A quick comment on the wrong side of history

The domineering opposition tells those that won’t curry favor with it they will be on the wrong side of history. Which is ridiculous. A list of those who determined to follow God no matter the consequences could stretch on and on, but a quick few are…

William Tyndale
John Wycliffe
Thomas More

Such a list would include the founding fathers, who may have varied in religious belief, but were agreed that there was a higher source of authority than government and society – a power worth defying the might of Britain to follow.

That list would include Paul, Peter, James, and John

And most notably of all, our Lord and master, Jesus Christ, who bluntly condemned the evil teachers and practices in his society, and was crucified by those he offended.

It is those who curry favor with the world who are doomed to be forgotten as the cowards and lackeys of their day. It is those who are valiant in the testimony of Christ who will be remembered as the only true victors this earth had to offer

Could we please interpret “honor, uphold, and sustain the law” in the same terms as the person who wrote that.

Our notion that we believe in honoring, upholding, and sustaining the law has become quite different than what it originally meant. It was penned by Joseph Smith. But Joseph Smith frequently disobeyed and outright rebelled against laws that were merely activist abuses of power. This was not hypocrisy. This was a correct understanding of what he, himself, meant when he wrote that sentence.

Don’t we all know that Joseph Smith was not lawfully released from liberty jail. He escaped from liberty jail! Can we wake up and actually remember that? Joseph Smith escaped from jail! When we read the statement:

“We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.”

we need to read it recognizing that the author of that statement didn’t feel it was inconsistent with escaping from jail, or avoiding arrest, if the fault could be laid at the hands of activist law enforcement or unjust judges. Sure, Joseph Smith didn’t use the word “activist judge”. He rightly called them “unjust judges” instead. But it means the same thing.

Even the jailer and the sheriff in one instance had the plain common sense to realize that Joseph Smith was being mistreated by unjust, activist, judges. Joseph Smith said:

“The sheriff and jailer did not blame us for our attempt; it was a fine breach, and cost the county a round sum; but public opinion says that we ought to have been permitted to have made our escape; that then the disgrace would have been on us, but now it must come on the state; that there cannot be any charge sustained against us; and that the conduct of the mob, the murders committed at Haun’s Mills, and the exterminating order of the governor, and the one-sided, rascally proceedings of the legislature, have damned the state of Missouri to all eternity.”

Notice that Joseph Smith is pleased here that his escape attempt will cost the county a significant amount of money to repair. This was an attempt, not his actual escape from liberty jail.

But we don’t have the plain common sense these days. We live a life of bureaucracy, and we are cogs. We think that being a cog excuses us from behaving like cogs. But if a man who arrested, and a man who jailed Joseph Smith both had some common sense, couldn’t we, who are his benefactors have use a little of the same thing?

Can’t we wake up to the reality that there is a significant difference between our interpretation of the article of faith and the original meaning of it? A plain example is:

A federal court says Utah must start issuing same sex marriage licenses. This is an unlawful law. If it is true that England could not take away men’s unalienable rights to govern themselves, if that was outside of what government had the right to do, then it is also true the government has no right to redefine what the family is.

Now it seems extremely clear that under Joseph Smith’s reading of his own words, he would not have felt that if a federal judge unjustly decreed that we should start marrying gay people, that meant we should start doing it. Joseph Smith’s own reading of his own words clearly did not mean that the right response in that circumstance would be for everyone to bow the knee and start issuing homosexual marriage licenses.

But we READ his statement that way, even if his own life clearly demonstrates that IS NOT what he meant by it.

Joseph Smith believed in rule by law that was rule by law. He distinguished between unjust judges, now called activist judges, and real rule of law.

Even the doctrine and covenants uses words like “the pretended requirements of the law” for laws that were merely abuses of power. It distinguishes between abuses of power, unjust judges, and the real rule of law.

Can’t we have the sense to stand up and say, “you are an unjust judge, and that is no real law”.

We must ignore laws made outside of governments rights

Once we step away from the foundation of our government we can not longer properly defend it.

Our government is formed around the notion of God given inalienable rights.

