During the 2012 presidential campaign, that awesomely deep well of perpetual wisdom, Alec Baldwin, proclaimed that if Barack Obama were not black, his vote total would have been 20 percent higher.
People of real intelligence realize that the opposite was probably true: if he had been white, his vote total would have been 20 percent lower. The African-American voting bloc combined with enough whites suffering from liberal guilt guaranteed a higher vote total for Obama.
The truth of the matter is, if Mitt Romney had not been a Mormon, his vote total might very well have been significantly higher.
In fact, according to a Gallop poll released in June of last year, while 4 percent of people said they would not vote for a black president, a full 22 percent said they would not vote for a Mormon. In fact, only atheists and gays ranked higher.
So Baldwin probably had it backwards, which he usually does, so that comes as no surprise.
What did come as a surprise to me is why people would have such negative views of Mormons. I have known lots of them in my life, and in most cases they have been hard-working, kind, generous family-oriented people—just the kind of people this country used to value (and maybe that’s the problem right there.)
Mormons have intrigued me ever since Mike Huckabee back in 2007 claimed that Mormons believe that Jesus and Satan are brothers. With the recent election over, I decided to check out Mormons a bit more.
My hope in doing this was to explain to readers who Mormons are and whether or not 22 percent of the people were justified in opposing having a Mormon president.
But instead I’m going to share an intriguing bit of Mormon theology I learned that I think makes them perhaps the most politically wise human beings on the planet. Ironically, this story stems from that Huckabee quote about the relationship between Jesus and the devil, but the lesson to be learned is one that, regardless of our political or religious views, we would all be wise to consider.
So here’s what I learned: Mormons, unlike most other Christian sects, believe that all humans lived a life before mortality. They call this the pre-existence or pre-earth life. At birth a veil is placed over our minds so that we don’t remember it (you’ll see why in a minute).
In this pre-earth life, we were all in the presence of God as His spirit children. Jesus was there—the first-born of God’s spirit children, and a leader in the councils in Heaven. Lucifer was also there, and was another leader among the children of God. He was called a “son of the morning.”
At some point in this existence, the Father called all of His children together to explain how things worked. All of His children would have to leave His presence and come to earth for a period of testing. The goal was to see if we would live a righteous life even when we had to live by faith, as we would no longer be able to remember God or heaven (that’s the reason for the veil).
If we would live a righteous life, we would be given the opportunity to return and live with God forever. Otherwise we would forfeit that chance, because no unclean thing can live in God’s presence. However, God knew that we would all make mistakes, so he would provide a Savior for the world. This Savior would live a sinless life, and because of that, he would qualify to pay for the sins of the world through what would be called the “Atonement.” If people would sincerely repent of their sins, then the Atonement would essentially erase their sins, and they could still return and live with God. The Father called for volunteers to be this savior, and two stepped forward: Jesus and Lucifer.
Lucifer said that he would be the savior and he would force everybody to live righteously, thus guaranteeing that all of God’s spirit children would return to Him in heaven [and he, Lucifer would receive all the credit/glory]. Jesus said that He would follow the Father’s plan and allow God’s children their free agency [and all the glory would go to God]. They could choose for themselves whether to live righteously and take advantage of the Atonement or whether to live in sin and forfeit the opportunity to return and live with God.
God rejected Lucifer’s plan, causing Lucifer to rebel and declare war on God. One-third of God’s spirit children joined Lucifer in this rebellion. In the end, the rebellion failed and Lucifer and his followers were cast out of heaven. They came to earth without bodies and now, continuing the war they started in heaven, they tempt men to do evil to one another and lose out on the chance to return to God. [Luke 10:18; Revelation 12:9; Isaiah 14:12]
PAY ATTENTION HERE; THIS IS THE GOOD PART
Now, any traditional Christians reading this will see similarities to their own belief system. Most traditional Christians believe that Lucifer lived in heaven as an angel, but then declared war on God and was cast out. However, the causes for that war are not necessarily clear in traditional Christian theology.
That is where Mormon theology is so intriguing. For Mormons, the greatest of all battles, the war in heaven, was fought over LIBERTY—or as they call it, “free agency.”Lucifer wanted to take it away, while God demanded that humans have it.
Although a Mormon might balk at my making comparisons between their religious beliefs and modern politics (and as I said earlier, every Mormon I’ve ever known was a very good person, so I apologize to any I offend), I see a direct correlation here. For a Mormon, the battle for liberty is not unique to this life; it is the core battle of the ages. Lucifer lost the war in heaven (he really thought he could beat God?), but the war continues on earth. So seeing the government become more and more tyrannical is not just a political concern; it’s a fundamental, eternal concern.
I’m inspired by this Mormon theological idea: God intended for humans to be free to make our own choices and live with the consequences of those choices. The Founding Fathers of this country said essentially the same thing in the Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evidence, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
My study of Mormonism has not only given me newfound respect for this people and their religion; it has also made me evaluate my own attitude towards the liberty that seems to be slipping through all of our fingers. Is this just something that is nice to have, and for which I thank the Founding Fathers? Or is it really something that is endowed by God, and that He expects me to fight for. According to Mormon theology, I already fought for this once. The fact that I’m here says that I was on God’s side in the war in heaven, and fought for liberty.
A Mormon might ask, why should any of us be less willing to fight for it here than we were there?
Reprinted from “SMART MORMONS,” By Mike Jensen, January 22, 2013
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Wendy Thoresen Green says
I think a challenge in a Mormon President is that while alone, he or she would be a good person, that would still be a person whose choices would be filtered through, and navigated by, the LDS Church. True Blue Mormons would answer more to the church than to the people and that isn’t appropriate for that particular office.
Mormons talk a lot about free agency but they really want people to choose as they do. To them, the ideal society would comply to their same ideals- nope. “Morality is doing what is right regardless of what you’re told; obedience is doing what you’re told regardless of what is right ” Mormons will nearly always do what they’re told when pressed. The leadership of the church says people are free to choose but anyone who chooses to deviate too far from their views or who asks too many questions will be disciplined for it whether ecclesiastically, culturally, or socially.
The recent policy to refuse baptism to the children of gay parents is a further example of allowing the dictates of the few to override the common sense and sensibilities of the many. You’ll never find another group of the planet who talks so well out of both sides of the mouth than Mormons. That innnate hypocrisy is yet another glaring example of why Mormonism and the presidency should ever go together!
I agree with the OP that the vast majority of Morons are good people, but I have to take issue with the doctrinal love-in. While the Mormon Lucifer’s plan of compulsory saving is absurd, the Jesus alternative boils down to this; do what we say or you will be utterly destroyed in the end. That’s the same free agency as afforded to those living in communist East Berlin, who knew that they always had the option to climb over the wall to the west, but they would be shot in the back as a consequence.
The secular humanist approach of doing good because it’s the right thing to do is a far more mature approach than any promises of paradise or threats of destruction from on high.
Don Peterson says
Your characterization of “do what we say or you will be utterly destroyed in the end” is way off.
The issue is really one of growth. God reveals truths to us, by which we can learn and grow to reach our full potential. Lucifer’s plan would not have accomplished the same thing, ever. It wasn’t evil because of coercion, the use of coercion would have thwarted the entire point, that was the evil.
God does not threaten us with destruction, but warns us of damnation which is an end to growth, a stunting if you will. But that is less God’s judgement than it is the natural and inevitable consequence of not following the path toward growth.
Jan Adkins says
Jan Adkins says
“The secular humanist approach if doing good because it’s the right thing to do…” okay, if U take God out of the equation, what makes “doing good because its the right thing to do” true?
God is the source of all good. The secularist value judgement of what is “good” changes with the wind and the times, it is not constant. If I am a secular humanist then what i say is good can and is different for someone else, is it not? So how do secular humanists decide what is good, if there is no constant unwavering compass? How is this is a mature approach? Liberty or free agency does not come without a price tag. Liberty is freedom, but it is not in the absence of law.
Timothy G Mooring says
The Golden Rule is a good starting point, and one that Mormons might want to consider. A secular humanist is much less likely to believe that civil rights start and end at the U.S. border, than a person whose morality is guided by the framework of a formal religion. Just the opposite of what you say is true.
People have been burned alive in order to “save their souls”. That would be a violation of the Golden Rule. What about the Mormon belief that black people obtained their skin color as a curse from God? How does that completely bogus belief contribute to general morality? It does make a lot of white people more comfortable with their racial prejudice.
Science reveals truth. Religion reveals what you most want to believe. The idea that morality cannot exist outside of religion is noxious to me.
Eric Clermont Player says
The belief that God curses races is not a Mormon one. It is an Anti-Mormon lie.
Timothy G Mooring says
Black people were forbidden from entering into a “celestial marriage” until late in the 20th century. They were thus barred from the highest of the Three Degrees of Glory. For the biggest part of the church’s history blacks could not hold the priesthood. The curse of Cain/Ham is clearly the doctrinal justification for the church’s history of prejudicial treatment of black people. Mormon doctrine has certainly been influenced by external forces, such as the U.S. Congress, in both racial equality and the practice of plural marriage.
Eric Clermont Player says
‘Clearly’ you have not read the Church’s stated positions on the matter, already helpfully provided in the link above. You have made your own inferences, as an admitted outsider.
Here is my own perspective, as a member of the LDS Church:
Timothy G Mooring says
I read every word of the linked article you refer to. A lot of excuses for the church’s past behavior with some exculpatory comments from church leaders. But that was then and this is now. Look around you at the racist and xenophobic behavior that’s coming out of the woodwork since the election of DJT. If it were Mormon cemeteries being desecrated and Mormon churches being targeted with bomb threats your attitude towards DJT might be a little different. Shifting blame to innocent people, breaking up families with unnecessary deportations that actually does harm to our country and its economy is the DJT way. It’s what he promised and he’s delivering on those promises. Where will it all end?
Our country invaded Iraq and set the ME aflame. Morally we can’t just turn our backs on the flood of refugees fleeing the violence that we started. It also doesn’t help when DJT singles out countries like Sweden that have stepped up to do the right thing. DJT is an amoral pseudo-man, draft evader, tax cheat and the biggest liar since Joseph Goebbels.
DJT loves America? In a pigs eye.
Wait, I’m confused, which part of the above conversation had anything to do with Donald Trump? What gives you the right to turn the subject on its head at the very end and imply that Eric Clermont Player was voicing any sort of support for Anti-Semitism or Donald Trump–setting aside, for the moment, whether or not support for one is support for the other–when your questions and his comments were clearly defined and focused on the blacks and the priesthood question? That’s just not Cricket on your side, Mr. Mooring; not fair at all.
Timothy G Mooring says
You do a fairly good imitation of the whining trumpster. Whining is the flip-side of a bully. Nothing cricket about it. I watched DJT slurping down on his own snot on live TV and in front of cheering crowd. The most disgusting spectacle I’ve ever seen on television. Nothing cricket about it. But thanks, you made me laugh.
Timothy G Mooring says
This article and most of the comments has certainly confirmed my negative views of Mormons and of the LDS Church. Mormons are as phony as Americans as they are as Christians. There’s nothing remotely Christian or American about them. This so-called church is all about turning truth on its head. That’s a Nazi tool: Joseph Goebbels. It’s a Satanic tool: Donald J. Trump.
It’s time to make Mormons pay their taxes as a normal business. Time to boycott Marriott hotels and other Mormon businesses. Let’s build a wall around Utah. The new spelling of phony: M-I-T-T R-O-M-N-E-Y.
Lying is a sin. False prophets and false interpretations of the Gospels are heretical and an grievous offense against God.
No Fascism is America.
Peace & Love to ALL. says
Your answer does not come from an individual who disagrees with a religious group or lifestyle choice, this case Mormons. Your choice of words show a personal problem, an inner frustration about life. Evidence of inner sadness and emptiness.
I was raised catholic, then I became a baptist by choice, and finally I became a mormon. I became a mormon after deeply studying their religion and being extra involved in person, NOT BY READING ONLINE.
I have felt God in a every single religion I have been part of, and in the people in them. Everyone who goes to ANY church is looking for God, for peace, and that is beautiful. Mormons find their happiness and inner fulfillment by living their covenants and commandments, and that too is beautiful. You should be respectful to their reverence, devotion, and obedience throughout their life.
From my experience living years in several religions, they are the absolute most happy, successful, amazing, loving people in any of them. There is something extraordinary about mormons, I still have to come to a conclusion of what it is. Maybe it’s their constant faith and commitment to what they stand for.
My testimony is based on lived experiences in more than 3 religions, for many years in each.
Side note: Please be kind to ALL. What is interesting is, mormons would never give that response you gave (above), about ANY other religious group regardless of how far from our LDS faith it might be. Respect is #1 to go through life.
Timothy G Mooring says
You claim a lot of piety and cast a lot of aspersions, but your logic is kind of loopy. If DJT is your idea of a president for this country then your hypocrisy should be evident to anyone, even you. He doesn’t seem to respect anyone or any position except for himself and his own. What you decried so vociferously in HRC, you embrace and adore in DJT. Jan 20 this year was a dark day for America and an even darker one for Mormons.
As for your burn rate through various religious faiths, it seems like water flowing downhill to me. Perhaps you’ve finally found your comfort level. If not, try the Russian Orthodox Church, I hear they do a mean liturgy.
Timothy, you’re attempting to tie DJT to Mormons, which is simply ridiculous. There are large numbers of the Mormon community that find him to be deplorable. What you’re missing in all of this is the view of freedom–the right to choose for oneself and live with the consequences, both positive and negative.
Sounds like you have some soul searching to do.
Timothy G Mooring says
Mormons aren’t known for supporting an individual’s “right to choose”. You need to stop searching your soul, and try using your mind. Wasn’t that the Tabernacle Choir singing for Satan? Free agency isn’t about entrepreneurship, it’s about sin. The Mormon Church is on the wrong side of this fight and real Americans aren’t going to forget.
Kelley Paystrup says
They weren’t singing for Satan. They were singing for liberty and to support the country and invite the Spirit. They would have done so for any president who asked, and have.
Timothy G Mooring says
That must be why Trump’s inauguration felt so much like opening the Ninth Gate into Hell. You summoned a spirit alright. The spirit of Satan.
Eric Clermont Player says
They sang for nearly every president going back to Eisenhower, including Kennedy. The only reason they didn’t sing for Obama? They weren’t asked.
Timothy G Mooring says
We’re talking about Trump. Other artists and groups, of greater moral conviction, refused to perform for DJT, the great hater and arbiter of blame.
Moral conviction depends a great deal upon the source to which one looks to for their Moral Authority.
Timothy G Mooring says
So, if someone’s moral convictions aren’t sourced according to your own then they’re not legitimate? I don’t look to Mormons for any kind of moral guidance. I do believe in the teachings of Jesus Christ and that’s all the moral authority I need.
As do the Mormons. You said, “Other artists and groups of greater moral conviction.” Unless you know each of their hearts, you must at least acknowledge that all of these artists and groups are truly looking to the authorities they claim.
Most claim to look to God and His Christ, those who do not believe in Christ at least look to God, so it seems to me everyone in this petty political squabble had the same convictions, they simply expressed them/saw the best way to be true to them in different ways. However, there were none who would claim the President is God, or that he was greater than God. Or that whatever political leader they respected most was/is greater than God.
I’m sure we can agree on that, and acknowledge everyone’s right to express their love of God & Country in their own way.
Timothy G Mooring says
A simpler explanation: They’re not moral imbeciles like DJT.
Timothy G Mooring says
It’s not clear to me that Mormons actually do believe in the teachings of Jesus. The Pope speaks out clearly and often on the plight of refugees as do many other Christian churches. I’ve yet to hear anything expressing sympathy for anyone other right-wing politicians and “misunderstood” Mormons. The church is a political organization out to impose its own version of Sharia law on America.
Jesus ministered to the poor and downtrodden. Mormons run an exotic kind of pyramid scheme out of their 10% tax-free temples. Sealings and baptisms of dead people. Jesus Christ could have become very wealthy operating similar schemes if that had been His purpose. It wasn’t and He didn’t. Mormons should follow His example if they’re interested in salvation.
Timothy, I hope you got from my last response (no editing allowed) that it seems to me you yourself are saying that if someone’s moral convictions aren’t sourced according to your own then they’re not legitimate.
Timothy G Mooring says
It’s a question of common decency and shouldn’t be a problem for any Christian to understand.
Very well written, thank you. As a Mormon, I uphold and value the rights of Freedom, and see too often that our country is drifting away from that fundamental and, as you said, eternal principle of Freedom. Thank you for doing your research, for your very accurate portrayal, and your desire, like mine, to keep our country Free.
While I don’t disagree with the author’s accuracy of what the LDS church teaches about the pre-existance (I served a mission for the church for two years and that’s a lot of what you teach investigators) I think he fails to mention the fact that the LDS church supported Proposition 8 back in 2008.
It’s great he was able to educate the reader on our beliefs of our premortal life, however, the underlining theme of this entire article is how a Mormon is quit possibly the best political figure because they believe in free agency. When the church supported Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in the state of California, the proposition essentially took away gay and lesbian individuals the right to marry. If I’m not mistaken, that’s taking away someone’s free agency. This article is good in it’s accuracy of what we believe, but grossly inaccurate in assuming that because we support the “idea” of free agency, we make good political figures.
The church may say it believes in free agency, yet prohibites gay marriage, consumption of alcohol, is against sex before marriage, and smoking of tabacco (to name a few). It supports the idea of free agency, yet doesn’t really do much to allow it.
Tom: Free agency and its exercise do not imply anarchy. Those who advocate the loudest for free agency recognize best the need for laws and social mores that promote a productive, fulfilled and moral society. Indeed, free agency is a gift from God, to be exercised to improve our lives. Moral decadence and lawlessness detracts from life–as was evident at the time of Noah, and at other times (which we are again approaching). I assume your answer will be that Gay Marriage hurts no one. Besides the fact that I disagree with the premise, if gay marriage becomes the dominant philosophy in America, the vast majority will come to regret it. There is a political movement behind the gay marriage movement–one that cares nothing about gay marriage rights. Certainly, when gay people addressed society and said ‘It’s nobody’s business what goes on behind closed doors’–we, as a society agreed to leave them to their sodomy (anal and oral sex between men falls far short of marriage), as long as it was behind closed doors. Now that we have made that concession, it is no longer good enough for them. Now they demand that we acknowledge that sodomy is the equivalent of marriage. The political point being forced on America is that marriage and family have no value in the coming age. This is the war that is culminating at the insistence of the gay community. Do you really want to find yourself on the sodomy side of Sodom?
