Is Socialism OK with Mormons now?


WhatMeWorry
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I titled this question that way partly to get attention but partly because I really want to get my fellow Saint's opinions on this issue. I know our Prophets used to speak openly about the dangers and evils of Socialism at one time (particularly President Benson when he was the Secy. of Agriculture and President McKay when Soviet Communism was at it's peak) but it seems that now we are a worldwide church we have gone pretty quiet on the issue.

Here's what I am getting at.

I went to the Salt Lake Tea Party on April 15 and I was a bit surprised to find that as an active Latter Day Saint, I was in the minority. Most of the people I talked to at the event and since were not LDS. So, I got curious and started asking around and I have been surprised to find that most of the members of my ward that I asked (in Salt Lake County) have no compelling concern about the current direction America is heading and several said they actually agree with the government take over of the banks, health care, the auto industry, etc. because "corporate greed has gotten so bad."

I also get a very common response from many LDS family and friends that they have given up entirely, there is no hope for America and that they are just waiting for end to come.

None of these LDS Americans have any interest in protesting or even calling public officials or participating in the political process at all other than to vote.

Needless to say, I am troubled.

I want to know how prevalent these ambivalent views on socialism are among other LDS people. Any comments?

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I went to the Salt Lake Tea Party on April 15 and I was a bit surprised to find that as an active Latter Day Saint, I was in the minority. Most of the people I talked to at the event and since were not LDS. So, I got curious and started asking around and I have been surprised to find that most of the members of my ward that I asked (in Salt Lake County) have no compelling concern about the current direction America is heading and several said they actually agree with the government take over of the banks, health care, the auto industry, etc. because "corporate greed has gotten so bad."

Shocking. I work in the health care industry and was not aware I had been taken over.

Can you tell me what I don't know?

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[sorry I posted this on the "general" forums section, then I saw this more appropriate section. I am new to this]

I titled this question that way partly to get attention but partly because I really want to get my fellow Saint's opinions on this issue. I know our Prophets used to speak openly about the dangers and evils of Socialism at one time (particularly President Benson when he was the Secy. of Agriculture and President McKay when Soviet Communism was at it's peak) but it seems that now we are a worldwide church we have gone pretty quiet on the issue.

Here's what I am getting at.

I went to the Salt Lake Tea Party on April 15 and I was a bit surprised to find that as an active Latter Day Saint, I was in the minority. Most of the people I talked to at the event and since were not LDS. So, I got curious and started asking around and I have been surprised to find that most of the members of my ward that I asked (in Salt Lake County) have no compelling concern about the current direction America is heading and several said they actually agree with the government take over of the banks, health care, the auto industry, etc. because "corporate greed has gotten so bad."

I also get a very common response from many LDS family and friends that they have given up entirely, there is no hope for America and that they are just waiting for end to come.

None of these LDS Americans have any interest in protesting or even calling public officials or participating in the political process at all other than to vote.

Needless to say, I am troubled.

I want to know how prevalent these ambivalent views on socialism are among other LDS people. Any comments?

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Socialism to me is satans counterfeit version of the law of consecration. Socialism can also be a PC word for communism. The redistribution of wealth by the richest of the richest can only lead to their control, power and greed on a world wide scale of us the people. They are not righteous enough to stand in control.

The only concern I have is that governments are a puppet in bringing this about. I guess prophecy has to come true somehow though or how else could the beast rise on such a grand scale!

But the church will proceed and be safe that is all we need to know. No wonder the GA's don't talk about it (governments, socialism, conspiracy) it would just cause trouble where trouble could be deterred.

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I have a democratic socialist political outlook. I beleive in welfare (with strict qualifications, government shouldn't reward lazyness), healthcare etc etc but I still believe in free enterprise just that the higher earners should be taxed more for the social benefit of the less fortunate. The division of the rich and the poor is appauling, there are people out there working two jobs but cannot afford their rent, whilst others live a life of privelege without any effort or works of their own.

People should not have to live in fear of getting sick, they should not have to live in poor health, not when there is enough wealth in the world that there is no reason they need to. Its all about having charity for others, but instead everyone seems more concerned with their own material possession rather than the wellbeing of their fellow man. Us LDS don't question paying our tithing, but when we can do something that costs us far less that can benefit every poor family in the country the price is just too great.

Just don't forget the democracy part, thats where the problem lays. The problem isn't with public healthcare, rather with oppression and fascism.