But we have pathetically decided invoking the name of God in government is bad policy. We are embarrassed of him in front of other people. We have become governmental humanists without realizing that a free country would never have been created by governmental humanists. It required the notion that there is a God, and that government’s rights are limited by what God allows.

Governmental humanists believe that what the government has the might to do, it also has the right to do.

They believe that if a king or congress writes down a law or decree than that law or decree IS law.

And, tragically, these days we believe the same thing.

But the revolutionary war begins and ends on the premise that such a statement is FALSE.

The creation of a free government required appealing to a source of power higher than government. It required to an appeal to God, and an assertion that he himself limits the rights of government. Government cannot just do whatever it wants. It hasn’t the right. That is the premise on which our country rebelled against England.

And we have forgotten it ever existed.

Let us be men, and remember that the power of government depends on the assent of the governed. That means that when an activist judge, or even 5 out of 9 of them, makes a decree, that decree doesn’t become law. It may be written down as law. But if it wasn’t within the rights of the government in the first place, then we need to appeal to a higher source and recognize that law made outside the right of governmental power is not real law, and we have an obligation to ignore it, lest we add our own endorsement to the idea that government actually has power that it outside the rights God grants to it.

God given rights limit the power of government. If we believe in the revolutionary war, then we should at least be able to remember that much.

The government has no power to redefine the meaning of marriage and family

The state has no right to redefine the family. The state is built on the family, not the family on the state. The government is not God, and cannot alter eternal verities. Men can proclaim one thing or another as they will but they do not have any right to change eternal truths such as marriage.

Men did not create marriage and family. Marriage and family were instituted by God.

Men think that because the state has long ago taken power to offer licenses to marry, that it actually has power over marriage. Marriage and family is what civilization is built on, and the state does not have power over it any more than it has power to change man kinds God given inalienable rights. They were not created by the state, and the state has no right to pretend it can exercise power over them.

May our nation repent for the sake of our children

As I ponder the matter of what our current moral direction will mean for my children as they face adulthood I have no question that I would rather our nation suffer as horribly as the Nephites did for wickedess, and repent, than for my children to grow up and live in a country whose government comes to enforce the teaching of wickedness in the lives of its people. In countries that have made gay marriage legal, free speech on the topic quickly starts to tumble

Where did we get the false notion that the church stays out of government and politics?

As I read or hear some of the heavily political talks in general conference in the past I think of the many times in my life someone has told me that the church doesn’t get involved in government.

And I wonder where we got that idea. It certainly isn’t true. It wasn’t true in Joseph Smith’s day. He ran for President of the United States. It wasn’t true in Brigham Young’s day. It wasn’t true in the Book of Mormon – when Amalakiah wants changes in the law that will established a king, the church cares about that in the Book of Mormon.

Certainly, it isn’t true in D&C 134, which is a revelation from God about government. We hold the truths in that section as revelation. It is revelation and it directly addresses government. It is our doctrine, and it concerns government and politics by its nature.

It certainly wan’t true in the days of Moses. The revealed law of Moses is both a civil and religious law. That is why it is called the “law” of Moses.

Truth doesn’t change. A current, common practice doesn’t change the practices of prophets past.

So I wonder where members got this idea that the church doesn’t involve itself in politics. I suppose it is because our current practice is to avoid endorsing specific political candidates in church meetings. But that doesn’t mean we can’t teach truths about government in them, because there is large body of general conference material by prophets and apostles that directly addresses wrong and right government practices.

Failure or obedience

I was just recalling a time when I was sitting in Sunday School and had the distinct impression that I should go home. I had no reason to go home. I believe our kids had been sick as well as myself some in previous weeks and had I missed church for two or more weeks not long before that as the sickness tracked from one child to another. I put the impression aside because I didn’t want to leave church without a reason to do so. If I left, how could I explain what I was doing?

Later I discovered that I had missed an opportunity. Someone had stopped by our house, then left, during church, and I could have done significant good had I been home when they arrived.

I remember that experience as an interesting failure. It was intimidation and self doubt that I chose to heed instead of obedience.

But as long as we live so we have the Holy Ghost we can act in confidence and know we will be right with God.

