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The Doctrine and Covenants and American Exceptionalism


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On another thread, Rajah Manchou posted this (I’m pasting in the whole post so as to avoid taking it out of context):

“Always a difficult subject, because the American myth is so deeply seated in Mormonism: The American Religion.

“At some point we have to let go of it. Our salvation is not at all tied to the fate of America or the victory of one economic or political ideology over another. When you look at conflicts or tensions between faiths, it's almost always a conflict between economic or political ideologies or a battle for geography.

“I once had the opportunity to spend two weeks with the Prime Minister of the Exiled Government of Tibet. He's also a devout monastic. I attended a film festival with him about the conflict between Tibet and China and one of the scenes was the tank man in Tiananmen Square. I was floored when he later told me he had never seen that clip before. He explained to me that, even though he was the elected Prime Minister of an exiled and oppressed nation, he avoids political media and political debates as much as he can. His reasoning was that if you become attached to the political or economic ideologies of a "homeland" you will eventually be consumed by those attachments and your spirituality will suffer. In his mind, TRUTH is not dependent on place or time.  

“Before we can reconcile, we need to extract politics and economics from our faith, to the point where we can stand together without hard feelings or ill will towards each other.”

End of the quote from Rajah

Not clear what is meant by “the American myth” here, but there are aspects of American exceptionalism that are baked into latter-day Restoration scripture and doctrine, namely the role of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights as pertaining to preserving the principle of moral agency, not just for Americans, but “for all flesh.” 
 

This is so explicitly stated in the Doctrine and Covenants that it cannot persuasively be denied. 
 

Consider:

5 And that law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me.
6 Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land;
 

Elsewhere:

 

77 According to the laws and constitution of the people, which I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles;

78 That every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment.
79 Therefore, it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another.

80 And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood.

 

And further:

54 Have mercy, O Lord, upon all the nations of the earth; have mercy upon the rulers of our land; may those principles, which were so honorably and nobly defended, namely, the Constitution of our land, by our fathers, be established forever.

Edited by Scott Lloyd
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New Jerusalem will be in America. It's hard to have America completely decline in favor of non-America with that being the case. That is not to say that the Constitution won't die and America won't decline, big-time. 

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58 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

On another thread, Ralph Manchou posted this (I’m pasting in the whole post so as to avoid taking it out of context):

“Always a difficult subject, because the American myth is so deeply seated in Mormonism: The American Religion.

“At some point we have to let go of it. Our salvation is not at all tied to the fate of America or the victory of one economic or political ideology over another. When you look at conflicts or tensions between faiths, it's almost always a conflict between economic or political ideologies or a battle for geography.

“I once had the opportunity to spend two weeks with the Prime Minister of the Exiled Government of Tibet. He's also a devout monastic. I attended a film festival with him about the conflict between Tibet and China and one of the scenes was the tank man in Tiananmen Square. I was floored when he later told me he had never seen that clip before. He explained to me that, even though he was the elected Prime Minister of an exiled and oppressed nation, he avoids political media and political debates as much as he can. His reasoning was that if you become attached to the political or economic ideologies of a "homeland" you will eventually be consumed by those attachments and your spirituality will suffer. In his mind, TRUTH is not dependent on place or time.  

“Before we can reconcile, we need to extract politics and economics from our faith, to the point where we can stand together without hard feelings or ill will towards each other.”

End of the quote from Ralph

Not clear what is meant by “the American myth” here, but there are aspects of American exceptionalism that are baked into latter-day Restoration scripture and doctrine, namely the role of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights as pertaining to preserving the principle of moral agency, not just for Americans, but “for all flesh.” 
 

This is so explicitly stated in the Doctrine and Covenants that it cannot persuasively be denied. 
 

Consider:

5 And that law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me.
6 Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land;
 

Elsewhere:

 

77 According to the laws and constitution of the people, which I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles;

78 That every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment.
79 Therefore, it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another.

80 And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood.

 

And further:

54 Have mercy, O Lord, upon all the nations of the earth; have mercy upon the rulers of our land; may those principles, which were so honorably and nobly defended, namely, the Constitution of our land, by our fathers, be established forever.

So I guess this means we’ll have to give up on fulfilling the prophecy that the elders of Israel will save the Constitution as it hangs by a thread in order to maintain harmony among the members?