I personally beleive an irrational fear of socialism is just remnants of cold war propaganda, glad we don't have that fear here in Aussieland. :)

Edited by gaspah
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Snow and Pale Rider, Oh I get it. You are being ironic. No, I am not being judgemental if you are LDS and you think socialism is Christlike. That appears to one valid side of the argument. Snow I didn't mean imply that health care has been socialized, I said directionally there seems to be a good deal of sentiment among even LDS people that universal health care is OK and that if the banks are having problems its OK for government to take control of them. Same thing for the auto industry. I just want to see what most LDS people think these days. I just seems like there is quite a diversity of opinion now. It's a lot different than when President Benson was warning about the dangers of government taking charge of the things citizens should do for themselves.

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The biggest reason I can think for the prophets changing the subject matter of their talks is that the hidden evils of the day change, and what the people of God need to hear change. Unfortunately, the biggest challenge America faces is not a slow decline into socialism (although unfortunately it's happening), but a slow decline into rampant legalized and socially accepted immorality (much worse than right now). The god-fearing people of this nation have been slowly backed up against the wall of faith over the past few generations: I fear it will fall to ours to make a stand for the doctrines of the Gospel against a morally degraded society.

In preparation, the Saints need to hear about moral living and a godly walk instead of economic and political truth. In my opinion, the Saints that are not paying attention to the government are shirking their God-given duty to be good citizens, but what can one do? All spiritual gifts are not given to all people. There will be those who are foreordained to be active in the government and concerned about the economy, and those who are foreordained not to do so.

Then, you get the lazies who just don't care. Those, we can equate to the 5 virgins who kept their lamps only half filled and were unprepared. Unfortunately, I've heard that the ratio of cultural Mormons to true blue Mormons in Utah is much higher than in other areas.

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The problem with President Benson's statements is that he was so heavily influenced by his life in politics that you really have to pay attention to the context in which the statements were given. It wasn't always a doctrinal context.

Wingnut, I have been reading some of the writings of the Prophets of the Church about Socialism. So are you saying that the concept's President Benson taught like below are not as valid today because the context of the world has changed?

Ezra Taft Benson: THE REAL CAUSE OF AMERICAN PROSPERITY

Why, then, do Americans bake more bread, manufacture more shoes and assemble more TV sets than Russians do? They do so precisely because our government does NOT guarantee these things. If it did, there would be so many accompanying taxes, controls, regulations and political manipulations that the productive genius that is America’s would soon be reduced to the floundering level of waste and inefficiency now found behind the Iron Curtain. As Henry David Thoreau explained:

"This government never of itself furthered any enterprise, but by the alacrity with which it got out of its way. IT does not educate. THE CHARACTER INHERENT IN THE AMERICAN PEOPLE HAS DONE ALL THAT HAS BEEN ACCOMPLISHED; AND IT WOULD HAVE DONE SOMEWHAT MORE, IF THE GOVERNMMENT HAD NOT SOMETIMES GO IN ITS WAY. For government is an expedient by which men would fain succeed in letting one another alone; and, as has been said, when it is most expedient, the governed are most let alone by it." (Quoted by Clarence B. Carson, THE AMERICAN TRADITION, p. 100; P.P.S.N., p.171)

In 1801 Thomas Jefferson, in his First Inaugural Address, said:

"With all these blessings, what more is necessary to make us a happy and prosperous people? Still one thing more, fellow citizens – a wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it had earned." (Works 8:3)

A FORMULA FOR PROSPERITY

The principle behind this American philosophy can be reduced to a rather simple formula:

1. Economic security for all is impossible without widespread abundance.

2. Abundance is impossible without industrious and efficient production.

3. Such production is impossible without energetic, willing and eager labor.

4. This is not possible without incentive.

5. Of all forms of incentive – the freedom to attain a reward for one’s labors is the most sustaining for most people. Sometimes called THE PROFIT MOTIVE, it is simply the right to plan and to earn and to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

6. This profit motive DIMINISHES as government controls, regulations and taxes INCREASE to deny the fruits of success to those who produce.

7. Therefore, any attempt THROUGH GOVERNMENTAL INTERVENTION to redistribute the material rewards of labor can only result in the eventual destruction of the productive base of society, without which real abundance and security for more than the ruling elite is quite impossible.

AN EXAMPLE OF THE CONSEQUENCES OF DISREGARDING THESE PRINCIPLES

We have before us currently a sad example of what happens to a nation which ignores these principles. Former FBI agent, Dan Smoot, succinctly pointed this out on his broadcast number 649, dated January 29, 1968, as follows:

"England was killed by an idea: the idea that the weak, indolent and profligate must be supported by the strong, industrious, and frugal – to the degree that tax-consumers will have a living standard comparable to that of taxpayers; the idea that government exists for the purpose of plundering those who work to give the product of their labor to those who do not work.

The economic and social cannibalism produced by this communist-socialist idea will destroy any society which adopts it and clings to it as a basic principle – ANY society."

