February 11

Brigham Young’s Theocracy

In my post on Joseph Smith’s supposed polygamy, I provided a quotation from the Prophet strongly condemning apostle Brigham Young. Joseph said that if Brigham were ever to lead the church, he would “lead it to hell.” He told this to several people in the few years leading up to his death and was quite concerned over the future of Mormonism. Joseph had an interesting dream the night before he was murdered, the account of which has been recorded in the Documentary History of the Church. The full text of the dream is as follows:

I was back in Kirtland, Ohio, and thought I would take a walk out by myself, and view my old farm, which I found grown up with weeds and brambles, and altogether bearing evidence of neglect and want of culture. I went into the barn, which I found without floor or doors, with the weather – boarding off, and was altogether in keeping with the farm.

While I viewed the desolation around me, and was contemplating how it might be recovered from the curse upon it, there came rushing into the barn a company of furious men, who commenced to pick a quarrel with me.

The leader of the party ordered me to leave the barn and farm, stating it was none of mine, and that I must give up all hope of ever possessing it.

I told him the farm was given me by the Church, and although I had not had any use of it for some time back, still I had not sold it, and according to righteous principles it belonged to me or the Church.

He then grew furious and began to rail upon me, and threaten me, and said it never did belong to me nor to the Church.

I then told him that I did not think it worth contending about, that I had no desire to live upon it in its present state, and if he thought he had a better right I would not quarrel with him about it but leave; but my assurance that I would not trouble him at present did not seem to satisfy him, as he seemed determined to quarrel with me, and threatened me with destruction of my body.

While he was thus engaged, pouring out his bitter words upon me, a rabble rushed in and nearly filled the barn, drew out their knives, and began to quarrel among themselves for the premises, and for a moment forgot me, at which time I took the opportunity to walk out of the barn about up to my ankles in mud.

When I was a little distance from the barn, I heard them screeching and screaming in a very distressed manner, as it appeared they had engaged in a general fight with their knives. While they were thus engaged, the dream or vision ended. (DHC 6:609-619)

One possible interpretation of this dream is that after the martyrdom there was mass confusion and many men vying to be the successor of Joseph Smith. This list included Brigham Young, Sidney Rigdon (the only surviving member of the First Presidency), Samuel Smith (who died a month after his brothers Joseph and Hyrum), William Marks (president of the High Council), and James J. Strang (a recent convert who claimed possession of a letter from Joseph appointing him as the Prophet’s successor). A conference was held in August of 1844 to discuss leadership options. Sidney Rigdon contended for the position on the grounds that church authority was vested in the First Presidency and he was a surviving member. Brigham claimed that Joseph had bestowed “keys” on the Twelve that gave them authority over the church, and he had their support.

This is interesting because under Joseph the Twelve were ordained as traveling ministers with no authority over the stakes of the church. Originally it was the High Council that governed church affairs, but that changed after Joseph’s death. After Brigham was elected president by the majority of the newly empowered Twelve, a vote was extended to the church and he was sustained by those who were present. One of his first acts was to immediately excommunicate all dissenting votes against him, including Sidney Rigdon. Having obtained the church presidency, he was now ready to alter the Council of Fifty.

Most members of the modern LDS church would probably conflate the term Kingdom of God with the organizational church. Early Saints knew better. The Kingdom of God, or the Council of Fifty, was a shadow government created by Joseph Smith. It was comprised of both members and non-members alike, and its ultimate goals were to establish a literal Kingdom of God on earth in preparation for the second coming of Christ. Joseph was anointed a “king” by it’s council, an authority he had no intention of wielding on this side of the veil, similar to Christ telling Pilate that his “kingdom was not of this world.”

When Brigham took the reigns of church president, he expelled eleven church members from the Council and all the non-members, an action that was not previously possible because the Kingdom of God was supposed to be independent of church hierarchical authority. The Council would eventually ordain Brigham Young as a “King, Priest and Ruler over Israel,” which he concluded was a secular as well as a spiritual mantle. Young began to undermine the Council and the Twelve Apostles during the 1846-47 trek to Utah by organizing ad hoc meetings devoid of a majority of either group, often recruiting “immigrant leaders to imitate the required number for a theocratic council” (Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power, p.235).

After October of 1851, the Council adjourned for fifteen years, allowing Brigham to consolidate all power of the church and state into the Quorum of the Twelve and the First Presidency, with himself acting as the de facto leader of the Utah Territory, or Deseret, as they called it. Young had established the first successful and longest running religious theocracy in American history, which endured until 1858 when President Buchanan sent in an army to quell the “Mormon rebellion.” He made no bones about his “right” to rule the Territory in an 1853 Sermon:

We have got a Territorial Government, and I am and will be Governor, and no power can hinder it, until the Lord Almighty says, “Brigham, you need not be Governor any longer,” and then I am willing to yield to another Governor. (The Complete Discourses of Brigham Young, Richard S. Van Wagoner, Quoted in Brigham Young’s Telestial Kingdom, Denver C. Snuffer, 2012)

According to D. Michael Quinn, Brigham’s theocracy was set up like this:

Not surprisingly, the hierarchy was conspicuous in public office until the end of the nineteenth century. In the State of Deseret, 1849-51, the president of the church was governor, his first counselor was chief justice and lieutenant governor, and his second counselor was secretary of state. The Presiding Bishop and an apostle were associate justices, and other general authorities comprised 19.2 percent of the House of Representatives and 21.4 percent of the Senate. (The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power, pp. 265-66)

If it’s true that Brigham Young did indeed lead the “church to hell,” then we need to provide some evidence that he actually did. There is already a pretty good case that Joseph fought against polygamy being introduced into the church, and that he was innocent of it himself. But what of Brigham’s other antics, such as blood atonement, secret blood oaths, the Mormon Reformation, and other abuses of priesthood authority?

Indeed, what about the myriad of scriptures that predict the apostasy of the “holy church of God”(Mormon 8:38) in the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants? For instance, most Mormon’s read through D&C 124 without even realizing the significance of it. In it the Lord gives a command to build the Nauvoo Temple, with a stipulation that it had to be done in a certain time frame or He would reject the church with its dead:

But I command you, all ye my saints, to build a house unto me; and I grant unto you a sufficient time to build a house unto me; and during this time your baptisms shall be acceptable before me. But behold, at the end of this appointment your baptisms for your dead shall not be acceptable before unto me; and if you do not these things at the end of the appointment ye shall be rejected as a church, with your dead, saith the Lord your God. (vs. 31-32)

The Lord goes on to promise the saints that, if faithful to these things, they would “not be moved out of their place” (vs. 45). Yet, we know that they were “moved out of their place,” and had to emmigrate to the west to escape persecution. There are many other scriptures that allude to an apostasy of the modern church; Mormon 8, 2 Nephi 26 & 28, D&C 112:25, 85:7, etc. But the one I want to focus on is 3 Nephi 16:10. It is the Lord Himself addressing the Nephites.

And thus commandeth the Father that I should say unto you: At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth, and shall be filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits, and mischiefs, and all manner of hypocrisy, and murders, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, and of secret abominations; and if they shall do all those things, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, behold, saith the Father, I will bring the fulness of my gospel from among them.

The Lord uses the preposition “against” very particularly here. He says that the Gentiles will “sin against” his gospel at some future time. He also says that if they “reject the fulness of my gospel,” he will “bring” it “from among them.” He can only be addressing one group of people here; the Mormon church organized by Joseph Smith. Many church members don’t realize that Mormons are included in the group called “Gentiles.” The very title page of the Book of Mormon states that the plates were, “Sealed by the hand of Moroni, and hid up unto the Lord, to come forth in due time by way of the Gentile…” (Emphasis mine, See also 1 Nephi 15:13)

That’s right folks, Joseph Smith and Brigham Young were Gentiles and so are all of us. Moreover, it is impossible to sin against something and have it brought from among us if we hadn’t already received it in the first place. Now that we know the Lord has our attention, the rest of the verse should be extremely alarming to us. The Mormons did what? Were more prideful than any people on earth, filled with lies, deceits, and mischiefs, hypocrisy, murder, priestcraft, whoredoms, and secret abominations? Wait, who are the bad guys again? Maybe the era of Brigham Young deserves a second look by believing Mormons. Just exactly what were the Mormons up to during his reign? Indeed, what weren’t they up to?

Lifted up in Pride Above All the People of the Earth

Brigham Young and his followers truly believed they were God’s chosen people on the earth. He once remarked that “All things will have to bow to Mormonism or eternal light and truth. We have the true government of all the earth.” And “Everything is against Mormonism and Mormonism is against everything. Everything is against us. Hear it, O earth, for the Kingdom of God is against all earth and hell. This is true and we shall fight them until the kingdom of this world becomes the kingdom of our God.” (Complete Discourses, Vol. 1 p.448, 461). Brigham made these statements in response to Washington’s appointments of non-member judges to Utah, who “intended to return to Washington and raise political opposition to Utah’s leaders.” (Brigham Young’s Telestial Kingdom, p. 11)

Ironically, Utah Mormons did not consider themselves part of the Gentile population, even though the Book of Mormon says otherwise. Brigham once reassured his followers in a sermon following the Nauvoo exodus that, “The Gentiles cannot reach us now. If they try it they will find themselves in trouble” (Wife No. 19, Ann Eliza Young, p. 69). The term was used by the Mormons pejoratively to describe non-believers and any who opposed their religion or way of life, especially polygamy. “Gentile” pilgrims and settlers were sometimes the victims of Mormon violence and theft, which was most likely the result of church leader’s rhetoric on blood atonement.

Brigham discouraged the saints from trading and fraternizing with the Gentiles, unless of course it was to convert them to Mormonism. He asserted that he had never, “worked a day, or an hour, to build up a Gentile city or the Gentile world,” further explaining that if they were allowed open economic trading with them it would be tantamount to giving their money to “coadjutors” with the devil. (Journal of Discourses 11: 295, 300)

The Book of Mormon describes a similar people puffed up with pride called the Zoramites. Once a week they would stand on their “Rameumptom,” or high pulpit and speak flattering words to each other about how awesome they were. Here is a snippet of a prayer they repeated each week:

…and thou hast elected us that we shall be saved, whilst all around us are elected to be cast by thy wrath down to hell; for the which holiness, O God, we thank thee… (Alma 31:17)

Brigham made remarks on other occasions, referring to the “infernal gentiles” as “the very scum of hell,” forbidding his people to intermarry with them, and even threatening the death penalty to those who partook with them in “committing abominations in Israel” (Complete Discourses Vol. 2). While it is true that Young was tolerant of the gentiles who converted to Mormonism, his rhetoric incited extreme exclusion to the rest who were uninterested in joining the faith.

Suffice it to say, the Mormon’s cultivated an us-versus-them mentality in regard to outsiders in the gentile world, fearing that trading, mingling, or intermarrying with them would bring “cursings” instead of blessings upon the saints. In contrast, the Jesus of the New Testament spent most of his time among those whom the Jews considered the un-chosen sinners, outcasts, adulterers, publicans, or otherwise downtrodden. His way of loving everyone, including enemies, was missed by Brigham and his Mormon zealots, who like the Zoramites, viewed themselves as “chosen” and above reproach.

The Mormon Reformation: Lies, Deceits, Mischiefs, Hypocrisy

I discussed in my former post on polygamy that it’s very plausible that Brigham and his cohorts in the Twelve falsely painted Joseph as the initiator of plural marriage. I also presented evidence that Brigham, not Joseph, was the true author of D&C Section 132.

Because Brigham Young reigned in a literal theocracy over the Utah Territory, and his ideas on the subjugation of women stemmed from Udney Jacob’s book The Peacemaker, it is not unreasonable to assume that he coerced the women who claimed to be Joseph’s plural wives into conjuring false testimony. This is conjecture on my part but it’s at least worth considering. Shouldn’t we think it strange that all the testimony on Joseph’s wives came out years after the fact with nothing contemporary?

Brigham Young became the church president because he convinced the members that the Twelve had received keys from Joseph and given them to him. He had a vested interest in making sure that the saints believed that those keys included the sealing of plural wives and came straight from the founding prophet, otherwise he’d be seen as an impostor. All dictators have to convince their subjects in the supposed legitimacy of their authority, otherwise the people see that “the emperor has no clothes.”

Brigham was able to accomplish this through “lies, deceits, mischiefs, and hypocrisy,” and when his people began to balk their heads at his authority, he commenced the Mormon Reformation, or what his own son referred to as, “a reign of terror” (Brigham Young Jr. Diary, December 15, 1862).

The Mormon Reformation of 1857-58 was the response of church leadership to rising criticism and insubordination among members. When natural disasters and plagues hit Utah a few years before, Brigham assumed that the Saint’s unfaithfulness had invoked the wrath of Almighty God. However, Brigham never once considered that it could’ve been the unrighteous dominion of church leaders that incited God’s displeasure, and the Reformation was instituted to “rekindle faith and testimony throughout the Church.”

Brigham pioneered a new program among the Saints to help keep everyone in line, which involved two elders visiting families and asking certain inquisitorial questions about their faith. We know it today as the Home Teaching Program. Although the modern program is definitely more about love and service, it began as a system to weed out the unfaithful and disobedient, almost reminiscent of the Roman Catholic Inquisition. One writer explained it this way:

The Reformation included a twenty-seven question interrogation put to all the saints by inquisitorial Home Missionaries. These questions asked about issues such as “betraying your brothers or sisters,” committing adultery or shedding innocent blood. These three sins were grounds for blood atonement. The questions were designed to bring into the homes of every resident of the kingdom the reality that unfaithfulness may not be tolerated by the kingdom.(Brigham Young’s Telestial Kingdom, p. 26)

Ann Eliza Young, one of Brigham’s many wives, was only twelve years old when her family was first exposed to the Inquisition. She explained that the elders usually questioned each family member separately, even children, but they made an exception in her case and she was allowed to remain with her mother. This is her recollection of the event:

This “Reformation” was more systematically conducted than Hovey’s revival; a catechism [list of questions] was compiled by the leading spirits of the church, and printed by their order, and elders were appointed to go from house to house with a copy of it, questioning the people. This catechism contained a list of singular questions, many of which I distinctly remember. I dare only mention a few. They were after this style:-

“Have you ever committed a murder?”

“Have you ever stolen anything?”

“Have you ever been drunk?”

“Do you believe in polygamy?”

Many were grossly indelicate, others laughably absurd; yet every question was obliged to be answered on pain of expulsion from the church. Men, women, and children alike were catechized; many of the little ones did not know the meaning of some of the questions which were put to them; but they were obliged to answer them; whether understandingly, or not, it made no difference… The elders… were astonished at the grossness of some of the immoralities which were brought to light. The private history and secret acts of all were unfolded. People were accused of sins of which they never committed, and yet they were afraid to deny them. Some of the elders were shocked beyond measure at the sickening details revealed, and begged that a stop be put to this mania for confession; but the poor fanatics were urged forward by their leaders, and they firmly believed that in the fullest and freest confession lay their only hope of salvation. They were goaded to the very verge of frenzy. Every person throughout the Territory was commanded to be re-baptized, even if their sins had not been very grave. (Wife Number 19, pp.106-8)

The New York Times would report in August of 1857 that over a thousand people were fleeing Utah to escape the “relentless tyranny of the Brigham Young oligarchy” (Brigham Young’s Telestial Kingdom, p. 26). Brigham and other church leaders had made it painstakingly clear that Saints were to “forsake their evils… or take up their line of march and leave us…” (Ibid, p.26)

Make no mistake, this was a cleansing, destined to weed out the less obedient, while purporting the leadership to be faithful and true. This is the epitome of the “hypocrisy” that the Lord prophesied would be displayed by the Gentiles who would reject his gospel. The reformation did indeed incite a “frenzy,” as Mrs. Young asserted in her memoirs, which unfortunately led to much of the violence that occurred in the next few years. The catalyst for which came from the fiery doctrine of blood atonement, which was used by some Mormons as a justification for murder.

Blood Atonement

According to different writings and speeches of Brigham Young there are at least ten sins that are worthy of blood atonement, which is the teaching that Christ’s atonement does not cover certain sins, and that the only way to receive forgiveness is for the sinner to have his own blood shed. Here is how Brigham explained it:

There are sins that men commit for which they cannot receive forgiveness in this world, or in that which is to come, and if they had their eyes open to see their true condition, they would be perfectly willing to have their blood spilt upon the ground, that the smoke thereof might ascend to heaven as an offering for their sins; and the smoking incense would atone for their sins, whereas, if such is not the case, they will stick to them and remain upon them in the spirit world. (Complete Discourses, Vol. 2 p. 1169-1170)

This is an interesting doctrine to say the least, because in the Bible and the Book of Mormon there is nothing that indicates that Jesus’ atonement is anything but infinite and eternal (See Alma 34). Those two words seem to cover everything. For instance, in the book of Alma we learn that King Lamoni and his people were forgiven for the many murders they committed. They had to make an oath never to kill again (even in self defense) but were still able to receive forgiveness for their crimes.

Alma told his son Corianton that it was even possible to be forgiven for committing murder “against the light and truth of God,” but it was “not easy” (Alma 39:6). Alma explained that the only sin that was “unpardonable” was blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, which does not show up on Brigham’s list of sins for which blood atonement was necessary. If one can be forgiven for murder, then it follows that one could also receive forgiveness for any lesser sins. This logic would render Brigham’s blood atonement philosophy as false doctrine and even anti-Christ. What follows will be a list of Brigham’s sins that “The blood of Christ will never wipe..out.”

Murder

This first quote was given by Joseph Smith in a Nauvoo debate with George Albert Smith. He never uses the term “blood atonement” but the saying has been used for later Mormon’s to justify the doctrine. He may have been referring to capital punishment, which is a very common sentence for committing murder. Notice that Brigham used the same language about spilling blood on the ground and the smoke ascending up to heaven:

…I was opposed to hanging, even if a man kill another, I will shoot him, or cut off his head, spill his blood on the ground, and let the smoke thereof ascend up to God; and if I ever have the privilege of making a law on that subject, I will have it so. (History of Church, Vol. 5, p. 296)

Not sure why the Prophet preferred shooting or beheading to hanging, I mean it’s definitely creepy, but there is nothing he said that would indicate that a murderer killed in this way could “atone” for his own sins and bypass the atonement of Christ.

Adultery

Suppose you found your brother in bed with your wife, an put a javelin through both of them, you would be justified, and they would atone for their sins, and be received into the kingdom of God. I would at once do so in such a case; and under such circumstances, I have no wife whom I love so well that I would not put a javelin through her heart, and I would do it with clean hands. (Complete Discourses, Kindle Version, Loc 16130)

Violating Covenants

There is not a man or woman, who violates the covenants made with their God, that will not be required to pay the debt. The blood of Christ will never wipe that out, your own blood must atone for it; and the judgments of the Almighty will come, sooner or later, and every man and woman will have to atone for breaking their covenants. (Ibid, Loc 16130)

Theft

I should be perfectly willing to see thieves have their throats cut, some of you may say, if that is your feelings Brigham, we’ll lay you aside some day, well do it if you can; I would rather die by the hands of the meanest of all men, false brethren, than live among thieves. (HC Vol. 7, p. 597)

Using the Name of the Lord in Vain

I tell you that the time is coming that man uses the name of the Lord is used the penalty will be affixed and immediately be executed on the spot. (Words attributed to Brigham Young in the Journal of Hosea Stout, Vol. 2 p.71)

Rejecting the Gospel

The time is coming when justice will be laid to the line and righteousness to the plummet; when we shall take the old broad sword and ask, “Are you for God?” and if you are not heartily on the Lord’s side, you will be hewn down. (Complete Discourses, Vol. 2 pp. 1058-61)

For Marriage to an African

Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God is death on the spot. This will always be so. (JD, Vol. 10, p. 110)

Apostasy

I say, rather than that apostates flourish here, I will unsheath my bowie knife, and conquer or die. [Speaking to the congregation] Now you nasty apostates, clear out, or judgment will be put to the line, and righteousness to the plummet. If you say it is right, raise your hands [All hands go up]. Let us call upon the Lord to assist us in this, and every good work. (JD, Vol. 4, p. 375)

Lying

I preached on the condition of the camp of Israel… And warned those who lied an stole and followed Israel that they would have their heads cut off, for that was the law of God and it should be executed. (Manuscript History of Brigham Young, Dec. 20, 1846, Typed Copy)

Counterfeiting

We investigated several orders purporting to be drawn by J. Allen Lieut. Col., signed by James Pollick, which I requested should be burned. I swore by the Eternal Gods that if men in our midst would not stop this cursed work of stealing and counterfeiting their throats should be cut. (Ibid, Feb. 24, 1847, Typed Copy)

Some of his followers were so devout that they actually came to him and begged to have their blood spilled. Can you imagine having that kind of power over people? He got his people to fall in line with only the threat of violence. He never once, as far as we know, got his own hands dirty. Some claim that he contracted out his killings through Danite henchmen like Orin Porter Rockwell and “Wild” Bill Hickman. Hickman’s own autobiography says as much, but most church scholars and historians ignore it.

What we do know is that the 1850s were an era of violence among the saints, from the Aiken party murders to the Mountain Meadows Massacre, most likely inspired and facilitated by the fiery rhetoric of church leaders on blood atonement. Whether the violence that erupted from this rhetoric was intended by church leaders or not, we know that local leaders in various parts of Utah committed gross atrocities. This doctrine is stilled believed by some fundamentalist groups, and foul play has occurred even in the last thirty years. In contrast to Brigham’s doctrine, the scriptures are replete with teachings that only Christ’s blood can atone for sins, and that there is only one set of conditions for salvation. Consider the words of King Benjamin in the Book of Mormon:

I say unto you, if ye have come to a knowledge of the goodness of God, and his matchless power, and his wisdom, and his patience, and his long-suffering towards the children of men; and also, the atonement which has been prepared from the foundation of the world, that thereby salvation might come to him that should put his trust in the Lord, and should be diligent in keeping his commandments, and continue in the faith even unto the end of his life, I mean the life of the mortal body- I say, that this is the man who receiveth salvation, through the atonement which was prepared from the foundation of the world for all mankind, which ever were since the fall of Adam, or who are, or who ever shall be, even unto the end of the world. And this is the means whereby salvation cometh. And there is none other salvation save this which has been spoken of; neither are there any conditions whereby man can be saved except the conditions which I have told you. (Mosiah 4:6-8)

Murders and Secret Abominations

There is much confusion surrounding the origins of the Mormon Temple Endowment. Brigham Young claimed that Joseph received it in the upstairs loft of the Rid Brick Store in Nauvoo and revealed it to him. The truth is we don’t really know what parts came from Joseph (if any at all) and what parts came from Brigham. They were both Freemasons and there are certainly many elements of that secret society incorporated into the endowment ceremony, but thankfully the most extreme and morbid parts have been eliminated.

Some assert that Joseph had nothing to do with the endowment ceremony at all, and that it was all a fabrication of Brigham and the Twelve. One such claim came from Mary Page Eaton who testified to this fact in the Temple Lot Case I discussed in my previous post on polygamy. Her and her husband, Apostle John E. Page, went through the Nauvoo temple on December 10, 1845, and this is what she told in an interview with RLDS editor W.W. Blair in 1883:

Any other secret order, (than Masonry), grips, oaths, signs, robes, or tableaux, I never heard of in Joseph’s days; but after his death I lived in Nauvoo in 1845 and 1846, and was taught them under the rule of the Twelve. I can prove, by some of the covenants we were required to make, that Joseph never originated them. Mr. Page was with me, and went through the same ceremonies. The words of our covenants were spoken to us by Brigham. After we had received the endowment in the temple, as soon as we were alone in our house, Mr. Page said to me, “Mary, I tell you that endowment is all of the devil.” He could not have heard it or polygamy from Joseph. (The Saints’ Advocate 5 [March 1883]: 295) (Source)

In addition to all of the Masonic stuff, Brigham added an oath to swear vengeance on those who shed the blood of Joseph and Hyrum, even though the Lord has stated in scripture that, “vengeance is mine.” George Q. Cannon discussed this with the church apostles in an 1889 meeting:

Father said that he understood when he had his endowments in the Nauvoo that he took an oath against the murderers of the Prophet Joseph Smith as well as other prophets, and if he had ever met any of those who had taken a hand in that massacre he would undoubtedly have attempted to avenge the blood of the martyrs…

Bro. Joseph F. Smith was traveling some years ago near Carthage when he met a man who said he had just arrived five minutes too late to see the Smiths killed. Instantly a dark cloud seemed to overshadow Bro. Smith and he asked how this man looked upon the deed. Bro. S. was oppressed by a most horrible feeling as he waited for a reply. After a brief pause the man answered, “Just as I have always looked upon it-that it was a d-d cold-blooded murder.” The clouds immediately lifted from Bro. Smith and he found that he had his open pocket knife grasped in his hand in his pocket, and he believes that had this man given his approval to that murder of the prophets he would have immediately struck him to the heart. (Diaries of Abraham Cannon, pp.34-35)

This “blood oath” that was part of the Nauvoo endowment, could have contributed to the raft of murders that happened over the next twenty years. Although it is beyond the scope of this blog post to go into the details of each of the violent incidents, there are a few worth mentioning briefly. The murders of ex-convicts John Ambrose and Thomas Betts, the Parrish-Potter murders carried out by orders of a local bishop, the Aiken party murders, also done under the purview of a bishop, and the Mountain Meadows Massacre, orchestrated and executed by bishop John D. Lee.

Lee was the only man implicated and punished by church leaders even though there were several other men involved in the massacre. It was believed that the pilgrims had something to do with Joseph’s death and the perpetrators added sacrilege to the slaughter by engaging in a prayer circle beforehand. Over 120 men, women, and children were executed in cold blood that day, none of which had anything to do with Joseph Smith’s murder or the Mormon church at all. Bishop Lee was “blood atoned” by church leaders for his crime, but none of the other incidents were ever investigated by Brigham or the church.

This is a dark time in Mormon history indeed, and it’s no wonder that the Lord told the Nephites that the Gentiles who would reject his gospel would be guilty of murders. As these are just some of the recorded incidents, there is really no telling how many people died under Brigham’s oligarchy.

There is however, an interesting anecdotal account that might shed some light on how women were really treated by polygamous husbands acting under the authority of church leaders. A man who was converted in England and emigrated to Utah to settle with the Mormons wrote on account of his experience with polygamy. He lived among the Mormon’s for twelve years before he’d finally had enough. He only took one plural wife because he and his first wife were told that they had to enter plural marriage in order to obtain Celestial glory. He describes his experience as a literal “Hell on Earth.” He relates the fate of one plural wife who was unfaithful to her husband while he was away on a mission. When he returned home she lovingly submitted to the following atrocity:

I shall give a chapter of horrors in regard to the brutal and murderous practices of polygamy further on, here I pass over tragedy, and merely relate one case. To show this in a proper light, I will introduce a paragraph of Apostle Kimball’s sermon preached at Salt Lake. “What power has any one of my wives to act independently; she has not a particle of power. She must act in connection with me as the limb acts in connection with the tree from which it springs. If not she is a dead limb; will they ever come to life again after they are dead? No! They must be cut off and thrown back into the earth to return to their mother element.” [Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, p. 67]. The case I give is that of a Mormon who had ten wives. One of them disobeyed him, or in the words of the sermon quoted, “acted independently of him.” Her lord and master sharpened his razor; then taking this wife upon his knee he lovingly kissed her, and then cut her throat from ear to ear, and held her till she expired. He afterwards dug a grave in his garden, and consigned her to mother earth “to return to her mother element.” This man still lives in Utah, with his other nine wives, and no law reaches him. ( Hell on Earth, W. Jarmin 1884, This account can also be found on p. 469 of the book, The Rocky Mountain Saints)

We are not told how the woman was “unfaithful.” She could’ve been adulterous or merely just “acted independently” from her husband. Either way she did not deserve to be murdered. Perhaps she was just attempting to free herself from the bondage that is polygamy, and to accuse her of adultery, even if it was true, is hypocritical considering her husband had nine other wives. Whatever the case, this “loving” husband did not apply the teachings of Jesus when he saved the woman from being stoned for adultery; “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

Whether it was Joseph or Brigham that introduced the Masonic rites into the Mormon temple does not matter. If Joseph did it he was going against what was recorded in the scriptures that he translated, if Brigham did it he was going against Joseph. The secret signs, words, and oaths incorporated into the temple ceremony are described in scripture as “abominable.”

