Sunday, July 10, 2022

Freedom of Religion OR Freedom from Religion

The question surrounding the 1st Amendment that everyone seems to be grappling with these days, in education as well as the public square in general, has less to do with a separation of church and state, and more to do with a pretended idea that they are assaulted by other people’s religious beliefs when the government protects the free exercise of religion in public spaces.

They want to be free “from religion.”

I often ask such people if they believe they have a constitutional right to be free from the influence of religion as it pertains to the public practice of religious beliefs?

I’m often surprised how many answer that question with a resounding, “Yes!”

How warped is this idea? Look to the first Amendment it’s not shrouded in mysterious language that needs a great deal of philosophical debate to uncover its meaning.

1st Amendment:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech…”

The Constitution is clear!

Government is to protect the people’s right to the “free exercise of religion” and to prohibit the government from making “law respecting an establishment of religion.” I.E. establishing a state church.

Thus, it is not that people have a right to be free from religion in the public square, but rather that people are protected in their religious liberty to freely worship and exercise their religious beliefs both in private and public.

It is ludicrous to expect that you can be protected from the influences of others beliefs, ideas, world views, etc, and still have a clear and robust 1st Amendment which includes the right to speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of assembly.

It’s disingenuous for secular Americans to pretend that their world views, ideas, and beliefs are in a separate class than those world views, ideas, and beliefs based on a religious framework. Whatever the nature of the framework upon which your world views, ideas, and beliefs are founded — they are non-the-less personal beliefs with the power to influence society. A person’s right to think as they choose, to believe as they choose, and to practice those beliefs and speak freely of them are unalienable natural rights for all.

The first Amendment is 1st because it articulates our first natural unalienable rights. Freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom to assemble with whom we please and fir what purpose we please, and the freedom to transmit one’s ideas and beliefs into the public sphere are essential liberties.

There can be no freedom where people are protected in public spaces FROM the ideas and beliefs of others.

**An addendum to this statement as it pertains to public institutions of education.

The application of the first amendment in public education should follow four clear principles, 1) Children belong to their parents and their parents have a natural right and duty to direct and influence their child’s education, including deciding what ideas they want to transmit to their child through education.

2) Public schools are meant to be governed locally by the communities in which they are organized and with particular accountability to the parents whose children they teach. They are democratic in nature and thus the teachings found in these schools should reflect the world view and beliefs of the majority of parents within their district or state.

3) The rights of the minority in such institutions should be respected, in particular, students should remain free to speak openly about their world view, ideas, and beliefs and practice openly their beliefs so long as they do no physical harm to others.

4) The rights of teachers to practice their religious beliefs in this setting should be respected so far as they are not using coercion or secret methods of influence to undermine the views and beliefs of a student and their family.

Monday, July 27, 2020

I Am an American

In 1954 an Akron, Ohio, high school girl, Elizabeth Ellen Evans, wrote a prize-winning essay titled “I Speak for Democracy.”

I Am An American

I AM AN AMERICAN…listen to my words. Listen well, for my country is a strong country, and my message is a strong message.

I AM AN AMERICAN…and I speak for democracy and the dignity of the individual.

I AM AN AMERICAN…and my ancestors have given their blood for freedom:
On the green of Lexington and the snow at Valley Forge,
On the walls of Fort Sumter and the fields at Gettysburg,
On the waters of the Marne and in the shadows of the Argonne,
On the beachheads of Salerno and Normandy and the sands of Okinawa,
On the bare, black hills called Pork Chop and Old Baldy and Heartbreak Ridge, a million
and more of my countrymen have died for freedom.

I AM AN AMERICAN…and my country is their eternal monument.

I AM AN AMERICAN…and my ancestors have bequeathed to me:
The laughter of a small boy as he watches a circus clown’s antics,
The sweet, delicious coldness of the first bite of peppermint ice cream on the Fourth of July,
The little tenseness of a baseball crowd as the umpire calls, “Batter Up!”
The high school band’s rendition of the “Stars and Stripes Forever,” in the Memorial Day parade,
The clear, sharp ring of a school bell on a crisp fall morning, These and many others things they fought for and left me.

I AM AN AMERICAN…and the fruits of my thought and labor are mine to enjoy.

