get it

Link to comment

It is also important to note that there is no doctrine that claims capitalism is the Lords economic system.

Well, I'm not 100% sure of that.

In the Doc&Cov I just read that the Lord set up a joint stock company, with limits as to the lowest investment and the highest for the Nauvoo House. I'd forgotten that. I may not have been alone.

Lehi

Link to comment

I definately am in agreement. I don't like the Korihor philosophy that "every man fared in this life according to the management of the creature; therefore every man prospered according to his genius, and that every man conquered according to his strength" Alma 30:17. If people need help they should be able to get it

That's not the issue. I get very tired of rebutting and refuting the charge that libertarians and conservatives have no compassion.

The question is not whether those who need help should or should not be able to get it, but by what mechanism they should get it. There is no compulsion in the Lord's system.

Lehi

Link to comment

That's not the issue. I get very tired of rebutting and refuting the charge that libertarians and conservatives have no compassion.

The question is not whether those who need help should or should not be able to get it, but by what mechanism they should get it. There is no compulsion in the Lord's system.

Lehi

Capitalism is the Lord's way? Please tell me that isn't what you are saying! I got the idea of Korihor philosophy from this paper from Prof. Richard Bushman "On being ill at ease in the World"

http://squaretwo.org...nIllAtEase.html

Link to comment

Capitalism is the Lord's way? Please tell me that isn't what you are saying! I got the idea of Korihor philosophy from this paper from Prof. Richard Bushman "On being ill at ease in the World"

How did you get that from what I wrote?

Even the section in the Doctrine and Covenants where the Lord established a joint stock company isn't necessarily what we consider "capitalism".

64 And they shall not receive less than fifty dollars for a share of stock in that house, and they shall be permitted to receive fifteen thousand dollars from any one man for stock in that house. 65 But they shall not be permitted to receive over fifteen thousand dollars stock from any one man.

• • •

72 Verily I say unto you, let my servant Joseph pay stock into their hands for the building of that house, as seemeth him good; but my servant Joseph cannot pay over fifteen thousand dollars stock in that house, nor under fifty dollars; neither can any other man, saith the Lord.

However, free markets (which is not synonymous with capitalism) do allow people to exercise agency in ways that no other economic system permits.

Lehi

Link to comment
I got that from this statement "Well, I'm not 100% sure of that"

I wish there was a more level playing field to bring people able to provide for their own and not have more then they need so that others go without

You quoted the wrong message.

Keeping things straight is easier wen the Ts are crossed correctly.

Still, while I do see indicators of free markets as being the Lord's preference for a terrestrial system, and none for socialism, we are commanded to, as individuals, not political entities, to care for the poor and the needy. It is important to acknowledge the scriptures that castigate the idlers. For instance, Doc&Cov 42:42. All contribute to the common good, keeping in mind that free market trading giving money (or other goods or services) for things we want is not in any sense exploitative and is, by its very definition, "giving back". True free markets are truly egalitarian

Who gets to decide how much is more than someone needs?

Lehi

Link to comment

You quoted the wrong message.

Keeping things straight is easier wen the Ts are crossed correctly.

Still, while I do see indicators of free markets as being the Lord's preference for a terrestrial system, and none for socialism, we are coommanded to, as individuls, not political entities, to care for thepoor and the needy. It is important toacknowledge the scriptures that castigate the idlers. For instance, Doc&Cov 42:42. All contriute to the common good, keeping in mind that freemaeket trading giving money (or other goods or services) for things we wantis not in an sene ezploitiveand is, by its very definition, "giving back". True free markets are truly egalitarian

Who gets to decide how much is more than someoe needs?

Lehi

Apparently the new mantra of" the rich paying their fair share" lets us know who will decide.

Link to comment

It is also important to note that there is no doctrine that claims capitalism is the Lords economic system.

When we hear certain words, such as "capitalism" or "communism", each of us may understand them in ways that differ enormously from each other. Before we can discuss them, therefore, we have to have a consensus on what we mean by the words, otherwise we talk past each other and generate more heat than light.

Wikipedia has this to say about capitalism:

There is no consensus on the precise definition nor on how the term should be used as a historical category. There is general agreement that elements of capitalism include private ownership of the means of production, creation of goods or services for profit or income, the accumulation of capital, competitive markets, voluntary exchange, and wage labor. The designation is applied to a variety of historical cases, varying in time, geography, politics and culture.

Given the "general agreement" as to what economic elements comprise capitalism, which ones of the following elements do you think the Lord would disapprove of?

  • private ownership of the means of production,
  • creation of goods or services for profit or income,
  • the accumulation of capital,
  • competitive markets,
  • voluntary exchange, and
  • wage labor

And if you think there is an objection, please provide the most relavant scripture in support of your position.

