Nearly every LDS prophet has spoken out against statism

Some readers may have had the frustrating experience of speaking about politics to our brothers and sisters who mistakenly believe in left-wing politics and/or economics. You may say something like, “well, you know that Church leaders have spoken out against socialism,” and they will say something like, “well, not democratic socialism.”

Let us be clear, dear readers: most Socialists of the 19th century and the early 20th century would be absolutely ecstatic to see what left-wingers have achieved, even in the supposedly capitalist United States. The United States today is a country where the government absolutely dominates the economy. Social welfare spending (meaning spending on government health care, Social Security and entitlements) makes up nearly 60 percent of the federal budget. Remember that there was no such thing as federal social welfare spending as recently as the early 1930s. Meanwhile, total government spending has skyrocketed from 8 percent of GDP in 1900 to almost 40 percent today.

By any reasonable standard, we are have a socialist system in the United States with pockets of laissez faire in a few isolated industries. Yet, we constantly hear from politicians that more socialism is necessary.

Oh sorry, not socialism. Democratic socialism.

So, let’s be more precise. What we have today is, again by any reasonable standard, statism. This is a system where the government dominates political and economic life.

And this is the opposite of what modern-day prophets have repeatedly preached going back to Joseph Smith. LDS prophets have consistently and unwaveringly been in favor of personal, voluntary charity. They have been against government-based welfare systems. And the reason is that government-based welfare systems are about force.

Again and again, prophets exhort us to voluntarily give to others, to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and help the helpless. They do not tell us that the government should do this for us, and in fact again and again they say that government-based charity is not God’s way.

(Note: if you still believe the United Order was a socialist system, please read this. It was not.)

Let’s hear from the left-wing favorite, President Uchtdorf, who spoke on this subject at General Conference in October 2011. President Uchtdorf clearly points out that caring for the poor is not about government sending people a check. Caring for the poor is about personal charity that involves action by both the giver and the receiver:

There are many good people and organizations in the world that are trying to meet the pressing needs of the poor and needy everywhere. We are grateful for this, but the Lord’s way of caring for the needy is different from the world’s way. The Lord has said, “It must needs be done in mine own way.”9 He is not only interested in our immediate needs; He is also concerned about our eternal progression. For this reason, the Lord’s way has always included self-reliance and service to our neighbor in addition to caring for the poor.

Let’s hear from some other prophets on the issue of statism:

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And Still It Stands: The Truth About the Book of Mormon

And Still It Stands: The Truth About the Book of Mormon
By Kathy Penrod

[Originally posted at Deliberate Discipleship]

I am sure you have heard of it. Whether through the infamous Broadway Musical or the missionaries who travel the world sharing its message, chances are, you have heard of the Book of Mormon. So, my question to you is, what have you heard? What are your questions about the Book of Mormon? As you think about that, let me offer my thoughts on the Book of Mormon.book-of-mormon

Before the Broadway Musical, this sacred work of scripture had already seen great controversy (JS-H 1:59-65). I am not here to argue about that controversy and I am not here to debate the rightness or wrongness of such a musical, nor do I want to give it any more fame that it already seems to have. One of the glorious freedoms we have in this country is the right to free speech, even if that speech is degrading, incorrect, irresponsible and hurtful. So, I completely recognize that Broadway performers and producers have the right to belittle things that others may hold sacred. I DO want to discuss what the Book of Mormon actually is – from one who holds this book so close to her heart. Continue reading

Donald Trump, the Rule of Law, and the Arm of Flesh

Members of the Church often voice outrage when the Prophet or one of the apostles speaks out on a political issue or offers his thinking regarding the qualities necessary for political office. But nevertheless supporting righteous leaders and opposing wicked ones is a religious as well as a civic duty. In Utah, the First Presidency recently released a statement urging members to participate in our caucuses coming up on the 22nd. I don’t believe similar statements were read over the pulpit in other states, but general statements encouraging civic participation have also been common.

This is not surprising since Latter Day-Saints are commanded, “Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil.”

In the April 1972 conference (a few months before a Presidential election) President Benson spoke of civic standards that we as latter day saints should follow  when selecting leaders. Aside from references to communism, most of this sermon could comfortably be delivered next month in conference and be just as timely and topical. Continue reading

Side Show Freaks – Why America is No Longer Great

A century ago, when the carnival would come to town, many people would make sure they brought enough money with them to not only see the main attractions, but to also see the side shows.  These events often would have a loud carnival barker enticing people to come in and see the two headed man, the bearded lady, or some other freak of nature (real or faked).

Over the last 30 or 40 years, we’ve seen the side shows move to Hollywood and television, as MTV first introduced us in the 1980s to New Wave performers that dressed in strange garb (Culture Club, anyone?). As time moved forward, and society went from 4 television channels to 20 to 200, the side shows came into the average home on a daily basis. People with no or little talent were able to get hit series, because of a fixation on the side show atraction. MTV’s Jack Ass series showed men with no talent doing stupid things in order to get ratings.

To be noticed, people with great talent found they had to add more and more of the side show into their own acts, just to keep up. Madonna went from singer to stripper, opening wide the door that would make the whorish careers of many former Disney former.
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Recommended Reading for CES Instructors, in light of Elder Ballard’s recent remarks

If you follow any Mormon topics on any form of social media, it’s likely you’ve heard about Elder Ballard’s recent remarks:

“Gone are the days when a student asked an honest question and the teacher responded, ‘Don’t worry about it.’ Gone are the days when a student raised a sincere concern and a teacher bore his or her testimony as a response intended to avoid the issue.”

What I hope to do in this post is list a few resources that a seminary/institute (or even a really dedicated Sunday School teacher) could read to help them get the knowledge to either give good answers to these questions or to know where to look and find the answers. Continue reading