Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Why Will I Never Take a Government Hand-Out?

Because it is theft by due process...

Ben and I have been posting together (http://thefaithfuldissident.blogspot.com/2008/10/ezra-taft-benson-vs-democratic.html) to a girl in Canada who is married to a Norwegian; she is a self-proclaimed "Social Democrat" that agrees with most Socialism. I know my share of such liberally minded members, but this one particular post was too much for me to leave alone. For those who are interested enough, I have provided the link above so that you may read for yourself.

The following is my longest response to her concerning a few questions she had;

As Ben posted, the main point about social democracy is not about corruption, but about whether the action is in accordance with the Laws of God. I have previously taken an overly verbose secular stance – forgive me for taking an overly verbose religious one.

In the Book of Matthew it reads:

“Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

“And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:21-23)

This scripture seems to contradict itself, wouldn’t you agree? First, Christ tells us that only those people that “doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” will be saved, and then in the same breath he tells people who had prophesied in his name, cast out devils, and did many wonderful works to depart out of his presence because “[He] never knew them”. Does this mean that people can do good things, but be turned away from God in the end? How can this possibly be? What does it mean to “[do] the will of [the] Father”? It appears that not only does the Lord care about us doing His will, but he also cares about the manner in which we do it. As President Joseph Fielding Smith stated, “When we abide in the law which the Lord has approved, then we are free” (Church History and Modern Revelation 1:433).

In the pre-existence, Lucifer argued that he would ensure that not one single Child of God would be lost to sin. Our entire existence upon this earth, every living man, women, and child, is here because of that pre-mortal council – whether they have knowledge of it, believe it, or not. How could the Father and His Son possibly be so unmerciful as to choose a Plan wherein many, many, many of his children would fail? All we need to do is turn on the television to see the depravity, horror, war, pestilence, famine, natural disasters, starvation, homelessness, wickedness, violence, and immorality of God’s children; are we really to believe that a just and merciful God possibly choose THAT plan over the absolute security of all of his Children being saved in righteousness? We must remember that Lucifer’s plan did not call for sin, murder, vice, immorality or any portion of what the world today calls “sin”. Lucifer was arguing for absolute salvation, prosperity, and eternal life for EVERY Child of God; not one soul would be lost; not one Child would suffer; not one Child would have to go through a life of turmoil and strife! We could live a life of mere utopia AND have the added benefit of eternal salvation! Do we REALLY realize just how convincing Lucifer’s plan was?

One-third of God’s children agreed with Lucifer’s provision; they weren’t so interested in HOW the plan was constructed or carried out, they were only interested in the end result: Security. Security in this mortal life and security for the eternities. All of this Lucifer’s plan would give the Children of God – ALL OF IT! How much better was this than the Father’s plan?

The Father’s plan had no known security. It asked of his Children that their memory be erased of all their loving memories of their Heavenly parent and home; to be relatively alone; it allowed for murder, pain, hurt, anguish, sin, war, rape, molestation, lying, theft, fatigue, disease, torture, loss, forgetfulness, disaster, envy, avarice, tribulation, immorality, doubt, covetousness, deceitfulness, illness, harm, tears, hate, iniquity, fear, hunger and thirst, weakness, trials, idolatry, and uncertainty (all of these things, he says, and many more weaknesses that are given merely for us to learn “humility”? (Ether 12:27)); possibility of eternal damnation and expulsion from our loving Heavenly home; and above all, the sacrifice of our most beloved and eldest brother’s life just because of these weaknesses that were given us in the first place. Lucifer’s plan had NONE of these, none! So, I ask you, who REALLY was the compassionate one? Our Heavenly Father or Lucifer? In fact, the only absolute that Father’s plan seems to provide is that there will be pain.

Not only was Father’s plan full of all of these human weaknesses, but he also had a long list of requirements. Father asked for our unconditional faith, and he told us he would tell a few steps in how we could possibly come back to him. We would have to follow it exactly, but not only this but we would have to be HAPPY about it. Lucifer’s plan was not a hundredth part so complicating as was the Father’s; you could surmise Lucifer’s plan in one word: GUARANTEED. The Father asked of us many things: to be peaceful, charitable, humble, faithful, patient, meek, longsuffering, penitent, grateful, prayerful, merciful, wise, lowly of heart, true, clean, happy, and above all – and here’s the real kicker – we have to be all things, and “be perfect” too (Matthew 5:49)! What kind of plan was this?! We had to endure untold horrors, tragedies, pains, sorrows, and losses, but we had to be PERFECT through it all? What?!

