July 7th, 2006

Ten Government Principles Favored in the Book of Mormon

I just came across this article that dicusses, as the title of this post mentions, 10 government principles illustrated in the Book of Mormon

In light of my last post on the proper role of government, I’m going to have to say that my favorite is #7:

7. Good leaders preserve freedom, defend religion, and punish crime…and that’s all.

One of the most over-looked treasures in the Book of Mormon is Alma 50:39, where we are given the oath of office Nephite leaders took during one of that people’s most spiritual periods: “to judge righteously, and to keep the peace and the freedom of the people, and to grant unto them their sacred privileges to worship the Lord their God, yea, to support and maintain the cause of God all his days, and to bring the wicked to justice according to his crime.”

That’s it. No social programs, no advocating for progressive causes.

7 Responses to “Ten Government Principles Favored in the Book of Mormon”

  1. the narrator
    July 8, 2006 at 1:45 am #

    Good leaders preserve freedom, defend religion, and punish crime…and that’s all….That’s it. No social programs, no advocating for progressive causes.

    Selective scripture proofing is fun isn’t it? Too bad the BofM is full of social programs, advocations, and progressive causes, especially in relation to the poor. Jesus was also full of progressive causes. You should read Joseph Smith’s platform for when he ran for president. Among his many “social programs and advocationg for progressive causes” were plans to free slaves, liberal prison pardons, and measures to help out the poor.

    I am constantly amazed at how unChristian many Mormons can be with their extreme right-wing conservative ideas.

  2. Connor
    July 8, 2006 at 6:35 am #

    You’re going to have to provide references to such examples in the Book of Mormon in order to convince anybody. Simply saying they exist doesn’t prove your case.

    Also, Jesus was not the government. Just because he was “full of progressive causes” does not imply that the government at the time was, or that they had any affair with such causes. There is a stark difference between an individual promoting an issue, and the government doing so. That’s the whole intent of Benson’s talk on this subject matter – leave it up to the individual people to do things like this.. government has no place to do so.

  3. the narrator
    July 9, 2006 at 7:08 pm #

    First of all, the person you are so happy to quote fails in two regards. First, he is trying to appeal from silence that Nephite governments did not necessitate or even include ‘social programs or advocating for progressive causes.’ Just because it is not listed in that single scripture does not mean that it did not exist. Second, ‘social programs and advocating for progressive causes’ should be understood as aspects of “judging righteously.” Righteousness in any Christian sense is about lifting up the poor and oppressed.

    Here are a few examples off the top of my head of social programs and progressive advocating in the Book of Mormon:

    social programs: helping out the poor

    KING Benjamin to his people he ruled over: “I would that ye should impart of your substance to the poor, every man according to that which he hath, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants.” (Mosiah 4:26).

    The Gadianton Robbers new government was specifically condemned for their failure to help the poor: “And thus they did obtain the sole management of the government, insomuch that they did trample under their feet and smite and rend and turn their backs upon the poor and the meek, and the humble followers of God” (Helamen 4:26).

    The post-Christ egalitarian theocratic communitarian government/society in 4th Nephi was specifically described as having no rich and poor. (4 Nephi 1:3)

    As for advocating for progressive causes, the first that comes to mind was the religious freedom that the Nephite law advocated, for example :”Now there was no law against a man’s belief; for it was strictly contrary to the commands of God that there should be a law which should bring men on to unequal grounds.” such that Korihor could preach his ideas “and the law could have no hold upon him” This wasn’t just the will of the people as evidenced by those who thought they were wiser than the law such they tied him up and tried to have him shutup, and eventually kicked him out of town. (Alma 30:7,12,19-12)

  4. Connor
    July 9, 2006 at 8:07 pm #

    You are correct in your examples, however, I still feel they were voluntary and not government-mandated. This is illustrated when King Bejamin said “I would that ye should”. In other words, he is encouraging them to do it of their own free will. He’s not taxing them, and then using that collected money to do it himself.

    The verse you quote as Helaman 4:26 is actually Helaman 6:39. The Gadianton Robbers in this case, I believe, were oppressing the poor and weak on an individual, personal basis. Mormon, in narrating, is not telling us “they didn’t have any formal programs to help the weak and the poor”, but is instead describing the individual habits and natures of those who composed this group of people.

