December 16th, 2011

Persuasion vs. Coercion: Taking a Real Stand


photo credit: ViaMoi

Earlier this month, the National Organization for Marriage—one of the groups who put a lot of effort into supporting Proposition 8 in California—tweeted:

“I’m personally opposed, but…..” Is @RepRonPaul willing to take a real stand for #marriage?

The quote at the beginning was a reference to a recent presidential debate, where Rep. Paul argued that states—and not the federal government—should determine what they will do about marriages. He noted that he was personally opposed to same-sex marriage, but did not see a role for the federal government in deciding one way or the other what should be done about it.

NOM wants Ron Paul to “take a real stand for marriage,” implying that increased government intervention is “a real stand” one must take if one is to support marriage as being between a man and a woman. In other words, in the eyes of NOM, if you oppose government intervention into and regulation of marriage, you effectively do not support marriage.

The underlying issue is one that pervades all political issues, for proponents of any given position often argue that if you really want to see something done, or supported, or strengthened, or defended, or rejected, then government is the solution.

This is evident in no better place than with drugs. It’s quite easy to get a person to admit that the federal government has no constitutional (and thus legitimate) authority to wage the war on drugs, or specifically, for example, to criminalize marijuana. And yet the same people so often believe that were we to decriminalize this naturally-occurring plant, we would not be (to use NOM’s argument) “taking a real stand against drugs.”

As one candidate for federal office recently wrote to me: “Though an argument could be made that [the regulation of drugs] is a state issue, I do not believe that we ought to encourage the use of any drug or substance that destroys individuals, families and weakens society.”

This tainted view of the law sees government as the sculptor of society, and that in order to uphold a certain moral code, or propagate good behavior, we must support government policies which seek to realize those goals. Peace and persuasion are abandoned and replaced with war and coercion—albeit wrapped in flowery language like “strengthening society.”

It is entirely possible to support something without clamoring for or consenting to government involvement in the issue. In fact, more often that not, that is the only moral avenue for having that something become reality. Don’t want kids smoking? Get involved in mentoring, education, and communication to persuade and influence the rising generation. Don’t want gays to marry? Teach the sanctity of marriage, serve a mission for your church, and oppose government involvement in private, contractual relationships. Don’t like pornography? Begin a positive propaganda campaign to show how disgusting and degrading it is.

The wise economist Frederic Bastiat spoke so well of this very problem:

Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.

If one opposes the criminalization of an activity, it does not therefore follow that he supports or agrees with the activity. And if one supports a certain behavior or idea, it does not therefore follow that government should intervene to compel others to act accordingly.

As it turns out, those who clamor for government intervention are rarely “taking a real stand,” for their cowardly position relies upon the collective, organized force of the state to do what they are unable or unwilling to do on their own. Those who take a real stand advocate and lead using their individual and legitimate capacity of persuasion to effect change through moral means.

96 Responses to “Persuasion vs. Coercion: Taking a Real Stand”

  1. TRON
    December 16, 2011 at 9:38 pm #

    Again questions then.
    Should the Federal Government of intervened in ending slavery and/or segregation or should that have been left to the states?
    How about the L.A. riots or Katrina when the states refused to protect American citizens?
    How about protecting the Mormons when the states were at open war against them?
    And again how about the children? Should there be a child protective services?

  2. JJL9
    December 16, 2011 at 9:51 pm #

    TRONie,

    As usual you either haven’t even begun to understand Connor’s position or you are intentionally distorting it

    One of, if not the only, legitimate roles of government is to protect individuals from those that would attempt to infringe on their natural rights, to take from them, to harm them, or to take their lives.

    The examples you have fit neatly into that category.

    The examples Connor have have nothing to do with that.

    You are welcome to you’re own viewpoint, but you should at least attempt to understand another’s viewpoint before you attempt to refute it.

  3. Thom
    December 16, 2011 at 10:10 pm #

    So rather than the Federal Government, is it the State Governments’ role to exercise coercion with regards to marriage definition? Or, as Congressman Paul suggests, would we be better off by keeping marriage as a religious rather than legal institution, and better served by leaving matters of defining marriage to religious bodies?

  4. Clumpy
    December 16, 2011 at 11:57 pm #

    @Thom

    It’s really a good question. I sort of feel that the principles outlined in the Constitution and rights granted in the same document (and the Bill of Rights), while a model of Federal governance, ought to also be internalized at the State level. Whether the Federal government should be able to enforce that is the question here, though.

  5. Darren Andrews
    December 17, 2011 at 4:03 am #

    Your article contains such common sense, such principles that would apply to a sound reason, that it is indeed hard to see why there are so many who cannot comprehend or accept it.

  6. JJL9
    December 17, 2011 at 6:47 am #

    I advocate that we should adopt a much stronger constitution at the state level, one that limits state government in the same ways that the U.S.constitution limits the federal government.

    The proper role of government is the proper role of government is the proper role of government.

  7. TRON
    December 17, 2011 at 10:01 am #

    @JJL9

    Ok, thanks for answering that.

    So quoting your summary of Libertarianism:
    “One of, if not the only, legitimate roles of government is to protect individuals from those that would attempt to infringe on their natural rights, TO TAKE FROM THEM, TO HARM THEM, or to take their lives.” (emphasis mine)

    Since in most countries with socialized medicine, their people pay almost half of what we pay here per capita (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/80/Total_health_expenditure_per_capita%2C_US_Dollars_PPP.png), then doesn’t it follow that voting against socialized medicine is taking thousands of dollars a year from me?

  8. Brint
    December 17, 2011 at 12:48 pm #

    Connor,

    Great post! Just as an added note, on the family level I find that it works much better to teach and exemplify true principles and respect my children’s agency than to make all kinds of rules to regulate their behavior. Persuasion teaches a person to think and act for him/herself, coercion sews the seeds of rebellion.

    @TRON,

    Having experienced European socialized medicine, I believe your comparison is apples to oranges. 1. Our system is and has been partly socialized for a long time, which causes major market distortions. (When government sets prices for one group, it is not uncommon for business to make up the profit on another group) 2. Much of our high cost comes from law suits and the corresponding insurance required. This is nearly non-existent in most other countries. 3. The hospitals I experienced in Europe were understaffed, overcrowded, and operated on a very low-tech level compared to what we have here. This is not to say they didn’t provide necessary health care. I guess we expect more of a luxury resort here where they get basic health care.

  9. Jim
    December 17, 2011 at 6:26 pm #

    Hello Connor,
    I am a bit confused. Isn’t opposing same sex marriage relying on government, just as supporting it? Do you regret past LDS or current efforts at keeping same sex marriages from being recognized legally? The church as an organization took legal actions, not just persuation from individuals or from the pulpit.

    The comparison of same sex marriage with drugs seems a little out of place. Its not in the same category. I don’t particularly want anyone smoking, and its not a moral thing, or even a desire to safeguard someone elses health. I just don’t like the smell.

    Keep in mind that same sex partners are asking for more responsibility, not less. I can only project that those that seriously want to marry will have a desire to express a full commitment, and take it very seriously. I can only imagine that fidelity is going to be a part of the marriage contract or expectation. Does that qualify as sanctity?

  10. Michael
    December 18, 2011 at 8:04 pm #

    Wonderful posting. Enjoyed reading it. The last paragraph alone is priceless.

  11. JJL9
    December 20, 2011 at 9:43 am #

    @TRON

    You are welcome to spend your own money on anything you want. Nobody is taking it from you and forcing you to spend it on healthcare (oh yea, except for Obama and the democrats).

    @Jim

    I can’t speak for Connor, but I’ll give you my two cents.

    “Isn’t opposing same sex marriage relying on government, just as supporting it?”

    Actually, we (and I use that term loosely, referring to myself and whoever happens to agree with me) oppose same sex marriage as being immoral, but we support your right to choose for yourself. We oppose government-sanctioned same sex marriage just as we oppose government having anything to do with any marriage.

    There are those who applaud government for providing incentives for people to behave in certain ways. The government provides certain privileges and advantages to married people. Some people are all for this because they recognize that marriage and family create the bedrock for a moral society. The family, as the fundamental unit of a helathy society, is the foundation for progression and a successful society.

    We believe that those people are misguided. While we agree that marriage (between a man and woman) and family are fundamental elements for each of us to progress and be happy individually, and that they form the foundation of a strong and healthy society, we DO NOT believe that government should be involved with this at any level.

    Why not? Well, first of all on principle. We do not need government telling us what is good for us. Secondly (and this brings us directly to the gay marriage debate), if we are going to allow government to tell us what is good for us and to provide us with incentives to do those things, then we are going to have to live with whoever happens to be in power at the time deciding that for us. We can’t have our cake and eat it too. We can’t tell government to give us incentives to do “good” things as long as those in power agree with us on what is good, and then oppose government giving us incentives to do good things as soon as those in power don’t agree with us on what is good.

    As such, we oppose governrment sanctioning gay marriage. And we oppose government having anything to do with our (straight) marriages too.

    And comparing gay marriage with drug use is perfectly applicable. I believe people will be happy if they choose not to use drugs and not to live a homosexual lifestyle, but in both cases I believe they need to choose for themselves and that government doesn’t need to make decisions for them.

