I may choose to ignore anonymous comments. I consider this type of anonymity dishonest. Also, I don't post regularly. I post when I have something worth writing and something worth reading. I explain all this in: Don't Let Telling Tales Trip Up Your Truthfulness.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Feminism, Now and Forever?

I'm usually amused by feminists, rather than disturbed. This holds true for their latest effort on wearing pants to church.

I refuse to join ranks with any feminist, Mormon or otherwise. This usually astonishes people because I have all the makings of a feminist.

What are they? If I had to compile a list, they would include the following: formal education, intelligence, formal education, marriage late in life if at all, formal education, no children of my own, secular leanings, formal education. Yep, I have them all, except I'm a conservative Republican.

I've written previously on women in the Church. This post is not going to rehash any of what I've addressed before.

So, what am I saying new this time? Simply this, if women aren't happy bearing and nurturing children in this life, they probably won't be happy doing it in the next life either.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

"You don’t need the Book of Mormon to see that these Mormons are booked."

I may hate sports, but I like it when I read stories like, "BYU players aren't kids...but they have lots of them" in a San Diego paper no less. Here are some great quotes from the article:
There is only one football program in the country with a wives club, and that program is BYU.
Some people think that because of the two-year Mormon missions most players take. . . [players] come into each season with a major advantage. They are older. They may be bigger. And they are unquestionably more mature.
But besides the fact that they spend 24 months away from football – often times in third-world countries where simply maintaining your physique is a challenge – they come back carrying a lot more weight than helmets and pads.
Being a husband is demanding enough. And being a parent is its own full-time job. But to be both while balancing a full slate of classes with the demands of college football? You don’t need the Book of Mormon to see that these Mormons are booked.
. . . And sometimes, players have to miss workouts altogether because the demands of parenthood simply outweigh those of the pigskin.
“They have quite a bit of leeway,” said BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall. “They miss practices for ultrasounds, doctors’ appointments, pregnancy tests, well, (laughing) that one’s not accurate – but things like that.”
Who do you fear more, an angry Coach Mendenhall, or an angry wife? Hansen is asked.
“Oh, definitely my wife,” he said. “Coach Mendenhall is pretty intense, but I’d rather be on his bad side than hers."

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Don't Jump Off of Spiritual Cliffs!

I often find tidbits buried deep in articles on various subjects. Sometimes I like to pull them out and highlight them. The following comes from Daniel Peterson's article, "Defending the Faith: Moral law is no product of evolution" in the Deseret News:
Moral law is notably uniform across cultures. While applications can and do vary, fundamental values don't. No culture teaches that murder is good, that selfishness is a virtue or that parents should be disrespected.
Peterson is accurate and not just about moral law. Examine any people or culture anywhere, throughout time and across cultures and you will find many things that hold true. Here are a few:

- Courage is valued. Wimps are wimps.

- Honesty is valued. Dishonesty is not admired.

- Happiness is desirable. Misery is not admired.

You can search out the most remote Amazonian Indians or bushmen in Africa and these observations will hold true.

The world is full of natural, physical laws like the law of gravity that are just as immutable. There are moral laws, like the ones Peterson's identified that are immutable too.

Acting as though these laws don't exist will put you in spiritual peril as real as the natural peril you would face if you tried to act as though the law of gravity did not exist.

Don't jump off a natural cliff or a spiritual one.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Thoughts on Victimization, Justice and Forgiveness

Like many, I've followed the story of Chris Williams and his ability to forgive the drunk, teenage driver that killed his pregnant wife and two of his children. It is an amazing, and inspiring, story of forgiveness. Eventually a Mormon Messages video was made about the story. See it below.


A follow-up article entitled, "A year of forgiveness" provides a great deal more on this story. Recently, Chris Williams published a book on this experience entitled, Let It Go.

My posting today is simply a paragraph from that article in the Deseret News. Ron Yengich is an attorney and person I admire. He's smart and competent, perhaps in the extreme, but he tells it like it is.