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28 minutes ago, Rajah Manchou said:

It's a myth, the Church has made this clear. That's my point here, the salvation of Saints around the world is not dependent on whether Americans keep their Constitution or lose it. There are countries around the world that have adopted it and will continue to observe the principles found in the US Constitution.

I'm not trying to take a stand on the validity of the prophecy (or not), because I'm trying to understand it myself, but your own source (FAIR Mormon) contradicts what you say here (i.e. "It's a myth").  This is under the heading:  Question: Will the U.S. Constitution eventually "hang by a thread"?    Note the portion I bolded at the bottom:

Quote

So what references have Church leaders made to the Constitution "hanging by a thread?" Brigham Young said:

Will the Constitution be destroyed? No: it will be held inviolate by this people; and, as Joseph Smith said, "The time will come when the destiny of the nation will hang upon a single thread. At that critical juncture, this people will step forth and save it from the threatened destruction." It will be so.

With regard to the doings of our fathers and the Constitution of the United States, I have to say, they present to us a glorious prospect in the future, but one we cannot attain to until the present abuses in the Government are corrected.[5]

Orson Hyde said,

It is said that brother Joseph in his lifetime declared that the Elders of this Church should step forth at a particular time when the Constitution should be in danger, and rescue it, and save it. This may be so; but I do not recollect that he said exactly so. I believe he said something like this—that the time would come when the Constitution and the country would be in danger of an overthrow; and said he, If the Constitution be saved at all, it will be by the Elders of this Church. I believe this is about the language, as nearly as I can recollect it.[6]

Brigham Young and Orson Hyde both clearly state that the Constitution will be in grave danger of being destroyed. If the constitution is to be preserved it will be because the "Elders" of the Church will step forward and provide the support that will help to preserve the Constitution. The Elders of the Church will always be in support of the constitution, and will not ever be in a position to replace or supplant the constitutional principles in that document. Note that this belief has nothing to do with the so-called "White Horse" prophecy, but in fact preceded the date claimed for that prophecy.

The concern for the Constitution of the United States of America is a real and valid concern of the authorities and membership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Because it was included as part of the White Horse does not give the White Horse any sort of credibility. It is an entirely separate concern.

 

Edited by InCognitus
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3 minutes ago, InCognitus said:

I'm not trying to take a stand on the validity of the prophecy (or not), because I'm trying to understand it myself, but your own source (FAIR Mormon) contradicts what you say here.  This is under the heading:  Question: Will the U.S. Constitution eventually "hang by a thread"?    Note the portion I bolded at the bottom:

 

Teddyaware was not referring to the Constitution, he was referring to the White Horse Prophesy wherein the "elders of Israel will save the Constitution as it hangs by a thread".

The Church Public Affairs representative has said that "the so-called 'White Horse Prophecy' is based on accounts that have not been substantiated by historical research and is not embraced as Church doctrine."

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2 hours ago, Rajah Manchou said:

Mods, please don't ban me again for responding.

Scott, you're right, and the US Constitution has since been adopted by countries across the world. Billions now live under constitutions inspired by the founders of our Nation. What I'm suggesting is that American Exceptionlism is a myth that saves noone, including Joseph Smith, who was murdered for practicing his beliefs. Let's not forget that the Church would have perished had the early Saints not escaped the extreme brand of American Exceptionalism in mid-19th century America.

Belongs to all mankind. That says it better than I could.

It belongs to all mankind, but it took the Founding Fathers to frame and implement it, after which it became a model for other free and democratic nations. That’s what makes the United States exceptional. The Founders were inspired to frame the Constitution so its principles could bless all people (“all flesh”), not just Americans. 
 

But only to the extent the nation remains true to those founding principles (ennobled as they are by the passages I cited in our scriptural canon) will it remain exceptional. That’s why I detest the socialist dogma being foisted upon us by some currently in power. 
 

By the way, I agree with you that the white horse prophecy has been repudiated. 

Edited by Scott Lloyd
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2 minutes ago, Rajah Manchou said:

Teddyaware was not referring to the Constitution, he was referring to the White Horse Prophesy wherein the "elders of Israel will save the Constitution as it hangs by a thread".