I AM AN AMERICAN…and my happy land is a land of many realms and mansions:
It is a land of Ohio corn and potatoes and pastures,
It is the realm of hundreds of acres of golden wheat stretching across flat miles of Kansas,
It is the land of precision assembly lines in Detroit, It is the realm of milling cattle in the stockyards of Chicago, It is the land of glowing skylines of Pittsburgh and Birmingham, of San Francisco and New York, And my churches and homes are the mansions of heaven.

I AM AN AMERICAN…and the love of God has made me free.

I AM AN AMERICAN…and in my churches and homes everyone worships God in his own way:
The young Jewish boy saying: “Hear, 0 Israel, the Lord is One, “
The Catholic girl praying: “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is -with thee,”
The Protestant boy singing: “A Mighty Fortress is Our God, “Each one believing and praying as he must, And all joining in the universal prayer: “Our Father, who art in Heaven,” with the voice in the soul of every human being that cries out to be free,

I AM AN AMERICAN…and I believe that America has answered that voice.

I AM AN AMERICAN…and my country offers freedom and opportunity such as no land before
her has ever done:

Freedom to work, as mechanic or farmer, as merchant or truck driver,
Freedom to think, as chemist or lawyer, as doctor or priest,
Freedom to love, as child, as parent, sweetheart, husband, wife,
Freedom to speak, to pray, to read, to argue, to praise, to criticize,
Freedom to live one – or two – hundred million different lives.

I AM AN AMERICAN…and my heritage is of the land and of the spirit, of the heart and of the soul.

I AM AN AMERICAN…and these are my words. Show me a now a country greater than my country, a people happier than my people.

I AM AN AMERICAN…I speak for democracy and the dignity of the individual.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Neo-Marxist Race Wars and the Disintegration of the American System

Recently I have been fielding sincere questions from good friends and members of my several Facebook groups about my course, "Six Foundational Principles of Free Republics" and other historical summaries I have written at Freedom ED. The current events and the impact of new "historical narratives" from sources like the 1619 Project, social commentaries such as the book "White Fragility," and the echoes of these narratives in the main stream media have prompted many to question what they have believed and known about the American system and our history.

Many are turning to these new sources to examine their understanding of the complexities of American's history with race. One of my readers said she was inspired by the 1619 Project, that it gave her a different view of history, "one from a black lens." Many are impacted emotionally by the stories that invoke empathy and compassion for historical black suffering. Exposures to the raw historical record of the evils of slavery appropriately prompt tender feelings. The problem with the 1619 Project is not in the historical record of the atrocities of slavery and discrimination in our history, it is in the brazen assertions in the underlying assumptions the project's author makes about the American system being conceived in racism, not liberty. One fallacious claim, is the claim that the real birth of the American nation was 1619, the year the the first slaves from Africa arrived in British North America, and not in 1776 when Americans declared their independence from that monarchical parent.

John McWhorter, writing for the 1776 Unites Project, explained the most fraudulent misrepresentation of the Project this way: "The New York Times’ 1619 Project is founded on empirical sand. The fundamental claim that the Revolutionary War was fought to preserve slavery simply does not correspond with the facts, too conclusively for the point to be dismissed as mere hair-splitting. The issue is not differing interpretations of history, but an outright misinterpretation of it."

These deceptive claims of the American founding are foundational to the premise that the American system was and is thoroughly constructed in racism, inequality, bigotry, and discrimination. Even when the fallacies of the underlying assumptions of the 1619 Project are exposed it is surprising how thoughtful Americans are reticent to refute or critically critique the project because the emotions invoked by it stand out as greater proofs of it's authenticity then established historical facts. "School districts nationwide eagerly received pedagogical materials based on the idea of offering students a fresh, revealing take on American history." McWhorter warns that "in the end, the 1619 Project is more than a history lesson. It is founded on three basic principles, none expounded with a great deal of clarity, but all of them pernicious to a truly constructive black American identity."

If the 1619 Project is the historical frame for a Neo-Marxist disintegration movement, then "White Fragility," by Robin DiAngelo, is the philosophical underpinning of the movement. White Fragility seeks to reeducate white people on their unconscious sins stemming from their white privilege. The book echos the 1619 Project premise and frame for American history, a historical narrative that is presented as the first genuine perspective on American history.

