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

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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.