October 10th, 2007

Harry Reid Against the “Right Wingers”


photo credit: trey_speyrer

At a BYU forum yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (a Latter-day Saint) mentioned that he feels being a Democrat and Mormon are not irreconcilable identities. “My faith and political beliefs are deeply intertwined. I am a Democrat because I am a Mormon, not in spite of it,” he said.

Speaking to the media after his address, Reid commented as follows:

In the past years we’ve had some very prominent members of the church, like Ezra Taft Benson, who are really right-wing people.

Members of the church are obedient and followers in the true sense of the word, but these people have taken members of the church down the path that is the wrong path.

Essentially accusing a Prophet of the Lord of leading astray members of the Church, Reid directly implied that any counsel given by President Benson and other “right-wing people” was entirely wrong.

However, it is Reid himself who is on “the wrong path”. Dedicated to expanding the welfare state here at home in an attempt to harmonize Democratic and Mormon principles, Reid promotes wealth redistribution and all flavors of socialism. Seeing himself as advancing Mormon principles such as charity and service, Reid leaves behind the proper role of government and pursues a socialist agenda which spits in the face of true eternal principles such as the law of the harvest and stewardship.

Little wonder that some members of the Church question the faithfulness of Senator Reid. While Republicans aren’t much better these days (actually, I’d argue that they are equally bad, pursuing the same agenda at a different pace), openly advocating a bloated government that coddles people from cradle to grave shows a misunderstanding (if not total ignorance) regarding the principles enshrined both in this nation’s founding documents and the scriptures.

If anybody is taking people down a wrong path, it’s Senator Reid and his socialist cohorts.

117 Responses to “Harry Reid Against the “Right Wingers””

  1. John
    October 10, 2007 at 11:52 am #

    Doesn’t “these people” refer to “Members of the church” and not Pres. Benson?

    I take the comment to mean that having republican prophets has caused “these people” to make improper assumptions about the church and what party you “should be.”

    Can’t speak for him, but that’s kinda what I took it as. I hope he didn’t mean that Pres. Benson did a bad job or misleads people. I think it’s just a case of an ambiguous pronoun.

    I’d have to say I’d take a dose of socialism before I’d enter another unnecessary war, though. In that respect, I think Dems are ahead of the GOP.

    Though I do wish the Dems had enough gusto to back up their claims and stop at least some of this nonsense. :(

  2. Connor
    October 10, 2007 at 11:55 am #

    John,

    Read this part again for clarification:

    …these people have taken members of the church down the path that is the wrong path.

    In the preceding sentence (I added an ellipse because I’m not sure, from the SLTrib article, if they were said in succession) he was referring to the leaders of the Church. Here in this sentence, he’s describing two sets of people: “these people” and “members of the Church”. One is the actor, one is the receiver. So he’s not saying “members of the church have taken members of the church down the path…”, but instead is referring specifically to the leaders of our church.

  3. Connor
    October 10, 2007 at 12:00 pm #

    I’d have to say I’d take a dose of socialism before I’d enter another unnecessary war, though.

    Agreed. But there were plenty of Democrats (all but one in the House, and all in the Senate) that authorized the President to use military force, and plenty that have consistently voted to fund this war. Though they try to save face in public and outcry the war, they continue to fund and support it. I see them as equally culpable.

  4. John
    October 10, 2007 at 12:39 pm #

    Maybe we need to agree to disagree.

    Members of the church are obedient and followers in the true sense of the word, but these people have taken members of the church down the path that is the wrong path

    I don’t see why “these people” would refer to something in another sentence and completely skip over the nearest subject, “Members of the church”.

    To me “these people” == “Members of the church.” It’s right there in the same sentence.

    I don’t see how you can tie that pronoun to something in a different sentence, and if you can, why it would be that way rather than pointing to the nearest subject in the same sentence. :/

  5. Connor
    October 10, 2007 at 12:41 pm #

    Right, so let’s say for example that you are correct. We would then be able to substitute the words “members of the church” for “these people”, giving us the sentence:

    …members of the church have taken members of the church down the path that is the wrong path

    That seems redundant, doesn’t it? The subject is referring to itself. Sure, members of the church can lead other members of the church down a path, but it seems incorrect to say that Joe took Joe down a wrong path, for example.

    At least that’s how I read it.

  6. Chris
    October 10, 2007 at 1:06 pm #

    John,

    I would definitely have to agree with Connor – your interpretation doesn’t really make logical sense given the context. The ellipsis Connor added might not actually even be there – it may be cited in the Tribune exactly as it was spoken, otherwise the Tribune intentionally misrepresented his remarks. Bottom line, I’m pretty sure Harry Reid does not believe in President Benson as far as political doctrines are concerned.

  7. John
    October 10, 2007 at 1:32 pm #

    It’s not redundant.

    [certain] members of the church have taken [certain] members of the church down the path that is the wrong path.

    That seems redundant, doesn’t it? The subject is referring to itself. Sure, members of the church can lead other members of the church down a path, but it seems incorrect to say that Joe took Joe down a wrong path, for example.

    I must be the former then – members are leading other members down the wrong path. That’s how I read it. The reason it sounds funny is exactly why he used the pronoun. Paraphrased, I read it as:

    Members of the church are obedient and followers in the true sense of the word, but these same “obedient” people have taken other members of the church down the path that is the wrong path (i.e. thinking that the republican way is the prophet’s official stance).

    If you can at least understand how I read it, I’m fine with you disagreeing with which meaning he intended. :)

  8. Jeff
    October 10, 2007 at 1:36 pm #

    I don’t care for Reid much, but I think his point is valid. Much of the affinity that LDS people have for the Republican party comes from Pres. Benson. That affinity has made them support the fascist agenda of the neo-cons without really thinking about it.

    Connor, I think that you’re letting your passion for the words of Pres. Benson cloud your judgment here. Senator Reid’s comments were not meant to denigrate Pres. Benson or other right-wing Mormons. The way I see it, he was saying that the Church members’ blind obedience to the Republican party is a bad thing, which it is. Not everyone who criticizes the fear rhetoric employed by Pres. Benson toward socialism or his fierce partisanship is criticizing him as a prophet. There is a difference between President Benson the prophet and President Benson the Secretary of Agriculture.

    BTW, isn’t judging someone’s worthiness when you aren’t their priesthood leader wrong??

  9. John
    October 10, 2007 at 1:36 pm #

    Chris:

    If it doesn’t make logical sense, it helps me to see why you think that way.

    Bottom line, I’m pretty sure Harry Reid does not believe in President Benson as far as political doctrines are concerned.

    “Pretty sure” statements that speak for other people aren’t a great way to find out the facts. Let’s let Mr. Reid speak for himself. :)

  10. John
    October 10, 2007 at 1:37 pm #

    Jeff reads it the way I do, though is delivery is a little more extreme and abrasive than I would put it.

  11. Connor
    October 10, 2007 at 1:42 pm #

    John,

    If you can at least understand how I read it, I’m fine with you disagreeing with which meaning he intended.

    I do understand, but the reason I disagree is that Senator Reid did not include that qualifying “other” in his statement, implying that members were leading other members astray. Given that his statement was entirely in the context of right-wing leaders of the church, I think it’s very safe to assume that he was implying that they were the culprits.

    Jeff,

    Much of the affinity that LDS people have for the Republican party comes from Pres. Benson.

    I wholly doubt that. In my opinion, few members really listened to Pres. Benson. I don’t see how he was the catalyst for the fusion of the GOP and LDS population.

    There is a difference between President Benson the prophet and President Benson the Secretary of Agriculture.

    Absolutely. Following your line of thought, there is a difference between the venue of speaking as Prophet, and venue as Agriculture. One uses a pulpit, the other uses a press conference. And so, when speaking over the pulpit, he wasn’t speaking as Sec. of Ag.

    BTW, isn’t judging someone’s worthiness when you aren’t their priesthood leader wrong??

    Who are you speaking to, and what sentence are you referring to?

  12. danithew
    October 10, 2007 at 2:06 pm #

    Isn’t there a quote where Elder Benson said that it isn’t possible to be liberal and a good Mormon? I have a feeling Harry Reid was referring to a partisan remark like that – which represented Elder Benson’s strong personal political opinion. I’m sure he believed it when he said it – but that doesn’t make it gospel.

    The Church has made a point recently of saying that there are good Mormons who are of a wide variety of political orientations. You can find it here on a Church-sponsored YouTube video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nEQBDyYjXw

  13. Jeff
    October 10, 2007 at 2:18 pm #

    I wholly doubt that. In my opinion, few members really listened to Pres. Benson. I don’t see how he was the catalyst for the fusion of the GOP and LDS population.

    Utah’s conversion to right-wing ideology seems to trace back to the early ’70s. Before that, Utah was much more balanced in its political views. Some trace that change to Roe v. Wade and the Dems endorsement of it, but I think the case can be made that Benson, with his right-wing views, helped the Saints make this transition. He became president of the Quorum of the Twelve in ’73, the same year as Roe.

    Who are you speaking to, and what sentence are you referring to?

    I meant to delete this before I posted, but since you ask (and since I forgot to delete it :) ), I was referring to this comment in your original post:

    Little wonder that some members of the Church question the faithfulness of Senator Reid.

    It sure sounds like you’re judging his worthiness by tacitly agreeing with those who do, which definitely is not your place.

    John,

    Sorry you found my delivery “extreme and abrasive.” I didn’t intend it to be.

  14. Jeff
    October 10, 2007 at 2:25 pm #

    Absolutely. Following your line of thought, there is a difference between the venue of speaking as Prophet, and venue as Agriculture. One uses a pulpit, the other uses a press conference. And so, when speaking over the pulpit, he wasn’t speaking as Sec. of Ag.

    We’ve been down this road, and we’re not going to agree. Prophets are men with opinions, and they are allowed to express those opinions without them being interpreted as doctrine (even from the pulpit). True doctrine is repeated ad nauseum in the Church’s correlated material. Benson’s anti-socialist rhetoric hasn’t been. That’s all I’ll say because I know we’ll never come to a consensus on this issue.

  15. Chris
    October 10, 2007 at 2:52 pm #

    John,

    Directly from the tribune article:

    “On some church leaders:
    In the past years we’ve had some very prominent members of the church, like Ezra Taft Benson, who are really right-wing people. Members of the church are obedient and followers in the true sense of the word, but these people have taken members of the church down the path that is the wrong path.
    – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, in remarks to the media after his address at BYU.”

    If you have trouble interpreting that correctly, then I don’t think there’s much reason to argue further. I am not pretty sure, I am absolutely sure that Harry Reid said prominent members of the church, like Ezra Taft Benson, have taken members of the church down the path that is the wrong path. That’s what he meant. No misinterpreting there. This is basic reading comprehension here.

    You’re being stubborn here. It is not only redundant, but it doesn’t make sense that the “members” in the beginning of the sentence are the “people” who are referred to as leading the other “members” down the wrong path, especially when these first “members” are referred to as “obedient” and “followers.” So you’re insisting that he meant that the obedient followers are the people who are leading the other members. Since when do obedient followers lead?

    Bottom line: in word and in practice, Harry Reid does not believe in President Benson’s words concerning politics.

    I honestly don’t understand why you go to such great lengths to reason your way into an illogical conclusion. Is it that you can’t bear to admit that Harry Reid might have well rejected President Benson’s politics? You keep defending this conclusion that Harry Reid didn’t say what he said. Is it just pride that makes it hard for you to admit, after it is logically demonstrated to you, that you were wrong in your interpretation?

  16. Chris
    October 10, 2007 at 2:54 pm #

    Jeff,

    President Benson’s opinions were not dictated to him by the Republican Party – nor was he ever towing a party line. President Benson supported his opinions with truths from the Gospel, from the scriptures themselves. If you don’t believe that anything “more or less” than the Constitution of the United States “cometh of evil” – you need to take that up with the Lord Himself, not President Benson. It’s in the scriptures, go look it up.

    And as far as the neocons go, they are some of the worst socialists in the history of our country. Bush has spent more by far than any president, including Clinton. We are more in debt than we have ever been before.

    If you want to point out flaws with Benson’s philosophy, and try to paint him as a Republican Party line-tower, you obviously don’t know Benson very well at all. First and foremost, Benson was a Patriot, not a Republican. It just so happened that at his time, the Republican’s shared more of his patriotic ideals. I guarantee you that if Benson were alive today, he would not be in favor of or support any of the fascist/socialist/warmongering policies of the Republican Party or the neocons. Had more people studied and received the true spirit of his words, many more church members, including myself, would never have supported such things. I am opposed to the Republican Party in a good measure because of what Benson and other prophets have taught.