THE POWER OF TRUE LIBERTY FROM IMPROPER GOVERNMENTAL INTERFERENCE

Nearly two hundred years ago, Adam Smith, the Englishman, who understood these principles very well, published his great book, THE WEALTH OF NATIONS, which contains this statement:

"The natural effort of every individual to better his own condition, when suffered to exert itself with freedom and security, is so powerful a principle, that it is alone, and without any assistance, not only capable of carrying on the society to wealth and prosperity, but of surmounting a hundred impertinent obstructions with which the folly of human laws too often encumbers its operations; though the effect of these obstructions is always more or less either to encroach upon its freedom, or to diminish its security." (Vol. 2, Book 4, Chapt. 5, p. 126)

BUT WHAT ABOUT THE NEEDY?

On the surface this may sound heartless and insensitive to the needs of those less fortunate individuals who are found in any society, no matter how affluent. "What about the lame, the sick and the destitute? Is an often-voice question. Most other countries in the world have attempted to use the power of government to meet this need. Yet, in every case, the improvement has been marginal at best and has resulted in the long run creating more misery, more poverty, and certainly less freedom than when government first stepped in. As Henry Grady Weaver wrote, in his excellent book, THE MAINSPRING OF HUMAN PROGRESS:

"Most of the major ills of the world have been caused by well-meaning people who ignored the principle of individual freedom, except as applied to themselves, and who were obsessed with fanatical zeal to improve the lot of mankind-in-the-mass through some pet formula of their own….THE HARM DONE BY ORDINARY CRIMINALS, MURDERES, GANGSTERS, AND THIEVES IS NEGLIGIBLE IN COMPARISON WITH THE AGONY INFLICTED UPON HUMAN BEINGS BY THE PROFESSIONAL ‘DO-GOODERS’, who attempt to set themselves up as gods on earth and who would ruthlessly force their views on all others – with the abiding assurance that the end justifies the means."

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It is a personal perspective that a true LDS follower would shun socialism of any kind.

Why? Because we know about the war in heaven.

We chose to follow Christ because we want the opportunity to choose and to become exalted or fail - but it would be by our own doing.

What was Satan's plan again? Oh yeah... HE wanted all of us to follow him and be COMPELLED to "righteousness" so HE can get all the glory!

I think this is a great website for this thread:

Home - LDS Prophets, America, Freedom, Liberty, Constitution, Mormon Politics

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It is a personal perspective that a true LDS follower would shun socialism of any kind.

Why? Because we know about the war in heaven.

We chose to follow Christ because we want the opportunity to choose and to become exalted or fail - but it would be by our own doing.

What was Satan's plan again? Oh yeah... HE wanted all of us to follow him and be COMPELLED to "righteousness" so HE can get all the glory!

I think this is a great website for this thread:

Home*-*LDS Prophets, America, Freedom, Liberty, Constitution, Mormon Politics

freedom has nothing to do with healthcare or taxes. by your rational all taxes are an abomination, unfortunately society cannot function on any large scale without tax. without taxes there is no millitary without millitary your land cannot be fortified like foretold in nephi, without health the nation loses strength also.

Freedom is democracy, not the policies that that democracy impliments.

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freedom has nothing to do with healthcare or taxes. by your rational all taxes are an abomination, unfortunately society cannot function on any large scale without tax. without taxes there is no millitary without millitary your land cannot be fortified like foretold in nephi, without health the nation loses strength also.

Freedom is democracy, not the policies that that democracy impliments.

This is sorta long but it is interesting because it is actually a Prophet of God, while he is speaking and acting as modern day prophet of God actually addressing a Latter Day Saints audience on the role of government and the Constitution. I found it helpful in sorting it out in my mind.

[Ezra Taft Benson (August 4, 1899 – May 30, 1994) was the thirteenth president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) from 1985 until his death and was United States Secretary of Agriculture for both of the administrations of U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower. From an address delivered at a BYU devotional held Tuesday, 16 September 1986, in commemoration of the bicentennial of the Constitution of the United States.]

On the 17th day of September, 1987, we commemorate the two-hundredth birthday of the Constitutional Convention, which gave birth to the document that Gladstone said is “the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man.”

I heartily endorse this assessment, and I would like to pay honor—honor to the document itself, honor to the men who framed it, and honor to the God who inspired it and made possible its coming forth.

To understand the significance of the Constitution, we must first understand some basic, eternal principles. These principles have their beginning in the premortal councils of heaven.

Some Basic Principles

The first basic principle is agency. The central issue in that premortal council was: Shall the children of God have untrammeled agency to choose the course they should follow, whether good or evil, or shall they be coerced and forced to be obedient? Christ and all who followed Him stood for the former proposition—freedom of choice; Satan stood for the latter—coercion and force.