So, the question begs to be asked, what did Lucifer want in return for HIS utopia? Father’s plan seemed almost too unreal, he asked for EVERYTHING with no guarantee and here was Lucifer offering ABSOLUTE guarantee! What was HE going to ask in return? What would we possibly have to do to merit Lucifer’s absolute existence when the Father’s intentional NON-guarantee asked for so much? Here’s the beauty of it all, the only thing Lucifer asked in return for an absolutely guaranteed utopian existence in this life and an eternal life of joy was for us to give him our agency of choice. That’s it! We just had to give over to him the ability of us making mistakes! We had to give up the ability of all the calamities that Father’s plan was full of! All mortal catastrophes would be solved by merely giving over to him the one thing that causes it all?! Are you serious?! Was this even an actual debate?! All I would have to do is turn over the power I have to choose whether or not I should take care of my fellow man, and Lucifer would make sure that he takes care of it for me? Any rationally thinking individual would laugh at any other possible conclusion! Not only does this only seem like the only logical choice, but any man with a heart for the welfare of his fellow man should laugh between the two choices.

Now, if this isn’t enough, certainly we can add one more nail to the coffin. Not only did Father’s plan seem to only guarantee pain, but He also required that in our quest to overcome this pain for ourselves and others we only do it in HIS specified manner! Are you serious?!

When we really sit down to think about it, it’s really hard to understand why exactly we went with Father’s plan. After all, just because we’re here on earth shows that we followed his plan. So, what were the preset conditions of this existence? To name a few: We agreed that there would be pain in this life; we agreed that we would be okay with that; we agreed and knew that not only ourselves, but our fellow man would be in pain; we agreed that we would ease his pain, and do so in our Father’s specified manner; we agreed we would be everything our Father asked of us; and above all, we agreed that we would keep our agency! Not only did we agree to keep our agency, but we were to protect it above all other things from being taken from us. How ironic, isn’t it? That the one thing that gives us the ability of causing so much pain in society is the one thing we’re commanded to keep? In fact, it was because Lucifer “sought to destroy the agency of man” (Moses 4:3) that even caused him to become Satan. That’s pretty intense.

So, here we are. Relatively alone in this dreary world (all things relative to the place we came from). We’re given the ability of choosing evil, but strive through pain and weakness to be better. We’re commanded to take care of our brethren, but to do so through the Lord’s established way. Even though Lucifer’s plan guaranteed that everyone would be taken care of and return to live with our Heavenly parent, the Father still thought that the process was just as important as the outcome (if not MORE important, because His plan allowed room for us to not return home to be with Him).

We have been told that Lucifer’s tactics today in trying to subvert the Plan of Salvation are merely done by him still trying to establish his own plan! There are discourses that can, and have, been written as to why Lucifer’s plan could not have worked (his argument in the pre-existence was flawed), and without going into all of the reasons I will say that every reason pivots on the gift of agency. Satan today, however, still doesn’t know that his plan is flawed; he is still marching down the path of subverting agency in quest of creating a utopia. The problem is that his plan cannot lead us back to our Father in Heaven (because of its flaws). He even believes himself so far as he states: “I am no devil, for there is none” (2nd Nephi 28:22). His plan is as convincing today as it was in the pre-existence. To merely give up a little or all of our agency for the guaranteed existence of the whole? Who, with a heart, would STILL argue against Lucifer’s plan?

Obviously, in our day and age, the application of Lucifer’s plan wouldn’t be carried out the same as if His plan were chosen. Or would it? As I’ve looked over this globe, I’ve seen that there is only one entity that is still capable of fulfilling the structure of Lucifer’s plan of in our mortal sphere. There is only one entity that is universally accepted in every “corner” of the globe to legitimately carry out his plan, and that is the one and only entity that can legitimately and legally use the power of coercion upon the Children of God – and that entity is government.