    You believe you are wiser than a Prophet of God. I readily admit that nobody is perfect, and that all prophets have said things that have been incorrect, and that there is a line to draw between the man and the prophet. However, when it comes to Benson, it seems that you and others like you draw that line where his political discourse disagrees with your own political views. Prophets have a right to speak about all things, including politics, and to speak with authority. They have always done so, and for you to reason those words away is to reject that prophet. President Benson’s words have been and are being fulfilled. Members who have rejected that significant portion of his ministry which dealt with politics and good government will one day regret that they did so. It is a shame that so many must be compelled to be humble. Open your eyes. It is all happening just as predicted. We cannot escape the consequences of bad choices, no matter what our motivations in making them.

  17. John
    October 10, 2007 at 3:18 pm #

    Chris,

    Um, the issue isn’t crystal clear or we wouldn’t be having this conversation, would we?

    Forgive us stubborn people who have no basic reading skills, who work at great lengths to unknowingly be illogical, but I’d like to continue the discussion all the same. :)

    Let’s keep it clean here – I didn’t insult you, so I expect the same respect from you.

    It is not only redundant, but it doesn’t make sense that the “members” in the beginning of the sentence are the “people” who are referred to as leading the other “members” down the wrong path, especially when these first “members” are referred to as “obedient” and “followers.” So you’re insisting that he meant that the obedient followers are the people who are leading the other members. Since when do obedient followers lead?

    Um, I’d say my bishop is an obedient follower and a leader, as an example.

    Maybe I should clarify something: I can see how you would read it like Connor does. That reading makes sense, and I can see it. I just don’t believe that particular reading is necessarily what Mr. Reid meant.

    I think it’d be pretty gutsy to say, at BYU, as a Mormon, that a prophet led the church astray. I just don’t see it as being probable.

    Bottom line: in word and in practice, Harry Reid does not believe in President Benson’s words concerning politics.

    What’s wrong with that? The Church is not officially advocating any particular party or candidate. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nEQBDyYjXw)

    I honestly don’t understand why you go to such great lengths to reason your way into an illogical conclusion. Is it that you can’t bear to admit that Harry Reid might have well rejected President Benson’s politics?

    Whoa now, settle down. First of all, if you think it’s illogical, please state *why.* Secondly, I do think Mr. Reid disagrees with Pres. Benson’s politics. So, uh, I guess I can bear that.

    You keep defending this conclusion that Harry Reid didn’t say what he said. Is it just pride that makes it hard for you to admit, after it is logically demonstrated to you, that you were wrong in your interpretation?

    Hm. Add you calling me prideful to the list of unwarranted insults. Not sure what I did to anger you personally, but I’d suggest you remove your emotions from the argument and stick to logic and the facts. Calling me names isn’t going to help anyone.

    I could sure be wrong. I’m simply pointing out that there is a plausible alternate interpretation of what he said.

  18. Chris
    October 10, 2007 at 3:48 pm #

    There is a difference between asking you about pride and calling you prideful. I am not angry. I demonstrated why your interpretation was illogical. There is no emotion in an honest question of why you keep stubbornly defending an erroneous conclusion. Connor’s and my responses are more logical and fact-based than yours. What more do you want?

    By the way, the Church does not endorse candidates or parties, but it does endorse principles, and those principles are being violated by Harry Reid. The Lord Himself endorsed the Constitution, and we are duty-bound to follow it, as Latter-day Saints. People like Harry Reid, George Bush, and many others on both sides of the line have been tearing down the Constitution for the entirety of their national political careers. Socialism is not compatible with God’s plan of free agency, nor is it compatible with the Constitution. Benson was not a political candidate; he was a prophet.

  19. John
    October 10, 2007 at 4:14 pm #

    The only demonstration you’ve made is re-stating things. I offered why I think it works the other way (i.e., usually the antecedent for a pronoun is in the same sentence). You just call it clear cut and leave it at that.

    What more do I want? Why you think that’s incorrect, or why you think that your interpretation is more correct.

    There is a difference between asking you about pride and calling you prideful.

    Let’s try it out. Tthe following sentence is presented as an example:

    “Is it your stupidity that keeps you from agreeing with me?”

    Is it fair to say I’m not being a jerk (if I had said that) – that I’m just “talking about stupidity.”

    No, I think it’s the insinuation that I can’t read, am prideful, stubborn, etc. that is the insult. Just because you don’t come right out and say it doesn’t mean it’s insulting. I think it’s really just sophistry to say otherwise.

    Leave the emotive speak at home please.

    Please don’t derail the subject – we’re not talking about upholding the constitution here, we’re talking about what Mr. Reid said and what he might have meant.

    And by the way, which do you think the Law of Consecration is more like: capatalism or socialism? :) I’m not advocating socialism for modern America just yet, but I don’t think you can say that its is against God’s plans.

    President Benson was a Political candidate *and* a prophet. Do you think the policies he advocated in the cabinet serve as church policy? Anyone who thinks that is probably the kind of person Mr. Reid was saying leads people down the wrong path.

  20. Chris
    October 10, 2007 at 4:58 pm #

    Alright – no more insinuations/insults. Let’s focus on the topic at hand.

    The Law of Consecration is not like socialism in practice or in outcome. You could make the case that in the end, ideally, each results in the elimination of poverty, but in the process you end up with two very different poverty-free worlds. In one, you have the kingdom of God, and in the other you have a world of people who have been denied the right to make decisions for themselves, the right to take care of each other, and who have surrendered responsibility over their lives into the hands of government. Though well-fed and medically provided for, these people are very poor when it comes to real substance of character. In reality, socialism is a failed ideology. Since the rise of socialism in the US, poverty has increased. Socialism does not have the power to create a poverty-free world, and even if it did, it would not be the Kingdom of God. Such a place in actuality would be more like the kingdom Lucifer had in mind. Benson, Kimball, and more have noted this clear distinction between the Law of Consecration and socialism. Joseph Smith himself, after learning about socialism, said he , “did not believe the doctrine.” Joseph received the Law of Consecration directly from the Lord; like the prophets that would follow him, he understood the principles underlying it, and easily recognized the fraud in socialism.

    Socialism operates upon the principle of force, consecration operates upon the principle of free agency. Socialism gives up on people and places faith in government; consecration places faith in the human family and in God, that they will someday learn to take care of each other. Socialism is an easy path toward unfulfilled promises; consecration is a hard but sure path toward becoming a millenial people – the only true and lasting way to achieve eternal peace and prosperity.

    Furthermore, the Law of Consecration can only operate in a capitalist or free society. Capitalism is not an evil ideology, it is an incomplete one. It is built around the principle of freedom – the principles of life, liberty, and property. We should never take away someone’s rights over his own property, and redistribute it against his will. This violates the principle of agency. If you were to take somone’s property against his will, that would be called stealing. The government does the same thing and we call it welfare.

    We have a responsibility to care for each other, and capitalism does not preclude that. Rather, it places the responsibility to care for one another right where it belongs – in our own hands. Do you believe it would be possible right now to practice the Law of Consecration? How can you give everything that is yours to the Lord if the government first takes half of it? Our ability to live the Law of Consecration, if not completely destroyed, is significantly hindered by the socialist society that we live in.

    I believe that many in the Church who support socialism do so out of good motivations (i.e. love and charity). I feel that this is the case with Senator Reid. On the other hand, we have been warned by prophets of God against the evils of socialism, and have been shown the true way to care for one another, and we are accountable to God for how we treat that counsel.

  21. Josh
    October 10, 2007 at 5:06 pm #

    Perhaps one of the most debilitating philosophies entertained by social liberals of the Church is that somehow the Church’s perceived absence from political endorsement implies that the leaders of the Church do not endorse political truth. As arguments become more fundamental and correct principles of natural law itself are threatened or thrown to the wayside, God who is the creator of that very code of natural law speaks to His chosen servants.
    Upon watching Elder Ballard’s statement on youtube (by the way, I would recommend visiting lds.org for presenting official doctrine of the church – you’ll gain greater vision of the connotations and implications of a statement than you could from watching a minute and a half video clip), I am thoroughly convinced that Elder Ballard and every member of the Quorum of the Twelve and First Presidency absolutely deplore same-sex marriage (including tolerance of such an evil practice), the erroneous philosophy of pro-choice, and absolutely disdain socialist and communist philosophy. This is isn’t something that started with some revolution by Pres. Ezra Taft Benson. Prophets and apostles from Joseph to Pres. Hinckley have not been silent on these issues and “in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.”
    Metaphysical and moral relativism have twisted the minds of Americans and frankly members of the Church for too long. A liberal thinker doesn’t want me to simply accept their right. They wish for me to accept that pernicious sin which they desire to have a right to. I don’t think that many comprehend that mere choice is not agency. When Elder Ballard refers to agency in his presentation, he is not speaking of rights without responsibility, nor is he implying that absolute truth does not surpass political platforms and make its way to our pulpits. Ultimately, if I condone or advocate the right of another to sin without enduring a just consequence, I am hindering their agency. The choice wasn’t really theirs because I was involved in allowing them to get away with it. Choice without consequence does not merit agency. It is subtle compulsion. (See Elder Dallin H. Oaks’ talk entitled “Weightier Matters” published in the Ensign January 2001).
    I know that I have broadened the issue, but I am simply tired of members of the Church viewing the Church’s stance on remaining aloof from party politics as an open forum for seeking to satisfy an irreconcilable conscience that never can fully connect two spheres of truth to one another. Our government was founded upon inspired, absolute truth. The writing of the constitution began the political preparation for the Kingdom of God. It was paid for with the blood of honest men. Why are we so insistent on progressing past something God Himself both gave us and endorsed through revelation?
    Elder Maxwell once warned, “Don’t expect the world’s solutions to the world’s problems to be very effective. Only the Gospel of Jesus Christ is constantly relevant.” Alma taught the same thing to Helaman in Alma Chapter 37. The Church is engaged in the only work which will truly save the world. While absolute truth can cross party lines, we cannot expect to be faithful in our covenant responsibility to stand as witnesses of Christ if we are convinced that we can cross or support others in crossing the line of absolute truth which finds its roots not in the philosophy of man, but in the revelations of God. “What I the Lord have spoken I have spoken, and I excuse not myself.” In sustaining the revelations of the Lord repeatedly given to His chosen servants, I excuse not myself in stating that Harry Reid’s statement was absolutely evil.

  22. Dan
    October 10, 2007 at 5:38 pm #

    Connor,

    In the preceding sentence (I added an ellipse because I’m not sure, from the SLTrib article, if they were said in succession) he was referring to the leaders of the Church. Here in this sentence, he’s describing two sets of people: “these people” and “members of the Church”. One is the actor, one is the receiver. So he’s not saying “members of the church have taken members of the church down the path…”, but instead is referring specifically to the leaders of our church.

    I think you misinterpreted Senator Reid’s comments. He was NOT referring to “leaders of the church.” He was referring to “some very prominent members of the church” (one of which was Ezra Taft Benson) who “are really right wing people.” His criticism is NOT of the prophet, but of “prominent right-wing members of the church,” who he felt, rightly, led the church down a wrong path. And he is right. Note how much effort the current church leadership has had to make to correct the wrongness of the right-wingers’ direction. Note how often they have had to come out and say that it is indeed fine to be a Mormon and a Democrat. Now, why on earth would President Hinckley have to even say something like that? Why on earth would that even be a question needing answering? Why, because people like Ezra Taft Benson kept instilling in members that it was NOT okay to be a Mormon and a Democrat. Because people like Ezra Taft Benson kept instilling in Mormons that it was against their best eternal interests to ally themselves with the Democratic party. And yes, that was a wrong direction for Ezra Taft Benson and the rest of his right-winger pals to have done. C’est La Vis. Thankfully today’s “prominent church members” tend not to be concerned about political affinity as those of Ezra Taft Benson’s day.

  23. Dan
    October 10, 2007 at 5:41 pm #

    Connor,

    I wholly doubt that. In my opinion, few members really listened to Pres. Benson. I don’t see how he was the catalyst for the fusion of the GOP and LDS population

    Are you kidding? Dude, I know you love the guy, but stop pretending that he didn’t actually make any mistakes, including serious ones. Indeed members of the church turned Republican as Ezra Taft Benson gained prominence in the church. Take a look at your history again.

  24. Dan
    October 10, 2007 at 5:45 pm #

    Chris,

    I guarantee you that if Benson were alive today, he would not be in favor of or support any of the fascist/socialist/warmongering policies of the Republican Party or the neocons.