Patricia Hayden says
Editor, I totally agree with everyone of the statements made in your post. My Temple marriage ended because my husband had not been honest with himself, and told me he was Gay, I have come to dislike that word, what a way of changing a perfectly good word to mean something so aberrant and deplorable, He not only ruined our marriage but his relationship with our son. It has been 16 years since he came out, 7 years since I divorced him and 8 years since he was ex- communicated from the LDS church. I do not understand why someone cannot be truthful, if he had been I would not have married him in the first place. but I can’t change that. I agree that the gay community is out to destroy marriage, and the family that results from a man and woman being together. I try hard to understand the thoughts behind this and the only thing I can come up with is SATAN, and his need to destroy humans to turn us to him and away from GOD. This is his goal this is what the plan of Salvation is about. For us to turn away from Satan, and turn toward God, Jesus Christ, in any way we can. Be it the Catholic church, Protestant church or another church that teaches the Life and teachings of Jesus Christ, and why he was crucified for our sins. I cannot change any ones heart, I cannot change any ones mind set towards Jesus Christ and the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I can only be held accountable for me and what I have done with my life, how I have treated mankind, and so forth.
Tom, what is your definition of “free agency”? The Church has always taught Agency means that you can choose to obey a principle/law or to disobey it. One cannot, however, choose the consequences of her/his disobedience. If I, as a Latter-day Saint, choose to obey one of the Church’s principles, there will be consequences; if I choose to disobey a Church principle, there will be consequences. I still have the agency to choose what I do regardless of the Church’s position.
So when you say, “(The Church) supports the idea of free agency, yet doesn’t really do much to allow it,” that just isn’t true. Agency does not mean that “Anything Goes” without consequences. Your agency exists whether the Church is “for” or “against” some idea or behavior. Just because the Church is against something doesn’t mean they have somehow revoked your choice to participate in the activity that the Church is against…Go ahead — participate; but don’t be surprised when there are consequences for your exercise of your agency.
God’s gift of “free agency” (an expression that is in accurate, for our agency is moral, not free) does not negate His right to have a position on what we do with that agency, and to tell us what He wants from us. If you accept the premise that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is led by Prophets who commune with and speak for God, then you must accept that they will take positions–just as anyone in the nation or political process has a right to–on a variety of moral topics.
But they will never force anyone to act in any certain way, how could they? And neither will God. He can only present the choice. “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” (Revelations 3:20) “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it, nevertheless, thou mayest choose for thyself, for it is given unto thee; but, remember that I forbid it, for in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Moses 3:17)
Tom, God gives us commandments so that we can remain free. Wickedness never was happiness. Choosing to sin will lead to sorrow, although we still have the choice to sin, commandments are put in place so we know how to avoid it. The church standards don’t restrict us, they keep us free.
Hilary Grant Weber says
Actually, Elder Oaks explains that there is a distinct difference between Agency and Freedom in his BYU devotional talk “Free Agency and Freedom”. For example, he says
“First, because free agency is a God-given precondition to the purpose of mortal life, no person or organization can take away our free agency in mortality.
Second, what can be taken away or reduced by the conditions of mortality is our freedom, the power to act upon our choices. Free agency is absolute, but in the circumstances of mortality freedom is always qualified.
…Consequently, when we oppose a government-imposed loss of freedom, it would be better if we did not conduct our debate in terms of a loss of our free agency, which is impossible under our doctrine. We ought to focus on the legality or the wisdom of the proposed restriction of our freedom.”
It was not until last year that I knew there was such a difference. Therefore, you can disagree with the Church’s stance, but it is not a stance against agency.
Ben Reilly says
Tom, you clearly have not studied LDS theology, agency, or the proper role of governments sufficiently. If you’re going to try to attack LDS political beliefs, wouldn’t it be intelligent to study D&C 134, which is an official, canonized declaration of the Church’s beliefs in regards to governments? Verse 4 states, “the civil magistrate should restrain crime, but never control conscience; should punish guilt, but never suppress the freedom of the soul”. Clearly, according to this scripture and logic, there is a difference between limiting freedom and restraining crime. One of the government’s most important duties is to restrain crime. Crime severely creates costs on society and potentially destroys it if not punished by the government. Unlimited crime in a society results in the loss of freedom for all of its citizens.
Gay marriage is a crime because of its effect on society. Society and good values cannot be perpetuated without strong families lead by a mother and a father; this is clear in LDS theology and logic generally. Gay marriage would lead to a substantial decrease in fundamental values and this inevitably leads to a loss of freedom. Karl Marx saw this perfectly. He was a staunch supporter of the destruction of the families because with this, individuals will only have the State to teach them and will hold it as the only authority figure in their lives. Consequently, they will be willing to give all power to it and thereby lose their freedom. In addition to the fact that the State would be the main security figure in society without traditional marriage, loss of morality in general must lead to a loss of freedom. Freedom in society comes only on basis on morality. If you decrease morality, more police regulation is necessary. If you decrease morality and do not suppress freedom, anarchy will result. Hence, with gay marriage, society’s morality will decrease and the government will be required to suppress freedom substantially in order to prevent anarchy. This is very likely another reason Marx advocated the abolition of the family. Therefore, gay marriage is not a manifestation of freedom, rather, will lead to the loss of it. To deny this is to deny Marx’s purpose in advocating the abolition of families.
Tom, I suggest you study the Church’s doctrine of governments and its role in society. Many of the people who you sustain or at least sustained as prophets chosen by God have spoken clearly regarding the subject. The same can be done by studying what the Lord has said through them in regards to gay marriage. You will come to see that governments must restrain crime, that gay marriage is a crime, and that it leads to the loss of freedom, both for its participators and society. The protection of this freedom is one of the main purposes for which governments were instituted. Instead of arguing that it is unjust to ban gay marriage, it is clear tat it would be very unjust to support it.
Timothy G Mooring says
There is a study published just today linking a reduction in teen suicides with the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage. A crime you say? Destruction of our society? I’ll side with any kind of love over any kind of prejudice or hate any day of the week. Your’s is a totally bogus, prejudicial and hate filled view of the LGBT community. Your view represents a much greater threat to our society than gay marriage does. It’s not a crime unless it’s against the law – and it’s not. If it’s a sin then God will be there to meet out any punishment He deems appropriate – not you or your hateful church. Act on your prejudice and it’ll be you who’s punished under our civil law. Look to your own sins.
In another thread above you claim that your only guiding moral authority is Jesus Christ. Now, you say the only things that are morally wrong are whatever is against the law–and that even so only God should punish moral crimes. Do you see why people on the other side of the debate might feel frustrated? First, you set the standard at a constantly-changing whim of society, and then, say that society has no power to declare whether anyone is acting within that standard. (Because it would be rude and embarrassing to stand up for such as standard, wouldn’t it?)
This is why we felt such things were best never legislated at all. Truly, after “Love one another,” “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things which are God’s.”
Timothy G Mooring says
The LDS church doesn’t get to say what is or is not a crime. That’s a question of civil law. Not all crimes are sins and sins are not always crimes. Simple concept, plain English.
Derek Salway says
Agency is the ultimate freedom, allowing the free to choose their own path, offering opportunities for success or failure. Laws, whether they be man’s laws or God’s laws are there to protect and support freedom. (Some laws though, do seem to be created by man to suppress freedom.) You and I have the right to obey or disobey any and all laws, however the consequence or our choice is a certainty. It is against both man’s and God’s law to murder, however I am free to murder, if I choose to do so, but I will pay a penalty, whether on earth or after mortal death.
So, Tom, as others have already expressed in their reply’s to you, laws, regulations, restrictions, and etc. do not in any way suppress your freedom to choose your own path.
LDS Libertarian says
This was the best explanation of LDS belief by a non-Mormon I’ve read. Thank you for portraying us accurately and fairly and for getting the doctrine right. I love how you showed that the war in heaven just changed locations and the fight for liberty is still being fought.
I wanted to add my thanks to the author for his obviously well researched and open minded article. I think you did a better job than many Mormons could in explaining the Plan of Salvation. I often cringe when I read obviously lazily researched articles about what “Mormons believe”. Some others are obviously well intentioned, but get some major points wrong. I was amazed as i read this article as it was spot on and got every important point correct. I actually stopped part way through to see if I misunderstood and maybe it was actually a Mormon writing this. :-) And you did a great job of understanding the relationship between that doctrine and how it shapes our view of the world and our responsibilities in it Keep up the great work! I’ll keep my eye out for your articles in the future!
M Clark says
So refreshing to read an article as well-researched and eloquently-expressed as yours. Thank you!
T K Horvath says
Sir, your negative comments of Alec Baldwin have offended me. I appreciate your well written and heartfelt words regarding the LDS faith.
May I kindly state Alec Baldwin is an extremely talented and brilliant actor. He contributes to charities generously. He has made life mistakes as we all have. So we need not be harsh.
You might have written several Americans feel…….or stated…. instead of specifically mentioning Mr. Baldwin.
He has the right to his opinion as do you. Great privilege of living in N. America.
I am not really offended, just wanted to get your attention. :)
It would not be Christian or as a Citizen of the World to be offended. Let’s live in peace.
The Author just stated his opinion. There was no “Negative” tone what so ever. The Author has his own opinion and you happen to disagree with it. It’s just an article. Get over it.
Ben Reilly says
We all have the right to express our opinions and consequently, we all have the right to disagree with others’ opinions as well and express those disagreements. If the author disagrees with Alec Baldwin, he has the right to point out the flaws in his beliefs or arguments. Just because you like Alec Baldwin doesn’t mean that the author shouldn’t be able to expose his unintelligent beliefs. And just because he gives to charities doesn’t make him a good person. The story of the Widow’s Mite is a perfect example of this. Additionally, just because he gives to charities doesn’t make his political beliefs right or make him an expert on political science.
Bryan Beus says
Thanks for the thoughtful approach to a presentation of Mormon theology. We appreciate it very much when journalists treat our beliefs with respect.
L. Carvel Wilson says
I have to agree that we need to fight in this life, like we did in the pre-existence, for Liberty. The erosion of our fundamental rights in modern day from what were set forth in the Constitution and what was intended by our founding fathers is large and continues to increase. My hope and prayer is that more Americans will study both the Constitution and the writings of the founding fathers and find the spirit of Liberty. Thanks as well for an accurate portrayal of the beliefs of Mormons, really The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. May the Good Lord continue to bless you as you fight for the ideals, and blog about them, upon which our country were founded.
Wendy Haws says
Very eloquently written, and an honest portrayal. Quite refreshing to read a journalist state facts instead of personal spin. Wouldn’t it be nice if all journalists had such integrity?
I appreciate the thoughtfulness of this article, but point out that he expresses a few things about our theology that are not quite accurate. The council in heaven was not a sort of political rally for us to choose a savior. There were not two plans of salvation presented, as it seemed to imply. Satan could not and does not force us to do anything. Or Savior was not chosen by a method of calling for volunteers.
There is ONE plan of salvation–Our Heavenly Father’s Plan, which He presented to us. Satan does not “force” but deceives and entices and stirs to anger, etc. Christ was chosen as Our Savior and appointed by the Father to be such. Our salvation centers in Him and in His gospel.
I agree on one point. There was not a call for volunteers, but Lucifer and Jesus both volunteered. He never says that it was a political rally. He said that we were called together and had the Plan explained to us. That is one plan. Lucifer did, in fact, propose that he would be the Savior and force us to do what was right, but he would receive the glory. That is why he wasn’t chosen. Jesus was chosen because he knew that we needed to come to earth and be tried,
This was a very well written article that wasn’t focused on the full depth and bredth of the gospel, but one focusing on the similarities of what we fought for in the pre-mortal existence and what we should be fighting for now: our liberty. I thank the author for sticking to the facts he found and not embellishing to fill in any blanks that he may not have undertood.
It sounds like you must have been standing in the room with God Jesus and Lucifer to know this fact! How do you know there was no call for volunteers? I believe everyone reading this article realizes it had nothing to do with a “Political rally. Why do people think they have to correct everyone at every turn even when they know there is no way to prove their answer is right or wrong?
Ben Casper says
Why be so picky about a non-member observer’s observation? Satan’s slant was that he would force everyone to obey, every one would be saved and he would get the glory. That was Satan’s plan (therefore, there were 2 plans). I thought the article was very insightful. I remember when Huckabee brought up the subject saying something like “I just heard that the Mormons think Jesus and Satan are brothers.” This guy has been a minister for years and has been well aware of what we believe. Huckabee was couching his comment as a surprised recent tidbit that he had just learned instead of the actual sinister intent to influence the audience against Mormons and discredit Romney at the same time. I much prefer the present writer’s way of sharing what we believe Satan’s and Christ’s roles were in our pre-earth life.
As a Mormon, I love this article. And I would like to say to the author, you have not offended me in any way by drawing a comparison between my beliefs and political ideology. The battle we believe raged in heaven is still raging here on Earth. And one of Satan’s chief goals is, as it was then, to strip mankind of liberty. You are not only correct in drawing your comparison, you’re one step short in not taking it far enough (IMHO).
Perhaps Lucifer recruited so many followers (1/3) because he explained the pain and suffering that would happen in this physical arena. The “Only Begotten” was a preordained office that Lucifer ran for against Jesus. This indicates that we were expected to fall via Adam in The Plan of Salvation. The vote between Jesus and Lucifer was our first chance to express our free agency with consequence.. Lucifer said “I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost . Why doesn’t Moses 4 say that not one soul shall be lost? Because he could not lie before The Father. Lucifer offered us a painless path back to God if we would pledge our souls to him. Since Lucifer would not sin on earth, he knew he would be redeemed along with all those belonging to him. (his glory) – but they would not be saved since they would have no agency. Having failed to tempt the majority of the spirits in heaven, after he came to earth, Lucifer tried to tempt Jesus, our leader. He failed again so now he is tempting us again individually. We are brothers and sisters to Jesus. Satan feeds on our misery which he exacerbates where he can.
Julie Juliano says
All I have to say is thank you. I appreciate your sentiments because they are (about the LDS church views) exactly why I vote and act they way I do. Very well articulated. I very much appreciate it. Thank you for an honest depiction. THANK YOU!
Sally Barricklow Tenney says
Thank you for this article…you are very perceptive man. I am a Mormon by choice not by birth and I fought in Heaven for liberty and I fight in America for our Constitution and liberty.
Looking at this plan presented, force was impossible. Satan had the choice in heaven to rebel- by the agency that makes us free he chose bondage. therefore- his plan would never work- force is not possible and Satan himself proved it. So as much as our government may try to use force, in the end it will fail. Agency to choose is God’s way. When we choose to use our agency for good we will be happy and will increase in freedom and when we use agency for evil we will be miserable and will decrease in freedom- or increase in bondage. There seems to be opposites – the one for God, the opposite against God. Light vs Dark, freedom vs bondage, joy vs misery, work vs lazy, education vs ignorance, forgiveness vs holding a grudge, love vs hate, eternal progress vs eternal damnation, selfless vs selfish, I think the list keeps going on and on. If we are not happy, if we are miserable, we just look at which side we are following and realize that through Jesus Christ we can repent and return to the side of God. Sometimes I wonder if this life was not a test to see if we would follow God, but an opportunity to test what it was like NOT to follow God so we could see for ourselves how miserable that side is- and what a perfect plan to provide a Savior so that we could also return to the God who gives us this opportunity. Thank you for the great article and giving us a perspective and food for thought! God bless!
It is nice to read something on LDS people that is respectful, genuinely attempting to understand, and not filled with hatred. I am saddened and surprised by the amount of irrational hatred directed at Mormons. The hatred comes from both sides of the political spectrum. As a lifelong member of the LDS church, and a liberal Democrat, I still find this author’s description of the war in heaven and doctrine of the pre-existence to be overly black and white, overly simplistic, and missing much of the big picture. I get in a lot of debates with fellow LDS people over this same type of interpretation. I don’t agree with the very limited perspective stated here, that God’s intention for this life is just to see if we would trip up, nor with the equally problematic view that people are easily categorized as either all “good” or all “bad,” i.e.; worthy of being saved or a screw up, needing to be tossed out. As I understand the LDS doctrine of the pre-existence is that we had maxed out our ability to grow in intellect and spirituality in the pre-existence. Any further spiritual and intellectual growth required the opportunity to experience life and our own existence in a physical sense, which is why we needed to come to this world as physical beings. God rejected Lucifer’s plan, because God knew that our ability to reach our full physical, spiritual and intellectual potential for growth also required our having free agency, the opportunity to have to make difficult choices and experience the responsibility and consequences of those choices (I mean natural, earthly consequences at the time the choices occur, not just divine punishment later). Being forced to behave in a particular way, even the “right” way, would severely limit our eternal growth. So yes, our having freedom to make life choices is central to LDS political perspective and on view on American liberty. In a religious sense, the opportunity to make mistakes is necessary for our spiritual growth. What is missing in this article is that despite the seriousness of our mistakes, the LDS perspective is that we all are loved and valued, and we are worth being redeemed. That is why we needed Christ’s atonement. It is not just a test so the duds can be rejected. It is the LDS church’s perspective that God’s intention is for us to grow to our full potential in this life and the plan is to have as many people as possible return to Him through the power of the atonement. We are on a pathway of eternal progression. No, I won’t waste my time and energy on this forum explaining why I’m a liberal Democrat, other than the church leaders have vocally supported our right to make political choices as we see fit and have had discussions with LDS Democratic leadership to that effect. We feel choosing to help others is also very central to our beliefs, and takes precedence over supporting rich people’s right to hoard money without restraint. You are welcome to check out LDS Dems if you are genuinely interested. And as stated elsewhere in these comments, the official LDS positions can be researched on LDS.org and more information is available on Mormon.org. There are a number of other sites and blogs written by members, and they will reveal the faithful and well intended interpretations of those members.
Barb, and nice clearly stated response. While “liberty” may be at the heart of eternal progression, we must acknowledge that the opportunity for liberty is not universal, not even in this great Nation. Thus, the other key value is selflessness. Charity is the key to liberty for all and if we have not charity, all else is lost. As a more liberal Mormon, I am very proud of the Church’s welfare system. I am puzzled, however, at the political posturing by members of the Church who seem to be in judgement of those who are poor, non-white, and of a differing religious belief. We are all God’s children are we not?
Floyd, your comments show an utter lack of understanding or desire to extend any kind of charity toward your fellow Latter Day Saints.
Selflessness is demonstrated with your own money and time. You cannot prove that you are selfless by forcing others to contribute to government programs. You cite the church welfare system and state that you are “proud” of it and yet it is entirely voluntary. Nobody is coerced into contributing to it and yet it works very well.
Socialism is not charity, it is not selflessness, it is the accumulation and centralization of power for political purposes which align with the plan of the evil one.
As one of God’s children you should find a bit of charity for those of us you arrogantly and wrongly accuse of “seem to be in judgement of those who are poor, non-white, and of a differing religious belief”.
Floyd, what “political posturing” are you referring to? If you are saying that conservative Mormons’ opposition to the ever-expanding welfare state reveals their lack of selflessness or charity, I think you are wrong. It is possible to be selfless and charitable and also believe that the government is not an appropriate vehicle for welfare and service. For example, I have Mormon friends who spend a lot of time helping at an LDS bishop storing house, as there is one just outside our neighborhood. I have seen them spend many hours helping others, but they couldn’t be more opposed to the welfare state.