The Church Public Affairs representative has said that "the so-called 'White Horse Prophecy' is based on accounts that have not been substantiated by historical research and is not embraced as Church doctrine."

Prophecy, not prophesy. (Couldn’t resist, as that other thread says.)

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39 minutes ago, Rajah Manchou said:

Teddyaware was not referring to the Constitution, he was referring to the White Horse Prophesy wherein the "elders of Israel will save the Constitution as it hangs by a thread".

The Church Public Affairs representative has said that "the so-called 'White Horse Prophecy' is based on accounts that have not been substantiated by historical research and is not embraced as Church doctrine."

Please read the quote from FAIR Mormon.  It includes this wording:   

"Brigham Young and Orson Hyde both clearly state that the Constitution will be in grave danger of being destroyed. If the constitution is to be preserved it will be because the "Elders" of the Church will step forward and provide the support that will help to preserve the Constitution. The Elders of the Church will always be in support of the constitution, and will not ever be in a position to replace or supplant the constitutional principles in that document. Note that this belief has nothing to do with the so-called "White Horse" prophecy, but in fact preceded the date claimed for that prophecy."

Those statements are independent of the so called "White Horse Prophecy", and according to the reference you linked they are valid statements.

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56 minutes ago, Rajah Manchou said:

Teddyaware was not referring to the Constitution, he was referring to the White Horse Prophesy wherein the "elders of Israel will save the Constitution as it hangs by a thread".

The Church Public Affairs representative has said that "the so-called 'White Horse Prophecy' is based on accounts that have not been substantiated by historical research and is not embraced as Church doctrine."

I most certainly was not referring to the White Horse Prophecy. What I was referring is statements made by several of the leaders of the Church who, throughout the years, have said the specific, narrow prophecy about the Constitution being saved by the elders of Israel is true and will be fulfilled. In fact, it was President Brigham Young who testified that at the time of the Second Coming the flag of the United States of America will be flying over the city of the New Jerusalem.

Personally, I believe the way the Constitution is going to be saved is that it will be sustained and held inviolate by the kingdom of God and will be the law of earthly government found in the city of Zion. And why not since God is its author?

Additionally, I think it’s now fairly obvious that the Constitution is going to be overthrown and scrapped throughout the rest of the former United States in favor of a freedom destroying system of “government” that will be set up by the set of modern-day Gadianton robbers prophesied to infect the nations of the entire world in Ether chapter 8.

Bottom line? The dream of the Founding Fathers’ American city of freedom and righteousness set on a hill will finally find its glorious fulfillment in the people and city of Zion.

Edited by teddyaware
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28 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

That’s why I detest the socialist dogma being foisted upon us by some currently in power. 

I detest a lot of things about our elected leaders too. Fortunately I don't think American politics matters in the grand scheme of things.

But If you're trying to open another political thread, I'm going to abstain. I still don't understand how you continually get away with these threads and comments.

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1 minute ago, teddyaware said:

 In fact, it was President Brigham Young who testified that at the time of the Second Coming the flag of the United States of America will be flying over the city of the New Jerusalem.

I'm not pinning my salvation on any government or economic system or flag.

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9 minutes ago, Rajah Manchou said:

I'm not pinning my salvation on any government or economic system or flag.

The Lord himself said any system of earthly government that’s any more or less than the Constitution of the United States “cometh of evil.” Therefore it makes perfect sense that the Constitution of the United States would be the earthly law governing Zion prior to the Second Coming. And just because the Constitution is going to be sustained as the law of the land prior to the Lord’s advent doesn’t mean the the Constitution is going to save us. What it does mean, as the prophecy states, is the people of God are going to save the Constitution, not the other way around.

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45 minutes ago, Rajah Manchou said:

I'm not pinning my salvation on any government or economic system or flag.

Straw man alert! 
 

We pin our salvation on faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance, adherence to Christ’s covenants and the saving ordinances, and enduring to the end. 
 

I don’t think anyone here has (yet) said the contrary. 

Edited by Scott Lloyd
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3 minutes ago, teddyaware said:

The Lord himself said any system of earthly government that’s any more or less than the Constitution of the United States “cometh of evil.” Therefore it makes perfect sense that the Constitution of the United States would be the earthly law governing Zion prior to the Second Coming. And just because the Constitution is going to be sustained as the law of the land prior to the Lord’s advent doesn’t mean the the Constitution is going to save us. What it does mean, as the prophecy states, is the people of God are going to save the Constitution, not the other way around.