    Are you sure of that? What did Ezra Taft Benson have to say about the Vietnam War?

  25. Jeff
    October 10, 2007 at 5:53 pm #

    Chris,

    There are two things you need to understand about me before you start lobbing your “not following the prophet” rhetoric at me:

    1- I’m a libertarian who absolutely believes in free market capitalism, and

    2- I’m an atheist who attends church for family and social reasons.

    That being said, the only reason I commented on this thread in the first place was because I believed that Connor was unfairly representing Sen. Reid’s statement, which I still believe he is. No one has of yet tried to refute my interpretation of Reid’s remarks that I gave in comment 8. I know that Pres. Benson would absolutely hate the neo-con agenda, and that it is antithetical of what his political views were. What I was saying is that because of members’ love of the Republican party (a love spurred on by the partisan Pres. Benson–you can say he wasn’t partisan, but you’re rewriting history if you do) Mormons have embraced an ideology that Benson would have hated, not because they think that it’s good, but because it is put forward by the Republican party. Please read my comment above and try to refute it instead of attacking my political ideology that, if we’re going to be truthful, probably closely resembles yours (although I’ll happily take God out of the equation). I just don’t like people misrepresenting the thoughts of others to try to forward a political agenda or, in the case of many here, to condemn them as satanic or evil.

    As for the rest of your comment, I’ll take my chances that I’m too prideful and that I’ll have to face the consequences of my choices. But, I have to say that your self-righteous and self-serving rhetoric doesn’t scare me or encourage me to change; it amuses me.

  26. Connor
    October 10, 2007 at 5:54 pm #

    Indeed members of the church turned Republican as Ezra Taft Benson gained prominence in the church. Take a look at your history again.

    Source?

  27. Connor
    October 10, 2007 at 5:57 pm #

    What did Ezra Taft Benson have to say about the Vietnam War?

    From An Enemy Hath Done This, p. 185 (emphasis in original):

    The key to a solution of the problems in Vietnam is an understanding that we have no business being there int eh first place — at least not under the present conditions or authority. Nevertheless, we are there and we are involved, so what do we do now? Since we shouldn’t be there in the first place, we should now concentrate on doing whatever is necessary to bring our boys home.

  28. Dan
    October 10, 2007 at 5:57 pm #

    Josh,

    Perhaps one of the most debilitating philosophies entertained by social liberals of the Church is that somehow the Church’s perceived absence from political endorsement implies that the leaders of the Church do not endorse political truth

    And perhaps one of the most debilitating philosophies entertained by fascist conservatives of the Church is that somehow the Church’s perceived absence from political endorsement implies that leaders of the church endorse their perverse ways. ;)

    Furthermore, Elder Dallin H. Oaks said:

    Those who govern their thoughts and actions solely by the principles of liberalism or conservatism or intellectualism cannot be expected to agree with all of the teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ. As for me, I find some wisdom in liberalism, some wisdom in conservatism, and much truth in intellectualism—but I find no salvation in any of them

    Huh, he finds wisdom in liberalism.

    I am thoroughly convinced that Elder Ballard and every member of the Quorum of the Twelve and First Presidency absolutely deplore same-sex marriage (including tolerance of such an evil practice), the erroneous philosophy of pro-choice, and absolutely disdain socialist and communist philosophy

    I guess I shouldn’t remind you that President James E. Faust was a Democrat to the end of his days, the person President Henry B. Eyring wishes he could be. Huh…

    A liberal thinker doesn’t want me to simply accept their right. They wish for me to accept that pernicious sin which they desire to have a right to

    There we go again, calling liberals sinners. Connor, can you see why I have such derision for these kinds of Mormons?

    Elder Maxwell once warned, “Don’t expect the world’s solutions to the world’s problems to be very effective. Only the Gospel of Jesus Christ is constantly relevant.” Alma taught the same thing to Helaman in Alma Chapter 37. The Church is engaged in the only work which will truly save the world.

    How does this quote in ANY WAY condemn liberalism and support conservatism?

    “What I the Lord have spoken I have spoken, and I excuse not myself.” In sustaining the revelations of the Lord repeatedly given to His chosen servants, I excuse not myself in stating that Harry Reid’s statement was absolutely evil.

    Are you equating yourself to the Lord? The Lord does not have to excuse himself, but you do. You are NOT the Lord. Again, Connor, this is another example of why it is so hard to show any kind of kindness to these types of Mormons. Can you just feel the derision ooze out of his words towards those who he does not agree with politically?

  29. Connor
    October 10, 2007 at 6:00 pm #

    Jeff,

    I meant to delete this before I posted, but since you ask (and since I forgot to delete it :) ), I was referring to this comment in your original post

    The statement I made was in no way a declaration of judgment on my part; I simply pointed out that it was a reason why many other members apparently do judge his faithfulness. I was simply saying that his statement (and actions) would give rise to such judgments, but I myself have not passed such judgment. I think both mainstream Democrats and Republicans miss the mark in understanding true principles about government and the Constitution.

  30. Connor
    October 10, 2007 at 6:02 pm #

    Huh, he finds wisdom in liberalism.

    Before we go throwing around words like liberalism and conservatism, one must understand the definition. Liberalism 200 years ago was quite different than the flavor found today. Both conservatism and liberalism have been hijacked and now promote a welfare/warfare state with centralized authority. Old school liberals would be disgusted.

  31. Connor
    October 10, 2007 at 6:04 pm #

    There we go again, calling liberals sinners. Connor, can you see why I have such derision for these kinds of Mormons?

    So, what is the alternative, Dan? Moral relativism? Some things are right and wrong, despite what others may think. Taking a moral stand based on scriptures and eternal principles may get a person mocked or ridiculed, but their stance is nevertheless sound if in accordance with such truths.

    I’m not saying all liberals are sinners, but I do see indirect support of certain immoralities on both sides of the political aisle.

  32. Jeff
    October 10, 2007 at 6:04 pm #

    Josh,

    In sustaining the revelations of the Lord repeatedly given to His chosen servants, I excuse not myself in stating that Harry Reid’s statement was absolutely evil.

    I excuse not myself…??? Does using scriptural syntax make your silly argument sound more appealing??

  33. Dan
    October 10, 2007 at 6:10 pm #

    Connor,

    I’m too tired to research deeper than a mere google search, but here is a site that explains the history of the Republican party in Utah. Note that the Republicans gained their current stronghold in the 1950s with the rise of Ezra Taft Benson and others like-minded prominent members.

  34. Dan
    October 10, 2007 at 6:11 pm #

    Connor,

    Before we go throwing around words like liberalism and conservatism, one must understand the definition. Liberalism 200 years ago was quite different than the flavor found today. Both conservatism and liberalism have been hijacked and now promote a welfare/warfare state with centralized authority. Old school liberals would be disgusted.

    Um, Elder Dallin H. Oaks is NOT 200 years old. He said that in 1987. :)

  35. Connor
    October 10, 2007 at 6:12 pm #

    Um, Elder Dallin H. Oaks is NOT 200 years old. He said that in 1987.

    Agreed. But, he did not specify that he was finding true principles in modern liberalism as opposed to ancient, nor did he specify which truths he was referring to. This was in no way a blanket statement of approval for modern liberalism as a whole.

  36. Dan
    October 10, 2007 at 6:22 pm #

    Connor,

    Elder Oaks was not speaking in a vacuum. He was speaking to people who would understand what he was talking about. Here is a link to the quote. (It’s at the bottom of the page). You can see that he is not differentiating between modern liberalism and that of the early 1800s. Because he doesn’t do that, and because the subject is “criticism” it is fair to deduce that he is referring to modern liberalism.

    I know you really really hate modern liberalism, but you’ve gotta accept that there really is “some wisdom” in it. Especially since the recently deceased Second Counsellor in the First Presidency of the Church believed in that philosophy. Or are you saying James E. Faust was deluded and was as ignorant as you claim Elder Staheli is on the CFR? Or perhaps they are not the boogeymen President Benson tried to paint them as….

  37. Connor
    October 10, 2007 at 6:24 pm #

    I know you really really hate modern liberalism, but you’ve gotta accept that there really is “some wisdom” in it.

    I absolutely do think there is some wisdom in it.

    Especially since the recently deceased Second Counsellor in the First Presidency of the Church believed in that philosophy.

    So all Democrats are liberals, and vice-versa?

  38. Dan
    October 10, 2007 at 7:28 pm #

    Let me put it this way, Connor. You’ve created your own straw man of what a liberal is, so that you can easily lump whoever you like into that group without feeling bad about it. Because you created it in your own fashion, you can also exclude whomever you desire. In this way, you will always exclude someone like President Faust, because in your eyes, it is impossible for a leader of the church to be a liberal, as you define liberalism. In your eyes, it is impossible that someone like President Faust could even remotely be interested in the liberalism you defined.

  39. Connor
    October 10, 2007 at 7:31 pm #

    In your eyes, it is impossible that someone like President Faust could even remotely be interested in the liberalism you defined.

    Where did I define liberalism as a whole? I’ve only described it in part. Rather than offering your own definition of liberalism, you attack mine, which isn’t even a definition.

    Answer my question: are all Democrats liberals? Does the fact that Pres. Faust was a Democrat mean he was liberal? If so, how? You’ll need to define liberalism before using it to describe people as you desire to do.

  40. Josh
    October 10, 2007 at 9:35 pm #

    Two important facts have been omitted from this discussion. The first is that according to legal documents, Pres. Faust did not die a registered Democrat and had not been affiliated with the party for many years. Let’s not forget that the Kennedy administration fostered and supported some of the most conservative acts in U.S. History. Second, just like rat poison, which is 1 percent arsenic and 99 percent cookie, “some wisdom” doesn’t serve as a blanket umbrella to condone liberal philosophy. The meaning of that word is relative to the one who defines it. Let’s not get into a battle of semantics and get to the core of all of this. The core is absolute truth. The truth is, the brethren have vehemently and clearly taken a stance against many of the core issues which most people consider to be the crux of liberal philosophy. Again, read the words of Elder Oaks published in the January Ensign 2001, entitled “Weightier Matters”. Let’s unite rather than disagree in staying with the brethren.

  41. Chris
    October 10, 2007 at 10:27 pm #

    Dan,

    You’re going to have to produce here, and quit talking like you know Benson’s discourse so well. Show me where President Benson “instilled” in members that it was not okay for them to Mormon and Democrat. Show me where he said that. Don’t just make things up.

  42. Curtis
    October 10, 2007 at 11:01 pm #

    To interject if I may. I’m a mormon who is not an atheist but who also thinks that in the absence of Zion where the law of Consecration is lived and where there are no poor, there is nothing wrong with a little bit of socialism. I’d go for more of a democratic form than an autocratic form of course, but I don’t see that it is any worse than our current form of socialism for the wealthy and powerful and capitalism for the poor.

    Whether Benson led us down the wrong path or not and whether or not that is what Reid is saying, I don’t really care. Benson taught us some precious truths… have you ever read the talk about what he wants us to teach our children about the temple, at the 100 year anniversary of the Logan Temple? Or the pride or Book of Mormon talks? Awesome stuff. I disagree with his idea of the proper role of government. If pure libertarian principles were followed in government now, we’d see a collapse of society. There is definitely a role for socialist policies in keeping society from chaos. Socialism is not Satan’s plan. Satan does just fine with Capitalism. In fact, the major secret combinations of the day are thrilled with our so-called “free trade” deals (which you probably know is quite a misnomer in the class of “military intelligence”) and Satan uses his capitalist loot to buy up the armies of the earth to reign with blood and horror.
    I know that socialism is not God’s way of economics, but we will not be living God’s way of economics as a society until we decide to as a group. Nibley suggests (and I concur) that we can live the law of Consecration as we covenant to do in the temple, as individuals. We don’t have to wait for the group to get it started. Unfortunately, as most readers of this blog are aware, this church’s membership is a bit too idolatrous to be living a celestial law according to Pres. Kimball in 1976.
    I’m with my libertarian friends in longing for a United Order, a utopian society, an order of Enoch. However, the best way to bring this about is not to oppose socialism in our government… the only way to bring about Zion is from the inside out… by preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ by the Spirit. When a group of people are converted as the people of Enoch or Melchizedek were converted to the Lord, then is Zion possible.
    Until then, I support providing my country’s tax revenues for children’s healthcare, infrastructure, education, helping victims of natural disasters, elderly people’s medications, disabled folks living etc.
    The only way we will get to Zion is to follow the recipe provided for us by Elder Wirthlin in the Saturday afternoon session of conference last weekend.