The war that began in heaven over this issue is not yet over. The conflict continues on the battlefield of mortality. And one of Lucifer’s primary strategies has been to restrict our agency through the power of earthly governments.

Look back in retrospect on almost six thousand years of human history! Freedom’s moments have been infrequent and exceptional. We must appreciate that we live in one of history’s most exceptional moments—in a nation and a time of unprecedented freedom. Freedom as we know it has been experienced by perhaps less than 1 percent of the human family.

The second basic principle concerns the function and proper role of government. These are the principles that, in my opinion, proclaim the proper role of government in the domestic affairs of the nation:

“I believe that governments were instituted by God for the benefit of man; and that He holds men accountable for their acts in relation to them. …

believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life. …

believe that all men are bound to sustain and uphold the respective governments in which they reside, while protected in their inherent and inalienable rights by the laws of such governments.” (D&C 134:1–2, 5.)

In other words, the most important single function of government is to secure the rights and freedoms of individual citizens.

The third important principle pertains to the source of basic human rights. Rights are either God-given as part of the divine plan, or they are granted by government as part of the political plan.

If we accept the premise that human rights are granted by government, then we must be willing to accept the corollary that they can be denied by government. I, for one, shall never accept that premise. We must ever keep in mind the inspired words of Thomas Jefferson, as found in the Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights; that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

The fourth basic principle we must understand is that people are superior to the governments they form.

Since God created people with certain inalienable rights, and they, in turn, created government to help secure and safeguard those rights, it follows that the people are superior to the creature they created.

The fifth and final principle that is basic to our understanding of the Constitution is that governments should have only limited powers. The important thing to keep in mind is that the people who have created their government can give to that government only such powers as they, themselves, have in the first place.

Obviously, they cannot give that which they do not possess.

By deriving its just powers from the governed, government becomes primarily a mechanism for defense against bodily harm, theft, and involuntary servitude. It cannot claim the power to redistribute money or property nor to force reluctant citizens to perform acts of charity against their will. Government is created by the people. The creature cannot exceed the creator.

God Raised Up Wise Men

With these basic principles firmly in mind, let us now turn to a discussion of the inspired document we call the Constitution. My purpose is not to recite the events that led to the American Revolution—we are all familiar with these. But I would say this: History is not an accident. Events are foreknown to God. His superintending influence is behind the actions of His righteous children.

Long before America was even discovered, the Lord was moving and shaping events that would lead to the coming forth of the remarkable form of government established by the Constitution. America had to be free and independent to fulfill this destiny. I comment to you as excellent reading on this subject Elder Mark E. Petersen’s book The Great Prologue (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1975). As expressed so eloquently by John Adams before the signing of the Declaration, “There’s a Divinity which shapes our ends.” 2 Though mortal eyes and minds cannot fathom the end from the beginning, God does.

In a revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Savior declared, “I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose.” (D&C 101:80.) These were not ordinary men, but men chosen and held in reserve by the Lord for this very purpose.

Shortly after President Spencer W. Kimball became President of the Church, he assigned me to go into the vault of the St. George Temple and check the early records. As I did so, I realized the fulfillment of a dream I had had ever since learning of the visit of the Founding Fathers to the St. George Temple. I saw with my own eyes the record of the work which was done for the Founding Fathers of this great nation, beginning with George Washington.

Think of it, the Founding Fathers of this nation, those great men, appeared within those sacred walls and had their vicarious work done for them. President Wilford Woodruff spoke of it in these words:

“Before I left St. George, the spirits of the dead gathered around me, wanting to know why we did not redeem them. Said they, ‘You have had the use of the Endowment House for a number of years, and yet nothing has ever been done for us. We laid the foundation of the government you now enjoy, and we never apostatized from it, but we remained true to it and were faithful to God.’

“These were the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and they waited on me for two days and two nights. …

“I straightway went into the baptismal font and called upon Brother McAllister to baptize me for the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and fifty other eminent men.” 3

These noble spirits came there with divine permission—evidence that this work of salvation goes forward on both sides of the veil.

At a later conference, in April 1898, after he became President of the Church, President Woodruff declared that “those men who laid the foundation of this American government and signed the Declaration of Independence were the best spirits the God of heaven could find on the face of the earth. They were choice spirits … [and] were inspired of the Lord.”

We honor those men today. We are the grateful beneficiaries of their noble work.

But we honor more than those who brought forth the Constitution. We honor the Lord, who revealed it. God himself has borne witness to the fact that He is pleased with the final product of the work of these great patriots.

In a revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith on 6 August 1833, the Savior admonished: “I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land.” (D&C 98:6.)