What SgtPUSMC says is, in my opinion, correct: “You cannot prove you are selfless by forcing others to contribute to government programs.” Also, I think a lot of Mormons probably are in favor of some safety nets but are alarmed by their out-of-control and unfunded growth.
The problem Barb, is that you assume that conservatives do not also believe that we have an obligation to help others. You state “We feel choosing to help others is also very central to our beliefs, and takes precedence over supporting rich people’s right to hoard money without restraint.” Being a liberal Democrat (socialist) you don’t believe in helping the unfortunate so much as you believe that you should force others to help the unfortunate by means of the coercive powers of the state. Thus depriving others of their agency and arrogating yourself to the position of decision maker for others. This is clearly and unambiguously contrary to the teachings of our modern prophets and scripture.
Yes, the church and our leaders have stated many times that they are non-partisan, but their denunciations of socialism as a continuation of Satan’s plan here on Earth are many and unambiguous. It is sad that any Latter Day Saint would be so ignorant of their own religion that they would embrace socialism in any form. I hope someday you will see the error of your ways.
Barb, please provide a single instance of an official statement by the church that countenances government welfare of any sort.
I can provide literally hundreds of statements that condemn it and most other kinds of government intrusion into people’s lives as dangerous and evil.
I didn’t really expect a reply… I’ve talked to many self proclaimed “liberal” Latter Day Saints, and they all share one thing in common; not one of them can produce any official teaching of the church or statement from its leaders that supports their liberalism. The best they can do is to point to the Church’s repeated declaration of strict neutrality when it comes to partisan politics.
Yet they cling to their political religious beliefs and adopt an attitude of superiority over the vast majority of Mormons who lean much more conservatively. They have only to produce their liberal views as evidence of their superiority while they hide from the brutal fact that their ideology has been condemned repeatedly in numerous official statements and hundreds of times in less official statements by General Authorities of the Church.
The other thing they all seem to have is a pretty marginal membership in the church. Almost invariably these are not the people who form the backbone of their branches, wards or stakes, they are not the kind of people who show up when their own service is needed. In a church that is almost entirely run by volunteers they tend to be elsewhere when there is work to be done. This is a trait they share with most liberals because when it comes right down to it, liberalism is nothing more than moral superiority purchased on the cheap with other people’s stolen resources.
James E. Faust.
Yes, he was a Democrat but I defy you to produce a single statement on his part that justifies socialism, and particularly the kind of hard left socialism we see in today’s Democratic party.
There have been other general authorities who have been Democrats as well, but the same applies to them.
We recall a time in the 1980s when political commentator Mark Russell was bringing his show to Utah. His commercial said, “Ah Utah, where the republicans are good republicans, and the democrats are . . . too.” Indeed, the general authorities of the LDS church may belong to any particular political party–at least it was possible in the past–but they are all quite conservative on all of the major issues.
…to say nothing of the worship and adulation lavished on debauched adulterers and sexual predators we saw at the last convention. And let’s also put aside the true sacrament of all good liberal democrats everywhere; abortion at any time, bought and paid for by the tax payers.
I just know you’ll be able to find plenty of examples of President Faust supporting that…
Ben Casper says
I’m with Sarge.
Barb, the Author did a fine job in his research and wrote an intelligent article without bashing the LDS religion. Remember this was just a short half page article. He did not have the time to dissect and write a book on the subject. He did a fine job. Cant you just leave it at that?
You being a “Liberal” Democrat speaks volumes! Just being a Liberal you have lost all credibility. Knowing everything you stand for gives question to your belief system. You believe is Abortion! Late Term Abortion! Killing Babies in the mothers womb! Supporting a Corrupt, Lying Abomination of a so-called President out to destroy this great nation. You support Obama’s War on Christianity. You support Obama’s corrupt agenda to Destroy our Constitution and Race Baiting. Dividing our Country with Hate between the races. You support Obama’s Dream Act giving Amnesty to 12,000.000 Illegal Aliens in this country. You support Obama giving Millions to Illegal Aliens for Welfare, free food, free Health Insurance instead of giving the money to our Veterans for their Heath and Retirement! etc. You call yourself a Mormon?
Yeah, but Barb and Floyd can–and no doubt will–console themselves in the knowledge that they are good people and better than you and I because they want to “help” the poor with our money, forcibly confiscated by those always virtuous “public servants” like Harry Reid. Those of us who think people should contribute their (our) own money and time to helping the unfortunate are “greedy” and racist.
Great article. Any who wish for a deeper discussion on the topic the author presents, read the book “An Everlasting Decree – Ensuring A Title To Liberty For The Promised Land” by B. H. porter. It expands on the topic of how our Liberty is tied to our collective worship to our creator.
Ezra Draper says
War…In Heaven? Where there is war, there is no Heaven.
And he said unto them, “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.” Luke 10:18
Aramaic: lightning = baraq
heaven (heights) = bamah
“7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”
We understand this war not to be one of literal weapons but of spiritual decision. Evil cannot dwell in heaven and thus those choosing evil were cast out. The one-third of the hosts of heaven mentioned in the article is a reference to the symbolism in verse 4 of chapter 12.
THANK YOU–amazing response. –a 25 yr. old mormon gal
Christopher Aaron says
Mike, thank you for giving an accurate and impartial commentary and review of the LDS church. It is refreshing when a person can be objective and complementary at the same time…not desiring to tear apart but to be fair and recognize strengths in spite of certain weaknesses which may be there. Amen to your words!
I love the fact you believe you have already fought for the right to have free agency! That is the whole point; we chose to follow our Heavenly Father and His plan. It is our responsibility to continue to make the right choices.
This idea: that individuals must be trusted to choose, otherwise liberty is coersion, sits right at the heart of the social contract–that delicate agreement we all have with each other that we will willingly sacrifice a portion of our liberty so all of us can enjoy the most liberty possible. It is a question, if not the question, of the ages. Choice and accountability sit at the heart of historical success and tragedy, these are what motivate our sense of justice and of mercy, of outrage and contentment. Whatever anyone thinks of Mormons (at least 1/5 of Americans polled in your article think negatively enough not to vote for one under any circumstances) this idea cannot be rejected as perhaps the single most important one to any society or individual who hopes to live a successful life of self-determination.
I recommend “The Covenant” by Tim Ballard for those interested in the role of God in the establishment of this country.
I am LDS and still find myself asking the question “will this choice make me more free or less free?”
The war in heaven continues and following God’s commandments will always make us more free…
Doing drugs? (Less free)
Pre-marital sex? (Less free)
Flying planes into buildings? (Less free)
If you ever feel like there are too many gods to learn about and follow then I suggest following the one whose commandments are designed to make you more free (like you did in the pre-existence)
Dave: “Pre-marital sex? (Less free)”
How? Don’t believe everything they tell you. :)
Wow, this is exactly why there are so many problems in the world today. Think two seconds past the act! For some reason the generation today is unable to predict the potential consequences of there actions. That is where the loss of freedom happens. Debbie consider the potential consequence of premarital sex. Unwanted consequences=less freedom. It’s not doing drugs that makes people less free. It’s the addiction, the abuse of others and sometimes ultimately death. It’s not premarital sex that makes you less free. It’s an unwanted pregnancy and child; changes of your body you can never get back; no financial support and the list could go on.
In many ways these consequences can leave us vulnerable to further enticings of satan because we try to avoid further consequences. The rules of God are set in place to help us avoid the pitfalls of these consequences.
As individuals we are all free to make our own choices. Unfortunately, we can experiences consequences that others have set in place because of their choices. This is where the justice system does a feeble job of trying to predict and prevent. However, that is not what I base my moral compass on. We would all do well to consider what our actions will do to ourselves as well as others. In my opinion that is best done through a godly moral compass.
I appreciate your article and the conciseness of your description of Mormon beliefs. I am a Mormon and it’s good to see a more accurate portrayal of what we believe. I’m afraid I didn’t read all of the comments, so I hope this doesn’t come as a thought already expressed numerous times. But, I wanted to say that there is a talk specifically about the Constitution, that might interest you. It further discusses the principles within the constitution that are also eternal truths. The article can be found on LDS.org and is entitled “The Divinely Inspired Constitution” (Feb. 1992) by Dallin H. Oaks. I’ve provided a link for easier navigation: http://www.lds.org/ensign/1992/02/the-divinely-inspired-constitution
Thanks for sharing your thoughts in your article.
I loved this article. I’m not longer active in the church but I think the perception given here is wonderful.
I’m a gay man who was active in the LDS church for the majority of my life until within the last couple of years when I decided to move towards a different life track because the one I was on was not leading down a bright path for me.
Now, I ask you with extreme respect (for you as a person and for what you have written here) and complete seriousness, what do you tell people in my situation who, let’s say, either don’t believe in God or believe in some other deity or higher power, who just want to be happy with the one that they love?
Because I can promise you that I tried to date women and have successful, healthy relationships that way and I have gone through all the reparative and aversion therapy a person can handle and I can tell you, my sexuality isn’t changing. So what are we to do?
My question above is a serious one that I would appreciate an answer to if you feel so compelled, but also, how do you feel about the marriage, for lack of a better word, of two men or two women being called something different?
Because in my opinion, I agree with the fact that the word “marriage” could apply to “people who can biologically reproduce with one another”, but I still want to be with my significant other, with all the same rights as our heterosexual counterparts because reproduction shouldn’t be the only reason someone falls in love with someone else. Honestly, it could be called getting “magically pineappled” and I wouldn’t care. I just want to be able to see my partner in the hospital if he gets hurt.
What do you think? And anyone can answer or give their input, just please be respectful of all views expressed.
Thank you for your interesting comments. As you know, probably better than we do, the LDS Church teaches the Lord’s condemnation of homosexual practices, fornication (sex before marriage), adultery, sex with children, sex with animals, forced sex, etc. Although it may seem redundant to you that I enumerate the many prohibitions on sexual practices, I do so in the same spirit that you ask your ‘serious’ question above. These many prohibitions are in place to demonstrate the truth that the only appropriate use of sexual ability is between a husband and wife. Indeed, if you have no belief in God, and reject His counsel, His laws have no importance to you, and you will misuse your powers of procreation as so many among us do. To those of us who do not understand the homosexual urge, it is a heinous practice. I’m not sure if you can understand it, but most of us are disgusted by sodomy between men, and do not wish to have the practice paraded through our society, and we do not wish our children to be exposed to it at any level. The same can be said of most misuses of sexual intercourse, and for similar reasons, we don’t want those flaunted in public either. To the extent one’s inappropriate sexual practices are more similar to appropriate practices, we tend to have a little more tolerance (fornication, for instance). To the extent those practices are more dissimilar, we tend to have less tolerance (barn yard love, man-boy love, man-man love, etc.). In your case, if you simply cannot abstain from homosexual practice (abstinence) despite your former understanding of its wrongness in the eyes of God, then society tolerates it when it is kept behind closed doors. As you seek to flaunt it publicly, you will find resistance from family-oriented people, who make up the vast majority in this country. I do not ridicule you or your unusual appetites–but I’m saying that if you wish to continue your practices, please do it behind closed doors, and stop telling society that we MUST accept your practices as normal. We will never ‘feel normal’ about them–and certainly, you must surely understand that we cannot be compelled to go against what feels normal to us. Yes, I share this last line facetiously, but in truth, we all have our natural inclinations, and those whose inclinations are disgusting to the vast majority should learn to keep a low profile, rather than force outraged people to make unpleasant choices about who or what we are willing to tolerate.
Thank you for your comments here… and I agree. God has given laws and these laws have a purpose. To protect the family unit to give his children a secure environment to grow and return to him and achieve exaltation.
Linda Martin says
Please refer to November 1998 Ensign an article written by President Gordon B Hinckley.
Jonathan Neal says
Warbear, I commend you for your efforts and struggles. I think the LDS leaders said it right when they were asked to support gay marriage. Their response was on the lines of we can’t change our views but we will always support and love them unconditionally. Just because religious leaders say that gays should be supported and loved doesn’t mean people will do this. People are corrupt and simply ignorant. I myself feel that government has gotten too involved with marriage as a whole for taxation or for record reasons. Marriage is a religious union and always has been. The government shouldn’t offer benefits based on a religious union but only their own lawful union. Therefore, I believe its truly a states right issue and not a religious one. Each individual is designed a certain way and everyone of us is different. For example if society were to tell me as a man that I couldn’t love a woman because it was wrong I couldn’t even imagine going against my natural instincts. For you it seems loving a woman would be against your natural instincts so kudos to you for being strong enough to even try to love a woman. I hope people respect and love you for the way you are how their church leaders suggest and recommend.
I am LDS. I don’t understand same sex attraction but I for the most part agree with you Jonathan. Thank you.
I think the government should back quietly out of the marriage business, and simply recognize any union. Furthermore, anyone living together for whatever reason should have tax incentives, from couples, to dorm buddies, to a grandma and the grandson who have no one else in the world. People should not have to be married or intimate in order to get tax breaks by living together. The government should also recognize the union of any individuals, of whatever sex, and of any number. Yes, I would say polygamy and bigamy should be allowed, although I don’t know who in their right mind would WANT more than one spouse… (no offense, hon.)
If you want to be gay, ok. Good for you. You live in a nation that allows freedom. You hurt no one by being gay. I will not writhe in agony. I don’t believe being gay is good, and that is MY belief. I also believe that drinking coffee or alcohol or smoking are bad. Yet I won’t have a fit when I go to my neighbors’ Thanksgiving and everyone else is drinking Bud. I will stick with my Dr. Pepper and Mt. Dew. That is MY choice. And yet those other things are still available for others to enjoy, even though I think that they are bad. The choice of others to consume those things does not affect me. If their consumption affects me directly, and steps on my rights, (like DWI) then laws must be in place to protect bystanders. You being gay does not step on my rights. That is your choice.
Speaking of choice, I believe that is the true nature of your question. You seem to think you do not have a choice, that you are gay due to your urges, and that you are powerless against them. That they will never subside. That is not true.
Everyone has urges. I once shared an apartment with my cousin and his friend, a returned Mormon Missionary. This friend decided to come out about being gay after a few months. I asked him if he still thought the LDS church was true. He said yes. This astounded me. I asked him why he was gay then, if he knew it to be wrong. He said he looked at his life as being gay, and not being gay, and decided he would be happier if he was gay. How can I argue with that? I couldn’t. So I said, ok, makes sense. I however, then looked at my life and decided NOT to be gay. I had urges and opportunities, but I decided I would rather have a loving wife and natural born children. I thought I could put up with women, and it would be ok. So I began dating girls, and actually had some fun. I never thought it could happen, but then it did. I found a woman that I actually liked, and I wanted to marry. It took a little while to decide if it was right, but I finally got the ring and proposed. Now 8 years later, we have 2 beautiful daughters and I love my wife more than ever. And she loves that I cook.
You can choose to do anything you want in life, and are not bound to one path simply because of how or where you were born. I chose to not be gay. And although I still have urges from time to time, I discuss them with my wife, and we grow closer as a result. She sees that even though I have an urge, I still choose her, and our life together. I would not have it any other way. Just like my friend, I saw my life both ways, and I chose. I am happy with my choice. I wake up to the most beautiful woman in the world everyday. Look at your life. What will make you the most happy? For me it was the prospect of an eternal family with my wife. Do what makes you happy. :)
Well said AJ, Well Said
I view the homosexual issue just as the leaders of the church. That there are definitely urges but the individual has the choice to over come them. Yes it does not seem like a fair burden to bear but having MS and being in a wheelchair as a friend of mine has for most of your life is a burden also and does not seem fair. We all have our burdens some are more difficult than others. My problem comes in when the Gay community forces our schools to teach my grandchildren that this lifestyle is normal and all but incourages them to consider it for themselves. I have no disrespect for gays doing their thing or for people living together before marriage however do not force schools to teach my grand kids that either is normal or right.
Kristie Dickamore says
Warbear, I sympathize with your struggle. I have met and am related to good people who are kind and generous, and gay. So I know that sexual orientation doesn’t make one bad. Here are a few thoughts to add to the article: when we came to earth to be tested, Father gave us gifts and talents as well as weaknesses and challenges. (It wouldn’t be a test if we knew all the answers ‘cuz they were written on the paper, nor would it be a test if it was always easy.) To help us, learn to be like Him and be worthy to come home to him after this life, he gave us a textbook/manual (scriptures), teachers (prophets), and a personal tutor ( the Holy Ghost). He established guideline that if followed will allow us, through the atonement, to return to Him when our school time is done – after this life. He established marriage and commanded Adam & Eve to multiply & raise a family. With this set up before humans came to Earth, people’s agency lets them choose to follow God’s will or his own desires. If we learn to put off the natural man and walk in the light of Christ, we will make it home. That includes anyone, regardless of gender, race, economic status, and sexual orientation.
Last year, I dated a guy who was agnostic then decided he is athiest. I get that not everyone believes as I do, so they don’t have to follow the same standards as me. But bedroom behavior displayed in public isn’t private and infringes on others rights as much as a burning cross in a town square or a minister preaching in the mall’s food court. In each, no one is hurt, but rights of others have been trampled. please note, inappropriate social behavior does not discriminate and it doesn’t change over time, society’s tolerance to or against it does. Laws are to protect those rights when others won’t. Romney understood this very well. As society changes, God’s law stands eternal for all. So the Church’s standard must stay with God’s standard or it would no longer be His church. Anyone, including you, is free to follow the natural man and must accept the consequences of those choices. Laws allow this as long a they don’t take away the rights of another. Since God ordained marriage as sacred (one of the sacraments for Catholics and an ordinance in the LDS faith), then making a mockery of it, openly and publicly by changing what it has meant for centuries should be legally protected. If society is going to allow alternate relationships, than political and financial rights should be legally protected, but under a different name, so marriage can stay sacred for those who view it as such
Read Jonathan’s comments. I personally don’t understand same sex attraction. Religiously I don’t agree with it. Politically I don’t think it is any of our business to keep two people apart. I really do wish their was another word for it but it really doesn’t bother me much because I don’t even use the word marriage for myself. I believe in more than that, I believe in being sealed to someone not simply married.
Truly what it comes down to is I believe in God. I believe in the gospel. I believe that God created us each uniquely without mistake and that only he knows and understands our hearts. And only our Savior feels our pains and sorrows and appetites and only They can judge us.
The greatest commandment is to love God the second to love our neighbor. We are also told to forgive 70×7 and given the parable which gives only those without sin to cast a stone. To all those who condemn you must then also believe that they will be judge also of their sins and judgements. The haters too will be judged according to their hearts.
I have no answers for you other than to look deep in your soul and guide your life according to whatever moral compass you have. And if you believe someone is listening, whomever it may be to you, pray always.