  43. Parker (brother #3)
    October 10, 2007 at 11:47 pm #

    I almost went to listen to that guy… glad I didn’t

  44. Dan
    October 11, 2007 at 7:28 am #

    Connor,

    Answer my question: are all Democrats liberals? Does the fact that Pres. Faust was a Democrat mean he was liberal? If so, how? You’ll need to define liberalism before using it to describe people as you desire to do.

    No group is monolithic. Nor does it mean that if one is one label (Democrat) he takes on all the characteristics of the major philosophy of that group. Nor does it mean that he DOESN’T take ANY characteristic of that group.

    Going down the path of defining liberalism is a trap I choose not to go down. Sorry Connor.

  45. Dan
    October 11, 2007 at 7:44 am #

    Chris,

    Show me where President Benson “instilled” in members that it was not okay for them to Mormon and Democrat. Show me where he said that. Don’t just make things up.

    Please, that’s too easy. Here is one example, from a General Conference talk in October 1961.

    Communism is fundamentallly socialism. … No true Latter-day Saint and no true American can be a socialist or a communist or support programs leading in that direction.

    Let me repeat that: “or support programs LEADING in that direction.” In other words, in his view, you cannot be a good latter-day saint, and also not a real American if you support programs LEADING in the direction of socialism or communism. Now, this is going to sound like common sense to you, because you’ve already bought this hook, line, and sinker. But alas, he is wrong.

    And I shouldn’t even bring up Harold B. Lee’s infamous “no liberal member has a testimony.” It doesn’t matter how he spun it, that what he was referring to were members of the church who took church doctrine and interpreted it liberally. Conservative members of the church went ahead and took the word “liberal” and made it their number one bad guy.

    So sad.

  46. Dan
    October 11, 2007 at 7:46 am #

    Curtis,

    Satan does just fine with Capitalism.

    Well said. It’s really funny to see conservatives jump up with joy at “Capitalism”…I wonder if they really know that the person who coined the term “capitalism” (and thusly define it) was none other than Karl Marx himself.

    Heh, the irony.

  47. Connor
    October 11, 2007 at 8:10 am #

    Dan,

    Going down the path of defining liberalism is a trap I choose not to go down.

    Then stop claiming Pres. Faust was a liberal unless you choose to define in what ways he was.

    But alas, he is wrong.

    Um, no he’s not. I fully agree with that statement. What think ye of the First Presidency statement regarding communism, and indirectly its sister socialism, that said:

    We call upon all Church members completely to eschew Communism. The safety of our divinely inspired Constitutional government and the welfare of our Church imperatively demand that Communism shall have no place in America.

    A true Latter-day Saint upholds and defends the Constitution. Communism and socialism are not in harmony w/ that document, but instead in direct opposition to it. It’s easy to boil down the equation and see that Latter-day Saints should oppose such things.

    Conservative members of the church went ahead and took the word “liberal” and made it their number one bad guy.

    In what context? What is a liberal? You keep using the word, but unless you’re willing to define it, it’s pointless to say that members have made it their “bad guy” without knowing just what it entails.

    It’s really funny to see conservatives jump up with joy at “Capitalism”

    To be sure, Satan does just fine with any economic system, for there are always corrupt men willing to take advantage of others and work the system to their personal advantage. Does that mean capitalism is inherently bad or evil? No! There are wicked men among our ranks as Latter-day Saints, but that in no way casts a shadow on the gospel as a whole, for it is true regardless of the actions of individuals claiming to adhere to its precepts.

  48. Dan
    October 11, 2007 at 8:59 am #

    Connor,

    What think ye of the First Presidency statement regarding communism, and indirectly its sister socialism, that said:

    Do you see where the difference is between what Ezra Taft Benson said and the First Presidency said? The First Presidency said, as you quote them:

    We call upon all Church members completely to eschew Communism. The safety of our divinely inspired Constitutional government and the welfare of our Church imperatively demand that Communism shall have no place in America.

    A true Latter-day Saint upholds and defends the Constitution. Communism and socialism are not in harmony w/ that document, but instead in direct opposition to it. It’s easy to boil down the equation and see that Latter-day Saints should oppose such things.

    That’s fine and dandy. I don’t have much of a problem with that. What I have a problem with is what Ezra Taft Benson ADDS to that statement:

    Communism is fundamentallly socialism. … No true Latter-day Saint and no true American can be a socialist or a communist or support programs leading in that direction.

    THAT is where Ezra Taft Benson is wrong.

    To be sure, Satan does just fine with any economic system, for there are always corrupt men willing to take advantage of others and work the system to their personal advantage. Does that mean capitalism is inherently bad or evil? No!

    That is NOT the reason why capitalism is inherently evil or bad. Capitalism’s inherent badness stems from its lack of compassion. But that’s for another thread. In any case, we’re going to have to agree to disagree here.

  49. Connor
    October 11, 2007 at 9:05 am #

    I don’t have much of a problem with that. What I have a problem with is what Ezra Taft Benson ADDS to that statement:

    What he said and what the FP said are essentially the same thing. Notice:

    A true Latter-day Saint upholds and defends the Constitution. (First Presidency)

    No true Latter-day Saint and no true American can be a socialist or a communist or support programs leading in that direction. (Pres. Benson)

    Any person who truly upholds and defends the Constitution will not support programs that oppose its principles and precepts, whether explicitly or gradually. They’re saying essentially the same thing in different words.

    Capitalism’s inherent badness stems from its lack of compassion.

    Pray tell, how does an economic system inherently have any quality once reserved only for individuals? Does socialism, which relies on state-sanctioned robbery of one’s wages, qualify as charitable and “compassionate”? Bah!

  50. Dan
    October 11, 2007 at 9:08 am #

    Connor,

    Any person who truly upholds and defends the Constitution will not support programs that oppose its principles and precepts, whether explicitly or gradually. They’re saying essentially the same thing in different words.

    You totally and completely ignored Ezra Taft Benson’s words! Did you not even CATCH the extra words he added to the phrase? How big must I make them for you?

    or support programs leading in that direction.

    He is wrong on this, and will always be wrong on this.

  51. Connor
    October 11, 2007 at 9:10 am #

    You totally and completely ignored Ezra Taft Benson’s words! Did you not even CATCH the extra words he added to the phrase? How big must I make them for you?

    I didn’t miss it at all. That’s why I said “whether explicitly or gradually”. Allow me to elaborate.

    If somebody is supporting a program that explicitly and openly advocates communism or socialism, it is quite easy to see that they are contradicting and opposing Constitutional principles.

    If somebody is supporting a program that gradually advocates and implements such things, they are, in President Benson’s words, supporting program that “lead in that direction”.

    Bold the words all you want, but I saw them and responded to them. Pres. Benson and the First Presidency were saying, in different words, the same thing.

  52. Dan
    October 11, 2007 at 9:36 am #

    Connor,

    But the First Presidency message does NOT add that extra. Read it again.

    In any case, we’re off track here. Chris asked where I got the notion that Ezra Taft Benson “instilled” in members that you couldn’t be a good Mormon and a Democrat at the same time. As your answers clearly show, he succeeded in converting you to that line of thinking.

  53. Jay
    October 11, 2007 at 2:20 pm #

    In his book, This Nation Shall Endure, ETB said that there isn’t sound government among either of the major parties. I won’t claim to know what he thinks, like some people here who claim to be mind readers, but it would seem to me from his talks and statements, particularly in his later life, that he did not endorse the republican party or encourage people in that direction.

    No form of socialism or communism can be reconciled with the scriptures. Even under Joseph Smith’s “united order” there was not communal ownership of property. Everyone held title to his own property.

    Jay

  54. Curtis
    October 11, 2007 at 8:23 pm #

    Jay,
    Have you read the book of Deuteronomy? There are quite a few socialist policies put into place by Moses there.

  55. Frank Staheli
    October 11, 2007 at 9:01 pm #

    For the record, I agree with Jeff’s sentiments in comment #8. It took me a while to get to that point, but now I do. For the record as well, I also subscribe to Ezra Taft Benson’s views that socialism is wrong, and I think the Ultimate Decider of Truth will sanction them in the great and final debate, but I could be wrong.

    I revere Ezra Taft Benson as both a politician and a prophet. I think Senator Reid can disagree with him politically and still believe that he is a prophet of God.

    I came away from Reid’s speech at the Marriott Center thinking, although I disagree with him, I think he is sincere, and I think he is a great man. Ezra Taft Benson can run circles around Reid when it comes to the proper role of government, but that doesn’t make Reid a crook or any less sincere.

  56. Jay
    October 11, 2007 at 9:04 pm #

    Of course I’ve read Deuteronomy. Please be specific.

    Jay

  57. Jeff
    October 11, 2007 at 11:09 pm #

    Thanks, Frank. I think we’ve spent all this time arguing over a simple misunderstanding of a statement (a misunderstanding fueled by bias). Politics would be much easier if everyone’s meaning was 100% clear all the time. Unfortunately, language is an imperfect medium and is open to interpretation, especially when seen through the lens of bias. When bias is present, separating the true meaning from the skewed interpretation is almost impossible.

  58. Chris
    October 12, 2007 at 1:07 pm #

    Dan,

    I’m sorry, but your assertion on Benson and the Democrats is wrong. Saying that President Benson decried socialism/communism and saying that he decried the Democratic Party are two different things. The first is a statement concerning a principle, and the latter is a statement concerning a party. The Democratic Party is not exclusively a socialist party, and so being a member of the Democratic Party, for whatever reason, does not automatically mean someone must support socialism. People can be members of a political party for many different reasons. I am still a registered Republican, but I don’t support everything (or most things) that my party supports in mass. In fact, the Republican Party has become largely socialist themselves. Even in today’s world, I don’t believe that one has to support socialism to support the Democratic Party. One may support them on the grounds of human rights (i.e. anti-torture, discrimination, etc), or on the grounds of being anti-war. Hey, what the heck – I believe in those ideals too, and so did President Benson, and I am happy if people support the Democratic Party for those reasons. Likewise, I am against those in the Republican Party who want to create perpetual wars, torture, centralize power, etc.

    You have not defended your assertion that “people like Ezra Taft Benson kept instilling in Mormons that it was against their best eternal interests to ally themselves with the Democratic party.” If you wish to make the assertion that “people like Ezra Taft Benson instilled in Mormons that it was against their best eternal interests to support socialism,” then I would wholeheartedly agree with you, and that is the only assertion you have actually defended. Until you can show where Ezra Taft Benson told members not to support the Democratic Party, you have not supported your statement. All of his political statements that I’ve read up to this point have been about principles. Even in Connor’s Benson quote about parties, Benson said they both had problems.

  59. Curtis
    October 12, 2007 at 1:27 pm #

    Jay,
    They are fairly recognizable. The prohibition against usury, the rules which forbade going back and picking up dropped harvest since that was for the poor, the whole jubilee debt forgiveness thing (you couldn’t even refuse a request for a loan because it was a week before the jubilee when the debt was to be forgiven) etc.
    I’d have guessed that many in the Church haven’t read Deuteronomy, and if they have, these subtleties probably go right over their head.

  60. Jay
    October 12, 2007 at 1:44 pm #

    I am very suspicious of your assertions. Please don’t make general statements that you can’t support. Provide evidence of your arguments.

    Jay

  61. Dan
    October 12, 2007 at 1:57 pm #

    Chris,

    I’m not going to tie myself down to the statement I said at first, because when you get to technicalities, you’ll find ways to get around the main thrust, and that is that Ezra Taft Benson and others like him kept instilling in members of the church that they should avoid like the plague anything remotely “socialist”, keeping very vague exactly what that entailed, but stoking enough innuendo that most members decided for themselves that what they were referring to was the Democratic party. Why else would you get Republicans joking that party affiliation should be a temple recommend question?

  62. Jay
    October 12, 2007 at 1:58 pm #

    BTW, I’m well aware of the fact that it was considered a sin to charge interest on a loan, but being a sin and being against the civil laws of the land, with a loss of freedoms attached, are two different things. What was the punishment for usury, for instance?

    In the Church, members are required to pay fast offerings, for instance, but that isn’t socialism by any stretch of the definition.

    Jay

  63. Jay
    October 12, 2007 at 2:04 pm #

    I’ve seen a share of Democrats who believe that Republicans shouldn’t be allowed to hold recommends, including a member of a stake presidency in Arizona, so it goes both ways. President Benson eschewed socialism and pointed out that both parties were steeped in it. I do not ever recall him singling out the Democrat party or even suggesting it. I suspect that if anyone thinks that he was, there must be some measure of self-guilt. No doubt, the Democrats are a party of socialists, but the Republicans are not far behind.

