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Bushman's View Of Joseph And A Constitutional Monarchy


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Okay am finishing up Bushman's "Rough Stone Rolling" and he seems to be suggesting that Joseph Smith was advocating a form of theocracy governed by constitutional monarchy? That one came as a bit of a shock. Is that the way the Church views his political thinking?

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Okay am finishing up Bushman's "Rough Stone Rolling" and he seems to be suggesting that Joseph Smith was advocating a form of theocracy governed by constitutional monarchy? That one came as a bit of a shock. Is that the way the Church views his political thinking?

 

Kind of sounds like "the man who would be king" but you still get to give your "sustaining" vote.........

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Okay am finishing up Bushman's "Rough Stone Rolling" and he seems to be suggesting that Joseph Smith was advocating a form of theocracy governed by constitutional monarchy? That one came as a bit of a shock. Is that the way the Church views his political thinking?

 

Is it really a shock though?

1. Joseph Smith was all about recreating the functioning of heaven on the earth.

2. Joseph (and others) were ordained Kings and Priests to rule and reign.

3. Theocracy, or rule by God through his representatives is part of the Church, the Priesthood, and the Political Kingdom.

 

So from these facts, why wouldn't Joseph want a government, by God, run by these "Kings" in a pattern similar to heaven?

And as far as the constitutional part, well, even Theocracy has to have a standard to prevent corrupt men taking over.

Edited by JLHPROF
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Is it really a shock though?

1. Joseph Smith was all about recreating the functioning of heaven on the earth.

2. Joseph (and others) were ordained Kings and Priests to rule and reign.

3. Theocracy, or rule by God through his representatives is part of the Church, the Priesthood, and the Political Kingdom.

 

So from these facts, why wouldn't Joseph want a government, by God, run by these "Kings" in a pattern similar to heaven?

And as far as the constitutional part, well, even Theocracy has to have a standard to prevent corrupt men taking over.

Yeah, no its a logical extension of the concept of building Zion, but I can see it as an explosively controversial doctrine to set out in America in anything but a millenial context.

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Okay am finishing up Bushman's "Rough Stone Rolling" and he seems to be suggesting that Joseph Smith was advocating a form of theocracy governed by constitutional monarchy? That one came as a bit of a shock. Is that the way the Church views his political thinking?

You might want to read

D. Michael Quinn, "The Council of Fifty and Its Members, 1844-1945," BYU Studies, 20/2 (1980):1-34, online at https://byustudies.byu.edu/showtitle.aspx?title=5416 .

Andrew F. Ehat, "'It Seems Like Heaven Began on Earth': Joseph Smith and the Constitution of the Kingdom of God," BYU Studies, 20/3 (1980):1-27, online at https://byustudies.byu.edu/showtitle.aspx?title=5425 .

 

The wrong question to ask is "Is that the way the Church views his political thinking?"

The correct question might be, Does the LDS Church have an official doctrine on that matter?  If so, what?  If not, then what do the scholars believe about the matter?

Please don't anthropomorphize  the Church.

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You might want to read

D. Michael Quinn, "The Council of Fifty and Its Members, 1844-1945," BYU Studies, 20/2 (1980):1-34, online at https://byustudies.byu.edu/showtitle.aspx?title=5416 .

Andrew F. Ehat, "'It Seems Like Heaven Began on Earth': Joseph Smith and the Constitution of the Kingdom of God," BYU Studies, 20/3 (1980):1-27, online at https://byustudies.byu.edu/showtitle.aspx?title=5425 .

 

The wrong question to ask is "Is that the way the Church views his political thinking?"

The correct question might be, Does the LDS Church have an official doctrine on that matter?  If so, what?  If not, then what do the scholars believe about the matter?

Please don't anthropomorphize  the Church.

But do we really want to bureaucratize the Church instead?

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I hate to break the news to you but the Church is already "bureaucratized". Anyone who has ever worked in the Church office building can tell you.

Well you have me there, I still want to preserve my fiction of it being a living entity not a dead bureaucracy.

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2. Joseph (and others) were ordained Kings and Priests to rule and reign.

 

 

 

Can I assume you are able to demonstrate that this refers to temporal power, rather than part of the heavenly kingdom (part of the temple ordinance). 

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Can I assume you are able to demonstrate that this refers to temporal power, rather than part of the heavenly kingdom (part of the temple ordinance). 

 

I think most of us think of it in terms of a Heavenly Kingdom, but if I understand correctly what Bushman was saying -- its not at all clear that Joseph necessarily limited it to the heavenly realm, Bushman seems to be saying that Joseph was thinking of the here and now, and setting up a Prophet King subject to Constitutional constraints.  If that were the case, I can better understand the whole area going up in flames as that would violate just about every American principle imaginable.

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This interpretation does not have a very good pedigree.  Bushman is using a very common antiMormon argument, which has no support whatsoever (as far as I know) that "king and priest" refers to a temporal kingdom prior to the millenium.

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This interpretation does not have a very good pedigree.  Bushman is using a very common antiMormon argument, which has no support whatsoever (as far as I know) that "king and priest" refers to a temporal kingdom prior to the millenium.

 

I certainly hope you are right, I would feel mildly uncomfortable if Joseph was truly headed in that direction with the Council of 50.

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I hate to break the news to you but the Church is already "bureaucratized". Anyone who has ever worked in the Church office building can tell you.

Well you have me there, I still want to preserve my fiction of it being a living entity not a dead bureaucracy.

The institutionalization of charisma is often a natural feature of religion.  I suspect that the hesitancy among Mormons to seek systematic theology, or to truly professionalize CES seminary and institute instruction (the way other religions establish theological seminaries) is out of fear that canon lawyers will destroy continuing revelation and the gifts of the Spirit.  However, it is natural for a true yogi to be studied by pandits, and for prophets to have scribes and schools.  It is not really a question of either-or, but rather a recognition of the value of each endeavor.  There must be balance.

 

Unfortunately, even though the LDS Church is now moving forward rapidly into a variety of high-technology means of advancing the Gospel worldwide, and performing the vicarious rites designed to save our dead kin (the entire human family), there is yet considerable foot-dragging in areas deemed too dangerous for all-out entry.  This leaves that arena free for the depredations of well-meaning yokels.   :db:   :crazy: 

Edited by Robert F. Smith
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I think most of us think of it in terms of a Heavenly Kingdom, but if I understand correctly what Bushman was saying -- its not at all clear that Joseph necessarily limited it to the heavenly realm, Bushman seems to be saying that Joseph was thinking of the here and now, and setting up a Prophet King subject to Constitutional constraints.  If that were the case, I can better understand the whole area going up in flames as that would violate just about every American principle imaginable.

The only reason we don't have a constitutional monarchy in the USA is because George Washington refused to be made king.

 

As for the nature of "every American principle imaginable," one ought to cautiously examine that notion:  There are a number of mutually incompatible principles operative in America, due in great part to our commitment to pluralism.  In my own lifetime, H. Rap Brown observed that "violence is as American as cherry pie."  Why?  One person replied that, 

 

Our country was born of violence. The settling of the colonies was characterized by violence - the subjugation of Native Americans, Slavery, the events leading up to the revolution and the revolution itself. The expansion of the country was only possible through violence - more native americans slaughtered. The civil war, the spanish american war, the wild west, homesteading... In a "new world" with weak governance, violence was everywhere and sometimes necessary. The 2nd amendment protected the right the bear arms for just that reason - someone who was unable to protect themselves was an easy target for the greedy or ambitious. 

Today, we see the legacy of this culture of violence in movies, video games, music, school shootings etc.

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080404125222AACno0S .

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