Thanks!

Link to comment

I get very confused and irritated by the whole socialism/capitalism debate. I believe most of it stems from the ultra-conservative approach in how they define what the two are and how they think or believe they work. In a governement- any government, you can have righteous and unrighteous leaders in the form of kings, dictators, elected officials, appointed officials, etc. Along with this you can have laws that are corrupt or just, it just depends on the moral fiber and ethical behavior of those in charge and those members that belong in the society. For example iregardless of what type of government the Nazi's are said to have had, the truth was that the dictator in charge (Hitler) was a dilusional individual who had a corrupted grasp of identity and was very greedy about power with no real ethical or moral integrity. Those who he allowed in power- a part of his cruel dictatorship, also were those who were dilusional and like individuals.

The problem with how the ultra-right defines socialism is that it makes one believe that the Nazi's cruel reign was solely because of socialism or communism. Most do not know but Hitler was firmly against the communist parties of his day and crushed that from his society. Not that i am making a case for socialism, its just that socialism gets a bad rap because it isn't properly defined.

Socialism to me, is defined best by aknowledging that it is an ideal where, for generalness, the power of community is placed equally by the people who are a part of that community. This doesn't mean everything becomes the property and under control of a government run by one or a few individuals, it just means that the means in society are owned equally by the shareholders. Socialism was introduced in society as a means to limit the industrialists in the free market capitalist society that used unrighteous dominion to enslave their workers. Socialist formers wanted a society where the workers were protected and had rights. They felt the best way to achieve this was through co-operative types of business and industry where the workers owned and controlled the means of business finaces and control. Thus, in a true socialist society, the government really owns nothing, the people themselves have and equal ownership and claim for a means of living. There is a false premise believed that socialism harbors or even promotes idelness. I disagree. I believe in a generally corrupt free socialist system everyone is not only highly intelligent, but also self reliant in a high degree. If one is to really get technical, anything done in a co-operative or "togetherness" environment or society is socialist at its core. No this doesn't mean it destroys or limits agency, it just means that it allows guarentees of "means" for those involved.

Many have a distorted view on what "agency" means. The ultra-right ( I am consevative by the way) believe that taxes is "theft" and deprives them of their agency even though they use the very utilities provided by those taxes for essential survival. Another- they believe that the government taking care of the poor through organizarions such as "welfare" and government financed medicare is taking from the rich and giving to the poor against their agency, or should I say- agaisnt their will. Yet, I find it interesting that the whole reason we have government financed services that provide for the poor is the voted on and "approved" method of a way that we can take care of the poor on a national level. Kind of like the pot calling the kettle black. As properly defined, "agency" is the gift and ability to freely choose and act in righteous. We live in a country where we freely elect individuals who we believe will best represent our ideals. The great part about this system is that if you don't like an individual who is elected, you can vote him or her out of office and get someone else to do the job. The laws thus passed in this type of system should be the general consensus of what the majority wants and believes in. the laws in our country are pretty much all thus based off of what is morally and ethically correct as long as the majority of the people themselves are just and morally correct. The socialist parts of our government such as road and bridge repair, public transportation, medicare, welfare, the USPS and others are thus put in place by the majority of voters who believe in helping others. None of these programs are the work of Satan or his minions as some mistakingly think. We must remember the differences of the two in stark contrast-

Hitlers Nazi's were the very definition of what Satan wants. Let's see how welfare would compare with Nazi principle-

Whereas welfare is a means that would provide any, regardless of race or color, the minimal support for basic survival, nazi principles deprived lesser individuals or those of inferior races of these same basic rights even punishing them by death for their supposedly inferior circumstances.

Now whereas welfare is nowheres near perfect, we must remember that in our society, the only thing corrupt about it are those who take advantage of the system. Something to think about here is that the real thieves is not the government but those who unrighteously manipulate or take advantage of the service itself.

Lastly, the church welfare sytem and managment of the church more closely resembles socialist principles than capitalist principles do. Not saying the church is socialist, just saying that if one is gonna compare capitalism and socialism with what the church believes, socialism has way more in common with Zion that capitalism ever can dream of.

Link to comment
Nowhere in scripture, or official or even quasi-official statements by the Brethren, has He told us that the state should use coercion to compel such care, nor, indeed, to provide any service to our brothers and sisters who need our help. The commandment is to us as Saints, not as citizens.

"Now there was a great number of women, more than there was of men; therefore king Limhi commanded that every man should impart to the support of the widows and their children, that they might not perish with hunger; and this they did because of the greatness of their number that had been slain." (Mosiah 21:17)

"And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest. And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather [every] grape of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I [am] the LORD your God." (Leviticus 19:9-10)

Note that this was the Law, not a suggestion. The Jewish government enforced mandatory redistribution.