    Jay

  64. Connor
    October 12, 2007 at 2:05 pm #

    I’m not going to tie myself down to the statement I said at first, because when you get to technicalities, you’ll find ways to get around the main thrust…

    Reminds me of Donald Rumsfeld, who said:

    I’m not into this detail stuff. I’m more concepty.

    Or, a translation:

    “I want to be able to say whatever I want and not defend it with, you know, facts and stuff.”

  65. Dan
    October 12, 2007 at 2:27 pm #

    No, Connor, that’s not what that means. What that means is that my original point was not that Ezra Taft Benson specifically told members to avoid the Democratic party. Chris wished to tie me down to that statement. I will not be tied to that.

    Take Jay’s comment just now:

    No doubt, the Democrats are a party of socialists

    See how easy it is for a conservative to smear and incorrectly label a party like that? Where do you think that came from? Not only that but Jay presses further:

    but the Republicans are not far behind.

    Must be easy to live in this fantasy world where everyone is a bad guy but you. Must be easy when the religion millions of people adhere to can only really be lived properly your way or not at all. If they don’t believe as you believe, then they must be socialists, and we KNOW what ETB said about socialists!

  66. Jay
    October 12, 2007 at 2:29 pm #

    But Connor, you can’t confuse the issue with things like, uh, like facts. I mean, there are known “knowns.” There are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say there are things that we now know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know. So when we do the best we can and we pull all this information together, and we then say well that’s basically what we see as the situation, that is really only the known knowns and the known unknowns. And each year, we discover a few more of those unknown unknowns.

    So get your facts straight, man.

    Jay

  67. Jay
    October 12, 2007 at 2:32 pm #

    Dan,

    Are you calling me a “conservative” as opposed to a “liberal”? And where would you ever get that idea? Do you have some warped idea that I align my principles with the Republican party? I believe that I’ve made it pretty clear that I consider the Democrats to be the lesser of the evils, but I would not choose either of the evils.

    There are a lot of good guys . . . they are just hard to find among the major parties.

    Jay

  68. Connor
    October 12, 2007 at 2:38 pm #

    See how easy it is for a conservative to smear and incorrectly label a party like that? Where do you think that came from?

    When the party’s leading presidential candidate proposes a $5,000 baby bond for every new child born in this country, that is a clear sign that the party (whose nomination she seeks and might likely get) generally supports socialism. :)

  69. Dan
    October 12, 2007 at 2:44 pm #

    My apologies Jay. I’ve had a busy day and I missed your earlier comments.

  70. Jay
    October 12, 2007 at 2:46 pm #

    Not a problem, Dan. Thanks.

    Jay

  71. Dan
    October 12, 2007 at 2:49 pm #

    As far as Clinton’s “baby bond” well, she went a little overboard. I would actually start them with a mere $1000. In 20 years that’s a lot of money. ;)

    But see, how I would propose that would be different, in that I would make it a tax break for families that set aside a certain amount of money (a one time deal) for college for their children, that that money will be taken off the amount they owe in taxes. So if you owe $1700 in taxes, you will only have to pay $1000. Now THAT’S how to do it. :)

  72. Connor
    October 12, 2007 at 2:53 pm #

    Now THAT’S how to do it.

    No, the way to do it is to cancel the tax completely (if it’s expendable, as it apparently is in this case) and leave it up to the parent to decide how best to invest, save, or spend their own money. :)

    The government shouldn’t fill the role of the wise financial adviser counseling citizens to save their hard-earned pennies.

    But back to the point, the fact that Clinton even suggested it, and that it is even being considered, shows the socialist mentality of many Democrats. As Jay has argued, and as I agree, Republicans have their fair share of socialist policies and programs as well.

  73. Doug Bayless
    October 12, 2007 at 4:06 pm #

    [I'm weighing in pretty late, so I have to admit that — in my quick reading – somebody might have already made my following observations:]

    Rather than arguing about whether or not Elder Benson was directly attacking Democrats in General Conference, I think we can all agree that he was much more respectful and careful in what he said politically in his official church actions and in official church forums like conference. Specifically KSL radio reported on Wednesday a quote from a media interview (not Conference or anything) where Elder Benson did in fact say it was nigh unto impossible (in his opinion) to be a good Mormon *and* a Democrat way back in the early 70’s (I’ll try and find the real quote if anybody cares…my paraphrase may have transmuted it pretty badly but the gist is accurate, I believe).

    I think we can also agree that Senator Reid was likewise pretty thoughtful in what he said in his actual forum address in the Marriot center. (No! I’m not comparing a silly BYU forum to the General Conference lol — what I’m saying is that both of these passionate political men were more respectful and careful in official forums.) But after his prepared speech, Reid cut loose and turned [what I feel was] way too partisan in the media questioning.

    I also think that no matter what you think of the political beliefs of either man, most people here would be open to the idea that in less scripted contexts such as that Q&A *both* Elder Benson and Sen. Reid might have gone too far in their political rhetoric. I don’t think it was wise or respectful of Sen. Reid to tie Elder Benson’s name to his statement about members being improperly herded towards the Republican party.

    I also find fairly compelling the readings that I’ve done (of official Deseret Book publications lol) that document President McKay, President Kimball, and a number of the apostles having quite sincere heart-to-hearts with President Benson about either reining in his political rhetoric *or* specific secular ideas they disagreed with him on. There are timeless tales for instance about disagreements between Elder Hugh B. Brown and Elder Benson on specific politics wherein at least once, for instance, President McKay had to specifically break it up.

    The more informed I get, the more I admire President Benson’s political statements and career. But I have to admit I still admire Elder Brown’s different take on things a great deal as well.

    Personally I am incredibly disappointed with both of our major political parties in the US at the current time. I can empathize quite sincerely with those that are passionate LDS in both parties and understand their strengths. But the weaknesses in each are just so vast! I believe we might do well to seek less to be “of the world” in trying to twist ourselves to identify so strongly with any secular [inherently imperfect] party despite the fact that there certainly have been some great men and women who may have displayed some weakness in that regard.

    If you ever find yourself getting too passionate about one particular secular party then you’re in the company of some of Jesus’s orginal twelve apostles, for example. Jesus called both a publican (those who had decided to accept Roman rule) and a zealot (those who felt religious obligation to fight the Roman rule until the Messiah came to overthrow their unrighteous dominion) to his original Twelve. ” There was not room for middle ground on politics like that. And yet the Saviour found a man of each party worthy to serve as an apostle. That’s the part I always found interesting.

    Basically I think I agreed most with Frank Staehli above when he said:

    I revere Ezra Taft Benson as both a politician and a prophet. I think Senator Reid can disagree with him politically and still believe that he is a prophet of God.

    I came away from Reid’s speech at the Marriott Center thinking, although I disagree with him, I think he is sincere, and I think he is a great man. Ezra Taft Benson can run circles around Reid when it comes to the proper role of government, but that doesn’t make Reid a crook or any less sincere.

  74. Curtis
    October 15, 2007 at 7:58 pm #

    Jay,

    I am very suspicious of your assertions. Please don’t make general statements that you can’t support. Provide evidence of your arguments.

    What do you mean Jay? I am speaking of specific instances in Deuteronomy where socialistic principles are addressed. Do you mean you want the references? I’d have thought one who has read the book (as you so emphatically stated) would understand what I was referring to.

    In any case, if you need references I’d be glad to provide them.

  75. Jay
    October 16, 2007 at 11:05 am #

    Yes, I’d like specific references where you conclude that socialism was practiced. Again, you would need to convince me that it was more than just religious practice. One could argue that giving tithes and offerings are socialistic in nature, however, there is a big difference. Like I said, I know that some things, such as usury, were considered sinful, but that doesn’t mean they were enforced under socialistic government. If a person attempted to charge interest on a loan, was he subject to civil action, i.e., fines, penalties, imprisonment, etc., or was it just a church matter?

    Jay

  76. Jay
    October 16, 2007 at 2:20 pm #

    I did a little bit of research on usury, which is one of the things that you brought up, and it appeared that usury was lawful when dealing with gentiles, but was only considered sinful with reference to lending money to other Jews. So it would appear to me that it was more of a religious thing than a law of the land. It’s difficult for me to reconcile that with socialism.

    I’m looking further into it, but I would still like your references.

    Thanks,

    Jay

  77. Curtis
    October 16, 2007 at 11:45 pm #

    Jay,

    All right. You have a handle on the usury thing. So, let’s start with something else.

    First in Deuteronomy 23 the Lord says:

    24 When thou comest into thy neighbour’s vineyard, then thou mayest eat grapes thy fill at thine own pleasure; but thou shalt not put any in thy vessel.
    25 When thou comest into the standing corn of thy neighbour, then thou mayest pluck the ears with thine hand; but thou shalt not move a sickle unto thy neighbour’s standing corn.

    This statement is kind of heavy, because, the neighbor is apparently not given any choice in the matter. You could walk into his yard and eat his crops without the approval of the owner. This is in fact the reason that the cities of Sodom and Gommorah were destroyed. They wouldn’t live by this sort of code and their meanness of spirit and selfishness/covetousness and pride is what Ezekiel lists as the reasons for their destruction.

    As for the jubilee Moses introduces it in chapter 15 as thus:

    1 At the end of every seven years thou shalt make a release.
    2 And this is the manner of the release: Every creditor that lendeth ought unto his neighbour shall release it; he shall not exact it of his neighbour, or of his brother; because it is called the LORD’s release.

    So every 7 years, all debt is released. Moses then states that you can’t even withhold a loan because the release year is just around the corner:

    9 Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand; and thine eye be evil against thy poor brother, and thou givest him nought; and he cry unto the LORD against thee, and it be sin unto thee.
    10 Thou shalt surely give him, and thine heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him: because that for this thing the LORD thy God shall bless thee in all thy works, and in all that thou puttest thine hand unto.

    Additionally, any servant or slave you have bought, no matter the price, must be released after 6 years of servitude: From Chapter 15:

    12 And if thy brother, an Hebrew man, or an Hebrew woman, be sold unto thee, and serve thee six years; then in the seventh year thou shalt let him go free from thee.

    Not only must you release him, you have to send him away with a uhaul truck full of stuff (from the same chapter):

    13 And when thou sendest him out free from thee, thou shalt not let him go away empty:
    14 Thou shalt furnish him liberally out of thy flock, and out of thy floor, and out of thy winepress: of that wherewith the LORD thy God hath blessed thee thou shalt give unto him.

    In chapter 15 Israel is commanded:

    7 If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother:
    8 But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth.

    Moses gave this curious commandment as well. In Chapter 23 he says:

    15 Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which is escaped from his master unto thee:

    Indeed, not only did you have to refrain from returning him to his rightful owner, we are told:

    16 He shall dwell with thee, even among you, in that place which he shall choose in one of thy gates, where it liketh him best: thou shalt not oppress him.

    All meanness of spirit or greediness was forbidden under the law of Moses and this is well seen in Chapter 24 were we learn:

    19 カ When thou cuttest down thine harvest in thy field, and hast forgot a sheaf in the field, thou shalt not go again to fetch it: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hands.
    20 When thou beatest thine olive tree, thou shalt not go over the boughs again: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow.
    21 When thou gatherest the grapes of thy vineyard, thou shalt not glean it afterward: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow.

    Great rules to live by here.

    The Lord knew that there would always be poor in the land and His laws were meant to provide for the poor (Chapter 15):

    11 For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.

    You are right about the usury issue. Chapter 23 states this:

    19 カ Thou shalt not lend upon usury to thy brother; usury of money, usury of victuals, usury of any thing that is lent upon usury:
    20 Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand to in the land whither thou goest to possess it.

    The law required a certain level of human dignity be afforded to servants or slaves in Chapter 24:

    14 Thou shalt not oppress an hired servant that is poor and needy, whether he be of thy brethren, or of thy strangers that are in thy land within thy gates:
    15 At his day thou shalt give him his hire, neither shall the sun go down upon it; for he is poor, and setteth his heart upon it: lest he cry against thee unto the LORD, and it be sin unto thee.

    Thus in the Mosaic Law, the right to eat, the right to be nurtured, was more important than the right to make a profit. There were even laws that made them treat their beasts of burden well:

    4 Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn.

    Even oxen have to eat.

    Now, admittedly, this is the Mosaic Law, a religious law that the people of Israel were to live by. However, as you also know, it was a binding law. The law allowed for capital punishment where it was called for. For example, anyone caught red-handed in human trafficking (perhaps what we might compare to sweatshop labor, child labor etc.) was to be put to death! Chapter 24:

    7 If a man be found stealing any of his brethren of the children of Israel, and maketh merchandise of him, or selleth him; then that thief shall die; and thou shalt put evil away from among you.