  12. Jim
    December 20, 2011 at 3:44 pm #

    JJL9,
    A homosexual lifestyle doesn’t exist, anymore or less than a heterosexual lifestyle. I still don’t see how drug use compares with anything. I don’t comprehend your explanation about your philosophy about marriage. I appreciate you trying. I just don’t see people opposing government involvement in marriage in general. Instead I see some people wanting the government to limit the definition of marriage to a man and a woman. Some support some legal recognition, but don’t want it called marriage.

  13. JJL9
    December 20, 2011 at 3:58 pm #

    You’re right, a homosexual lifestyle doesn’t exist any more than or less than a heterosexual lifestyle. What’s your point? They both exist. Neither one more or less than the other.

    You really don’t understand the comparison with drug use? I find this impossible to believe. You may disagree with me, but let’s be honest, you understand the comparison.

    In case you really don’t, I’ll spell it out one more time.

    You can choose to do drugs.

    You can choose to have sexual relations with a member of the same sex.

    Those are both choices you can make.

    I believe that both of those choices are bad (for you) in the sense that they will take away from your happiness and joy now and in the eternities. But, nonetheless, I believe that it is your choice to make. I don’t believe it is the proper role of government to make those choices for you or to punish you one way or the other.

    You “just don’t see people opposing government involvement in marriage in general.”

    Yes you do. You just read my post.

    “Instead I see some people wanting government….”

    I said the same thing. Remember? And then I said, “We believe that those people are misguided.”

    Go talk to those people. Like I said, I don’t speak for them, I speak for us (“referring to myself and whoever happens to agree with me”).

    If you want to debate them about what they want government to do, then debate them about it. I don’t think Connor is one of them.

  14. TRON
    December 20, 2011 at 5:53 pm #

    @JJL9

    Really? I have the freedom to choose? I would like my family’s health coverage covered 100% by Medicare or, even better, the Veterans Administration. They can cover me for the same cost I’m paying now, except no copay and no deductible each year. And my payments would cover my family in full so you or anyone else who wants out won’t have to subsidize me for one dime.

    But you guys are so anti-government that I think that because it’s government-run, you Libertarians won’t allow me this option, even at no cost to you.

    Freedom of choice… Bull.

    P.S. I hope I’m wrong and as long as you guys don’t have to pay a dime you would let me sign up with this and other government run programs.

  15. Jim
    December 20, 2011 at 6:08 pm #

    JJL9,
    Who exactly are these misguided people?

    I still don’t see the comparision with drugs. If I understand your statement correctly not following LDS ideals is a bad idea, in any area of life. Food and related substances are one category of behaviors and habit, I don’t see any direct connection with that and sexual behavior.

    Being an atheist or worshiping an idol, would those also be poor choices one can make? That would be another category of behavior or aspect of life. These are not necessarily related to sexual behavior or food preferences or drug consumption.

    Choices, people make them everyday. I don’t happen to believe that sexual orientation is a choice. Frequency of activity, number of partners etc, lack of activity those could be called choices. Some choose to deny themselves sexual expression for various reasons. I believe in dependent origination, not free will, so even though I am using ‘choice’ it might mean something else to you.

  16. JJL9
    December 20, 2011 at 6:48 pm #

    @TRON

    If the government offered you a voluntary program that was paid for completely by voluntary participants and was not subsidized by involuntary taxpayers, I would have no problem with that.

    @ Jim

    Sigh…

    Who are they? The same people that you are complaining about who want the government to sanction heterosexual marriage, while banning homosexual marriage. That’s not us, but you seem to want to lump anyone who opposes government sanctioned homosexual marriage in with that group.

    I really don’t think there’s any point in continuing the conversation about sexual activity. You can just keep playing stupid rather that just stating that while you understand my position you happen to disagree with it.

    I never said anything at all about sexual orientation being a choice. Rather than actually addressing what I said, you keep arguing against a straw man, against someone that is not me, against claims I have not made. You are the victim of the perpetuation of the false paradigm that there are just two sides to every issue.

    I said, “You can choose to have sexual relations with a member of the same sex.”

    I don’t think I stuttered or slipped into speaking Spanish. I think I was pretty clear.

    You seem pretty insistent in arguing against me, but are doing a pretty lousy job of it because you are arguing against claims I haven’t made.

    Why don’t you just state your position?

    Do you think it is the appropriate role of government to dictate who can get married and how?

    Why not just get them completely out of the marriage business?

  17. TRON
    December 20, 2011 at 7:12 pm #

    @JJL9

    Woot, sign me up. Now if the Republicans would stop making it illegal for me to be a part of a government program I’m willing to pay for.

    @Jim

    As a Liberal Democrat who supports gay marriage (yes, government sanctioned) I still have no idea what you are talking about. The Libertarians want government out of the business altogether.

  18. Crick
    December 21, 2011 at 12:35 pm #

    JJL9: Tron’s point is still valid. Prior to the Civil War and Civil War Amendments (13-15), the Consitution’s civil liberties only protected you from the Federal Government. For example, Massachusetts had a state funded church up until the 1830s; and when President Van Buren told Joseph Smith his cause was just, but the Feds couldn’t help, that was Constitutionaly correct for the time.

    Some libertarian principles are helped by a 14th Amendment that expands the Bill of Rights to the states, but one must also realize that it has increased government power to strike down local laws.

    Personally, I feel our greatest right is the right to govern ourselves. While I agree that the law is a blunt instrument and should not be used for every problem, I disagree with Conor that government should stay out of issues like drugs or marriage. (Plus drugs are part of interstate commerce, so yes, the feds do have authority there. The issue isn’t CAN they get involved, but SHOULD they).

  19. Connor
    December 21, 2011 at 12:37 pm #

    Simply stating that “drugs are part of interstate commerce” does not make it so.

    A plant grow in a person’s backyard and consumed by that person never leaves his property, let alone the state.

    Many drugs are part of interstate commerce, yes. Not all.

  20. Crick
    December 21, 2011 at 12:49 pm #

    Touche. I agree with that statement for the most part and feel that the Supreme Court has overstepped its bounds in *certain respects* related to this topic. Though I feel that the Federal Government’s large scale efforts to combat drugs are Consitutional, whether they are sound policy is a matter of opinion.

  21. Connor
    December 21, 2011 at 12:51 pm #

    The distinction between intra- and inter-state commerce having been established, I still disagree with you.

    The intent of the founders’ inclusion of the power to “regulate” commerce had nothing — nada — to do with “micro-managing” commerce. It simply was included to tear down tariffs and prevent trade wars between the states. It was not intended to allow the federal government to do whatever it wanted in regards to any commercial goods that moved across state lines.

  22. Crick
    December 21, 2011 at 1:15 pm #

    Part of the problem is that they didn’t *intend* via pen a lot of things because they could not foresee them. The Constitution does not call for an Air Force but I believe that correct jurisprudence would allow for one because the founders allowed for an army and navy in the Constitution and it’s a logical extension. Can we take logical extensions to extremes? Yes. That’s why I agree with the Rehnquist court putting the kibosh on Congress trying to relate everything back to interstate commerce.

    However, even the founders did not agree on all of the potential ramifications of the Constitution as evidenced by the Philadelphia debates as well as subsequent public debates. And even people who were not at Philadelphia or did not prevail their (think Jefferson, Adams and even some anti-Federalists) had good arguments about what our government *is* and what it *ought* to be.

    These debates are hard because the Constitution does not answer every question specifically. But I do believe the spirit of it is to allow us to govern ourselves. If Texas wants to criminalize sodomy (or not), so be it. That is the spirit and the letter of both the 9th and 10th Amendments.

    And the principle of governing ourselves doesn’t stop at our own state’s borders. Many people during the Washington and Madison administrations thought the National Bank was horrendous and unconstitutional. But Washington and Madison—who were actually at Philadelphia in 1787!—didn’t think so. We would hardly call Washington and Madison “anti-constitution”.
    When liberals, conservatives or libertarians try to related every issue back to the Constitution, they create a tyranny of the document *as they see it*. The constitution provides the description of our government and enumerates its powers. It is not an exhaustive list of every statute that ought or ought not be passed by a legislative body.

  23. Jim
    December 21, 2011 at 4:07 pm #

    JJL9
    Getting back to my original question which was directed at connor originally.

    “Do you regret past LDS or current efforts at keeping same sex marriages from being recognized legally? The church as an organization took legal actions, not just persuation from individuals or from the pulpit.”

    Do you feel church leaders were misguided? It is the publics perception there was an organized effort coordinated by church leaders, or at the very least by a large portion of the lds church body.

    Thank you for the clarification, if I can call it that. Let me see if I got it right, sexual orientation is not a choice, but its sexual expression is a choice?

    Tron, I don’t understand, you support government sanctioned gay marriage, but want governement out of it?

  24. Jim
    December 21, 2011 at 5:26 pm #

    Connor,
    You said
    “A plant grow in a person’s backyard and consumed by that person never leaves his property, let alone the state.”

    Regulation of wheat production has been covered by the commerse clause, even if the wheat produced never leaves a persons farm.

    Wickard v. Filburn, 317 U.S. 111, 128, 129 (1942),.