Warbear, my heart goes out to you. What nonmembers may not understand is that current Church teachings are now leaning towards teaching that the Church denounces homosexuality because homosexuals cannot currently be sealed in the temple and therefore cannot be reunited with God in the highest kingdom of heaven or exhalted. It may be that the Church is just trying to be diplomatic…who knows…but I have never heard a talk equating homosexuality with bestiality, pedophilia, or rape. Shortly after joining the Church, a fellow member told me about her gay friend who was also a member, who chose not to marry at all because while he accepted that the Church’s view was a revelation from God, he also believed entering into a straight marriage would be a sin, as well, because presenting himself as a straight man to the woman he married would be a lie–to her and to God–and it would prevent her from enjoying the benefits of a celestial marriage which, for Mormons, is supposed to be one of our greatest goals, second only to exhaltation. Denying another person that opportunity was appalling to him. I will be honest and say that when I heard this, I experienced many emotions and think back to that conversation frequently. I admire his view greatly and was beyond delighted to hear homosexuality and religion discussed in the same conversation without hateful words being exchanged. According to many in my ward, many gay members have expressed the same view and their position is looked upon with great respect. Regardless, I am not naive enough to believe that all members look favorably toward gay members who come out. When I mentioned experiencing many emotions earlier, one of those was also great sadness. I personally believe that homosexuals should be allowed to marry, no matter that the Church teaches that God does not allow it at this time. I have prayed on this issue, just as the Church encourages…and I feel the spirit telling me that there is nothing ungodly about homosexuality. (For those looking for something wrong with me or some ulterior motive, I am straight and none of my family members are gay…my position comes from a place of purity–meaning it does not serve a personal purpose.) Warbear, I am going to talk about the elephant in the room that few Mormons talk about. We are taught by the Church that the only way to reach the only level of heaven we can be reunited with God is through celestial marriage and that God wants all of us there and will provide a way. There are many members who will never be able to marry in the temple for reasons that are not their fault. Some die before getting the chance, some are so sick that they live their lives in hospitals or homes, some are dealing with extreme mental illnesses, and others are forbidden by the laws of their land (whether it be in America or on the other side of the world.)–not to mention that women outnumber men. The list of reasons go on and on. I heard a talk a short time ago from a member who mentioned these things and he put the thought out there that God could be paving the way for homosexuals to marry, just as others will have an opportunity, even if it is in the afterlife. Christ never preached against homosexuality, and we are Christians. Our Church does teach about modern day revelation, so there is that. I support your decision, whatever it may be. In our Church, as in others, there are contradictions in the things we are taught. Some perceived contradictions prove not to be so and some simply are. As for others, I WANT THEM TO KNOW THIS: the Mormon Church also teaches against masturbation and sodomy includes oral sex. I suggest that those who are so vocal against homosexuals, who masturbate and engage in oral sex, drop their stones or replace their glass houses with a less fragile material!!!
Christina, and those of you who profess to be LDS yet support gay marriage: We have approved many of your comments, and withheld a few because they fail to consider many relevant issues. Allow us to say here in this forum that having desires or tendencies that are outside of the commandments given to mankind by a loving Heavenly Father is not a sin–not in His eyes or anyone else’s. We all have weaknesses that tempt us to do wrong. It is in committing the unlawful ‘act’ that we sin. No one condemns a man or woman for having a same sex preference, just as no one condemns a man for desiring a sexy woman he sees passing on the street, or a Rolex watch he sees on a friend’s wrist. Those are internal struggles of ‘the natural man,’ and will continue in all of us until the final winding up scene. What separates us from God is ‘acts’ that He has forbidden. Is it lawful under God’s law for men to marry? No. Is it lawful under God’s law for men to sodomize one another? No. The law God gave to Moses on the subject illustrated how heinous God considers homosexual interaction: “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” Leviticus 20:13 This was not merely an Old Testament commandment intended only for the disobedient children of Israel, but a warning to men who for whatever reason bedded other men. The very word sodomy is derived from Sodom, a city in which men openly practiced homosexual sex, and demanded that Lot’s visitors be sent out that they may “know” them–and Lot preferred to send his virtuous daughters out before subjecting messengers of God to that activity. Do not confuse God’s justice for His liberality. He will never allow gay men to marry each other. However, those same men will receive every opportunity for eternal progression, including eternal marriage with a daughter of God and eternal increase, if they will fulfill the laws He has given them. If there are physical, mental or emotional problems that keep them from a normal male/female relationship in this life, they will receive those blessings in the life to come so long as they do not violate God’s laws in this life. Christina, and those who grossly misunderstand what it is that God is attempting to offer His children during this short mortal probation, there is a reason that you find yourself in the small minority in your political and other opinions as you stand among the saints of God. The Spirit does not teach us that sin is okay. And wickedness never was happiness. Accept the outstretched arms of those who have matured in matters of the spirit and learn from them as fast as you can, while you are still able. PUBLIUS
I was born and raised in the LDS church and I have to say, you have really done your homework. You’ve summarized the core of our beliefs perfectly! Thank you for this well-written article.
This is a well written article that lays some of our, Mormon, basic beliefs and how that guilds us in today’s political issues.
In general, Mormons (members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) are very patriotic and support the constitution. That is one of the reasons the FBI, CIA and NSA recruit LDS new college graduates heavily.
I take issue with the arguments that the LDS Church FORCES people to do or not do things. Over the last 30 years since I joined the LDS Church, I have noticed that the Church encourages members to vote but does not tell them who to vote for. The Church doesn’t pick candidates to support. I don’t even recall them making a statement supporting Romney. We are encouraged to get educated about the candidates and what they stand for. Then vote our conscience. The Church does take a stand on moral issues which I think is any church’s right and duty. We should remember that a lot of churches oppose the gay marriage proposition in California.
I am not sure why you feel comparing our theological ideas with current political ideas would offend any of us Mormons. You beautifully expressed our beliefs and made the connection to politics correctly.That is exactly we why fight for liberty here on earth, we fought hard for it in heaven. I know it wasn’t a coincidence that our founding fathers wrote the things they did. They were men of God and they were inspired to write the government they way they did. We would be wise to follow it the way they wrote it.
Though I kept my mouth shut about it, in the run up to the ’12 election; directly after I did maintain that the loss was a combination of Romney being a Mormon & inactivity of GOP voters who might have been fooled into believing he was a shoe in.
I think that, most Mormons (& those that understand them, like me) were unsure if other “Christians” & other conservatives were past their long standing bigotry to support a candidate who, while not wearing his religion on his sleeve, was famously LDS.
After the proof of continued bigotry, against a substantial & wealthy church, was made apparent; Mormons in general just shook their heads & continued on.
I maintain that is still a mistake to promote a candidate who is Mormon, Catholic or a few other labels & realities who have a history of being shunned by a now-slightly larger mainstream. That’s just the way it is.
It’s more than a little ironic, however. As the author pointed out, the “Saints” are family-oriented & traditional. They also keep to traditional norms of honor & honesty. Something that US conservatives espouse.
If there is a single group to blame for the GOP ’12 loss, it would definitely be the pastors, reverends & ministers of the various “christian” sects who continue their bile against Mormons, who ignore them with ease & do not return the favor.
It’s a continuance of reality & it is unfortunately petty.
English LDS says
I am an English Mormon (yup we do excist) I joined in my 20’s and now in my 60’s. Most members I am sure would be pleased with this article. We are not perfect nor do we claim to be. I live in a high Muslim area and have found people to be the same regardless of race, colour or creed. Two of my sons seved missions, left as callow youths and came back as men. We do not want any one to feel they have to join or that we look down on them. I have good friends who are gay, they understand my feelings and I respect them. One of them met my husband on a train the day he was coming home afterbeing made redundant and supported him.
Kami Nelson says
As a Latter-day Saint (Mormon) myself, I agree with you 100% that Joseph Smith was not the first person to suggest liberty is an eternal principle or that it is endowed to man by God. One thing not covered very clearly in this article (which covers our basic beliefs more accurately than any by a non-Mormon I’ve ever read) is that we also believe that this knowledge of the pre-Earth life and of the need for an Atonement by Christ was a truth given to all of God’s children who accepted it, starting with Adam, and continuing through all the Biblical prophets on through Christ’s time. We believe that this gospel knowledge was restored (not created) through the prophet Joseph Smith in modern times after having parts of it taken from the Earth because of wickedness (at the time when Christ’s apostles were martyred). Hence the real full name of the Mormon church: “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
In other words, we believe the historical Christian worldview you speak of and our worldview are one and the same. We believe we are living The gospel Christ gave men in His time on Earth. We agree with you, and with historical Christian apologists on this topic, 100%, and we never claim to be the first to come up with the idea. The author never claims so either, though he brushes over the fact we are “restorationists” who don’t think of our religion as anything new (simply because it wasn’t his main point) – he does point out other Christians will ‘see lots of similarities.’ Our leaders have also spoken highly of the Founding Fathers and other Christians throughout the ages who set the stage for human liberty, and we believe there have been many men inspired by God about the importance of liberty as a Christian principle throughout history.
Kami Nelson says
Sorry, this was meant as a reply to Steye; it doesn’t appear that I posted it that way, though I meant to…
I am not familiar with all other Christian denominations, so I am surprised to hear the claim that another religion preaches similarly as a core belief. That Freedom is part of Christian Theology is true, and one may feel to assume (what ends up being true) that it is a trend that extends beyond and after this earth life, the Only scripture that I am aware of that supports this comes from other ancient books that other Christians don’t accept as genuine. I’m not bragging, I’m pleading that someone instruct me further.
Phydroxide, the best way to learn more is to seek out LDS missionaries and go to lds.org or Mormon.org to research more.
yo se que la iglesia de Jesucristo de los santos de los últimos días es verdadera, se que en verdad vivimos con dios se que el es nuestro padre celestial y nos ama, se que vinimos a esta tierra para ser probados, se que por medio del sacrificio expiatorio de cristo, fe, buenas obras, el bautismo y perseberar hasta el fin podemos volver a la parecencia de DIOS.
este es mi testimonia de esta iglesia y se que es verdad.
I don’t see how this makes Mormons unique at all; it somehow implies that Christians don’t really believe in free will, and that Joseph Smith was the first to suggest as much. Though he was himself a deist, Jefferson wrote from a historically Christian worldview, the only one ever to have promoted such concepts as the inherent dignity and freedom of the individual.
The Gospel which the historical Church preserved is the source for all of this; the article even acknowledges that Christians would recognize the basic storyline. Joseph Smith added an anecdotal narrative along these lines; he innovated all sorts of other things, but human freedom is not one of them.
Perhaps the author did some research on the LDS, but he seems to neglect the same for historical Christianity. Reads like a kiss-up article to me; fawning and uncritical.
Molly Burnett says
I would have to kindly disagree with you there, the way I read it, the author is not saying the Joseph Smith INVENTED, or innovated the concept of liberty or agency in a religious sense, he is saying that he brought it to the forefront of people’s minds, and that it is a core belief in Mormonism. And that the difference is In the details, This article was meant to bright to light the SIMILARITIES in historical Christianity, the values of the nation and the values of Mormonism
Why is this an argument about Joseph Smith. His point is that by understanding the not so odd and basic beliefs of mormons, including a deeply routed and ingrained resolve for personal freedom, was Mitt Romney’s driving force. Yet people won’t vote for him. Makes sense to me! Excuse the sarcasm. Now look what we have. People being forced to buy healthcare and forced to lose the healthcare that they have. Forced is an important word here. It usually means that a personal freedom has been lost.
The choice America has made here reminds me of Esau. The bowl of pottage is free cell phones, student loan forgiveness (only for NPO employees) and free contraception. We want freedom, but if you can tempt with a shiny object of today, it makes freedom of tomorrow appear to be a low price. Poor unfortunate souls
Amen! I have often thought the exact same thing,
Emily Thompson says
We hold these truths to be self-eviden*t*.
I see this is in a slightly different way-Mormonism began in America AFTER the Revolutionary War. It is a very American religion. Freedom would off course be a part of the theology. However, just like with America, the Mormon church does not have a perfect record with recognizing people of all races as equals. And, I personally do not see the Republican Party as having a monopoly on freedom.
Mormonism is based on the teachings of ancient scriptures (The Bible and Book of Mormon) and is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Yes, the circumstances following the Revolutionary War made this restoration possible, but that does not mean that it was created in America, nor that is based on American beliefs necessarily. The doctrines taught in the Mormon church have roots that far pre-date the establishment of this country.
Interesting article. Just one question: if we are all created equally, and have free agency, then why ban things that you may not agree with for everyone else. I.e. gay marriage, abortion(not a fan, but I do believe a women has the right to choose.), etc. It seems that Mormons are very concerned about liberty when it affects them, not so much when it affects others. Just my opinion, but it seems like a double standard.
David: You pose the question of Why make anything unlawful in a liberty-based society, and name some specifics–abortion and gay marriage. The answer is that in order for a society to thrive, it must abide by agreed-upon rules. If we are to accept the family as the basic unit of our society (something challenged by socialism), then we must nurture the concept of father + mother + children. Gay marriage undermines the very foundation of this society–and killing children before they’re born certainly does as well. As a society we outlaw murder. Sorry if that infringes on someone’s personal liberty, but killing children is the ultimate infringement. Most of the children that are murdered in this way are black, and the race is dying as a result–and that is genocide. Free agency must be circumscribed so that it does not infringe on the free agency of others–always a delicate balancing act. Moral standards based on God’s instructions to us also must be considered in these matters. We hope this is helpful.
I understand the Editor’s response, but not everyone believes in God; therefore, imposing standards based on Christian, or even Biblical principles, is infringing on the rights of non-believers. Also, it is not illegal for people to get divorced or marry people who are incompatible…that definitely undermines family life so your argument on gay marriage doesn’t fly. If we really wanted to start using God’s instructions in the creation of laws, there would be a lot of people in jail right now.
There are many countries where people who do not believe in God can live–but this nation was established specifically for and by those who sought the freedom to worship God as they desired. It was specifically founded by Christians, on Christian beliefs and standards. You are correct that the laws do not condemn every anti-family practice in this country–as we said, there is a balance of interests in the laws established by the Founders–and believe me, the Founders did not condone or intend the legalization of gay marriage, or anything that was so obviously abhorrent to their sense of right and wrong. Crystal–your modern leftist talking points may fly in your circles, but among those who are serious about the survival of society (unlike those who have reached their zenith only to crumble under the weight of your philosophies), your arguments are backward and poorly thought out.
Kami Nelson says
David and Crystal:
Liberty is not the same as anarchy – there have to be just laws in an ordered society. Which laws are just and necessary is the question here. In our society – a republic – we have a system for the people to determine which laws they believe to be just and necessary to keep society ordered. Those of us who are religious are not imposing our beliefs on anyone, we are simply requesting the same freedom as anyone – to be able to speak our mind in the public square about which laws we believe to be good for society, just as the rest of you are able to do. Like anyone, when we make our argument for those laws and beliefs we wish to be the foundation of our society, we hope that the majority will agree with us and establish those laws by the system established in a republic. Sometimes that does and sometimes it doesn’t happen. Even if we wished to, we do not have the ability to “impose” our beliefs on anyone – aka, force society to comply with us in spite of the majority disagreeing. Such an act of imposing our will on others would require us to use a position of legal authority unconstitutionally, contrary to the way the republic is set up and contrary to the will of the majority (such as, for instance, a judge declaring a state’s constitutional amendment to be illegal even though the majority voted for it and made it part of their constitution, as was the case in California when judges imposed their pro-homosexual-marriage view on tens of thousands who wanted homosexual marriage to not be legal in their state. That is what “imposing” actually looks like).
I’m going to look up cases where a divorcee tried to sue a minister for not divorcing them, and then look up cases where gays tried to threaten liberty of those who wouldn’t participate in that. I wonder which will yield more results. Live and let live: even the gays, but some just can’t stop at freedom and are out to punish. Any political movement that punishes and takes others captive must be resisted
Fundamental question: when did being gay go from a sexual orientation to an ethnicity? Weird. Not the same as civil rights for blacks or women’s sufferage. I was born female. Until science can prove without a doubt that people are born gay. Marriage and “gay rights” doesn’t fly.
If the law is to treat men equal to women then if a woman can be united with a man, then so can a man. It’s not a marriage. I myself have doubts about our fundamental truth that all are equal, but so many other freedoms are preserved under that philosophy I uphold it on detail.
This is exactly the type of misinformed ‘education’ our site is dedicated to remedy. First–All citizens are to be treated as equals under the law–that’s the equality part. Second–Marriage is a God-given institution, founded for the purpose of forming a family bond, for the consistent rearing of children (not the ‘rearing’ of men). Without the element of children, marriage has no real value to humanity. Gay unions are purely sexual, and lack everything that constitutes marriage as given of God. This condemnation is not limited to gay unions–all promiscuity is abhorrent to the true order of marriage, and undermines society and decent culture. Of course liberals seek the legitimacy of gay marriage–not because they believe in marriage, but because they don’t, and it’s their goal to undermine it to the point of destruction. PUBLIUS
I’m Mormon if you haven’t been following. I am not misinformed. I just have different political persuading a than you. Homosexuality is still a sin, but illegalizing immoral behavior would also limit everyone’s freedom.
In fact, most sins are illegal activity. Stealing, murder, rape, incest–we have made thousands of activities illegal. Leftists have a maxim–you can’t legislate morality. Like most of what leftists say, it is a lie. Almost all of our statutes are in place to enforce moral conduct in society. They say it because they wish to cause the decline of society, so they can replace it with their Godless version of society–the kind you’ve seen in communist countries in the past 100 years. And yea, laws limit freedom. For hundreds of years this country thrived when we limited our laws to establishing moral conduct in society. Now, however, leftists are rapidly expanding laws that limit personal freedoms and undermine moral societal norms. Wake up. Stop being a Kingman, and become a Freeman as the LDS scriptures clearly teach. Stop calling evil good, and good evil, all in the name of some misperceived sense of fairness. The farther we stray from God and His teachings as a country, the worse our social environment will become–as is evident for decades now.
One, you cannot pigeonhole all Mormons as conservative republicans. A small, yet very vocal percentage voted democrat. I, for one, am a libertarian Mormon. Hence, I disagree with some ways the Mormon majority votes also. I firmly believe in the Constitution. And my basic philosophy is, if it violates someone else’s “greater” right, then it should be illegal. If not, then even if it is immoral, it does not necessarily need to be illegal. I am probably one of the few Mormons in California who did not support Proposition 8. But abortion–the fetus’s right to life out trumps a woman’s right to privacy. The argument I always hear is–“Don’t force your beliefs on us”. (In this case that life begins at conception). So the counter argument is the same. Why do we have to accept your beliefs as the rule? (that life begins at birth). The truth is no one knows for certain when life begins. Liberals say with breath. Heartbeats are heard as early as three weeks in the first trimester and brain activity even earlier. My point in this area is–choose the side of caution–would it not be better to prevent the murder of several innocent babies, if life does begin at conception, than to stop violating the privacy of women, 99% of who voluntarily put themselves in this position. It is sort of the same as capital punishment–Isn’t it better that one man who may be innocent (as we have seen several on death row) not be killed than several guilty men be killed. By the way–this is one area where as a libertarian I lean liberal–I am against the death penalty. I also lean left on gay unions (marriage should be between man and woman, but I do not believe that homosexuals should be denied benefits related to marriage, whether they be insurance, employment or death benefits). Do I find homosexuality immoral? Yes. Do I think that two consenting adults violate anyone else’s rights with this relationship? No. So why should it be illegal? I lean far right fiscally and abortion is my keystone issue. So I have voted republican nationally/state every year. Locally I vote for the person, not for the party. I loved this article because it outlined a key LDS principal in a logical fashion. I also found a majority of the comments well written and non-abusive–as I expected the complete opposite.