    This was the religious law, but pretty much the law of the land as far as the people were concerned. Admittedly as well, these laws were to be performed out of love for God and for fellowman, for compassion on one’s fellow man, constantly remembering the captivity in Egypt and the great mercy of God, and His mercy on the people of Israel.

    These laws were made to fit this people as a people of God. But, remember, this was the lesser law! Can we even live the lesser law today? Even these laws would be entirely impractical in our society today, even in a community of Mormons in the middle of Utah! We are indeed still far away from the Celestial Law.

    There was a punishment given for collective disobedience to these laws. A huge list of curses ends the book of Deuteronomy, mostly from the Lord. Of course, the wicked Pharisees took the law and twisted it to fit their own purposes. This law was supposed to point the people towards Christ. If we could live like this I’m sure we all agree that we could have a people prepared for Christ when He comes again.

    As you notice, there are a few laws in here that you don’t have any choice in the matter over. Some will say that this is socialistic in nature and I bring it up, not because Socialism is the ideal way to run an economy, but because it is as viable an alternative to the utopian society we envision as “Zion” as any other system in my mind. Man’s economic systems will always fail though. I’m really for Zion or bust, but I desire to see my fellow man taken care of along the way.

  78. Jay
    October 17, 2007 at 8:04 am #

    I fail to see socialism in this. What you are talking about is the laws of the Lord unto the people of His church and laws which applied to the Jews with respect to other Jews. Socialism goes so far as to deny God but the Mosiac laws are the laws of God, not of a man made government.

    I also like to see my fellow man taken care of along the way, however, it is my duty to do it as a son of God, and not to compel others to do it through the laws of man. That would be Satan’s counterfeit plan of salvation. We will force them to be good . . .

    Jay

  79. Curtis
    October 17, 2007 at 8:07 am #

    You force people to do good with other types of laws. Why not with laws concerning economics?

  80. Connor
    October 17, 2007 at 8:40 am #

    You force people to do good with other types of laws. Why not with laws concerning economics?

    Curtis, I think the point Jay is trying to make is that the Church is a voluntary association. When one has the option of simply leaving the fold, as it were, there is no “force”. Just like agreeing to pay membership dues upon joining a fraternity, anything we are asked to do by the Church is strictly voluntary, since we choose to oblige by such requirements upon joining. There is no force involved.

  81. Jay
    October 17, 2007 at 12:25 pm #

    Actually, I’m not a big believer in force. Laws are for the protection and enhancement of our liberties. PERIOD! Anything beyond that is oppression. I have the liberty to help my fellow brothers and sisters and I am morally obligated to do so. I also have the responsibility to respect other people’s property and I don’t have the right to coerce you or anyone else to part with your substance to feed the poor or help the sick. And it’s equally immoral for me to vote for the government to do so. The government has no more power, or should have no more power, than the individual. We are its creator.

    Those who vote to redistribute wealth, in any form, in my opinion, are guilty of buying into Satan’s counterfeit plan of salvation.

    Jay

  82. Curtis
    October 17, 2007 at 9:32 pm #

    So Jay, in your world there would be no government aid for victims of disaster? This is forceful use of taxpayer money and redistribution of wealth is it not? If the government takes your money and sends it to Nicaragua to help hurricane victims this is part of Satan’s plan right?

  83. Jay
    October 17, 2007 at 10:21 pm #

    Right.

    Jay

  84. Curtis
    October 18, 2007 at 12:51 am #

    Sorry man. This is definitely where I part ways with you. You can call me a Satan worshipper if you like (many church members have after they learn of my socialist leanings). I definitely am not a libertarian.

    Do other LIbertarians on this thread feel the same as Jay on this subject? Connor?

  85. Michael L. McKee
    October 18, 2007 at 6:22 am #

    As I have tried to follow this topic, I am often reminded of what the scene was like leading up to Lucifer and a third of the Hosts of Heaven being cast out. I have even wondered if any of those who chose the plan of Satan wished they had not been so quick to align themselves with his plan. While I may be viewing the scene in a far too simplistic manner, I do believe that as one of those who kept his First Estate, I am grateful to have made the eternally wiser choice. At least I believe it was wiser. Hopefully there are none participating in this topic who believe otherwise. Of course, we all know that in the final analysis, there will be many of Heavenly Father’s children who kept their First Estate who will choose to follow after the plans of Satan and will reject the Plan of Salvation completely. It is certainly within the realm of possibility that some of us engaged currently in this thread will do so, and I sincerely hope that is not the case since it is our chosen duty as members of the Lord’s Church to do all that we can to “bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” That includes ALL men starting with our self.

    It is my belief that we as individuals should be actively engaged in helping our fellow men realize the goal of Eternal Happiness. Were we all to be doing that very thing, we would realize the “United Order.” Unfortunately in the current realm of time, many of us are far too engaged in self gratification with the things of the world. It seems that some of us are completely fixated upon storing up worldly treasures for ourselves while the rest are trying to do so for others. It seems to me that we are wrong in both cases.

    We are in the last days of the struggle to define our allegiance. Our eternal lives depend upon whether or not we make the correct choices. The ability to see clearly through the confusion and strife of the world is making it more and more difficult to know what is right and what is not. We must keep in mind that our individual choices, at some point, will have eternal consequences so it is critical to not permit ourselves to be dissuaded from pursuing truth in all circumstances including political and societal truth.

    Politically speaking, we must all keep in mind that we should support those individuals who best represent our personal beliefs and moral standards. In doing so we must first understand if our own personal beliefs and moral standards are correct. It seems to me that is the really hard part, and is likely the reason most of us participate in this type of forum. If we are seeking after truth, I believe there is some to be found here, but if we are seeking false doctrine, I believe there is a little of that too. The dilemma for me is in trying to find absolute truth within words of personal opinions derived from a mixture of truth and lies. I have concluded that it is unlikely that I shall ever realize perfection so long as I listen to anyone other than the Lord Jesus Christ.

  86. Dan
    October 18, 2007 at 7:25 am #

    Of course, we all know that in the final analysis, there will be many of Heavenly Father’s children who kept their First Estate who will choose to follow after the plans of Satan and will reject the Plan of Salvation completely. It is certainly within the realm of possibility that some of us engaged currently in this thread will do so,

    Michael just can’t help it. He has to say this kind of thing about those who comment on your blog, Connor. This is offensive language.

  87. Connor
    October 18, 2007 at 8:03 am #

    Curtis,

    Do other LIbertarians on this thread feel the same as Jay on this subject? Connor?

    I’m a libertarian, not a Libertarian. :) Anybody who respects and upholds the Constitution by necessity has to be libertarian, for the very purpose of that document was to tear down power from a centralized figurehead and reserve to the people their God-given liberties.

    As per using force to help other people, really at the bottom of the argument, it is Satan’s plan. That sounds harsh, but it is nevertheless true. Satan’s attempt to save all of mankind was dressed up in a pretty package in hopes of convincing people of his good intentions, and worthy cause. But the underlying fact remains, that his method of “doing good” was using force.

    President McKay described this:

    Force, on the other hand, emanates from Lucifer himself. Even in man’s pre-existent state, Satan sought power to compel the human family to do his will by suggesting that the free agency of man be inoperative. If his plan had been accepted, human beings would have become mere puppets in the hands of a dictator, and the purpose of man’s coming to earth would have been frustrated. Satan’s proposed system of government, therefore, was rejected, and the principle of free agency established in its place. (David O. McKay, via Quoty)

    Contrast that with God’s method, and the method implemented under the inspired Constitution, which negates force and encourages and requires persuasion and individual action.

    …the Latter-day Saint belief in man’s uncreated individuality and in the sanctity of his agency—an agency so sacrosanct that God himself will not infringe upon it—denies the legitimacy of force as a means of attaining the community’s ends. Man’s goal is seen as being the perfection of his individuality in the image of his Heavenly Father, until he is able to enjoy a celestial community. The attainment of such a goal, however, can only be accomplished by loving persuasion, not by force.

    Latter-day Saint theology offers a solution to an age-old paradox—the conflict between individualism and communality—by suggesting a harmony between them in which each is essential to the other. Man’s individuality, stemming from his eternal and uncreated intelligence and protected by the principle of agency, is developed to its ultimate godlike potential as he serves his brothers and sisters without compulsory means in righteousness and love. (Edwin Brown Firmage, via Quoty)

    Force, even when used for a declared good purpose, is force. We as individuals have no moral authority to rob our neighbor to help another, and therefore cannot transmit to government this authority.

    Even though it be true that all men share the same moral code with respect to human freedom, history demonstrates that they have a strong disposition to do through government that which would violate that code if done outside its framework. They seem to divorce their ethical from their political principles and become oblivious to the moral consequences of the laws they favor. (H. Verlan Andersen, via Quoty)

    Community goals such as helping the poor and succoring the weak are to be left to individual action alone. Governments cannot be charitable, for they require legalized robbery to obtain the gift they give, and remove from the individual the opportunity to use that money of their own free will and accord, thus receiving the blessing for doing so, rather than being compelled to give, likely with an angry heart.

  88. Connor
    October 18, 2007 at 8:16 am #

    Dan,

    Michael just can’t help it. He has to say this kind of thing about those who comment on your blog, Connor. This is offensive language.

    Offensive? Simply speculating that there might be some among us that won’t “make the cut”? The scriptures show that it is always a minority among the Saints that remain faithful, and prophecy tells us of such a circumstance in the future.

    Would you find it offensive, if, sitting in a health class, you and your colleagues were told that 1 out of every 4 of you would get cancer and die? Does the mere possibility that something might happen in your future create a feeling of offense in you now?

    You may wish to believe that Michael was indirectly referring to you with this quote, but I don’t see that in what he was saying, and I think you should re-read his paragraphs without the desire to take it personally and feel offense. What he said in the section you cited was quite possible. Some of us may indeed drop the ball, as it were. I pray that that won’t even happen and that we will all pass the test, but who is to say what will happen in the next 5, 10, or 25 years that will try our souls and “feel after our heartstrings”?

  89. mconder
    October 18, 2007 at 8:32 am #

    Much of the affinity that LDS people have for the Republican party comes from Pres. Benson.

    I’ve never seen any quote by Benson urging people to become Republican. Today, Republicans ideological foundation is far a field of any principle Benson ever spoke of…save Ron Paul.

  90. Dan
    October 18, 2007 at 8:44 am #

    but I don’t see that in what he was saying,

    Connor, given all that Michael has said in the past about me, how can you say this? If I were not commenting on your blog, do you think Michael would even say something like this about people commenting on your blog? Of course not, because for the most part, your blog preaches to a choir. I seem to be the only liberal ever commenting on your blog. And as a liberal, because I don’t agree with conservative thinking, I must be rejecting the Gospel and signing up with Satan!

    You obviously have more affinity with Michael. Perhaps you know him in real life. Whatever the case may be, Michael thinks I’ve chosen Satan over Jesus Christ, and in almost every comment he has posted on here, he has used offensive innuendo, and then he claims to only listen to Christ. What a hypocritical dope.

  91. Connor
    October 18, 2007 at 9:02 am #

    If I were not commenting on your blog, do you think Michael would even say something like this about people commenting on your blog?

    You’re not the only detractor on here. The most vocal and persistent, yes, but not the only one.

    You obviously have more affinity with Michael.

    I have an affinity for truth, and anybody who can offer it to me. Like Ron Paul.

    Perhaps you know him in real life.

    I don’t. I don’t know 95% of the people that comment here.

    What a hypocritical dope.

    He might see that as offensive language. :) If you guys want to take it offline, I’d be happy to send you each others’ email addresses. Otherwise, back to topic.

  92. Doug Bayless
    October 18, 2007 at 9:52 am #

    Hey, coming full-circle then [back on topic] let’s review what got that discussion started:

    The post (as I read it) was a reaction to Harry Reid’s post-devotional highly partisan comments.

    I actually admire Reid for saying that he is a Democrat *because* of his Mormonism and not *in spite* of it. I really believe that is a defensible position depending on what particular platform planks you are debating. I *also* believe President Benson had defesnsible grounds for his famous statement to a reporter in the early 70’s about his dubiousness considering Mormons and the then current hot topics in the Democratic party.

    The bottom line is both parties have major deficiencies when it comes to applying correct gospel principles. Depending on which particulars you are currently focusing on in your political activism then you might make a strong case for either party (being the party that applies those principles well or conversely that doesn’t).

