May 9th, 2011

Latter-day Liberty, the Manuscript

Last week, I (finally) completed the manuscript for Latter-day Liberty—about eight months after I began. I took several weeks off here and there, but when I did write it was usually in 15-60 minute chunks after 9 or 10pm after everybody else was asleep. I really don’t recommend working on anything of significance that late at night, especially something that needs to be coherent and flow well one day to the next. But it was my only option. It feels so, so good to be done.

Among other neglected things, my blogging slowed down during the process. Whenever I had any time and mental energy to write, I usually opted to work on my book—especially once I had a signed contract with Cedar Fort, and a deadline. Now that the manuscript is done, I’m hopeful that things will pick up a bit more here.

Becoming an author has been an interesting and insightful experience. It has been gratifying to receive some great endorsements so far from Representative Ron Paul, Doug French (President of the Mises Institute), Mark Skousen (prominent LDS libertarian and economist), and several LDS authors. Their positive feedback and public affirmation of my book is appreciated and exciting! More endorsements will follow in the months ahead.

The book will be published in early December, just in time for Christmas shopping. If you know anybody who is remotely interested in politics of government, this book will make a great stocking stuffer. It will be available for pre-order beginning in October, and I’ll have a process for anybody who wants to buy the book in bulk (for a steep discount) or get a signed copy. I’ll be launching a website late this summer for the book that will have all that information available.

For those looking for a description of the book, here is a synopsis:

A fundamental aspect of the good news of the gospel is the message of liberty. As President Joseph F. Smith said, “The Kingdom of God is a Kingdom of freedom; the gospel of the Son of God is the gospel of liberty.” Men of God, both ancient and modern, have spoken on this issue repeatedly. Latter-day Liberty: A Gospel Approach to Government and Politics provides an analysis of what liberty is and how it applies to government and politics, using logic, reason, and secular sources of information, in addition to the abundant scriptures and statements from prophets and apostles which relate to these issues. Part One of this book is an examination of liberty using the sources mentioned to demonstrate support for the principles being discussed. Part Two is an analysis of several important political issues, applying the principles discussed in Part One.

I feel that this information is vital for every Latter-day Saint to understand. It incorporates many of the themes I’ve discussed here on this blog, but the book format allows me to go into depth, and provide a methodical exposition of the eternal principles which find application to secular government.

I hope you’re excited to read it! As the publication date gets closer, I’ll go into more detail about the book, share opportunities to win free copies, and drum up the marketing engine I have waiting in the wings to help spread the word and get this information to the masses!

In the mean time, and if you haven’t already, please consider signing up on the email list to be notified of the book’s progress as the months progress. Thanks!

19 Responses to “Latter-day Liberty, the Manuscript”

  1. Blaine
    May 9, 2011 at 6:05 pm #

    Will this book be available through amazon.com?

  2. Joseph L. Puente
    May 9, 2011 at 6:05 pm #

    I’m intrigued… and a little nervous about what the message contained in this book might be. The word “liberty” gets thrown around a lot by people who equate it with a “winner take all” attitude that doesn’t gel at all with the message of the Gospel of Christ. I’m anticipating a partisan read but I’ll reserve judgment until I get a copy of the book in my hands and have a chance to look through it.

  3. Chip
    May 9, 2011 at 6:47 pm #

    The question that I ask myself regarding “liberty” is if Jesus teaches me that the highest law for me to live is to “resist not evil”, how would this principle look when applied to me in response to the evil intent of a person who seeks to take my liberty against my will?

    “…but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

    And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also.

    And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.

    Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.”

    So would the application of this higher law mean that I would “give” my liberty to the evil person who “asketh it of me”?

  4. Liz
    May 9, 2011 at 8:08 pm #

    Stunning endorsements, man! I might have to break away from my tightwad ways and pony up for this epic work. Congrads to you!

  5. Connor
    May 9, 2011 at 8:29 pm #

    Blaine,

    Will this book be available through amazon.com?

    Yep, along with Borders, B&N, etc.

    Joseph,

    The word “liberty” gets thrown around a lot by people who equate it with a “winner take all” attitude that doesn’t gel at all with the message of the Gospel of Christ. I’m anticipating a partisan read but I’ll reserve judgment…

    This appears to be your first visit to (or, at least comment on) my blog. I’m not sure what you mean by “winner take all,” but I don’t think a case can be made that I use partisan arguments to advance the positions I believe are correct. Read through some of the archives and you’ll get a sense for my style and content.

    Chip,

    So would the application of this higher law mean that I would “give” my liberty to the evil person who “asketh it of me”?