As it relates to race relations in America today, DiAngelo claims that racism presents a more significant road block for the progress of black Americans then existed under the era of Jim Crow. Her premise, founded on the same historical narrative as the 1619 Project, denies the progress black Americans have made since the civil rights movement, it denies the growth of the black middle class and all the legal, social, and economic progress that has been made in the decades since the civil rights era. DiAngelo essentially takes the established and acknowledge evils of slavery and fast forwards past all the intervening history and attributes all the conditions and disparities we see today as a direct result of slavery. This is a construct that creates a historical nonsense that denies all the intervening events as though they have no impact on the present.

White Fragility's redefinition of racism creates an undefinable construct in which racism is the force that moves all the systems of power regardless of whether or not it is measurable or realized. This ideology attempts to dispose of the concrete idea of racism in lieu of a broader and more mystic idea of "systematic racism." The premise is simply that whiteness prevents white people from seeing racism properly. A white person doesn't have to be personally racist to be guilty of racism because white people are part of the hierarchy of power in a system that is thoroughly racist. If a white person doesn't think they are racist they are exposing their intrinsic unconscious racism, but if they admit their racism then they are racist anyway, so essentially white people are racist, period. In this construct of racism only white people have the power to redeem black people from the clutches of racism and only the disintegration of the American system will allow the woke to get in touch with their unrealized racism.

In response to my sincere readers who have been impacted emotionally by the 1619 Project, who believe they are learning American history through a "black lens," the 1619 project is not a telling of American History through a "black lens," rather, it is a telling of American history through a anti-western lens. Black Americans are not monolithic in their thinking or viewpoint of American History and there are many black people who do not see the world through the lens presented by Nikole Hannah-Jones. 

I would encourage my readers to broaden their scholarship of black history and expose themselves to viewpoints from black authors that are counter to the ones that underlay the 1619 project. An entire project was formed to counter the 1619 Project by Bob Woodson, a life-long service oriented leader in the black community, called the 1776 Unites Campaign. Woodson represents black Americans who are unionist who see the founding of our nation as a promise of the racial equality that can be achieved as we strive to build the more perfect union our Constitutional government enables.

Corey Brooks writing for the 1776 Unites Campaign counters the 1619 Project by saying:

The overarching theme of our founding documents is the possibility of what the individual can achieve, thanks to his or her freedom. We often call it the American Dream. It is the heart and soul of our nation’s mission statement. Political projects such as The 1619 Project do nothing to help black Americans escape the noxious “us versus them” mentality, and they rob generations of Americans of the power of the American Dream.

I have discovered on the south side of Chicago that the absolute best way to overcome racial disparities in economic and academic outcomes is to teach individuals about the incredible opportunities of being in America — not to fixate on the mistakes of the past. Personal responsibility, an American concept closely linked to individual freedom, is the ticket to a turned-around life.

Read the essays from the members of the 1776 Unites Campaign. Listen to lectures from Dr. Voddie Bauchum, and read books from the great black intellectual Thomas Sowell.

Those delving into the work of Nikole Hannah-Jones and Robin DiAngelo are understandably conflicted by the dissonance of the competing ideologies between the disintegration view of history that surmises the only way to equality is the overthrow of the American system and the unionist view that believes progress toward equality is best pursued through the American system. After studying the "Six Foundational Principles of Free Republics," one reader expressed the common concern that "these principles- beautiful and inspired - were not applied to everybody." It is true. The principles in America's founding documents were not applied equally at the birth of the nation, but just because truth is not applied to everyone doesn't make them untrue. The atrocities inflicted on human beings throughout history, and the black marks on American history, do not invalidate the inspired principles the founders articulated and constructed our government upon.

It is encouraging that so many are seeking to better educate themselves in American history and the founding. It is concerning that they are turning to pseudo academic works like the 1619 Project, but still I hope that thoughtful and inquisitive Americans will challenge themselves with a wider study of history and an exposure to viewpoints that counter the narratives of the 1619 Project. Correct perspective and context is essential to understanding the past and making wise judgments about the future.