Sterility is not equal to fertility.
It is that simple. Inherently sterile relationships have no objective import for society. Zero.
Their only reference is inward, subjective, and they by claiming that this is somehow “equal” to inherently fertile relationships, they eliminate the objective meaning of sexual relations. They neutralize all meaning –and any interest the state should have in protecting marriage. The only reason the state is in the business of regulating our sexual relationships is because the state has responsibilities toward the offspring. Society/the state are interested in promoting natural and stable homes for the good of all.
“Progressives” don’t like admitting this, but fertility is the whole point of sex and ‘sexuality’ and gender. It is the only objective meaning behind sex; all else is strictly subjective, and this is the only reason all societies have insisted on protecting it with both ritual and taboo, and even law. It is the height of hypocrisy that those who are so renowned for wanting the govt. out of their bedrooms, to allow them to do whatever they want, now want the govt. to sanction and protect what they do, even thought they offer no benefit to the common good.
It’s all about GENERATIVITY; this is literally what keeps the world going! We generate the next generation by joining our genitals. This is science! And it is very simple; anyone who passed 5th grade biology gets it. But ideology can trump almost anything.
I am a Mormon And I really appreciate the way you logically present and even defend our theology. Thank you. It’s often hard when you feel like the rest of the world hates you.
“The church does not object to rights (already established in California) regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights, so long as these do not infringe on the integrity of the family or the constitutional rights of churches and their adherents to administer and practice their religion free from government interference,”
The church stands for legal liberty of all people. We also stand for truth. You may legislate that Sodomy is Procreation and Cohabitation is Marriage, but it doesn’t make it so. Your argument is identical to that of ours: have your freedom, but do not impede mine.
Theologically sexual relations of any kind are “banned” as you say for all of God’s children across the board male or female, gay, bi or straight, until sanctified by marriage, following God’s commandment to be one with your spouse and to procreate. Outside that scenario it is sin, which all are still free to do, but we believe that sin has an additional consequence of eternal captivity. We do believe Homosexuality practices are sin, which you again are free to chose, as I am free to teach that we believe mastering resistance to temptation will lead to greater joy.
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints acknowledges that same-sex attraction is a sensitive issue which requires kindness, compassion, and understanding.”
“n short, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints affirms the centrality of doctrines relating to human sexuality and gender as well as the sanctity and significance of marriage as the union of a man and a woman.2 However, the Church firmly believes that all people are equally beloved children of God and deserve to be treated with love and respect.”
another David says
David, it’s not a matter of liberty, it’s a matter of differing philosophy. Mormons haven’t tried to make homosexuality a crime or anything, or even fought against civil unions and the right for gay people to be together, Mormons simply fought for the specific definition of marriage between a man and a woman because it’s something believed to be a sacred and eternal principal.
Mormons have also not tried to ban abortion, from a legal stand point. Like many Christian religions, Mormons often believe it wrong because they hold human life sacred in all its forms, but it is also recognized as a medical procedure that can be necessary at times.
I don’t agree that you can call that hypocrisy. One was just arguing over a definition. The other isn’t even a legal issue.
First of all I would like to congratulate the author of this article for actually doing research before writing. He definitely deserves a raise!!! I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and was not offended by this article at all. It takes a lot more to offend me than an article anyway. This author hit the nail directly on the head. The war that happened in heaven has continued and is still happening here on earth. Do you ever wonder why men always try to enslave and take away the rights of other men over and over again throughout history?? Its all about our FREEDOM!!
This article is very clear and explains the LDS understanding of agency very well. This explanation is VERY good! To the writer- in no way do I find any of this offensive. The point you have made is exactly how I feel politically. God intended for us to have our agency- the freedom to choose. Exactly as you said, this is a battle that we have fought for since before we even came to this Earth. Anything would take away our agency is something we want to avoid. That could be political people who decide we can no longer do something, or that we must do something we don’t feel right about doing. Or it could be choices we make that limit our future choices. We should always be able to choose for ourselves. I really appreciate this article. It sums up nicely how I feel about all of this and I hope that others who may feel differently will at least understand why I, and other people similar to me, feel this way. Thank you.
I enjoyed this article very much, and like many of the readers I found the author’s attempt at a clear, straightforward presentation of LDS Doctrine to be refreshing. Especially knowing that he had done his research when preparing the piece, unlike so many writers these days.
But I have been disturbed by the bulk of the audience, the LDS audience, reaction to it. The Editor was not trying to educate the world about the mission of Joseph Smith and the teachings of the Restored Gospel. This was not a Conference Report, despite the picture of the Salt Lake Temple in the corner. In Publius’ own words from the commentary section on March 26, “The point of this article is that LDS Church members tend to be political conservatives due to their religious beliefs in free agency, individualism and personal accountability. We find it strange that most of the numerous comments on this article fail to understand this central theme.”
He took a general understanding of our beliefs–a couple of details he got wrong, BTW, like the statement that Satan was going to force everybody to live righteously. Surprise! All Moses 4 says is that Satan “sought to destroy the agency of man,” whatever that means, and Abraham 3:27 has him volunteering and being rejected. That’s it. The idea that what it meant for him to “destroy the agency of man” was to force everyone to live righteously comes from an old musical. That musical created so much folk-doctrine the Church is still untangling from it.
I say all this just to remind people that Federalist Press had their own theme they were working with, and they looked at Mormons through a lens meant to help them see what made Mormons fit that theme.
That’s all this article was. A very good article, but not a Conference Talk. Not a missionary tract.
Robert C. says
You are quite right. It’s not a sermon or a tract but a political article. I do appreciate the level of research and understanding of the OA, even if their were a couple of inaccuracies.
The “forcing everybody to live righteously” is still quite pervasive in mormon culture, as is “free agency”. It’s simply “agency”. We must still pay for the consequences of the choices we make. Freely given, but not “free”. The inclusion of these two references makes me believe that the OA talked with actual members or missionaries. Better sources than other articles I’ve read. So plus one there despite the errors.
I did like how it showed that race and religion still taint the minds of men and women despite the words on their lips without shoving it in our faces. The omission of party names helped to focus the article less on the politics of the candidates and more on the contradictory nature of voters especially when it came to race and religion.
JEN G. says
GuyFromtheWineCountry, I’m not going to disagree with you, because I’m not sure you’re wrong, but I would like your take on how Satan would have destroyed our agency.
I’m involved in a local relocation, so all I have to type on is a smartphone for the time being, so I beg your pardon.
Though I myself did not claim satan could destroy our agency, only that he has no power to save us as he claimed in the council in heaven. And he had (and has) no power because he wanted to do it without and in spite of our agency. It is the scripture in Moses 4 which says that he “sought to” destroy our agency. It doesn’t say he succeeded. Even then, it gives no details, and I am uncomfortable with speculation particularly where pre-earth life is concerned.
Mormon doctrine is clear that Satan tried to destroy human agency, and now seeks to undermine the Plan of Salvation by turning man’s free agency against him and leading men captive into snares he has set in place, so man is unqualified to return to a Celestial glory. Satan has many methods of destroying quality of life, and narrowing our range of options to do good in life, or to even choose good over evil. Historically, he uses force (as he attempted in heaven) to narrow our opportunities. That force is often political–Cain and his secret combinations, empires, monarchs, socialism-communism-fascism, etc. The article merely points out the spiritual reasons the saints on earth–those who seek to follow God’s will for them–reject totalitarian forms of government, and seek righteous leaders who afford them the greatest amount of individual liberty to live lives in peace. Of course, a society filled with rampant wickedness must be limited by laws based on morality, but government intrusion and supervision must be limited to laws that encourage goodness and kindness, not those that dictate and prevent good works. It is a delicate balance, but one that was presented in the Constitution of the US, which God has declared that He personally inspired. Those who attempt to take this nation away from its Constitutional roots and replace it with socialism or any other dictatorial form of government are recognized as Anti-Christ by the followers of God.
Nathan Borup says
This article was written right on. Way to go for publishing a non-bias article about the Mormons. Just want to add that the war in heaven hasn’t ended… it has been extended to this earth-life. That is why satan tries to tempt us, it is to take away our liberty and bind us in chains
Thought you might find this interesting.
M Kathryn Thomson says
Thank you for actually doing your research. I have rarely ever seen someone outside of my faith write about it and actually be quite this accurate. Spot on.
No offense here. I have always seen the the correlation between our beliefs and the Founding Fathers’ ideas on liberty.
It’s really that simple..The gospel is plain and that makes it more enjoyable friends.
Please see my little blog. http://www.lastdaysigns.blogspot.com
Excellent explanation and addresses my political leanings very closely. Which may make you surprised to hear that although Mormon I believe individuals have a right to choose to love someone who is the same gender just as they are free to choose to smoke. I personally am equally grossed out by Homosexual practices as well as smoking which I think is regardless to my being Mormon. It is the Liberty we are losing that I’m concerned about. The Bible evidences the danger of our course on more than a theological standpoint. Anthropologically and historically you’ll see that people get wealthy, comfortable, entitled, accepting, then apathetic to despotic rulers and then find themselves prisoners as a society to an enemy culture. Egypt an the Hebrews, Babylon and Israel, Hitler a the Jews and now a biblical reference describes our culture best. “Ripe for destruction” they didn’t listen to Jeremiah, they didn’t listen to Isaiah, and they won’t listen to our living Prophet today. We believe that account will be reconciled after we die. In the meantime God calls the believers to trust him and Change.
One very interesting aspect of this belief in a war in heaven prior to us coming to earth is that the followers of satan did not go though a veil of forgetfulness and they are here on earth and as far as they are concerned that war has continued and they are going after as many of us as they can. How do they do that? They try to tempt and pull us away from Jesus Christ, belief in God, faith and liberty and towards sin, evil and spiritual slavery. We try and put on the whole armor of God and go into battle every day by living the gospel of Jesus Christ and sharing it with anyone who will listen. Not to change their good beliefs but to introduce them to the concept that God has once again called prophets to lead and guide His people in preparation for the second coming of his son, Jesus Christ.
This article needs no apologies to anyone who is LDS. If there is any one or any church that has a better explanation of how Satan came to exist, or what role he plays in mortal life then we should hear about it. This explanation makes so much sense. Especially when the Bible offers so much support to this doctrine. Satans role in life is as important as is the role of the Savior. Without opposition in all things we would not need to make choices on good or evil. There would be no right or wrong. God allows Satan and his doctrine to exist so that we can assert our selves either on one side or the other. We will be accountable for all that we choose to do.
Don, what happened in the pre-earth life is interesting, to say the least, and very important. However, “satan’s role in life is” not “as important as is the role of the Savior”. God asked for volunteers to be the Savior, not a Savior and an Advisory. He never intended or even wanted Lucifer to rebel. He is his son and wanted him to be exalted as just like he wanted everyone else to be. Lucifer made his decision, which shows we had agency in the pre-earth life. Thus, before the war we could chose between right and wrong, even in God’s presence. If Lucifer never rebelled we would still have agency to chose between obeying God’s commandments and anything else. The fact that he and the spirits that followed him are here make it even harder for us to choose what is right because of the constant onslaught of temptation and influence they produce. I mean no disrespect. I just don’t want others to who aren’t familiar with our beliefs to get confused.
Lucifer did not offer forced righteousness. Who likes to be told to do all the time? Same up there I am sure. He did offer universal salvation. Didn’t say how. His plan is taught in many Protestant churches.
Harry Reid is also Mormon, how much more liberty has he given us? I am a Mormon, supported Mitt, but not all Mormons are alike, but 80% of them (us) lean more conservative/libertarian, Reid is an outlier.
Thank You for spending time with research and accurately describing the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Wonderful comparisons. Vote for somebody that your own beliefs support, LIBERTY! Less Government and Power!
Thank you for the research and thought you put into this. People are always writing about this religion without really knowing what they’re talking about.
I am Mormon and you shouldn’t fear offending any members by this article. I think it is a very true and valid point. Part of the doctrine of Mormonism, in my own view and Mormon life, is drawing similarities and adapting it to everyday temporal life. Great article!
Its hard to find an accurate account of what we “Mormons” believe, but that description was very well done. Good article.
Brandon McBride says
An accurate count isn’t hard to find, but an honest account is. Mormons are usually more than willing to tell you about what they believe!
YOU’REOOOOO CUTE. My family and I were sitting in a restraunt in Fallon NV, when my 5 yr oldson asked…. “mommy, Why are there locked doors under all of the slot machines?” We explained that, contrary to popular belief, slot machines do NOT ‘fill up’ and kick loose all of the money inside. They are pre-programmed to allow a certian amount in an upper compartment to fall into the ‘winners’ tray when the computer allows a ‘jackpot’. The locked door protects a five gallon bucket that all of the change falls into while people are feeding the slots. Son asked “do people know this?” we told him that most don’t. He thought on it for a moment and declared “Then…. they are making deformed incisions.” How astute that a five year old would know that you can’t make an intelligent decision whithout being informed!!!! That, my dear spirit sister, is why they knock on your door. I am GLAD they knocked on mine.
That literally made no sense, whatsoever.
Forrest Phelps-Cook says
Why would you think it doesn’t make sense? To me, it makes PERFECT sense and explains “where we came from, why we are here and where we are going”.
I have reread this article and haven’t found where it talks about “abuse” spiritually or otherwise. Missionaries knock on doors to tell you about another testament of Jesus Christ than just the Bible. I have a hard time understanding why knowledge of Jesus would be wrong. Many Latter-day Saints go to other churches with their non member families. We weren’t struck down from Heaven the way some people think they would if they attended the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I also wonder why people don’t think we are Christians. Have they looked at the name of our Church? We also study the Bible as other Christians do. The Book of Mormon is a historical record of people that came to the Americas (this includes North, Central, and South America) and their struggles to live a righteous life so they can go home to be with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. It’s a good read. Try it some time and you might just like it if you read with an open mind and heart. People are no longer killed because they read it so you have no need to fear anything.
There is one thing I would hope to help clear up. Mormons aren’t perfect, and people make mistakes. when people mention that Mormons “Look down” on people, please keep in mind that they aren’t perfect, I don’t know any one group in ANY religion who are a perfect people. and just because there are those who aren’t trying to do what they should, despite what they say that they believe, does not mean that they are doing what the church teaches.
Forrest Phelps-Cook says
I have been a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints all of my life. I have not been an active member all of my life, however; but my testimony of the truthfulness has never wavered. I now live in the South, and here, the predominant religions are Baptist and Evangelical. Many of the members of these churches look down on US, which proves there are imperfect humans in EVERY religion.
I find it difficult to accept your argument which you based on Mormon beliefs. Although it is interesting to learn about Mormonism and how it could hypothetically influence a politician in his political beliefs, it’s not set-in-stone fact that this is the case.
I, too, know many Mormons, and they are very nice people. An argument you could have used was how the Mormon religion teaches morality, kindness, understanding and forgiveness, and that these are all excellent attributes one would want in their future president. The base of your article is comparing religion to government and politics: two things which history has proven over and over do not mix well.
Also, it is nice that you highlighted a good aspect of Mormonism in your one example of what they believe. I know from experience that Mormons can also be very exclusive to only other Mormons. I also know from experience that they are the only religion to ever knock and my door and try to get me to believe what they believe. Does this sound like they want me to choose what I want to do for myself, because “God intended for humans to be free to make our own choices”? To me, it sounds like they think I am in the wrong for not believing what they believe. To wrap it up, I know from experience that even devout Christians who dedicate their lives to serving God are still not right or acceptable to Mormons.
And lastly, I would like to make an assumption about you, the author: you are a white, possibly male, possibly religious Republican. Which there is nothing wrong with, our country was founded on these kind of people. But I am a white, female, non-religious Democrat, and if your intent was to make people think “Hm, maybe I should have voted for Romney”, it didn’t work on this gal. I would have loved to see different commentary on why else Romney would have been a great president, as I do like to think of myself as open-minded. [But yes, I have kept in mind that this article is titled “The Mormon Effect”. Still, some other reasons why Romney rules would have been appreciated.]
We knock on your doors to give you the opportunity to learn more, we give up our time because we feel you will be more happy and its testimony that we act on what we believe.
laurie monahan says
Wow, your comments seem to defy logic.
Mormons Missionaries think you aren’t acceptable that’s why they try to convert you to Mormonism? Mormons exclude other people? Really? Is that why they give up two years of their lives, and pay for those years of living expenses themselves, while not earning money or going to school, so they can share the gospel with everyone all over the world and serve a two year mission?
You are free to reject Mormons and Mormonism, but your comments just don’t make sense.
And your last paragraph about the author should have written about Romney instead of what Mormons believe is a little bit controlling yourself my dear.
I served for 2 years in Japan. I don’t know if you are or are not LDS but it was the hardest thing I had to do. Leaving my family, my home, and my friends. I was scared as a teenager to travel to a foreign country I knew nothing about. Missionaries may SEEM confident and may act improperly but believe me, when you leave all that you love for something you love greater based on faith, it’s hard. I didn’t know the language, was in the middle of nowhere walking for 6 hours in 100 degree heat with 90% humidity because I wanted people to have the chance to talk with us. We don’t want ANYONE to feel like a project. We just believe that every SINGLE one of our Heavenly Father’s children deserve the OPPORTUNITY to take our lessons and become a member. If they are ready, they take the lessons; if not, then we knock on the next door and the next in order to give as many human beings the opportunity.
Way to go, Spencer! I thank you for the perspective you’ve given me :)
Jehovah’s Witnesses knock on doors..
Soooo. Now it is October, how did Obama work out?
Trust me, by knocking on door, mormons are in no way forcing anything on anyone. They are only offering the opportunity to teach and enlighten. Then people are given the ability to apply free agency to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, based on an spiritual experience through the power of the holy ghost which will testify of truth. That is the discussion of the article which I believe did a good job of describing. This country is quickly eliminating our ability to excercise free agency. People don’t grow by being forced to do things: ever. People develop and grow by making decisions and dealing the with consiquences, both good and bad.
Evidently there’s no amount of stupid that wouldn’t fit into the USA. Wow, Im speechless.
Think about the last time you voted in church.
Mormons vote in church all the time. They are asked to cast their vote for each person presented for an office or duty in the church. They take their votes very seriously, and no one votes frivolously.
It is not really a vote in the traditional sense. The person has been chosen. The congregation is then asked to SUSTAIN the person presented. If a person “votes” in the contrary it is noted. In private they are asked why they chose to not sustain the person. May lead to something, most likely not.
We certainly HOPE no one votes frivolously but….how would you know their intent?