    As for me personally, I can’t agree with Connor (as much as I like his blog entries generally) that Harry Reid is *certainly* mis-imposing his religious beliefs based on his general defense of the Democratic party’s dedication to helping the downtrodden. I was glad to see him suggest that Republicans are “equally bad” in their misapplications of principles . . .

    But the tone of the post seemed to further what I believe is a specious and dangerous dichotomy that Reid was promulgating: namely that one secular political party in the US embodies true Christian (specifically Mormon Christian) ideals and that another secular party is the polar opposite morally.

    I don’t think any Christian should have to be caught in that logical trap. The Savior certainly wasn’t. See Matthew 22:15-22

  93. Curtis
    October 18, 2007 at 10:06 am #

    Connor,
    In the quote you quoted there was this:

    Man’s goal is seen as being the perfection of his individuality in the image of his Heavenly Father, until he is able to enjoy a celestial community. The attainment of such a goal, however, can only be accomplished by loving persuasion, not by force.

    Our law forces us to do or not do something every day. Considerable force is used to uphold all laws in this land, including laws dealing with moral issues separate from laws regarding personal property.

    I think we’ve had this discussion before, but I don’t see much difference between being forced to stop at a red light and being forced to pay taxes.

  94. Carissa
    October 18, 2007 at 10:41 am #

    Do other LIbertarians on this thread feel the same as Jay on this subject?

    I agree with Jay. Even the most worthy causes don’t justify the means of using force to achieve them, or else why would Heavenly Father have rejected using force when ALL of his children could have had eternal life under that means? Salvation is surely a more worthy goal than even humanitarian aid, right?

    Curtis, you said:

    But, remember, this was the lesser law! Can we even live the lesser law today?

    This law was supposed to point the people towards Christ.

    If we could live like this I’m sure we all agree that we could have a people prepared for Christ when He comes again.

    If a people do not live this “lesser law” of their own free will, will their lives be pointed toward Christ? Will they be like him? Has our society benefited morally by using government as the agent for “charity”? Are we more righteous now since our tax money started being used to help the poor and for humanitarian causes? This is the question I have for all those who say they support socialism for the moral reasons (or compassion). Has it made us a more compassionate people overall? Has it made the receiver more grateful and humble and the giver more caring and generous? I would say it is doing the opposite.

  95. Jay
    October 18, 2007 at 10:46 am #

    The difference is the object of government. As I said before, government’s objective should be to protect our rights. Period. Traffic laws are there to protect us, not to force us. I don’t even agree with all the traffic laws, and I believe that some of them are onerous and wrong. Stop lights make sense to me, because they protect people from chaos and accidents and they improve traffic flow. Everyone benefits equally. Taxes is a whole different issue and I have a huge problem with our tax system, which is for the most part, unconstitutional. But then we could get into the topic of income taxes, why we aren’t required to file or pay, problems with the 16th amendment, the non-existence of “income tax” laws, etc. Some taxation is necessary, such as taxation to pay for services that protect our rights, such as military and police, but not on the scale that we have it, today.

    Jay

  96. Jeff
    October 18, 2007 at 1:18 pm #

    Dan,

    If I were not commenting on your blog, do you think Michael would even say something like this about people commenting on your blog?

    I’ve gotten the wrath of Mr. McKee before as well, and I’m definitely not part of the “choir” on this blog. :)

    Curtis,

    Do other Libertarians on this thread feel the same as Jay on this subject?

    Yes, although I think that all of us have the duty to help those in need. I just don’t think that the government can do it nearly as well as the private sector. Look at the type of work Pres. Clinton and Pres. Bush (41) did for disaster relief after Katrina. Working as private citizens, they were able to do far more good than the wasteful and ineffective government bureaucracy that did little to provide support for those in need after that disaster. I don’t agree with Connor, et. al. very often, but I do on the role of government in economics.

    As for the rest of this discussion, I still think that it’s much ado about nothing. I think Connor just misunderstood Reid’s meaning.

  97. Michael L. McKee
    October 18, 2007 at 5:45 pm #

    I have recently begun reading, once again, from the Duane S. Crowther book entitled “Prophecy – Key to the Future. Although this work was originally done in 1962, the 34th. Printing, 1997 Second Printing, Revised Edition is the copy from which I shall offer the following words found on page 10 wherein we read the following:

    Mosiah Hancock, son of a close friend and bodyguard of Joseph Smith, recorded an important prophecy as having been made by the Prophet. According to his diary, this prophecy was made the day after Joseph made his final speech to the Nauvoo Legion (Wednesday, June 19, 1844; eight days before his martyrdom). After telling how the Prophet discussed a map of the West and foretold the route the Saints would follow in their Western exodus, Hancock records Joseph Smith’s statement to him that,

    There will be two great political parties in this country. One will be called the Republican, and the other the Democrat party. These two parties will go to war and out of these two parties will spring another party which will be the Independent American Party. The United States will spend her strength and means warring in foreign lands until other nations will say, “Let’s divide up the lands of the United States”, then the people of the U. S. will unite and swear by the blood of their fore-fathers, that the land shall not be divided. Then the country will go to war , and they will fight until one half of the U. S. Army will give up, and the rest will continue to struggle. They will keep on until they are very ragged and discouraged, and almost ready to give up – when the boys from the mountains will rush forth in time to save the American Army from defeat and ruin. And they will say, ‘Brethren, we are glad you have come; give us men, henceforth, who can talk with God’. Then you will have friends, but you will save the country when it’s [sic] liberty hangs by a hair, as it were.

    I wonder just how close we are to this scenario.

  98. Sam Hennis
    October 18, 2007 at 7:48 pm #

    Do other Libertarians on this thread feel the same as Jay on this subject?

    Yeah, I agree wholeheartedly with Jay.

    I don’t even agree with all the traffic laws, and I believe that some of them are onerous and wrong.

    I agree with that statement also.

  99. Dan
    October 18, 2007 at 8:17 pm #

    I wonder just how close we are to this scenario

    Not even close.

  100. Curtis
    October 18, 2007 at 10:15 pm #

    Michael,
    That’s a rather famous quote, but it has to be taken with a grain of salt. It was given to Hancock when he was 10 years old in his father’s blacksmith shop or something like that with no other witnesses, and wasn’t recorded until Hancock was an old man. I think Hancock was a good, even a great man after reading his amazing autobiography, but I wouldn’t trust his childhood recollection too far.

  101. Curtis
    October 19, 2007 at 6:07 am #

    All,
    On the topic of socialism vs. capitalism, you may be correct, the jury is still out for me. Eternal salvation is of course much more important than temporal salvation, but that doesn’t mean that temporal salvation is not important.

    You may be right when you say socialism is Satan’s plan. I believe though, that you swat at this gnat, or possibly bigger animal of socialism, while possibly swallowing the camel that the scriptures warn us about so much. Actually this should be a general statement against the members of the Church and probably not you all, who seem like a group of good people to me.

    This camel I speak of is that mentioned in D&C 49:20. It is the reason the world lieth in sin!! No, it is not socialism. The scripture states:

    20 But it is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin.

    The scriptures tell me that if we seek after wealth we are stealing from the Lord and as we read in D&C 104:

    18 Therefore, if any man shall take of the abundance which I have made, and impart not his portion, according to the law of my gospel, unto the poor and the needy, he shall, with the wicked, lift up his eyes in hell, being in torment.

    This is the reason the world lieth in sin!! As a Church we often speak out against socialism but only rarely address the sin that we indulge in wholeheartedly… that of seeking after worldly riches and taking that which is above our neighbor. It is modern day idolatry and it is the reason the world lieth in sin and we as a church are hand in hand with Satan in partaking of his spoils. This is the sin that concerns me more than what my government takes from me.

  102. Jay
    October 19, 2007 at 11:14 am #

    Curtis,

    I agree with you on this. It’s about us consecrating our lives, talents and energy to helping others and to building the kingdom. And that is the difference between socialism and the Lord’s Law. Agency. Socialism says, “We take from you and give to others.” The Lord’s way says, “You freely give to others according to the righteous desires of your heart.” There is no force.

    While trying not to be judgmental of others, I admit that it does bother me when I see the excess living among members. One of the areas that particularly stood out to me was in the neighborhood surrounding the Las Vegas Temple, where there are many members. They live in houses as extravagant as the temple that they surround. I remember one house that was so immaculate, you could see through the ornate glass front doors, all the way through the entry, through huge pane windows in the back of the house that overlooked the valley. It was a brilliant view at night. According to my aunt who lives in that neighborhood, they spent more on their front doors than I did on my whole house. Impressive, breath taking, but is that kind of living necessary?

    Yet, we see it so much among the membership of the Church and it seems to be quite common among the leadership. I have family members in high callings, mission and temple presidents, one who owns six fancy houses in as many countries and lives in a beach house mansion in Corona Del Mar. I don’t judge him, I don’t envy him, and I don’t really know or care what he does with his money. But I would be dishonest if I said that I didn’t wonder about what appears to be such excess.

    Has anyone read this article by Orson Scott Card? It’s my favorite all-time story of his.

    Jay

  103. Michael L. McKee
    October 19, 2007 at 2:31 pm #

    The following excerpts come from The Proper Role of Government by The Honorable Ezra Taft Benson, Former Secretary of Agriculture to President Eisenhower Published in 1968:

    Thomas Paine wrote: “Rights are not gifts from one man to another, nor from one class of men to another… It is impossible to discover any origin of rights otherwise than in the origin of man; it consequently follows that rights appertain to man in right of his existence, and must therefore be equal to every man.” (P.P.N.S., p. 134)

    Thomas Jefferson asked: “Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath?” (Works 8:404, P.P.N.S., p. 141)

    Bastaiat explained: “Each of us has a natural right – from God – to defend his person, his liberty, and his property. These are the three basic requirements of life, and the preservation of any one of them is completely dependent upon the preservation of the other two. For what are our faculties but the extension of our individuality? And what is property but the extension of our faculties?” (The Law, p. 6)

    John Locke clearly understood: “For nobody can transfer to another more power than he has in himself, and nobody has an absolute arbitrary power over himself, or over any other, to destroy his own life, or take away the life of property of another.” (Two Treatises of Civil Government, II, 135; P.P.N.S. p. 93)

    Ezra Taft Benson proclaimed that his attitude toward government is succinctly expressed by the following provision taken from the Alabama Constitution: “That the sole object and only legitimate end of government is to protect the citizen in the enjoyment of life, liberty, and property, and when the government assumes other functions it is usurpation and oppression.” (Art. 1, Sec. 35)

    Thomas Jefferson further declared: “With all these blessings, what more is necessary to make us a happy and prosperous people? Still one thing more, fellow citizens – a wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it had earned.” (Works 8:3)

    Henry Grady Weaver wrote, in his excellent book, The Mainspring of Human Progress: “Most of the major ills of the world have been caused by well-meaning people who ignored the principle of individual freedom, except as applies to themselves, and who were obsessed with fanatical zeal to improve the lot of mankind-in-the-mass through some pet formula of their own….THE HARM DONE BY ORDINARY CRIMINALS, MURDERERS, GANGSTERS, AND THEIVES IS NEGLIGIBLE IN COMPARRISON WITH THE AGONY INFLICTED UPON HUMAN BEINGS BY THE PROFESSIONAL ‘DO-GOODERS’, who attempt to set themselves up as gods on earth and who would ruthlessly force their views on all others – with the abiding assurance that the end justifies the means.” (p.40-1;P.P.N.S., p. 313)

    Former FBI agent Dan Smoot succinctly pointed out that: “England was killed by an idea: the idea that the weak, indolent and profligate must be supported by the strong, industrious, and frugal – to the degree that tax-consumers will have a living standard comparable to that of taxpayers; the idea that government exists for the purpose of plundering those who work to give the product of their labor to those who do not work.

    The economic and social cannibalism produced by this communist-socialist idea will destroy any society which adopts it and clings to it as a basic principle – ANY society.”

    Finally, the following sage advice from Marcus Tullius Cicero offered in 42 B.C. to the Roman Senate which I found at Liberty-Tree.ca, and it implies my sentiments exactly: “A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gate is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear.”

  104. Curtis
    October 19, 2007 at 5:56 pm #

    Michael,

    The only quote you provided that I must disagree with publicly is this one:

    “Most of the major ills of the world have been caused by well-meaning people who ignored the principle of individual freedom, except as applies to themselves, and who were obsessed with fanatical zeal to improve the lot of mankind-in-the-mass through some pet formula of their own….THE HARM DONE BY ORDINARY CRIMINALS, MURDERERS, GANGSTERS, AND THEIVES IS NEGLIGIBLE IN COMPARRISON WITH THE AGONY INFLICTED UPON HUMAN BEINGS BY THE PROFESSIONAL ‘DO-GOODERS’, who attempt to set themselves up as gods on earth and who would ruthlessly force their views on all others – with the abiding assurance that the end justifies the means.”