In the Kirtland Temple dedicatory prayer given on 27 March 1836, the Lord directed the Prophet Joseph to say: “May those principles, which were so honorably and nobly defended, namely, the Constitution of our land, by our fathers, be established forever.” (D&C 109:54.)

A few years later, Joseph Smith, while unjustly incarcerated in a cold and depressing cell of Liberty Jail at Clay County, Missouri, frequently bore his testimony of the document’s divinity: “The Constitution of the United States is a glorious standard; it is founded in the wisdom of God. It is a heavenly banner.”

How this document accomplished all of this merits our further consideration.

Major Provisions of the Constitution

The Constitution consists of seven separate articles. The first three establish the three branches of our government—the legislative, the executive, and the judicial. The fourth article describes matters pertaining to states, most significantly the guarantee of a republican form of government to every state of the Union.

Article 5 defines the amendment procedure of the document, a deliberately difficult process that should be clearly understood by every citizen. Article 6 covers several miscellaneous items, including a definition of the supreme law of the land, namely, the Constitution itself. Article 7, the last, explains how the Constitution is to be ratified.

Now to look at some of the major provisions of the document itself. Many principles could be examined, but I mention five as being crucial to the preservation of our freedom. If we understand the workability of these, we have taken the first step in defending our freedoms.

The major provisions of the Constitution are as follows:

First: Sovereignty lies in the people themselves. Every governmental system has a sovereign, one or several who possess all the executive, legislative, and judicial powers. That sovereign may be an individual, a group, or the people themselves.

The Founding Fathers believed in common law, which holds that true sovereignty rests with the people.

Believing this to be in accord with truth, they inserted this imperative in the Declaration of Independence: “To secure these rights life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Second: To safeguard these rights, the Founding Fathers provided for the separation of powers among the three branches of government—the legislative, the executive, and the judicial. Each was to be independent of the other, yet each was to work in a unified relationship. As the great constitutionalist President J.

Reuben Clark, Jr., noted:

“It is this union of independence and dependence of these branches—legislative, executive and judicial—and of the governmental functions possessed by each of them, that constitutes the marvelous genius of this unrivalled document. … It was here that the divine inspiration came. It was truly a miracle.”

The use of checks and balances was deliberately designed, first, to make it difficult for a minority of the people to control the government, and, second, to place restraint on the government itself.

Third: The powers the people granted to the three branches of government were specifically limited. The Founding Fathers well understood human nature and its tendency to exercise unrighteous dominion when given authority. A Constitution was therefore designed to limit government to certain enumerated functions, beyond which was tyranny.

Fourth: Our Constitutional government is based on the principle of representation. The principle of representation means that we have delegated to an elected official the power to represent us. The Constitution provides for both direct representation and indirect representation. Both forms of representation provide a tempering influence on pure democracy. The intent was to protect the individual’s and the minority’s rights to life, liberty, and the fruits of their labors—property. These rights were not to be subject to majority vote.

Fifth: The Constitution was designed to work with only a moral and righteous people. “Our constitution,” said John Adams (first vice-president and second president of the United States), “was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” 7

The Constitution Requires Loyalty and Support

This, then, is the ingenious and inspired document created by these good and wise men for the benefit and blessing of future generations.

It is now two hundred years since the Constitution was written. Have we been wise beneficiaries of the gift entrusted to us? Have we valued and protected the principles laid down by this great document?

At this bicentennial celebration we must, with sadness, say that we have not been wise in keeping the trust of our Founding Fathers. For the past two centuries, those who do not prize freedom have chipped away at our Constitution until today we face a crisis of great dimensions. We are fast approaching that moment prophesied by Joseph Smith when he said:

“Even this nation will be on the very verge of crumbling to pieces and tumbling to the ground, and when the Constitution is upon the brink of ruin, this people will be the staff upon which the nation shall lean, and they shall bear the Constitution away from the very verge of destruction.”

Will we be prepared? Will we be among those who will “bear the Constitution away from the very verge of destruction?” If we desire to be numbered among those who will, here are some things we must do:

1. We must be righteous and moral. We must live the gospel principles—all of them. We have no right to expect a higher degree of morality from those who represent us than what we ourselves exhibit. To live a higher law means we will not seek to receive what we have not earned by our own labor. It means we will remember that government owes us nothing. It means we will keep the laws of the land. It means we will look to God as our Lawgiver and the Source of our liberty.

2. We must learn the principles of the Constitution and then abide by its precepts. Have we read the Constitution and pondered it? Are we aware of its principles? Could we defend it? Can we recognize when a law is constitutionally unsound?

I quote Abraham Lincoln:

“Let [the Constitution] be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in primers, spelling-books, and in almanacs; let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation.”

