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Utah Culture and the Book of Mormon


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Can you be a socialist and priest at the same time? I was a socialist priest and got sealed in the Temple with my family. My stake president says it's okay. 

 

Why do members keep sharing talks from fifty years ago to persuade me into their Utah Culture? I love the Book of Mormon and it does not support unregulated capitalism. If anything my sacred scriptures support socialism. I will use the Book of Mormon as my evidence. If you leave a comment, I will not reply to general conference consider cultural doctrine. Use the Book of Mormon to defend your stance of why I can't be a priest in the church.

I love the Book of Mormon because one theme in it is obvious: At their most righteous, the Nephites  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, LDS Priest vehemently denounce "democratic socialism." I guess some Latterday Saints 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. They 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. I saw in my sacred texts a spiritual rationale to support my own socialist programs, including a National Health Care System, that Bernie Sanders will give to the people. 

I 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 conservative that puts his politics above his religion. 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.

Now it's your turn. Use the book of Mormon to defend unregulated capitalism. 

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What sort of a priest were you when you got sealed to your family in the Temple?

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1 hour ago, Moroni Spagnola said:

Now it's your turn. Use the book of Mormon to defend unregulated capitalism. 

What do you know about the law of tithing and the law of consecration? are these part of unregulated capitalism?

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2 hours ago, gav said:

What do you know about the law of tithing and the law of consecration? are these part of unregulated capitalism?

For me, the law of consecration and tithing is similar to "true socialism". I say true because Satan has a counterfeit socialism which force people. True social is like my Temple Work or the Atonement of Christ, we do it voluntarily, we drink the bitter cup and murmur not.

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3 hours ago, Kenngo1969 said:

What sort of a priest were you when you got sealed to your family in the Temple?

"I am a priest", not "was". Sorry for the bad grammar. But I am still a socialist priest. Socialism is a part of my culture. 

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39 minutes ago, Moroni Spagnola said:

For me, the law of consecration and tithing is similar to "true socialism". I say true because Satan has a counterfeit socialism which force people. True social is like my Temple Work or the Atonement of Christ, we do it voluntarily, we drink the bitter cup and murmur not.

Tithing trains us for the law of consecration. The law of consecration requires a theocracy with a benevolent dictator or a very righteous people to function as intended. They succeeded for a couple of hundred years in 4th Nephi. and a short while in Acts, but there were eventually issues, as there were in Kirtland and Far West etc. Socialism/Communism, all though perhaps great on paper, fail in practice due to human nature. Corrupt leadership or bureaucracies alway end up undermining the best intentions. Greed ultimately brings their downfall as with unfettered capitalism.

Edited by gav
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4 hours ago, Moroni Spagnola said:
2 minutes ago, gav said:

Tithing trains us for the law of consecration. The law of consecration requires a theocracy with a benevolent dictator or a very righteous people to function as intended. They succeeded for a couple of hundred years in 4th Nephi. and a short while in Acts, but there were eventually issues, as there were in Far West etc.

Socialism is dangerous in the hands of natural men. But in the hands of our Prophet, you can see that it does a great thing and helps us build up Zion. 

 

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This thread strays awfully close to politics, but nevertheless I'll jump in.

I decline your challenge because I agree. The Book of Mormon does not support "unregulated capitalism" as you put it (though I would also scoff at the idea that "unfettered capitalism" exists anywhere in the world in our days). Indeed, the scriptures seem to endorse an all-things-in-common model, though only when conducted under the auspices of the Holy Priesthood. 

In context, however, 50 years ago when all those talks were being given, the face of socialism was its most successful spin-off, Marxism-Leninism or Soviet Communism. That was and remains unacceptable to the Church, primarily due to its often-callous disregard for citizen life and its state-mandated atheism.  Surely you can see why the Church has a problem with that. When Ezra Taft Benson goes off on socialism, Soviet Communism, "hard socialism" forcibly imposed by the state, was his target. He likely didn't think of the softer "democratic socialism" which is what generally passes for "socialism" these days after the fall of the Iron Curtain. 

This is not to say that Benson was politically neutral - he wasn't. Interestingly, he wasn't the biggest fan of military buildup either - you might find some common ground there. He said we trusted too much in gods of steel. 

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55 minutes ago, Moroni Spagnola said:

"I am a priest", not "was". Sorry for the bad grammar. But I am still a socialist priest. Socialism is a part of my culture. 

It wasn't a grammatical question.  What sort of priest were you when you got sealed to your family in the Temple?

P.S.: You're a Melchizedek Priest who is a socialist?

Edited by Kenngo1969
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