Society isn't always very helpful, Yengich says. "What we teach in America is: Once you've been victimized, maintain your victimhood forever, at all costs, and use that as an excuse for whatever happens to you in the future." As for our feelings about perpetrators, he says, "our idea of justice is fairly simple: once we've got our foot on someone's neck, justice for us is to press down as hard and as long as we can."
Although accurate, his descriptions are not particularly flattering. Spend at least a few minutes today considering how his descriptions fit you and then take a leaf out of Chris Williams book and consider how you can change.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Why Not Ask a REAL Mormon Girl!

The national news media has styled Joanna Brooks as one of the foremost authorities on our faith. However, I think she falls far short.

Since Romney was not elected, the CNN article, "What would a Mormon White House look like?" from November 2, didn't seem to get much attention. Deep in the article, Joanna Brooks proves she's either a fringe Mormon or no Mormon at all by her scandalous assertion concerning The Proclamation on the Family.

Then there's something commonly known as the "Proclamation on the Family," which is often framed and displayed in homes -- though rarely in upper-class households, said Joanna Brooks, author of "The Book of Mormon Girl: Stories from an American Faith."
Mormons in upper-class households are just as likely to embrace the Proclamation in word, deed and display as any other good Mormons. In fact, if you extrapolate from PEW findings, they are probably more likely to embrace it since Mormons higher on the socio-economic ladder are typically more devout and committed than those who are lower.

The Proclamation is central to our belief structure. Apparently, it is not central to Brooks. She expresses many personal opinions that diverge from fundamental Mormon beliefs.
Most Mormons aren't like her and her Proclamation comment just illustrates how far she is from us.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

True Service, Not Just the Appearance of It

I feel vindicated, at long last.

The Church has finally addressed what I've believed, and said, for years in a Church News article entitled, "Service that counts."

The article relates how a service project was conducted but then changed to be more effective the next year. Most were gung ho to do the same thing again. Only the Relief Society President felt that the prior year's Christmas service project was not conducted properly. She gives her reasons here:
. . . "As we were handing out our gifts, I looked at the women and mothers standing around the room. What I saw on their faces was not the excitement I had expected. Instead, it was more like misery. They felt like failures. They were supposed to be in charge of Christmas. It was their cherished role to provide joy for their kids, and they had failed to do that. As a result, their kids had to rely on charitable strangers for presents. So, yes, I would like to do something different."
The Relief Society president then proposed they go to the shelter directors and say, "We'd like to do something that helps the women feel like they are providing Christmas. What can we do? What would make this situation better than last year?"
They came up with a new service project, done in a different way that ultimately served both the individuals and the families better. What it lacked is what usually lacks in true and meaningful service: an immediate psychological benefit for those providing the service.
Although the women's shelter project took more time to plan and carry out — and it lacked the usual emotional high for some contributors — in the end it was a significantly better project.
I have a similar story. When I served in the Stake Singles I proposed we do meaningful service. I called a group home director and asked for guidance on an Easter activity for the kids. She suggested that we compile Easter baskets for each resident in the home. She suggested items for the baskets in addition to candy. She cautioned that we could not deliver the baskets ourselves and she could not tell us anything about the residents.

So, we knew the number of baskets we needed and the gender numbers. That was it. One of our members delivered the baskets to an anonymous location and handed the baskets over to an adult. There was no immediate, psychological gratification for any of us. No emotional high, nothing.

The director assured us it was a significant effort the kids would appreciate. That is all we ever knew.

In the Church's article, it suggests these guidelines in providing meaningful service:
As the Church determines how best to contribute to global humanitarian projects, those representing LDS Charities look to five welfare principles to guide them. They ask themselves several questions, which can easily be adapted to local situations faced every day in wards and stakes.
1. Is the project something the Area Presidency (or stake presidency, bishopric or family) feel is important?
2. Can the beneficiaries be involved in a meaningful way?
3. Is there some way for members of the Church to participate in a helpful way that does not take away ownership from families or beneficiaries?
4. Can we tap into the strengths of local solutions for local projects?
5. Outside intervention eventually goes away, so is there something we can do that will help people to be in a better, stronger position afterward to deal with issues that come up? (Sharon Eubank, LDS Charities director)
Having been a recipient of service over the years (fatherless child, single-parent home, etc.), I would encourage you to follow these guidelines carefully. 

Meaningful service is rarely convenient, easy or gratifying. It is usually hard work, seldom rewarding and horribly inconvenient.