It's natural when we discover new information to have questions regarding the principles, practices, culture, or history that seem difficult to understand. Asking questions and seeking answers is a vital part of our effort to learn truth. Whatever the source of our questions may be, we have been blessed with the ability to think and reason. The attitude and intent with which we ask questions and seek answers will greatly affect our ability to learn. We must examine concepts, questions, and social issues with a perspective rooted in timeless truths, we must consider our questions or concerns in the context of those truths. This allows us to reframe the questions and suppositions presented to us (to see the question differently) and view ideas based on the standard of truth rather than accepting the world’s premises or assumptions.

Especially questions that relate to historical events need to be examined with this context and perspective. As we stay anchored to these principles, we are able to see issues more clearly. We must examine historical questions in the proper historical context by considering the culture and norms of the time period rather than imposing current perspectives and attitudes. When we consider our own history, we ought to compare and contrast our history with the history of other nations in the world.

As part of a thorough and thoughtful historical study of the principles of freedom it is important to study the precepts of anti-freedom forces. A little over 50 years after the U.S. Constitution was ratified, and the great American experiment in individual freedom and free markets commenced, Karl Marx published the antithesis to the American system in the communist manifesto. From that point the world began a march toward the great ideological divide. Two systems, two viewpoints colliding on a grand scale. Carl Marx set forth doctrines of communism that were a blueprint to overthrow American liberty and democracy throughout the western world.

Why did it happen just at that moment, the dawn of the greatest economic advancement in human history?

I believe that it is no coincidence that after western civilization had progressed for hundreds of years to the point at which the birth child of English democracy was born in a new land, and this new land became the cradle of liberty, not a mature liberty, but a liberty in embryo; that at this exact moment, when America burgeoned into it’s adolescence and stood on the cusp of it’s adulthood, there came an ideology to infiltrate the western academic world and begin to undercut American progress.

It was no more an accident of fate, than the Republic that came out of the Constitutional Convention was an accident of fate. These two separate ideologies, both inspired, one inspired of God for the elevation and agency of man and the other inspired of evil for the disintegration of the civil society and the overthrow of both God given truth and human agency.

To be truly educated in the principles of liberty one must inoculate themselves against the ideologies of post modern Marxism -- yes the ideologies connected to so called "anti-racism," black liberation theology, social justice, and systematic racism are all rooted in a cultural revolution that is at it's core Marxist. These ideologies prey upon emotion and a release from personal responsibility to drive out reason and obscure fact and truth.

For those who are Christians and are tempted to confuse the principles of charity with the philosophies of Socialism and Communism — OR Latter-day Saints who were taught a religious order of communal living — it is all the more critical that we be educate in the principles and tactics of communism and socialism and recognize it as a counterfeit of God's law. I realize that it is hard when stories that invoke empathy and compassion are used to persuade one to throw off the construct of western civilization. Too often these days, Americans are ignoring fact and reason based scholarship for what their "feelings" dictate and in this way falling for these counterfeit principles on the equality of man.

One thing is always true and that is that there are absolute truths upon which happiness and peace in society are most likely to be achieved. Those ideas worked their way into our world through western civilization. Humans are fallen and the failings of systems of government, including those best suited to advance morality and human freedom, are the result of fallen human nature and not a result of fallen ideals and principles of truth.

America does not need another revolution and the world needs the American system that has spread liberty and protected it for over a hundred years. The ultimate aim of the historical narratives of Nikole Hannah-Jones and others false academic philosophies is to bring down the American system. If they succeed and their ideas are not countered, they will be successful at bringing nothing but greater misery to the human race, no matter the skin color or culture from which they descend. It will mean the loss of sacred freedoms that are protected by the American system and it will not end well.

Friday, July 17, 2020

Latter-Day Saint Teaching: Socialism and the United Order Compared

Elder Marion G. Romney, Of the Council of the Twelve Apostles, gave this address in the April 1966 General Conference Priesthood Session. (Conference Report, April 1966, pp. 95-101)

What I am going to give you now is a statement I have prepared in answer to the question, "Is Socialism the United Order?" Some of you may have already heard it. This is the first time I have ever attempted to give a talk a second time. My excuse is that the Brethren have asked me to give this talk here tonight.

I suppose the best way to start a comparison of socialism and the United Order is with a definition of the terms. Webster defines socialism as:

Socialism defined

"A political and economic theory of social organization based on collective or governmental ownership and democratic management of the essential means for the production and distribution of goods; also, a policy or practice based on this theory" (Webster’s New International Dictionary, 2nd ed. unabridged, 1951).