In fact, the Book of Mormon condemns this stuff voraciously, even to the point of the Lord declaring that those who usually do these things, aka “secret combinations,” are “most abominable and wicked above all, in the sight of God” (Ether 8:18). Consider the following verses from the Book of Helaman describing the workings of these secret societies:

And it came to pass that they did have their signs, yea, their secret signs, and their secret words; and this that they might distinguish a brother who had entered into the covenant, that whatsoever wickedness his brother should do he should not be injured by his brother, nor by those who did belong to his band, who had taken this covenant. And thus they might murder, and plunder, and steal, and commit whoredoms and all manner of wickedness, contrary to the laws of their country and also the laws of their God…Now behold, it is these secret oaths and covenants which Alma commanded his son should not go forth unto the world, lest they should be a means of bringing down the people unto destruction. (Helaman 6:22-23, 25)

In addition to this, Brigham’s blood oath to avenge the blood of the prophet should be given careful consideration. Whether he knew it or not, Brigham was mimicking an ancient order that has been around since the days of Adam:

For Lamech having entered into a covenant with Satan, after the manner of Cain, wherein he became Master Mahan, master of that great secret which was administered unto Cain by Satan; and Irad, the son of Enoch, having known their secret, began to reveal it unto the sons of Adam; Wherefore Lamech, being angry, slew him, not like unto Cain, his brother Abel, for the sake of getting gain, but he slew him for the oath’s sake. For, from the days of Cain, there was a secret combination, and their works were in the dark, and they knew every man his brother. (Moses 5:49-51)

Priestcrafts

The scriptures are littered with versus condemning the practice of priestcraft, but perhaps the clearest definition is given to us by Nephi:

He commandeth that there shall be no priestcrafts; for, behold, priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion… But the laborer in Zion shall labor for Zion; for if they labor for money they shall perish. (2 Nephi 26:29, 31)

Brigham and the Mormons considered the newly settled Utah Territory to be God’s Zion. In the Salt Lake Tabernacle in January of 1853, Brigham stated the following:

Admit that the Spirit of the Lord should us understanding, what would it prove to us? It would prove to me, at least, and what I may safely say to this congregation, that Zion is here. (CD, Vol. 2, p. 267)

This is interesting because the Saints had already failed to establish Zion in Missouri, Ohio, and Illinois. And according to the scriptures the conditions for Zion are quite different than what transpired under Brigham’s newly acquired autocratic nightmare. Historically, Zion is quite difficult to attain. In fact, the only scriptural records we have of people actually establishing a Zion community are the city of Enoch, the city of Salem, and the Nephites in the city of Bountiful. And they never last for very long. Nephi describes the conditions that are characteristic of such a society:

And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift. (4 Nephi 1:3)

In Brigham’s Utah there was anything but the equality described above. There were most certainly, “rich and poor,” and one could argue that many women trapped in polygamy did not feel “free.” When the Saints first settled the area everyone was poor and starving from the trek. Immediately Brigham began to dictate in economic matters like labor, agriculture, and basic industry. In fact, church missions were called and dedicated to the sole efforts of economic progress:

When water was needed to plant, and cultivate, ditch digging was a church duty. Water rights were decided by church authorities, as was the allocation of timber rights. There were 200 families called to develop iron, and coal resources near Cedar City. Several hundred people were called on a sugar mission in the 1850’s to establish a sugar beet industry. Men were called to lead a mission in Nevada. There was a cotton mission, a flax mission, a wool mission, and a wine mission. Because these were callings, the production belonged in part to the church. The church founded a newspaper, a retail store chain, and banking ventures. The church’s development necessarily involved it in political activities, as well. By the 1880’s, meetings of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve were predominately devoted to politics, railroad, mining, cattle, and banking discussions. The church’s highest leadership became the nerve center for economic development and resource management. (Snuffer, Passing the Heavenly Gift, Kindle Version, Loc 2308-2326)

With the First Presidency and the Twelve calling the economic shots in Utah, ample opportunity for corruption opened up. These labor “tithes” of Brigham’s diligent followers allowed the church to get ahead financially, and the subsequent gains led to other business ventures. The once spiritual body of church hierarchy gradually morphed into a body of economic advisors, investors, and businessmen. Sadly, this is still true today. During Brigham’s tenure it was not uncommon for church leaders to skim off the top for personal or business loans. Church Historian Leonard J. Arrington related the following:

Brigham Young and other church authorities, when need required it, drew on the tithing resources of the church, and at a later date repaid part or all of the obligation in money, property, or services. No interest seems to have been paid for the use of these funds…. This ability to draw, almost at will, on church as well as his own funds, was a great advantage to Brigham Young and was certainly one of the reasons for his worldly success. (The Settlement of the Brigham Young Estate, 1877-1879, Reprinted from the Pacific Historical Review, vol. 21, no. 1, Feb. 1952, p.7-8) (Source)

Brigham only repaid “part” of his obligation to the church. When he died in 1877, he is estimated to have owed the church over $1 million, and was still able to leave $1.6 million worth of real estate, housing, factories, farms, mines, and manufacturing to his posterity. The guy had 56 wives and over 50 children, I imagine his monthly bills were outrageous. His wives were housed at an estate called the Lion House, and after his death some of his children quarreled over his holdings.

Brigham started out as a hardworking carpenter before his days of oligarchy. He admitted at one point that his ecclesiastical duties were too time consuming to continue a personal career. He asserted, “I have given it up, I do not intend to work any more at manual labor” (Brigham Young’s Telestial Kingdom, p. 14).

In contrast we look again to the Book of Mormon, which contends that priests and teachers should not be paid for their services, and that after they are through preaching they should return to their labors. I do not think that the church was ever supposed to become such a bureaucratic governing body that the leaders would not be able to continue in their chosen trades and professions. Here is what King Mosiah had to say on this subject:

Yea, and all their priests and teachers should labor with their own hands for their support, in all cases save it were in sickness, or in much want; and doing these things, they did abound in the grace of God. (Mosiah 27:5)

Alma the elder, who escaped from the tyranny of king Noah, also taught that priests and teachers should labor with their own hands:

And he also commanded them that the priests whom he had ordained should labor with their own hands for their support… And the priests were not to depend upon the people for their support; but for their labor they were to receive the grace of God, that they might wax strong in the Spirit, having the knowledge of God, that they might teach with power and authority from God. (Mosiah 18:22, 24)

There was even a man named Nehor who introduced to the church a doctrine that was considered anti-Christ by Nephite saints. He was advocating, “that every priest and teacher ought to become popular; and they ought not to labor with their hands, but that they ought to be supported by the people” (Alma 1:3). This doctrine was shot down by Alma’s son…, also named Alma, who was the chief judge of the land and a high priest of the church. This is how Mormon explains the functions of the church during Alma Jr.’s day:

And when the priests left their labor to impart the word of God unto the people, the people also left their labors to hear the word of God. And when the priest had imparted unto them the word of God they all returned again diligently unto their labors; and the priest, not esteeming himself above his hearers, for the preacher was no better than the hearer, neither was the teacher any better than the learner; and thus they were all equal, and they did all labor, every man according to his strength. (Alma 1:26)

Amazingly, Alma stepped down from his government position and dedicated his full time to the ministry, which he did not get paid for. In fact, he got spit on, rejected, cast into prison, and beaten by those he was ministering to. This what Alma told Korihor when he accused him of “glutting off the labors of the people”:

Now Alma said unto him: Thou knowest that we do not glut ourselves upon the labors of this people; for behold I have labored even from the commencement of the reign of the judges until now, with mine own hands for my support, notwithstanding my many travels round about the land to declare the word of God unto my people. And notwithstanding the many labors which I have performed in the church, I have never received so much as even one senine for my labor; neither has any of my brethren, save it were in the judgment-seat; and then we have received only according to law for our time. (Alma 30:32-33)

In contrast, Brigham received much more than a “senine” for all of his labors in the church. In fact, he amassed a large fortune, I’m no economist, but $1.6 million dollars in the 1870’s has got to be an assload of money today, maybe even in the hundreds of millions. All of the initial investments from this money came from tithing funds. Yep, right from the “widows might,” all while captain Brigham was enjoying the simultaneous positions of governor and church president.

The “modest stipend” that is given to general authorities today is paid from the profits of the myriad investments of the church. This too originated with tithing funds. Perhaps we as Mormons should ask ourselves why we need such a bureaucracy to run Christ’s church when the examples in the Book of Mormon, written supposedly for our day, describe a church without a paid clergy at all? And why do so many of us assume that God is pleased with us because our church is rich? Consider the words of Nephi:

And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell. (2 Nephi 28:21)

Indeed, all because a religion prospers financially, does not mean it has the approval of God. Consider Nephi’s two telling characteristics of priestcraft; to get gain and praise of the world. Nephi also reveals that those who lead such religious movements “preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world.” Whenever any religious group teaches it’s members that God has commanded them to be obedient to their leaders, priestcraft is present. How is leader adoration and worship not setting them up to be a light unto the world?

Brigham preached subordination to leaders, and had the power of the state to enforce it. Wilford Woodruff taught that God would not permit him, or any church president, to lead the church astray, and even recently in general conference Elder Ballard admonished the members to “keep your eyes on the leadership of the church… we will not and cannot lead you astray.” This is priestcraft, plain and simple. Joseph Smith taught that depending on the prophet will darken our minds. Nephi taught that we shouldn’t “put our trust in the arm of flesh,” and Paul said that we “ought to obey God rather than men.”

Priestcraft is destructive because it replaces our focus on Christ with a mortal man. Christ is the bridge between us and God, but there is no bridge between us and Christ. Indeed, there is only one “keeper of the gate…” and “he employeth no servant there.” (2 Nephi 9:41)

Whoredoms

Why would the Lord accuse the modern gentiles of committing whoredoms? Brigham’s punishment for adultery and fornication was death by javelin. That should’ve been a pretty strong deterrent. I know it would be for me. But maybe we are missing something. Maybe all Brigham and the brethren were doing was attempting to legitimize sin. If you want some obscene thing to become cool you just attach the name of God to it, or some other authority.

George Orwell described how governments do this very thing. They convince their subjects that “war is peace, freedom is slavery, ” and “ignorance is strength.” Didn’t Isaiah say something about good being called evil and vice versa? Brigham taught that not only was polygamy approved by God, it was required for exaltation. You had to have at least two wives to get there, one-wifer’s were not welcome. But ole’ Brig took it a lot farther than this, he actually said in general conference that if a woman desired to leave her husband and marry someone with higher priesthood, she could do it. Now c’mon that’s just playing dirty.

Also, there was another way in which a woman could leave a man– if the woman preferred a man higher in authority and he is willing to take her and her husband gives her up. There is no bill of divorce required, in [this] case it is right in the sight of God.” ( Conference Reports, 8 Oct. 1861, reported by George D. Watt, LDS archives; also found in the journal of James Beck, 8 Oct. 1861, LDS archives, as cited in Campbell and Campbell, New Mormon History, Quinn, p. 195)

Brigham’s legacy is strangely reminiscent of a certain Nephite king that the writers of the Book of Mormon called evil. His name was king Noah, and he was a theocratic ruler over his people, having also consolidated the power of church and state:

For behold, he did not keep the commandments of God, but he did walk after the desires of his own heart. And he had many wives and concubines. And he did cause his people to commit sin, and do that which was abominable in the sight of the Lord. Yea, and they did commit whoredoms and all manner of wickedness. And he laid a tax of one fifth part of all they possessed… And all this did he take to support himself, and his wives and his concubines; and also his priests, and their wives and their concubines; thus he had changed the affairs of the kingdom. (Mosiah 11:2-4)

Notice the verse equates polygamy with committing whoredoms. The Book of Mormon condemns polygamy again in the book of Ether. It seems there was a certain Jaredite king named Riplakish who was heavily involved with the practice, as well as levying oppressive taxes:

And it came to pass that Riplakish did not do that which was right in the sight of the Lord, for he did have many wives and concubines, and did lay that upon men’s shoulders which was grievous to be borne; yea, he did tax them with heavy taxes; and with the taxes he did build many spacious buildings. (Ether 10:5)

In yet another verse of scripture, the Book of Mormon again condemns the practice of polygamy. This time it was Jacob, the younger brother of the first Nephi, who said:

Behold, the Lamanites your brethren, whom ye hate because of their filthiness and the cursing which hath come upon their skins, are more righteous than you; for they have not forgotten the commandment of the Lord, which was given unto our Father-that they have save it were one wife, and concubines they should have none, and there should not be whoredoms committed among them. (Jacob 3:5)

Ok, so the Lord did say in Jacob 2:30 that, “if I will…. raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things.” Joseph Smith is alleged to have over thirty wives, but where is the seed? To date there is not any DNA evidence that Joseph fathered any children that weren’t Emma’s, so what was the point?

Did Brigham raise up seed? Oh yes, all kinds of seed, he had seed running through the streets, he didn’t even know some of his seed. But was he commanded? This is a great question. I’ll let Brigham answer that for you. You see, most “prophets” receive what are called revelations from God, at least the ones in the scriptures do. Joseph Smith had plenty of them. But Brigham…, well not so much:

I have flattered myself, if I am as faithful as I know how to be to my God, and my brethren, and to all my covenants, and faithful in the discharge of my duty, when I have lived to be as old as was Moses when the Lord appeared to him, that perhaps I then may hold communion with the Lord, as did Moses. I am not now in that position, though I know much more than I did twenty, ten, or five years ago. But have I yet lived to the state of perfection that I can commune in person with the Father and the Son at my will and pleasure? No,-though I hold myself in readiness that he can wield me at his will and pleasure. If I am faithful until I am eighty years of age, perhaps the Lord will appear to me and personally dictate me in the management of his Church and people. A little over twenty years, and if I am faithful, perhaps I will obtain that favour with my Father and God. (CD, Vol. 3, p. 1498, quote in Brigham Young’s Telestial Kingdom, p. 41)

On another occasion, when he found out that President Buchanan was sending an army to Utah, he said, “I am not going to interpret dreams; for I don’t profess to be such a Prophet as were Joseph Smith and Daniel; but I am a Yankee guesser” (Ibid, p. 41).

Are you kidding me? A Yankee guesser? This is the guy the LDS church claims authority through? A man who Yankee guessed his way into the presidency of church, across the plains, into the governorship of Utah, and into the arms of 56 women? He never had a revelation on polygamy, or anything else.., ever. Joseph didn’t have one on polygamy either, unless he wrote Section 132, but as we have seen that is highly improbable.

Apparently God didn’t need any “seed” raised up at that time. Guess what? When he did command it, the dudes didn’t get 56 wives. Abraham was given Sarah and Hagar. That’s two. Isaac was given one. Jacob was given four. David and Solomon took way too many and were rejected by God. There really aren’t any more examples, and it was certainly not taught anywhere in the bible that polygamy was necessary for salvation.

Conclusion

Perhaps the Mormon’s should consider the possibility that Brigham was a fraud and stop hiding behind his pretended authority. He even admitted by his own mouth that he wasn’t a prophet. It doesn’t mean that Joseph wasn’t a prophet, or that the Book of Mormon isn’t true, or that the church Joseph set up wasn’t the “true church.” The Lord declared that it was (D&C Section 1:30. Actually, I just came across a blog post explaining that this was an invitation from the Lord, not a declaration).

It was structured much differently than the powerful behemoth we see today. It wasn’t a multi-billion dollar corporation run by lawyers and businessmen, it did not have a paid clergy, it did not keep it’s financial records secret from the common members, it did not build luxurious condos and malls, and it did not excommunicate people for not “following the prophet,” or refusing to submit to priesthood authority.

In fact, the real definition of the “church” is much different than most of us have been taught. It’s not a building, it’s not the leaders, it’s not a corporation, it’s not dogmas or creeds. It’s just a group of people who believe in Jesus and are baptized in his name. That’s it. Here is a great blog post about it. (See also 3 Nephi 18:5)

Perhaps if Joseph were to show up today and speak to the church, he’d be booed off the pulpit and cast out of the synagogue. Most of us may be too steeped in the traditions of men to accept the simple gospel that he would teach.

Similarly, the Jews, were also so inoculated in their traditions that they couldn’t accept Jesus Christ and his simple gospel of love. “No healing on Sunday” they jeered, “meetings have to be three hours long and extremely boring, no cooking or cleaning or taking too many steps on Sunday, no coffee, no beer, change the wine into water, earn your way into heaven, check the righteousness off your list, fast and pray into front of men, obey your leaders who sit in the chief seats, change the ordinances, buy and sell in the temple, and for heaven’s sake, don’t help the beggars, they brought their misery on themselves, give your tithes to us.”

Things aren’t always as they seem. I have found that if history ever contains neat little warm and fuzzy stories then the whole story has not been told. History is messy, especially religious history. There is never just a cute little narrative that you can snuggle up by the fire and read…, unless it’s fiction.

Real life history is more like a briar patch, going in hundreds and thousands of different directions, having no rhyme or reason, making your head spin, shattering your world views and shaking your traditions. That’s why Nephi said that even “the humble followers of Christ… are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men” (2 Nephi 2:28). It’s damn near impossible not to be deceived in this world. The least we can do is honestly research what past church leaders have taught and compare it with the scriptures. Careful though, you might not like what you find.

January 31

Is Trump a Fascist?

In a recent New York Times column entitled, How Republics End, Keynesian economist Paul Krugman compared Trump’s incoming administration with the fascism of the 1930s. This was his opening paragraph:

Many people are reacting to the rise of Trumpism and nativist movements in Europe by reading history – specifically, the history of the 1930s. And they are right to do so. It takes willful blindness not to see the parallels between the rise of fascism and our current political nightmare. (Full Article)

This begs the question; what exactly is fascism? It is surprisingly difficult to find just one definition of the term. It seems that everyone has their own version of it, including Krugman. Who should at least explain why he is voraciously hurling the label at Trump and his minions. One definition of the word comes from Mussolini himself who supposedly coined it. He was adamant that in order for a state to embrace fascism three principles had to be adhered to:

  1. “Everything in the state.”
  2. “Nothing outside the state.”
  3. “Nothing against the state.”

In other words, the totalitarian state. These vague declarations can be interpreted any way the state decides. One common side effect of fascism is total regimentation and regulation of the economy. This happened in Mussolini’s Italy and Hitler’s Germany. An important difference between the original definitions of socialism and fascism is that under the former the state took ownership of the means of production (capital industry) and under the latter the complete regulation of the means of production, although capitalists were able to maintain ownership. Other defining characteristics of this political philosophy manifest in the form of restrictions on freedom of speech (if it is directed against the state or its leaders), militarization of the citizenry (mandatory military service), and extreme lemming-like nationalism. The Nazi’s employed programs like Hitler’s Youth (similar to our boy scouts), war rallies, propaganda speeches, and jingoistic parades and marches. Mussolini took total control of the Italian economy, regulating capital industry, schools, and the press. He would make ridiculous laws like the following:

…the length of the workday would be increased but salaries would not change, newspapers could be no more than six pages, gasoline had to be mixed with alcohol, no more luxurious homes could be built, nothing could be sold after ten PM, and all bread had to contain at least fifteen percent non-white flour. (Source)

If these are the conditions of fascism, then America has been laboring under its purview, at least in part, for at least a century. Krugman’s assertion that the Trump administration is just now unleashing the reigns of fascism is a day late and a dollar short. If Krugman is to be consistent with his allegations of fascism, he should consider that there were fascist movements in the 1930s other than those in Europe. One such movement was headed by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the good ole US of A.

FDR and Fascism

The inflation of the 1920s was caused by the newly established Federal Reserve system pouring paper currency into the economy by expanding money and credit. This created a gigantic credit bubble that burst in 1929, resulting in the biggest financial crash in history. The financial interests that helped bring Herbert Hoover to power in 1928 were disappointed when he refused to implement the Swope Plan created by Gerard Swope of General Electric. This plan was a fascist scheme aimed at extreme regimentation of the economy in order to eliminate competition and keep prices high. The bankers then turned their support to FDR, who had been a Wall Street stooge during the 1920s working toward the merging of big business and government in order to create monopolistic privilege for a select few. The Swope Plan would later morph into FDR’s National Recovery Act (NRA), and this is what Herbert Hoover stated about it in his own memoirs:

Among the early Roosevelt fascist measures was the National Recovery Act (NRA) of June 16, 1933. The origins of this scheme are worth repeating. These ideas were first suggested by Gerard Swope (of the General Electric Company) at a meting of the electrical industry in the winter of 1932. Following this, they were adopted in by the United States Chamber of Commerce. During the campaign of 1932, Henry I. Harriman, president of that body, urged that I agree to support these proposals, informing me that Mr. Roosevelt had agreed to do so. I tried to show him that this stuff was pure fascism; that it was merely a remaking of Mussolini’s “corporate state” and refused to agree to any of it. He informed me that in view of my attitude, the business world would support Roosevelt with money and influence. That for the most part, proved true. (The Memoirs of Herbert Hoover: The Great Depression 1929-1941 [New York: Macmillan, 1952], p.420)

The ideas behind the NRA predate FDR and even Swope. During WWI Woodrow Wilson created the War Industries Board which extensively regulated the wartime economy. It was mostly a scheme to award certain corporations contracts in war munitions. But it also purported to regulate the entire economy. Even food items were heavily controlled with Herbert Hoover being named named “food czar” by President Wilson. The WIB was the brain child of Bernard Baruch, who was a fellow Wall Streeter and financial advisor to Woodrow Wilson. The implementation of the NRA was basically round two of the WIB, but in response to a financial crises instead of a world war. These schemes allowed big business to thrive in the midst of depression and poverty. The average working American was to sacrifice his individualism for the good of “society,” AKA the good of Wall Street.

The crushing of individualism is a key factor in fascism, socialism, communism, and statism, yet all these “ism” words can be aptly summed up in one term; namely collectivism. Collectivism is the philosophy that the state is supreme to the individual, and that rights have to be given up in order to benefit the whole society. But as history as shown, those who benefit are the elitist groups such as bankers, businessmen, and politicians who live off the labor of the working class. They do this under the cloak of pseudo philanthropy with schemes that appear to liberate the “proletariat” as Marx opined. Yet these schemes are carefully designed to limit competition and consolidate power into the hands of a select few. When scrutinizing government programs one must always ask the vigilant question, Cui Bono, or to whose profit?

The NRA was economic fascism from top to bottom. It allowed for companies with at least fifty employees to form trade associations, supervised by a federal body of course (the National Recovery Administration), to implement standards in minimum wage laws, labor, business operations, and to set price controls. Although it was ruled unconstitutional in 1935 by the supreme court, many of the labor standards it created were resurrected and still with us today. Workman’s Compensation, Disability Insurance, Pensions, and Unemployment Insurance, etc. Small business was dramatically affected by this as it is very costly to wade through government regulation, provide benefits to employees, and to keep your prices high arbitrarily. Although it was sold to Congress as a bill that would help small business, it had the opposite effect. The final outcome was to eliminate smaller competitors in the markets thus affected, and to secure monopolistic privilege for large government-connected corporations who could buy their way through the red tape. Prices were kept high as in the Keynesian macroeconomic model, while people were starving and struggling to find work. John T. Flynn, in his epic work, The Roosevelt Myth, makes a striking comparison between Roosevelt’s NRA and Mussolini’s Italy:

As I write, of course, Mussolini is an evil memory. But in 1933 he was a towering figure who was supposed to have discovered something worth study and imitation by all world artificers everywhere. Such eminent persons as Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler and Mr. Sol Bloom, head of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House, assured us he was a great man and had something we might well look into for imitation. What they liked particularly was his corporative system. He organized each trade or industrial group or professional group into a state-supervised trade association. He called it a corporative. These corporatives operated under state supervision and could plan production, quality, prices, distribution, labor standards, etc. The NRA provided that in America each industry should be organized into a federally supervised trade association. It was not called a corporative. It was called a Code Authority. But it was essentially the same thing. These code authorities could regulate production, quantities, qualities, prices, distribution methods, etc., under the supervision of the NRA. This was fascism. (pp.42-43)

Antony C. Sutton, a scholar from the Hoover Institute, published a book on FDR’s cozy relationship with Wall Street in 1975. In Wall Street and FDR: The True Story of How Franklin D. Roosevelt Colluded With Corporate America, Sutton reveals that the:

NRA was essentially fascist in that industry, not central state planners, had the authority to plan, and these industrial planners came from the New York financial establishment. (pp.133-34)

This statement is significant in that most Keynesians, Paul Krugman included, herald the New Deal as a progressive step toward the gentle mixing of capitalism and socialism. Yet we find that in all actuality, the New Deal was not socialist at all, but fascist, modeled after the very European fascism condemned by Krugman in his December New York Times column. Krugman praises FDR here and here, claiming that his polices worked better in the long term than in the short, and that WWII was finally the economic catalyst that got America out of the depression. This is an interesting admission, because the failure of FDR’s economic polices from 1932 to 1945 are left unexamined by Krugman, who just assumes that war magically made it all better. The truth is that neither war nor the New Deal ended the depression. Government spending plummeted from 84 billion in 1945 to 30 billion in 1946, the conscripted soldiers came home and returned to work, and many wartime economic regulations were lifted. The act of government simply stepping back and letting the market readjust and revitalize is what ended the depression, allowing the American economy to see more GDP growth in 1946 than it had since the roaring 20s. Click here for a more detailed analysis from the Cato Institute.

FDR’s Farm Fascism

As if the NRA wasn’t bad enough, FDR’s next economic disaster was the Agricultural Adjustment Act, passed in May of 1933. And you guessed it, another federal agency was created to regulate Big Ag called the Agricultural Adjustment Administration, and these guys were real geniuses. What do you do if hordes of people are jobless and starving? Oh I know, you destroy food and crops…, because that helps people eat more. Right… FDR literally created a mini holocaust against a certain animal that must’ve crossed him some traumatic time in his youth. Brace yourself; it was swine. Yep. He murdered six million pigs without a shred of remorse. Then he destroyed ten million acres of cotton. The government paid farmers and ranchers not to produce. All sorts of crops were destroyed, ground sat barren, and animals sat not reproducing. This was great for corporate farmers because they were able to maintain high prices, but horrible for consumers and free market competition. Not only were food prices artificially propped up by the government induced shortages, but the average American’s income bought less in the midst of the stagflation.

FDR’s New Deal was not a war on poverty as some opine, it was a war on low prices. In a natural free market prices fall as goods become more plentiful and entrepreneurs discover more efficient ways to produce them. This is great for consumers because their real incomes buy more goods and services. They have more wealth because they have more choices at lower prices. This is the end result of laissez faire capitalism. If certain businessmen can’t get their prices down to market values or produce a product that is desirable to consumers, they are weeded out by Adam Smith’s invisible hand. However, in a controlled economy dominated by corporate interests and big government, the goal is to keep prices high to weed out competition, limit consumer choices, and create monopolistic privilege for the few. Call this system fascism, socialism, or communism, the results are the same; the destruction of the middle class and an ever widening gap between the rich and poor.