Just Do It!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Of Blessings, Healings and Pretzels

My husband's patriarchal blessing tells him that he has "the gift of healing." Traditionally, we have viewed this gift rather narrowly. For example, since he holds the priesthood, he is able to administer a healing blessing to those who are sick or injured.

In order to not abuse or exploit this gift, he tries to remain humble about it and follow Church policy and procedures in exercising it. For example, he doesn't brag about it and he follows all correct procedures when he offers, or is asked to administer, a healing blessing.

In the 1980's he and another priesthood holder were dispatched to give an infant a blessing. It was not intended to be a healing blessing because the infant had been treated by a renown children's hospital and been sent home to die. Medical science could do nothing for the child. The blessing would be to comfort the family and help ease the infant out of this life.

In the blessing, my husband pronounced that the child would live and be a special light and influence in the family. Many other precious promises were made. A few years later he saw the living embodiment of all these promises fulfilled.

This embodies what we usually think of as the "gift of healing" and there are many examples in his past of this occurring.

Recently though, we decided that his gift needs to be interpreted more broadly. In other words, his gift doesn't appear to be confined to just priesthood blessings. Consider the next example of when he was young and before he joined the Church or had the priesthood.

In the 1960s, he was managing a restaurant. While making french fries, one of his workers dropped a pair of tongs in a hot oil vat used to fry the french fries. Reflexively, the boy plunged his whole arm into the oil to retrieve the tongs. He quickly pulled his arm out but the damage was done. His screams and the oil dripping from his arm relayed to my husband what had happened. He calmly walked the boy over to a sink where he hosed the oil off the boy's arm. He yelled for others workers to bring ice from the freezer. He packed the boy's arm in ice and transported him to the hospital.

Keep in mind that the conventional wisdom, and medical position at the time, was to coat any burn with butter. To this day he cannot explain why he acted the way he did. Initially, medical personnel castigated him for NOT applying butter.

However, they finally concluded that his quick thinking, calm action and especially his innovative solution saved the boy's arm.

My husband seems to know exactly what to do in either a serious health crisis or a minor emergency. For these reasons, I let him doctor me for anything.

Throughout his years managing factories, or as a first responder working in law enforcement, he continued to respond to medical issues with insight and skill.

This past week, one of our new residents called and asked directions to the local hospital. One of her boys had gotten a pretzel stuck in his ear and it was lodged deep, bleeding slightly and she was unable to get it out. The boy could not hear.

Although we had just walked in the door, he told her to bring the boy over and he would see what he could do. Within minutes, he had dislodged the pretzel with an ear bulb. A followup call established the ear is just fine. This saved the young family money, time and angst.

It is evident my husband has the gift of healing, whether in healing blessings or simply the knowledge and inclinations to pursue a correct course of healing action.

There are other multiple examples I could cite.

Sometimes it's a life.

Sometimes it's a limb.

And sometimes it's an ear, with a pretzel stuck in it.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Mormon Freak!

Today's post is a write-up from my sister-in-law, Marcie, about her son, my nephew, Rhett.
Rhett was in his Advanced Placement literature class yesterday and they were discussing a short story called Grace or something like that. Anyway, Mr. Wilkinson* was talking to one of the kids about the story and the boy mentioned that he came across a word that he didn't know.
The word was "mammon." Mr. Wilkinson asked him if he looked it up, and the boy said, "No." Mr. Wilkinson told him that was dumb because he always tells the kids to look up a word if they don't know what it means. Then he proceeded to ask the class if anyone knew what it meant. Rhett was the only one to raise his hand so Mr. Wilkinson asked him to please tell the class what it means. Rhett explained that it means riches or worldly things.
Then Mr. Wilkinson smiled and said, "Where does it come from?" Rhett said, "The Bible." At this point, all the eyes in the class were fixed on Rhett. Then Mr. Wilkinson said, "Where?" Rhett said, "Matthew, Chapter 6, Verse 24." Mr. Wilkinson (smiling) said, "What does it say?" and Rhett proceeded to recite the verse. At this point, there were literally open mouths and stares of utter disbelief from the students. He even got a comment from one of his friends, "Mormon freak!"
Then Mr. Wilkinson said, "How many of you go to church?" Of course there weren't any other hands raised, so Mr. Wilkinson continued, "I think I'm going to make it a requirement for you to attend church at least twice a semester." He continued by explaining that the Bible is the most widely read text (except, perhaps for the Koran, because there are more Muslims than Christians) and that there are so many references to it in the literature they will be reading this year.
Then, Rhett gave a plug for Seminary stating anyone who wanted to come was welcome to join him at 6 am every week day morning.
No word yet on whether Rhett had any takers. . .