I am glad an outsider was able to see and summarize a very simple and profound truth. This is something that dawned on me as a child. Now we wonder why Harry Reid dorsnt get it.
jen noury says
I have actually heard it said that harry reid (formerly of the Jewish faith) became a Mormon so that the LDS people in utah or maybe even in his state would like him. His actions & behaviors are exactly opposite of what the LDS faith teaches. What is sad to me is that he would so easily give up the faith he was born into & join another for seemingly political reasons. I wonder if he has any real convictions. As a member of the LDS faith, may I just say that most of us are nor fooled by him. Certainly God is not fooled by his decision to be baptized into His gospel restored here on eartg. harry reid definately does not represent LDS nor Chrisrian values for that matter.
Regular Guy says
Careful Jen. I’m a conservative and don’t care much for Reid’s political persuasions, but just because he’s often a political target for the Right doesn’t mean we can leap to the conclusion that “God is not fooled” by Reid’s joining of the LDS church.
If you want to specifically criticize Reid’s actions then go right ahead, but it’s never good to start passing judgements as to how God is assessing the situation. And it IS okay to be a Democrat and a Mormon.
Loved your explanation of the doctrine. You were clear, simple, respectful and unbiased. Thank you for that.
Though, I must say, the idea that the party that gave us the Patriot Act is the great defender of liberty makes me chuckle right out loud. I agree with your point, that socialism can take away our agency, but both sides of our political spectrum are at fault for weakening our liberties. Overall, the US as a whole is still one of the greatest places on Earth to enjoy liberty. So kudos to we the people for that.
PS. Thought you might be interested to know that we (later-day saints) strongly believe (dare I say, know) the Founding Fathers were inspired by God, and even visited a later-day saint Prophet after their deaths.
Liz: Thank you for your comment. One thing catches our eye–your assertion that the republican “party” equates with liberty and freedom from government interference, and therefore, your disappointment with the Patriot Act. In fact, the republican party is much more personal liberty oriented than the democrats (who have completely sold out to socialism), but the republicans have been weak and without conservative leadership, and have moved far to the left themselves. The point of this article is that LDS Church members tend to be political conservatives due to their religious beliefs in free agency, individualism and personal accountability. We find it strange that most of the numerous comments on this article fail to understand this central theme. Publius
Nice to read a good observation of the pre-mortal life tie in with the LDS ideals of liberty. Unfortunately I think you scared away half of your audience in the first 10 sentences with your heavy bias. Nevermind I just realized I’m on federalistpress.com.
Great article. Spot on
Lucifer was the first community organizer. His point was that he would take care of everything, we wouldn’t have to worry about anything, everyone would make it back (I.e. collective salvation) just give him the glory. There was already a plan in place, he just sought to rebel and turn things on its head.
I basically feel that Lucifer’s campaign and political promises would not have work at all. It would have been difficult to implement. In the end, Lucifer’s plan would have fail and the human race would have beem ultimately wasted. There would not have been a savior. The choice between Jesus and Lucifer also impacted the creation of Earth and the plan of implementing first man and first women. God knew it; therefore, God did not accept Lucifer’s plan. The bottom line: It Lucifer was selected nothing would have happen. God would have fail and cease to be God. So the choice between Jesus and Lucifer was a very very important decision.
Dave Duncan says
Couldn’t agree more. Just because Satan promised to save everyone doesn’t mean he COULD save ANYONE. But notice that he wanted the glory immediately–and promised to deliver the goods later, “I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor.”
Notice that his promise is the future tense, but his demand is in the present tense. Very politician-ish.
Stop. This is an excellent summary on doctrine. Please don’t cloud it with conjecture.
How is it conjecture to say Satan couldn’t save anybody? He could? Where is THAT written?
Forget in Latter-day Saint scripture, show me a single religious tradition anywhere that contemplates his existence that says he could. Jewish. Protestant. Catholic, Coptic. Orthodox. Muslim even. I’ll wait.
You can keep waiting. The original article was complete enough I find no value in letting you draw me into an argument that does not do anything with the end of clarifying faith, repentance, or baptism doctrine.
Oh, come on, this wasn’t an LDS Conference talk, this wasn’t even a report of a talk. This was a reporter summarizing their understanding of basic LDS beliefs. DON’T act like standing on the side of every jot & tittle of this article means you support the Brethren over Apostates.
But still, glad we’re on the same page about the impossibility for Satan to Save.
Vanessa Leavitt says
I am a Mormon and you are right. I do see a connection to our fight in heaven for free agency and politics today. I never want a government that would take away my choices. This is the exact reason I am a Conservative Republic.
Stephen M. Andrasko says
When America is no longer the land of the free and home of the brave, to whom will the rest of the world look for guidance?
To God! Nice article though.
ken mangum says
The one thing not mentioned is that Lucifer’s plan promised everything, but the secret is that it wouldn’t work. We can’t return to heaven as slaves or robots or untested beings. We can only return to God by developing character through service, sacrifice, and fully accepting Christ’s gospel and his atonement.
Even without this point, it is an excellent article.
Thanks for that important clarification. Right that we are not ‘robots for Jesus’ – no glory for God in that; true Godliness is in persuading us to be like Him, not just making it happen on His own.
I thought it was a fine article on the whole, thank you for working hard to get our LDS doctrine pretty much right (seems obvious that you did talk to one or more of us ‘active’ ones to get the proper representation).
One important item I think even LDS folk are mistaken about is that Lucifer/Satan wants to FORCE us into heaven. I don’t think that is quite the right understanding of it, especially as it relates to our condition of agency here in this earth life. Considering how the high powers of government tend to work, corollarily (word?) it seems to me that Satan simply wanted to do everything for us, making us lazy in essence, and needing to feed at his ‘teat’ for our whole being and sustenance, however you want to call it. Thus we would ‘honor’ Satan since he provides everything for us, and he would have power over us since we would be too weak/stupid to do anything ourselves. This is exactly the evil of socialism/communism – the gov organizing and promising to do all these things for us, and thus we in essence give them power over us, and honor them and treat them like our ‘savior’s.
The only way Satan can truly destroy agency is by us giving it up by being lazy/stupid. So the whole battle is for us to live the truth as administered by God through our toil (and Jesus’ toil of the Atonement) and progress to greatness becoming like God, or give up and become weaker than we have the potential of becoming. There is no force involved here, just whether we will live the truth.
Any thoughts on this? Hopefully it came out understandably enough.
JEN G. says
Interesting argument. It made me think. It made me want to go back and study the scriptures some more. I like that.
What a wonderful article. It’s so rare these days to fink people that take time to actually understand another’s point of view. There’s so much contention in the world even among members of the church as these comments illustrate. Is it really that hard to see how a “war in heaven” started? We Mormons need to be much more tolerant for those with different opinions and beliefs and way slower to preach about how much smarter we are with our enlightened doctrine. Why are we so eager to judge those who think differently? Why are we afraid to leave this to God?
I have been saying this for years! The longer I live the more I am convinced that which promotes freedom is of God and that which doesn’t, isn’t.
Nice article! No offense taken at all by this LDS person. In fact, I appreciate you representing the doctrine (and summarizing it) so well!
This is AWESOME, I am learning a lot more of my church’s doctrine right here than I could in a month of Sundays!
?Time to start paying attention and asking questions. Ask and you shall receive,knock and it shall be opened to you.
I think this article is great, and contains an enlightened description of the plan of salvation from a non-member of the LDS church. Very thoughtful and thought provoking analysis of the importance of defending liberty. Kudos to the author.
I don’t know if my opinion makes any difference here but I must simply say that I find nothing in the words or comments of this article to be offended by. I also am LDS and most of what he said strikes at the core of what I believe and hold to be true. It is simple, basic and clear. I would be surprised to find many people who could argue with it and since I don’t generally waste my time reviewing lots of comments that tend to bash on perceived errors or are just rude. I appreciate someone who has a forum, standing up and stating their piece and doing it without the slightest air of rudeness or harshness. It didn’t even feel slanted towards one side or the other. It only clearly states that people need to stand up for what they believe is true and fight for what is honest and beautiful. Our 13th article of faith taken from the words of Paul illustrate this point well I think.
We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.
Atalie Van Dam says
Atalie Van Dam says
I meant Darryl!!!
D. Jack says
We Mormons love liberty, we loved living freely with Heavenly Father before we were born, and fought to continue that freedom while here on Earth. Lucifer and his group failed to value accountability as a component of true liberty and rebelled against God when they realized that they could not live free and unaccountable at the same time. They were driven from the presence of God to the newly formed earth. When Adam and Eve were created physically in Eden, lucifer was already there as a spirit person (we beleive that our spirits are physically identical to our adult selves in a state of perfect age and health, but that a spirit body is less capable of accomplishing creative tasks, and incapable of reproduction) Lucifer appeared as a serpant to Eve. Even though Eve was empowered by a physical body, she was nieve to who lucifer was because she had been made to forget her pre-physical life when given a body. Lucifer knew the plan God intended, he also knew Eve because he was not under a veil of forgetfulness, he used that knowledge to manipulate Eve and initiated the fall that resulted in expulsion from the garden. Lucifer became satan and dedicated himself to tampering with God’s plan by tempting mortal souls to go against God. Heavenly Father knew that men would fail to live perfectly in the earth, he included weaknesses that ensured we would make mistakes. He wanted us to experience the pain of regret and the joy of forgiviness. Satan actually helps further Gods plan of testing us without realizing it… God provided for Jesus to be our savior even before Lucifer rebelled in heaven, the Savior was the central component of the plan because His effort brought about forgiviness and redemption. Today we fight the same battle, we are persuaded to follow Satan by worldly temptation while at the same time being called upon by God to follow the Saviors example. In every decision we face, we can ask, “who’s plan is furthered by my choice”. When freedom, personal accountability, forgiviness, and charity are increased we know it is a rightous choice. On the other hand when restrictions, abdications of responsibility, judgements of inferiority/ superiority, or uncharitable causes are furthered, we know satan’s plan would be progressed. Our life’s goal should be to assist God by working to choose the right and encourage others to do similarly by gentle persuasion that is free from satan’s methods of coercion and lies. We should think “What Would Jesus Do”:) -D. Jack, a life long member of the LDS church!!
Pam Hansen says
well done !
Joy Greig says
There are all kinds of ways this article is incomplete, but it is basically pretty representative. I guess I object to the implied premise that more government regulation AUTOMATICALLY = less freedom. Let’s take the whole GM food example. If there were more government regulations on labeling of GM content in foods, consumers would have the FREEDOM to choose the foods they want, GM or non-GM. Currently, no government regulation = no freedom for the consumer. The consumer is, in practical terms, FORCED to buy whatever is offered, unaware of its nature. So I’m just saying, it’s not such a simple equation as implied in this article, or as many LDS see it, politically.
Joy: We understand what you’re saying, but disagree with the premise that freedom comes through government. Certainly, the better informed we are, the more freedom we enjoy in the choices we make. However, we are free to choose from a wide array of products in this country, unlike in socialistic countries, and as a result, we are not compelled to buy a single type or brand of anything. The less government involvement, the better off we are . . . generally speaking. However, there are certain services that we have collectively agreed to have government provide. We have agreed to pay for these through taxation, and to enumerate what powers government will be granted to perform those services. As long as this is tightly controlled, we are well served. There is a reason the Father of our Country said this: “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.” George Washington
I understand your point Joy. I think the problem is less that we need to force GM labeling as allowing labeling. Because government and big business collude we get terrible laws. Like not allowing in many cases a non-GM food. If those were cleaned out, non-GM foods would always label since it is a selling point and the consumer could assume if it is not labelled, it is GM.
Wow. So many of my fellow Latter-day Saints seemed to have missed the point of this piece.
This wasn’t meant as an exegesis. It wasn’t intended to explore the finer points of deep, Skousen-esque doctrine. It was intended to give a brief (though complete) look at a central tenet of our belief system and let the anti-Mormon naysayers know how that fits with their theology and how it fits our traditional political leaning.
This wasn’t meant to be as an authoritative description of doctrine as written by our own general authorities, but as a brief commentary about our political relevance.
So, Brother Jensen, on behalf of my fellow LDS brethren and sistren (it SHOULD be a word) who’ve missed your point, I offer my apologies. On behalf of us all, thank you for defending our political voice and declaring why our votes matter. After all, countless wars have been fought over this issue.
I get a little tired of the rhetoric coming from some LDS folk who like to think that all poor people feel entitled or want a handout or don’t want to work. Many people on public assistance have mental health issues etc. I am 50 years old and currently underemployed. To this day I practically beg friends and people I meet to hire me to do such things as clean their house, scrub floors, etc. Yes, there may be some that truly don’t want to work but I believe that group is much smaller than we think. I go nuts without a job and tend to clean my house, organize things that i can’t get to when I work full time. I am glad that these self righteous church members do all that they do but they should not judge others so harshly when they have no idea of what others truly suffer from mentally, emotionally, etc. I have witnessed some of these types actually underpay or rip people off for the sake of being good negotiators, frugal, etc. As LDS people we should spread more love and tolerance than judgement and criticism.
Thank you for your comment. We should be more tolerant and not judge people based on what we see of their lives.
Wow, we are all like that
Great job on this article. Your parallel is exactly on point. The battle for liberty is eternal and pre-dates earth life. It’s not hard to see that one party advocates more control of us through government than the other (i.e., taking away our agency/liberty). I’ll leave it there.
Thank you for explaining the LDS doctrine of “Pre-earth life” I wish that Christians through out the world would understand that it is not in conflict with The Bible as many claim.
The idea of the Pre-earth life existence of human spirits was one of the key arguments between the Pharisees and the Sadducees.
Rosie Lewis says
Pre-earth life is alluded to many times in the bible – Ecclesiastes 12:7 is just ONE example.
This scripture talks about the spirit “Returning” to God after death. You can’t return to a place you have never been before. Pre-earth life is one of the beautiful concepts of the LDS religion… and I don’t know of ONE Christian faith that beleives this. I’ve talked to many Christian friends about it – they think this concept is deluded and “wrong”… I find that sad.
Well, Mr. Jensen, you certainly have received an “ear-full” from all of us! LOL You can see our doctrine of “choice” at work. I thank you, also, for clearly putting a lot of time and care into trying to understand our doctrine. This article was not offensive at all. :o}
I’m of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints…”Mormon Faith”. You did a great job. This is exactly how I feel about liberty. It’s a passion for people of my faith. (I would make only one small adjustment. Jesus was the chosen one from the beginning to be the Savoir of the world. He showed his willingness by saying, “Here I am, send me.” Satan just tried to butt in.) Thanks for the awesome article.
David Robinson says
Hi there I’m a mormon, and while i don’t agree with the main thrust of your argument, I’m grateful and respect your efforts to understand and appreciate my beliefs! Thanks!
Thank you so much for your article. As a member of the church, this illustrates what we believe so well.
Wow, Wow & Wow….finally, an open minded journalist that gets it…..Wow!
Curtis S says
What a fanatic article. Thank you for your open mind and research.
Curtis S, I’m guessing that you meant “fantastic” instead of “fanatic”, right?
Central Texan says
There are a few points others have made to lend better understanding to the nature of God’s plan and what Lucifer was offering in opposition to God’s plan. Allow me to offer a few thoughts of my own.
I don’t think “liberty” — in and of itself — was the ultimate principle being fought over. Liberty (freedom of choice or agency) was only the environment within which God’s plan would have to operate — so yes, it is a necessary component — but the key is that we have an environment in which we could actually become more like God. Book of Mormon prophet Lehi, as recorded in 2 Nephi chapter 2, explained what this agency or liberty was all about. God’s plan required something called the “law”, or in other words a standard of righteousness or obedience. “Sin” was acting in opposition to the law while “righteousness” was freely choosing to live in accordance with the law. Righteousness, then, was freely and deliberately choosing to do right, in an environment that offered real choices to do otherwise.
Lucifer’s plan had to be appealing; I’m sure he never said anything about forcing anyone or taking away liberty. His pitch was probably to attack the exigency of the “law.” The law, he might have argued, was what stood in the way of us all returning to live with, and like, God. By doing away with the necessity and the constraints of the law, all could thus return without sin. And we wouldn’t have to worry about a “Redeemer” or anything like that.
Indeed, as Lehi affirms, without law there would have been no sin.
But without law neither would there be any righteousness, and thus this whole mortal existence would have been “created for a thing of naught; wherefore there would have been no purpose in the end of its creation” (2 Nephi 2:12) and God’s purposes for us also would have been destroyed. By dispensing with the law, Lucifer would indeed eliminate our agency, for there would be no standard or options to choose between.
Some opted for Lucifer’s seemingly easy way, and openly defied and fought against God in the process. But the majority of us at least realized it best to be on God’s side, and a good number of us recognized Lucifer’s plan would not accomplish God’s design for us — placing our faith in Christ that he would indeed fulfill his promise as our Redeemer.
Dear Central Texas:
I think that you missed his point. He is a nonmember and as such has a better understanding than most. In plain English that’s basically right on, with maybe a few changes. I too am a member of the church, and for the average person that’s a perfectly good explanation. Trying to impress people with deeper doctrine may not always be the right way to go. You need to relate with those with whom you speak , and your interpretation may not necessarily be right on. So I say, “Mike Jensen, you did an awesome job in your explanation !!!! I wish other people not of our faith had half the understanding that you do! Oh, by the way, would you like to talk to the missionaries to learn more?
Amy-Marie from OHIO
Central Texan says
Dear Amy-Marie from Ohio,
I was not trying to impress anyone, and I wasn’t intending to be critical of Mike Jensen’s article. I agree that it is very good. I was really just trying to add another dimension (my thoughts, as I said) to the ideas that some were touching on in their comments.
Max Nielsen says
This perspective is intriguing and insightful. It adds another dimension to the discussion. Thanks.
Pick up a copy if “Satans war on free agency” by Greg wright. You will find an amazing book that every Mormon needs to read to break through the dogmatic thoughts that Mormons believe in a “force plan”.. We do not. Truely an eye opening book that, given your response, I think you will enjoy. :)
“we do not.” we who? who do you mean?
Central Texan says
Thanks Jeremy, the book sounds intriguing.
And Max, When I re-read the posts I realized I had inadvertently borrowed your phrase “add[s] another dimension” in my response. Your comment was in my head at the time, I guess.
Liberty and the fight for it are a large part of the gospel.
Well, if you want to get technical, there really was only 1 plan. there was simpley the question of who would be the savior in this plan and what role would they play. the plan was to come to earth, receive a body and be tested. The savior had the birthright of being who he was, the rebelling started when he voluteered.
Atalie Van Dam says
Not true. Satan’s plan was entirely different – forcing us to be good and taking away our agency. The key part was he wanted the glory. Jesus on the other hand knew the importance of our agency trying our faith and having a Saviour to redeem all mankind if they would repent and accept such an offering. Jesus offered with glory be to the Father. Obviously two very different offerings!
Atalie, though this really isn’t the point of the article, I need to correct your doctrine. Scott has it right. As the reading in the Book of Abraham makes plain (3:27), the plan was presented by the Father (His plan), and The Son and Lucifer each volunteer for it one after the other. To which the Father in Heaven responds, “I will send the First.” Christ thus being chosen, “the second was angry” (verse 28).