3. We must become involved in civic affairs. As citizens of this republic, we cannot do our duty and be idle spectators. It is vital that we follow this counsel from the Lord: “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.” (D&C 98:10.)

Note the qualities that the Lord demands in those who are to represent us. They must be good, wise, and honest. We must be concerted in our desires and efforts to see men and women represent us who possess all three of these qualities—goodness, wisdom, and honesty.

4. We must make our influence felt by our vote, our letters, and our advice. We must be wisely informed and let others know how we feel. We must take part in local precinct meetings and select delegates who will truly represent our feelings.

I have faith that the Constitution will be saved as prophesied by Joseph Smith. It will be saved by the citizens of this nation who love and cherish freedom. It will be saved by enlightened members of this Church—men and women who will subscribe to and abide the principles of the Constitution.

I reverence the Constitution of the United States as a sacred document. To me its words are akin to the revelations of God, for God has placed His stamp of approval on the Constitution of this land. I testify that the God of heaven sent some of His choicest spirits to lay the foundation of this government, and He has sent other choice spirits to preserve it.

We, the blessed beneficiaries, face difficult days in this beloved land, “a land which is choice above all other lands.” (Ether 2:10.) It may also cost us blood before we are through. It is my conviction, however, that when the Lord comes, the Stars and Stripes will be floating on the breeze over this people. May it be so, and may God give us the faith and the courage exhibited by those patriots who pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor that we might be free, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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freedom has nothing to do with healthcare or taxes. by your rational all taxes are an abomination, unfortunately society cannot function on any large scale without tax. without taxes there is no millitary without millitary your land cannot be fortified like foretold in nephi, without health the nation loses strength also.

Freedom is democracy, not the policies that that democracy impliments.

I didn't say anything about taxes in my post.

Taxes are a part of a capitalistic system.

Remember that the Lord's Kingdom has a "tax"! 10% of your earnings + a broken heart and a contrite spirit! The financial part of this "tax" is for the building up of the Kingdom. Why should the government treat our tax dollars any differently?

If you can't pay taxes = socialism is required to provide for you.

But this "tax" is a "wealth transfer" tax. THAT is an abomination.

Taxes for maintenance and growth of our roads and public services... that's expected. (Of course, those should be budgeted for FIRST in the budget. Military to protect our borders and our freedoms from outside ... of course we need those.

So, I'd say that there are "good" taxes and there are "evil" taxes. Government should use my taxes for those projects that will eventually help ME - through public services, roads & military to preserve our freedoms. Those taxes were I'll see no return because they are given directly to someone else? I'd rather not see that.

Social services and welfare services SHOULD be provided by churches and charities... not the government.

These are simply my opinions.

Edited by skippy740
additional clarity to original thought.
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While everyone is certainly entitled to their own opinions, I think the deathly fear of Socialism is largely unjustified. Benson's statements on it were based largely on Cold-War era fears and propaganda. In reality, there are quite a few models of modern Socialism that work quite well. Take Sweden for example. Not a whole lot of totalitarianism going on there despite the fact that they have a very Socialist government.

I think most Americans fear Socialism because they have become far to comfortable with and dependent on the free-market capitalist system that has defined our economy for decades. The funny thing is, I don't see that going anywhere anytime soon. Obama, as a democrat, is not going to let our capitalist infrastructure collapse. His policies hint as Socialism, yes, but so do many policies that past presidents have implemented. Income tax, social security, disability benefits, and government-subsidized highway networks are all Socialist concepts, and they've worked out just fine for the most part. A few more steps in the same direction isn't going to take away anyone's freedom. The fact that many people think it will is a glaring testimonial of the selfishness and competitive nature that has sadly become the American way.

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I really think the interpretation of wealth transfer is the other way around, taking money/property away from one or many people for the benefit of the elite. I don't think that refers to a fair tax system that is for the benefit of everyone, if you fall ill you will benefit, such as if you use the roads you benefit. So are you saying that people that do not use roads should not pay taxes for their maitenence, that their wealth is being transferred to those who drive or purchase things that are transported, or that people who don't have children shouldn't pay taxes for public schools. People that stay indoors and play video games shouldn't have to pay taxes for parks and public spaces?

EVERYBODY gets sick and thus EVERYBODY benefits, so please explain to me how a public healthcare system is any different to those other tax-driven services?

But if you think that you don't need firefighters because your house is not on fire, then go ahead.

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Selfishness is not a good trait for anyone. However, might I suggest that being able to keep MORE of what you EARN is a healthy desire than to be selfish for those things that you did NOT earn? There are ALWAYS "loopholes" for those people who are "in danger" of paying more into the system than they want to.

The American Way is ALL about our competitive nature.