Donald Trump, despite his nationalistic talking points, his ideas on tariffs and wall building, and his continuation of the drone wars, is doing more to end economic fascism in America then to further it. He plans on unleashing a wave of deregulation that will hopefully kickstart a sluggish economy weakened by decades of government intervention. He has already signed an executive order eliminating the penalty for Obamacare and plans on dismantling the bill altogether. Not that I condone executive orders, but this time it was actually used for good. So far these are not the actions of a fascist, but the future is yet to be seen. I’ll be honest, I’m not holding my breath, Trump is as unpredictable as a startled grizzly bear, but why not have a positive outlook? It can’t get much worse. If Krugman is really serious about this fascist business with Trump, he should at least throw the label at all guilty parties, and Obama is no exception.

Obama’s Corporate Fascism

Obama is not a fascist in the traditional sense. I mean, he’s not much of a nationalist, he wasn’t even born in the U.S. He did however, continue many of the quasi-fascist polices of G. W. Bush, such as the Patriot Act, torture programs, rendition, aggressive warfare, and drone bombings. He even added a most pernicious allowance in the National Defense Authorization Act which permitted him to order assassinations on America citizens without a trial. And he implemented this on four US citizens in Yemen. This stuff is straight out of Orwell’s 1984 folks. Now this power is in the hands of Trump, all we can do is hope he doesn’t abuse it. But what about economic fascism, of the Rooseveltian or Mussolinian type? In this department Obama is guilty as charged. The Affordable Care Act, passed in March of 2010, was a regulatory overhaul of the over-inflated medical industry. It was supposed to lower premiums, and get everyone the “affordable” coverage they need. Just like the NRA was supposed to help small business, Obamacare was supposed to help “lower premiums,” when in effect it did the exact opposite.

The Affordable Care Act was over 1000 pages long, Lord knows what all is in there. What we do know is, like the NRA, it benefits the biggest insurance corps by regulating the smaller ones out of business. This has led to an increase in premiums, because when the supply is limited, the demand increases, which drives up prices. Obamacare mandated that all Americans were to purchase insurance or face a tax penalty, which also drove up demand. It also compels all insurance companies to accept all applicants regardless of sex or preexisting conditions, and subsidizes premiums for low income families. Sounds warm and fuzzy right? Again, we have to ask, Cui Bono, or who profits off such a scheme? Well, we know that four of the major health insurance companies have more than doubled their stock shares since the passing of the ACA. These include, Aetna, Cigna, Humana and UnitedHealth Group. And many others have also seen soaring profits.

Forcing insurance companies to accept all applicants and charge the same rates regardless of preexisting conditions is going to cause problems for them. This is how they protect themselves against risky clients, after all, they are trying to turn a profit as we all are. What is the logical thing to do if the government coerces you to throw caution to the wind by eliminating your client screening process? Raise your rates on everyone to make up the difference. In addition the this, third party billing also creates a moral hazard that drives prices up. Here is how Ron Paul explained it in June of 2010:

Instead of mandating the same failed entitlement healthcare schemes that are bankrupting Europe, Congress should fundamentally re-examine the case for free-market healthcare. Our current model, based on employer-provided health insurance, did not arise based on market preferences. On the contrary, it makes no sense to couple health insurance with employment. But federal wage and price controls instituted during World War II left employers with no alternative to attract workers in a tight labor market other than offering extra benefits such as health insurance and pensions. Over time these nonwage benefits became the norm, especially since employers could deduct the cost of health insurance premiums from their income taxes while individuals could not. The perverse consequence is that employees lose both their paychecks and their health insurance when they lose their job.

As reliance on third-party health insurance grew, patients became detached from the true costs of their doctor visits. In the 1970s the Nixon administration, along with the late Senator Edward Kennedy, championed the cause of health maintenance organizations (HMOs). Congress accepted the faulty premise that HMOs would reduce costs through centralized management of patients, when in fact the opposite was true: more bureaucracy would only lead to higher costs, less accountability, and worse patient care.

In recent years Congress has only intensified the problem with more laws and more regulations, especially with the disastrous Medicare prescription drug benefit. The drug benefit was another example of naked patronage to a politically-connected industry, and it exponentially worsened the federal government’s balance sheet. Obamacare will be the last nail in the coffin of our bankrupt entitlement system. (Ron Paul: Obamacare Is Bad For Your Health)

This combination of increased bureaucracy, limited competition, and state subsidization of premiums, has ultimately led to higher prices and decreased customer service in healthcare. Those who are living high on this hog are the biggest insurance companies who are seeing record profits. This system closely resembles Mussolini’s corporate state and FDR’s New Deal, where the playing field was “leveled” by eliminating the smaller competition by simply increasing economic regulation. The real losers are the end consumers, who pay higher prices and have less choices than they would’ve had under free market conditions.

Fascism Smascism

In all reality, the word fascist is nothing but a meaningless pejorative. It’s used to smear opponents on the left and right of the political spectrum when opinions differ on policies and programs. As I alluded to earlier in this post, there are really only two political “ism” words that have real meaning; individualism, which is congruent with personal liberty, and collectivism, which is the preferred political philosophy of the state. Socialism, fascism, communism, corporatism, and statism, are all just variants of collectivism. Although the means may be slightly different, the ends are the same; the destruction of individual liberty. Krugman’s disdain for what he thinks is Trump’s version of fascism and support for FDR and Obama’s version of fascism is typical of someone stuck in the left/right paradigm. When Bush created anti free speech zones and launched assaults on the 4th amendment through the Patriot Act, liberals were screaming about human rights violations, and rightly so. But when Obama continued these polices and added more of his own, we heard crickets. Let’s face it, most are just fine with collectivism, as long as it is administered by who they think are the “right” collectivists. When you really put the effort in to study American history unbiasedly you discover that most presidents have advocated for some form of collectivism. Seemingly opposite presidents do mostly the same things; Bush and Obama, Hoover and FDR, Teddy Roosevelt and Wilson, and so forth. If government can convince us that we should fight about which version of collectivism is better than they have already won the ideological war. No matter who’s in office the results are always the same; more government intervention in the economy, more aggressive warfare, more human rights violations, more subsidies and handouts, and more corporate welfare and protectionism.

Trump’s First Ten Days

Trump has been in office a grand total of ten days, and so far he has signed a number of executive orders. Here is a list explaining them. The use of executive orders is unconstitutional at best. The president was never intended to be a lone legislator, or a direct representative of the people. This ideology has been slowly creeping into the executive branch as early as the George Washington days, who unilaterally issued a proclamation of neutrality forbidding American involvement in a war between France and Britain in 1793-94. He did this without congressional approval which was unconstitutional. It was the right decision but done in the wrong way, as it is the congress that is supposed to be in charge of declaring wars. The president was only intended to execute the laws, not make them. Most Americans nowadays don’t think twice about presidents wielding this type of power because we are so used to it. Lincoln issued a number of secret executive orders involving the reinforcing of Fort Sumpter and starting the war with the South, which war he declared without congressional approval. Theodore Roosevelt issued over 1000 executive orders during his tenure attempting to regulate the economy, control water rights, seize state land for national parks, and to manage state lands through unconstitutional federal regulatory agencies. The Panama Canal was the result of a treaty Roosevelt made with the new Republic of Panama which had seceded from Columbia in a coup. He did not consult congress. FDR issued a secret executive order to force Japanese- American’s into internment camps on American soil. And the list goes on and on.

The modern American president has become like a Roman Caesar with dictatorial powers. His presidential mantle has become surrounded by an aura of mystical savior-like powers. He is looked to by the people as a demigod who is called to “save” them from the last president, from foreign enemies, or economic hardship. In reality he is just a man with too much power, given to him incrementally over the last few hundred years by a nation of idolators. Most of the time he gives us more collectivism. Trump’s executive orders are a mixture of good and bad. His attempting to deregulate and scale back the size of government will help stimulate economic growth. His limitations on immigration and refugee admittance will most likely cause blowback from our enemies. After all, it was Obama’s bombing of Syria that caused the massive displacement of Muslims in the first place.

Are these the actions of a “fascist?” It all depends on your definition. Trump will probably be another typical Republican president, advocating collectivism in foreign policy and the military (which is exempt from his government “hiring freeze” order), and moving toward some individualism in the economy. Although, despite his narcissism, he offers some hope in the fact that he has a tendency to buck the establishment, go off script, and do whatever the hell he wants. A personality like this could go a lot of directions, all we can do is sit back and enjoy the ride.

January 18

Joseph Smith’s Polygamy?

In response to the growing rift in the LDS church on the subject of polygamy, it released an essay in 2014 attempting to show a transparency on the subject that it lacked in the past. The essay, entitled, Plural Marriage in Kirtland and Nauvoo, can be found here. It’s very general, and relies on the works of Richard Bushman, Brian C. Hales, Doctrine & Covenants Section 132, and the writings of 19th century church leaders as sources. Polygamy has been a hotly debated topic in and out of the church since the Nauvoo era, and my contention in this post is that not all sides of the story have been told. There are significant evidences that Joseph Smith never indulged in the practice, and my purpose here in presenting this information is to at least open a few minds to the possibility that LDS polygamy was going on with the Prophet’s disdain, not his approval. And that his name was attached to it after his death in an attempt to persuade the saints in Nauvoo and the Utah territory that the practice was not only saintly, but required for exaltation.

In 1823 the angel Moroni told Joseph Smith that his, “name should be had for both good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people” (Joseph Smith History 1:33).

The prophesy has had its fulfillment in the fact that there are so many sayings and doings attributed to Joseph that make him look like both a saint and a scoundrel. Where is one to turn to decipher the truth of this mess? There is no real answer to this question, the best we can do is stay as close to first hand accounts and source documents as we can get, but this too can be tricky. There is a lot of “he said, she said” hearsay in church history, and unfortunately, some of this has been used as the authoritative source for policies, doctrines, and the official history of the Church. What I will present here in the following paragraphs will be affidavits, newspaper articles, and first hand accounts that claim that Joseph was innocent of polygamy, and that he preached against it fiercely the final few years of his life.

The first place to begin is the scriptures. We were told by Joseph that the Book of Mormon was the “most correct book on earth,” and if this is the case, should we not consult it’s pages on this doctrine of polygamy? This is what Nephi’s brother Jacob had to say on the matter:

Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord…Wherefore, I the Lord will not suffer that this people shall do like them of old. Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none; (Jacob 2:24, 25 & 26 Emphasis added)

Now contrast this with what D&C Section 132 states about David:

David’s wives and concubines were given unto him of me, by that hand of Nathan, my servant, and others of the prophets who had the keys of this power, and in none of these things did he sin against me save in the case of Uriah and his wife [Bathsheba]… (vs 39, Emphasis added)

Notice the sleight of hand used in Section 132? The Lord, through the Book of Mormon prophet Jacob, said that David’s wives and concubines were abominable, yet in Section 132 the Lord (supposedly through Joseph Smith, the same man who translated the Book of Mormon) says the complete opposite. Which one is right? The LDS way around this conundrum is the appeal to authority. A modern prophet trumps a dead prophet. Jacob is dead and Joseph Smith was living in 1843 when he dictated this revelation, so ipso facto, Jacob’s words just don’t count. The problem is that there is no solid evidence that Joseph Smith is the author of Section 132 or that he ever sanctioned polygamy as an LDS doctrine.

The Problem With Section 132

One of the sources cited for the LDS church’s recent essay on polygamy is D&C Section 132. There are several problems with using this as an authoritative source, but before we address those issues there are a few more things to point out scripturally. We are told by Moroni that God does not change his mind:

For do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing? (Mormon 9:9)

If this is true then God would not simply change his mind on the abominableness of David’s wives and concubines over a period of 2400 years, from the Nephite Jacob to the modern prophet Joseph Smith. And if God does not change his mind, even a “shadow,” then someone else did so without His authority. Also, consider what the 1835 Edition of D&C, which was also called the Book of Commandments, stated about polygamy:

Inasmuch as this church has been reproached with the crime of fornication, and polygamy; we declare that we believe that one man should have one wife; and one woman, but one husband. (1835 Edition of Doctrine & Covenants, Section 101)

Interestingly enough, Joseph published this statement again in 1842 in response to the rumors being circulated by John C. Bennett and others that he was the author of polygamy:

Inasmuch as the public mind has been unjustly abused through the fallacy of Dr. Bennett’s letters, we make an extract on the subject of marriage, showing the rule of the church on this important matter. The extract is from the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, and is the only rule allowed by the church.

“All legal contracts of marriage made before a person is baptized into this church, should be held sacred and fulfilled. Inasmuch as this church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication, and polygamy: we declare that we believe, that one man should have one wife; and one woman, but one husband, except in the case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again.” (Times and Seasons 3 [September 1, 1842]: 909)

It seems odd that Joseph would translate the Book of Mormon, which condemns polygamy, and then proclaim in the Doctrine and Covenants and the Times and Seasons that polygamy is a crime, and then turn around one year later and state the exact opposite in Section 132. Something is just not adding up. Either Joseph lied about polygamy while secretly practicing it (which is what the LDS church postulates), or others around him were secretly engaged in it and looking for a way to justify and legitimize it.

Section 132 was supposedly dictated on July 12 of 1843 by Joseph to the scribe William Clayton, however, it was not officially published before the church until 1852. In that year Brigham Young remarked that the original copy had been “burned up” by Emma, that it was written down again, and had remained in Bishop Whitney’s possession until that time (Deseret News Extra, September 14, 1852). This is strange because Joseph was usually quick to publish any revelation he received from the Lord within a few days. Stranger still is that Section 132 was never voted on or approved by the common consent of the church, which was a law that was followed in Joseph’s day when any new revelation was received. (The common consent doctrine is actually a commandment, so Joseph would’ve been in violation of God’s law for the church in not having the general body vote on Section 132, see D&C 28:12-13)

The entire authenticity of Section 132 rests upon the testimony of one man, William Clayton, who just happened to remember that Joseph Smith rewrote the revelation verbatim after the original manuscript was burned by a ragingly emotional Emma Smith. But this copy wasn’t reproduced until 1852 when Brigham presented it to the church. However, as good a story as it is, he made a mistake on one small detail, the Urim and Thumim. Clayton claimed that Joseph told Hyrum that he knew the revelation so well that he did not need to write it “by means of the Urim and Thumim,” suggesting that he still had them in his possession. But according to Joseph Smith, he had delivered that up to the angel Moroni prior to 1838, at least five years before Section 132 was received:

…the plates, the Urim and Thumim, and the breastplate… remained safe in my hands until I had accomplished by them what was required at my hands, when according to arrangements the messenger called for them, I delivered them up to him and he has them in his charge until this day, being the second day of May, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-eight. (Times and Seasons, May 2, 1842, 3:772)

In addition to Clayton’s white lie about the Urim and Thumim (for a more detailed analysis on Clayton click here), another smoking gun comes into play absolving Joseph of authorship of Section 132. In 1969, a paper was published entitled, A Bibliography on Joseph Smith II, The Mormon Prophet-Leader by Enid Stubbart DeBarthe. In the appendix of this paper there is a little snippet entitled, Who Wrote Section 132?, where DeBarthe uses stylometry to determine the true author of Section 132. Her findings are very interesting to say the least.

She starts off by explaining that Joseph Smith has a writing style is similar to that of famous authors such as Shakespeare, Hamlet, John Milton, and John Bunyan. She calls this writing style “Elizabethan,” characteristic of such is the “infrequent use of simple sentences, the use of many complex sentences, and especially the use of compound sentences having numerous independent clauses.” She came to this conclusion of the Prophet after a thorough analysis of all his writings, which included cataloguing his unique linguistic idiosyncrasies. She discovered that Section 132 contained “69 sentences, of which only five were compound, and none exceeded three independent clauses.” In contrast, “Section 107, had 88 sentences, of which one was simple and 66 were compound” and “eighteen of these had three independent clauses,” with several more sentences having four, five, and six independent clauses. DeBarthe also notes that Joseph preferred the word “which” to the word “that,” as it appears only ten times in Section 132, and 41 times in Section 107.

She continues by indicating that the word “exalted” or “exaltation” only appears 11 times in the RLDS Doctrine & Covenants. A quick search on my LDS library app revealed that it appears 31 times in the LDS Doctrine & Covenants. It was used eleven times in Section 132 alone. Phrases such as “eternal lives, eternal deaths, continuation, accept an offering, attain to this glory, that go in thereat, will receive at your hands, if a man marry him a wife, accounted unto him for righteousness, stay herself, must and shall be, of force, efficacy, as touching, out of the world, through the medium of mine anointed, and shedding innocent blood,” all appear in Section 132. All these phrases are absent from Joseph’s other writings except “as touching,” and “innocent blood,” which appear in the Book of Mormon, and other places in the Doctrine and Covenants. The word “damned” is used only 11 times in the LDS D&C, and 3 times in the RLDS D&C. Section 132 uses the word 3 times alone.

She concludes her analysis by stating that “it seems evident that Joseph Smith did not write any part of the purported revelation on polygamy, known as Section 132.” She then proceeds to analyze the writings of five other possible authors and comes to the conclusion that the writing style of Section 132 most closely resembles that of Brigham Young. I highly recommend reading this paper to anyone sincerely wondering about Section 132, you can access it here.

The 1831 “Revelation” on Plural Marriage

The LDS church’s essay on plural marriage makes a claim that Joseph Smith received a revelation on polygamy in 1831 after studying the Old Testament. They only provide one source for this and state that people who knew Joseph said that he had the revelation. In a court of law that is called hearsay, but it’s good enough for the LDS Church. The kooky revelation goes something like this:

“[I]t is [Jesus Christ’s] will, that in time, ye should take unto you wives of the Lamanites and Nephites [i.e., Native Americans], that their posterity may become white, delightsome, and Just, for even now their females are more virtuous than the gentiles.” (Source)

It was a man named Lyman E. Johnson who originally made the claim that he heard Joseph utter the words of this revelation. Mysteriously, Joseph never took occasion to write this down and publish it as he did his other revelations. Lyman is said to have relayed the revelation to Orson Pratt, who didn’t make it public for years, like fifty years. Here is the source quoted by the LDS Church on footnote 4 of the essay:

By way of introducing the subject of [of plural marriage] we quote the following from a communication written by Pre. Jos. F. Smith and published in the Deseret News of May 20, 1886:

“The great and glorious principle of plural marriage was first revealed to Joseph Smith in 1831, but being forbidden to make it public, or to teach it as a doctrine of the Gospel, at that time, he confided the facts to only a few of his intimate associates. Among them were Oliver Cowdery and Lyman E. Johnson, that latter confiding the fact to his traveling companion, Elder Orson Pratt, in the year 1832…” (Andrew Jenson, The Historical Record 6 [Salt Lake City, Utah, May 1887]: 219)

Joseph F. Smith’s reverence of Oliver Cowdery being privy to Joseph’s revelation was first brought to light by Brigham Young in 1872. The problem with this statement is that in 1846 Oliver was surprised to learn of the saints practicing plural marriage in Nauvoo. This was his response to his sister, Phoebe, after learning of the abominable practice:

…I can hardly think it possible that you have written us the truth, that though there may be individuals who are guilty of the iniquities spoken of–yet no such practice can be preached or adhered to as a public doctrine. Such may do for the followers of Mahomet; it may have been done some thousands of years ago; but no people professing to be governed by the pure and holy principles of the Lord Jesus Christ, can hold up their heads before the world at this distance of time and be guilty of such folly, such, [sic] wrong, such abomination. It will blast, like mildew, their fairest prospects, and lay the ax at the root of their future happiness… (Reference: Oliver’s Letter, Tiffin, Seneca County, Ohio, July 24th, 1846, published in The Saints’ Advocate 1 [Plano, Illinois, May 1879]: 112-113)

Odd indeed that a church so hell bent on keeping adequate and detailed records as the LDS church is, would take for granted that Lyman, Orson, and Brigham were telling the truth, and that it took over fifty years for the leaders of the church to even talk about it. Even stranger, is the next thing that “happened” to Joseph.

The Angel With the Drawn Sword

As the story goes, Joseph was extremely reluctant to engage in the polygamy program, I mean, who wants to have to tell their wife that “God told me to take on a few more wives that may or may not be married…, to our neighbors.” Talk about awkward. But apparently the Lord had little patience for this reluctance because sometime between 1834 and 1841 Joseph received three visits from angel who told him to get crackin’ on the polygamy thing, and on the third one he pulled out his angel sword and threatened him with “destruction.” Hold the phone here, does an angel really need a sword to get his point across? I mean Laman and Lemuel didn’t even get the sword treatment when they were beating the hell out of their little brother Nephi. Isn’t the blinding light and heavenly bling good enough?

Seriously though, up until this point the Lord seemed to respect Joseph’s free agency. Isn’t that what we are taught in the church all our lives? That the entire plan of salvation is centered around free agency? Every principle of the Gospel is dependent on free agency, except…, well, polygamy. We had no choice on that one guys. Didn’t you read the polygamy clause in the preexistence paperwork that you signed before coming to earth? It says that free agency will be enjoyed by all the people of the earth in all circumstances except in the case of polygamy in the Mormon church. You win some and you lose some. Sorry guys. So where does the LDS church get the source for the sword wielding angel? Footnote 9 of the essay cites Brian C. Hales, “Encouraging Joseph Smith to Practice Plural Marriage: The Accounts of the Angel with a Drawn Sword,” Mormon Historical Studies 11 no. 2 (Fall 2010): 69-70. Read it here.

“Encouraging” is a cute way of phrasing it Brian, but last time I checked when someone pulls a knife on you they’re doing more than “encouraging” you to give them your wallet. Unlike the revelation of 1831 there are actually several people who attest to this angel thing being told them by Joseph, but the problem is that the first account of this ever heard was in 1853 by Joseph Lee Robinson. Hales cites 13 people with quotations and dates ranging from 1853 to 1903. Each account of what Joseph “said” is just a little different, with some using the words “slay him,” “death penalty,” and “flaming sword,” with others claiming that the angel threatened to take away Joseph’s “priesthood” and “position.” Hales even admits in this paper he co-authored with Don Bradley that those who might’ve been the only first hand witnesses of Joseph’s words, “unfortunately,” gave their “recollections… decades after the Prophet’s death (1869, 1882, and 1905 respectively.)” What I want to know is, if this really happened why didn’t Joseph write it down in his own journal? I mean, if you were ever going to write something down this would be it. I imagine the journal entry would go something like this, “Holy shit, an angel totally pulled a sword on me today and told me to start seducing my neighbors wives’, WTF!”

Joseph’s Journal was Altered

The image above was taken from a copy of Joseph Smith’s journal entry he made sometime in October of 1843. It is a strong denouncement of plural marriage, but as you can see, someone crossed out Joseph’s words and added others. This excerpt came from the Joseph Smith Papers, and you can view it here. As it is hard to read his handwriting, here is what it said before and after the alteration:

“Evening at home, and walked up and down the street with my scribe. Gave instruction to those who were preaching, teaching, or practicing the doctrine of plurality of wives. On this law Joseph forbids it, and the practice thereof. No man shall have but one wife.”

The Revision:

“Evening at home, and walked up and down the street with my scribe. Gave instruction to those who were preaching, teaching, or practicing the doctrine of plurality of wives. for according to the laws I hold the keys of this power in the last days, and there is never but one on Earth at a time on whom the power and its keys are conferred and I have continually said No man shall have but one wife unless the Lord directs otherwise.”

It’s obvious that the handwriting is someone else’s. They should’ve at least tried to find someone whose handwriting matched Joseph’s somewhat. In a book called Mormon Polygamy: A History, written by Richard S. Van Wagoner and published in 1989, he declares in a footnote that Brigham Young deliberately had this changed. Rock Waterman quotes the following in his blog post, Why I’m Abandoning Polygamy:

“When incorporating Smith’s journal into the History of the Church, church leaders, under Brigham Young’s direction, deleted ten key words from this significant passage and added forty-nine others…”

Joseph Smith’s “Wives”

Five of Joseph Smith’s supposed plural wives are mentioned in the 2014 essay; Fanny Alger, Lousia Beaman, Fanny Young, Helen Mar Kimball, and Lucy Walker. Some historians estimate Joseph had over thirty wives, most of which were married to him between 1842 and 1844. All of the evidence for the existence of these marriages came from journal entries and statements made decades after the Prophet’s death, with the earliest not appearing until the early 1850s. There are no marriage certificates, there are no public or private records of these proceedings, and there are no contemporary statements or eye witnesses to verify the facts. During the decades following the 1850s, Joseph’s sons would often travel to the Utah territory to attempt to convince the western saints that polygamy was wrong and to clear their father’s name of it. This would often result in debates between the Utah leaders and Joseph’s sons. Joseph F. Smith, son of Hyrum Smith, lamented in a letter to Orson Pratt that after searching all of the records in the church’s Historian Office he was astonished by the lack of evidence connecting Joseph to polygamy:

A few years ago [May 1869 to April 1870] I obtained the affidavits of as many as I knew of, with a few exceptions, who received personal instructions or commandment from The Prophet respecting the Subject of celestial marriage [,] all of which are filed away in the H.O. [Historian’s Office]…. When the subject first came before my mind I must say I was astonished at the scarcity of evidence, I might say almost total absence of direct evidence upon the Subject, as connected with the Prophet Joseph himself. There was nothing written and but few living who were personally knowing to the fact that Joseph Taught the principle. True much had been written in support of the Doctrine, bearing upon scriptural-and rational evidences, but not a word, except the Revelation itself. Showing that the The Prophet was the Author-under God…. (Joseph Smith’s Polygamy, Volume 1: History, Brian C. Hales, p. 9)

Eliza R. Snow, another one of Smith’s wives, stated in an affidavit made on June 7, 1869 that she was made a plural wife of Joseph on June 29, 1842. Here is a link to an original copy of it. She later became one of Brigham Young’s plural wives in the Utah territory. However, twenty-seven years earlier she had signed an affidavit made by the Relief Society solemnly declaring that no such system existed officially in the church, but was an invention of John C. Bennett:

We the undersigned members of the ladies relief society, and married females do certify and declare that we know of no system of marriage being practised in the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints save the one contained in the Book of Doctrine & Covenants, and we give this certificate to the public to sho that J.C. Bennett’s “secret wife system”is a disclosure of his own make. (Signed by Emma Smith, the RS president, Eliza R. Snow, secretary, and 18 other prominent women of Nauvoo on Oct. 1, 1842. Richard and Pamela Price, Joseph Smith Fought Polygamy Vol. II, 2014, pp.112-113)

It’s interesting, that a woman who was supposedly sealed to Joseph just four months previous, would intentionally lie about on an official statement made in conjunction with Emma Smith, the “other” wife of her new husband. It doesn’t make any sense. What does make sense, is that Brigham and the Brethren had such a hold over the women in Salt Lake that they were able to persuade them to conjure up false testimony in an effort to get the saints to believe that Joseph was the author of the polygamy doctrine in order to justify their own sins. This next statement from Brigham Young suggests that there was quite a bit more than persuasion going on with women in Utah and that women were considered inferior:

I wish my own women [wives] to understand that what I am going to say is for them as well as others… I am going to give you from this time [September 21, 1856] to the 6th day of October next, for reflection, that you may determine whether you wish to stay with your husbands or not, and then I am going to set every woman at liberty and say to them, Now go your way, my women with the rest, go your way. And my wives have got to do one of two things; either round up their shoulders to endure the afflictions of this world, and live their religion, or they may leave, for I will not have them about me. I will go into heaven alone, rather than have scratching and fighting all around me… True there is a curse upon the woman that is not upon the man, namely, that “her whole affections shall be towards her husband,” and what is the next? “He shall rule over you.” (Journal of Discourse 4:55, 57, quoted in Price, Joseph Smith Fought Polygamy Vol. II, pp. 156-157)

So nothing psychotic about that quote. It’s perfectly normal to refer to your harem of wives as your “women” while telling them that they are to just submit to their husbands who “shall rule over” them. Nothing to see here folks. As far as Joseph Smith practicing polygamy goes, there literally is “nothing to see.” The Church’s essay states at one point the following:

In Nauvoo, most if not all of the first husbands seem to have continued living in the same household with their wives during Joseph’s lifetime, and complaints about these sealings with Joseph Smith are virtually absent from the documentary record.