  25. JJL9
    December 21, 2011 at 6:40 pm #

    Jim,

    We’re all familiar with Wickard v. Filburn. It’s an obvious perversion and distortion of the intent of the commerce clause. It’s an obvious unconstitutional usurpation of power.

    Let me guess. If the Supreme Court ruled that we have the right to go around taking away the possessions from people named Jim, would you suddenly start citing that case as justification for, you know, going around taking away the possessions from people named Jim?

  26. TRON
    December 21, 2011 at 8:03 pm #

    @Jim

    I am not a Libertarian. I used to be.

    I said the Libertarians wanted government completely out of anything to do with marriage.

    I, as a Liberal Democrat, want government very minimally involved. Enough so that the marriage can be granted as an easy way to give power of attorney of the partner, shared employment benefits like health insurance, guardianship of the kids and inheritance if they have no will. And that the marriage license be enough to pay for the government to change their records.

    I thought I was clear before when I said, “The Libertarians want government out of the business altogether.”

  27. Jim
    December 21, 2011 at 8:53 pm #

    Tron,
    Thank you for the clarification. Sounds like a fair recognition legally for a paired couple.

  28. JJL9
    December 22, 2011 at 4:12 pm #

    Jim, you asked me:

    “Do you regret past LDS or current efforts at keeping same sex marriages from being recognized legally? The church as an organization took legal actions, not just persuation from individuals or from the pulpit.”

    No, I do not regret past LDS efforts at keeping same sex marriages from beign recognized legally?

    As I have noted above, repeatedly, I don’t think government should have anything to do with marriage. I don’t think marriages should be “recognized legally”.

    Do you feel church leaders were misguided? It is the publics perception there was an organized effort coordinated by church leaders, or at the very least by a large portion of the lds church body.

    Thank you for the clarification, if I can call it that. Let me see if I got it right, sexual orientation is not a choice, but its sexual expression is a choice?

  29. Brint Baggaley
    December 23, 2011 at 7:37 am #

    Reading these comments, I started reading up on how different governments at different times have treated marriage. The range covers from having nothing to do with marriage (certain times in Rome), to legally marrying men and women to produce children while encouraging sexual relationships between men (Sparta). In Greece, Solon (the lawgiver) contemplated making marriage mandatory. There have been many times and places where marriages were arranged. I guess the sum total of what I get out of it is why give the government any say in marriage? Historically governments have used the institution for good and bad. Why give them the power? Why not leave it up to churches or individuals to run the institution according to their own conscience and culture?

  30. Jim
    December 23, 2011 at 5:36 pm #

    Brint,
    Great question, but how do you deal with financial matters,inheritence, health benefits and related matters? Also the already legally recognized marriages? And divorse? In addition to religious or spiritual leaders, there are secular authorities recognized in some areas, such as a judge, a court clerk, and justices of the peace.

    I am not sure what you mean by ‘individuals’. Sure I could perform my own private wedding with my partner, without witnesses, but is it really a wedding? I have gone to a wedding ceremony which had no legal recognition. That was very special and touching, there were many gathered for that. As far as social recognition and celebration of their expression of love for each other, that was accomplished and recognized. I think thats all they wanted. But the general cultural sense of marriage goes beyond that, with legal and contractual obligations. I don’t know why, I suppose most people haven’t really thought about it in any other way.

  31. AV
    December 28, 2011 at 2:15 pm #

    God expects Government & Church leaders to protect & uphold the sanctity of righteous marriage & to not allow or support any unrighteous forms of marriage, including things like remarriage & polygamy.

    But governments & church’s have not always done their duty in this.

    Abominations like ‘divorce & remarriage’, & ‘polygamy’ have been in the past & are still allowed & supported by most governments & many churches, including our own. Consequences for these sins are rarely applied & these sins are instead ignored & encouraged.

    Because they have become so rampant, everyone has become so desensitized to how destructive ‘divorce & remarriage’ & ‘polygamy’ are, that they don’t realize that they are far more destructive to individuals, families & society & far worse sins, than ‘same sex attraction or marriage’ will ever be.

    Yet even our Church allows & supports & encourages these greater sins such as ‘divorce & remarriage’ & ‘serial polygamy’, to go on as if they weren’t huge sins. While spending so much time teaching against a much lesser thing as SSA or SSM.

    As the Prophets have said, a justified divorce is rare. Thus, most all divorces are not justified. And even in the rare instance of a justified divorce for safety issues, that does not mean that ‘remarriage after divorce’ is ever justified or right or righteous or eternal.

    Christ taught that those who divorce should not remarry, but have true unconditional love for their spouse & never give up on them & wait for & help them to repent, in this life or the next, so the family can be together again for eternity.

    Such pure Christlike love & forgiveness in marriage is the true test of Exaltation. If you didn’t have true unconditional love for a 1st spouse, it’s impossible to have it for a 2nd. And if you did have such love for a 1st, you would never seek or marry a 2nd.

    Even those who lose their spouses to death are asked by God to not remarry & to faithfully wait til they are reunited with their spouse in heaven, just as their spouse in heaven is waiting faithfully for them.

    And according to the teachings of Joseph Smith & the scriptures he brought forth, polygamy is never allowed on earth or in heaven. Thus any remarriage after the death of a spouse would not be eternal anyway.

    Why do we worry about lesser things like SSA or SSM when such far worse things are so rampant, accepted, encouraged & supported & rewarded in our country & Church? We have enough to worry about with what is already going on & being accepted in the Church.

  32. JJL9
    December 28, 2011 at 2:25 pm #

    AV,

    You really have two options if you want your statements to be meaningful.

    #1. State, “Here’s what I believe”, and then maybe explain why. You can read my statements above and see how that works.

    #2. Use quotes from someone of authority. Of course, that will only matter to those of us that share a belief in the origin of said authority. For instance, if you were to quote an LDS prophet speaking from the podium, those of us who are LDS would have to pay attention to the quote (although we might not interpret it the same way you do).

    Since I was debating with people who aren’t LDS it made more sense for me to explain what I believed, and then to further explain why the libertarian point of view protects me and my beliefs, as well as those who have different beliefs.

    I don’t believe that the “consequences” for sin, as you refer to them, come from men or governments. I belive they are the natural eternal consequences, results of natural and eternal laws.

  33. AV
    December 28, 2011 at 2:40 pm #

    JJL9,

    I think it is pretty clear that what I post is what I believe. And I’m sorry but I don’t have time to go back & dig up all the quotes to support my beliefs, which are out there if people want to do their homework.

    But If we have the Spirit we will recognize truth upon hearing it & can do further study about it on our own to gain even more light & knowledge about it all.

    I agree with you that most consequences will come by natural & eternal means, now & especially in the next life. But God also expects & commands civil & religious leaders to apply consequences for serious sin & protect the innocent from further abuse.

    It is actually a huge sin for a civil or church leader to go along with evil & not do all he can to help stop it & help the person repent. If leaders don’t apply consequences when needed, the sin & eternal consequences will come upon their own heads.

    That is one of the huge problems in the Church today, let alone our country, most all leaders are going along with & supporting serious sins like divorce & remarriage & not applying consequences for it, in order to help stop it & help the person or persons repent & assure that the original family comes back together for eternity

  34. TRON
    December 28, 2011 at 10:21 pm #

    @AV
    You said this about polygamy:

    “And according to the teachings of Joseph Smith & the scriptures he brought forth, polygamy is never allowed on earth or in heaven. Thus any remarriage after the death of a spouse would not be eternal anyway.”

    Yet D&C 132:37 says:

    37 Abraham received concubines, and they bore him children; and it was accounted unto him for righteousness, because they were given unto him, and he abode in my law; as Isaac also and Jacob did none other things than that which they were commanded; and because they did none other things than that which they were commanded, they have entered into their exaltation, according to the promises, and sit upon thrones, and are not angels but are gods.

    Also D&C 132:61-62:

    61 And again, as pertaining to the law of the priesthood—if any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent, and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then is he justified; he cannot commit adultery for they are given unto him; for he cannot commit adultery with that that belongeth unto him and to no one else.

    62 And if he have ten virgins given unto him by this law, he cannot commit adultery, for they belong to him, and they are given unto him; therefore is he justified.

    On divorce you said:

    “As the Prophets have said, a justified divorce is rare. Thus, most all divorces are not justified. And even in the rare instance of a justified divorce for safety issues, that does not mean that ‘remarriage after divorce’ is ever justified or right or righteous or eternal.”

    Yet again in D&C 132:43-44:

    43 And if her husband be with another woman, and he was under a vow, he hath broken his vow and hath committed adultery.

    44 And if she hath not committed adultery, but is innocent and hath not broken her vow, and she knoweth it, and I reveal it unto you, my servant Joseph, then shall you have power, by the power of my Holy Priesthood, to take her and give her unto him that hath not committed adultery but hath been faithful; for he shall be made ruler over many.

    I’m just wondering how this fits with what you posted.

  35. Jim
    December 28, 2011 at 11:04 pm #

    AV,
    What is your support for the idea that god requires government involvement in maintaining any ideal?

  36. AV
    December 28, 2011 at 11:39 pm #

    Jim,
    I believe government is required by God to uphold God’s laws & not allow anything to be legal that is against God’s laws.