*Some names have been changed.

(Some punctuation and grammar have been altered for clarification and standardization.)

Monday, September 17, 2012

1.9 Million Versus 30 Million

I got an email from LDSTech that said the Church's music web site gets about 1.8 or 1.9 million visitors per month and is one of the Church's most popular web features. I also read where Stephanie Nielson's Mormon mommy blog, The Nie Nie Dialogues gets 30 million visitors per month.

Can anyone doubt the impact of individual digital efforts when confronted with such statistics?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Almost Mormon: But Did He Get to the Lesson on Chastity?

An astonishing news story today is that Bill Clinton almost became Mormon. Poltico reports that Clinton admitted (last night, Tuesday, 09/11/12) to being taught by the L.D.S. missionaries when he was growing up in Hope, Arkansas. He attended some events and almost joined. However, heaven was just a bit too complicated for him and he didn't want to leave all his friends behind.

From the Politico article:
Clinton — toting a copy of Milica Z. Bookman’s new book about economics in the afterlife, “Do They Take Credit Cards in Heaven?” — spoke of recruiting presentations he’d attended at the local Mormon church while he was growing up in Hot Springs, Ark. Clinton, a Baptist, said he admires the church for its high ethical standards and belief in a celestial kingdom but said the idea of being in a heaven without his non-Mormon friends was too much to give up. “I didn’t want to leave all these other people behind,” he said. 
My question: Did Clinton get to the lesson on chastity?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Why Mormons are Conservative Republicans: Part 10: Conclusion

Ideology and political party identification isn’t always rational. In fact, it is often irrational. People may simply identify with their parent’s party or the dominant party in the community they live. 

Besides, how people talk and how they vote is often very different.

I don’t care if it is or isn’t. Whether rational or irrational, Mormons are conservative Republicans. I’ve presented my reasons for why there is a rational basis for Mormons being conservative Republicans.

The labels I've examined in this series coincide with the national political parties, not how something might be translated at the local level. For example, I know Mormons who ran as Democrats in local races; just because it was a one-party area and the only viable candidates for anything had to have the Democrat label, even though their personal ideology was conservative Republican.

I’m not interested in someone’s irate comment that their father, grandfather, uncle, mother niece, or whatever, is a good Mormon and a Democrat. I’ve addressed aggregates, not individuals, and I’m not interested in personal examples.

My contentions are based on aggregates, so unless you have aggregate statistical data I’m not interested in it.

You may WANT the situation to be different, but that does not alter what IS. Mormons are conservative Republicans. This is indisputable.

This series only addresses the “why” question. I’ll entertain commentary on the whys I’ve presented; but I’m not going to allow someone to deny the truth – Mormons are conservative Republicans.

When I took a modern church history course from Dr. Richard O. Cowan at BYU in 1984, he told us that he had researched whether church leaders assigned members to the various political parties. He told us that he found NO evidence to support this very common myth.

Members have always been free to affiliate, identify or join the political party of their choice. Mormons choose Republicans who are conservative.

Our religious teachings put us squarely in the Republican camp, especially when moral issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage are considered. These are the hot button social issues and have been for years.

When beliefs are turned into action by Mormon office holders, the beliefs square with the action:

Critical to these issues is the assumption that Mormon elected officials actually behave differently from those of other religious backgrounds. It turns out they do: when it comes to making policy, Mormons take a backseat to no one on conservative ideological purity.

It needs to be said and it is being said by me.

Our religious doctrines, beliefs and teachings should put all Mormons in the Republican camp, as conservatives. There is no other conclusion.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Why Mormons are Conservative Republicans: Part 9: The Inconvenient Truth

Recently the Church issued a delightful little video to explain the Church’s political neutrality.

View it below:

It accurately depicts the Church’s neutrality. This may not have been how the Church operated in the past, but it IS how things are done now. For example, I remember the Church allowing mass meetings (precinct caucuses) in Utah to take place in church buildings. It has been a long time since that occurred though and it may not have been done with official approval even then.