This paragraph is followed by footnote 32, which refers to Hales’ Joseph Smith’s Polygamy, wherein he quotes Joseph F. Smith as stating the same thing; lack of documentary evidence. In fact, this lack of documentary evidence is so substantial, that a Missouri Circuit Court actually ruled in favor of Joseph Smith not being the author of polygamy. In the early 1890s, the RLDS church and the Church of Christ (two groups of saints who chose not to go west) found themselves in a suit over the Temple Lot in Independence Missouri. The LDS church came to assist the Church of Christ because Brigham Young had sold a quitclaim on the land to a Mr. Pool who sold it to the Church of Christ. Because the church under Joseph was the original owner of the 63.27 acre tract of land the LDS church had to convince the judge that Joseph was the author of polygamy. Several church leaders came to testify along with two women who had claimed to be Joseph’s wives. This is what Judge John F. Philip’s official decision was:

There can be no question of the fact that Brigham Young’s assumed presidency was a bold and bald usurpation. The Book of Doctrine and Covenants (printed in 1846) page 411, containing a revelation to Joseph Smith, January 19, 1841, gave unto them “my servant Joseph, to be a presiding elder over all my church, to be a translator, a revelator, a seer, and a prophet.” The book clearly taught that the succession should descend lineally and go to the firstborn. Joseph Smith so taught, and, before his taking off, publicly proclaimed his son Joseph, the present head of Complainant Church, his successor, and he was so anointed.

The Book of Mormon itself inveighed against the sin of polygamy…. Conformably to the Book of Mormon, the Book of Doctrine and Covenants expressly declared “that we believe that one man should have but one wife, and one woman but one husband.” And this declaration of the church on this subject reappeared in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, editions of 1846 and 1856. Its first appearance as a dogma of the church [the dogma of polygamy] was in the Utah Church in 1852.

Claim is made by the Utah Church that this doctrine is predicated on a revelation made to Joseph Smith in July, 1843. No such revelation was ever made public during the life of Joseph Smith, and under the law of the church it could not become an article of faith and belief until submitted to and adopted by the church. This was never done.

It is charged by the Respondents, as an echo of the Utah Church, that Joseph Smith, ‘the Martyr,’ secretly taught and practiced polygamy; and the Utah contingent furnishes the evidence, and two of the women, to prove this fact. It perhaps would be uncharitable to say of these women that they have borne false testimony as to their connection with Joseph Smith; but, in view of all the evidence and circumstances surrounding the alleged intercourse, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that at most they were but sports in ‘nest hiding.’ In view of the contention of the Salt Lake party, that polygamy obtained at Nauvoo as early as 1841, it must be a little embarrassing to President Woodruff of that organization when he is confronted, as he was in the evidence in this case, with a published card in the church organ at Nauvoo in October, 1843, certifying that he knew of no other rule or system of marriage than the one published in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, and that the ‘secret wife system,’ charged against the church, was a creature of invention by one Doctor Bennett, and that they knew of no such society. That certificate was signed by the leading members of the church, including John Taylor the former President of the Utah Church. And a similar certificate was published by the Ladies’ Relief Society of the same place, signed by Emma Smith, wife of Joseph Smith, and Phoebe Woodruff, wife of the present President Woodruff. No such marriage ever occurred under the rules of the church, and no offspring came from the imputed illicit intercourse, although Joseph Smith was in the full vigor of young manhood, and his wife, Emma, was giving birth to healthy children in regular order, and was enciente at the time of Joseph’s death” (The Temple Lot Case, Price Publishing Company, pp. 543-551, as quoted from the blog In Defense of Joseph)

So there you have it. The LDS church possessed insufficient evidence to link Joseph Smith to polygamy in the 1890s in a court of law and failed to even mention that little tidbit in the 2014 apologist essay. I’d say that’s a pretty big deal.

The Cochranites and John C. Bennett

So if LDS polygamy did not originate with Joseph Smith, where did it come from? There were a few shady characters floating around Nauvoo in the 1830s and 40s that had a substantial influence on the Saints, especially the Quorum of the Twelve. Jacob Cochran, the founder of the religious movement who called themselves “Cochranites,” was especially interested in polygamy. He promoted a doctrine called “the Patriarchal Order” which entailed the taking of plural wives modeled after father Abraham. The group lived in the Maine area and when missionaries were sent to them they were easily converted to Mormonism, taking their spiritual wifery doctrine with them. Brigham Young served as a missionary among them around 1834. After leaving without a missionary companion, and living among them for quite some time, he returned home with a Cochranite woman who abandoned her husband and became his second plural wife.

Shortly after John C. Bennett joined the church he was catapulted into various leadership positions having earned the confidence of Joseph Smith. He became the Mayor of Nauvoo, a member of the First Presidency, General of the Nauvoo Legion, and chancellor of the University of Nauvoo. He was also involved in city planning, the Masonic lodge, and the use of medicines to combat malaria among the Saints. Little did Joseph and the Saints know that he had left behind a wife and children in Ohio and had a propensity toward the seduction of married women. He just couldn’t help himself. He was eventually excommunicated on May 11 of 1842 for adultery and spiritual wifery. He told the women that God had given them to him and that there was no sin in it. He left Nauvoo and went to Carthage where he would publish pamphlets and materials slandering the character of Joseph Smith. His book, The History of the Saints; or, an Expose of Joe Smith and Mormonism, has been adversely influential in shaping the nation’s view of Joseph Smith and Mormon polygamy. However, this book was just an attempt for Bennett to cover his own sins. In Richard and Pamela Prices’ Joseph Smith Fought Polygamy Volume II, they address all of Bennett’s accusations and provide contemporary evidence of the Prophet’s innocence.

The stories of two women come to the forefront in relation to Bennett. The first, Martha Brotherton, was seduced by Bennett who told her that he was practicing the spiritual wives doctrine because he had been sanctioned by Joseph to do so. They conjured a story that Martha had been locked in Joseph’s office at the Red Brick Store for days while Brigham Young had attempted to persuade her to become his plural wife. She spread the stories in Nauvoo and even sent them to England in written form. The rumors spread so fast that Joseph and Hyrum had to address the issues in April Conference of 1842. Joseph is reported to have stated the following:

I preached in the Grove, and pronounced a curse upon all adulterers, and fornicator, and unvirtuous persons, and those who have made use of my name to carry on their iniquitous designs. (LDS History of the Church 4:587)

Joseph simply denouncing the practice does not prove his innocence, but the testimony of others help to clarify the facts. For instance, Martha’s own sister declared that she lied in a letter published by Parley P. Pratt:

…I suppose, by this time, you will have heard that my parents and sister have apostatized. I know not what they have written to England, as they would not let me see their letters, but I can prove that my sister has told some of the greatest lies that were ever circulated…for many other of the English Saints have proved that the statements made by my sister are falsehoods of the basest kind. (Millennial Star 3 [August 1842]

The Prices’ produce several other affidavits in their book from William Smith (Joseph’s brother), John McLlwrick, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, and a statement by Dr. Robert D. Foster in a paper called The Wasp on Sept. 24, 1842. The only two people corroborating the story were Martha Brotherton and John C. Bennett, which makes for a hard case when almost every one else in town was vouching for Joseph. Another women Bennett had an affair with, Sarah Pratt (wife of Orson Pratt), made similar allegations against Joseph, she also claiming to have been locked in a room in the Red Brick Store. Interesting that no other citizens came forward to validate the story of the women being locked in store. It being a bustling and busy place, surely someone would have been an eyewitness. Here is what one writer of The Wasp stated in June of 1842:

Whenever I go into General Smith’s store and find a dozen or more loungers, or loafers, or, to use a more familiar phrase, lazy set of fellows lopping and lolling on the counter; or filling up the entrance into the Recorder’s office… (Wasp 1 [June 4, 1842]:2)

Sarah Pratt’s story is also disputed by many in Nauvoo at the time, including Stephen and Zeriuh Goddard, who were a couple that Sarah Pratt was living with while her husband Orson was away on a mission. They stated in separate testimonies that Bennett had stayed there many nights, and that Orson’s young son would often have to sleep on the floor to make room for Bennett on the single bed. Finally, Sarah disputed her own story in an interview she had with Joseph Smith III years later in Salt Lake City. Here is a snippet of the interview:

“Were you acquainted with his general deportment in society, especially towards women?”

“Yes”

“Did you ever know him to be guilty of any impropriety in speech or conduct towards women in society or elsewhere?”

“No, sir, never. Your father was always a gentleman, and I never heard any language from him or saw any conduct of his that was not proper and respectful.”

“Did he ever visit you at your house?”

“He did.”

“Did he at such times or at any place other time or place make improper overtures to you, or proposals of an improper nature–begging your pardon for the apparent indelicacy of this question?”

“No, Joseph, your father never an improper word to me in his life. He knew better.” (The Saints Herald [January 15, 1935], 80; [January 22, 1935], 109-110)

Udney Jacobs and The Peacemaker

According to the Richard and Pamela Price, a little pamphlet called The Peacemaker was responsible in part for the entry of the doctrines of polygamy and the inferiority of women into the church. It was written by Udney Hay Jacobs, a nonmember who was later baptized, and aspiring author who tried to petition President Buchanan to grant him federal funds to publish his book. The Peacemaker endeavors to use the Bible to justify plural marriage and dominance over women. There are some downright creepy things written therein. Here is just a small taste:

So in the case of the wife, when she refuses to submit cheerfully to her husband in all things; (a broad commandment this, but limited by reason and love only,) when she ceases to reverence her husband, to be submissive to him; trusting in her husband, and believing in him, then she commits fornication against the law of marriage, and against him; even as the false church has against Christ. And in no other possible way can she commit this act and it then becomes the right of her husband, to write her a bill of divorcement according to the strict letter of the law of God given by Moses: and to put her away unless she repent. A right understanding of this matter, and a correct law properly executed, would restore this nation to peace and order; and man to his true dignity, authority and government of the earthly creation….

And this lovely little morsel:

…In the holy decalogue [Ten Commandments], written with the finner [sic] of God himself, it is not said; thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s husband, no verily, she has no such property. But thou shalt not covet thy Neighbor’s wife, nor his man servant, nor his maid servant, his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing thy neighbor possesses. Here the wife is pronounced the husband’s property, as much so as his man servant, his maid servant, his ox, or his horse…. But the man is in no sense of the word the property of his wife. How can property possess its owner? How can the owner be put under the law and government of his property? When God made the woman he gave her to the man; but he never gave the man to the woman. Therefore the woman has no power to divorce the man. How can property divorce its owner?… (15)

In ancient times under the law of God [the Law of Moses], the permission of a plurality of wives had a direct tendency, to prevent the possibility of fornication in the wife….” (As quoted in Price, Joseph Smith Fought Polygamy Volume II, p. 127-128)

Some of the brethren were secretly into this strange doctrine and went behind Joseph’s back in allowing it to be published in the Times and Seasons as a “feeler” to see how church members would receive it. When the pamphlet was published in 1842 it somehow had Joseph’s name on it. In that year Joseph had stepped back somewhat from his responsibilities as the editor of the Times and Seasons and given it over to the Quorum of the Twelve, with John Taylor doing most of the editing. He was furious when he returned home to find his name on the pamphlet in the winter of 1842 after he had been away dealing with the Bennett situation. Bennett had gone to the Missouri authorities and testified falsely that Joseph and Porter Rockwell had been involved in the attempted assassination of Governor Boggs, which forced Joseph into hiding. Imagine returning home to find your name attached to such a chauvinistic piece of literature. This is what Joseph had to say about it:

There was a book printed at my office, a short time since, written by Udney H. Jacobs, on marriage, without my knowledge; and had I been apprised of it, I should not have printed it; not that I am opposed to any man enjoying his privileges; but I do not wish my name associated with the authors, in such an unmeaning rigmarole of nonsense, folly, and trash.

JOSEPH SMITH.
(Times and Seasons 4 [December 1,1842]: 32)

Joseph had no part or parcel of this doctrine. For every “evidence” the LDS church uses to paint Joseph as a polygamist, there are just as many or more source documents where you find Joseph Smith opposing it and others vouching for him. There is literally a library full of such documents here, at The Restoration Bookstore, a website where you can read all of Richard and Pamela Prices’ works for free.

It is strange indeed the lengths the LDS church will go to protect the character of Brigham Young. We know that he took a plural wife in the 1830s among the Cochranites, we know that John C. Bennett asked him for assistance when he was being expelled from the church, and we know he personally believed in many of the twisted doctrines of Udney’s Peacemaker. The modern Church has denounced many of Brigham’s doctrines such as blood atonement, Adam-God doctrine, and blacks being denied priesthood blessings, yet they still claim polygamy was divinely inspired. They will say that we don’t practice it anymore, but leave it as an open and unanswered question for the afterlife, horrifying many faithful LDS men and women who want nothing to do with a Celestial kingdom full of plural marriages.

Emma’s Final Testimony

Emma Hale Smith never defamed her husband’s character at anytime in her life. There are others that put words in her mouth years after the fact, but she remained stalwart to Joseph’s claims that he never practiced polygamy. In 1879 she was interviewed by her son Joseph Smith III and it was published in the Saints Advocate. For as much as the LDS church extols Emma’s character and virtue in it’s current movies and study manuals, it baffles the mind how it can ignore her own words on the subject of polygamy. This is her final testimony:

 

In a conversation held in the Herald Office during the early days of the present year [1879], between Bishop Rogers, Elders W. W. Blair, H. A. Stebbins, and a few others, leading minds in the church, it was thought advisable to secure from Mother Bidamon (Sister Emma Smith) her testimony upon certain points upon which various opinions existed; and to do this, it was decided to present to her a few prominent questions, which were penned and agreed upon, the answers to which might, so far as she was concerned, settle these differences of opinion. In accordance with this understanding the Senior Editor of the Herald [Joseph III] visited Nauvoo, in February last, arriving on the 4th and remaining until the 10th. Sister Emma answered the questions freely and in the presence of her husband, Major Lewis C. Bidamon, who was generally present in their sitting room where the conversation took place. We were more particular in this, because it had been frequently stated to us: “Ask your mother, she knows.” “Why don’t you ask your mother; she dare not deny these things.” “You do not dare to ask your mother!”

Our thought was, that if we had lacked courage to ask her, because we feared the answers she might give, we would put aside that fear; and, whatever the worst might be, we would hear it. The result is given below; it having been decided to give the statements to the readers of the Herald, in view of the death of Sister Emma having occurred so soon after she made them, thus giving them the character of a last testimony.

It is intended to incorporate these questions and answers in the forthcoming history of the Reorganization.

We apologized to our mother for putting the questions respecting polygamy and plural wives, as we felt we ought to do.

Question.-Who performed the marriage ceremony for Joseph Smith and Emma Hale? When? Where?

Answer.-I was married at South Bainbridge, New York; at the house of Squire Tarbell, by him, when I was in my twenty—second or twenty—third year.

We here suggested that Mother Smith’s History gave the date of the marriage as January 18, 1827. To this she replied:-

I think the date correct. My certificate of marriage was lost many years ago, in some of the marches we were forced to make.

In answer to a suggestion by us that she might mistake about who married Father and herself; and that it was rumored that it was Sidney Rigdon, or a Presbyterian clergyman, she stated:-

It was not Sidney Rigdon, for I did not see him for years after that. It was not a Presbyterian clergyman. I was visiting at Mr. Stowell’s, who lived in Bainbridge, and saw your father there. I had no intention of marrying when I left home; but, during my visit at Mr. Stowell’s, your father visited me there. My folks were bitterly opposed to him; and, being importuned by your father, aided by Mr. Stowell, who urged me to marry him, and preferring to marry him to any other man I knew, I consented. We went to Squire Tarbell’s and were married. Afterwards, when Father found that I was married, he sent for us. The account in Mother Smith’s History is substantially correct as to date and place. Your father bought your uncle Jesse’s [Hale] place, off Father’s farm, and we lived there till the Book of Mormon was translated; and I think published. I was not in Palmyra long.

Q-What about the revelation on polygamy? Did Joseph Smith have anything like it? What of spiritual wifery?

A.-There was no revelation on either polygamy, or spiritual wives. There were some rumors of something of the sort, of which I asked my husband. He assured me that all there was of it was, that, in a chat about plural wives, he had said, “Well, such a system might possibly be, if everybody was agreed to it, and would behave as they should; but they would not; and, besides, it was contrary to the will of heaven.”

No such thing as polygamy, or spiritual wifery, was taught, publicly or privately, before my husband’s death, that I have now, or ever had any knowledge of.

Q.-Did he not have other wives than yourself?

A.-He had no other wife but me; nor did he to my knowledge ever have.

Q-Did he not hold marital relation with women other than yourself?

A.-He did not have improper relations with any woman that ever came to my knowledge.

Q.-Was there nothing about spiritual wives that you recollect?

A.-At one time my husband came to me and asked me if I had heard certain rumors about spiritual marriages, or anything of the kind; and assured me that if I had, that they were without foundation; that there was no such doctrine, and never should be with his knowledge, or consent. I know that he had no other wife or wives than myself, in any sense, either spiritual or otherwise.

Q.-What was the condition of feeling between you and Father?

A.-It was good.

Q.-Were you in the habit of quarreling?

A.-No. There was no necessity for any quarreling. He knew that I wished for nothing but what was right; and, as he wished for nothing else, we did not disagree. He usually gave some heed to what I had to say. It was quite a grievous thing to many that I had any influence with him.

Q.-It has been stated sometimes that you apostatized at Father’s death, and joined the Methodist Church. What do you say to this?

A.-I have been called apostate; but I have never apostatized, nor forsaken the faith I at first accepted; but was called so because I would not accept their new—fangled notion.

Q.-By whom were you baptized? Do you remember?

A.-I think by Oliver Cowdery, at Bainbridge.

Q.-You say that you were married at South Bainbridge, and have used the word Bainbridge. Were they one and the same town?

A.-No. There was Bainbridge and South Bainbridge; some distance apart; how far I don’t know. I was in South Bainbridge.

These questions, and the answers she had given to them, were read to my mother by me, the day before my leaving Nauvoo for home, and were affirmed by her. Major Bidamon stated that he had frequently conversed with her on the subject of the translation of the Book of Mormon, and her present answers were substantially what she had always stated in regard to it.

Joseph Smith [III]. –The Saints’ Herald, vol. 26, pp. 289, 290.
(RLDS History of the Church 3:353-358;
The Saints Advocate 2:49-52, October 1879)(As quoted on this blog)

Why Defend Polygamy?

It’s crucial to the LDS church to defend Brigham Young’s position on polygamy. First and foremost, among other reasons, is that they claim a line of authority from every church president from Brigham Young forward. This line of authority, they insist, links their priesthood line directly back to Jesus Christ. Even though they have conceded that blood atonement, Adam-God, and racism were false concepts, they won’t make the same exception for polygamy. This doctrine permeated the 19th century church and dominated the LDS philosophy of what was required for exaltation. In fact, remnants of it still exist today. At least two of the current apostles in the corporate church are sealed to two different women. This is allowed in the case of spousal death and the desire to marry again. They allow the second wife to be sealed to them because they believe they will have both wives in the hereafter. If the Church were to become transparent on all of the contemporary, non-contemporary, anecdotal, and first hand account evidence on the subject of polygamy, they would to be forced to admit that there are two sides to this coin. This admission would pose a threat to the current practice of “spiritual wifery” that exists in the Church today, and the doctrine would be at risk to be rescinded. However, another and more important reason not to tell the truth about Smith’s non-polygamy, is that the Church’s beloved line of authority might be shown to be illegitimate. If there is no succession through Brigham Young, there is no succession at all, he being the only link between Joseph Smith and the modern Church leaders. Indeed, it is difficult to prove that Joseph passed any “keys” or “authority” to Brigham at all, and it certainly doesn’t help that Joseph told several people before his death that, “If Brigham Young ever leads this church he will lead it to hell.” (Source)

It is not unreasonable to assume that Brigham Young did lead the church to “hell” as Joseph suggested. Consider the Book of Mormon prophecies that predicts the apostasy of the gentile church. The Lord himself stated that the gentiles would sin against and reject the fulness of the gospel. Well, you can’t sin against something unless you’ve received it in the first place. This is what Christ told the Nephites at Bountiful:

And thus commandeth the Father that I should say unto you: At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth, and shall be filled with all manner of lyings [Brigham lied about the Joseph teaching polygamy], and of deceits [attributing Section 132 to Joseph], and mischiefs, and all manner of hypocrisy, and murders [blood atonement and Mountain Meadows Massacre], and priestcrafts [Brigham paid himself a wage and used church funds for personal gain], and whoredoms [polygamy is glorified adultery], and of secret abominations; and if they shall do all those things, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, behold, saith the Father, I will bring the fulness of my gospel from among them. (3 Nephi 16:10)

December 11

The Most Dangerous Religion

Organized religion has been the scapegoat for many of the ills we face in our modern world. War, hate, divisiveness, racism, group think and a host of other unpleasantries have been said to be the result of clashing religious organizations dating back to the most primitive societies. While there is certainly truth to these allegations against organized religion, the waters get a little murky when we are deciphering the history of religious violence. In many instances, religious movements that begin as benign and intrinsic campaigns are hijacked by governments and used for nefarious purposes. The most obvious example of this phenomena is the religion called Christianity.

When Jesus began his ministry at the age of thirty he was not regarded as any great prophet or leader. When he announced the commencement of his earthly mission in a Jewish synagogue people asked, “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son?” As he went from place to place healing people and teaching sermons he began to catch the public eye, as well as the attention of local church and civic leaders. As it so happened the priesthood leadership was part of the ruling class of Rome and enjoyed a sumptuous living provided by the taxes of the common pheasants, whom Jesus was derived from. Many of the Jewish religious rituals and ceremonies were more in honor of Roman demigods than the Jewish god. To be a high priest in the days of Jesus meant a life of wealth and ease, as long as proper deference was given to Roman masters.

Jesus’ ministry was, among other things, a silent revolution against Roman tyranny. His admonition to “love your enemies” was a refutation of the Roman warfare state and military expansionism. His teaching to “Love God” first and then your neighbor was another way of saying to trust in God and not men. His constant breaking of the Jewish rules and customs like healing on the sabbath and forgiving adulterers was a message to his followers that people are more important than rules and traditions. He was a rebel in the deepest sense of the word, defying every aspect of Roman statism simply by his teachings and service to others. After his death his followers continued teaching his gospel for a few hundred years. They were persecuted, hated, stoned, tortured, and even crucified by people who thought of themselves as religious. Many Christians who took seriously Jesus’ teaching to love their enemies refused to serve in the Roman military. Others who took seriously his council to “swear not at all,” refused to become engrossed in the nationalistic Roman culture and made Christ their only God by “having no other gods before” him. At it roots, Christianity was indeed a dastardly anti-state and anti-authority movement. Of course this all changed in 300 AD when Constantine decided to become a Christian himself and made it the state religion.

The marriage of Christianity and the Roman Empire brought a shift in ideology that allowed the religion to attach itself to the sentiments of nationalism. Roman soldiers were now forced to merge Christian principles with Roman militarism and expansionism. Now the non-Christian factions of the population were the ones who faced persecution and state execution. The “pagan” nations became the object of aggression as it was incumbent on the Roman leaders to spread Christianity by the sword. This led eventually to the so-called Christian crusades wherein sin was stamped out by brute force. The Roman state essentially turned Christianity on it’s head, virtually destroying every tenet that Jesus so carefully laid down during his ministry. The state had successfully commandeered a religious movement to serve it’s own nationalistic agenda. Ironically, it’s the religions themselves that get blamed for all this death and destruction, but the real culprits are the usurpers who fill the judgment seats of the state.

Nationalism is a Religion

For a religion to be classified as a religion there are certain characteristics that are usually observed. For example, there must be a god or pantheon of gods that are worshipped, along with symbolism, ceremonies, rituals, dogmas, creeds, sacraments, and even martyrs. And there must be extreme emphasis and reliance on a supernatural power over the self. Some of the words describing religion when a general definition is consulted include, “belief in a superhuman controlling power,” and “faith… worship,” and even “a pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance.” It is very easy to show that nationalism encompasses all the characteristics of an authentic religion, and the ability to implement them on a scale that single religious organizations are powerless to emulate.

We will begin with symbolism. All religions have their sacred signs and symbols. Christians have the cross, Jews have their star, and Buddhists have their wheel. The symbols of American nationalism are the flag, the Great Seal of the United States, the bald eagle, and even the North American bison. The Great Seal portrays an eagle with an olive branch in the right talon (representing peace), and thirteen arrows in the left talon (representing war). The Latin phrase inscribed on the seal, E Pluribus Unum, is translated, “out of many, one.” And of course on the back of the U.S. dollar the great pyramid is depicted with the all-seeing eye at the top. This symbol has ancient and occult roots but we will not open that can of worms in this blog post. Two Latin phrases are displayed on the seal of the dollar, Annuit Coeptis (providence favors our undertakings), and Novus Ordo Seclorum (new order of the ages). These expressions are vague and general, and are construed differently by different people. However, when analyzed through nationalistic eyes, it is easy to ascertain the meanings that government would like to assign to them. Let’s consider the first phrase, “out of many, one.” This is referring to the creation of a strong national government under the auspices of the Constitution, or in other words, thirteen states coming together to form one union. There are problems with this line of reasoning. Most of the founding generation considered their nation to be their home state, and many were vehemently opposed to the ratification of the Constitution because they believed that it would create a nationalistic government that would overrule their state governments. The Constitution was sold to the state ratification conventions by Madison, Hamilton, and others, who postulated that it would create a federal government which had no rights or powers except those granted to it by the states, but Hamilton had other motives. Some wanted a voluntary union and some wanted a coercive one. The voluntary union was eventually destroyed by Lincoln and the Civil War, and a truly nationalistic government was born. Lincoln often spoke of the American people as “one people,” but this was a relatively new idea in the 1860s. Before this time most Americans would self-identify with their home state. A more proper rendering of the seal should’ve been E Pluribus Pluribus, or “out of many, many,” however, it was probably conjured by a Hamiltonian nationalist, a group that has hell bent on creating a strong central government from the beginning.

The second phrase, Annuit Coeptis, is a declaration that God is in favor of our nation and it’s undertakings. The implications of such a belief can be devastating. If our undertakings include foreign intervention and aggressive warfare then to say God favors such things would be blasphemy, but how many Americans believe that God is fighting on our side in every war? In fact, most of the time those we are fighting against (i.e. Muslims) believe that their God is on their side. How do we reconcile such a discrepancy? Maybe God isn’t in favor of either side, or perhaps just the side who is being invaded? Or maybe he just lets the “wicked destroy the wicked,” as has been stated in scripture. In any case, when we start believing that God is favoring everything we are doing as a nation it creates a collective moral hazard with ominous consequences. For instance, attributing divine approval to things like war, taxation, sanctions, and socialistic programs while overlooking the harm these things bring to other people is to participate in a logical fallacy. Furthermore, this idea somehow links government leaders with the divine, almost as if they either commune with God , or are gods themselves. Many American’s do this without even thinking about it. Slogans like “God bless our troops” or “God bless America” imply that the heavens are supporting our foreign wars and domestic policy. Who is controlling our troops? The leaders of the government of course. When this catch phrase is used what is really meant is, “God bless our leaders that are giving orders to the troops.” But most American’s probably don’t think of it this way. Perhaps they envision some abstractive force between the troops and God somehow circumventing the president and military leaders. In fact, people who hate president Obama use this phrase all the time. Do they not know that he is the commander and chief of the military? How can someone hate the president but believe the troops are in the hands of God simultaneously? This is the type of Orwellian doublespeak that extreme nationalism breeds.

