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The Doctrine and Covenants and American Exceptionalism


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11 hours ago, teddyaware said:

When that blessed day comes when Zion is established and the kingdom of God is spread abroad on the earth, the Capitol of the millennial world government will be the New Jerusalem located in the American promised land, and those worthy to live in the flesh in that blessed day will thank the Lord, with tears of gratitude, that the constitutional system that once governed only the United States will govern every nation on earth. Will you have a problem with this?

By “kingdom of God”, you mean republic, right?

Not King of Kings, but President, right?

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On 1/17/2021 at 7:15 PM, Scott Lloyd said:

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.

Well, from what I’ve read from this thread and gathered elsewhere, i read these verses very differently from you. For one, I read these more about principle than fully about one single document. The principle behind it is “constitutional” which is describing a type of governing style that’s people led and promotes the rights of all. At this point in history, even the US constitution would have been at best aspirational to these verses. It epically failed at protecting all flesh and enabled both physical slavery for almost another century and then did little to curb suppression and bondage through Jim Crow a other laws that maintained separation and artificially limited opportunities.
 

The principal for people to have a say led by codified laws that assure fundamental rights and protections is a good thing and all good things are of God. I don’t think the founding of the document wasn’t inspired. But when I was also using the term American myth as well, I meant the over-simplified over-positive view of the US that tends to have a solid imbalance between heroic stories, retelling others to make them a little more palatable and less gritty, phrases like America as the “greatest country in the world,” etc. An example that ties to the founding fathers was an account I was listening to of a historian who went to one of the plantation estates of a founding father. He was led to a beautiful library that had an inspiring view of the countryside and was told this is where he would go when working on the principles and concepts for their foundling democracy. Then he was led to the basement where he was told to run his hands across the brick. It took him a moment but he started to realize he was feeling small hand prints across the face of the brick. He was told those were the prints of slave children who had been forced to make the plantation. While penning about removing tyranny and freedom, he ruled over a people and enslaved them maintaining a sense of superiority and definitely uninspired social order.  
 

We tend, as Americans, to focus on the glory of our country and brush over the pains and struggles we have living up to our assumed principles. And when we read verses like this or the Book of Mormon we focus on the US and ignore how God inspired others as well to follow similar principles and governing orders that expanded rights to people and led to systems that spreads responsibility for what they become as a people over many through consensus as opposed to just a few. That idea finds several iterations in the BoM, gets a solid nod in the OT, and finds plenty of precursors in other societies prior to the US. The problem with this is that in ignoring our past and current problems and focusing on and embellishing our positive traits is that we tend to lack cultural humility, ignore outside countries with their own strengths and sources of inspiration, and struggle to allow healthy or positive change that would allow us to better live up to our best ideals/principles. Every major shift that expanded the rights and protections to reduce bondage and inequity were a fight in the US. Sometimes it culminated in war. More often in took generations of marginalized peoples pushing against the established order- that was stratified by both race, gender, and class - for the promises of constitutional aspirations such as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Often these led to painful backlashes that crippled progress in communities, particularly communities of color. 
 

When I read these scriptures I don’t read it as the US was exceptional...just that there was inspiration in its formation from God. Just as there has been inspiration for others in other communities around the world that bettered their communities and gave them more say in the running of their society and lives. And just as there will continue to be as we strive for goodness and righteousness in our lives no matter where or who we are. 
 

with luv,

BD 

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1 hour ago, The Nehor said:

Why would a world Capitol have a flag that represents thirteen original colonies and however many stars it has at that point representing states and use that to represent every person on Earth? Do you just add a lot more stars? Wouldn’t the Kingdom of God on the Earth have its own flag? Come to think of it why would it need a flag at all? You don’t need the flag to identify the nationality of ships anymore and that is the main practical purpose flags serve now. There were others but they are not really that important in a world that has one nation actually under God with actual liberty and actual justice for all.

Why would the Kingdom of God need a flag if it encompasses every person on earth? 

Edited by Scott Lloyd
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15 hours ago, Tacenda said:

We aren't the greatest country in the world. There are several statistics out there I could provide. We've got a lot of work ahead to do especially. Or does my comment not apply to the topic. When I think exceptionalism, I think that we are the stand out. But if you want to know the truth, we don't. 

Sorry, but have you travelled much?  You are totally wrong. 
I’ve  been in most of the countries that you probably think are superior, but they’re not.  Statistics don’t and can’t tell all the tale. 
 

The US is truly exceptional. 