Again, infrastructure is (IMO) a good investment for continued growth of our capitalistic system. I personally don't consider that to be a socialistic program.

As far as Obama fundamentally shifting the basis of our economic system? Well, there's a reason why it's a 4-year term (8 years if enough people believe in the work he's doing).

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but you haven't defined why police, firefighters, schools etc are different to healthcare.

providing healthcare does not take away the spirit of competitiveness, if tax is on a % of income then there is always the motivation to earn more. if say someone earns $200 a week and is taxed $20, but someone who earns $2000 a week is taxed $1820 so that everyone has $180 a week to spend, then I certainly wouldn't agree with that as that will remove competitiveness and motivation for ingenuity from the system.

healthcare I beleive is a basic human right, not a privelige like worldly possessions, if there was a plasma tv tax which gave all the poor people plasma tvs then I would certainly be very outraged. but this is very basic and people cannot build wealth with public healthcare, if you're sick you're sick, its not like you walk out of the hospital with $5000 to spend.

Edited by gaspah
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I really think the interpretation of wealth transfer is the other way around, taking money/property away from one or many people for the benefit of the elite. I don't think that refers to a fair tax system that is for the benefit of everyone, if you fall ill you will benefit, such as if you use the roads you benefit.

1. So are you saying that people that do not use roads should not pay taxes for their maitenence, that their wealth is being transferred to those who drive or purchase things that are transported?

2. or that people who don't have children shouldn't pay taxes for public schools.

3. People that stay indoors and play video games shouldn't have to pay taxes for parks and public spaces?

4. EVERYBODY gets sick and thus EVERYBODY benefits, so please explain to me how a public healthcare system is any different to those other tax-driven services?

5. But if you think that you don't need firefighters because your house is not on fire, then go ahead.

1. Let's be practical. Name something that you can purchase at a store that isn't transported there? Are there people who can live their lives without any transportation services at all? Even the mail that arrives to your door requires a truck to get it to you. Internet infrastructure had to be built. Phone lines built. Electricity, plumbing, etc. How about servicing those utilities? Wouldn't better roads help you with servicing those issues?

2. Education provided by the government has become an Elite force to be dealt with. Education is a privilege that has turned into a right because it is funded through the tax system. We get what we pay for. Here in California, we have a DISMAL educational system... but it's also the most costly. How is the quality of the teachers who are teaching our students? How many high school drop outs is the public school producing?

A product of the tax system is showing that their results are mediocre at best.

3. Parks help improve property values if they are well maintained.

4. When everybody gets sick, you take a number. You get to WAIT for your health care. When it's "free" you are no longer treated with urgency for your situation. This is why people from Canada who need something done fast come "south of the border" for their medical treatment. It's not about money... it's about their health.

5. There are communities that have volunteer fire departments because a fire in the community can devastate the entire community quickly. Now with cities with denser populations, they need professional fire services to extinguish the flames quickly or utter disasters can occur. We need fire services as part of the tax system. They just need to be paid for FIRST in the state budget and not used as a "carrot" to get us to approve other ballot measures because "we don't have enough money for fire, police and other emergency services".

I fail to see the argument behind your statements. In some areas we completely agree. In others, there are other aspects that need to be included to get a better picture.

Edited by skippy740
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but you haven't defined why police, firefighters, schools etc are different to healthcare.

providing healthcare does not take away the spirit of competitiveness, if tax is on a % of income then there is always the motivation to earn more. if say someone earns $200 a week and is taxed $20, but someone who earns $2000 a week is taxed $1820 so that everyone has $180 a week to spend, then I certainly wouldn't agree with that as that will remove competitiveness and motivation for ingenuity from the system.

I'm sorry, but I must somehow not be clear.

The competitiveness of America is the striving to do things - better, faster, cheaper, easier and more efficient.

I wasn't trying to mix this with healthcare.

For healthcare, it's all about the DOCTORS who provide such healthcare.

If you spent the money and time to become a doctor, may I assume that you wanted to be highly specialized so you can make an above average income?

Now we have socialized medicine. You must take any patient that comes to you and you are now paid what the GOVERNMENT thinks you're worth for your services. You now have a permanent ceiling on your income.

Do you think that feeling would suck the soul out of your desire to do a great job for your patients? Wouldn't you feel that you're working for the government instead of yourself?

We will have LESS doctors and less quality of services because we won't have providers who will want to do a better job.

YET doctors will have to run their business & practice with cost-cutting measures in order to provide a maximum profit.

Where would they cut their spending? At the POINT OF SERVICE! Less patients = less liability = less waiting = shorter work days for doctors = an environment where laziness will be rewarded over building a medical practice!