    The way government will function in the Millenium with Christ as the supreme leader of the world & his laws & perfected Constitution being the standard, is how we should strive to make our governments now.

  37. AV
    December 29, 2011 at 12:34 am #

    Tron,
    It is highly unlikely that Joseph Smith wrote D&C 132 or ever even heard of it. For it was 1st heard of & presented to the members & added to the D&C many years after Joseph’s death, when the Saints were in Utah & had already accepted polygamy. It was not in Joseph’s handwriting.

    Also, even more important & telling, D&C 132 goes completely against everything Joseph ever published & taught the Church about marriage & polygamy during his life time. He constantly taught & warned the Saints that polygamy or plural marriage in any of it’s forms was a most vile evil in every instance & not to accept anyone, even a prophet or apostle that might try to teach it to you & get you to accept it.

    Joseph warned the Saints over & over to not fall for the false rumors being spread about him preaching or practicing it secretly.

    Joseph also warned the Saints that no new revelation can ever contradict past revelation or contradict the scriptures they already had from him (which taught strict monogamy), even if such new revelation comes from an angel or a Prophet. He said that is how you know false angels & false Prophets, they will teach contrary doctrine to what he as taught them & what the scriptures teach (1844 editions).

    D&C 132 is completely contrary to all the scriptures that Joseph Smith brought forth, including the New Test., for even Christ taught against polygamy when he taught in Matt. 19, etc, that a person who was married could not marry someone else without committing adultery, even if they divorced their spouse 1st. For the divorce doesn’t end the marriage, they are still considered husband & wife in God’s eyes & thus can’t marry anyone else.

    The Book of Mormon never condones polygamy in any instance & teaches that it is an adulterous abusive abomination & whoredom.

    The verse that is often used to try to show support for polygamy in certain instances, about God raising up a righteous seed, has been interpreted completely backward from what Jacob was really teaching. It doesn’t even make sense to read it as a support for polygamy, for polygamy is not a way to raise up a righteous seed quickly.

    History & statistics show that polygamy greatly slows down the birth rate & Jacob describes how destructive polygamy always is to women & children, causing women great unhappiness & sorrow & children to lose confidence in their fathers because of how they treat their mothers by living polygamy.

    Monogamy is the fastest & only way to raise up a righteous, strong & happy people.

    The verse should be read that unless God commands (teaches) his people (to keep the commandments) they will hearken to those whoredoms (like polygamy) as they always have in the past.

    Even the Bible never commands polygamy. Moses tried to do damage control & created some rules about polygamy to minimize it’s negative effects on women, for the people insisted on living it.

    But Abraham & Jacob fell for polygamy because their wives pressured them into it & Jacobs unrighteous father in law tricked him. When Sarah had learned her lesson about polygamy the hard way & wanted Hagar to leave, God told Abraham to send Hagar away. Abraham appeared to repent from polygamy.

    If Abraham had really believed polygamy was a righteous option, let alone a commandment, he would not have gone almost a 100 years without posterity & without marrying a 2nd wife when he saw that Sarah was probably never going to have children. Especially when he was so concerned about having posterity.

    Most of the statements I referred to above about Joseph teaching & warning the Church against polygamy, can be found online in the historical copies of the Nauvoo newspaper entitled “The Times & Seasons”. Joseph published most of his teachings, talks, revelations & communications to the Saints in that newspaper.

    Joseph left his published & approved teachings & testimony for all Saints to see & understand, then & now. We must respect & accept his proven testimony about polygamy that he published & presented while he was alive, before accepting any rumors or hearsay that is contrary to what Joseph taught.

  38. Jim
    December 29, 2011 at 4:01 pm #

    Av,
    That sounds like a personal belief, is there anything that would be compelling for anyone to believe as you do? Which laws are you talking about? There are 613 laws given in the torah. The LDS people and christians in general might only refer to the ten commandments.

    What you are proposing sounds unconstitutional. If one was to make christian commandments, or laws of the torah the law of the land that would interfere with the rights of atheists and people who believe in other things. Polytheists for example could not follow many gods, or worship with images. Perhaps even the practice of mantra might be illegal.

  39. JJL9
    December 29, 2011 at 4:05 pm #

    Jim, AV has stated, “I’m sorry but I don’t have time to go back & dig up all the quotes to support my beliefs, which are out there if people want to do their homework.”

    So rather than provide support, he prefers to make statements as though they are facts, when in fact they represent nothing more than his own interepretations of something. Of what, we don’t know because he doesn’t have time to go back and dig it all up.

  40. Jim
    December 29, 2011 at 4:11 pm #

    JJl9,
    Thank you, my oversight.

  41. Liz
    December 29, 2011 at 7:51 pm #

    Marriage has to be a federal issue. As Mr. Romney stated, (who seems best to understand the constitution of all the current candidates), marriage is a status and should not have to be changed as one travels from state to state. Ron Paul insisted that states have the right to impose slavery, but he is also in error here. Slavery is a status, an unconstitutional one at that, and is a federal issue. I sent good ol’ Ron a pocket copy so he could read up.

  42. JJL9
    December 29, 2011 at 7:56 pm #

    Oh, it’s a status. That clears it all up.

  43. JJL9
    December 29, 2011 at 7:58 pm #

    Wait. I’m just curious. What is so magical about the boundaries between states that I shouldn’t have to change “status”, but if I cross international borders I should?

    Why should I care if any particular state or country recognizes my “status”?

  44. Liz
    December 30, 2011 at 9:23 pm #

    Well if we must re-invent the wheel here. It would be impractical, ridiculous, confusing, costly, bizarre (circle one) to have to be married and un-married as you travel interstate.

    And I don’t know what you mean by changing your status when you travel internationally.

  45. JJL9
    December 30, 2011 at 10:11 pm #

    Huh?

    So, for some reason as you cross state lines “changing status” is impractical, ridiculous, confusing, costly and bizarre, but you can’t even comprehend the same subject when crossing international lines?

  46. Jim
    December 31, 2011 at 4:05 pm #

    Liz,
    Thats kind of the situation that polygamous muslims have. Some unions are recognized in some countries and not in others. So if and when the 2nd, 3rd or 4th wives relocate to the united states, they are in a gray, confused, bizarre state. Not legal married, but not exactly single either.
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=90857818

  47. Justin
    January 1, 2012 at 10:52 pm #

    I don’t buy the whole Joseph Smith never practiced polygamy view. If Joseph Smith never condoned polygamy than why does the church’s genealogical records clearly show that he had many wives.

    http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Search/AF/individual_record.asp?recid=7762167

  48. AV
    January 2, 2012 at 1:03 am #

    Justin,

    Why would you believe second hand hearsay that was recorded by those who liked & lived polygamy, rather than Joseph’s own proven & published testimony & warnings that he was against polygamy his whole life & never lived it?

    Why wouldn’t you believe the Prophet Joseph above anyone else?

    Most, if not all, of those accusations about Joseph being married to those women were said way after Joseph’s death, when he couldn’t defend himself against those accusations anymore, & went against all he constantly stood for & taught the Church while he was alive.

    All those who accuse Joseph Smith of such vile, evil & abusive things like polygamy, especially since he himself testified publically over & over that such things were vile & evil, will have to one day stand accountable to God for such disrespect & evil speaking of a true Prophet of God.

  49. TRON
    January 2, 2012 at 10:31 pm #

    @AV

    The RLDS, which is now called the Community of Christ, spent all of the nineteenth century denying Joseph Smith Jr.’s polygamy but now has to admit that:

    “Community of Christ takes into account the growing body of scholarly research and publications depicting the polygamous teachings and practices of the Nauvoo period of church history (1840–1846)…Research findings point to Joseph Smith Jr. as a significant source for plural marriage teaching and practice at Nauvoo. However, several of his associates later wrote that he repudiated the plural marriage system and began to try to stop its practice shortly before his death in June 1844.”

    http://www.cofchrist.org/ourfaith/faq.asp

    They would not be saying this unless the evidence is overwhelming.

  50. Josh
    January 3, 2012 at 12:49 am #

    Liz

    I’m confused by your original statement and honestly want to understand your stance on this.

    You claim marriage has to be a federal issues, else it would become impractical, confusing, etc.

    Yet, marriage is currently a state issue and has been for the entire history of our nation. There are no powers regarding marriage given to the federal government in the Constitution and it has stayed with the states since our founding (somewhat surprisingly considering all the other areas the federal government has assumed control in the last 100 years). A marriage license is issued by a state, not the federal government, yet none of these problems with crossing state lines occur now. It would also seem, therefore, that Mr Romney’s claim that it is a federal issue would actually be in direct contradiction to the Constitution. Meaning he would actually have a poor understanding of the document.

  51. Jim
    January 3, 2012 at 3:58 pm #

    I found this article about “Adam’s rib” very interesting. This after doing a little search about marriage in general. Its interesting to rethink what Jewish mythology actually said about the origins of two sexes. Some believe that ‘Adam’ was originally neither male or female, but became different sexes after being split in half. This article doesn’t overtly state that, but pretty close. Other articles make use of this imagery to see marriage not as a union, but as a re-union of the two halves that are split apart.
    http://www.jasher.com/Adamsrib.htm

    Interesting imagery to advocate for equality of the sexes. Biologicially however, I just don’t see it. And for me it places any discussion of jewish and christian references to marriage unions or re-unions in a different light.

