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Can A Mormon Righteously Rebel Against Government Or Fight Against A Religion?


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In Sunday's lesson on Helaman 1-6 in the GD class I attended, the teacher was speaking about unity in and with government in regards to the situation with Pahoran and Kishkumen. The conversation almost got to the point where the question was going to be asked, "When is it right for LDS to break with (no longer support) or rebel against government?" My mind went to D&C 134:1-4 and using that as a basis, we can generate this list:

Verse 2

1. Individual free exercise of conscience.

2. Indiviudal right and control of property.

3. Individual protection of life.

Verse 3

1. Government will administer the law in equity and justice.

2. Such administration should be sought for and upheld by the voice of the people if a republic, or the will of the sovereign.

Verse 4

1. The government (human law) has no right to interfere in prescribing rules of worship to bind the consciences of men, nor dictate forms for public or private devotion.

2. The government should restrain crime, but never control conscience; should punish guilt, but never suppress the freedom of the soul.

So I submit the above list of items that, if any one of which is not being upheld or done and/ the voice of the people or the soveriegn no longer seek for or uphold them, mark the point at which a faithful Mormon can reasonably no longer support the government or actively rebel against it without being in a state of sin.

In addition, there is a similar line drawn for religions in this same scripture set:

Verse 4:

We believe that religion is instituted of God; and that men are amenable to him, and to him only, for the exercise of it, unless their religious opinions prompt them to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others.

For your convenience, here is official LDS doctrine bearing directly on these verses:

http://institute.lds.org/manuals/doctrine-and-covenants-institute-student-manual/dc-in-131-134.asp

I'm sure others can be found. Notice for example that:

Matters of belief or religious practice should not be interfered with, unless they oppose laws formulated for the common good. There should be no mingling of religious influence with civil governments.”
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So I submit the above list of items that, if any one of which is not being upheld or done and/ the voice of the people or the soveriegn no longer seek for or uphold them, mark the point at which a faithful Mormon can reasonably no longer support the government or actively rebel against it without being in a state of sin.

How about follow the Prophet instead?

D&C 134:5–6 . “Sedition and Rebellion Are Unbecoming Every Citizen”

President N. Eldon Tanner taught:

“There are many who question the constitutionality of certain acts passed by their respective governments, even though such laws have been established by the highest courts in the land as being constitutional, and they feel to defy and disobey the law.

“Abraham Lincoln once observed: ‘Bad laws, if they exist, should be repealed as soon as possible; still, while they continue in force, they should be religiously observed.’

“This is the attitude of the Church in regard to law observance. . . .

“There is no reason or justification for men to disregard or break the law or try to take it into their own hands.

“It is the duty of citizens of any country to remember that they have individual responsibilities, and that they must operate within the law of the country in which they have chosen to live.” (In Conference Report, Oct. 1975, p. 126; or Ensign, Nov. 1975, p. 83 .)

President Joseph Fielding Smith likewise said: “No member of the Church can be accepted as in good standing whose way of life is one of rebellion against the established order of decency and obedience to law. We cannot be in rebellion against the law and be in harmony with the Lord, for he has commanded us to ‘be subject to the powers that be, until he reigns whose right it is to reign. . . .’ ( D&C 58:22 .)

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These prophets are assuming a government that is ultimately controlled by the people and their representatives.In many countries such does not exist.

I wonder what law the native Americans were supposed to obey as they were systematically removed under a Destiny that was being forceably Manifest.

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“There is no reason or justification for men to disregard or break the law or try to take it into their own hands."

I think the Book of Mormon disagrees.

Nephi broke the law to acquire the plates and murder Laban (though admittedly Laban broke the law first)

Abinadi disobeyed the law by ignoring government-imposed exile and coming back to the city to preach.

Gideon tried to kill King Noah.

Angels broke the law by letting Nephi and Lehi out of prison.

In this dispensation Joseph and company's escape from Liberty Jail was not done lawfully.

Polygamy was unlawful.

The Saints illegally immigrated to Mexican territory when they went to Utah.

The Saints then engaged in rebellion and sent troops to secure California from the Mexican army.

They engaged in treason against the President when they attacked the supply columns of Johnston's army when it came to subdue the saints.

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In Sunday's lesson on Helaman 1-6 in the GD class I attended, the teacher was speaking about unity in and with government in regards to the situation with Pahoran and Kishkumen. The conversation almost got to the point where the question was going to be asked, "When is it right

We believed our founding fathers were right and that God had ordained them to this cause.
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How about follow the Prophet instead?

Of course. In which case, as I pointed out in the OP, certain conditions justify such rebellion. But the prophet doesn't speak on everything. That would come into conflict with the D&C 58 principle that we should not be slothful servants and wait to be commanded but rather be anxiously engaged in doing good. In this case, fighting for the right.

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Pa Pa;

I agree that we are now free to make our own laws. However the founding fathers wanted to be free of British law. They were British subjects thus answerable to the law. That is a different thing than "“There is no reason or justification for men to disregard or break the law or try to take it into their own hands".

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Pa Pa;

I agree that we are now free to make our own laws. However the founding fathers wanted to be free of British law. They were British subjects thus answerable to the law. That is a different thing than "“There is no reason or justification for men to disregard or break the law or try to take it into their own hands".

But that is what they did...make their own laws. They took the law into their own hands. It was considered treason then.
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According to whom?

We can't have it both ways and be internally consistent. But whom ever said humans were internally consistent. ;)

To paraphrase John Kenneth Galbraith(economist) when asked why his current view was not consistent with his view 10 years previous, he said " I would rather be right than consistent"

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Of course. In which case, as I pointed out in the OP, certain conditions justify such rebellion. But the prophet doesn't speak on everything. That would come into conflict with the D&C 58 principle that we should not be slothful servants and wait to be commanded but rather be anxiously engaged in doing good. In this case, fighting for the right.

You selectively ignored what other Prophets said about there is never a justification.

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Of course. In which case, as I pointed out in the OP, certain conditions justify such rebellion. But the prophet doesn't speak on everything. That would come into conflict with the D&C 58 principle that we should not be slothful servants and wait to be commanded but rather be anxiously engaged in doing good. In this case, fighting for the right.

Anyone rebelling against his government without sufficient preparation and support is either crazy or unwise. A leader of many shouldn’t be crazy or unwise, either.

The exception to the above is where the rebellion is inspired, in which case the individual or the leader had better be right in his spiritual standing, regardless of whether he is prepared and supported or not, or whether he ends up the victor or the martyr. This kind of inspiration has to be divine, current and direct, not rationalized / politicized from scriptural text.

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You selectively ignored what other Prophets said about there is never a justification.

Educate me then. Part of the reason I post is to see if my point of view can stand the test.

The exception to the above is where the rebellion is inspired, in which case the individual or the leader had better be right in his spiritual standing, regardless of whether he is prepared and supported or not, or whether he ends up the victor or the martyr. This kind of inspiration has to be divine, current and direct, not rationalized / politicized from scriptural text.

The founding fathers might have felt so inspried. But at some point someone, they or their followers, has to take it on faith. Which is why I proposed a set of rules in the OP to help our faith by identifying the persons and the conditions through means (scriptures, prophets, etc.) we already accept or claim to accept. I am by no means claiming my list is complete but it is a good place to start.

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Here, I'll propose two more ideas to add to the list.

1) When the means of democratically changing a government no longer exists. I believe the scriptures or doctirne could imply this somewhere but you'll have to help me out.

2) When the voice of the people desires that which is contrary to that which is right. Mosiah 29:26-27 This implies the Democratic process above is still in place. It also perhaps implies a rebellion suited to the size and nature of the wrong.

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