The following paragraph headers are taken from the website of a guy who put together a list of religious and nationalistic equivalencies. I will list several and expound upon them. You can find the full list here.

God = United States of America

The Ten Commandments expressly prohibit the worshipping of false gods and idols. The god of American nationalism is the United States of America, which is basically just a big hunk of land in the Northern Hemisphere. Land, however, is just land without people to inhabit it. So if our nationalistic god isn’t the land itself, then what is it? When we hear the words “United States of America” what do we think of? The most logical thing that comes to mind is the United States government. After all, they are the organization that makes laws, enforces them, “protects” us from foreigners, and regulates all the land inside the imaginary borders of the map. It only makes logical sense that the god of American nationalism is indeed the American government. And what is government? Just a group of individuals who have obtained a monopoly on the use of force in a given territory. That’s it. American nationalism is nothing more than the worship of the individuals who control the government. It can’t be anything else in any logical sense.

Sacred Texts = Constitution/Declaration of Independence

Every religion has its sacred texts, from the Bible, to the Qur’an, to the Tibetan Book of the Dead, to the Vedas. The sacred texts of the U.S. government are the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Although, ironically, only lip service is paid to these texts because they are no longer adhered to by the government. After all, didn’t President GW Bush, who swore on oath to defend the Constitution, say it was “just a God damn piece of paper?” It really doesn’t matter what the Constitution says at all because there are enough read between the lines loopholes in it that allow the government to do whatever it wants. However, it serves its purpose to the nationalistic sheep of this country as a symbol of the beginnings of a great nation. It doesn’t matter what it says or means, it just matters that it exists. It gives them that feel good security of a framework of what government is supposed to be, almost a guarantee of sorts, like the Bill of Rights was designed to be. The thing is, is I can take a shit in a box and mark it guaranteed, but that means all I’ve got is a guaranteed piece of shit. The ratification of Constitution eventually led to the creation of a national government, and this is the reason we have the federal behemoth we contend with today.

Exegetical Texts = Laws/Gettysburg Address

Since the days of Justice John Marshall the Supreme Court has been interpreting laws based upon precedent. What that means is that instead of relying upon a strict constructionist view of Constitutional law, they rely on the precedent of the previous rulings. Law students are taught case law in school rather than Constitutional law. In a religious sense these laws become sacred writ, and the exegesis or explanation of these laws comes from the rulings of Supreme Court Justices who rely upon the rulings of past Supreme Court Justices. It’s no wonder that our laws have changed dramatically since the founding era, but the cultish thing about this process is that we (by we I mean the people of the individual states) are not allowed to question these laws once those in the “high priesthood of black robes” have ruled upon them. Interpreting doctrines and creeds is something that high priests in organized religions have done for centuries, and our “black robed deities” who sit upon the chief seats are doing the same for us nationalistic Americans.

Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address is regarded as the best presidential speech in American history. It really was a watershed moment in our descent into nationalistic government. The “one people” doctrine was finally solidified into a powerful union that states now could not get out of without being invaded. Interestingly enough, Lincoln was not a religious man. He was a self-declared atheist and actually despised the idea of needing a Savior to get into heaven. Yet he used all of the following religious words and phrases in his Gettysburg speech, “four score, our fathers, brought forth, conceived in liberty, dedicated, new birth of liberty, shall not perish.” This subtle speech would change American forever. The “new birth of liberty” was subservience to a strong, central, nationalistic government that would not tolerate succession or nullification from the states. Every child who attends government schools has to learn this speech in elementary. There are plenty of other great speeches and papers in American history that are left out of school curriculum. I believe this one is strategically used to instill nationalistic sentiments into children at a young age in essence getting them to drink the government Kool Aid.

Ritual Leader = President

The office of president in the executive branch is an object of idol worship. We look to this man to solve all our problems both foreign and domestic. He has assumed Caesar-like powers which far exceed those granted in Article II of the Constitution. This one man can declare war, mobilize troops, legislate, make treaties, act unilaterally in foreign nations, and even execute American citizens without a trial. This is more power than any one man should ever possess. Americans look to him as a demigod, somehow lulled into a false sense of security when the candidate of their preferred party wins an election. As if everything will be “all better now” because a Republican or a Democrat is now in charge. The real problem is that someone is in charge at all. Much like the children of Israel looked to Moses to speak to God in their behalf, the American people look to the president to speak to the American God for them. As if national salvation can only come through this great mediator called the president. If this is not a cult of personality, I don’t know what is.

Profession of Faith = Oaths

Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount that we “shalt not forswear” ourselves, “but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths. But verily, verily, I say unto you, swear not at all; neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne. Neither by the earth, for it is his footstool.” All government officers and representatives are required to swear an oath of allegiance to the Constitution, which really means the government’s interpretation of the Constitution. This oath is indeed a profession of faith, but to the American god, not the real one. The American god does what is in the government’s best interest and this oath is merely an outward ordinance of loyalty to the powers that be. This swearing that happens at the inaugurations of presidents is a sacred ritual in the American religion.

Ceremonies and Rituals

These include presidential inaugurations, political conventions, voting, flag ceremonies, state of the union addresses, parades, and other nationalistic celebrations.

Holy Days = National Holidays

No religion is complete without it’s holy days, and the American Imperium has no shortage. National Holidays include Thanksgiving, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, President’s Day, Memorial Day, The Fourth of July, Labor Day, Veterans Day, most of which are accompanied by parades, fireworks, and other ritualistic celebrations honoring fallen soldiers, veterans, the military, and the police.

Sacred Ritual Object = Flag

A flag is nothing but a piece of cloth with designs and colors on it. However, in the American religion, it commands respect, honor, reverence, adulation, and obedience. It is to be saluted, worshipped, and respected. How ironic that many Christian Americans participate in this idolatry while ignoring their God’s admonition to abstain from worshipping false gods.

Liturgy = Pledge of Allegiance

Jesus told his disciples to avoid vain repetitions, yet the American god prefers such things. The Pledge of Allegiance, a chant that makes the participant swear on oath to the United States, which we proved earlier is the U.S. government, is a great religious tool of American nationalism. It was written in the late 1890s by Francis Bellamy, a militaristic socialist who wanted to dupe American school children into supporting foreign wars like the Spanish-American War. The original salute was the Nazi stiff arm, later changed after WWII, and the original wording did not include the words, “under God.” Again, this chant has progressive undertones like the words “one nation,” and “indivisible.” The reverence to the flag, hand over the heart, and chanting in unison are designed to deliver an emotional charge to the participant to encourage them to feel unified with their fellow countrymen and to surrender their individuality to the collective.

Hymnals

Most religious groups have sacred hymns they sing as part of their worship. American nationalism is no different. Some of the most popular are The National Anthem, God Bless America, My Country Tis of Thee, and Battle Hymn of the Republic.

Tithes = Taxes

Many religions require some form of payment to be a member of their congregations. The biblical purpose of tithing was a voluntary donation to be given directly to the poor, not even to the leaders of churches, and was not to exceed 10% of one’s surplus earnings. Taxes, on the other hand are not voluntary, and today in the U.S. are much higher than 10%. The government gives each “member” of it’s constituency a social security number, which they will use to extract annual income taxes from them until they die. If someone refuses to pay taxes, he or she is threatened with fines and imprisonment. Unlike an organized religion, this is not a club that we can get out of by simply not paying dues. Nevertheless, this is part of the American religion, and we all have to pay our “fair share” to live in this “great” nation where we enjoy “freedom” and “liberty.” However, when looked at objectively, taxation is nothing but theft.

Sacrifice = War

Most religions require some sort of sacrifice in order to be saved. In the Jewish tradition it was the sacrifice of animals, and in the Christian tradition, “a broken heart and a contrite spirit.” American nationalism requires that we offer our time, our blood and our lives if necessary (“the ultimate sacrifice”). Since the Selective Service Act of 1917 and 1940, young men are required to register for the military draft. This means that in time of war the government can conscript them in the service of the U.S. military and send them to die in war. This “sacrifice” is required of us, we are told, so that we can be “free.” How ironic really, that we have to be enslaved to be free. Since only one U.S. war was fought over freedom, namely, the Revolution, this logic easily falls in the category of nationalistic doublespeak. Most of the conflicts the U.S. has been involved in are fought for the profit of corporations, politicians, or the national interests of our allies. War destroys liberty, it is not a sacrifice that is required to preserve it, unless of course our actions are purely defensive. However, the American religion is so prevalent that most of us believe that this is a sacrifice we have to make to be free. We often look in disgust at small religious cults whose leaders convince the members to kill themselves in order to achieve some great status on the other side of the veil, yet we don’t blink an eye when government is doing this very same thing on a massive scale with warfare. As the great Randolph Bourne stated, “War is the health of the State.” And fear is the great motivator and manipulator that governments use to keep their citizenry loyal, obedient, and subservient to its demands.

Sins = Crimes

Sins committed against the American religion come in two forms, state and federal. Federal sins carry far weightier consequences than state sins, usually involving more prison time and monetary fines. Federal prisons are far more dangerous to be incarcerated in than state prisons, and perpetrators of the worst sin of society, terrorism, are sent to a place called Guantanamo Bay where torture is legal (prisons can be likened to purgatory and hell). Just like in certain religions, sins against the state vary in degree and seriousness. Some of the not to serious sins are traffic violations, parking tickets, and littering. Other sins include contracting business without a license, failing to purchase permits for building, or riding an ATV on a closed trail. More serious sins include drunk driving, using recreational drugs, selling illegal drugs, engaging in prostitution or gambling where these vices are illegal. These can be misdemeanors or felonies depending on what the judge rules. The crimes that involve a victim include murder, rape, theft, child abuse, assault, battery, kidnapping, extortion, human trafficking, and child molestation. These are the type of crimes government was originally intended to prosecute but certain emphasis is placed on other sins such as drug dealing. Crimes committed wherein a victim is involved should be the highest crimes in the law. But this is not always so. It turns out some of the worst sins against the state one can commit are treason, sedition, sabotage, and espionage. Those who commit treason, sedition, and espionage are “heretics” in the religious sense in that they do not believe the nationalistic narrative and have taken certain actions to unveil the truth. Some examples of nationalistic “heretics” include Representative Clement Vallandigham (was deported by President Lincoln for speaking out against the Civil War), Eugene Debs (imprisoned for giving a speech opposing WWI), Edward Snowden (former CIA agent who leaked info from the NSA), and Julian Assange (founder of Wilileaks).

Shrines, Temples, Relics, and Sacred Places

All religions have shrines, temples, relics, and sacred places or holy ground. Most of which are dedicated to great leaders or martyrs of the past. In the American religion we have shrines to many past leaders, such as the Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln Memorials. The Lincoln Memorial makes no bones about what it purports to be:

IN THIS TEMPLE

AS IN THE HEARTS OF THE PEOPLE

FOR WHOM HE SAVED THE UNION

THE MEMORY OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN

IS ENSHRINED FOREVER

It is both a temple and a shrine. And Lincoln is revered as some of kind of prophet/savior of the union, which should at least sound the idol alarm in believing Christians. Other shrines include Mt. Rushmore, the Statue of Liberty, the National WWI and WWII Memorials, the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Wall, and the 911 Museum. Relics include the National Archives and National History Museum. Sacred places and holy ground include Gettysburg, Pearl Harbor, Ground Zero, and Valley Forge.

Sacred Myths

Most religions have sacred myths and narratives that believers like to tell over and over again to reaffirm their faith, belief, and devotion. Some of these myths are true and some or not, but it really doesn’t matter because they serve the same purpose. In the American religion there are certain myths and narratives that we are reminded of over and over again to reaffirm our patriotism (belief in nationalism) and loyalty to the government. Most of which involve some type of national tragedy that brought people together in patriotism, which usually means supporting a war. These myths include the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, the Remember the Maine incident, the sinking of the Lusitania, the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the Gulf of Tonkin, the Bay of Pigs, the Oklahoma City bombing, 911, the Boston Massacre, and the Sandy Hook school shooting. These myths serve to help us “never forget” that during these times of crises Americans banded together under the umbrella of nationalism and supported certain government wars and actions.

The Narcissism of Nationalism

A narcissist is an extremely insecure person characterized by certain personality traits, foremost of which is that he can never be wrong, he never apologizes, he thinks that he is really special, and he views people as nothing but a means to accomplish his ends. The American nationalistic god is a narcissist. America is never wrong, America does not apologize. When Palestinians blow people up it’s called terrorism, when American drones kill civilians it’s called freedom fighting with collateral damage. When a larger foreign nation attacks a smaller nation it is called military invasion, when America invades a country it is called a “policing action to spread the gospel of freedom, liberty, and democracy.” When muslim nations use torture and indefinite detention against their citizens it’s called human rights violations, when America does it it’s called national security. Most American’s are blind to this narcissism because they have been drinking the nationalistic Kool Aid since elementary school. Religious beliefs and traditions are extremely hard things for a life-long believer to scrutinize and question, it’s almost nearly impossible. It seems that with nationalism, it’s even harder to have a “crisis of faith” because we don’t view it as a religion. But it is a religion indeed, a most dangerous one.

The Most Dangerous Religion

We think we are so civilized in our modern culture. We often view primitive societies as barbaric and primal. Take Montezuma for instance, he sacrificed children to his pagan god on a daily basis, often eating the limbs as a delicacy. He was so superstitious that he allowed a few hundred white men under the command of Cortes to conquer his people. He thought Cortes was a god because he was white, let’s face it, this guy definitely was not the sharpest tool in the shed. But he was in control of millions of Aztecs, this is not some small feat. How did he accomplish this? The answer is religion. His people really believed that in order to remain in good standing with the gods it required human blood sacrifice. They knew that some of their children would have to die for the greater good of society. This tradition had been passed down from king to king through the centuries, it was so ingrained in Aztec tradition that it had achieved the status of legitimacy. We balk at the idiocy of these societies. We cringe in our history classes as we learn about these cultures yet without realizing that we are almost exactly the same. Like the Aztec gods, the American god too requires human blood sacrifice. It requires the blood of American soldiers and the blood of foreigners to maintain its empire. It also requires the blood of children. Think of the thousands of German children killed by economic sanctions in WWI, or the thousands of Japanese children killed by the atomic bomb, or the 500,000 Iraqi children killed by sanctions in 1991, or the children who are now dying in Syria from American carpet bombs. Are not these sacrificed to the American god for the good of the empire?

Nationalism is the most dangerous religion because it legitimizes killing when it is done by the state. For something to become legitimate all that has to happen is for the people to begin to believe in it and support it. The state has proven to be the most dangerous organization to ever exist on the earth. It is always governments who kill people on a massive scale, and they do it with their citizenship cheering them. This is all made possible because of nationalism. If we can just remove our nationalistic blinders for just a moment, and objectively reflect on what our government is doing we might see through this smokescreen of amorality. Perhaps we could free our minds from this matrix of doublespeak and begin to consider that the government’s actions are not legitimate, and that killing, no matter what cloak it is done under, is still wrong.

Other articles on the subject of civil religion that are worth a look:

The Gettysburg Gospel, by Richard Gamble

Civil Religion in America, by Robert N. Bellah

October 1

Since when was “fairness” a principle?

LDS.org has a new section on their website titled “religious freedom”. There was an interesting article in the section by Ronald Rasband. Titled “Faith, freedom and religious freedom”. You can read the full article here.

In the article Rasband tells the hypothetical stories of Ethan and Samantha to relate his article. The stories are told well enough, but my focus is on his principle of “fairness for all”.

So what is the position of the Church on religious freedom? I can assure you that apostles and prophets, under the inspiration of heaven, have given significant consideration to this issue. We believe in following the commandments of God, which are designed to secure our eternal happiness. However, “God will force no man to heaven.”3 We believe in creating a space for everyone to live their conscience without infringing on the rights and safety of others. When the rights of one group collide with the rights of another, we must follow the principle of being as fair and sensitive to as many people as possible. The Church believes in and teaches “fairness for all.”4

This paragraph appears to be the essence of “live and let live”, until you get to the second to the last sentence. How do the rights of one collide with the rights of another? The rights of property, life and conscience can’t necessarily collide. Infringements can be made, but there’s not a collision without encroachment. It is silly to think that a persons right to property or life could “collide” with those of another. The collision happens only with an encroachment or threat of encroachment.

Ah, but the last part of the sentence lends some clarification to why it is worded this way. “…….we must follow the principle of being as fair and sensitive to as many people as possible.” Clearly, this position comes from the idea that things that aren’t a natural right, are a right. Things like “education”, “health care”, “respect”, etc., etc., can become rights.

Protecting conscience is about safeguarding the way someone thinks and feels and safeguarding that person’s right to act on those beliefs. I am talking about someone telling you that the thoughts, feelings, and beliefs you have are not allowed, valued, or acceptable because your views are not popular. A war in heaven was fought for agency, and it is a gross violation of that agency to force you to betray your conscience because your views do not align with the crowd.

That’s exactly right. I couldn’t agree more. Trouble is that the church’s fight for the non-discrimination ordinance’s and laws in Utah entirely contradict the above statement. As will be shown below.

A recent example of the Church’s “fairness for all” approach occurred in January 2015, when the Church held a press conference with three Apostles and a member of the Young Women general presidency to remind our members, the community, and the Utah state legislature that the Church favors a balanced approach that secures the rights of all people.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles expressed the following at that press conference: “We call on local, state and the federal government to serve all of their people by passing legislation that protects vital religious freedoms for individuals, families, churches and other faith groups while also protecting the rights of our LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender] citizens in such areas as housing, employment and public accommodation in hotels, restaurants and transportation-protections which are not available in many parts of the country.”5

Wait a minute. If your unpopular opinion “collides” with “fairness”, you actually may not act on those beliefs by not serving, housing, or giving a job to those whose lifestyle you don’t care for. So which is it Ronald? Does the church really believe in “……safeguarding the way someone thinks and feels and safeguarding that person’s right to act on those beliefs”? It can’t be both ways. You can’t have freedom of conscience, while also coercing people to violate their conscience.

With the passage of protections for both LGBT and religious people six weeks later, our Church leaders and others congratulated the LGBT community. It was encouraging to see them protected against eviction, housing discrimination, or being fired from a job because of their sexual orientation or gender. We also congratulated our religious friends of other denominations, seeing them similarly protected in the workplace and in the public square.

Utah-and the Church-received national news coverage and praise for such a historic compromise. Now, note that no doctrinal or religious principles were sacrificed. No changes were made to God’s moral law or to our belief that sexual relations should occur only within marriage between a man and a woman. The outcome was fair to all and reflected a consistency in moral standards and teachings and in respect for others.

The “LGBT and religious people” were “given” protections only by violating exercise of conscience and right of property. All rights are based on property rights. There is no right to conscience or anything without property rights. Forcing any person–under color of law–to house, feed, serve or provide employment to another against their will is involuntary servitude, a violation of conscience and destruction of property rights. How is this “encouraging” and congratulatory? How is this “fair to all” and consistent in “moral standards”?

If a photographer is disgusted by taking pictures at a lesbian or gay wedding, I see absolutely no fairness–and it’s doubtful that they do–in coercing them do so under threat of punishment. If I’m missing the boat, please enlighten me.

Despite what you may have heard or read over the years, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has stood consistently for freedom of choice and conscience. Many years ago the Prophet Joseph Smith (1805-44) wrote, “We believe… that all men are created equal, and that all have the privilege of thinking for themselves upon all matters relative to conscience.”1

Reading Rasband’s article shows just the opposite of what he claims at the end. The church may have “stood consistently for freedom of choice and conscience” in the past, or maybe in some instances, but is not consistent or moral on this particular point today. It’s one thing to quote Joseph Smith, but another to believe in–and defend–what he actually said.

It seems–in my opinion–that the church has fallen into the same trap as many of the politicians, corporations, organizations and even many individuals have. Instead of arguing from a principled point of view, they concede moral ground and argue from the “how do you think I feel” and “how is it fair to me” ground. Those are valid arguments in conversations that have no moral basis, ramifications, or future precedent. However, they are useless in important conversations of moral relevance and the liberty and rights of the individual. Once the moral ground is conceded, you have given away the brush for them to paint you into a corner. It’s much easier to stick to principles throughout, than to try to get the principled position back after having given it away.

The church could have consistently and always stood for the principled, moral argument. They did not. Instead the attempted to appease the political correct, freedom hating, natural rights hating mob. When that mob comes for the church to concede more ground, the church can’t fall back on principle because they never fought from that standpoint. The only way to appease the PC social justice warrior mob will be to concede ever more ground. It’s how socialists work. Methodically, little by little, until they have infiltrated every institution or intellectual movement and sucked all liberty and truth right out of them and made them their own.

I challenge Ronald Rasband, Dallin Oaks and any of the other top 15 church leaders to ask themselves if support of non-discrimination ordinances, backed by violence or the threat thereof from the States high priesthood of badged enforcers is how Jesus would attempt to settle disagreements? Would He refer to it as “fairness for all”, when it blatantly is not?

The church’s position doesn’t pass the smell test. It’s doubtful that Mormon, or his son Moroni would buy the position either. As Mormon says in Moroni Chapter 7:

14 Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil.

15 For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night.

16 For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.

17 But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.

I fail to see how governmental non-discrimination ordinances forcing people to violate their conscience and/or property rights to appease a small riotous mob is good and from God.

December 18

Why Mormons should reject the current War on Terror

In 1833 Joseph Smith received a revelation wherein the Lord declared that the saints should “renounce war and proclaim peace” (D&C 98:16) This revelation was received because the Saints were beginning to settle in Missouri where some of the residents, apparently threatened by the Mormon presence, were engaging in acts of violence. Church property was destroyed and a few members were tarred and feathered. Interestingly enough, the Saints actually ignored the counsel in Section 98 and by 1838 tensions culminated into what historians have called the 1838 Mormon War. There are always two sides to every story, and the one I’m about to tell will not be told in Sunday School or in any Church curriculum for that matter. But it is important if we are to learn from the mistakes of those who have gone before us.

Sidney Rigdon was a former Campbellite minister before he joined the Church, and was an excellent orator. In July of 1838 he delivered what was to become known as the Salt Sermon to a group of Saints in Caldwell County Missouri. Aptly named because of his reference to dissidents whose “salt has lost its savor,” Rigdon went so far as to actually threaten a war of “extermination” on the Church’s enemies in Missouri. Here is an excerpt from one of the more fiery segments of the speech:

We take God and all the holy angels to witness this day, that we warn all men in the name of Jesus Christ, to come on us no more forever, for from this hour, we will bear it no more, our rights shall no more be trampled on with impunity. The man or the set of men, who attempts it, does it at the expense of their lives. And that mob that comes on us to disturb us; it shall be between us and them a war of extermination, for we will follow them, till the last drop of their blood is spilled, or else they will have to exterminate us: for we will carry the seal of war to their own houses, and their own families, and one party or the other shall be utterly destroyed. –Remember it then all MEN. (Full Text)

Ridgon took this far beyond admonishing the Saints to merely defend themselves. He went on to advocating vengeance on not only these men but also on their innocent families, even though the Lord has stated several times in scripture (See Mormon 3:15) that vengeance is His prerogative alone. Predictably, several of the Saints took vengeful action by resorting to looting, plundering, and burning several of the local Missourian homes and some businesses in Daviess and other counties. As far as we know the death toll was almost entirely shouldered by the Saints, but as many as fifty homes were destroyed by Mormon vigilantes, which left over one hundred Missourians displaced. It wasn’t until after these attacks that Governor Boggs issued his famous extermination order and the Saints were eventually expelled from the state. The Saints suffered much heavier losses than the Missourians, losing 17 at the massacre of Haun’s Mill, and hundreds being left homeless and forced to flee as refugees. The irony of the event is that if perhaps Ridgon had lifted a standard of peace to his enemies (as prescribed in D&C 98: 34 by the Lord) instead of vowing to spill their blood, it’s possible that some of this carnage and destruction of property could’ve been avoided.

Why do I recite this bellicose history? Because it seems that Mormons are once again ignoring this ever so applicable revelation found in Section 98. In fact, I don’t think we have ever as a people given heed to this great piece of counsel that the Lord has given to his people during every dispensation (See verse 32). And in this Orwellian day and age of “perpetual war for perpetual peace,” the Lord’s standard for proclaiming peace and renouncing war should be preached liberally upon the housetops. Indeed, perhaps we as Latter-Day Saints, should stop focusing so much on D&C 89 (Word of Wisdom) which is not a commandment (D&C 89:2), and begin to give credence to Section 98, which, as luck would have it, actually is a commandment (D&C 98:22).

“Whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil.”

Section 98 starts off with the Lord condoning the U.S. Constitution. Now say what you will about the Constitution, I as a libertarian take issue with how much power it gave to the central government, I mean after all, it was the product of a compromise between a group of nationalists and federalists who were arguing over whether the States or the Central Authority should wear the pants. Ultimately, the nationalists won, and that is the system we are laboring under today. A system that allowed one lovable executive, G.W. Bush, to sarcastically proclaim that the Constitution was “just a GD piece of paper,” as he preceded to trample all over it. However, I think that the Lord meant that He condoned the principles of liberty, agency, and natural rights that the ideas behind the American Revolution were based upon, and this is precisely what He cites in verse 5 of Section 98. After all, why would the Lord condone a document that only counted a black person as 3/5 of a person? Seems kind of ridiculous to me.

However, if we just go by the words of that document alone, and the commentaries of several of the Founders, we easily reach the conclusion that almost all of the wars waged by the American Imperium have been illegal, immoral, and beyond simple defense. Obviously the Revolution was justified, it is “self-evident” that when a group of people are oppressed that they have a right to throw off that oppression and establish a new government. In 1812 the British invaded and burned the White House to the ground, the right to expel such an invasion is again obvious. The Civil War, or more aptly named War for Southern Independence, was justified from the Southern perspective at least at first, who were not fighting to hold onto slavery, but were endeavoring to cast off the Republican heavy hand of high tariffs and legal plunder, as well as defending State’s rights. It wasn’t until 1863, two years after the war’s inception, that Lincoln turned his attention to slavery in order to convince a Northern public that the cause was just. Honestly, he was probably tired of shutting down Northern newspapers and throwing dissenting civilians into prison, as those types of executive behaviors are bad for approval ratings. In 1898 Teddy Roosevelt and William McKinley set the precedent for meddling in foreign affairs when they declared war on Spain for conquering Cuba and the Philippines. And right after U.S. Troops freed the Filipino’s from Spanish aggression and internment camps, they introduced them to American aggression by throwing them right back into the newly acquired American internment camps, and then subsequently murdering 200,000 of them. The real cause of the war; to set up Chinese coaling stations in the Philippines to expand U.S. markets overseas.

Next stop, WWI. Wilson declares war on Germany after the Lusitania is sunk even though it was secretly carrying munitions of war to England to be used on German troops. Churchill and Wilson starve 750,000 Germans with sanctions in the form of a hunger blockade that allowed little food into the country. The Great War ends with the Treaty of Versailles that heaped crippling sanctions and reparation damages on Germany which would sow the seeds of the next world war as Hitler rose to power on a platform of taking Germany back from the Allied powers. All this because an Austrian Duke was assassinated by Serbian Nationalists who were pitied by Russia, Italy and England, after the latter saw a chance to crush it’s industrial competitor, Germany. Enter WWII, perhaps the bloodiest conflict in the history of the word. As Hitler began executing Jews, destroying civil rights in Germany, and invading Poland, FDR was secretly making deals with Uncle Joe Stalin in the form of the Lend-Lease agreement, and seeking a “back door” into the war by deliberately provoking the Japanese to attack Pearl Harbor. The result? Millions of civilians and military casualties, 50 million to be exact. Hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians killed by Allied air raids in Dresden and Tokyo (not to mention the Nukes). And in the aftermath the Communist takeover of 800 million eastern European people under Stalin’s Iron Curtain while FDR and Churchill sat back and watched. Korea and Vietnam? A result of the Cold War started after we made an alliance with the devil (Stalin) that went south. And by the way the U.S. continued to trade with Russia during those wars and guess where the profits of those trades went? To killing our soldiers. It makes no sense.