  52. AV
    January 3, 2012 at 9:30 pm #

    Tron,

    It seems that the RLDS or Community of Christ has become deceived along with most others who are faced with the overwhelming ”hearsay’ (not evidence) that Joseph lived polygamy.

    One must possess the Holy Spirit as their guide in order to be able to respect, honor & believe Joseph’s own testimony about how he was innocent of polygamy, even if the whole world claims differently.

    There are still many from those break off faiths from Joseph’s original Church, that still do believe Joseph & Emma & that he didn’t ever live or preach polygamy.

    For some examples, see: defendingjoseph.com & restorationbookstore.org – “Joseph Smith Fought Polygamy”

  53. Jim
    January 4, 2012 at 7:21 am #

    Av,
    Thats one thing which I find the strangest thing in the restoration movement, the holy spirit to evaluate information. Anyone can accept or reject anything on that basis. How can anything be objectively tested or demonstrated?

  54. AV
    January 4, 2012 at 9:44 am #

    Jim,

    You are right, anyone can & usually everyone does, whether they have the right spirit or not, claim that the ‘spirit’ inspired them to do or believe something. I can’t tell you how many times members have told me they were inspired (often even in the temple) to do something which was very evil, though they didn’t see it as evil but they instead considered it right, cause they thought the Spirit inspired them to do it.

    But even still, it is true that the Holy Spirit can & will teach us truth, for those who really possess the ‘right’ Spirit, even if the unrighteous will usually never know they are being deceived by a wrong spirit.

    But Christ gave us a sure way to know truth from error or devils from saints or false prophets from true prophets. And that is that we are to judge & prove all things by whether a person or prophet possesses, preaches & practices ‘Christlike pure love’ or not. If a Prophet or person does not have this love, then we will know they are not a true follower or disciple of Christ.

    If someone or something does not inspire or teach us to have pure love then we can know it is not of God.

    But the catch is, that we ourselves must 1st possess this ‘pure love of Christ’ in order to be able to discern if others have it or not. Most people think they have it but it is actually very rare & that is why everyone is so easily deceived, cause only by this kind of high love, can we discern correctly.

    Also, Joseph Smith taught that we can also ‘detect’ falsehoods & false prophets or false persons or even false angels, by if they ‘contradict’ what Christ & the scriptures & revelations say, especially the one’s Joseph brought forth.

    Joseph taught & warned us that anyone who contradicts former revelation is an impostor & we should shun them.

    True Prophets will & can never contradict former true Prophets & their revelations. All truth will harmonize with itself.

    And ‘Polygamy’ went against & was contrary to all former revelation & scriptures, especially the one’s written by Joseph Smith. So we can know for sure it was a falsehood & abomination to practice & preach, just as Joseph said it was.

    The hearsay that ‘an angel with a sword’ forced Joseph to live polygamy is ridiculous & something Joseph never would have fallen for, when we understand that Joseph himself taught that even if an angel comes to you teaching ‘contrary doctrine’ then you can know for sure it’s a bad angel & you shouldn’t follow it.

    Joseph never would have fallen for such a thing as polygamy, even from an angel.

  55. AV
    January 4, 2012 at 10:06 am #

    Thus, the government was right in forcing the Mormons to stop polygamy, for it was an abusive evil that went against the laws of the land & the laws of God & against the Constitution, for polygamy did not respect & protect the equal rights of women in marriage.

    Joseph Smith never supported polygamy & would have supported the government’s efforts in stopping it.

  56. Brint Baggaley
    January 4, 2012 at 10:53 am #

    Sorry I’ve been away for awhile. Looks like a lot has gone on.

    Jim,
    You asked about how financial matters, inheritance, health benefits, etc. would be handled if the government were totally out of the marriage business. I think they handle such cases consistently already with co-habitation, and do an acceptable job. Nothing stops individuals from creating their own contract of union, specifying how things should be handled from the start. These are also common (prenups). I ask the question simply because if we leave marriage and the definition up to the government, then, in the end we have to accept whatever government decides. So long as the government agrees with our conscience, we seem to embrace their controlling. History seems to show that in the long run we can’t depend on them to get it right. I’m not claiming to it would solve a bunch of problems, or even that it is the right way to go, just thinking through the concepts.

    AV,
    “The way government will function in the millenium with Christ as the supreme leader of the world & his laws & perfected constitution being the standard, is how we should strive to make our governments now.”
    I’m not convinced that we really know how the government in the millenium will function. I understand the priesthood will take major government function, which to me would suggest that it will be run much more along the lines of D&C 121 than the absolute dictator scenario many people seem to believe. I lean toward believing that Christ will appeal to our reason and teach with love and with the spirit and the more righteous people (who survived the events of the transition to the Terrestrial world) will, over time, choose the better way. I don’t know, but I just don’t see the Priesthood suddenly forcing people to live God’s laws as our current government demands we follow its laws.

  57. AV
    January 4, 2012 at 11:55 am #

    I believe that Moroni is a really good example of how the government will work when Christ returns & how God expects us to run our government even today. Moroni had a ‘perfect’ understanding of justice & mercy, you can’t get better than that.

    While people were allowed to sin, Moroni didn’t allow them to get away with it. He applied the needed consequences upon them so they would repent. We misunderstand agency, for no one has the right to do evil without consequences in this life.

    Righteous men & leaders who have true Charity & love, always apply necessary consequences, for it is not loving to allow someone to get away with evil & cause them to just get worse & hurt more innocent people.

    Unfortunately today, most leaders in & out of the Church, do not protect the innocent as they are commanded to & do not apply the needed consequences upon the guilty as they should & thus evil is rampant & getting worse & worse in our Church & nation.

    God’s #1 concern is protecting the innocent by applying consequences to & restraining the guilty. God nor his Prophets can’t even teach the Gospel to anyone very well or raise righteous families until everyone is reasonably safe & secure from evil.

    Thus God expects all leaders, civil & religious to make their #1 concern the protection & safety of the people. They can only do that by restraining & punishing evil.

    Christ mostly showed his ‘merciful’ side when he was on the earth last time, except for when he cleared the temple. This next time he will show his ‘justice’ side, as Moroni showed us his, & Christ will rule with both justice & mercy in the Millenium.

    God expects us to rule today in our governments with both justice & mercy like Moroni & not let anyone get away with evil. We know enough about how to do that, if we are just righteous & actually do it.

    Moroni did not allow evil & sin to go unpunished, as most all civil & religious leaders do today, even in the Church. That should be changed & will certainly be changed & corrected by Christ.

    All leaders, both civil & religious, even in the Church, who do not repent & protect the innocent by restraining & disciplining the guilty as best they can, will one day stand accountable for doing little or nothing while evil triumphs, & those sins will one day be answered on the heads of the leaders who stood by not doing their most important duty.

  58. Brint Baggaley
    January 4, 2012 at 2:58 pm #

    AV,
    Thanks for your comments. I think we simply disagree on Christ’s government. While it is true that the wicked (Telestial) will be removed, having chosen not to live by the minimum standard required of a Terrestrial world, and thus we talk of the vengeance of God, this is simply the transition. Once we are under the government of Christ and the Millenium is under way, I don’t see us filling up prisons with people who may drink a little or having tithing automatically deducted from paychecks or giving someone a criminal record for not quite consecrating their goods fully.
    Moroni is a great example of what is occasionally necessary in this world to protect the life and liberty of the righteous. I think everyone agrees that basic protection is a good government function. I disagree with the idea of punishment being necessary for lesser issues (those which don’t threaten others). I believe that the natural punishment is the best punishment. For example, when my child foolishly spends his money, The best lesson is that he has no money the next time he needs it. When someone chooses to smoke dope instead of going to work, they will desire change when they lose their job and have to beg for food. When a government dictates behavior they take away choice. When a government offers safety nets, they take away accountability. The result is that the people learn neither and thus agency is destroyed. I don’t think we are defeating evil by outlawing behaviors or by having governmental mercy on transgression. I think we are causing people to miscalculate the use of agency and therefore creating a breeding ground for evil. I believe the Millenium will be governed based on the true principles of choice and accountability which I also believe to be the true definition of freedom. I don’t believe arbitrary punishments work into that mix. I guess I just believe that in true freedom, the gospel way proves to be the best way by natural consequences. Leaving it so, I believe, will give the best chance at having the most people embrace the true gospel.

  59. Jim
    January 4, 2012 at 4:19 pm #

    AV,
    I don’t know if the writers of the constitution had a modern sense of equality. Women were denied the right to vote until the 19th amendement was passed in 1919. The original constitution did not address marriage, so in theory the Salt Lake Branch of the LDS movement would not have been in conflict with the constitution during the period it practiced polygamy. In addition slavery was still constitutional until the passing of the 13th amendment.

    In theory some could have have been practicing polygamy and salvery. The wording is unclear, but D&C 134:12 says that the LDS church body would not preach to slaves contrary to the wishes of their masters. Is this to mean that there were no preaching to slaves until the masters are converted or interested in hearing the gospel themselves? I don’t really read that there is any command to free slaves, so was it possible for an early LDS church member to have slaves? It might be an unfair question, as that period in USA was so totally different from what we have now.