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13 minutes ago, mrmarklin said:

Sorry, but have you travelled much?  You are totally wrong. 
I’ve  been in most of the countries that you probably think are superior, but they’re not.  Statistics don’t and can’t tell all the tale. 
 

The US is truly exceptional. 

Well that's silly. I have lived abroad for 12 years now in three foreign countries and I disagree with your contention that the US is the greatest country. So that's 1 against 1. Who wants to break the tie? Then we can have an authoritative answer ;)

Nationalism isn't patriotic, by the way. It is not love, either.

It need not be a contest for which is "best," and nationalism is an enemy to growth.

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26 minutes ago, mrmarklin said:

Sorry, but have you travelled much?  You are totally wrong. 
I’ve  been in most of the countries that you probably think are superior, but they’re not.  Statistics don’t and can’t tell all the tale. 
 

The US is truly exceptional. 

Do you mind sharing each and every country you've visited?

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11 hours ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Legislative intent is always important in defining any legislated document, but the Declaration of Independence has no legal standing or interpretive power.  Even so we are not limited to enumerated rights, since the 9th Amendment says they do not need to be enumerated to be retained by the people.  That might be where history and the Preamble come in.  What sort of rights might those be?

Yes, like the spirit of Elijah, I take the spirit of the Declaration of Independence to not be legally binding but nonetheless a motivating force.

Non-enumerated rights, good question! We often don’t hear about them until someone complains, and then the political process moves for recognition by our society as a whole, balancing individual freedom with the rights of others. An example for today might be the rights to protect oneself from exposure to disease and to worship or refuse mitigation efforts, or the rights to have one’s vote counted and to ensure an acceptably accurate counting system.

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39 minutes ago, mrmarklin said:

Sorry, but have you travelled much?  You are totally wrong. 
I’ve  been in most of the countries that you probably think are superior, but they’re not.  Statistics don’t and can’t tell all the tale. 
 

The US is truly exceptional. 

I was long enough in Canada, 13 years, to know it is a great country, better than the US in some ways and worse in others.  Many shared attributes. 

Edited by Calm
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14 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

Do you mind sharing each and every country you've visited?

Visiting isn’t enough. I would suggest one needs to be immersed in a country to really see how it works, which means at least living there for several years....and that would need to include an election cycle if they have those. 

Edited by Calm
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32 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

Well that's silly. I have lived abroad for 12 years now in three foreign countries and I disagree with your contention that the US is the greatest country. So that's 1 against 1. Who wants to break the tie? Then we can have an authoritative answer ;)

I do love America, especially the southwest. But I choose not to live there. I can’t nail down why, but I get anxious as soon as I walk out the doors at LAX. Every time. It feels like everyone is yelling at each other, even when they are being friendly. But there are definitely things that America does better than other countries: innovation, gadgetry, entertainment, tacos. 

Government unfortunately is not America’s strength. That should be pretty clear to anyone who has watched the news this last year. Edit: and I’m not singling out any one person or party, I’m talking about the whole enchilada. Just counting the number of wars and military conflicts we’ve been entangled in during my lifetime alone. Something is wrong about our political worldview.

Edited by Rajah Manchou
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29 minutes ago, Meadowchik said:

Well that's silly. I have lived abroad for 12 years now in three foreign countries and I disagree with your contention that the US is the greatest country. So that's 1 against 1. Who wants to break the tie? Then we can have an authoritative answer ;)

Nationalism isn't patriotic, by the way. It is not love, either.

It need not be a contest for which is "best," and nationalism is an enemy to growth.

You probably define it in such a way that it would be an enemy to growth. I see varying definitions of it online, not all of them bearing the negative connotation you seemed determined to put on it. 

Edited by Scott Lloyd
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33 minutes ago, Calm said:

Visiting isn’t enough. I would suggest one needs to be immersed in a country to really see how it works, which means at least living there for several years....and that would need to include an election cycle if they have those. 

I follow a family on youtube that lived in Finland, and now they are traveling to different countries for a year and will end up in Australia. So that's what I'm seeing, that the US doesn't have the market on being the best country. We've started wars that weren't necessary, and men thinking war is needed for a good economy is not a good thing. And we seem to be careless when it comes to the environment. We are a me-me-me country a lot and a throwaway country too, where we need to work on taking better care of the trash we throwaway. Our oceans are suffering because of it. Not to make it political but I think the new presidency is working on change for the future so that our grandchildren will survive. I just think we need some work. But I'm not saying we're horrible, just need to get back to what's important, not the instant gratification. In fact we could learn a lot from the ancestors that first lived on American soil, they knew how to take care of the land. It's not all about prosperity, mother earth is a pretty important staple, without her we die.