We believe, as per the 2nd Article of Faith, that all men will be punished for their own sins. All temptation happens within the confines of our own conscience, mind, and heart. It is obvious to ask, if, since we are tempted and overcome temptation individually, how it is that an entity such as government would be the main tool used to carry out Lucifer’s plan when he could simply come to us individually?

Government is only a collective of individuals; in itself, it has no soul, life, or movement that the people within that government do not give to it. Without a person to fill the offices, what IS government? Without the people, it is merely an idea. Government, throughout the world, is the only entity that has the legal power of coercion: it can tax, prosecute, and physically hassle any individual or take away his property, etc. The ”WHY” of government coercion is not so much important concerning this principle as there mere fact that it exists.

Does this mean that government is bad? No. In fact, the Lord was the first one to establish government: “We believe that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man” (D&C 134:1). From this point, all further matters of discussion are a matter of definition and semantics; how do we define, legitimize, and implement the following: law, rights, freedom, welfare, liberty, equity and justice, property, life, crime, conscience, morality, peace, voice of the people, Democracy and Republic, infringement, and inalienable. But I believe such is wholly unnecessary; all we have to do is go back to the original principle of agency.

Good government (that which is justifiable before the Lord) is that which has established “such laws [that] are held inviolate and will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life” (D&C 134:2). Good government secures the rights of the individual to exercise their own conscience, their own property, and their own life and religion to do whatever they want so long as they do not “infringe upon the rights and liberties of another” in the process (D&C 134:4). Agency must be given to man, even when he is choosing to not help his brother; this is our Father’s plan. Any compulsion or exaction from the individual to take his property for the benefit of another fall’s therefore under Lucifer’s plan. Was Lucifer the compassionate one? Was Lucifer the one we should have followed? After all, he guaranteed no lost souls, no pain, no hunger, no weakness – only security, compassion, and love (right?); and even today he spreads his doctrine that giving up a little agency is okay so long as the whole is taking care of.

The Children of God cannot divorce their religious beliefs from any other aspect of their life – especially government. We will be held accountable for every principle we support, whether it is right or wrong; we have the fullness of the everlasting gospel, while the rest of the world is still living in confusion – we cannot justify ourselves by saying “everyone else is doing it”. As President Joseph Fielding Smith stated:

“Satan has control now. No matter where you look, he is in control, even in our own land. He is guiding the governments as far as the Lord will permit him. That is why there is so much strife, turmoil, and confusion all over the earth. One master mind is governing the nations. It is not the president of the United States; it is not Hitler; it is not Mussolini; it is not the king or government of England or any other land; it is Satan himself” (Doctrines of Salvation, 3:315).

The Lord has declared that it is not right that man should be in bondage to each other – this goes both ways. Not only should the poor be in bondage to the rich, but the rich should not be in bondage to the poor. To restate, the Lord said, “It is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another. 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" (D&C 101:79-80). The US Constitution established a Republic (Article 4, Section IV), which has a different operating premise than any Democracies (Socialist or otherwise). While it is the duty of the rich man to give his alms to the poor, it is his right, given by the Lord, to keep everything he has been given – the Law of Consecration does NOT work through compulsion, but is absolutely, totally, and completely voluntary.

Philosophically, this discussion can really boil down the question: “Is man capable of self-government”. If man is not capable of righteous self-government, then he needs to be coerced into performing his duty, but if man IS capable of self-government – then any confiscation of his property by force, no matter by what power, authority, or entity, is usurpation, tyranny, and nothing short of Lucifer’s plan. The prophets, apostles, and Christ himself have said that we are not only capable of self-government, but that we are intrinsically made this way. No matter how one justifies it, coercion, no matter what name its given, is wickedness and is a result of the adversary’s temptation.

1 comment:

Marianne said...

yay Shiloh! For so long I thought Petersens were the only ones with these crazy ideas. How can people not recognize the similarities between communism and Satan's plan? I could point them out by the time I was twelve, despite being publicly educated. Our parents always made it perfectly clear that in order for the Father's plan to be just that, it must allow people to choose evil over good. No one can be truly good unless they have *chosen* to be so, and therefore cannot be rewarded accordingly. Salvation would be impossible under Satan's proposal - eternal law dictates justice, and the angency-less man could not experience just consequences from either end. The entire scheme would have been worthless and there would have been no change or progression.

Keep it up!