    What is perhaps more on topic is found in D&C 134:9

    “We do not believe it just to mingle religious influence with civil government, whereby one religious society is fostered and another proscribed in its spiritual privileges, and the individual rights of its members, as citizens, denied.”

    What is sounds like to me is that the church set boundaries for itself, and didn’t expect the government to take up any part of its influence.

  60. AV
    January 4, 2012 at 5:47 pm #

    Brint,

    I agree that during the Millenium, minor weaknesses & sins will not be punished by government or church leaders & the natural consequences will be the main teacher.

    But I do believe that more serious things will then be prohibited & punished, as they should be even now, if governments, church leaders & people were righteous enough to uphold God’s laws today.

    It does not do anyone any good or teach anyone anything to be free to sin without consequences. As the scriptures say, it only ‘encourages’ more sin if no consequences are applied. God has said that ‘where there is no punishment for sin by leaders, it is as if there is no law against it’.

    Our current situation today in our nation & church is so wicked & evil because leaders have been too soft & have not applied the consequences as they should & were commanded to. Thus, those leaders who refuse to require obedience to God’s high laws will be cleansed from the earth along with those who broke God’s laws.

    Only applying consequences will usually awaken & save souls who have lost their conscience & now are deep in sin. Leaders who refuse to help awaken people must share the punishment of the sins they allowed to happen without doing anything to stop them.

    Again, Moroni had ‘perfect understandng’ about these things
    & to think that the millenium would have different or softer leaders than Moroni’s type & behavior is to not believe in the scriptures or in Moroni’s perfect example of a righteous leader.

    Like Moroni, leaders then will be both ‘harsher on sin’ & ‘far more protective of the innocent’ than almost any leaders we have ever seen on earth.

    I believe our laws in the Millenium will be much stricter than our present laws today or even stricter than what our church currently allows to go on. I don’t believe that things like drugs, alcohol, divorce & remarriage, polygamy, birth control, socialism, etc., will be legal or allowed without serious consequences until they repent & stop such behavior.

    I don’t believe that it takes away anyone’s choice when behavior is dictated by a government or a church, for God has always commanded governments & churches to always dictate certain behavior. But people still have the agency to choose to sin & break the laws, they just can’t expect to be allowed to get away with it.

    It is Satan’s plan that leaders ‘not punish serious sin’. Satan does not want governments & churches to dictate behavior. Satan wants us all to be free to do whatever we want without any consequences applied by leaders.

    God intended his laws to be the standard for all societies on earth, but people on earth have rarely been righteous enough to elect leaders who would uphold & enforce such high laws.

    Unfortunately very few times in history has the people & leaders been so willing & righteous to insist that such high laws be adhered to, thus wickedness & destruction has prevailed throughout most all societies of the earth, because the people would not accept such high laws & elect leaders who would enforce them.

    In the Millenium we will finally have righteous leaders who expect Christ’s laws to be respected. around the whole world.

  61. AV
    January 4, 2012 at 6:08 pm #

    Jim,

    Polygamy has always been against the laws of the land in this country & thus the government was right to try to stop it from being practiced, whether they realized it was unconstitutional or abusive to women & children or not.

    I believe that many of the founding fathers did understand that blacks & women should have equal rights, but they knew that what they had already included in the Constitution was all they could get passed at the time & even that barely passed. But I believe some, if not most of the founders, were righteous enough to understand about true equality for women & blacks & how evil & abusive to women things like polygamy was. We have record of the founder’s wives advising them to include as much protection & respect for women as possible in the Constitution. But the founders knew that most men were not righteous to accept all that they would have liked to include in the Constitution.

    But even if most men did not want to understand or accept women’s or black’s equality back then, there were still many people in those days who were good & righteous people & who did understand how abusive polygamy was to women & how women & the blacks should be given equal rights, but they just were not in the majority until the early 1900’s.

    Even the majority of the men & leaders in the Church could not accept & share the Priesthood with their black brothers until the 1970’s, when Blacks were finally given the Priesthood again, like they were supposed to have had all along. ForJoseph intended the Blacks to have the Priesthood & allowed many to have it when he was the Prophet, but BY put a stop to it because he did not believe in Black’s equality.

  62. TRON
    January 4, 2012 at 6:47 pm #

    @AV

    Well at least Mark Twain thought that Mormon Polygamy was proof of our Christian Charity.

    “Our stay in Salt Lake City amounted to only two days, and therefore we
    had no time to make the customary inquisition into the workings of
    polygamy and get up the usual statistics and deductions preparatory to
    calling the attention of the nation at large once more to the matter.

    I had the will to do it. With the gushing self-sufficiency of youth I
    was feverish to plunge in headlong and achieve a great reform here–until
    I saw the Mormon women. Then I was touched. My heart was wiser than my
    head. It warmed toward these poor, ungainly and pathetically “homely”
    creatures, and as I turned to hide the generous moisture in my eyes, I
    said, “No–the man that marries one of them has done an act of Christian
    charity which entitles him to the kindly applause of mankind, not their
    harsh censure–and the man that marries sixty of them has done a deed of
    open-handed generosity so sublime that the nations should stand uncovered
    in his presence and worship in silence.” ”

    http://www.mtwain.com/Roughing_It/15.html

  63. AV
    January 4, 2012 at 9:21 pm #

    Unfortunately Mark Twain probably did not realize how evil & abusive Joseph Smith said polygamy was, for even ‘homely’ women who wouldn’t have maybe ever married if not for polygamy. For according to true prophets & wise self-respecting women, staying single for a lifetime is infinitely better than being deceived to live polygamy.

    I’m sure there were many homely women in polygamous marriages, especially since many men probably tried to look righteous & noble by taking on a couple homely women along with the attractive teenagers they really wanted & seduced.

    But no amount of homely wives takes away the abominable sin against those same women to induce them to commit adultery with a man in a polygamous marriage.

    According to Joseph Smith, nothing can make polygamy a righteous or noble thing, or excuse anyone who falls for it from it’s dire & awful eternal consequnces.

  64. TRON
    January 5, 2012 at 5:47 am #

    @AV

    Dude, if Mark Twain doesn’t make you laugh, you have some serious issues. It was just a joke, dude.

  65. Brint Baggaley
    January 5, 2012 at 7:18 am #

    AV,

    Thanks for the conversation. I think our differences of opinion have been spelled out.

    TRON,

    The Mark Twain quote is a classic. Thanks for a good chuckle.

  66. Brint Baggaley
    January 5, 2012 at 10:44 am #

    One more item I bumped into today. D&C 88:23 “And he who cannot abide the law of a terrestrial kingdom cannot abide a terrestrial glory.” Seems to suggest to me that there will be no need of government hand against greater transgressions, as those who commit them will receive the natural consequence of ‘not abiding’ (I take this to mean death).

  67. Jim
    January 5, 2012 at 3:25 pm #

    Tron,
    Thats great. I didn’t really read that as a joke until you said so, but I thought it was an odd sort of off compliment towards the LDS practice of polygamy. I believe Mark Twain also called the BOM chloriform in print. Did he mention that ‘ether’ was an appropriate title for a book in the BOM?

    Brint,
    You seem to be using the word ‘abomination’ alot. Do you really understand its meaning and use? I am surprised to learn that its used only 2 times in the N.T. But 65 times in the O.T. Its applied to a number of things that I didn’t expect at all, and sometimes NOT applied to things one might expect. I don’t see polygamy as being described as an abomination in the bible. Female homosexuality is also never described as an abomination in the O.T. But love of money, dishonesty, lying cheating etc…a haughty look etc…

    http://www.dragonlordsnet.com/abomination.htm
    The relative lack of use of the word ‘abomination’ in the N.T. is really interesting. Is it really a word that a christian should be using? Peter and Paul both had interesting visions around that that led them to believe that they should not call anyone “common or unclean”.

  68. TRON
    January 5, 2012 at 5:06 pm #

    @Jim

    You got the Mark Twain stuff right on the BOM I’ll quote some highlights.

    “The book is a curiosity to me, it is such a pretentious affair, and yet so “slow,” so sleepy; such an insipid mess of inspiration. It is chloroform in print. If Joseph Smith composed this book, the act was a miracle–keeping awake while he did it was, at any rate. If he, according to tradition, merely translated it from certain ancient and mysteriously-engraved plates of copper, which he declares he found under a stone, in an out-of-the-way locality, the work of translating was equally a miracle, for the same reason.”

    “The Mormon Bible is rather stupid and tiresome to read, but there is nothing vicious in its teachings. Its code of morals is unobjectionable –it is “smouched” [Milton] from the New Testament and no credit given.”

    @AV

    As I said Mark Twain and I were both Joking on this matter. Here is Twain being serious on Polygamy, he actually agree’s with you.

    “Polygamy is a recent feature in the Mormon religion, and was added by Brigham Young after Joseph Smith’s death. Before that, it was regarded as an “abomination.” ”

    http://www.mtwain.com/Roughing_It/17.html

  69. AV
    January 5, 2012 at 5:24 pm #

    Thanks Tron. I’m sorry I’m so serious. But I appreciated that last quote by Mark Twain.