ETA: Calm, sorry if my post looks like I'm lecturing, it was mean't for the whole thread. I feel you may even agree with some of what I said, or maybe not. :) 

Edited by Tacenda
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14 hours ago, teddyaware said:

I will shortly prove analysis is incorrect. But before I do please explain how the words “And as pertaining to the law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this (the Constitutional system) cometh of evil” is speaking of a system of divinely inspired government that’s  meant to be a blessing only to the American people?

I have no idea what you are talking about as I have never suggested any such thing.  The 2 verses in consideration have nothing to do with "blessing" anybody.

You still need to answer my question:

Quote

Just to clarify, you are calling all other governments evil with your interpretation, correct?

 

 

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9 hours ago, longview said:

Our great and beloved President Reagan said it truly:  "America is a shining city on a hill."  Abraham Lincoln wisely pronounced about America:   'In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free - honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth."

Umm, slavery??? That's not a good sign, that our new country, decided to head on out to get slaves and bring them to the US. That's quite the stain. ETA: I'm grateful that we have a multitude of nationalities, that is what makes America great to me!

Edited by Tacenda
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14 minutes ago, Rajah Manchou said:

I do love America, especially the southwest. But I choose not to live there. I can’t nail down why, but I get anxious as soon as I walk out the doors at LAX. Every time. It feels like everyone is yelling at each other, even when they are being friendly. But there are definitely things that America does better than other countries: innovation, gadgetry, entertainment, tacos. 

Government unfortunately is not America’s strength. That should be pretty clear to anyone who has watched the news this last year. Edit: and I’m not singling out any one person or party, I’m talking about the whole enchilada. Just counting the number of wars and military conflicts we’ve been entangled in during my lifetime alone. Something is wrong about our political worldview.

I love America too! And on that not (not pointing at you) it is a great shame whenever criticism and demanding humility accountability of one's country is seen as unloving.

 

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17 minutes ago, Scott Lloyd said:

You probably define it in such a way that it would be an enemy to growth. I see varying definitions of it online, not all of them bearing the negative connotation you seemed determined to put on it. 

Well how do you define nationalism?

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2 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

Do you mind sharing each and every country you've visited?

If there’s a reason why present-day America has largely fallen from its exceptional status, it’s because too many Americans - including a majority of its political leaders, media personalities, educators, and even many of its business leaders - no longer believe America is an exceptional land of promise and no longer believe in the God of their fathers nor his holy laws. The full realization of America as the exceptional, divinely ordained land of promise will not be realized until the establishment of Zion and the day of its ultimate triumph; even the day when the American city of New Jerusalem will become the Capitol of the millennial kingdom of God on earth. If one is either unaware of or disbelieving in the prophecies of scripture concerning the destiny of the American promised land, including the prophesied mass destruction of its wicked inhabitants and the miraculous preservation and glorious ultimate victory of its righteous, that man or woman will inevitably remain in a state of ignorance and confusion, leaving them endlessly grasping for answers. It’s impossible to believe and comprehend the things of God without the enlightening power of the Spirit of God.

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12 minutes ago, pogi said:

I have no idea what you are talking about as I have never suggested any such thing.  The 2 verses in consideration have nothing to do with "blessing" anybody.

You still need to answer my question:

 

 

And it’s because you have no idea what I’m talking about that you continue to be in error. Go back and read verse 4 — something you likely inadvertently left out of your analysis — and then tell me if it isn’t true that it’s God’s will that the American Constitution is the system of earthly government he desires every nation of the wold to adopt?

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7 hours ago, The Nehor said:

Then where are the proponents of Mexican, Honduran, Ecuadorian, Venezuelan, Brazilian, and Chilean exceptionalism? Sure that would also be scriptural.

Three major points:  1- the Restoration occurred only after the Constitution was framed and put into effect;  2- it happened within borders of the US of A; 3- the Church was established and took root in Fayette New York.

7 hours ago, The Nehor said:

“In my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here.”

Where did that vision go?

Doors within walls is an apt description of legal immigration.  No conservative is opposed to that.  Many who became naturalized citizens did so because they made a great effort in achieving the dream through legal process.

Reagan and the Congress made a deal to give amnesty to illegal aliens (estimated at 10 million) in 1986 with the understanding that democrats would firm up the borders and ensuring no one stealing into the country should get welfare or take jobs away from citizens.  But it was a "bait and switch" on the part of the dems.

