In the interest of transparency, please understand that my LDS beliefs place me in the highly unorthodox plane, and that I am not currently affiliated with the Salt Lake City or main branch of the church, or any other. I am an LDS individual, so to speak.
The post below is my part of a conversation I once had with a conservative LDS church member who believed Anarchy was evil. The below post was my response. I recently encountered a similar claim, and thought it might be a good idea to post it to the blog so I could more easily reference it when necessary. Please enjoy.
Let me begin with this question: Knowing what disease does to us, why does God allow it? Of course, change disease out for anything terrible, really, and the answer is likely to be the same. The first part is, as you put out, these things are a part of mortality. Through the fall of Adam, we must experience these things. However, I think we can both agree, there is more to it than that. These things are meant to teach us. But teach us what? When I first got to that age where the only jobs I could get were crappy ones, I complained to my dad. He used to say “well, at least now you know what you don’t want to do.”
Now that I have been sick before, you know what I don’t want? To be sick. Sure, it is our lot in life to be sick. I get that. And it teaches me, if nothing else, that I don’t want to be sick. And it points me to health. Like Bruce Lee’s analogy of the finger pointing to the moon, I shouldn’t fixate on what does the pointing. I lose out on all the heavenly glory that way. ;-)
But I digress.
Is it sin to want to see sickness eradicated in this life? Do we stop all medical-technological progress because it is our lot in life to get sick? If God instituted sickness, so that we might learn what non-sickness is, surely it would be wrong to try and prevent sickness, wouldn’t it? After all, “it’s for our benefit.”
Do you see where I am going with this?
Just because something is for our benefit, it does not mean it is “good,” in the metaphysical sense of the word – meaning, an inherent or necessary good. It is not good in and of itself. Benefit just simply means it has a use. So, like disease, government has a use. A benefit. Is it good? Nowhere in scripture is that indicated. In fact, quite the opposite. But how do we know that?
Who runs government? Who has authority over earthly governments?
Joseph F. Smith taught “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, confusion all over the earth. One master mind is governing the nations. It is not the President of the United States…it is not the king or government of England or any other land; it is Satan himself.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 3, pp. 314-315)
Bruce R. McConkie taught something very similar, didn’t he?
“Gadianton robbers fill the judgement seats in many nations. An evil power seeks to overthrow the freedom of all nations and countries.” (Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, speaking in the April 1980 General Conference)
In fact, in Luke chapter 4, while the Savior is fasting for 40 days, what does Lucifer come and offer the Him? “And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.6And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. 7If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. 8And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”
The Lord didn’t correct Satan, as He has done to others. The Lord acknowledges Satan’s legitimate claim, and simply tells him “I serve God and God alone.”
But perhaps more powerfully than that, it was the Savior Himself who said we could not serve two masters. It was the Savior Himself who said that we could not serve either Mammon or Babylon while serving Zion. Joshua understood this when he proclaimed “Now, therefore, fear the LORD and serve Him in sincerity and truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. 15"If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." 16The people answered and said, "Far be it from us that we should forsake the LORD to serve other gods;…
This brings up an interesting point about another thing the Lord says, during His mortal ministry. If it we should not forsake the Lord to serve other Gods, and we cannot serve both Mammon and Zion at the same time, how do we square that with this comment from Jesus in Matthew Chapter 22; 20-21?
“And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?
21 They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.”
There are a ton of interesting points and ramifications in just this short comment from the Lord, but suffice it to say it is not a “it’s ok to have government, and pay your taxes,” kind of declaration.
Firstly, upon ourselves, whose image and superscription are we to have? God’s? Or Babylon? God’s obviously. After all, it is in HIS image that we are made. Not Caesar’s.
Secondly, who was Caesar? Yes, the ruler of and consolidator of the Roman Empire, but he was more than that, wasn’t he? In the roman religion, Caesar was a god. A deity to be worshipped, with all the rites and tithes that come with the title.
Jesus wasn’t saying “pay your taxes, THEN go to the temple.” Jesus was saying “Choose ye this day whom ye shall serve.” Because after all, where our treasure is, there shall our heart be also. Is our heart with our money, with Babylon? Is that whose image and superscription we have on us? Or is our heart with the Lord, whose image and superscription we have on us? Remember, we cannot serve two masters. We cannot serve both Mammon and Zion at the same time.
So, we know governments are bad because 1. Satan rules them. Jesus acknowledges this point, and it was taught time and again by prophets and apostles. And 2, because it is at odds with God. To do so is to try and have both images and superscriptions upon us. The Lord tells we cannot do that, or we will love the one and hate the other.
Gordon B. Hinckley referred to these types as “evil schemers.” “The Book of Mormon narrative is a chronicle of nations long since gone. But in its descriptions of the problems of today’s society, it is as current as the morning newspaper and much more definitive, inspired, and inspiring concerning the solutions of those problems. I know of no other writing which sets forth with such clarity the tragic consequences to societies that follow courses contrary to the commandments of God. Its pages trace the stories of two distinct civilizations that flourished on the Western Hemisphere. Each began as a small nation, its people walking in the fear of the Lord. But with prosperity came growing evils. The people succumbed to the wiles of ambitious and scheming leaders who oppressed them with burdensome taxes, who lulled them with hollow promises, who countenanced and even encouraged loose and lascivious living. These evil schemers led the people into terrible wars that resulted in the death of millions and the final and total extinction of two great civilizations in two different eras.” (Gordon B. Hinckley, First Presidency Message, Ensign, August 2005)
Funny, how the evil schemers oppress with burdensome taxes, lull people with hallow promises, countenanced loose and lascivious living, and led people into terrible and final wars.
Now…on a grand scale…what is history’s only creation that has done that since they were first instituted?
Government – at odds with God since the beginning. They are led by Satan, with Satanic ends in mind. Subjugation, immorality, death and destruction.
Did you think it was only communist governments or Islamic governments that are evil or wicked?
“28 And again, I say unto you that the enemy in the secret chambers seeketh your lives.
29 Ye hear of wars in far countries, and you say that there will soon be great wars in far countries, but ye know not the hearts of men in your own land.” D&C 38:28-29
You mean that even in this land of promise, there is evil in the government? But we have a republic! A constitution!
Yet something binds communism, Sharia, and even constitutional republics together…
Government. And Satan leads them all. And will until Jesus comes back.
So yes, after all of that, I am, therefore, an Anarchist. I am against governments and states. I am wholly against giving, or having another take from me, my rights and authority to act in my name. It never ends well. It cannot end well. There are no good fruits that stem from such actions.
But that is exactly what government does and will always do. It is what government has always done.