    The man who said this obviously didn’t know the power wielded by the finance-military-industrial complex and the great evils and murders this complex is responsible for. The members of this society are not do-gooders, they are card holding members of the Gadianton society that seek to destroy the freedom of all countries and cause huge suffering in the world. They got us into the Iraq war and profit from it hugely. The hue and cry against socialism amongst our church membership is energy that would be much better used in fighting the great secret combination of our day that realistically, has little to do with socialism.

  105. shadeclan
    October 29, 2007 at 1:59 pm #

    On The Law of Consecration: I don’t believe the Church ever got it right. If we had, we’d most likely still be doing it. I have heard that innovation was somewhat stifled under the Consecration experiments in Orderville, due to the central control of those in charge. I believe that truly living the law would not involve such control.

    On Socialism and Communism: Any type of central control will stifle creativity and innovation for the simple fact that people by nature hate and fear change. Any new idea would need to receive approval by some committee which would be predisposed to nix the allocation of vital resources to some “hair-brained scheme”. Lasers for example, which at the time were hailed as “a solution without a problem” would never have been funded and, because of that, we would be missing some of our greatest technological advances. Any advances in such societies must either come from imitating freer societies, or the guy with the idea must be one heck of a salesman!

    On Capitalism: I agree that capitalism has its weak points – but it is the only system we currently know of that can guarantee that each person retains the freedom to take risks, and thereby promote innovation and change. Until we get Consecration right, it’s the best system we know. I am not referring to Mercantilism, nor am I advocating government protection of businesses. The only function of government in a capitalist economy, as far as I can tell, is the protection of private property rights, which has been sorely neglected by our government for many, many years and has, in my opinion, been chiefly responsible for capitalism’s bad reputation in our country. In other words, large corporations were allowed to violate the property rights of other corporations and individuals and, since they represented prosperity under capitalism, came to embody its cutthroat reputation.

    For anybody interested in the disparity between Socialism and real Capitalism, I heartily recommend the book Socialism, an Economic and Sociological Analysis by Ludwig von Mises. Download it for free here.

  106. Dan
    October 29, 2007 at 2:22 pm #

    shadeclan,

    Lasers for example, which at the time were hailed as “a solution without a problem” would never have been funded and, because of that, we would be missing some of our greatest technological advances. Any advances in such societies must either come from imitating freer societies, or the guy with the idea must be one heck of a salesman!

    Huh, so I guess America is REALLY backwards for daring to imitate from the “freer” society that was called the Soviet Union who not only put the first satellite in space, but also the first man.

    Ron Paul supporters have a lot of heart, but they sure lose a lot of sound reasoning when it comes to logic.

  107. shadeclan
    October 30, 2007 at 6:16 am #

    Dan said:
    Huh, so I guess America is REALLY backwards for daring to imitate from the “freer” society that was called the Soviet Union who not only put the first satellite in space, but also the first man.

    Uh – we didn’t imitate them. We surpassed them – although you do make a point. Both the Soviet Union and the US received a shot in the arm by plundering rocket technology and scientific brains from Germany after WWII. It could be argued that we don’t need capitalistic incentives as long as we can trick people into thinking that they’re doing something noble.

  108. Dan
    October 30, 2007 at 7:15 am #

    So….in other words it is a fascist society that produces the brains. Communists and Capitalists merely steal from fascists?

  109. Jay
    October 30, 2007 at 1:51 pm #

    shadeclan,

    You can’t compare Orderville, Utah, or Brigham City, for that matter, to the Law of Consecration. They bore no resemblance to the revelations given to Joseph Smith in the D&C. People often try to compare Joseph Smith’s “United Order” with Brigham Young’s “United Order” which were significantly different. When you talk about the Law of Consecration, or the Lord’s Law (private ownership of property), it has very little in common with Orderville, Utah, which was a cooperative (common ownership of property).

    Jay

  110. shadeclan
    October 31, 2007 at 11:04 am #

    Jay said:

    You can’t compare Orderville, Utah, or Brigham City, for that matter, to the Law of Consecration. They bore no resemblance to the revelations given to Joseph Smith in the D&C. People often try to compare Joseph Smith’s “United Order” with Brigham Young’s “United Order” which were significantly different. When you talk about the Law of Consecration, or the Lord’s Law (private ownership of property), it has very little in common with Orderville, Utah, which was a cooperative (common ownership of property).

    Well, whatever it was, it was an attempt by the Church to set up a Consecration society – and my point, if you will kindly re-read what I wrote, was that the Church has never been able to live the law of Consecration nor, I believe, do we fully understand it. These things are given by revelation, and they can only be understood by revelation. Since many of us are not interested in revelation, many of us will never truly understand, not only the Law of Consecration, but any of the revelations of our leaders.

  111. shadeclan
    October 31, 2007 at 11:41 am #

    Dan said:

    So….in other words it is a fascist society that produces the brains. Communists and Capitalists merely steal from fascists?

    No, I was agreeing with you that capitalistic societies are not the only societies possessing innovation. I would assert however, that capitalistic society is the only society where a person can profit from his own ingenuity. In both fascist and socialist societies, profit must be given to the state in one way or another. Only capitalism allows a person to keep what he earns.

    No state is fully capitalistic or socialistic. Wealth redistribution, a purely socialistic idea, is practiced by the US via welfare and income taxes. In many socialist countries such as Sweden, people may own property, a concept which is distinctly capitalist. Further, eminent domain – through which a state may take property from an individual – is distinctly socialist and is practiced, to my knowledge, by every country.

    The fundamental question is: How should property rights be divided between the individual and the state? In pure capitalism, property rights remain with the individual who obtained the property without force or guile. In pure socialism, all property rights are retained by the state. Most countries are on a continuum between these extremes. The Founding Fathers felt that individuals should retain all property rights, except in certain extremely limited cases, and just recompense should be given for any property confiscated. Problems arose because government refused to protect the property rights of the individual from larger groups, such as big business or, in the case of Latter-Day Saints, mobs. It was this lack of protection which, ultimately, gave capitalism a bad reputation because it allowed the strong to take from the weak, the many to take from the few. Therefore, the first order of government should be to protect property rights. If the government did so, many of the ills of our society would be eliminated. Take pollution for example. If property rights were respected, there would be no pollution of rivers and streams for, if you were to dump your waste into air or water, sooner or later it would wind up on someone else’s property – then you would be in violation and subject to penalty and force. This point is also frequently made by Dr. Paul.

  112. Dan
    October 31, 2007 at 12:10 pm #

    shadeclan,

    It was this lack of protection which, ultimately, gave capitalism a bad reputation because it allowed the strong to take from the weak, the many to take from the few.

    Or maybe highlighted one of the biggest weaknesses of capitalism. See, you’re going on the premise that the government is somehow ABOVE the capitalistic world, when in fact, the government is capitalism’s biggest contributor/consumer. Capitalism cannot control its biggest operator. It has no inherent controls to ensure that the government itself, the largest corporation in a capitalist society, doesn’t, for its own benefit and selfish desires (true capitalistic traits) abuse the rules and create a system where it because the true monopoly in a capitalistic system.

    If property rights were respected, there would be no pollution of rivers and streams for, if you were to dump your waste into air or water, sooner or later it would wind up on someone else’s property – then you would be in violation and subject to penalty and force.

    Actually right now, you can sue someone who dumps in your backyard, even if they are a mighty corporation (think Erin Brockovich). It’s not the laws that are the problem but how well they are enforced.

    And there are plenty others other than Ron Paul who make this point and they are not libertarians or Libertarians.

  113. Heather
    November 3, 2007 at 10:11 pm #

    Oh my goodness! Reading all of these texts/comments has been such a fun way to stretch my creaky brain. I am grateful for you all taking the time to ponder as deeply as you have. I was at a family dinner tonight where my (LDS) Mother quoted Harry Reid with almost reverence and my siblings all responded with “Who is Harry Reid?”…at which point I responded with an immature “A Senate crook who claims to be a practicing Mormon”…so it’s nice to know there are INFORMED diverging opinions out there. I’m just grateful to know the Gospel is true and all these questions will be answered definitely some day.

  114. Connor
    October 13, 2009 at 12:41 pm #

    It appears that Senator Reid thinks that the current leadership of the LDS Church is comprised of “right wingers” as well:

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the country’s most powerful Mormon politician, criticized his own church during a meeting with gay-rights activists, reportedly scolding Mormon leaders for supporting the ban on same-sex marriage in California.

    The Salt Lake Tribune reported that Reid brought up the topic last week during a meeting in his office with organizers of the National Equality March, held over the weekend in Washington, D.C.

    One participant told the newspaper that Reid said the decision by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to support the successful Proposition 8 ballot measure in California last year was a “waste of church resources and good will.” Another said Reid made clear that he “felt it was harmful for the church to focus on such a divisive issue.”

    Though the church fought to support Proposition 8, with money and volunteers, just as it has fought other moves to legalize same-sex marriage, it is rare for the Nevada Democrat to comment on his own church’s political activity. Reid supported the gay rights march over the weekend.

  115. Kent
    July 25, 2010 at 11:12 pm #

    These comments have been very fascinating to read; I like a good discussion, and I appreciate that Connor has worked to keep personal rancor and name-calling, etc. out of the posts. We each have VERY strong opinions about Sen. Reid, Pres. Benson (and Elder Benson, before his “ascendancy to be the Prophet), Republicans, Democrats, and capitalism vs socialism.

    I personally believe Elder & President Benson’s views much more than Senator Re id’s, yet while I don’t agree with him politically, I don’t know the man personally, and am not willing to condemn him for his political views. If he is truly as far removed from the Lord’s “political” views as some of us (including myself) feel he is, or if he is wiser and closer to the Lord than we feel he is…ultimately it will be the Lord who will be his judge. We can “judge” his actions, but not his heart & spirit.

    I believe, like several others, that there is a great deal of wrong-thinking and acting on the part of both major political parties. I used to consider myself a Republican, but have not voted for the Republican candidate for President since Ronald Reagan. Nor have I voted for a Democrat candidate. I am currently aligned with the Constitution Party, because that document, I think all of us agree, is an inspired document from the Lord, including the Bill of Rights. The implementation of the views of the original framers of that document is something which will continue to be debated for another 200 + years, if the country lasts that long. It is interesting to remember though, that even some of the great and inspired men who signed the Declaration of Independence had major difficulties with the Constitution-during and after the Constitutional Convention, and some of them wrote the Anti-Federalist Papers to try and prevent it from being ratified.
    I do not profess to be a scholar by any stretch of the imagination, but in reading some of the authors from the time of the Founding Fathers and some of the books they read to gain understanding (Two Treatises of Government-John Locke), and others written afterward (The Law-Frederick Bastiat), I feel that Socialism is not the answer to society’s problems. In looking at Socialism, as others have pointed out, it is the Government taking from the people what the people are not willing to give up or sell freely. It is grand theft on a massive scale, because if a business or corporation, or a private citizen were to try and do what Government does, we’d be thrown in jail.

    Much earlier, someone pointed out that Welfare and government helping out with disasters is a good that comes from Socialism. My view is that the Federal Government has no Constitutional authority to give this money away-because they did not earn the money-they took it from the people under threat of force. I believe that when there are natural disasters, then the local and state governments have a greater responsibility and ability to deal with the disaster than the Federal government does. As far as helping out foreign people and countries that have major problems, private citizens and charitable groups can most likely do a much more efficient job of getting the needed relief to the people than any government. There are going to be problems in some countries where the government is more corrupt than others, because the leaders would tend to keep tight control over the goods and money, rather than give it to the people. I don’t know how to get around that challenge, but again, our Federal Government doesn’t have the right nor authority to use OUR money to be a distributor of well-fare to someone else.
    There are two pamphlets put out by the Constitution Party that are very good (in my opinion) at pointing out the perils of government handouts and also the constitutionality of the same. One is called “Not Yours to Give”, and the other is “The Wild & Free Pigs of the Okefenokee Swamps”. Those, along with “The Law” give good arguments against the power of government to have too much power. I also like the writings of President J. Reuben Clark, Jr & W Cleon Skousen.

  116. jason
    January 13, 2011 at 11:35 pm #

    Harry makes me want to vomit he is a traitor to our country and church!

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