2 hours ago, The Nehor said:
11 hours ago, longview said:

No, I am not a heartlander.  I have already stated:  "This continent AND more specifically the USA had/has a divine destiny."

BOTH.  Constitutional Principles AND the Gospel must be propagated throughout the world.  Both are God's Loving Gift to the world.

This in getting close to idolatry.

Getting close to idolatry?  What a bizarre thing to say!

If the Constitution is declared to be a Heavenly Banner, why would you be opposed to the transmission of principles to nations around the world that would help them overcome oligarchic tendencies (such as separation of powers, checks and balances, voting privileges, representation in a legislature, etc)?

Are you also opposed to sending missionaries around the world?  That would be tantamount for you to tell God He should not be doing this!

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19 minutes ago, teddyaware said:

And it’s because you have no idea what I’m talking about that you continue to be in error. Go back and read verse 4 — something you likely inadvertently left out of your analysis — and then tell me if it isn’t true that it’s God’s will that the American Constitution is the system of earthly government he desires every nation of the wold to adopt?

You seem intent not to answer my question which I have asked multiple times now.  I will be happy to engage you and answer your question when you give me the courtesy of answering/engaging my questions.  

I will simply say this for now, I strongly disagree with your interpretation of verse 4. 

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12 hours ago, longview said:

No, I am not a heartlander.  I have already stated:  "This continent AND more specifically the USA had/has a divine destiny."

BOTH.  Constitutional Principles AND the Gospel must be propagated throughout the world.  Both are God's Loving Gift to the world.

how can it be both "this continent" ( which should include Canada and Mexico) but specifically the US but you for sure aren't a heartlander?

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10 hours ago, longview said:

Our great and beloved President Reagan

He had an average of 52% approval rating so the assumption of “our” for both great and beloved is a stretch. Feel free to say “my” of course. 
 

https://news.gallup.com/poll/116677/presidential-approval-ratings-gallup-historical-statistics-trends.aspx

Edited by Calm
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2 hours ago, Scott Lloyd said:

Why would the Kingdom of God need a flag if it encompasses every person on earth? 

Why are you rephrasing one of my questions?

Edited by The Nehor
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48 minutes ago, longview said:

Three major points:  1- the Restoration occurred only after the Constitution was framed and put into effect;  2- it happened within borders of the US of A; 3- the Church was established and took root in Fayette New York.

And?

48 minutes ago, longview said:

Doors within walls is an apt description of legal immigration.  No conservative is opposed to that.  Many who became naturalized citizens did so because they made a great effort in achieving the dream through legal process.

I have met several that are opposed to it. Are we going to pivot to “no true conservative”?

Most who made it in were super successful before they showed up or got VERY lucky or married someone or were related to someone. It is not a merit based system and saying Reagan’s line about being open to anyone with a will to get here is reality today is utter hogwash and you know it. Notice that he also preferred no doors.

51 minutes ago, longview said:

Reagan and the Congress made a deal to give amnesty to illegal aliens (estimated at 10 million) in 1986 with the understanding that democrats would firm up the borders and ensuring no one stealing into the country should get welfare or take jobs away from citizens.  But it was a "bait and switch" on the part of the dems.

So you think the doors are too open and need to be shut more? Why do you hate Reagan’s dream of ‘no doors or easily accessible doors’? You some kind of traitorous RINO?

52 minutes ago, longview said:

Getting close to idolatry?  What a bizarre thing to say!

If the Constitution is declared to be a Heavenly Banner, why would you be opposed to the transmission of principles to nations around the world that would help them overcome oligarchic tendencies (such as separation of powers, checks and balances, voting privileges, representation in a legislature, etc)?

Are you also opposed to sending missionaries around the world?  That would be tantamount for you to tell God He should not be doing this!

It is close to idolatry because you put a secular government principles in the same sentence as the gospel implying they are equally important. That is ridiculous and border on idolatry.

Took me a minute to figure out what your rambling ending there was about but I think I got it. You are assuming that because I value the gospel way beyond any government or governmental principle I am opposed to the spread of democratic principles? You underlying assumption is false nor did I say anything that would suggest I believed it so what you said was meaningless.

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3 hours ago, pogi said:

By “kingdom of God”, you mean republic, right?

Not King of Kings, but President, right?

It is simple. They are going to preserve the Republic by establishing a monarchy to protect it. They are supposed to wait for the Second Coming but they figured: Why wait?

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