Hunter Cowley says
Thank you very much for your kind comments, it means a lot. I’m 22 years old and just got back from serving 2 years of my life in Argentina teaching these same things and how much this knowledge has helped me. I stopped going to school, i saved up the money to live off of for 2 years, and l left everything behind. I talked to my family 4 times over the phone in those 2 years. l had to learn a new language, a new culture. That is how much my beliefs means to me. I wouldn’t trade it for the wealth of the world. Thank you for your positive comments
Maximilian Damacion Wilson says
I think y’all are using different definitions of “create” here. And, Nick is talking about something more subtle than spirit bodies.
Very well written and thank you for taking the time to understand our beliefs and not interject what others have said to be doctrine.
I’m a little surprised no one else commented on this part: In the article it states that GOD rejected Lucifer’s plan (see the first paragraph under the picture in the tabernacle). That’s not true. God’s CHILDREN each voted on/chose for themselves which plan they wanted to follow. Those that voted for/CHOSE (of their own free-will) to CHOOSE for ourselves while on earth would get to come to earth and receive a body,and then have a Savior make up the difference if we are truly repentant of any poor choices/sin. The others voted for/CHOSE the plan of “force.” See? We’ve been voting for eons! :)
Actually, Mel, though it may not be noted very often in Sunday School, Publius got that part right. Abraham 3:27 clearly has God rejecting satan as the Savior in favor of Christ.
Mr. Howe, I’ve been part of the Mormon church for nearly 40 years. I have never witnessed the “spiritual and emotional abuse” you speak of. In my immediate family, I have a sibling that hasn’t attended church in over a decade. I love that one. I had another who left the church for a time and then came back. Loved them before, during, and after. I have family members that have had children out of wedlock. Love them and their kids. Some of them smoke and drink. Still love them. This unconditional love is what I hear preached from the pulpits on Sunday. It is what I see practiced in most every case. I’m sorry if you have known those who felt they have been “spiritually and emotionally abused”. If this did occur, it is the fault of the abuser and has nothing to do with the Gospel of Jesus Christ that is taught to all members of our faith.
While you may have been hesitant to make this comparison, I think you did it beautifully. I was born and raised in the mormon faith and I found it uplifting and very insightful. Thank you for sharing what you have found.
OK, lets put all pieces together. Not only one part but the entire Book of Mormon (BoM) surely contains more than one piece of quote inscribed in it to explain actually what the whole purpose of God is for His true followers to side with him one day. I’ve learned as I am into depth without words by thoughtful studying the BoM that we need to put all pieces together to understand not the basics behind it. You can’t understand self advocacy it takes one to stand on the other side of the war, and the call to serve His country not all can understand but only by taking a different approach to free-agency you will get to learn more about what the evil eye is, and that God created each one of us in a unique manner to be led by Him to establish the Kingdom in new Jerusalem. For example, if someone refers to “black-skinned people” as found in the BoM one might assume allegedly within the context of racism it should be understood as a characterization of subjects; but it is not meant to offense, as a result of disobedience and unfaithfulness, and rebellion to God was fear among in the midst of children of God (Lamanites vs. Nephites) — kind of puzzle that shows symbols as hints to sound out the subject or sentence to be not read literally and be part of the true revelation — this what I’ve read in the BoM as a LDS so far though assumes that I am not a Christian because of my belief in these revealed truths behind evil eyes.
Hey, Sam, I’m a Mormon, but . . . what?
You are pretty much correct with what you wrote however, you left one important point out and it was this. The agency that Satan would shortcut is necessary for our growth and development and a child of God. Without is we would remain as an undeveloped spirit, denied eternal progression and thus unable to inherit the Kingdoms our Father has reserved for us. Many of us as parents have experienced some thing in this mortal sphere that is very similar when we have borne children that are mentally or physically challenged. The difference being, the challenged child I believe, is gauranteed to inherit kingdoms, probably because they were proven before mortality in that war in heaven, whereas the rest of us must finish proving our faithfulness in this mortal probation. God is truly our Father and loves us perfectly but can’t abide unclean things so it is our job to prove ourselve and take advantage of the gift of the Atonement of Christ. We then will inherit what we merit which will be a place in the heavens of some degree.
I believe you are completely accurate in this article; however, just to make clear. The way you talk of Lucifer’s plan you make it sound as if Jesus also had a plan. While this may or may not have been what you were trying to say, there were only two plans, God’s and Lucifer’s. Jesus merely submitted himself to the will of the father’s plan while Lucifer decided to create his own. Again I’m not bagging on the article at all I enjoyed it and believe it to be accurate but to any non Mormons out there I just wanted to make this clear. Otherwise, terrific article!
Maybe Romney would have had more votes if he didn’t only want to make the rich richer and leave the poor top fend for themselves…
Take a closer look at Romney’s life and you will see that this could not possibly be true. He has given both monetarily and thru time and service way beyond what would be comfortable to almost anyone. He may have made a statement that was incorrect and the media beat him up with it. But life is harder to “fake” than words – and Romney wanting to make “the poor fend for themselves”, does not jive with the evidence in his life. Too bad, he would have been one of the best and least self-serving presidents we have ever had.
I agree with Gary.
He does not want to make the rich richer, and the poor left to fend for themselves. He wants to help those who are willing to work, gain a better life. I’m sorry you feel like what you say is true, but please look into his background (meaning how he was raised, what he believes, and how he lives) before you judge him so harshly. Politics raises a lot of questions about the best of people.
There is nothing inherently evil or selfish about being rich. Mitt Romney is rich because he understands how to work, use money wisely, is not wasteful of it and knows how to use it for good. He received no salary for his time as governor or head of the Olympics. He wouldn’t be taking extravagant vacations on the taxpayers dime, because he knows the value of money, BECAUSE HE WORKED FOR IT. He helps people both with his money and with his time and efforts. He helps people by giving a hand UP, not a HANDOUT. That’s the Mitt Romney I wish more people could have seen.
I think President Benson said it best, “In the war in heaven the devil advocated absolute eternal security at the sacrifice of our freedom. Although there is nothing more desirable to a Latter-day Saint than eternal security in God’s presence, and although God knew, as did we, that some of us would not achieve this security if we were allowed our freedom–yet the very God of heaven, who has more mercy than us all, still decreed no guaranteed security except by a man’s own freedom of choice and individual initiative.
Today the devil as a wolf in a supposedly new suit of sheep’s clothing is enticing some men, both in and out of the Church, to parrot his line by advocating planned government guaranteed security programs at the expense of our liberties. Latter-day Saints should be reminded how and why they voted as they did in heaven. If some have decided to change their vote they should repent–throw their support on the side of freedom–and cease promoting this subversion.”
whoops, forgot to give the reference: http://scriptures.byu.edu/gettalk.php?ID=1165
The other aspect of Mormon theology you start down the path, but don’t cover is that Mormons believe we existed co-eternal with God in the beginning. Meaning he is not the ultimate author of us beings, he is a more capable all good proponent of our success and happiness. Though he provided an earth and plan for us to learn and grow, he did not create us per se ex nihilo. He is therefore responsible for evil, or satan being bad – if he had created it, he would ultimately be responsible for it. This gets mormons out of the “problem of evil” that religions face. A very strong theology.
Actually we do believe he created us and all things. He is our Heavenly Father, literally. He created our souls and our bodies. He is God. In every sense that he is to other Christians and he is my Heavenly Father.
Dan Reyes says
You are mistaken. God existed before we did. He created us and we lived with him as spirit children for an unknown length of time. God did not create evil either. Evil was and is conceived in the hearts of those who rebel against God’s will or who seek to counsel Him. It is a byproduct of the agency granted to every soul.
Nick you are incorrect. God did create us and we are his literal children.
Nick, Not so. You are off base in what you say.
How can you be so sure. Were you there when God created you? Who could possibly know this for a surety?
I will admit that my opinion of our nature and what I BELIEVE to be our nature is not provable, but you seem very sure on your opinion of our origin, please provide the necessary evidence to justify such surety.
DC 93:29 Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be.
“if God created our souls, He “could have prevented all sin by creating us with better natures and in more favourable surroundings. . . . Hence we should not be responsible for our sins to God.”27 Thomas Aquinas was one of the first theologians to recognize this problem when he admitted the logical difficulty of finding freedom in a universe where God is the first cause of everything—because, as Aristotle had reasoned, only that which is not created can be free.28 But if the soul is coeternal with God, as Joseph proposed, then the Gordian knot is severed.”
Read this speech – clearest description of what Joseph Smit taught regarding our nature and God.
“Lightning Out of Heaven”:
Mormons dont believe that God created Satan evil or any of the hosts of heaven. Neither the one third that followed Satan or the two thirds that followed God. Each of us has always had free will. We are who and what we are. Satan was evil because it is his nature to be so. God is not responsible for our intelligence or mindset or choices in any given thing. He and we and the third of the hosts of heaven and Satan has always had free will.
God does NOT create evil, man does. God has given us all the ability to choose for ourselves what we want to do. For example, if a someone steals from you is God stealing from you? No. It’s the man stole your money. God desires for all of us to always be our best possible selves. What we choose to do with our God-given choice of free will is up to us. Don’t blame God for evil, instead look at the gift He has given us to overcome evil: the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
Evil is a word that we made up to help us understand what something is with the absence of God in that person place or thing. Just as darkness is a made up word to help us understand the absence of light.
Don’t Mormons believe that there must be opposition in all things?
God cannot be anymore responsible for the free willed actions of His creation anymore than we hold a parent responsible for their child’s actions because they birthed them.
Check out Joseph Smith’s King Follett discourse. God created our spirit bodies. He did not create out intelligence. We’ve existed eternally, but not with a spirit body. Nick is correct in what he is saying. Heavenly Father found intelligence and developed the Plan of Salvation to which other intelligence could progress to His state. (that’s us.
Nick is correct. The intelligence of man is co-eternal with God. Intelligence or the light of truth was not created or made, neither indeed can be. Our heavenly father organized our spiritual bodies (we were spiritually begotten) in the likeness of his only begotten son, who is in his own likeness. Our intelligence existed before that. Please learn our doctrine before proclaiming it
Yes, the intelligence of man, but not man himself. The definition to create is to organize something new out of already existing materials which is what God did to create us and the earth.
Material cannot be made of nothing nor can it be destroyed. That is a law of science and creation. However matter can be changed and refined. All true science is true religion. But some things are theories and we have not been told exactly how God created us out of intelligence and other materials. We have a hard enough comprehending it now. The explanations given were very well done and can let non-Mormons or non-LDS understand the doctrine and nature of our relationship with God and with His son and the Savior Jesus the Redeemer or Christ. Some terms are said to deceive such as saying Christ and Satan are brothers. It is true only in that both were children of God as we were. Both were very intelligent but Satan wanted the Glory and to rule over us. Then we would never advance to our potential. We are as children. Then we must learn, grow and advance to teenagers and we gain in knowledge and we grow on and learn if we will and become adults by following the example of Christ and become more like him and more like our father. Yet it is our choice. God wants us to learn, follow and be more like Him and we do that by following Christ. We are happier. We work as we choose to do so. We help and love others. Pleasure isn’t happiness but love and joy is. Let,s face it Romney seemed to keep changing his mind. The problem is that he had to bow to too many tea party conservatives and make too many compromises to be elected.
Take a breath. All those accusing Nick of getting it wrong misunderstood his first post because it was, I’ll admit, garbled. He was trying to compare and contrast Mormon Theology with what I can only describe as Catholic or Protestant Theology.
God is our Father, and we were all in the beginning with Him. However, we were not created out of nothing any more that the world was. We were some form of “intelligence” (the scriptures and prophets are unclear on what that means) that God, in the process that made Him our Father, “organized” into His Spirit Children. (see Abraham 3:22-23)
In knowing this, we know that satan made his own choice to rebel against God. He did not do it as a mindless creation OF God.
Rick Johnson says
I found it interesting that you apologized to any Mormons you may have offended. There is nothing in the least offensive in your article, and you have it 100% correct. So many go to our detractors to get “information” about our beliefs. Thank you for seeking only the truth about us.
Excellent article! I was impressed by your respectful (and accurate!) representation of Mormon theology
I’m mormon and you got it %100 right. That is the eternal battle, choosing to live in captivity or choosing to be free. It is up to every one of us individually and it is determined every day by how we live our lives.
I am wondering why all of these comments seem to over look the fact that a man with these LDS beliefs is the Majority leader in the Senate. to often we forget that people of good will and love for God and County are in ALL Parties, ALL Races and ALL States. they may not vote the way you would, but then there is that agency thing poping up again, they did not have to.
You should read our article “A Failure to Excommunicate” https://federalistpress.com/a-failure-to-excommunicate-2.php
Harry Reid isn’t elected by the Mormons in Las Vegas. He’s elected by the liberals from the Northeast that have migrated to Vegas. The Mormons saw through him a long time ago.
I am a Mormon. Beautifully put! You summed up my feelings of our government and my god given agency perfectly.
Way to not post my comment because it does not agree or favour your article.
Emily Lemon says
Thank you for this fantastic article! You really nailed what LDS people believe. You may be interested to look further and read the Book of Mormon and see a whole history of a people who struggled to save liberty, especially Moroni, chief commander of the Nephite army, and his title of liberty; “In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children” Alma 46:12
The author does provide a refreshing summary of the LDS doctrine regarding the Plan of Salvation. Still, the War in Heaven was a fight for agency not a campaign of liberty (not capitalized, sorry). It wasn’t a political struggle; we weren’t voting Libertarian. I believe we fought for conscience and for the ability to determine if we would each follow God’s laws. I fought for the right to follow Christ and let him atone for my weakness. I fought for the opportunity to keep His commandments and to help my brothers and sisters: “When you are in the service of your fellow beings, you are only in the service of your God.”
What happens when liberty becomes an impediment to agency–when allowing people to pursue their greed corrupts and careens a nation toward crisis, when exercising our freedom limits others trying to exercise theirs? When is liberty just bullying by another name whether it is a neighbor, a neighboring country or a distant land?
That’s when I wonder about the proper role of government and the influence of religion. My religion informs me that my nation should assist the poor, not just the ones I choose to help out of charity. My faith teaches that it is wrong to oppress the poor and those of a different skin color, who are more often as a result of discrimination among the poor. My church governs my behavior with its laws. I sustain its principles and people with my voluntary, unimpeded, un-purchased consent. The Body of Christ covers all of its members, and the household of faith I know doesn’t know about “strangers and foreigners”. The Prince of Peace rules the Kingdom to which I belong, and is over “the Republic for which I stand”. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and Brother Romney did not get my vote. I could not vote for the Governor because of his positions on public assistance, on campaign finance, on health care, on immigration—on war, even as I tried to understand his shift on choice.
I watched the Governor abandon the moderate traditions long tolerated in his party. During the primaries, he seemed to keep conservative principles at arms length even as he embraced the furthest extremes of his party. Then as the general race tightened, I saw him moderate and mollify his positions, even as they clashed against his past assessments of the poor and his changing positions regarding war. Of course, he was at liberty to use his agency to best achieve his goals. I used mine not to vote for him.
I’m not happy with everything President Obama has done, but he is not president because he is black. He is not president because he gave elaborate gifts to the poor, to minorities, or to women. He is president because each man and woman who voted for him exercised a citizen’s agency. At least allow that those who voted for him considered issues ranging from the economy and prosperity to security and peace. He is president, because the majority think he is on their side, and that he understands what they need and what the country needs. It’s what we all need. It’s what conservatives and libertarians think that only they believe we need. It’s what this nation keeps democratically hammering out: Liberty, and its companion Equality. I believe the agency that makes both necessary is what I fought for eons ago, and on good days continue to.
(OK, I like capitalizing them too.)
Quietwrite: I fail to understand how executive orders and mandates and dictates maintain our agency (it’s not “free” agency as in free will, it is agency as in self accountability). The Democrat party, Mr. Obama especially, seem to not understand the concept of agency, freedoms, liberty, republic government (Yes this is a republic form of government not a democracy. There is a difference). I am neither a Republican nor a Democrat. I use my agency to determine if a candidate or candidates fit into the role of supporting freedoms and protecting my agency and my faith or, the opposite, of mandating me to support worldly views that are in opposition to God’s plan (ie abortion, homosexual agenda’s, socialist/communist/totalitarian views). Do you really see our future as lead by Mr Obama becoming somehow better when the debt is piling up and there are not enough so-called rich people to pay their “fair-share” (by the way if we took all of the rich people’s money from them it would not even pay a portion of the debt. AND the government is increasing spending each year!). I could go on about the Democrat lead push to infringe on the 2nd amendment to the Constitution, drone surveillance on U.S. soil etc. but I won’t now.
I fail to see how, when we compare the Democrat party’s “take care of everyone by law and mandate” that it aligns with God’s plan. It does not allow my choice or freedom to use agency to give to those in need, to love all my brothers and sisters of every color, to work to change bad things by Christian principles, as that is part of our earth life test, to do these by our own free will and choice, Not forced as Satan desires.
On a side note: I do not believe there was a real majority that voted for Mr. Obama. There were many, many incidences of voter fraud by Democrats (encouraging people to register at home and in the state of their college. People registering in multiple districts using each other’s addresses etc. etc.). I believe if the Democrats would stop fighting voter ID laws to verify that we do not have this rampant problem in the future, that the outcome of our elections will be different. Democrats like to believe this does not happen or it probably happens on both sides. If so, why do we not see documented proof of the other side being caught. I for one do not want either party to stoop to cheating, therefore I support voter ID. It is NOT discriminatory as the left would like us to believe if everyone has a fair and free voter ID card.
Quitewrite: As an active member of the LDS church I was appalled that church members would vote for Romney just because he’s Mormon, just like minorities campaigned for Obama because he’s black. Those staunch Republican’s abandoned any principals of liberty or agency and voted for someone without any ability to hold a consistent position, or believe in anything in their core.
Robyn Price says
You can believe what you want to believe and I will believe what I want to believe. I believe Obama is president because he is black. You don’t. And that’s OK.
Yes, but he’s a colossal failure because he is liberal.
tom, i think i love you.
Yup. What Tom said. And what Robyn said. I’m LDS also, and against everything Obama stands for, which is why I voted against him. God willing, our nation will survive him.
Quietwrite: The LDS church absolutely does not teach that this nation should assist the poor. In reality it’s quite the opposite. The church recommends that we 1.) do everything we can to provide for ourselves (get an education, stay out of debt, and have a year’s supply) and 2.) when we do have a rough time we’re to seek assistance first from loved ones, second from the church, and as a last resort from the government. The church does not want its members living off the government.