The glory of God, the light of Christ.

When we speak of the glory of God the phrase can be confusing because it is ambiguous. “Glory” can mean “honor”. Many also read it in the scriptures as just meaning something is surrounded by physical light.
When we speak of the glory of God, these are not what we are speaking of. We do not mean honor. We do not mean a mere display of physical brightness.
The glory of God is the same thing as the light of Christ. It proceeds forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space. It gives life to all things, it is the law by which all things are governed. It is the means through which God controls all things, and the means through which all things past, present, and future are continually before him. (D&C 88).
When we read in Moses 1 that the glory of the Lord was upon Moses, therefore Moses could endure his presence, we are seeing God’s power being exercised to preserve Moses. But there is more as well. When we are in the presence of God, that glory is upon us and truth is manifest to us through it in a measure the way that all truth is manifest before God. 
In fact, from the scriptures it appears that when the Lord’s glory is upon someone, they can behold things through it in a way similar to the way God himself can. Consider these verses:
Moses 1:2 And he saw God face to face, and he talked with him, and the glory of God was upon Moses; therefore Moses could endure his presence.

 5 Wherefore, no man can behold all my works, except he behold all my glory; and no man can behold all my glory, and afterwards remain in the flesh on the earth.
To behold all of God’s works would be to see them as God does himself, and to do that requires beholding, or enjoying, the full glory of God. We are then told that such an individual cannot remain in the flesh on the earth. 
Continuing the account we read:
Moses 1:8 And it came to pass that Moses looked, and beheld the world upon which he was created; and Moses beheld the world and the ends thereof, and all the children of men which are, and which were created; of the same he greatly marveled and wondered.
 9 And the presence of God withdrew from Moses, that his glory was not upon Moses; and Moses was left unto himself. And as he was left unto himself, he fell unto the earth.
When a man is transfigured to stand in God’s presence, the Lord’s glory must be upon him and the man can perceive things with that glory in a manner as only God can. Moses here has just beheld the world and the ends thereof and all the children of men. This is not how mortal man sees the world. It was this ability at which Moses greatly marveled and wondered. He had never experienced anything like it. Through God’s glory he was enabled to look and perceive each of the people of the earth just as God himself did. 
Moses was struck by the huge contrast here between the resurrected body of the Father, and the mortal body of Moses. His body could not even endure God’s glory without being transfigured. Moses experiences a portion of how God can see every person on earth individually and learns that he cannot experience that himself in his mortal frame and “remain in the flesh on the earth”. Thus his mortal body is limited in ways he hadn’t recognized compared to God’s resurrected body, and it is this that he is referring to when he says “Now I know that man is nothing”. 
Having partaken, to a small degree, of the power and glory of God himself, by perceiving the world through the light of Christ, Moses is then approached by Satan. And Moses’s response is indicative of what he just learned. He asks Satan where his glory is. He says he will only worship the god of glory. When Moses says this, his point is that he will only worsihp that God who has all power and sees and knows all things past, present, and future.
We see a similar account when Enoch stands in the Lord’s presence. The lord tells him to “look” and Enoch can see and describe the future.

And the glory be mine is not a statement of Lucifer wanting credit or honor for a task, it is a statement of wanting to take the Father’s power. His glory is the light of Christ, which is the means by which he is in and through all things, and the means by which he knows all things and controls all things. Lucifer didn’t want to just take credit and honor. Lucifer wanted to take the Father’s power. He wanted to take the Father’s place.
We see the same principle in the three “temptations” of Christ. The Joseph Smith translation significantly clarifies the account. It is not Satan that shows Christ the world. It is actually much like the account of Moses, who saw all the particles of the earth at once. Just as Moses stands in the presence of the Lord seeing and perceiving through the light of Christ, and is then confronted by Lucifer, so also during the “temptations” of Christ we read of Christ beholding the whole world as only God can perceive it, and then being confronted by Lucifer.

And so also, in the first vision, we have God appearing to young Joseph, as well as an open confrontation with Lucifer.