I have heaps of respect for the Constitution. But as soon as you start telling me that "the people of God are going to save the Constitution" I have all sorts of questions. Are these the same people that threw a fire extinguisher at a police officer a couple weeks ago? The people that set up gallows to hang Mike Pence? Are these the same people that stole laptops out of the Capitol?

Sorry, I don't think the Constitution needs saving in that case.

(Please don't ban me for responding to these leading questions. Probably better to just close this thread)

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16 minutes ago, Rajah Manchou said:

I have heaps of respect for the Constitution. But as soon as you start telling me that "the people of God are going to save the Constitution" I have all sorts of questions. Are these the same people that threw a fire extinguisher at a police officer a couple weeks ago? The people that set up gallows to hang Mike Pence? Are these the same people that stole laptops out of the Capitol?

Sorry, I don't think the Constitution needs saving in that case.

(Please don't ban me for responding to these leading questions. Probably better to just close this thread)

The only one on this thread who has talked about the riot at the Capitol so far is you. Please don’t do that and then say the thread ought to be shut down because you brought partisan politics into it. 

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26 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

The only one on this thread who has talked about the riot at the Capitol so far is you. Please don’t do that and then say the thread ought to be shut down because you brought partisan politics into it. 

You have this tendency to open political threads and goad people into political discussions, only to turn the blame for participating in political discussion on the person you goad. 

From the moment I saw this thread I expected it, so probably better to just close down this thread. Right?

The thread ought to be closed down.

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27 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

The only one on this thread who has talked about the riot at the Capitol so far is you. Please don’t do that and then say the thread ought to be shut down because you brought partisan politics into it. 

Don’t be disingenuous. You started it with your line about socialism which was clearly bait and you clearly love these political threads BECAUSE YOU KEEP STARTING THEM.

Then you play a game where you pretend everyone else derailed it when responding to your bait and you play the wounded party whose thread was ruined while jumping into the fray. You are not exactly subtle.

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31 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

you brought partisan politics into it. 

“Socialist dogma” already did that.

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Anyone know if this is accurate?  From wiki...

Quote

he exact term "American exceptionalism" was occasionally used in the 19th century. In his The Yale Book of Quotations, Fred Shapiro notes "exceptionalism" was used to refer to the United States and its self-image by The Times of London on August 20, 1861.[8] The term's common use dates from communists in the late 1920s, when the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin chastised members of the Faction led by Jay Lovestone of the Communist Party USA for claiming that the U.S. is independent of the Marxist laws of history "thanks to its natural resources, industrial capacity, and absence of rigid class distinctions." Stalin may have been told of the usage "American exceptionalism" by Broder & Zack in Daily Worker (N.Y.) on January 29, 1929, before Lovestone's visit to Moscow. American communists started using the English term "American exceptionalism" in factional fights. The term was later moved into general use by intellectuals.[9][10] 

 

Edited by Calm
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1 hour ago, teddyaware said:

 

The Lord himself said any system of earthly government that’s any more or less than the Constitution of the United States “cometh of evil.” Therefore it makes perfect sense that the Constitution of the United States would be the earthly law governing Zion prior to the Second Coming. 

Which version of the Constitution? The one in 1833? So anything after the 12th amendment isn't part of it?

Or the constitution in general, which can be theoretically be amended to say anything.

290 in the house (for 2/3)

67 in the senate (for 2/3)

5 in the supreme court (to counter any legal challenges)

2429 for majorities in the smallest 38 legislatures.

In other words 2791 people total is all you need to turn the constitution into anything.

 

But the Lord didn't say anything more or less than the constitution is evil.

Quote

And now, verily I say unto you concerning the alaws of the land, it is my will that my people should observe to do all things whatsoever I command them.

And that alaw of the land which is bconstitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me. 

Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the aconstitutional law of the land;

And as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil.

That's not talking about the constitution being perfect. It's talking about very specific aspects of it, and an expectation to follow it.

Plus as Calm hinted at with the Magna Carta comment. You can thank the British for the basis of a lot of what is claimed to be America's world leading constitution. https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2486&context=byusq

Edited by JustAnAustralian
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