    Whatever application this has to how we should respond to those infringing upon our liberty, it certainly doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t work to restrain government, promote good laws, and elect good leaders, right?

  6. Jim Davis
    May 9, 2011 at 9:40 pm #

    As someone who has had the privilege of reading the manuscript let me say that you guys are in for a treat! It is one of the best books I have ever read. I’ll be one of the “bulk buyers”.

  7. Chip
    May 10, 2011 at 7:50 am #

    But that is not my question. “Whatever application this has” IS my question.

    Whom do we call a “good leader”, the example of the people of Ammon who refused to take up arms or those who are quick to take up arms to defend life and liberty?

    Which of these examples lives this higher law of resisting not evil that Jesus taught?

  8. Joseph L. Puente
    May 10, 2011 at 10:40 am #

    I’ve been following your blog for about a year now, Connor. I’m familiar with your style and it is partisan. What I’ve come to learn is that God doesn’t really care about petty human politics and attempts to claim that God favors any particular ideology over another cannot be truly based on an analysis of his teachings, but only by parroting the fanatical claims of theo-political zealots who can’t see past their own bias and prejudices.

  9. Connor
    May 10, 2011 at 10:59 am #

    Chip,

    Whom do we call a “good leader”, the example of the people of Ammon who refused to take up arms or those who are quick to take up arms to defend life and liberty?

    I discuss this in the book. :)

    Joseph,

    I suppose you’ll need to define what you mean by “partisan,” then. I don’t care about “petty human politics” either, but I think that God certainly does care with how we treat each other, about how we exercise our agency, etc. Those are based on fundamental, eternal principles, and God most certainly has opined on those issues; the scriptures are replete with examples of this.

  10. Chip
    May 10, 2011 at 11:37 am #

    I am worried about what we are teaching our concience when we justify our actions while protecting life and liberty.

    Our standard needs to be the higher law (if I understand it correctly) hence my question how it pertains to liberty.

    This is why I asked you before “according to what law?” when you said elsewhere that we are justified in situations of self-defense.

    I want you to teach this higher law in your book.

  11. Joseph L. Puente
    May 11, 2011 at 6:12 pm #

    “… an analysis of what liberty is and how it applies to government and politics, using logic, reason, and secular sources of information, in addition to the abundant scriptures and statements from prophets and apostles which relate to these issues.”

    What stood out to me is this: “…secular sources of information, in addition to the abundant scriptures…”

    Might as well say, “Scriptures mixed with the philosophies of men.”

    Sound familiar? Anyone who’s been through the temple should recognize those as the words of Satan and what he offered when mankind sought knowledge.

    D&C 134:9 “We do not believe it just to mingle religious influence with civil government…”

    Yet that’s exactly what theo-political zealots try to do when they mix man’s political philosophies with scripture: to further their own political objectives.

    Your endorsements are from Libertarians, not God. But you title your work “Latter-day Liberty” in a blatant attempt to woo naive Mormons into buying your politics.

    You’re not unlike a lot of politically fervent Mormons who have a stronger testimony of their politics than they do their faith. Who would sooner quote from the collected works of Cleon Skousen and Ayn Rand than holy scripture (of course, to them, Skousen and Rand are as “true” as the Book of Mormon), unless they’re sifting through sacred texts to take snippets out of context in order to offer the illusion of divinity to the manmade philosophies that are more appealing to their egos and baser desires while ignoring core teachings that completely undermine them.

    I would advise you to change the title of your manuscript. Remove all references to “Latter-day Saints” and the “Gospel” because what your selling is your opinion, not doctrine–to imply otherwise is an insult to God and only tries to bring Him down to the level of petty humans and their politics. You might “believe” that your opinion is “true” but one thing that I’ve learned over the years is that when it comes to government and politics there is room for differences of opinion even within the gospel. It’s the fanatics who think that God is on their side who lose their way because they should have been more concerned with whether or not they were on God’s side.

  12. Connor
    May 11, 2011 at 6:28 pm #

    So much for not “I’ll reserve judgment until I get a copy of the book in my hands and have a chance to look through it,” eh Joseph?

    You have no idea what secular sources I use (for all you know [or don't know], they may be 100% in line with scripture). You have no idea what balance I have between Skousen and scripture. (I don’t quote Cleon once.) You have no idea what context I’ve given the issues that I discuss.

    You have no clue what disclaimers I’ve added, or what approach I’ve taken to make clear that the observations I make are my own.

    In short, your rambling comment is little more than a baseless smear against a book I’ve written based on the writings and actions of a wide group of people with whom you disagree. It is both predictable and unfounded.