The story of Elijah who percieves the Lord not in the wind or the earthquake or the fire, but in the still small voice. While this is an extremely cursory account, it appears that it is probably another story like that of Moses 1 and the first vision in which the bitterness of hell openly manifests itself, and also the presence of God does as well.

Carving away liberty for security and convenience

We have been carving away so long at our liberties to exchange for more security here and more convenience there that we can no longer even tell what they originally looked like, or even slow the pace of our own cutting.
Where once a massive oak tree stood, now a skeleton remains. Where others lounged beneath its leafy shade, now we huddle together where the bare branches best combine against the sun.
And most pretend they do not hear it creak and groan and strain with each new gust of wind.

Care of the poor needs to be in the hands of individuals, not government

Socialist government purports to be about big government taking care of the people. But that puts a lot of power in the hands of the government. And one thing that defines our constitution is the recurring theme of taming and controlling the power of government, rather than enhancing it. And what do we see big government doing now? It is no longer even pretending that it isn’t planning to provide free wealth in exchange for votes. It is almost brazen about the fact that voting for liberals means that poorer people will be provided for yet even more generously by the government. I staunchly believe in the individual need to care for the poor. I believe care for the poor isn’t a temporal principle, it is a fundamental saving principle. The scripture that states that we cannot be made equal in heavenly things if we are not equal in earthly things means that we cannot be made joint heirs with Christ if we are not equal in earthly things. But I believe this equalization is a sacred matter both for the rich and the poor, and that it loses its sanctifying effect on both the rich and the poor when it is done by the government by force. It is no different than if the government was to start forcing citizens to pay their tithing. Sure, tithing would be paid. No problems there. But the blessings of paying tithing would largely be lost. The purpose of tithing isn’t to give the Lord money. He could provide it without our help. The purpose of tithing is to prepare the hearts and minds of the people for consecration. If tithing is not given as a free offering, the spiritual benefits and blessings of tithing are gone and it serves no purpose. When the government takes over the care of the poor by force, then we have lost both sides of the battle. The poor are cared for, but there is nothing sanctifying about it. The rich care for the poor by paying taxes, but the affect on the heart and soul is gone. When the government enforces it, the rich lose even more interest in the poor than they might have had and a perverse reversal takes place where the rich hold more tightly to their money, and the poor grab after it all the more greedily and often all the more slovenly, which is exactly what we are seeing today. This reversal takes place because there is no sanctification happening in the exchange – there can be no sanctification if it is not given as a free offering. The Lord who notes the sparrow’s fall could care for the poor as easily as he could care for his church. He could fill their pockets with diamonds and gold. But he does not, because he gives us rich and poor to serve a fundamental purpose. The purpose is not financial. The purpose is to sanctify willing individuals through sacrifice and personal gratitude that can be brought about in no other way. “A religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never had the power to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation.” (Joseph Smith) Yes, absolutely, the rich are the answer to poverty. The answer is not for the rich to give much, but to still have much. It is for the rich to give so that there are no poor among us. It is for the poor to be exalted in that the rich are made low. And choosing that is critical to building Zion, because in Zion there are “no poor among them”. But it is critical to Zion not as a Zion by-law, but because of its power to sanctify and build Zion in the individuals who submit to it. We must recognize that the right to care for the poor must be restored to the individuals, so that the rich can learn not only to give, but to care. It is in that caring that Lord can change hearts. When we enforce it, we lose the blessings as surely as if the government was taking our tithing and giving it to the church in our behalf. No faith is developed. No charity is developed. No connection to God and one’s fellow man is developed. Instead evil men incite greed to rise to power on the backs of the poor who will put them in office no matter their politics all in exchange for another man’s bread. The statement that being equal in earthly things is necessary to be equal in heavenly things is a statement about a condition of the souls that must be reached by the rich giving to the poor so that both are edified by the exchange. When the rich give generously, not like the Phariesees in the temple, who gave much but still had much, but rather when they truly give generously enough that the poor are exalted in that the rich are made low, and there are no longer any poor among them, then the sanctifying effects on both rich and poor are brough to pass, they have become equal in earthly things, and if they will keep the other commandments they can be made equal in heavenly things, they can be joint heirs with Christ..