Your doctors will respond to your emergency just like the DMV does to the waiting line.

Edited by skippy740
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2. Education provided by the government has become an Elite force to be dealt with. Education is a privilege that has turned into a right because it is funded through the tax system. We get what we pay for. Here in California, we have a DISMAL educational system... but it's also the most costly. How is the quality of the teachers who are teaching our students? How many high school drop outs is the public school producing?

A product of the tax system is showing that their results are mediocre at best.

school dropouts i think can be attributed to other aspects of society such as immorality, not the teachers.

3. Parks help improve property values if they are well maintained.

So you're saying that people that rent their home and stay indoors shouldn't have to pay those taxes?

4. When everybody gets sick, you take a number. You get to WAIT for your health care. When it's "free" you are no longer treated with urgency for your situation. This is why people from Canada who need something done fast come "south of the border" for their medical treatment. It's not about money... it's about their health.

I think you'll find the border-crossing trend is the exact opposite, I can't think of anyone in their right mind that would travel TO the USA for healthcare. :lol:

5. There are communities that have volunteer fire departments because a fire in the community can devastate the entire community quickly. Now with cities with denser populations, they need professional fire services to extinguish the flames quickly or utter disasters can occur. We need fire services as part of the tax system. They just need to be paid for FIRST in the state budget and not used as a "carrot" to get us to approve other ballot measures because "we don't have enough money for fire, police and other emergency services".

Still, i've gone 27 years without needing to call out the fire brigade, but I've paid taxes for 11 of those years. I fail to see the benefit for ME personally.

For healthcare, it's all about the DOCTORS who provide such healthcare.

If you spent the money and time to become a doctor, may I assume that you wanted to be highly specialized so you can make an above average income?

Now we have socialized medicine. You must take any patient that comes to you and you are now paid what the GOVERNMENT thinks you're worth for your services. You now have a permanent ceiling on your income.

Do you think that feeling would suck the soul out of your desire to do a great job for your patients? Wouldn't you feel that you're working for the government instead of yourself?

We will have LESS doctors and less quality of services because we won't have providers who will want to do a better job.

YET doctors will have to run their business & practice with cost-cutting measures in order to provide a maximum profit.

Where would they cut their spending? At the POINT OF SERVICE! Less patients = less liability = less waiting = shorter work days for doctors = an environment where laziness will be rewarded over building a medical practice!

Your doctors will respond to your emergency just like the DMV does to the waiting line.

I really think you need to look at the NHS in the UK, where all patients are attended to, doctors don't live in poverty still living in multimillion dollar houses driving expensive cars. They do earn a little bit less, but are acutally more satisfied with their jobs as testimonies from countless American doctors all state they feel absolutely mortified when they have to turn away a critically ill patient for reasons of insurance.

Edited by gaspah
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school dropouts i think can be attributed to other aspects of society such as immorality, not the teachers.

So you're saying that people that rent their home and stay indoors shouldn't have to pay those taxes?

I think you'll find the border-crossing trend is the exact opposite, I can't think of anyone in their right mind that would travel TO the USA for healthcare. :lol:

Still, i've gone 27 years without needing to call out the fire brigade, but I've paid taxes for 11 of those years. I fail to see the benefit for ME personally.

Renting is just like owning... except for someone else.

Renting is A CHOICE. Most of the time the ONLY choice. Renters may pay a homeowners association dues... but they don't have to live in a home where there are HOA dues. They can live somewhere else.

You can have a different opinion on healthcare between the countries. I'm okay with a difference of opinion. :)

As far as a fire brigade: Hey, you know, I carry auto insurance. I've never had an accident. Is that money wasted too?

When would be the best time to get auto insurance? The day I get into a wreck and kill someone. How much should I buy? The maximum amount of coverage.

Now, I don't want a wreck. I want PEACE OF MIND. Yes, you have paid into "the system" for your fire brigade. Don't you feel better knowing that "it's there"? That IF there's going to be a fire at your home that there's a chance that your home can be saved?

Let me get a little shameless here: How about 9/11? I'm very proud of our NYFD men in blue to help people when they need help. I don't mind paying into a system to have a band of trained hero's to be there for our society. I don't mind having my kids look up at the firetruck and be excited about people who do great things and risk their own lives to do it.

The military protects us against our enemies. The fire department helps to protect our property from the elements.

Both serve as protection for us all. I'll take it!

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I am trying to get a general feel as to whether LDS church members think Socialism is OK now here in America, particularly considering what the Prophets have said. I am sorta surprised there are Athiests on this forum. Don't get offended. Your input is welcome but I do know generally how athiests view the subject of socialism. On this particular thread I was sorta hoping I could get a broad perspective over time of how mainstream LDS church members feel these days.

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