  13. Joseph L. Puente
    May 11, 2011 at 6:53 pm #

    My remarks aren’t a judgment on your book. I haven’t read it. They are concerns I have based on what others have written before you. Others who have tried to square human philosophies with God’s word. You’re bringing nothing new to the table in that regard.

    What you might perceive to be “100% in line with scripture” might not gel with the perceptions of others and you need to be prepared for that. There CAN BE different interpretations of scripture between two different people, even two different prophets. That doesn’t necessarily mean that one is right and one is wrong. Such interpretations can simply be applied to different problems when one turns to the scriptures for an answer to a question.

    Like I said, there is room for differences of opinion in the Gospel. You can get angry at that fact, you can get angry at me, but it’s a fact that isn’t going to change no matter how many books you write or blogs your create.

    I stand by my concerns and repeat my advise: Change the title and make it clear to your audience that this is your opinion and your personal interpretation of doctrine. Not to do so would make this text little more than your own personal Rameumptom. You are not a prophet, you’re just another guy with an opinion, exercising his right to share it. To imply otherwise is to be deceitful and give you little more credibility than he would mix scripture with the philosophies of men and call it “religion.”

  14. Connor
    May 11, 2011 at 7:19 pm #

    I’m not angry at you nor the facts you claim to be providing here. I simply find it silly that you’re implying that because others have “tried to square human philosophies with God’s word,” and you erroneously think I am attempting the same, that I therefore should seriously ponder the unsolicited advice you are imparting. You assume it has application, but I think you assume incorrectly.

  15. Joseph L. Puente
    May 11, 2011 at 8:05 pm #

    The title of your work implies an endorsement where none exists. “A Gospel Approach to Government and Politics.”

    Your title reveals a gross–some might say heretical–assumption on your part: that your opinion IS the Gospel’s approach to government and politics.

    If it was “a gospel approach” then it would have been released by the Church, brought before the membership in General Conference, put to a sustaining vote and included in our standard works.

    But that’s not where it comes from because it’s not a gospel approach. It’s YOUR approach. Your opinion. You can back up your opinion with all the sources that you want, scriptural or secular. That’s fine. But don’t call it something that it isn’t. In the end, the Gospel is not yours to manipulate, you are not God, you are not a Prophet, you’re like me: just another schmuck with an opinion. But I don’t presume that God agrees with my politics. Because I honestly don’t think that God cares about my politics–only what’s in my heart and how I treat my fellow man–just as I don’t think he cares about anyone’s politics, including yours. A difference in opinion, even a political one, is not indicative of a moral failing or an indicator of one’s worthiness. The General Authorities of the Church have said as much: “Principles compatible with the gospel may be found in the platforms of all major political parties.”

    For every essay or book that uses scripture to try and validate libertarianism, there’s another that does the same for conservatism, liberalism, socialism, even anarchism. All contain valid arguments, verbatim quotes of scripture, different opinions but none is more “right” or more “true” than the others. They all do the same thing, they try and ride the coattails of a higher philosophy but instead of validating their own politics and opinions, it only serves to bring down God’s word into the mud and muck of human pettiness and that makes God look like just another petty human schmuck with a political agenda and not the divine parent that He is.

    Your book is your opinion but your opinion is not Gospel, to present it as such–and that’s precisely what the title does–is dishonest and if you profit by that dishonesty (which I’m sure you will), it’s going to come back to haunt you. In this life or the next.

  16. Connor
    May 11, 2011 at 8:15 pm #

    The title implies no such thing. You’ll note that it does not say the gospel approach, but a, leaving room for other approaches with differing interpretations. You are seeing conflicts and implied, rigid associations where none exist.

    You’re rambling on about things that either have no application to my book, or are addressed in the book in a way that demonstrates your concerns are unfounded. How about you stop making allegations and wait until the book is out? Then you can comment and critique to your heart’s content.

  17. Clumpy
    May 11, 2011 at 10:57 pm #

    Congrats on your book, Connor. While I have misgivings with the way that religion and politics are something interspersed in LDS academia, your style rarely comes across as sanctimonious or anything other than your own personal scholarship.

  18. Ryan
    December 24, 2011 at 11:50 pm #

    You should try to get an interview on Glenn Beck’s radio show. This is right up his alley, but he does tend to shy away from overtly Mormon stuff, or showing a strong bias. But this really seems like good material and an important subject for today.

  19. Jim Davis
    December 27, 2011 at 12:49 pm #

    Ryan, I would be interested to see Beck’s response to a few of Connor’s chapters- particularly the ones dealing with drug prohibition, America’s foreign policy, and immigration. I think he could learn a lot from reading Connor’s book.

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