    Freedom of religion is hardly “progressive” (which is defined as “favoring or implementing social reform or new, liberal ideas”). It is a self-evident truth, inclusive among the natural rights of man: Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. As the Declaration of Independence states, governments are instituted for securing these liberties, as was our government, so that these rights, including the freedom to worship how or what we may, may be freely enjoyed (see also D&C 134:4). At the time of this country’s founding, sure, it could have been labled as a progressive thing, to have government provide these liberties—but not in our day, and certainly not in the Nephite government, having long ago secured and provided for these liberties.

  5. the narrator
    July 9, 2006 at 8:50 pm #

    The verse you quote as Helaman 4:26 is actually Helaman 6:39.

    My bad. I must have had the Mosiah reference in my head.

    Freedom of religion is hardly “progressive” (which is defined as “favoring or implementing social reform or new, liberal ideas”). It is a self-evident truth…[it was] certainly not [progressive] in the Nephite government, having long ago secured and provided for these liberties.

    Which is why some Nephites tied up Korihor and kicked him out of the city.

    The Gadianton Robbers in this case, I believe, were oppressing the poor and weak on an individual, personal basis. Mormon, in narrating, is not telling us “they didn’t have any formal programs to help the weak and the poor”, but is instead describing the individual habits and natures of those who composed this group of people.

    Mormon completely puts the Gadianton Robbers’ failure to help “the poor and the meek, and the humble followers of God” in the context of the robbers’ “obtain[ing] the sole management of the government.” Mormon is flat out saying that the new Gadianton government did not take care of the poor… hardly a criticism of the old government wasn’t doing it either.

    Also, you previously said that “Jesus was not the government.” While Jesus was not a governmental leader, he was very much a political revolutionary seeking out to change the political/religious/social aspects of the world.

    Also, as I previously mentioned, Joseph Smith was VERY much into governmental reform with VERY socialistic and progressive ideas in mind. Read his presidential platform. Look into the ideals he thought to empower through his secretive Council of Fifty and Anointed Quorum.

  6. Connor
    July 9, 2006 at 9:53 pm #

    We come to an interesting topic here, that being the alleged socialism in the presidential platform of Joseph Smith, and likewise in the teachings of Jesus (who sought not political office—though he was entitled to be King; his mission to change others was on an individual, personal basis, and not any government-mandated change).

    I am of the firm believe that Communism and Socialism are degenerated, twisted, and altered forms of the United Order and the Law of Consecration. Just as he does with everything else, Satan has manipulated this divinely established order to produce a corrupt form, instituted and managed by uninspired men who often have alterior motives and intentions.

    For this reason, the government as it stands today should have no components of socialism. With our separation of church and state, it is and should be left up to the people to support and assist the poor and weak.

    When Christ comes again, reigns in New Jerusalem, and establishes the theocracy Joseph Smith was soon expecting when forming the Council of Fifty, these programs and institutions will be established, but under the divine leadership and authority of God and His chosen servants. It is only under the leadership and command of God that such programs can efficaciously be established and conducted.

  7. the narrator
    July 9, 2006 at 10:43 pm #

    I am of the firm believe that Communism and Socialism are degenerated, twisted, and altered forms of the United Order and the Law of Consecration. Just as he does with everything else, Satan has manipulated this divinely established order to produce a corrupt form, instituted and managed by uninspired men who often have alterior motives and intentions.

    For this reason, the government as it stands today should have no components of socialism.

    That’s quite an argument. By the same reasoning, our government should not have any components of free trade, education, democracy, constitutions, ownership, public and private properties, leadership, taxes, police, law, prisons, military, borders, courts, republics, states, communication, international relationships, and other component of a government – for all have at one time or another been abused by Satan for the purposes of evil.

    the government as it stands today should have no components of socialism.

    So are you against all forms of public education, taxes, military, law enforcement, garbage removal, medicare, roads, water, parks, national forests, museums, television, and libraries? These are all socialist aspects of our government.

    Jesus (who sought not political office—though he was entitled to be King; his mission to change others was on an individual, personal basis, and not any government-mandated change).

    Read the work done by John Crosson and Howard Yoder. While Jesus did not necessarily seek political office, he was very much pushing for political reform/revolution.

    When Christ comes again, reigns in New Jerusalem, and establishes the theocracy Joseph Smith was soon expecting

    Joseph Smith’s revolution (his words not mine) were his goals in the 1840’s, long before Christ might have returned according to the revelation Smith received concerning it.

    Furthermore, Joseph Smith instituted many socialist aspects into the Nauvoo, Kirtland, and Missouri governments.

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