  70. Jim
    January 5, 2012 at 5:37 pm #

    Tron,
    There are also significant portions from Isaiah found in the BOM also. For some people thats a problem, but for the LDS faithful its not.

    Thats interesting that Mark Twain attributes polygamy to B.Y. and not to joseph. I don’t understand, who, if anyone was practicing polygamy to consider it an ‘abomination’? I can’t imagine anyone in the U.S. to be practicing it, prior to the followers of BY.

    @AV
    What are your thoughts about the Book of Abraham?

  71. AV
    January 5, 2012 at 8:01 pm #

    Jim,
    I’m sorry, but I don’t really have an educated opinion of the Book of Abraham. I haven’t studied it or it’s origin & transcription enough.

    But about polygamy, there were many other groups & religions in the U.S. who practiced & preached ‘polygamy’, before & other than, the followers of BY. It was not an uncommon practice in the U.S. even then, but it was illegal.

  72. Brint Baggaley
    January 6, 2012 at 7:35 am #

    Jim,

    I’ve read through everything I’ve submitted and don’t see where I’ve used the term ‘abomination’.

  73. Jim
    January 6, 2012 at 4:45 pm #

    Brint,
    My apologies, that was AV that was using abomination a lot. That makes a difference who I am addressing. Thank you for the correction.

  74. Liz
    January 6, 2012 at 7:39 pm #

    NOM is money well spent in my mind. They get results. They definitely had an impact on the Iowa Caucus this round. Ron Paul has had the good fortune of avoiding scrutiny by keeping his politics simple and not really taking a stand on moral issues. That is changing now, and we’ll see if he can stand up to the increased scrutiny.

  75. Liz
    January 6, 2012 at 8:02 pm #

    “Gushing self sufficiency of youth” makes Twain sound like a pervert. OR something. What the heck does that mean.

  76. Liz
    January 6, 2012 at 8:04 pm #

    What?! There is absolutely a market for “homely” women. Just as surely as there is for poor men. Now, if they’re living in their mothers’ basements, that becomes a seriously tight market, but there is still a market. My brother is proof of that.

  77. Liz
    January 6, 2012 at 8:14 pm #

    Polygamy is vile, evil, and abusive? Wha?

    I think the dude slinking around and cheating on the Mrs. with various others is vile, but it is commonly practiced today. Polygamy likely becomes more attractive to women the lower grade husbands the market offers. If you could be a number 1 to a Charlie Sheen type, or a number 2 to a Benjamin Netanyahu…..what would you pick?

    You’ll note the LDS church is also a big promoter of abstinence. Marriage is optional. Who was it, the prophet Jeremiah that was told not to marry because his life was going to be so miserable it wouldn’t be fair to the Mrs.? Paul apparently thought it noble to avoid marriage as well. So, the LDS church offers all kinds of options to suit your taste. As long as you make it legal and don’t slink around in the dark of night. Capiche?

  78. Liz
    January 6, 2012 at 8:17 pm #

    Ron Paul is wrong on not taking a traditional stand on the marriage issue. He is heavy on the freedom side of the coin, but pretty much ignores that there is an equally important and very necessary responsibility side of the coin, or else there is no freedom. Moral responsibility. Add that into Ron Paul’s repertoire and he suddenly becomes a conservative.

  79. Liz
    January 6, 2012 at 8:19 pm #

    Sorry! I thought there was a debate tonight and was all geared up for good argument. Luckily the wonderful insight on this site inspired me. I am done posting tonight. Can’t wait to read Mr. Boyack’s book.

  80. Jim
    January 6, 2012 at 8:50 pm #

    Liz,
    “You’ll note the LDS church is also a big promoter of abstinence. Marriage is optional”

    Not quite, Temple marriage is required to obtain the highest degree of glory. Doesn’t that express ‘salvation’? Any lesser degree is a degree of damnation. D&C 49 was written to address Shaker ideals of celibacy and vegetarianism. Its clear from the text that the LDS writers at the time thought that marriage and sexual procreation is essential for the intent of creation.

    I commend you for noticing things around Jeremiah and paul mentioned in the Bible. But for some reason LDS authors seem to have overlooked this. Young people are encouraged to get MARRIED if they are not going to serve a mission. Or to get married soon after returning from their mission. This is or was an ideal, at least during the 1980s. But reading church statements against homosexuality, its emphasized that its ones moral duty and responsibility to procreate, its an actual commandment.

  81. Liz
    January 8, 2012 at 8:05 pm #

    Yes. OK. So…marriage is optional. In this life. I’m sure Jeremiah and Paul got squared away in the next life. Likely anyways. John the Baptist. All those young military fellas that died in battle before getting out of the teen years…..I was just referring to this life.
    You would probably agree living a Celestial law isn’t for everyone. We were speaking about polygamy. The basic unit is one man, one woman. Maybe polygamists get extra credit or something, but it’s definitely not for everyone.

  82. Anon
    January 9, 2012 at 1:55 pm #

    Please don’t confuse NOM for a group that actually supported Proposition 8. The ProtectMarriage Coalition did all the dirty work, filed all the forms, made all the legal arguments, paid all the fees, and got pushed to the side when NOM came in out of nowhere and demanded recognition for doing nothing. They even tried hijacking the movement and stopping ProtectMarriage from doing what’s right. Bunch of Manchurian Candidates.

  83. GottaSayIt
    January 9, 2012 at 3:06 pm #

    Amore Vero (AV)

    Did you know this post had nothing to do with Polygamy? Have you ever studied anything else in your life? On every board I’ve ever seen you on, this is the only topic you ever talk about. There is more to life. And I find it odd that you can spout that JS condemned it during his life…. yet I have never seen you give a single credible reference to back it up.

    Sadly for me, I am still struggling with this issue, while letting go the need to understand it to have a testimony of the restoration, the gospel, and the Lord. It is not helpful to someone like me for you to make multiple unsubstantiated claims as if they are fact, and then leave me hanging as to the source.

    In response to the actual article…. I am brand new to Connor’s blog, and I LOVE it. The more I have studied both the government’s role in the “drug war” and “same-sex marriage” the more I fall on the side of Ron Paul. Although I oppose drugs on a moral standpoint, and I also oppose same sex marriage on a moral standpoint, neither of these falls under the responsibility of the government (fed or state) according the the constitution.

  84. Jim
    January 10, 2012 at 5:39 pm #

    Liz,
    “I’m sure Jeremiah and Paul got squared away in the next life. Likely anyways. John the Baptist. All those young military fellas that died in battle before getting out of the teen years…..I was just referring to this life.”

    To my knowledge the LDS church only conducts marriage for the dead for people who were married during life. I am sorry if I misunderstood your statement, but it didn’t sound like it was about polygamy. It was that the church promoted abstinence. That didn’t sound correct to me, as to me it appears to promote heterosexual unions as a prerequisite to obtaining ‘the highest degree of glory’. Does the LDS church promote anything other than compliance to celestial law? One has to wonder with a description of lesser degrees, such as stated in D&C 76.

  85. Jim
    January 10, 2012 at 8:26 pm #

    GottaSayIt,
    When you said you opposed drugs and same sex marriage from a moral standpoint. I had to look up ‘moral’. I found it curious that in the jewish faith, ones body is considered to be owned by god, people do not own their own bodies. Do the LDS people have this sense, or something similiar to that?

    The other thing that is curious is that as a result jews are prohibited to harm, mutilate(0ther than circumcision)destroy or take risks with their bodies.(because they are god’s property) However,there isn’t any specific rule about drug use, provided it doesn’t ‘harm’ or interfere with ritual duties. That does establish a somewhat looser moral code than that of mormonism, as far as drug, tobacco and alcohol use is concerned. But its still moral without being absolute.

    I am probably not allowed to go into technical detail on this forum. But I am convinced that most LDS people, and perhaps christians in general do not truely understand the O.T. especially in reference to homosexuality. There isn’t any specific prohibition against female homosexuality to be found in the O.T. for example. References which are thought to reference male homosexuality probably are refering to a very specific act. Although some question if its really specific to sexual orientation as it is known today. Its not until you closely examine and think about the ‘holiness code’ and how it fits into judaism that you gain some insight.

  86. AV
    January 10, 2012 at 11:42 pm #

    Gottasayit,

    I believe my claims are based on facts, the factual testimonies & warnings about polygamy that Joseph himself published during his lifetime.

    I find it amazing & can’t understand how most members seem to just accept the repulsive rumors & hearsay about Joseph as true, especially without looking into it all very closely to see what he had to say about it all, things we can actually ‘prove’ he said & published during his lifetime, not what others said he said after he was gone & couldn’t refute their accusations.

    I promise you, there is nothing to fear in reading & studing out what Joseph said to the Saints about polygamy his whole life. The truth will set your heart free to believe in Christ’s true Gospel & that Joseph was a true Prophet of God & that the Book of Mormon is true & never condones polygamy, nor does any other scriptures that Joseph Smith brought forth. Nor does the Bible ever command or really teach polygamy.