And, nowhere in the scriptures does it say that the government should be providing for the poor. In fact, King Benjamin wouldn’t even let the people provide for himself. He says he labored with his own hands to serve the people so they would not be burdened with high taxes. (Mosiah 2:14)
Considering the doctrine of the war in heaven, the plan we chose was one where some of our brothers and sisters would choose incorrectly, but that freedom to choose for ourselves was worth it all. Why would you choose to abandon that philosophy on earth when voting for a president? A vote for Obama was a vote for higher debt (a form of slavery and definitely tied to lack of choice) and a vote for higher taxes (reducing an individual’s choice on how to spend their money), just to name a few items.
If you have a testimony of the gospel and the war in heaven, then it follows that you must accept the fact that allowing citizens to make their own choices means that some will be “lost” (i.e. poor) but that having freedom to choose is worth it. As individuals we should absolutely be helping and serving our fellow man. We shouldn’t be giving our money to the gov’t and asking/letting them do it for us.
So, yes, in a conservative’s “perfect world” individuals would be responsible for their own decisions, their lack of preparation and foresight, lack of work ethic, etc. but the rest of the people would be free to donate, volunteer, be charitable, etc. As another commenter said (Charles Gates), “The anti-tax philosophy of Christian conservatives is not an anti-charity philosophy. Rather, they simply believe the best way to serve the poor is through individual, voluntary sacrifice and giving that helps lift the poor from poverty. They believe the tax-based redistribution of funds is full of bureaucratic waste, doesn’t allow individual growth, and that it enables and encourage poor behavior among individuals.”
Changing your future votes to votes for conservative values (lower taxes, no free health insurance, etc.) doesn’t mean you aren’t willing to serve your fellow man. It means you want MORE opportunities to personally serve them instead of handing the responsibility over to the government.
To all who replied to my response: Thank you for your insights.
I agree, the Plan of Salvation anticipated that we would make bad choices, sin as well as reject, ignore and even miss the Gospel in this life. I agree that we need to be consistent with Agency when candidates don’t support policies that oppose principles of doctrine. I agree: Our nation’s burden of debt is an emergency that needs to be addressed. It turns out that a vote for President Bush was also a vote for higher debt, and I think if we were honest Governor Romney’s policies could well have exacerbated the debt crisis—just on the defense side. However, our discussion seems to concentrate on what to do regarding the poor. Of course, individuals should voluntarily help the poor as in an ideal conservative world, but pooling our resources –and our compassion–as citizens to help the poor is not evil, and even turns out to be pragmatically in our self-interest. And while I sympathize that not everyone agrees, we do have a just way to determine the authority to allocate resources: “It is not common that the voice of the people desires anything contrary to that which is not right”, especially it as it is limited by our laws and Constitution. Our government then becomes our agent acting with our consent, accountable to us.
With regard to the poor and disadvantaged, I’m not as blithe to accept the fatalism that “some will be lost” when we could help and educate them to have better futures in this life. I believe people can arrive at righteous principles on which our communities and even our nation can provide such assistance. But to say that people choose their poverty or to excuse their suffering in the name of liberty ignores the circumstances and roots of poverty for many as well as its effects on the innocent. A nation can, and I believe should render aid consistent with revelation. People don’t need to be over taxed; and freedom need not be lost. King Benjamin worked to support himself, true; he didn’t need welfare. But the Book of Mosiah is silent on whether any taxes, “heavy laden” or not went to widows, orphans, the sick or disabled. It may well have been done through voluntary contributions, or maybe some portion of public funds was distributed to meet his countrymen’s needs. To that point there are several references in the scriptures that refer to a nation’s collective responsibility to its poor. I refer to the Book of Mormon, besides Mosiah, there are 2 Nephi (Chapters 9, 13, 21,26,28 etc. as these quote Isaiah, including chapter 58); Helaman (Chapter 4), and 4 Nephi (Chapter 4) to list a few. This last book references something truly unique among us that may surprise Mr. Jensen: Latter-Day Saints believe in and have practiced a collective approach to mitigating poverty.
In fact, our most modern consolidated cannon the Doctrine and Covenants re-establishes a collective approach toward the problem of poverty: The United Order and the inspiring principle of consecration. I wonder if LDS culture has become so enamored of modern capitalism, conflating it with agency, that we forget that we might have once agreed: “Hell is full of such Christians.” And before we stipulate that the early Saints voluntarily (as opposed to Soviet socialism) subscribed to “have all things in common…” “…every man according to his wants and needs…” let me ask two questions: 1. Can we say that so enthusiastically embracing capitalism doesn’t threaten to curb, even corrode our enthusiasm for revealed communal life? 2. Is it completely a matter of liberty when we either surrender or fail to submit our agency to consecrating all our time, talents and resources when doing either has such promising Eternal or potentially damning consequences? (Especially, once we assent that nothing really belongs to us anyway.) Of course, I see the distinction between the political reality and the Heavenly realm, but I also think there is an attitudinal disconnect when people who believe they will be commanded to live the Law of Consecration in one situation, also say that the poor are on their own, or that it is their fault that they are poor. I wonder instead, if it is permissible, even necessary—at least until the Church is truly global–to expect our government–acting as our agent–to mitigate poverty and suffering on our behalf where we cannot. “Are we not all beggars?”
We didn’t talk about immigration, national defense or campaign finance reform, or even education. These were the other reasons Governor Romney didn’t get my vote. Not voting for conservatives doesn’t mean that I don’t understand or believe in the doctrine of agency. Still, I know mine is a minority position here, and I appreciate the civil dialogue and willingness to engage.
I think that could have been said in one short paragraph. This isn’t a writing contest. Comparing the law of consecration to Satan’s counterfeit (socialism/communism) is a sham. The law of consecration has to be instituted by God and lived in righteousness. Not by force, and not by a bureaucratic wasteful corrupt government. As far as Mr Romney, you don’t like him because of his stance on immigration? National defense? Education? So, allowing illegal immigration is OK as the Obama admin. seems to believe? (and suing a state that wants to uphold the law). National defense spending is not OK? Obama hasn’t cut defense spending, hasn’t done anything that he promised as far as military goes. But I digress. I just am not seeing the validity of your argument against someone that has served faithfully in the church, made his own way, gave a lot of money besides his church offerings to the poor etc., had a good running mate that had an economic plan for the U.S. to get back into a budget and pay off the debt. It appears you wanted a savior that would promise everything to everyone. It now appears that is impossible. Again, I am neither a Republican nor a Democrat, I am a Constitutionalist Patriot and feel we need to get back to following the Constitution better, not just hiding behind the first amendment only.
if you gave your vote to obama,you supported Abortion and Same Sex Marriage in the eyes of our Heavenly it not good
Great article about the LDS faith.
quietwrite I love everything you’ve said! I agree one hundred percent with you and applaud you for sharing your thoughts and enjoyed reading your posts regarding Mormon doctrine. I also am LDS and voted for Obama, I would have supported Romney if he hadn’t been pushed too far to the right in order to get support. We need another 3rd powerful party to develop that is moderate in my opinion. I support healthcare reform and many other social programs, yet sometimes shy away from some of the liberal agenda. It is interesting to me how other political groups blame the current administration for problems such as the national debt that was started way before his time (Reagan probably). That problem is not going to be solved by a Republican either. I wish our leaders could put all their differences aside and truly support what is in the best interest of the citizens
Healthcare reform was needed and Obama is the only candidate I could see making progress on that issue. I would love to pay higher taxes if I could have the opportunities that the people living in many European countries do. Unfortunately our country is too large to be financially solvent and have as many of the social programs that many of the European nations do, although if States acted like a smaller countries maybe we could really financially do it. Too many hard working families lose everything with one major hospitalization (yes I’m referring to those that are insured).
I also enjoyed this article. LDS believe in serving others always. The church donates all the time through DI (Deseret Industries), church welfare program, etc. temporarily to help people get back on their feet. They are always there to help with any natural disaster. I think it’s best to say it like this — “If you give a man a fish you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish you feed him for a lifetime.” It is better to teach someone how to do something than to do it for them. Giving someone a fish is good for the short term, but it is better to teach them how to do it so that in the long term they can take care of themselves. For example, a mother could cook for her children, but if she never teaches them to cook, they will always be dependent on her for meals. If she teaches them how to cook they will be able to take care of themselves in the long term. The DI always provides people with work skills to be able to get a job for themselves.
One thing that really upsets me the most about this past election is the people who didn’t vote at all because they didn’t like either candidate. Of course a candidate can’t be ALL that each person believes because we all do have our free agency, but our right and privilege to be able to vote should not be taken for granted, so that the man that we think is better than the other one will win. Every persons choice/vote counts (unless people start cheating and voting more than once, so voter ID should be mandatory)!!
I voted for Obama the first time. The first, last, and only time I’ve ever voted for a Democrat. I voted for Romney because he was the better of two socialist choices. Shortly after the election I joined the Libertarian party. I think that we need a two party system again to keep the Democrat Republicans in check. I want my vote to represent what I really believe.
Great article…the war in heaven has never stopped, it’s still going on; which begs the question: who’s side are you fighting on now? This is why I voted against BHO and went with Romney. Is it any wonder why the History Channel chose a person to play satan who resembled Obama? Our president is fighting on the wrong side now…it does not matter what color he is, I believe he’s on the wrong side, and the sad part is, most Americans must be on the wrong side too; that’s what’s troubling and truly concerning. This is why we must never give up the fight against liberalism…that’s satans plan (liberalism), “I’ll make it so everyone succeeds and makes it back…regardless of what you do…I will make sure you all get back, even if I take away your liberty to do it.” So, as I said earlier, the war have never ended, satan brought it to earth, he’s still trying to get a few more souls because “he wants to make everyone miserable like unto himself.”
Liza Thompson says
Your article was accurate and quite insightful. Thank you for your very fair assessment of what motivates Latter-Day Saints to rigorously pursue policies that ensure personal freedom of choice. You have correctly surmised that we believe we are still fighting that war thatstarted in the pre-earth life. The drive for LDS to lift and help others stems from that core belief that we are truly and eternally brothers and sisters.
Rod Page says
I see what Clint means, as in most surveys there is “those for”, “those against” and
so a “third PART” has a very different meaning than a “third of”
This is a great article and thanks Missy for posting!
i love religions
Awesome article. You hit the nail on the head!
Thanks for the great post Mike. Appreciate the effort you put in to accurately describe our theology. LDS people should not and I would guess most would not be offended by your post because we believe that our theology and doctrine should be applied in our daily lives. The second prophet in our days, Brigham Young, once said, “The principles of eternity and eternal exaltation are of no use to us, unless they are brought down to our capacities so that we practice them in our lives.” Not only that but we believe as revealed to Joseph Smith the first prophet in our time that the Lord established America through wise men that he inspired. One of the verses in our book of modern-day scripture called the Doctrine & Covenants says, “And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood.” Anyways thanks for the great article and
The article is good, but repeats a common misconception among Mormons regarding the nature of the Atonement. A thoughtful study of Mormon scriptures shows that Lucifer offered to “redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost”. Later on, the Father is quoted as saying that Lucifer sought to destroy the agency of man. The misconception is that Lucifer wanted to destroy the agency of man by forcing us all to do right; thus, never sinning. But a person who didn’t sin wouldn’t need a savior at all. Actually, Lucifer would have destroyed our agency by making our decisions and actions completely meaningless; that is, he would redeem us all with no need for us to repent and no desire to obey God’s commands necessary. In other words, he would have redeemed us so we would all return to God whether we wanted to or not! That’s how he sought to destroy our agency.
I fully agree with you on that.
That’s my understanding too.
a seasoned parent says
Satan’s plan would not have worked regardless. Have you ever been around a teenager who did not want to be somewhere? Well imagine people being forced back to Heaven when they did not want to be there. Heaven would sees to be Heaven. You probably have to be a seasoned parent to understand that one.
Wonderfully written and so refreshing to read!
Sean Dalrymple says
I am Mormon and I believe liberty is not as important as obedience. God allows slavery and allows service, if anything he approves of slavery it as seen in scripture. Being a servant may be more important than having liberty. Obedience, service and charity may be the keys necessary to enter the kingdom. Personal choices probably are irrelevant in order of things. A perfect example is Joseph being enslaved into Egypt. He did not get a sword and kill his captors. He obeyed his masters and became a great man in the land of Egypt. The Book of Mormon came about right after the United States became a nation. It is very similar and parallel to those same liberty concepts.
If we were are slaves to God there would be no war or sin.
You are not helping the church by saying this and this is definitely not the church’s standpoint.
Naivete is not righteousness, go back and read 2 Nephi 2
As far as Joseph, everything has a season.
You’re definitely NOT Mormon.
Alina Mower says
And you need to go back to grammer school.
Alina, it’s spelled “grammar.”
Agreed. Obvious trolls are obvious.
You are also wrong in separating obedience and liberty. They are inseparably connected because you can’t be truly obedient without the liberty (agency) to do so. Being compelled to obedience is lesser than obedience by choice.
You forgot to mention the fact that Lucifer is Jesus’ brother in the Mormon faith.
Jesus is the Son of God. In Job 1:6 we learn that there are other sons of God, including Satan/Lucifer, who presented themselves to God. This is clear and needs no apologies from anyone whobelieves the Bible.
Born and raised in cedar city utah, I mostly agree with your article. With the reminder “any man can handle adversity, give him power and his true character will show”… electing a leader or not electing them according to race, religion, or sex is pure ignorance. Romney was a good candidate, but I believe most people simply did not feel comfortable voting for him as a person. Half of people now want entitlements. No restrictions, just hand me the check. That’s what they voted for this last electionelection
I’m LDS from Peru.I really love your article <3.
I thought this was awesome. I didn’t find it offensive at all. I was born into a Methodist family, became a catholic at the age of 10, going to Catholic school and receiving my first communion and confession. I chose to join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the Mormons) when I was 17.
I respect all religions and like learning more about them. My friends come from all religions, backgrounds and sexual orientations.
Thanks for doing your homework and not bashing us. We are probably one of the most misunderstood religions out there.
Sandra Warkentin says
WELL SAID Shelley!!!
Steven Nihipali says
amen! Just your investigation into religions means more to me than anything else. Means that you were willing to seek out the truth… perfect? maybe not, but the closest one I can find.
Bethany Packard says
What a great article. You obvisouly went to a credible sourse (more than likely the Church itself) for answers to your questions and information. (What a unique concept today.) I respect your successful effort to relate the information you recieved without bias. This is true journalism; a more and more lost craft.
I love this! I am LDS and this is article perfectly explains why I am passionate about politics and have the political beliefs I do. Not to mention we believe America is a blessed country and our founding fathers were raised up by God for the wise purpose of creating our US Constitiution. :) Thank you!
Benjamin Eastman says
As a Catholic, I’d say many of the comparisons to Christianity are accurate. However, this wasn’t clear, but Catholics also believe that God gave us and the angels free will. Lucifer and his angels were created good, but became evil through this free will. He brought sin into the world to oppose God’s plan. So, Satan did not oppose free will, he urges us to use our free will to turn against God.
Well about your last statement both can be true. He opposed free will in the pre-earth life and since he failed now urges us to use our free will to turn against God.
An Observer says
Appreciate your infusion of free will ……….I do tire from robotic religious interpretations and religion that create robotic personalities
This is really great. Mormons tend to be perceived as so restrictive, forcing their members to live a certain lifestyle. When in actuality, it seems they are much more about freedom and choice than the world believes. Based on this article, I’d say a Mormon, with strong values toward liberty, freedom, and choices, would make a great president. Isn’t that what America was intended to be?
Sandra Warkentin says
AMEN!!! I LOVE your comments!
Unique perspective. Thanks for the informative article.
Charles E. Gates Jr. says
Fantastic summary of the relationship between LDS Doctrine and the major influence of Mormon political culture. I’d love to see a follow-up extrapolation of these influences on how we all define “charity.”
I’m tired of hearing liberals say that Christians aren’t following Christ if they aren’t willfully paying higher taxes to care for the poor. It is mind-boggling to me that they believe involuntary taxes are charity.
Does the act of supporting the poor and sick always meet the definition of “charity?” It appears that Mormons would require the act to be voluntary (exercising that free agency), and not compulsory (redistribution through involuntary taxes).
The anti-tax philosophy of Christian conservatives is not an anti-charity philosophy. Rather, they simply believe the best way to serve the poor is through individual, voluntary sacrifice and giving that helps lift the poor from poverty. They believe the tax-based redistribution of funds is full of bureaucratic waste, doesn’t allow individual growth, and that it enables and encourage poor behavior among individuals.
I wish more conservative leaders were proclaiming how this conservative view of charity is the way to empower people to grow and learn and that the liberal view of compulsory giving is lazy and unfulfilling.
I agree. A hand up is always better than a bureaucratic hand down. If only the govt would pattern welfare after the LDS model, requiring some sort of effort to receive aid.
It is obvious you did a great deal of study and are very accurate in your findings. It is nice to see someone study our theology and doctrine without a desire to misconstrue our beliefs to fit into their agenda political or otherwise.
Chaz Walker says
As a Mormon, not only do I not balk at your comparison, but that very comparison was made by me when trying to find my way in the world. The Mormon Church’s recognition of the importance of liberty (and their subsequent focus on it in everything they do), is a unique quality that I’ve only ever seen displayed in the Mormon Church. Personal salvation trumps all other forms of revelation, and personal liberty is just the temporal manifestation of personal salvation.
Kudos, and excellent article.
Great insight to how Mormons might think and probably vote. However, as a theology it’s bogus. One would reasonably come to this conclusion by examining its source and history.
Jodell Faris says
Anonymous, what source and history are you examining?
There is really only one bit of obscure nearly inconsequential doctrinal difference I’d like point out. The majority of Mormons who I know believe that literally one-third of our spirit brothers and sisters in heaven chose to follow Satan. But if you read where it talks about this in the Doctrine and Covenants (a book of latter day revelation revealed by inspiration through modern day prophets) in Section 29 verse 36 it states that the “devil… rebelled against me… and also a third PART of the hosts of heaven turned he away from me because of their agency” I think I formatted that correctly. I bolded PART because it does not say a whole third of the spirits in that pre-earth heaven followed him, only a third PART.
The way this was explained to me was drawing on a board 3 circles of differing sizes and then putting a bunch of dots in each. Imagine that each dot is a person. Each group is a different part or portion of the whole, and so the actual size of the group that followed Lucifer is unknown. I like to think that the group that followed him is small, personally!
I appreciate your candid explanation of Mormon views, and I encourage everyone to utilize the resources at lds.org and mormon.org There is a LOT of information there if you have any questions the doctrines shared here. I’m still learning like everyone, and so I apologize if I’m very much out of line!
Don Riggin says
There were not three groups. All of us who kept our first Estate, and followed the Saviour ,were given mortal bodies, and those who chose to follow Lucifer were cast out, never to receive a mortal body.
Clint: The three circles example is misinterpreted. Or maybe they were teaching about the final judgement that day and you weren’t paying attention in class. A “third part” is an old term for “a third” or “one third”. Not that hard to understand. It does not mean a “third party”.
Thank you for this accurate and respectful commentary on how LDS theology and American liberty are truly connected.
Your article was right on and written with an honest approach to what Mormons hold dear in our relationship to our Heavenly Father and our pre-earthly life.