Finally, we come to the Middle East. What a mess. We begin meddling in Iran’s affairs in 1953 by deposing the only good Prime Minister they have ever had. Then we install the Shah who was deposed by the Ayatollah whose followers took some American embassy prisoners in 1979, while at the same time the CIA is helping Bin Laden in Afghanistan fight a war of independence against Russia. Then we backed Saddam against Iran during the 80s, and after a little girl falsely told us that Iraqi guards were leaving babies on cold hospital floors in Kuwait we declare war on our former ally Iraq. After British/American air raids killed 100,000 people (both Iraqis and Kurds,) and sanctions killed 500,000 Iraqi children Madelene Albright says the “price was worth it.” Then ten years later terrorists attack the twin towers probably because we have been in their business for fifty years, and we declare war again on Iraq who had nothing to do with it. We then declare war on all terrorists everywhere in the world and proceed to attack several countries through two different presidential administrations while destroying civil liberties domestically, torturing people, and holding them indefinitely in defiance of habeas corpus and the 4th Amendment. Then we bomb Afghanistan, bomb Pakistan, depose Gaddafi and let his people kill him, bomb Libya, depose Benghazi, leave our ambassador for dead, bomb Syria, bomb Yemen, bomb Somalia, ethnically cleanse the Sunni’s out of Iraq, bomb Yemen, did I mention that we bombed the hell out of Yemen? We also supported a Saudi Arabian war declared on Yemen and bombed them for hire. Then we assist Syrian Rebels against Assad who happened to be affiliated with ISIS who then took over parts of Iraq (because the Sunni’s were gone) and has become our newly created enemy. Meanwhile, millions of innocent civilians and thousands of American soldiers are dead because of our presence in these nations and our remote control drone bombings. Our military presence is felt in about 130 nations where we have troops and bases. This is where our foreign policy has inevitably lead us today. Wasn’t that exhausting? But “never forget,” they hate us because we are “free.”

What did the Founder’s say about war? Lots of good advice like don’t go in search of foreign monsters (or terrorists) to destroy (Adams), have peaceful trade with all nations and alliances with none (Washington), don’t have standing armies and central banks (Jefferson), only Congress can declare war (the Constitution, that went bye bye after WWII), a nation can never preserve freedom in the midst of continual warfare (Madison) , and all sorts of other gems that are totally ignored by virtually everyone today. The Lord did call these men “wise” even though some of them did questionable things after they got into office (D&C 101:80), which means that Mormon’s who are true to their faith and accept the D&C as canonized scripture should not be supporting wars that are unconstitutional (which is at least every war since WWII) , because anything more or less than the principles of the Constitution are “evil” according to the Lord. But I would take it a few steps further and say that Mormons should be not supporting any wars at all except those that are purely defensive, meaning that we do not follow our enemies into their lands.

C’mon Guys, it’s in your own Book of Scripture

In addition to Section 98 which says that we must lift a standard or peace at least three times to an enemy and obtain explicit consent from the Lord before engaging them, the Book of Mormon is painstakingly clear on the evils of preemptive or aggressive warfare. There are four Nephite commandeers whose narratives show up in the text; Alma, Captain Moroni, Gidgiddoni, and Mormon. Each story has one common theme; they did not ever go into Lamanite lands and attack on foreign soil, well, Mormon’s people eventually did but not until he resigned and refused to lead them into battle. I don’t have time to go into each narrative, but you’re welcome to study these things out for yourself (Alma Chapters 2-3, Alma 43-63, 3 Nephi 3, and Mormon 2-6). For more information I published a book on the subject a few years back. If a $2.99 Kindle version is too rich for your blood here is a free pdf.

In 3 Nephi 3 the Nephites were under threat of a pervasive enemy, namely the Gadianton Robbers, who subsisted on wild game in the wilderness and plundered others for a living. The leader of this Gadianton ring sent an epistle to the Nephite governor threatening invasion if they did not yield up their lands and possessions. The Nephite’s response was to petition the prophet and military leader Gidgiddoni to allow them to preemptively go into the wilderness and destroy the Robbers in their own lands. The reply of Gidgiddoni was as follows:

“But Gidgiddoni sayeth unto them: The Lord forbid; for if we should go up against them the Lord would deliver us into their hands’ therefore we will prepare ourselves in the center of our lands, and we will gather all out armies together, and we will not go against them, but we will wait till they shall come against us; therefore as the Lord liveth, if we do this he will deliver them into our hands.” (3 Nephi 3:21)

There it is guys. Instead of the classic American move of taking out threats before they have a chance to materialize on our borders (which did not work in the case of 911), the Lord admonishes his people to wait until their enemies come to their doors, and promises them protection. You can read in Mormon that as soon as the Nephites began to desire vengeance upon the Lamanites the Lord was grieved and Mormon stepped down as their commander, and the only reason they began to be defeated was because they took the battle into Lamanite lands (Mormon 4:4). If you study American foreign policy, we have actually weakened ourselves and made our nation less safe because of the enemies that the War on Terror has created. In those nations with whom we are at war, many consider themselves only to be defending their rights, lands, and religion, just as the ancient Nephites did under Captain Moroni. Bombing women and children with drones has done nothing to make us free or safe, and it has stained our garments with a lot of innocent blood. It seems that we have sunk to a new ironical low, we think that in order to eradicate terrorism, we have to become terrorists ourselves.

The Fallacy of Composition

Here is another way to think about it. Imagine that I found out my neighbor was hoarding weapons in his basement and I felt threatened by him. Would I then be justified in killing him because of what he might do to me and my family with his arsenal? Indeed, if I were to attempt such a thing I would be imprisoned and convicted of murder by my peers. Would not most people agree this is wrong? However, when a government does this, which is just a group composed of individuals, by invading a country that might be a threat, and killing many of its soldiers and civilians, we not only justify it, we applaud it. Yet, the group of people known as government has committed the exact same offense as I did in my hypothetical situation above, the only difference is that there is only one of me and many of them. The fallacy of composition is committed when we apply different morals to groups than we do to individuals. Now, combine this fallacy with the ideology behind the War on Terror, and you have a real nightmare on your hands. Here is what Ron Paul prolifically said about this “Pandora’s Box” in 2003:

This is truly a historic event. Yes, we have flaunted the rules of engaging in war and ignored the advice of our Founders regarding an interventionist foreign policy. But this pre-emptive strike far surpasses any previous military strike by the United States in sheer arrogance. At least in the past we picked sides and chose allies in ongoing wars. We’re starting this war, and will set a standard for the entire world to follow. Attack anyone we disapprove of, anyone who might have weapons, and anyone who might strike us at a later date. We are opening a Pandora’s Box, and can be certain that others will use it as a justification to strike—maybe even against the U.S., since we have let the world know that this attack on Iraq is only the beginning. Several other nations have been forewarned about a potential U.S. strike. Others will view our actions as a Pearl Harbor type attack against a nation unable to defend itself, that has not committed aggression against us. Iraq’s crime is they are too slow in following UN resolutions, while we ignore the will of the UN when it pleases us. The world is about to get a lot more dangerous, and it’s all so unnecessary. The inexplicable need to go abroad in search of monsters to destroy has prompted us to accept a foreign policy better suited to a tyrant than a constitutional republic. The odds of a worldwide conflict involving many nations have risen, as the chaos from this naked act of aggression materializes. The consequences of this assault will be unpredictable and horrendous. (Ron Paul, A Foreign Policy of Freedom, 2007)

Declaring war on an idea, like terror, as Dr. Paul said is like opening a Pandora’s Box. At least when war is declared on a nation we have a pretty good idea that it will begin and end in one place. But with a war declared on an abstraction like terror the possibilities are endless. It gives those in government carte blanche to declare anyone, any place, or anything an enemy combatant. In fact, there is nothing stopping those in power from declaring that tax protestors, gun rights activists, fringe groups, those that speak out against the president and the wars, or other right wing groups as terrorists except the good will of those in office. Such a power is bound to be abused. Government has already used this precedent (Patriot Act) to torture, suspend civl liberties, deploy troops and drones in several countries without Congressional approval, and even kill American citizens (NDAA). May we not forget that the Lord did declare that those rights and privileges embodied in the principles of liberty apply to all mankind, and are not to be infringed upon, even during a national emergency, which the U.S. government declared it was in during the 1950s and has never rescinded it. (See D&C 101:77)

Mormon Prophets & Apostles have spoken out Against War

Ok Mormons, in addition to the scriptures, the Constitution, and the words of the Founder’s as witnesses that you should not support preemptive and aggressive warfare, your own prophets and apostles have also spoken on the matter. Although statements made by church presidents on the divinity of Constitution (you can find hoards of them here) are far more abundant than those condemning warfare, the few that have spoken on the matter have not done so lightly. These few statements made over a period of time spanning almost 80 years, are clear and poignant, and leave the humble reader with no choice but to assume that the Lord is not pleased with American foreign policy and the general warfare state that exists in this nation.

The 1940s were a terrifying time in American history. Many young men were being coercively plucked from their families at a tender age and sent overseas to fight on the front lines of a European war front, many whom would never return. For the ones who survived, the experience would forever change their perspective on the world, and not always for the better. In fact, many young men would forget their morals as they were exposed to brothels, drug and alcohol abuse, and becoming desensitized to killing. The First Presidency issued a written letter (addressed to the Utah Congressional Delegation) in 1945 condemning the practice of compulsive military conscription as an egregious evil. They made an extensive list of all the evils that young men are exposed to including being subject to authoritarianism, militarism, and sexual promiscuity. As there is no room to quote it at length here we will include just a small section:

By creating an immense standing army, we shall create to our liberties and free institutions a threat foreseen and condemned by the founders of the Republic, and by the people of this country from that time till now. Great standing armies have always been the tools of ambitious dictators to the destruction of freedom. (Here is the entire document, I strongly encourage all to read it.)

As you can see, President David O. McKay and his counselors were well versed in the writings of the Founder’s, in fact, one of his counselors, J. Reuben Clark, was a constitutional lawyer, and in the General Conference report of 1946, he was bold enough to assert that the dropping of the atomic bombs in Japan was “fiendish butchery”:

Then as the crowning savagery of the war, we Americans wiped out hundreds of thousands of civilian population with the atom bomb in Japan, few if any of the ordinary civilians being any more responsible for the war than were we, and perhaps most of them no more aiding Japan in the war than we were aiding America. Military men are now saying that the atom bomb was a mistake. It was more than that: it was a world tragedy. Thus we have lost all that we gained during the years from Grotius (1625) to 1912. And the worst of this atomic bomb tragedy is not that not only did the people of the United States not rise up in protest against this savagery, not only did it not shock us to read of this wholesale destruction of men, women, and children, and cripples, but that it actually drew from the nation at large a general approval of this fiendish butchery. (CR-10/46:86-8)

For those not familiar with Hugo Grotius he was a Dutch statesman in the early 1600s and was one of the early philosophers on just war theory. This was his contemporary view of the state of Christian militarism in Europe, which is not unlike American militarism today:

I saw prevailing throughout the Christian world a license in making war of which even barbarous nations would have been ashamed; recourse being had to arms for slight reasons or no reasons; and when arms were once taken up, all reverence for divine and human law was thrown away, just as if men were thenceforth authorized to commit all crimes without restraint. (Quoted in Prophets, Principles, and National Survival, Compiled by Jerreld L, Newquist, 1964, p, 469)

Perhaps the most direct rebuke came from Spencer W. Kimball in the June 1976 First Presidency Message wherein he equated building up warfare state with idolatry. Here is a short segment of it, clink on the link below for the full article:

In spite of our delight in defining ourselves as modern, and our tendency to think we possess a sophistication that no people in the past ever had—in spite of these things, we are, on the whole, an idolatrous people—a condition most repugnant to the Lord. We are a warlike people, easily distracted from our assignment of preparing for the coming of the Lord. When enemies rise up, we commit vast resources to the fabrication of gods of stone and steel—ships, planes, missiles, fortifications—and depend on them for protection and deliverance. When threatened, we become anti-enemy instead of pro-kingdom of God; we train a man in the art of war and call him a patriot, thus, in the manner of Satan’s counterfeit of true patriotism, perverting the Saviors teaching: Love your enemies… (The False gods we worship)

President Gordan B. Hinckley, in the August 2005 Ensign, recounted the warnings in the Book of Mormon about how war caused the entire destruction of two great civilizations:

I know of no other writing which sets forth with such clarity the tragic consequences to societies that follow courses contrary to the commandments of God. Its pages trace the stories of two distinct civilizations that flourished on the Western Hemisphere. Each began as a small nation, its people walking in the fear of the Lord. But with prosperity came growing evils. The people succumbed to the wiles of ambitious and scheming leaders who oppressed them with burdensome taxes, who lulled them with hollow promises, who countenanced and even encouraged loose and lascivious living. These evil schemers led the people into terrible wars that resulted in the death of millions and the final and total extinction of two great civilizations in two different eras. (A Testimony Vibrant and True), Ensign August 2005)

And he said this in his 2003 War and Peace talk:

We sometimes are prone to glorify the great empires of the past, such as the Ottoman Empire, the Roman and Byzantine Empires, and in more recent times, the vast British Empire. But there is a darker side to every one of them. There is a grim and tragic overlay of brutal conquest, of subjugation, of repression, and an astronomical cost in life and treasure.

Make no mistake. The American Empire is an empire. With military bases in over 130 foreign nations, remote drone bombings killing women and children and terrorizing others, covert and black ops, manipulated elections, and CIA led coups to remove unfavorable leaders, our descent into empire is both ominous and obvious.

Finally, we have J. Reuben Clark on record predicting WWII before it happened. This is what he said about the powerful men who brought both WWI and WWII about:

The power people are now planning another war for you. They have made this depression last many more years than it would have ordinarily lasted. They got stock down to 14 cents on a dollar. They just bought up everything at 14 cents on a dollar, and they’re now ready to make additional billions as they put you through another world war. They’re going to have you pay for it. You’re going to be involved in it. You don’t think you’ll get involved, but they’ll say that for the peace of the world, you must come in, and you’ll feel so soft-hearted about it, you’ll come in. It will be just as big a mistake as World War I. (Source)

Now Mormons, you boast an awful lot about your ability to follow the prophet and the brethren, “even if they are wrong,” as Heber J. Grant once opined. However, it looks like you totally dropped the ball on listening to Clark, McKay, Kimball, and Hinckley on warfare. Of course I realize that all these prophets are dead and you usually only focus on the living prophet, but if what they said was important for the Saints at one time, shouldn’t it also be important for us? If dead prophets don’t matter than why do we even have the scriptures? Just food for thought.

Mormon Scholars Speak Out Against Preemptive War

Perhaps the two most popular scholars of LDS culture were W. Cleon Skousen and Hugh Nibley. Cleon, author of over thirty books and an ardent supporter of the Constitution, spoke out against the war in Iraq just before he passed away in 2005. You can listen to what he said here. Hugh Nibley is perhaps the most well known Mormon scholar. Despite his career at BYU, contribution to LDS literature, and church service he was never made a general authority in the church. However, his insights into the intricacies and evils of preemptive war are the most comprehensive that we have in Mormon literature today. No general authority, apostle, church president, or LDS scholar has come close to his analysis and interpretations of the warnings against preemptive war in scripture. What follows is a warning Nibley published in the 1980s, it’s lengthy but too well written not to include:

Is Preemptive War A Christian Principle?

By Hugh Nibley
There is no possibility of confrontation here between Good and Bad. This is best shown in Alma’s duel with Amlici. The Amlicites are described as coming on in all the hideous and hellish trappings of one of our more colorful rock groups, glorying in the fiendish horror of their appearance (see Alma 3: 4-6). Alma on the other hand is the “man of God” (Alma 2: 30) who meets the monster Amlici “with the sword, face to face” (Alma 2: 29), and of course wins.Yet the Nephites consider that debacle to be “the judgments of God sent upon them because of their wickedness and their abominations; therefore they were awakened to a remembrance of their duty” (Alma 4: 3). The moral is that whenever there is a battle both sides are guilty.Nobody knows that better than Captain Moroni, whose efforts to avoid conflict far exceed his labors in battle. When he sees trouble ahead, he gets ready for it by “preparing the minds of the people to be faithful unto the Lord their God” (Alma 48: 7). His military preparations are strictly defensive, and he is careful to do nothing that will seem to threaten the Lamanites; all of his battles are fought on Nephite soil (see Alma 48: 8-10).We are repeatedly reminded that Moroni is “a man that did not delight in bloodshed” (Alma 48: 11). By him “the Nephites were taught to defend themselves against their enemies, even to the shedding of blood if it were necessary; yea, and they were also taught never to give an offense, yea, and never to raise the sword except it were against an enemy, except it were to preserve their lives” (Alma 48: 14).

Any thought of preemptive strike is out of the question; Moroni even apologizes for espionage, for if they only have sufficient faith God will “warn them to flee, or to prepare for war, according to their danger; And also, that God would make it known unto them whither they should go to defend themselves. “This is a great load off their minds”and his [Moroni’s] heart did glory in it; not in the shedding of blood but in doing good, in preserving his people, yea, in keeping the commandments of God, yea, and resisting iniquity” (Alma 48: 15-16). Resisting iniquity where? In the only place it can be resisted, in their own hearts.

Not only is a preemptive strike out of the question but Moroni’s people have to let the enemy attack at least twice before responding, to guarantee that their own action is purely defensive (see Alma 43: 46). The highest compliment that Alma can pay Moroni is “Behold, he was a man like unto Ammon” (Alma 48: 18), who, as we have seen, renounced all military solutions to the Lamanite problem.

Later it is the decision of the Nephites, after a series of brilliant victories, to take the initiative against the Lamanites and “cut them off from the face of the land” that makes a conscientious objector of Mormon, their great leader, who “did utterly refuse from this time forth to be a commander and a leader of this people” (Morm. 3: 10-11).

And when they had sworn by all that had been forbidden them by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, that they would go up unto their enemies to battle, and avenge themselves of the blood of their brethren [a perfect John Wayne situation], behold the voice of the Lord came [to Mormon] saying: Vengeance is mine, and I will repay” (Morm. 3: 14-15).

So Mormon, from being top brass, becomes a detached observer and reporter for our express benefit, “I did stand as an idle witness. . . . Therefore I write unto you, Gentiles, and also unto you, house of Israel” (Morm. 3: 16-17). He explains that the fatal mistake of the Nephites was to take the offensive: “And it was because the armies of the Nephites went up unto the Lamanites that they began to be smitten; for were it not for that, the Lamanites could have had no power over them” (Morm. 4: 4).

Then comes the bottom line: “But, behold, the judgments of God will overtake the wicked; and it is by the wicked that the wicked are punished; for it is the wicked that stir up the hearts of the children of men unto bloodshed” (Morm. 4: 5). The battle is not between Good and Bad–the wicked shall destroy the wicked.

Mormon places the Nephites and the Lamanites side by side for our benefit. As the war between them continues, each sinks deeper and deeper into depravity. First, after a Nephite victory, are four years of peace devoted not to repentance but to warlike preparations as the Lord removes his beloved disciples from among the Nephites because of the wickedness and unbelief. The Lord even forbids Mormon to preach repentance, which preaching will now do no good “because of the hardness of their hearts the land was cursed for their sakes” (Morm. 1: 17).

They have passed the point of no return. The people have begun to worry and seek safe investments, to “hide up their treasures in the earth.” But the Dow Jones keeps going down as their riches “became slippery, because the Lord had cursed the land, that they could not hold them, nor retain them again” (Morm. 1: 18).

It is interesting that amid all this military fury riches still hold the number one position in their minds. Then, as at the end of the Antique World, total lack of security forces people to turn in desperation to “sorceries, and witchcrafts, and magics” (Morm. 1: 19)–they feel haunted, helpless, surrounded by demons. “The land was filled with robbers”; insecurity is total but “notwithstanding the great destruction which hung over my people, they did not repent . . . and it was one complete revolution throughout all the face of the land” (Morm. 2: 8).

Then come those awful words, “and I saw that the day of grace was passed with them” (Morm. 2: 15).

Though Mormon relents under extreme pressure and leads the army to more victories (see Morm. 5: 1), “nevertheless the strength of the Lord was not with us; yea, we were left to ourselves” (Morm. 2: 26).

After all the Lord has done for them, the poor fools “did not realize that it was the Lord that had spared them, and granted unto them a chance for repentance”–his arm is still stretched out (Morm. 3: 3).

Meanwhile, what are the bad guys up to? The Lamanites have been sacrificing Nephite women and children (see Morm. 4: 15), yet “notwithstanding this great abomination of the Lamanites, it doth not exceed that of our people,” who practice cannibalism “for a token of bravery” (Morm. 9: 9-10).

When things reach this state, Mormon says: “I pray unto God that he will spare thy life, to witness the return of his people unto him, or their utter destruction; for I know that they must perish except they repent” (Morm. 9: 22; emphasis added). “O the depravity of my people! They are without order and without mercy” (Morm. 9: 18).

Mormon prays for the people he had loved and led, though he knows his prayer cannot be answered (see Morm. 3: 12). “And if they perish it will be like unto the Jaredites, because of the willfulness of their hearts, seeking for blood and revenge” (Morm. 9: 23).

And all this is meant for us: “These things must surely be made known. . . . A knowledge of these things must come unto a remnant of these people, and also unto the Gentiles,” by being “hid up unto the Lord that they may come forth in his own due time” (Morm. 5: 8-9, 12).

As to Mormon’s own people, the Lord has reserved their blessings, which they might have received in the land, for the Gentiles who shall possess the land (see Morm. 5: 19). But they will have another chance, for “after they have been driven and scattered by the Gentiles, behold, then will the Lord remember the covenant” (Morm. 5: 20).

Then it will be our turn to be concerned: “And then, O ye Gentiles, how can ye stand before the power of God, except ye shall repent and turn from your evil ways?” (Morm. 5: 22).

That hardly describes us as good guys; there is only one hope for us: “I prayed unto the Lord that he would give unto the Gentiles grace,” says Moroni, “that they might have charity”–that is the only thing that can save us, unilateral generosity; if I expect anything in return for charity except the happiness of the recipient, then it is not charity.

The Lord’s answer to Moroni is chilling: “The Lord said unto me: If they have not charity it mattereth not unto thee” (Ether 12: 36-37). Mormon was shown our generation, which) he describes with photographic accuracy: “Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing” (Morm. 8: 35).

He then proceeds to describe a people immensely pleased with themselves: “There are none save a few only who do not lift themselves up in the pride of their hearts, unto the wearing of very fine apparel, unto envying, and strifes, and malice, and persecutions, and all manner of iniquities”–the high-living fiercely competitive crime-ridden world of the 1980s.

And then to the heart of the matter: “For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches [Communists do not adorn churches], more than ye love the poor and the needy, the underprivileged to “pass by you, and notice them not,” while placing high value on “that which hath no life” (Morm. 8: 36-37, 39).

All the meanness and smugness of our day speaks in that phrase; and these very self-satisfied, church-conscious, and wicked people are about to be destroyed by war: “Behold, the sword of vengeance hangeth over you; and the time soon cometh that he avengeth the blood of the saints upon you, for he will not suffer their cries any longer” (Morm. 8: 41).

We have not mentioned the case of the Jaredites; it should hardly be necessary to tell the story of Shiz and Coriantumr, each obsessed with the necessity of ridding the world of his evil adversary. Both sides were exterminated.

Not many years ago all of this Book of Mormon extravaganza belonged even for Latter-day Saints to the world of pure fantasy, of things that could never happen in the modern civilized world–total extermination of a nation was utterly unthinkable in those days. But suddenly even within the past few years a very ancient order of things has emerged at the forefront of world affairs; who would have thought it–the Holy War! the ultimate showdown of the Good Guys with God on their side versus the Godless Enemy.

It is the creed of the Ayatollah, the Jihad, Dar-al-Islam versus Dar-al-Harb, the Roman ager pacatus versus the ager hosticus. On the one side Deus vult, on the other Bi’smi-llah; it is a replay of the twelfth century, the only way the “good people” can be free, that is, safe, is to exterminate the “bad people” or, as Mr. Lee counsels, to lock them up before they do any mischief–that alone will preserve the freedom of “us good people.”

And now there is even talk of Armageddon with Gog and Magog, the two giants of the North, ending in extermination. There are those who insist that we are the good guys fighting the bad guys at Armageddon, but there is no such affair in the scriptures, where the only actual fighting mentioned is when “every man’s sword shall be against his brother”–the wicked against the wicked.

Then God intervenes with pestilence, “hailstones, fire, and brimstone” (Ezek. 38: 21-22), with much slaughter, but no mortal army has a hand in it. In the New Testament version it all happens after the Millennium, when fire comes out of heaven and destroys the army besieging the Saints, but there is no mention of a battle anywhere (see Rev. 20: 7-10). We have seen that for us there is only one way to prepare for the great events ahead, and that is to be found doing good when the Lord comes, with no one taking advantage of temporary prosperity “to his fellow-servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken” (JS-M 1: 52).

Mormon’s message to us is not without a word of hope and advice: “Behold, I speak unto you as though I spake from the dead; for I know that ye shall have my words…”

“Give thanks unto God that he hath made manifest unto you our imperfections, that ye may learn to be more wise than we have been” (Morm. 9: 30-31). His address is expressly to the inhabitants of “this land” into whose hands “this book” shall come– specifically, it is meant for us. (Source)

Nibley’s evaluation is clear and precise, and perhaps he brings to light a subject that many of us have never considered. When we grow up in a nationalistic society, complete with all the trappings and amusements of groupthink, we always tend to assume that in war there are always good guys and bad guys. Naturally, we see any conflict with which our nation is involved as a battle between good and evil with us being the “good” participants. Government propagandizers carefully and skillfully use catch words to trick our subconscious minds into believing this nonsense. Consider the following; Bush used the phrase “Axis of Evil” in describing nations that supposedly harbor terrorists, President Wilson referred to WWI as a great and holy crusade to “make the world safe for democracy.” WWII is often referred to by politicians and historians as the “last good war.” In addition to this we pick perpetual foreign good guys to forever side with and give tax dollar aide to like, say, Israel. No matter how many Israeli bombs keep killing Palestinian women and children, it is not enough for us stop sending them more. The Lord makes no bones about any of this, aggressive war is the result of the wicked destroying the wicked… period. Consider the following verse:

But, behold, the judgments of God will overtake the wicked; and it is by the wicked that the wicked are punished; for it is the wicked that stir up the hearts of the children of men unto bloodshed. (Mormon 4:5)

Did you catch that, Mormons? Those who stir up the hearts of men unto bloodshed and war are wicked men. Yes, that means President Bush, President Wilson, FDR, LBJ, President Truman, Bush Sr., Obama, and even Abraham Lincoln who invaded his own countrymen over a tax (tariff). What do all these men have in common? They pushed the American people to support wars that were either unconstitutional, preemptive, immoral, or just plain none of our business. They stirred up the hearts of Americans using professional propagandists to incite rage, vengeance, and vindictiveness on the enemies of our nation, while totally ignoring and in some cases corrupting the pure teaching of the Savior to love our enemies. There are no good buys and bad guys in war, there is only the wicked destroying the wicked. This verse of scripture should be sobering to all of us who call ourselves Mormons.