I don't accept the "either-or" dichotomy of either individuals should help the poor or the government should.

Government has a part to play.

Charities have a part to play.

Churches have a part to play.

Individuals have a part to play.

I think the government is playing too large a part but I believe it does have a part to play.

Link to comment

And if you think there is an objection, please provide the most relavant scripture in support of your position.

Thanks!

"Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men."

You are more than welcome to trust in the arm of the flesh and supposed wisdom of men to tell you about and His Kingdom.

The closest even bcspace can get to claiming "capitalism" (despite his deliberate misrepresentation of Doctrine in his Sig) is a quote that the LOC "is more like capitalism than socialism" that's all even he can produce. Using terms that ones audience understands is not the promotion of those terms. So feel free to show by way of explicit direct support of capitalism by name in LDS Doctrine.

I am not asking for philosophy mingled with scripture. Surely if capitalism is the Lord way then capitalism is mentioned by name as the Lords way in the Doctrine of the LDS Church.

I wonder though, what those persons who created the list, (if the wiki article is even referenced with scholarly materials) would think of a system wherein "reside" - that which is exceeds as much as is sufficient for himself and family" for his "needs, wants, family, and circumstances" - or in laymans terms "profit" beyond ones needs, is then consecrated to the Bishop and no longer under the use and control or any use and control of the person who "created" the residue.

I doubt you will find very many person who promote capitalism that will say "Yes the loss of use of my profit is the Nirvana of capitalism. Where can I sign to lose control of my profits so that "the state" (in the LOC Jesus via the Priesthood leader) can give it to someone who has is too lazy of impotent to earn a living"

so while you might be able to live the LOC because you think it is capitalism I too will be able to live the LOC because I do not believe that Christ would command His people to live the evil that is capitalism.

Communial living is what Christ commands, not the class warfare and "me first" that is capitalism.

Link to comment

"Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men."

You are more than welcome to trust in the arm of the flesh and supposed wisdom of men to tell you about and His Kingdom.

The closest even bcspace can get to claiming "capitalism" (despite his deliberate misrepresentation of Doctrine in his Sig) is a quote that the LOC "is more like capitalism than socialism" that's all even he can produce. Using terms that ones audience understands is not the promotion of those terms. So feel free to show by way of explicit direct support of capitalism by name in LDS Doctrine.

I am not asking for philosophy mingled with scripture. Surely if capitalism is the Lord way then capitalism is mentioned by name as the Lords way in the Doctrine of the LDS Church.

You wrote something that suggested you thought that God might disapprove of capitalism. Out of curiosity I asked you why you thought that might be. Since I was hoping for something based on not mere opinion, which is why I suggested you might provide a scriptural reference that made you think that way.

You respond with an accusation that I am "trust[ing] in the arm of flesh" and "asking for philosophy mingled with scripture". I don't know how to respond to that, except to say that if you don't have a reason for thinking God would disapprove of capitalism, then fine. Just say so. I'm OK with it.

Then I get this: "So feel free to show by way of explicit direct support of capitalism by name in LDS Doctrine."

Uh, just in case you missed it, I haven't written one word that states or implies that LDS doctrine directly supports capitalism. And if you won't answer my question, why should I answer yours? Especially since your question is asking me to "feel free" to defend statements I haven't made.

Link to comment

I wish there was a more level playing field to bring people able to provide for their own and not have more then they need so that others go without

You are assuming it's a zero sum game and that if someone has more then someone else will have less. That is not so. In the Lord's society all prosper. And as has already been asked who determines when someone has more than they need. That is where governments get into trouble when they take on that role of who deserves what.

Link to comment

Stargazer,

you are more that welcome to find support your claim that capitalism is the Lords economic system, You will not find Doctrine that explicitly states as much. You might find statements that support certain elements, but as a system as a whole, you will not find capitalism mentioned by name.

your posting of the list from wikipedia is an attempt to put the God in a box created by man. Your posting of the list is in essence your claim that capitalism - as created and defined by the arm of flesh - is the Lords economic system.

My claim is that there is no Doctrine that pronounces capitalism as the Lords economic system. Please re-read my post #19.

Link to comment

as for "compulssion"

I have said it before and will continue saying,

EVERYONE in mortality WILL ALWAYS have their agency and ability to choose. If you do not want the government to interfer you have the choice, you always have the choice to abide.

The compulsion railed about from the government is no different than the compulsion that will be under the LOC/United Order, you either abide or you are compelled to leave.

Link to comment

The compulsion railed about from the government is no different than the compulsion that will be under the LOC/United Order, you either abide or you are compelled to leave.

Not quite the same, in the LOC you do have the choice to leave, this is not always sonwith the government where the choice is sometimes to submit or go to jail or worse.
Link to comment

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...