However, neutrality is not necessarily non-partisan. It is difficult for the Church to claim it is non-partisan when its members are almost wholly associated with the Republican party. This is an inconvenient truth.

The Church is neutral and non-partisan, much more so than anyone would guess. I've been astonished to discover this cannot be said of all other religions.

My husband and I have a Christmas tradition where we attend Christmas programs of other religions. We go to as many as we can – Presbyterian, Lutheran, Catholic, Episcopalian, Assembly of God, independent denominations, etc. I'm amazed at how often politics creeps into the proceedings.

Politics is absolutely off-limits in Mormondom. We may refer to it in general terms. We may use terms like politican, elected leaders, national elections, broadcast new media, but rarely specifics.

If someone does bring up specifics it makes some irate and the others uncomfortable. Then, closed door meetings ensue on how to deal with the inappropriateness.

If a current local Church leader endorses a candidate in his private, personal capacity it can often backfire, sometimes badly, even in a primary.
 "Here in Utah, it's not kosher to use your religion overtly for any purpose," says Kirk Jowers, director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah, and a friend of Mitt Romney.
"You don't hear politicians quoting the Bible or the Book of Mormon."
News media generally access L.D.S. political science/government faculty for information, commentary, sound bites and whatever else they need. L.D.S. political science faculty are almost entirely liberal Democrat; as are all such higher education faculty, regardless of religion.

Scholars that think government activity should be limited don’t generally want to study government. People who study government generally see an expansive role for government in society and in the lives of individuals; so it is perfectly logical that political science/government professors are liberal Democrats.

I’ve written before on how statistically I didn’t exist being a conservative Republican and working in academia.

These faculty members like to try and present the Church as being open to both parties. I think their commentary is skewed for this reason. Their own political ideology interferes with them being straight about how all the Mormon numbers align with conservatives, and especially, Republicans. It is an inconvenient truth.

Journalists and those associated with news media are overwhelmingly liberal Democrat. This also is an inconvenient truth.

So you've got liberal Democrats interviewing liberal Democrats about conservative Republicans. How can we really expect objectivity?

The Church may be open to both parties but the people aren’t.

There is no other religion so closely associated with one party, the Republican party, as the Mormons. I’ve known this ever since I got into politics which was about 1980. Mormons are overwhelmingly Republican and have been for years.

Highly religious Mormons are even more likely to be conservative and Republican than less active Mormons.  Mormons with lackluster commitment are much more likely to be liberal Democrats.

It is very hard to find good Mormons who are Democrats. Good Mormons are nearly always Republicans. That also is an inconvenient truth.

I share this viewpoint of Harry Reid's liberal Democrat views:
It is not possible for a faithful Mormon to support state-sanctioned gay marriage because it entails rejection of prophetic authority. On this issue Sen. Reid’s stance is not a liberal Mormon position; it is an anti-Mormon one.
Although the LDS Church does not expect or demand that its member politicians vote in accordance with its doctrines on political issues, it is possible to compare and contrast their positions with official church teachings. By this standard, Mitt wins the Better Mormon Award, though not by a landslide.
The “L word” is political death in Utah. Mormons do not like liberals, period.

Current news reports underscore that it is liberal Democrats that don’t want to vote for a Mormon President, not Evangelicals. That also is an inconvenient truth.

Given that the majority of church membership is now outside the United States, I see nothing wrong with underscoring that United States Mormons are conservative Republicans.

This is an inconvenient truth we all need to face.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Why Mormons are Conservative Republicans: Part 8: Judicial Activism vs. Judicial Restraint

I’ll let Dictionary.com define my terms:

[A]n interpretation of the U.S. constitution holding that the spirit of the times and the needs of the nation can legitimately influence judicial decisions (particularly decisions of the Supreme Court) [syn: broad interpretation]
A view . . . that judges should be reluctant to declare legislative enactments unconstitutional unless the conflict between the enactment and the Constitution is obvious. The doctrine is akin to, but not identical with, narrow construction, and it is the opposite of judicial activism.
Mormons believe our federal Constitution to be an inspired document. It was necessary for this government to be set up so that the Gospel of Jesus Christ could be restored. The temple work for our Founding Fathers was accomplished in a pretty miraculous way.