In this world of biased thinking and pervasive false tradition, there are very few people who cast emotion to the side and look at things objectively. Many of us have had beloved grandfathers serve in these wars, or fathers, husbands, even sons and daughters. We want so badly to believe that what they are doing is noble and just, that they are fighting to preserve our freedom and for oppressed peoples in foreign lands, and that for heaven’s sake they are on God’s side. Unfortunately, the facts prove that this is just not simply the case. No doubt that many American soldiers have done noble and courageous things for their fellows in battle, this does not change the fact that our presence in these foreign nations has caused horrendous amounts of death, suffering, and destruction of property. I once had a wise college professor at BYU Idaho (a professor who was criticized as a liberal, but was actually more libertarian in his views) explain to me that we have all these epicenters in our brains that determine how we think. He taught us that most people are prone to let the emotional side of their brain dominate the way they think and reason. Only a small percentage are able to cast out bias, previous mental conditioning, educational training, traditions and emotions, and disconnect themselves from their culture and nation in order to analyze data, philosophy, history, and current events in an objective manner. He surmised that this skill was key in order to avoid deception, but sadly, there are very few who can think outside the nationalistic box.

Adopting Ammon’s Way of Dealing with Enemies

Nibley mentions in his piece how the Book of Mormon missionary Ammon “renounced all military solutions to the Lamanite problem.” This is a section of scripture often overlooked by many latter-day saints but has an important message for our day. Prior to Ammon’s mission to the Lamanites (which resulted in the largest Lamanite conversion in Book of Mormon history) he was “laughed to scorn” by his Nephite counterparts who concluded that the only way to deal with the Lamanite dogs was to annihilate them from off the face of the land. Think about that. I know that every person who reads this blog post (if they make it this far) has probably heard a Neocon say that we should just nuke the entire Middle East, as if Muslims aren’t real people with real lives and families. I personally have heard several Republicans say this. Just what kind of sociopaths are we dealing with here? How hauntingly eerie is it that the Book of Mormon authors nailed us, even on something as abstract as nationalism gone genocide? Are we not acting exactly like the Nephites of old? Here is the scripture as recounted by Ammon:

Now do ye remember, my brethren, and we said unto our brethren in the land of Zarahemla, we go up to the land of Nephi, to preach unto our brethren, the Lamanites, and they laughed us to scorn? For they said unto us: Do ye suppose that ye can bring the Lamanites to the knowledge of the truth? Do you suppose that ye can convince the Lamanites of the incorrectness of the traditions of their fathers, as stiffnecked a people as they are; whose hearts delight in the shedding of blood; whose days have been spent in the grossest iniquity; whose ways have been the ways of a transgressor from the beginning? Now my brethren, ye remember that this was their language. And moreover they did say: Let us take up arms against them, that we destroy them and their iniquity out of the land, lest they overrun us and destroy us. But behold, my beloved brethren, we came into the wilderness not with the intent to destroy our brethren, but with the intent that perhaps we might save some few of their souls. (Alma 26:23-26)

Just imagine if missionaries were sent to the Middle East instead of soldiers and drones. Imagine what might’ve happened had Presidents Bush & Obama lifted a standard of peace unto Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Egypt, Libya, Syria, and Pakistan instead of bombing the holy shit out of them, deposing their leaders, uprooting and dividing them politically, building up their enemies, and causing a mass exodus of refugees to flee into dozens of other nations. Indeed, things could’ve been much different, and perhaps we’d have less enemies. But instead, because of our bellicosity, the world is far more unstable, and what’s portending on the horizon is more ominous than ever.

Final Warnings from the Book of Mormon

Ok Mormons, if you’ve made it this far you’re probably either royally pissed off, highly offended, or extremely open minded. Whatever state of mind your in these next few versus will probably not sit well with you at all. Like I said before, the Book of Mormon authors really nailed us… hard. Moroni interrupted his narrative on the brother of Jared to bring us this warning about the future Gentiles (us, specifically those of us who read the Book of Mormon) who would reside in this land:

And he had sworn in his wrath unto the brother of Jared, that whoso should possess this land of promise, from that time henceforth and forever, should serve him, the true and only God, or they should be swept off when the fullness of his wrath should come upon them. And now, we can behold the decrees of God concerning this land, that it is a land of promise; and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall serve God, or they shall be swept off when the fulness of his wrath shall come upon them. And the fulness of his wrath cometh upon them when they are ripened in iniquity. For behold, this is a land which is choice above all other lands; wherefore he that doth possess it shall serve God or shall be swept off; for it is the everlasting decree of God. And it is not until the fulness of iniquity among the children of the land, that they are swept off. And this cometh unto you, O ye Gentiles, that ye may know the decrees of God–that ye may repent, and not continue in your iniquities until the fulness come, that ye may not bring down the fulness of the wrath of God upon you as the inhabitants of the land have hitherto done. Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ, who hath been manifested by things which we have written. (Ether 2:8-12)

We are the Gentiles (D&C 109:60), the caucasian people of European descent who live in this nation, both Mormon and non Mormon. We are doing exactly what the Nephites and Jaredites did that got them swept off the land. Namely, engaging in preemptive war, hating entire groups of people, seeking vengeance upon our enemies, resorting to killing women and children in order to purge out the “bad” guys, and ultimately rejecting the teachings of Jesus Christ while simultaneously professing His name. If we truly believe in our religion and in the Book of Mormon, then we should cease supporting these horrible wars and with Joseph Smith, “renounce war and proclaim peace.”

November 25

Lies, damn lies and seat belt statistics

I’m a firm believer in letting people make their own decisions, provided their decision isn’t an act of aggression toward another person or person’s property. That’s how I view the wearing of seat belts. If you want to wear one, fine. If you don’t, that’s fine too. This is something that the state and therefore many people whom are “educated” by the state cannot abide. I believe in defending things from moral grounds. The state has no moral ground to coerce people into wearing seat belts. The argument can be ended on moral grounds. Surprisingly to many, is that it can be won on statistical grounds also because of the state’s misleading information–or better said–lies.

Over the last couple of years, I have looked at the statistics from my state of Idaho: http://www.itd.idaho.gov/ohs/stats.htm I have looked over the statistics of a few other states and have found them to be very comparable with that of Idaho. I’m not sure if the propaganda and deception of other states is on par with Idaho, but a hunch tells me it is just as bad, if not worse in any other state.

I read an article in the Post Register in the “West section” form the Saturday November 21 edition of the paper. The article was titled “Law enforcement gears up for holiday patrol”. The headline of it piqued my interest–as I’m always looking to see what the road pirates are planning for my area. As I read the article it stated–of course, that law enforcement was going to be on the look out for seat belt violations–that there were 122 traffic fatalities in 2014, 68 of which “were not using seat belts”. Being the contrarian that I am, I went to ITD’s website for my own verification purposes. What I found was that there were actually 186 fatalities in 2014. Where were the other 64 fatalities that the article was omitting? Interestingly, there were 33 “Head-On/Side Swipe Opposite Fatalities” and 31 “Intersection Related Fatalities”. If my math is correct, that’s 64. Interesting because what they don’t–now or ever– omit from their statistics in the article and their official lies that ITD feeds the cops every time they talk about it in any publication or television, is pedestrians, motorcycles and bicycles. Very convenient, since neither of those 3 categories can possibly even wear a seat belt. After backing out 14 pedestrians, 2 bicyclists and 25 motorcyclists, the 68 fatalities because of “not using seat belts” plummets to 27. For the seat belt Nazi’s, that doesn’t even look good for the lie of 122 fatalities, let alone for the 186 fatalities.

The original lie 122/68 gave the state propagandists their dishonest narrative of 55% of the fatalities were because of no seat belts. According to their own stats–allowing for the pedestrians, bicycles and motorcycles staying in the calculations–only 36.5% of fatalities were “because no seat belts”. Calculating the most honest way, by removing the two bikes and people who get hit while walking, the state’s seat belt narrative is destroyed: only 14.5% of fatalities were “from no seat belts”.

Government schools have conditioned the masses to believe everything the state spews so well that it’s common after a fatal accident where “the driver/passenger(s) wasn’t buckled to hear people claim, If they had worn their seat belt, they’d be alive, and other similar stupid comments. As if those types of things can be pinned down to one single thing like buckling up! After hearing about a traffic fatality where seat belts were worn, make an equally ridiculous comment like if only they didn’t buckle up they would have lived. See what kind of response you get from people on that one. It wouldn’t be good. Questioning the edicts of the state cannot be tolerated. But ridiculous comments that support the state’s narrative and “laws” are just fine.

Why is the state so desperate to blatantly lie to us? The object of the exercise is to violate your rights. The essence of government is theft. How better to do that than through “safety” and myriad “laws” in the name of such. It’s so much easier to pick your pocket and steal your stuff when you let them. You know…..because “safety”. None dare question the safety cult.

Remember, if your’e obedient, the states agents might give you a star and call you a sunbeam.

 

November 18

Why I don’t vaccinate my kids…

The anti-vax movement has grown considerably in recent years with increasing frustration and anger on the part of the pro-vaxers. Many view this phenomenon as perhaps the result of some kind of hippie fad, ignorance, disinformation, conspiracy theory, or just plain old redneckism, but the truth is that less people are vaccinating their kids. I don’t advocate for or against vaccinations, but I do advocate that people make an educated choice. This is the least we can do for our children, after all, they have no choice in the matter. There are several reasons why I choose to abstain from vaccinations which I will get into later, but for now, let’s talk about the science of what actual immunity is.

The Miracle of Immunity

How does the body become immune to certain diseases? Indeed, how did the human race manage to not go extinct before the 1940s when vaccines made their mainstream debut? We were exposed to smallpox, cholera, bubonic plaque, polio, scurvy, measles, mumps, whooping cough, and many more diseases yet we lived to tell about it. The real question here is why did some live and some die? Besides the obvious answer that some people lived in cleaner environments, those who were exposed to disease were either able to fight them off and become immune or perish. The factors that determined the outcome were primarily the health of the gut and the efficiency of the immune system of the person exposed.

The miraculous process of immunity begins when little things called antigens are introduced into the body. What is an antigen? Anti means against and gen (think genesis in the Bible) means life, so they are bugs, parasites, bacteria, or viruses that want to destroy your life. Antigens are introduced in various ways, through the air, through food, through another person, through skin, through eyes, in fact we are bombarded with these little guys almost daily. Your body is fighting them off almost indefinitely and most the time you don’t even know it. There are literally millions of strands of bacteria and viruses that we may be exposed to in our lifetime and what do you know, we still live a pretty long life. So what happens when an antigen enters our body? Our bodies have quite the front line of defense to deal with these invaders. Our white blood cells contain a special group of attack cells known as lymphocytes. Scientists have differentiated these cells into two groups, B lymphocytes and T lymphocytes. Think of B cells as the intelligence gathering cells and T cells as the attack dogs or foot soldiers. T cells initiate what is called the cell-mediated response and B cells initiate what is called the humoral response. These two immunological phases are essential for the body to achieve true immunity.

Cell-mediated Immunity

In this phase of the game, T cells are released and proceed to launch a massive counter offensive strike on any would be antigen or pathogen that enters the body. The T cells actually bind to antigens and kill them by a process called apoptosis, which means that they fragment the DNA and shrink the size of the cells, or in laymen terms, they blow shit up. This assault on the parasitical foreigner has quite the effect on the body. It’s what actually makes you sick. Not the cold, the flu, the virus, or the bug like we all think. It’s your own body that makes you cough, puke, sneeze, have diarrhea, get chills, have a sore throat, and feel like your head is the size of a melon. This is actually a very good sign that your immune system is working properly. This process triggers the B cells, the intelligence and command center behind the attack cells, to engage in the humoral phase of immunity, which helps to protect you from that same strand of antigen should it ever decide to invade you again.

Humoral Immunity

Humoral immunity, so named because the chemical reactions it initiates happen in the humours, or fluids of the body, is primarily a function of the B cells. B cells originate in the bone marrow, and when activated they can actually bind themselves to an antigen. They then clone themselves into two types of cells, plasma or memory cells. Plasma cells secrete hoards of antibodies which bind to the antigen and call in for backup from the T cells to search and destroy. Memory cells, instead of making antibodies, retain the already produced antibodies so they can be used every time the invading antigen comes back. This is how our bodies achieve long term immunity, and is the reason why we hardly ever get the same disease, or same strand of virus or bacteria, twice. Your body is equipped with its own intelligence agency, command center, and attack army to take out invaders that could potentially do a lot of damage to your healthy cells, it’s actually pretty amazing.

Immunity Without Cell-Mediation

One reason I choose not to vaccinate my kids is because vaccines are designed to skip the cell-mediated process, the part that initiates the entire immune response. That is not to say that vaccines don’t stimulate the body to produce antibodies, they just do it in a way that circumvents mother nature altogether. When a child is injected with a vaccine he or she does not get sick, and T cells are never activated at all, so how is the body stimulated to produce antibodies? To answer this we must first address another question. What in the world is in the vaccine? The primary ingredient of vaccines are dead or mostly dead microbes, or in other words, dead versions of diseases. Bacterial diseases can be cultured in a petri dish but viruses require a live host. The most commonly used animals for viral incubation are cows, monkeys, pigs, chicken embryos, and human diploid cell (aborted fetal cell tissue). Besides the obvious moral dilemma of using aborted fetuses for this process, the use of animal hosts is also problematic. For instance, there are some things that cannot be filtered out of the final product like the RNA and DNA of the animal itself, and any viruses that were still in the animal’s body. One such virus that originated in monkeys and made its way into the polio vaccine has been linked to lymphoma and brain tumors. In addition to viral risks, injecting the DNA of other animals in an infant just seems like a horrible idea, especially when there have virtual been no studies done on the long term effects of animal RNA and DNA in the human body.

When dead viruses are injected into the human body the immune system does not respond because it does not sense an immediate threat. It’d be like an invading army killing one of its own and hurling him onto the front lines of the battle, what’s he gonna do, bleed on you? The body just simply eliminates the dead bug through the usual channels. No T cells on the march, no B cells producing antibodies. So how did our wise overlords in the big pharma consortium get around this obstacle? Easy, thy added adjuvants into the mix to shock those B cells into doing their jobs. What is an adjuvant? Simply put, an immunological agent that modifies the effects of other agents. In the case of vaccines, adjuvants consist of known neurotoxins like mercury, aluminum oxide, and formaldehyde. Luckily, mercury, in the form of thimerosal, has been reduced by the FDA in the MMR and other vaccines, but has not been eliminated completely. Mercury is one of the most toxic chemicals known to man and actually kills brain tissue. The main adjuvant in most vaccines is currently aluminum oxide, but it’s not as safe as they tell you it is. It is efficient at stimulating the immune system to produces antibodies to the dead virus but at a neurotoxic cost. It has been implicated in Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, seizures, and coma, and can stimulate breast cancer cells by simulating estrogen related gene expression in them, which means an increase in cell division and tumor creation. Not good at all. Formaldehyde, a known embalming agent, also has carcinogenic properties and is added into the vaccine as a preservative. Do you really want something that is used to dissect frogs in a science lab injected into your child’s blood stream? I don’t. So yes, often the adjuvants are successful at getting the body to produce antibodies to the dead virus, but at what risk and cost to your child’s health? Unfortunately, many children often have to be scheduled for booster shots because the antibodies that vaccines produce are short term at best, while natural immunity achieved by the body can last the rest of your life. For a list of other questionable ingredients that are part of the vaccine cocktail, go here.

Infants Do Not Produce Their Own Antibodies

In addition to not wanting pig DNA, monkey brains, aborted fetal tissue, cow blood, and neurotoxins injected into my children, there is that stubborn fact about an infant’s inability to produce antibodies. It is a known scientific fact that infants rely solely on antibodies from their mother’s milk until sometime after age one when they begin to produce their own. So why are there upwards of 19 shots (24 vaccines) on the vaccine schedule before the child reaches the age of six months? That’s a good question, because most other medically advanced countries don’t recommend vaccinations until the child is about 18 months old. It seems that the science of human immunology development applies only to the U.S. medical establishment when it suits them. Here is what an immunologist admitted in a private interview:

Q. So the science seems fairly clear that for the first year of life, probably, that the immunization is not stimulating the kind of response we expect it to stimulate.

A. True.

Q. So what’s the rationale for continuing to do that if it’s not doing what it’s supposed to be [doing]?

A. The vaccines are given at pediatric wellness visits, and the idea is that you are training the parent to bring their child in at all the pediatric wellness visits, and that it’s only the year visit that actually is truly important. But that for most parents you are not going to get them to bring their kid in if they don’t come in at two months, four months, and six months. And so it’s actually more of a training thing.

It’s interesting, I was on the phone with [?] county public health last week, with one of their vaccine nurses. She was like, ‘Oh, you’re talking about vaccines? Make sure you tell them they have to do that year shot because the first three [the 2, 4 and 6 month shots] don’t work.’ I was like, ‘Yeah, I know.’ [laughter]. (You can listen to an audio recording of this here.)

Parents deserve a little more transparency than this. Do your children a favor and at least wait until they are 12 months or older to vaccinate them. And can we honestly trust an industry that perpetually lies to us in order to “train” us, like good little Pavlovian dogs, to continually bring our children to the ministers of these injections, even when science confirms that the first 19 shots don’t do a damn thing? The only word to describe such presumptuousness on the part of these drug companies is pure hubris.

Dang Those Whistleblowers

Dr. William Thompson, Senior Scientist at the CDC where he has been since 1998, finally let his conscience get the best of him regarding an article published in the 2004 edition of the journal Pediatrics. After ten years of keeping quiet he succumbed to his moral senses in August of 2014 when he admitted that certain statistical information had been purposely omitted from the 2004 article. This data concluded that black males that were given the MMR vaccine before the age of 36 months had an increased risk of autism. This should’ve prompted the medical industry to conduct more long term studies on the effects of vaccines in children, instead, they just swept it under the rug. Thanks to heroes like Dr. Thompson, we can still get some remnants of the truth. This is just one study, we really don’t know how much data has been omitted and how much they are really not telling us about vaccines. Again, I don’t want to trust the health of my children to an multi-billion dollar industry that lies and covers up facts. You can read Dr. Thompson’s full statement here.

In 2010 two MD’s employed by Merck brought a lawsuit against the company for alleged sleight of hand on proving the efficacy of the MMRII vaccine in the lab. Merck has enjoyed being the only corporation licensed by the FDA to sell and distribute the MMRII vaccine. To keep it’s government approved monopoly it was required to prove that the MMRII vaccine was 95% effective in immunizing against mumps. The weak strand of dead mumps used in the vaccine proved to be less than effective against the wild mumps that children are actually exposed to. The whistleblowers, who were both threatened with jail time (Shouldn’t it concern us that high ranking officers of a private corporation can threaten jail time to it’s employees!!?) and bribed with bonus incentives, complained that Merck was not including accurate safety information on it’s MMR inserts and that it manipulated data in the lab to falsely prove efficacy. Antibodies derived from Rabbit’s blood were added to the lab samples to prove efficacy, which of course, would never happen in real life. Whistleblowers Stephen Krahling and Joan Wlochowski supported Alabama-based Chatom Primary Care in its 2010 lawsuit against the big pharma giant. According to the Courthouse News Service here is more of the story:

Merck is the only manufacturer licensed by the FDA to sell the mumps vaccine in United States, and if it could not show that the vaccine was 95 percent effective, it risked losing its lucrative monopoly, according to the complaint.

That’s why Merck found it critically important to keep claiming such a high efficacy rate, the complaint states.

And, Chatom claims, that’s why Merck went to great lengths, including “manipulating its test procedures and falsifying the test results,” to prop up the bogus figure, though it knew that the attenuated virus from which it created the vaccine had been altered over the years during the manufacturing process, and that the quality of the vaccine had degraded as a result.

Starting in the late 1990s, Merck set out on its sham testing program with the objective of “report[ing] efficacy of 95 percent or higher regardless of the vaccine’s true efficacy,” the complaint states.

Chatom says Merck initially called its testing program Protocol 007.

Under Protocol 007, Merck did not test the vaccine’s ability to protect children against a “wild-type” mumps virus, which is “the type of real-life virus against which vaccines are generally tested,” the complaint states.

Instead, Chatom says, Merck tested children’s blood using its own attenuated strain of the virus.

“This was the same mumps strain with which the children were vaccinated,” the complaint states.

That “subverted” the purpose of the testing regime, “which was to measure the vaccine’s ability to provide protection against a disease-causing mumps virus that a child would actually face in real life. The end result of this deviation … was that Merck’s test overstated the vaccine’s effectiveness,” Chatom claims.

Merck also added animal antibodies to blood samples to achieve more favorable test results, though it knew that the human immune system would never produce such antibodies, and that the antibodies created a laboratory testing scenario that “did not in any way correspond to, correlate with, or represent real life … virus neutralization in vaccinated people,” according to the complaint.

Chatom claims that the falsification of test results occurred “with the knowledge, authority and approval of Merck’s senior management.” (Full Article)

The result of government granted monopoly is always inefficiency, poor service, corruption, and of course, all out lies. Perhaps a little competition would do this industry some good. After all, we shouldn’t put all our eggs into one multi-billion dollar basket that is using them to cook up dead measles and mumps viruses that don’t work against the real thing. If it looks and walks like a fraud, it probably is one.

By The Way, You Can’t Sue Us

In 2010 the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, an agency of the US Health Department, released the staggering figure of 2,699 children who were officially injured or killed by vaccines in that year. The parents of the children received upwards of $110 million in damages along with additional governmental compensation for autistic children. Just a year later, in 2011, the Supreme Court ruled that parents could not bring suits against drug companies for alleged harm to their children from vaccines. According to Bloomberg:

“The justices, voting 6-2, said a 1986 federal law preempts claims that a drugmaker should have sold a safer formulation of a vaccine. The law, designed to encourage vaccine production by limiting patient suits, channels most complaints into a company-financed no-fault system that offers limited but guaranteed payments for injuries shown to be caused by a product.” (Full Article)

Parents can still get compensation, however, it is limited and there are conditions; like that whatever harm the child received has to be an official risk or side effect from the vaccine. The problem is that parents are told by their pediatricians that vaccines are totally safe and effective, yet the drug companies know of official risks and potential side effects. Shouldn’t this raise a red flag to a rational thinking person? The real victory for the drug companies in this ruling is that complaints that are channeled into this entity set up to give injury compensation allow them to keep such things quiet and cheap. The funds families may receive are limited and drug companies can enjoy immunity from public scrutiny. You know, the kind of scrutiny corporations get when people win huge lawsuits against them. I know of no other industry that is protected by government in this way, which doesn’t help my skepticism about the products they are selling. If they are providing the public with a good and safe product, why would they need to lobby the government for protection against injury claims? Their products should not be causing injury in the first place. Yet instead of taking vaccine concoctions back to the drawing board, they enlist big brother to divert the adversity to a manageable level, and do nothing to make their products safer. Rest assured that if a food manufacture’s breakfast cereal killed or injured 2700 kids in one year, there would be utter outrage from the media, and that cereal would be off the shelves and the company bankrupt. Yet when this happens in the vaccine industry, we only hear crickets.

The Mentality…, I mean Immunity of the Herd

When it comes to vaccines, we hear a lot about this concept of herd immunity. Mostly we hear enraged pro-vaxxer parents accusing anti-vaxxer parents of putting their children at risk for the usuals; pertussis, diphtheria, measles, mumps, etc. As if the human race was a herd of animals and some animals had the audacity to jump the fence to escape the needles of the masters. But we are actually not animals, we possess certain traits that the beasts do not, like reason, cognition, autonomy, and dare we say… liberty. We function in a semi-free market economy where goods and services are sold for a price. Some choose to purchase vaccinations and others do not. There is no need to be angry at each other over it. Everyone deserves the right to have a choice, after all, the medical establishment does not own our children.

Some claim that vaccinations have helped achieve herd immunity in certain diseases like polio and smallpox, which are virtually nonexistent in todays world. However, a closer look at statistical data shows that these diseases were well on their way out long before vaccinations were commonplace. I’m in the pest control business, I eliminate insect and weed pests for a living. I learned when certifying in these fields that chemical controls are not always the most effective means, and that there are other factors to consider when eliminating pest infestations. For example, pests can be controlled by mechanical, cultural, and natural means. Examples of these include rotating crops, extreme weather patters, natural population lows, using natural desiccant powers like diatomaceous earth, or something as simple as cleaning up a roach infested apartment. Diseases, like roaches and bedbugs, thrive in filthy environments. Prior to the inception of indoor plumbing, sewage treatment plants, proper waste water drainage, and clean drinking water, diseases spread around like wildfire. People literally drank out of the same water they defecated in. There are millions of bacteria in sewage water, do the math. The truth is that vaccines can’t take the credit for the reduction or elimination of certain diseases, because of advanced technology, and cleaner water and living conditions, diseases were on the decline. For instance, from 1850 to 1940 scarlet fever, whooping cough, diphtheria and measles experienced a 90% decline from causing over 8000 deaths per million children to under 1000. The diphtheria vaccine was introduced in the 1940s, pertussis in the 50s, and measles in the 60s. As they say, a day late and a dollar short. We should give credit where credit is due. Here are several graphs showing the history of disease decline and the introduction of vaccines.

What about smallpox? Evidence actually suggests that government mandated smallpox vaccines in England may have actually led to a spike in the disease. From 1840 to 1860 England experienced a significant drop in the mortality rate of deaths associated with smallpox from 300 per million to under 100 per million. Government mandates were issued in 1853, and then enforced with fines and jail time by 1867. During the 1870s the disease spiked to over 400 per million and plummeted to close to zero by the 1890s. Interestingly enough, the smallpox epidemic was the catalyst that brought vaccines into existence. In fact, the word vaccine is derived from the name of a bovine disease called Variolae Vaccinae, or smallpox of the cow. In 1774 an English farmer named Benjamin Jesty, injected his entire family with cowpox with a darning needle, which he obtained from pussy sores from cows suffering from the disease. It was believed superstitiously among milkmaids that those that had cowpox were immune to smallpox. The notes from this unscientific experiment were made by an English doctor (Nash) and passed to his son who was acquainted with a man named Edward Jenner. Jenner, in 1789, inoculated his 18 month old son with cowpox, along with other children, and thus the practice of vaccination was born. Jenner is credited with having discovered the smallpox vaccine and is heralded as the father of modern vaccinology. What the official history leaves out is that Jenner’s concoction used in the government mandates of the mid 1800s led to huge spikes in the disease and thousands of deaths. They were injecting people with puss from cow sores and calling it science. In fact, it was such a disaster that the British government actually created an investigatory arm called the Royal Commission to study smallpox policy in 1889. By 1898 the official vaccine policy was overturned and the government finally left people alone. Jenner, by all accounts a raging nut job, actually died in the 1823, but his smallpox vaccine was the one used officially by the English government during the vaccine mandates of the mid 1800s. Jenner purchased his medical degree from University of St. Andrews for the price of fifteen guineas, keep in mind back in those days there were there no medical examinations required for licensing. When concerns arose about the efficacy of cowpox injections, Jenner turned to horse grease (grease obtained from a horse’s heel that was infected with the disease). He injected a young boy with the horse grease/cowpox cocktail who died before a result could be determined. The English government foolishly approved his superstitious concoction without any clinical evidence and research, and thus, a fraud based industry was born. Again, call me crazy, but I’m not trusting in an industry that was born of superstition and pseudo science, not to mention that the word vaccine itself literally means the injecting of an infectious disease into a healthy human being. Click here for a book written in the 1940s that documents the foibles of early vaccinations.