    And Christ & the New Testament surely teach that polygamy is not allowed, when Christ similtaneously taught about both divorce & polygamy, saying no one can marry another while their spouse is living, even if they divorce their spouse 1st. For divorce doesn’t dissolve the marriage, they are still husband & wife & thus can’t remarry or it’s adultery. Thus that covers polygamy too, which the Savior probably tried to avoid discussing outright because it was so accepted & desired by the people back in those days & would have probably been too contentious to preach against. Teaching against divorce was bad enough & something even his Apostles had trouble accepting.
    Matt. 19:9
    Mark 10:9-12
    Luke 16:18

    Also see:
    1 Tim. 3:2,12
    Titus 1:5-6
    1 Cor. 7:2

    If you would like to read some wonderful, uplifting & faith promoting ‘proven & published’ facts about how Joseph Smith constantly taught ‘against’ polygamy his whole life, that have been mostly unheard of & hidden since Joseph’s death, except to those who search them out, here are some links:

    restorationbookstore.org – You can read their book for free online “Joseph Smith Fought Polygamy” Written by the Prices, who are an older couple who spent 30 years researching proof that Joseph constantly preached against polygamy & continually tried to warn the Saints not to fall for the rumors that he preached & practiced it privately.

    Also see: puremormonism.blogspot.com -“Why I’m abandoning polygamy” & his other related articles.

    Also you can order the very old book on Amazon called “Joseph Smith, Who Was He?” Written by Willard J. Smith & 1st published in 1899. But it has been reprinted & is now available to order online at Amazon. This author who was born in the mid 1800’s also explains why he believes Joseph never practiced or preached polygamy, he uses many of the published articles, talks & testimonies of Joseph’s, that Joseph published during his lifetime.

    But after all the evidences, hearsay & facts are laid out, as I’m sure you know, only the Holy Spirit can reveal the truth about polygamy to us & who was telling the truth back then.

    I hope those links help you find some of the answers in your study of the truth about polygamy. I know Heavenly Father will guide you to the truth & confirm it all to you, if you really want to know.

    Amore Vero

  87. GottaSayIt
    January 11, 2012 at 8:27 am #

    AV,

    The real point I was trying to make was to stop hijacking any thread, regardless of its topic to spread your theories. Start your own blog, and only post on other forums if you have something to add that is relevant to the subject matter being discussed. It’s just plain annoying, causing me to disregard anything you say bc your method irritates me.

  88. Jim
    January 26, 2012 at 3:42 pm #

    …because it doesn’t create publicity. They can’t let an opportunity to attempt to manage the public’s perception of a subject.

    I would find it something amazing if the Salt Lake church did a 180 on this subject, and started performing same sex temple marriages, after making such a fuss and teaching against it, just as a test to see if the membership really trusts the general authorities. Just as it did before on issues of race, and around plural marriage. The test on plural marriage was actually done 2 times.

  89. AV
    January 27, 2012 at 2:47 am #

    I think the likelihood is very great that the Church will eventually allow same sex marriage in the temple, just as soon as the majority of the members come to believe in it & request it’s allowance, which doesn’t seem too far off.

    60 years ago divorce & remarriage were considered as bad or worse as same sex marriage is considered today. But once the majority of the Church wanted the option to divorce & remarry, the Church did a 360 & changed it’s doctrine about it. The church used to preach that divorce & remarriage was adultery & one of the worst of sins & they excommunicated men who abandoned & divorced their wives, etc.

    But now they have totally changed the laws of the Church & today preach & practice that divorce & remarriage is no longer adultery or even a sin. They now allow & support & reward such behavior, with hardly no questions asked.

    It seems that members today are allowed to divorce & remarry in the temple as many times as they want. Thus allowing men to rack up wives for eternity with all those sealings. (Not)

    Thus I can totally see the Church changing it’s tune on something far less serious as ‘same sex marriage’. Especially when the Church has changed their tune on something as destructive & abominable as divorce & remarriage was/is.

    The bottom line is God allows the people to have what they want, whether to their blessing or destruction.

  90. Jim
    January 27, 2012 at 5:50 am #

    Av, No not really. Plural marriage was a difficult thing for most early LDS converts, as I understand it. About divorse and remarriage, is it possible you are over looking anything? As far as social changes, I think Harold camping said something similiar. Which is odd, god is given credit for social changes? I think its just a general increase in knowledge that did that.

  91. AV
    January 27, 2012 at 11:29 am #

    Jim,

    I probably was not clear enough in my previous post. I surely don’t give God the credit for the changes on divorce & remarriage or polygamy in the Church.

    I believe that those issues have become or were acceptable because of the wickedness of the members & leaders wanting to be free to commit them.

    God doesn’t stop Churches from allowing it’s members & leaders to do evil, while the people are deceived to believe they are righteous & justified while doing it.

    I consider divorce & remarriage & polygamy to be the ‘abominations’ that God said they were & they have never & will never change from being such, no matter if the whole church & leaders allows it & commits it.

    Sin doesn’t become right just because everyone thinks it’s ok & wants to do it. Not even God can make ‘sin’ not ‘sin’.

  92. Jim
    January 28, 2012 at 6:11 pm #

    Av,
    You seem to use the terms abomination and sin interchangeably, not quite correct. Just doing a little research on the topic reveals that even for the word ‘abomination’ there is more than one hebrew word used in the torah. I could be incorrect but I get the sense that abominations are offenses related to being ‘improper’ or in poor taste, not ethical considerations. Nevertheless most christians don’t care to make the distinction,and just know that its something to be avoided.

    If you belive the christian story, god can and DID change what is considered an abomination from one time period to another. For instance most christians do not observe food taboos of the OT, such as pork, clams,dogs and shrimp. I have never heard of any christian observing the restriction of wearing a linen and wool blend. Most christians would consider that of no consequence.

    In any case Christian disciples in the NT got the word from god not to consider anyone ‘common or unclean’. Socially its perhaps unfitting to be involved in plural marriage in many western countries. Serial monogamy, such as divorse and remarriage is much more common. Some say its unrealistic to expect anyone to have a single sexual partner their whole entire life. I just scanned an article about genetic health and monogamy, it indicates that if a society was strictly monogamous that would have distarious effects on genetic health. I suspected as much, but I would need to read more on that before officially commenting on that. Some societies totally accepted that one would have multiple partners in life, but that would be a difficult concept to advance in a society without an ethical model of conduct.

  93. Brian
    November 18, 2013 at 11:42 am #

    Connor,

    I agree with a lot of your views in part, but what about Alma 30:10 where it says their government was set up to punish crimes of wickedness? This extended beyond life and personal property – it included punishment of adultery. It appears that not only is the government supposed to protect fundamental rights, but includes, at least in part, “defense” against the act of adultery, which, as it were, is an aggressive crime that “destroys individuals, families and weakens society.” Your view also seems to conflict with past prophets’ teachings, such as when Heber J. Grant encouraged prohibition, or the Church encouraged support of Proposition 8.

    I would suggest that the government has the responsibility to protect fundamental freedoms as well as to support moral issues – (to enact laws to judge men according to their crimes) – even if only on a state level.

  94. Connor
    November 18, 2013 at 11:58 am #

    Our government cannot and should not be directly compared to the theocratic nature of Nephite government in the Book of Mormon. No such divine guidance exists for secular government today. Thus, while we must “be subject to the powers that be, until he reigns whose right it is to reign” (D&C 58:22) we should understand what powers those are and under what conditions they are authoritative and acceptable.

    I go into detail on the prohibition issue in my book, Latter-day Liberty. As for Proposition 8, if you search my blog you’ll see that I supported it on grounds that if government is to be involved in the marriage issue, then it should not attempt to change its fundamental definition. But, I favor removing the government from that issue as an ideal.

    Government is us. We can only empower it with authority that we ourselves have, and can delegate to it. If you can do something to your neighbor, and would be justified in doing it, then you’re able to delegate that power to an agent on your behalf. Thus, issues like self defense can be proper roles of government. “Support[ing] moral issues” is not something that fits within that scope, for you and I are not authorized in using violence against our neighbors for cheating on their spouses or smoking marijuana or consuming alcohol, etc. We therefore cannot empower our government to do so on our behalf.

    Under God’s law, the authority is top down. Thus, His agents can do as He instructs, and wield that authority in executing the law. Under man’s law, the authority is bottom up. Our agents can only act with authority that we ourselves possess and have properly delegated to them. Therein lies the (substantial) difference. Conflating the two is dangerous.

  95. Brian
    November 18, 2013 at 7:01 pm #

    I hadn’t considered that the Nephite government was coming from a fundamentally different angle than ours. Which makes sense, given 3 Nephi 3:19. I am actually listening to the book on audio right now, but am only in the part about immigration so I am very interested to get to the part on prohibition you just mentioned.

    By the way, though I’m not sure I am a libertarian convert yet, several of the ideas you present in your book have fundamentally changed my outlook on politics and I feel that not only are they just good ideas, but they are right. The chapter on war made it so clear how to connect the dots between scripture and foreign policy, which I saw as two giant fields in need of a great bridge, which you provided. That one-line comment about how there’s a difference between resident and citizen also was life-changing. I agree that you should keep spreading this message, even though I’m not fully on board (yet?) – we need more people to challenge the status quo. It’s important to bridge that gap between ideal-land and mass-media-soundbyte-land so people can hear truth and live by it. I think you are one of the prophesied Elders of Israel saving the constitution as it hangs by a thread.

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