For more on this belief and the fascinating history behind it, see Brian H. Stuy, “Wilford Woodruff’s Vision of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence,” Journal of Mormon History 26, no. 1 (Spring 2000): 64–90.  Retrieved July 10, 2012 from http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/mormonhistory/vol26/iss1/1/. Also see https://chl.libraryresearch.info/reft296.aspx?pmi=Kstvjm7Dki for the names of all those baptized.)

As a result, Mormons are very uncomfortable with altering the Constitution.

Mormons are not comfortable with allowing the “needs of the nation” or the “spirit of the times” to affect Constitutional interpretation. Mormons aren’t particularly comfortable with anyone fiddling with, what we consider to be inspired language.

Unfortunately, this often results in Mormons being unwilling to alter state constitutions. This is personally frustrating to me. State constitutions are generally detailed, working documents that need revision regularly. They shouldn’t have the same status as our federal Constitution.

Many liberal groups attempt to overturn democratic action, like California’s Proposition 8, via court action. This offends Mormon’s concept of majority rule.

Many liberal groups attempt to achieve their social goals through bypassing legislative action and seeking it directly through the courts. This also offends Mormon's concept of majority rule and basic democratic principles.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Why Mormons are Conservative Republicans: Part 7: Ideology and the Modern Church

Fast forward to current times. Most commentators correctly point out that Mormons have only been Republican since about the 1970s.

It has always been clear to me that the Great Society programs under Kennedy, but especially LBJ, are really what turned Mormons into Republicans.

These anti-poverty programs with multiple safety nets allow people who don’t work to receive government assistance.

It is highly offensive to Mormons to give someone a handout if they are idle. Our strong work ethic and scriptural teachings revolt at the idea that someone isn’t working for what they get.

Consider the following:
D&C 75:29 Let every man be diligent in all things. And the idler shall not have place in the church, except he repent and mend his ways.
D&C 56:17 Wo unto you poor men, whose hearts are not broken, whose spirits are not contrite, and whose bellies are not satisfied, and whose hands are not stayed from laying hold upon other men’s goods, whose eyes are full of greediness, and who will not labor with your own hands!
Mormons believe in helping the poor. We have a large and astonishingly successful welfare program.

We believe individuals should help the poor. We believe non-profits should help the poor. We believe for-profits should help the poor. We believe churches should help the poor. We believe all organizations should help the poor. We just don’t believe it is appropriate for government to help the poor in the way they have traditionally done it – government handouts.

Self-reliance, thrift, work and serving others are hallmarks of our religion, not dependence, sloth, and idleness; which these government give-a-way programs are noted for.

In 1936, when our welfare program was first set up the purpose was crystal clear. It still is. Mormons have Heber J. Grant’s remarks ringing in their ears constantly.

Here it is:
“Our primary purpose was to set up, in so far as it might be possible, a system under which the curse of idleness would be done away with, the evils of a dole abolished, and independence, industry, thrift and self respect be once more established amongst our people. The aim of the Church is to help the people to help themselves.” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1936, p. 3.)
Democrats, especially liberal ones, are too closely associated with government programs that offend our Mormon principles.

See this recent counsel from a current leader:

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

When people voluntarily assist the poor, the poor can receive assistance, knowing it is sincere and kindly meant. This ennobles everyone.

Another social issue is environmentalism. Mormons don't believe that the earth's resources are scarce. We believe "there is enough and to spare."
D&C 104:17 For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves.
Mormons believe that we are stewards of the earth's resources and they should be taken care of and managed wisely. We just don't think they are scarce. This results in the rather curious position of being anti-waste, but not necessarily pro-recycling. This is more in line with Republican thinking.

Abortion on demand is abhorrent to Mormons. Democrats tend to favor abortion on demand or Pro-Choice as they euphemistically call it. Republicans tend to oppose it.

Same-Sex marriage and approval of homosexual behavior is abhorrent to Mormons. Democrats tend to favor it. Republicans tend to oppose it.