Unwarranted Libel

Sometimes telling the truth can require sacrifice, and in the case of one doctor it meant losing his medical license and being accused of fabricating data to prove a link between the MMR vaccine, Autism, and bowel disease. Dr. Andrew J. Wakefield, renowned gastrointestinal surgeon in the UK, began to wonder if there was a link between the MMR vaccine and Autism in the mid 1990s. In 1996 Wakefield was asked by the lead attorney on the UK MMR cases to conduct a study that would help determine whether there was a link to Autism and Crohn’s disease to the MMR vaccine. He was awarded a research grant from a government funded legal assistance program, the Legal Aid Board, which was subsequently sent to his publicly funded medical school. The dean of the medical school, Professor Arie Zuckerman withheld the funds and deliberately tried to stop Wakefield claiming that such a study would be a “conflict of interest.” He was worried that the proposed research “could lead to a case against the Government for damages.” Wakefield, however, was just concerned with finding out the truth. After months of going back and forth with the dean Wakefield decided to move ahead without the grant.

Wakefield and several of his colleagues conducted a study of 12 children who were “presented with autistic regression and gastrointestinal symptoms.” Nine of the twelve showed these symptoms within a few weeks of receiving the MMR vaccine. Dr. Wakefield sincerely listened to the parents of these children as they described the onset of symptoms and behavioral changes the weeks following the MMR shot. The results and findings were published as a series of essays in a peer-reviewed British publication known as the Lancet in February 1998. The essays, authored by Wakefield and other doctors at the Royal Free Hospital in London, were officially retracted by the Lancet in 2004. This occurred after a journalist by the name of Brian Deer published an article in the British Medical Journal accusing Wakefield and his colleagues of fraud. In addition to these allegations, Dr. Wakefield was accused of conspiring with the lawyers and the parents of the autistic children (even some who participated in his study) in pursuing lawsuits against drug companies. Eleven of the original thirteen authors of the essays eventually retracted their statements under threat of losing their medical licenses. The two men left standing were Dr. Wakefield and Professor John Walker-Smith. Smith fought an uphill battle against the UK’s General Medical Counsel and was eventually exonerated. Wakefield’s career was ended and his named smeared. To this day he advocates for vaccine safety. To get his side of the story you can read his book, or listen to a recent talk he gave to a group of LDS in Salt Lake City, UT.

The interesting thing about this case is that Dr. Wakefield has never been convicted of fraud in a court of law. He resides in the U.S. to this day and is currently involved in advocating for vaccine safety and informed choice for parents. He has never claimed to be anti-vaccine, he would just like to see clinical research done on the safety and efficacy of the MMR and other vaccines. In his publication in the Lancet in 1998 he never claimed to have discovered a link between the MMR vaccine and Autism. He only surmised that a link may exist, and that further research would need to be done to verify his premise. He’s a man that gave up his career and good name in order to promote a search for the truth, indeed, a search for a safer alternative for our children.

Freedom to Choose

Recently in California a bill was introduced (SB 277) that would abrogate the right of parents to opt out of vaccines for religious or personal beliefs. If it passes parents will be forced to vaccinate their children in order for them to attend public schools, and would go into effect July of 2016. Those who resist will have no option but to home school their children. I’m not a fan of public education in the first place, but parents still deserve to have a choice. The measles outbreak that began at Disneyland was the catalyst that sparked the legislation. A total of 131 cases of measles were reported as a result of that outbreak, a whopping 0.00000345 percent of the population. The chances of getting the measles during that outbreak were 1 out of 290,076, chances of getting cancer in this country, 1 out of 4. Why are we forcing people to vaccinate their kids over a slight chance that they will contract the disease? To put this in perspective consider that one of the worst years for measles was in 1996 when some 500 cases were reported. The chances of Americans getting it that year were 1 out of 600,000. Honestly folks, not a big deal. According to the CDC, no American has died from measles since 2003, but 108 have actually died from the MMR vaccine. Now consider that over 100,000 Americans die every year from prescription drugs, that is 1 out of every 3000 people. Considering the worst case scenario of measles in 1996, Americans are 200 times more likely to die from a prescription drug than they are to contract measles. And if they do contract measles, they are not likely to die from it. So why all the fear-mongering and hubbub? Honestly, who knows… but it sure would be nice for a corporation if they could force 38,000,000 million people into purchasing their products. I mean, that would do wonders for their bottom line. I’m sure Merck had nothing to do with lobbying to get this bill into the California legislature.

Bottom line: people deserve the right to choose. We live in a world of uncertainty, that is a basic fact of this imperfect globe we reside on. There is no such thing as safety, security, or even herd immunity. The government will never eradicate terrorism, poverty, or drug abuse, and it seems like the more it uses coercion to endeavor to accomplish these ends the worse things get. Likewise the CDC will never eradicate disease, and even assuming that vaccination was 95% effective against measles like they claim, and every person on this planet was vaccinated, we are not guaranteed that someone, somewhere, would not eventually contract the disease. Some weak immune system, some failed vaccine, or some wild strand of mutated measles would eventually make it’s way back on the scene. Just like they said in Jurassic Park, “life always finds a way,” and I’m afraid that until we reach that state of bliss in the next phase of existence, disease will always be around. Our scientists, doctors, drug manufactures, and governments are most certainly not gods, but just fallible human beings in a fallible world. How dangerous indeed, in this world of varying degrees of imperfection, to force entire populations to submit to the whims of the perceived elite, who profit immensely while injecting us with their less than perfect concoctions that may or may not be safe and effective. The least we can do in this regard is open up the market for competition by cutting Merck off from the tit of government protection, and letting the consumers decide what is best for them and their children.

The Big Lie

Sometimes a lie is so big, so ubiquitous, so omni-present, that the very thought of it being a lie is just too outrageous and inconceivable for our trusting finite minds to grasp. We constantly rationalize that powerful people, rich corporations, and “benevolent” governments only have our best interests in mind. We easily forget that when someone is wearing a government costume, or representing the scientific community, they still have all the tendencies, weaknesses, and human frailties the rest of us have. In fact, history has shown that those who wield such power have a far greater propensity to abuse it, and a greater inclination to lie, to cheat, to steal, and to murder than those who don’t. Lord Acton’s classic phrase that “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” is no less true today then when he uttered it.

Most people are content to live in their bubbles of self-perceived reality without ever questioning the powers that be or considering that what they have been taught may not be correct. And when some whack job conspiracy nut makes outlandish claims that government is complicit in evil deeds they will shun him, ostracize him, and label him as crazy. Cognitive dissonance is a hard thing to break, and most people will fly to pieces when presented with new information that contradicts their educational training, personal beliefs, and cherished traditions. This human weakness of trusting authorities and following the herd has been exploited by government propagandists in the past. One such regime called itself the National Socialist Party, and was headed by the ruthless and brilliant dictator Adolf Hitler. In the following quote he creepily explains the intricacies of how to exploit this human propensity to believe that a big lie could never be perpetuated:

In the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata [i.e. layers] of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victim to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying. (Adolph Hitler, Mien Kampf, Vol. 1, Ch. X)

Now I’m not saying that vaccines are part of a gigantic scheme comprised of an unholy alliance between big pharma, the FDA, and the federal government. I’m just saying that there is nothing wrong with being vigilant with your family’s health. Governments and corporations have co-opted in the past and launched massive propaganda campaigns against their constituency to get power and financial gain. Anyone reading this who doesn’t believe this could happen in our country is both naive and ignorant of history. At the very least we can diminish our idolatrous trust in the medical establishment and realize that the majority and the mainstream don’t always get it right. I bet most people don’t know that the seamen “quacks” that discovered the cure for scurvy were laughed off by the english medical establishment. Who were these uneducated ship hands who dared say that the cause of scurvy was a simple vitamin C deficiency? Indeed, after these Limey’s discovered the cure for scurvy (drinking lemon and lime juice), it took the arrogant english medical establishment another forty years to officially accept this scientific truth. Parents should not rely on the opinion of the so-called medical authorities alone. They should search and study things out for themselves using those critical thinking skills that they supposedly learned in school… well, at least some of them did anyway.

So this pretty much sums up the reasons I won’t let pediatricians stick needles in my kids. If you’ve made it this far you are probably at least open-minded enough to think that I’m not totally ignorant and that I’ve spent a lot of time and energy searching this stuff out. What do you with this information is up to you.

November 1

Rights Defined; and no, they do not include the goods and services of others…

So what exactly are rights? There is a lot of confusion out there today about the nature of human rights. Some consider rights to be the “right” to food, shelter, healthcare, and education. Others view them as the “right” to be served cake, or the “right” to a job, or the “right” to not be discriminated against. While these are typically sought after and desired things, they can in no way be called basic human rights.

Negative Rights

Logic and reason tell us that rights can only consist of what other people may not do to us, not what we can extract from others or force them to do for us. We all have a basic human right to life, which means that we have the right to not be assaulted, attacked, or murdered by others. We have the right to to self-ownership, which means we own our minds and our bodies, and we control what goes into them. We have the right to property, which means we own the fruits of our labors and whatever we acquire through voluntary contract with our productivity. We have the right to the pursuit of happiness, which means we should be free to pursue our careers and lifestyle without fear of being molested, extorted, coerced, or controlled by others. In other words, we are free to do anything we like as long as we keep our mitts to ourselves and off the goods and bodies of others. These are what are known as negative, or primary rights, and are the only rights that logically exist. These rights cannot be granted to us by others, or by groups, or by governments. They exist independently in each of us, and always have. Where do they come from? Our Creator, our humanity, will, logic, reason, Buddha, Jesus, whatever you believe in, it doesn’t matter, the fact is that they exist, and are what Jefferson called, “self-evident.”

Frederic Bastiat, the great french philosopher of the 1800s, said this about the nature of man:

“We hold from God the gift that, as far as we are concerned, contains all others, Life-physical, intellectual, and moral life. But life cannot support itself. He who has bestowed it, has entrusted us with the care of supporting it, of developing it, and of perfecting it. To that end, He has provided us with a collection of wonderful faculties; He has plunged us into the midst of a variety of elements. It is by the application of our faculties to these elements that the phenomena of assimilation and of appropriation, by which life pursues the circle that has been assigned to it are realized. Existence, faculties, assimilation-in other words, personality, liberty, property-this is man… It is not because men have made laws, that personality, liberty, and property exist. On the contrary, it is because personality, liberty, and property exist beforehand, that men make laws.” (The Bastiat Collection, Ludvig Von Mises Institute, 2007, pp. 49-50)

Bastiat makes the logical claim that these uniquely human characteristics, namely; personality, liberty, property, faculties, and assimilation existed before men formed governments and passed laws. Thus we can deduce from this a priori knowledge that manmade laws cannot change what already exists in nature. A government may pass a law forbidding the application of the law of gravity, but gravity would pay no mind to it. Thus it is with other laws that exist independently of government legislation (i.e., economic laws). Negative rights existed before government, and therefore cannot be altered or changed with the mere passing of a law. They are inherent, intrinsic, innate, and are at the core of the very fabric of human existence, along with cognition, logic, reason, ethics, morality, and all the other human traits that separate us from the animals. Even children can understand these basic rights. Most good parents teach their children at an early age to not hit other children, or take their toys or treats, to keep their hands to themselves, and to respect the property of others. These things are built into us, and it is no wonder that the great philosophers of the past referred to this phenomena as natural law.

Positive Rights

Positive rights do not exist in the natural order of things. They necessarily require others to provide the beneficiary with goods or services, such as food, healthcare, education, protection, and so forth. Because these kinds of rights do not exist in nature they can only be created and granted by other people, or the organization called the State. The State, or government, is nothing but a group of individuals who have a monopoly on force and violence in a given territorial area (Rothbard’s definition). Thus the State, sensing inequality among its subjects, uses violence or the threat of violence to extract by extortion the resources of the producing class, which are then divided up and redistributed among whom the State assumes are the less privileged classes, after it collects its “fee” for doing so. Or, it uses the commandeered resources to create bureaucracies that offer “free” services to this class such as government funded education, healthcare, etc. Because positive rights can only be granted by governments, or those in power, they can just as easily to taken away through austerity programs and attempts to cut budgets when governments overspend. Thus, such rights can be said to be conditional, superficial, fleeting, and of course, utterly temporary. There is nothing inherent, self-evident, or natural about these supposed rights or how they are obtained.

In addition to the seemingly synthetic nature of positive rights, there are moral inconsistencies with how they are secured by governments. Because government is an institution of coercion and produces no goods or services with its own means, it must forcibly take resources from those who actually produce. This is done through violence or the threat of violence. If the producers do not give up their means voluntarily, the government sends men in government issued uniforms with guns to collect the goods. For most of us, just the threat of imprisonment (kidnapping and enslavement) is enough to elicit our compliance. The problem with these tactics is that if any person or group in the private sector attempted to secure these “rights” in the same way it would be seen as extortion, theft, and kidnapping. Or, in other words, criminal. Funny, how when a group of individuals known as government does this it is considered benevolent, charitable, and legitimate. The twisted logic here is that moral laws (such as it’s wrong to steal) apply only to individuals and not groups and thus can be overcome by a majority vote. But like our gravity example, a simple majority vote cannot change physical or moral laws, because they exist independently of legislatures. If it is logical to assume that it is wrong for one individual to steal from another, can it not also be assumed that it is wrong for a group to steal from individuals or other groups? Let’s say that the groups are stealing for a good cause, would it not then be moral? Logic again tells us no because the negative, or primary right of the one being stolen from has been violated.

Based upon the above information, arguments that say that we must steal for the “common good” of helping the poor can be seen as illegitimate and riddled with fallacies. Such action is nonetheless stealing, whether the proceeds go for a good cause or not. Furthermore, the concept of “common good” is abstractive at best, meaning that it is something that cannot be seen directly, it has to be imagined in the mind. This is the problem with government granting rights to groups and minorities. These concepts are abstractions, for groups and minorities are not single entities but are made of variant individuals whose needs and circumstances differ greatly. Negative rights, on the other hand, can only exist in individuals, and since individuals make up groups and demographics, granting a positive right to a certain group is putting the proverbial cart before the horse. Moreover, the act of granting such rights to groups creates duties in other groups and individuals that manifest as violations of their primary rights not be to stolen from, extorted, molested, and otherwise assaulted. As we can see, those who postulate positive rights are faced with a logical paradox, the adopting of laws that grant rights in the form of goods and services to those less unfortunate come at a cost. That cost is a violation of the primary rights of the producers who are forced to give up their means to make such laws possible. Thus, one cannot say without inconsistency that they are for “basic human rights” while promulgating the idea that certain people have a right to the property of others. Indeed, to take such a stance one would be compelled to admit that this view destroys the basic rights of life, liberty, and property of one group while simultaneously advocating that another group is “entitled” to said life, liberty and property. Logic shows that this argument is completely and utterly absurd, and should be abandoned by any clear thinking individual. A person cannot be for both positive and negative rights, for the one will destroy the other, and vice versa.

William Graham Sumner, a 19th century American philosopher, pointed out that those who the State takes from to accomplish its philanthropic designs, are totally forgotten and entirely left out of the equation:

The type and formula of most schemes of philanthropy or humanitarianism is this: A and B put their heads together to decide what C shall be made to do for D. The radical vice of all these schemes, from a sociological point of view, is that C is not allowed a voice in the matter, and his position, character, and interests, as well as the ultimate effects on society through C’s interests, are entirely overlooked. I call C the Forgotten Man. For once let us look him up and consider his case, for the characteristic of all social doctors is, that they fix their minds on some man or group of men whose case appeals to the sympathies and the imagination, and they plan remedies addressed to the particular trouble; they do not understand that all the parts of society hold together, and that forces which are set in action act and react throughout the whole organism, until an equilibrium is produced by a re-adjustment of all interests and rights. They therefore ignore entirely the source from which they must draw all the energy which they employ in their remedies, and they ignore all the effects on other members of society than the ones they have in view. They are always under the dominion of the superstition of government, and, forgetting that a government produces nothing at all, they leave out of sight the first fact to be remembered in all social discussion – that the State cannot get a cent for any man without taking it from some other man, and this latter must be a man who has produced and saved it. This latter is the Forgotten Man. (Source)

Are not these, the forgotten, just as important as A, B, and D, in Sumner’s story? Does not C deserve basic rights that protect his property and hard earned savings? What is the point for any of us to scrimp and save if others can forcibly take it from us through the agency of government? And how in the world can these be called “rights” if they only apply to certain individuals and are not universal? Positive rights are divisive, they create class warfare and distinction, they can’t be applied universally because they have to be taken from “some other man” in the first place.

Property Rights are Basic Human Rights

John Locke once stated that, “every man has property in his own person…,” and that, “the labour of his body and the work of his hands… are properly his.” Who would dispute this? Wouldn’t we all agree that we own ourselves? And if we own ourselves then isn’t it logical that we own our labor and the work of our hands? How can another person own what I have produced, and furthermore how can this other person lay a moral claim to what is rightfully mine? Locke’s simplistic formulae is easily understood, but our modern day collectivist philosophies have skewed these basic principles. Communism says that we all own part of everyone else and their labor, and socialism says that we own some or most of our ourselves and labor, but that certain “qualifying” others own the other part. The general theory of collectivism, itself asserts, that the rights or needs of the group outweigh the supposed rights of the individuals that make up the group. Such a philosophy is a visceral absurdity because it is based upon granting rights to an abstraction. Murray Rothbard, in his essay, Justice and Property Rights, points out the fallacies that attend such collectivist thinking as follows:

Let us consider the first principle: the right to self-ownership. This principle asserts the absolute right of each man, by virtue of his (or her) being a human being, to “own” his own body; that is, to control that body free of coercive interference. Since the nature of man is such that each individual must use his mind to learn about himself and the world, to select values, and to choose ends and means in order to survive and flourish, the right to self-ownership gives each man the right to perform these vital activities without being hampered and restricted by coercive molestation.

Consider, the, the alternatives–consequences of denying each man the right to own his own person. There are only two alternatives: either (1) a certain class of people, A, have the right to own another class, B; or (2) everyone has the right to own his equal quotal share of everyone else. The first alternative implies that, while class A deserves the rights of being human, class B is in reality subhuman and, therefore, deserves no such rights. But since they are indeed human beings, the first alternative contradicts itself in denying natural human rights to one set of humans. Moreover, allowing class A to own class B means that the former is allowed to exploit and, therefore, to live parasitically at the expense of the latter; but, as economics can tell us, this parasitism itself violates the basic economic requirement for human survival; production and exchange.

The second alternative, which we might call “participatory communalism” or “communism,” holds that every man should have the right to own his equal quotal share of everyone else. If there are three million people in the world, then everyone has the right to own one-three-billionth of every other person. In the first place, this ideal itself rests upon an absurdity–proclaiming that every man is entitled to own a part of everyone else and yet is not entitled to own himself. Second, we can picture the viability of such a world–a world in which no man is free to take any action whatever without prior approval or indeed command by everyone else in society. It should be clear that in that sort of “communist” world, no one would be able to do anything, and the human race would quickly perish. But if a world of zero self-ownership and one-hundred-percent other-ownership spells death for the human race, then any steps in that direction also contravene the natural law of what is best for man and his life one earth.

Finally, however, the participatory communist world cannot be put into practice. It is physically impossible for everyone to keep continual tabs on everyone else and, thereby, to exercise his equal quotal share of partial ownership over every other man. In practice, then, any attempt to institute universal and equal other-ownership is utopian and impossible, and supervision and, therefore, control and ownership of others would necessarily devolve upon a specialized group of people who would thereby become a “ruling class.” Hence, in practice, any attempt at communist society will automatically become class rule, and we would be back at our rejected first alternative.

We conclude, then, with the premise of absolute universal right of self-ownership as our first principle of justice in property. This principle, of course, automatically rejects slavery as totally incompatible with our primary right. (Rothbard, Justice and Property, 1974)

Rothbard rightly concludes, that any variation of total and complete property rights and self-ownership, is a step toward slavery. And that the alternatives to allowing man to completely own his person and labor end in confusion and chaos. Furthermore, these alternatives, when reasoned down to their logical conclusions, are absurdities and make no logical sense. Hence we can assume that individuals in society are better off when allowed to exercise their inherent rights to peacefully trade their earned property on the free market, and to engage in voluntary cooperation in the production of goods and services. It is these basic human rights of owning our bodies, our labor, and what we produce, that elevate society via Adam Smith’s invisible hand to having more goods and services at lower prices. Or in other words, more choices, which means a wealthier society.

Healthcare, Education, and Nondiscrimination are not Rights

Goods and services cannot be human rights. Let’s consider healthcare for example. Think of all the resources that go into just this one field. Doctors, nurses, PA’s, anesthesiologists, chiropractors, homeopaths, surgeons, etc, have to spend large amounts of money and many years of their lives going to school to become qualified. Medical equipment, drug companies, clinics, and hospitals take millions of dollars worth of capital to run. Those who enter this field and those who invest in it are assuming all the risk and putting up the capital to make it all work. Plain and simple, these things cost copious amounts of money. Someone has to pay for it. When the government essays to offer these services for “free” what they are really implying is that they are going to force some to pay for the healthcare of others. This can’t logically be considered a right because someone else is forced to give up their right to spend their money as they please. In addition to this being morally wrong it is also problematic for the economy. When a good is offered for free the demand goes up indefinitely but with a very limited supply. This results in long lines, lengthy waiting periods for medical procedures, rationing, and rising costs. Resources are arbitrarily diverted into the medical industry at the cost of other industries. The result is not necessarily what would’ve occurred on the free market had consumers and producers been left alone to pursue their own ends. Moreover, the “free” good being offered also creates the problem of moral hazard. This means that when people realize that the government is offering healthcare for free, they will go to the doctor and/or emergency room far more often than they would under different circumstances because they don’t have to pay for it. They unknowingly do this at the expense of others who choose not to take advantage of the system. A right cannot be universal unless it can be applied across the board, and in the case of free healthcare you have givers and takers. The givers are forced to give up their right to use their own means as they wish, and the takers take advantage of goods and services that don’t belong to them. Healthcare, therefore, cannot be considered a basic human right. The same logic can be applied to education, for it also requires human resources and economic capital to function.

What about discrimination? Do we have the right not be discriminated against? Of course we don’t. Think about it in another way. Do you have the right of freedom of association? If you own your own body then you get to decide what kind of people to surround that body with. You most certainly discriminate when choosing your friends, dates, and ultimately your spouse. In choosing a spouse you are discriminating against every other person in existence, do you not have a right to do this? The logic then follows that if you own property (a home or place of business), you most definitely get to decide who you allow onto or into that property. Yes, there will always be people who are racist and who discriminate against certain minorities. However, market forces, if left unmolested by government, will reward those who do not discriminate and punish those who do. For instance, if a restaurant owner decides not to serve blacks he has just created an opportunity for the next restaurant owner down the street to profit by serving blacks. The same goes for housing or any other market.

Job Discrimination

What about so-called job discrimination? To understand this concept we must first comprehend what a job actually is. It’s not something you can own. Yes, you can own your labor and sell it at a cost, but you cannot own your job. Why? Because a job is not property, it is a voluntary contract between you and your employer in which you agree to give your time and labor for a wage. This contract can be terminated at any time depending on the integrity of either party to keep their end of the deal. All jobs therefore, are voluntary and conditional. The employer owns the capital equipment, real estate, and means of production, and you own your labor and time. If by logic we can reason that a job is something that cannot be owned, we can also assume that the granting of a job by an employer is conditional and depends upon the qualifications of the recipient. A potential employee cannot arbitrarily assume a job because of demographics alone, i.e., race, social status, age, etc. Him or her, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation, would have to possess the exact qualifications the employer is looking for. The employer has the right to hire whomever he pleases and the employee has the right to accept work from whomever offers. If a third party (government) steps in and forces employers to hire people based upon race, gender, sexual orientation, etc., they deny the right of association to the employer and leave him with the risk of hiring someone who is not qualified for the job. The employer then begins to lose money on this person and is faced with a choice; either fire this person or face eventual bankruptcy, the choice seems obvious. In another scenario the employer interviews a homosexual who has all the right qualifications for the job, but chooses not to hire him because he’s a homophobe. This discriminatory act just created an opportunity for this employer’s competition to hire this guy and potentially take business away from him. Once again, we see free market forces rewarding and punishing certain behavior in the workplace.

Conclusion

In summation, I conclude with the assumption that property rights are at the foundation of all human rights. Without them there would be utter confusion, chaos, and economic degeneration. I realize there are those who believe that property rights either do not exist or are intrinsically evil, or even originated with the devil himself. But without them it would be difficult to make use and sense of the economic resources of the world, the division of labor, and the free market processes that bring affordable goods and services to us all. In our selective amnesia of the events of human history, we often forget the lessons of the past when governments abolished or attacked property rights and the consequences that followed. From the collapse of the Roman welfare state to Stalin’s state induced famine, history is replete with examples of the failure of anti-property policies. Indeed, from a moral and utilitarian perspective property rights trump all other collectivist ideologies of forced communal sharing of ourselves and our wealth. Although the roads to such state polices are often paved with good intentions, those intentions get absorbed into a slough of bloated bureaucracy and corruption. When Jesus told us to take care of the poor and needy, he meant that we use our free will to do so. To voluntarily donate our hard earned means and resources to help others in need. This is true charity, to actually sacrifice something that you purchased with your blood, sweat, and tears, by giving it to someone else. Not to elect government officials to steal from others and do it for you, by proxy. Such action could never be considered philanthropic or charitable, because if you never owned something in the first place, you can’t give it to someone else.

October 25

Property, a gift from God

Recently–in the comment section on Pure Mormonism–a fellow who refers to himself as Log, posited that Lucifer is the originator of property rights.

His comments can be found here. https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=1342380624800894371&postID=1762354872001483860&page=1&token=1445789634260

I don’t want this post to devolve into a he said, I said type of post, so I’m not going to quote the positions out on here, as they are already laid out on Pure Mormonism. Instead, the debate got me to thinking about property, how fundamental it is to all humankind and even to Gods plan itself. It also got me thinking into how Satan would try to appear–even deceive people into teaching Lucifer–as the originator of property rights.

To be fair, people have posited that property rights lead to conflict, bloodshed and war. That is reasonable enough, but the fatal flaw of that argument is like that of guns leading to murder and forks leading to obesity. All guns and all forks need not lead to destructive ends. There are prior steps involved before they can lead to such things. Both require ceding control to the evil one. This control is ceded voluntarily. In the case of murder with a gun, anger, envy, malice, or any other type of poor thinking and emotionally destructive thought must necessarily precede the act of murder. This makes the gun itself–an inanimate object–innocent of any wrong doing and undeserving of being abolished. The same thinking applies to forks in matters of obesity.

Some would make the argument of “what about having all things in common” and “no classes of people”, like the righteous Nephite societies in the Book of Mormon. How does this mean that property or property rights are evil? Without property rights, how would we choose right or wrong? Consecration does not require the abolition of property. On the contrary, it requires property for the choice to be freely made to live in such a way. Without property, there would be nothing for anyone to consecrate. It isn’t consecration to consecrate the property of another.

Our bodies are our first property. All other property emanates from that first property principle. Lucifer cannot be the originator of property rights because our bodies are a gift from God, not Lucifer, not any other man. Lucifer doesn’t have a body, therefore he cannot give that which he doesn’t have. No man, not even God Himself can consecrate or give that which they do not possess themselves. Agency, Gods plan itself is rooted in private property. That conflict, bloodshed, turmoil and wars have been waged over property is not an indictment against property rights as such. For the same reasons that murder by gun and fatness by fork are no indictment against those tools. There are too many steps preceding those acts for indictment.

In my view, property rights are a pure principle. They come from God and should be asserted by people, whether respected or not. We also should take care to “…..not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil.”-Moroni 7:14 I have seen no persuasive, substantive information leading me to believe or feel by the spirit that property rights are originated in the devil.

This is likely an incomplete defense of property rights and maybe some will believe an inadequate view that property rights come from God. If so, persuade me otherwise.