Republicans are more apt to be religious. Democrats are more apt to be non-religious.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Why Mormons are Conservative Republicans: Part 6: Ideology and the Book of Mormon

The Book of Mormon is an abridged version of historical events and religious teachings that occurred over hundreds of years here in the Americas. It is another testament of Jesus Christ.

Most of the material in the Book of Mormon occurred while the inhabitants functioned under a democracy; although all forms of government were present, including monarchies, theocracies and tribal governments. It was a democracy, but perhaps not our modern definition of democracy. It was as democratic as you can be when judgeships are passed from father to son.

Guidance on government is scattered throughout The Book of Mormon, but is concentrated in Mosiah 29. Below are some relevant passages:

26 Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right; therefore this shall ye observe and make it your law—to do your business by the voice of the people.  27 And if the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon you; yea, then is the time he will visit you with great destruction even as he has hitherto visited this land.
32 And now I desire that this inequality should be no more in this land, especially among this my people; but I desire that this land be a land of liberty, and every man may enjoy his rights and privileges alike, so long as the Lord sees fit that we may live and inherit the land, yea, even as long as any of our posterity remains upon the face of the land.
Clearly, The Book of Mormon teaches that government should be conducted by majority rule and that we should seek equality.

King Mosiah’s father, King Benjamin, also instructed the people in government and expressly affirmed that he supported himself, not at the people’s expense. See Mosiah 2:14:
And even I, myself, have labored with mine own hands that I might serve you, and that ye should not be laden with taxes, and that there should nothing come upon you which was grievous to be borne—and of all these things which I have spoken, ye yourselves are witnesses this day.
Several passages exist in The Book of Mormon where excessive taxation and governmental excesses are condemned.  See especially Ether 10:5, Ether 10:6, Mosiah 11:6, Mosiah 7:15 and Mosiah 11:3.

Mormons do not like to see government overstep its boundaries. They prefer that it be limited and exist in a particular sphere.

Throughout The Book of Mormon defensive military efforts were judged as righteous, as long as people were defending their lives and their liberties and led by righteous leaders. See especially Captain Moroni.

Mormons tend to support a strong military. Currently, this is more in line with the Republican party than the Democratic party.

The Book of Mormon clearly teaches that government has a responsibility to protect religious freedoms. Mormons tend to view the Republican party as supportive of religion and the Democratic party as being non-supportive.

Unrighteous judges and lawyers are portrayed in The Book of Mormon as detrimental to society. See Alma 10:27:
And now behold, I say unto you, that the foundation of the destruction of this people is beginning to be laid by the unrighteousness of your lawyers and your judges.
Most lawyers in the United States are Democrats. I know this from all my schooling, training and experience. Most lawyers contribute money to Democratic candidates and always have.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Why Mormons are Conservative Republicans: Part 5: Socialists and Libertarians

There are liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats. However, their numbers are relatively small and they are usually explained by the history of the area they live in. For example, there may be a strong union tradition in a manufacturing community but they live rural and value their firearms. These would be classified as conservative Democrats.

Currently, the “conservative” or “liberal” labels tend to be conferred because of how we feel about social issues rather than fiscal ones.

I can’t ignore that socialists and libertarians exist. However, in the U.S. their numbers are quite small. Most of us fit under conservative or liberal banners.

In general, socialists prefer more government activity in all issues and libertarians prefer less government activity in all issues.

Communists are a specific branch of socialism.

At times in our Mormon history, socialism has gained popularity and some strength. Usually it is the collectivism that has appeal. Okay, I’ll stop talking jargon and explain.

Think back to Communism in the Soviet Union, where people worked collectively and ownership was collective. Private ownership really didn’t exist much. Everyone labored for the common good and government controlled everything.

The theory behind all of this was that no one was allowed to corral more resources than they needed. People had what they needed and there was equality. Everyone owned everything. The government directed all of the economic activity.

Obviously, this version of socialism had some appeal for Mormons, because we believe that living the Law of Consecration or United Order is the highest economic way to live. The few times we tried to live it, though, we didn’t measure up.

In general, it involves pooling all of our efforts and resources and only being granted what we need. This system ensures equality and eliminates poverty.

The difference between this Mormon utopia and the socialist methods of the past is that the Mormons’ system is entirely voluntarily. Socialism involves compulsion, which is totally at odds with our belief system. Also, it is very different for government to control things versus Church leaders.