George Bernard Shaw, the noted Fabian Socialist, said that:

"Socialism, reduced to its simplest legal and practical expression, means the complete discarding of the institution of private property by transforming it into public property and the division of the resultant income equally and indiscriminately among the entire population." (Encyclopedia Britannica, 1946 ed., Vol. 20, p. 895.)

George Douglas Howard Cole, M.A., noted author and university reader in economics at Oxford, who treats socialism for the Encyclopedia Britannica, says that because of the shifting sense in which the word has been used, "a short and comprehensive definition is impossible. We can only say," he concludes, "that Socialism is essentially a doctrine and a movement aiming at the collective organization of the community in the interest of the mass of the people by means of the common ownership and collective control of the means of production and exchange." (Ibid., p. 888.)

Socialism arose "out of the economic division in society." During the nineteenth century its growth was accelerated as a protest against "the appalling conditions prevailing in the workshops and factories and the unchristian spirit of the spreading industrial system."

Communism, starting point

The "Communist Manifesto" drafted by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels for the Communist League in 1848 is generally regarded as the starting point of modern socialism. (Ibid., p. 890.)

The distinction between socialism, as represented by the various Socialist and Labour parties of Europe and the New World, and Communism, as represented by the Russians, is one of tactics and strategy rather than of objective. Communism is indeed only socialism pursued by revolutionary means and making its revolutionary method a canon of faith. Communists like other socialists, (1) believe in the collective control and ownership of the vital means of production and (2) seek to achieve through state action the coordinated control of the economic forces of society. They (the Communists) differ from other socialists in believing that this control can be secured, and its use in the interests of the workers ensured, only by revolutionary action leading to the dictatorship of the proletariat and the creation of a new proletarian state as the instrument of change. (Ibid.)

German Socialism

A major rift between so-called orthodox socialism and communist socialism occurred in 1875 when the German Social Democratic party set forth its objective of winning power by taking over control of the bourgeois state, rather than by overthrowing it. In effect, the German Social Democratic party became a parliamentary party, aiming at the assumption of political power by constitutional means.

Fabian Society

In the 1880’s a small group of intellectuals set up in England the Fabian Society, which has had a major influence on the development of modern orthodox socialism. Fabianism stands "for the evolutionary conception of socialism . . . endeavoring by progressive reforms and the nationalization of industries, to turn the existing state into a ‘welfare state.'" Somewhat on the order of the German Social Democrats Fabians aim "at permeating the existing parties with socialistic ideas [rather] than at creating a definitely socialistic party." They appeal "to the electorate not as revolutionaries but as constitutional reformers seeking a peaceful transformation of the system." (Ibid.)

Forms and policies of socialism

The differences in forms and policies of socialism occur principally in the manner in which they seek to implement their theories.

They all advocate:

(1) That private ownership of the vital means of production be abolished and that all such property "pass under some form of coordinated public control."

(2) That the power of the state be used to achieve their aims.

(3) "That with a change in the control of industry will go a change in the motives which operate in the industrial system" (Ibid.)

So much now for the definition of socialism. I have given you these statements in the words of socialists and scholars, not my words, so they have had their hearing.

The United Order

Now as to the United Order, and here I will give the words of the Lord and not my words. The United Order, the Lord’s program for eliminating the inequalities among men, is based upon the underlying concept that the earth and all things therein belong to the Lord (Ps. 24:1) and that men hold earthly possessions as stewards accountable to God.

On January 2, 1831, the Lord revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith that the Church was under obligation to care for the poor (see D&C 38:34-35). Later he said:

"I, the Lord, stretched out the heavens, and built the earth . . . and all things therein are mine.

"And it is my purpose to provide for my saints, for all things are mine.

"But it must needs be done in mine own way" (D&C 104:14-16).

Consecration and stewardship

On February 9, 1831, the Lord revealed to the Prophet what his way was (see D&C 42:30-39). In his way there were two cardinal principles: (1) consecration and (2) stewardship.

To enter the United Order, when it was being tried, one consecrated all his possessions to the Church by a "covenant and a deed which" could not "be broken" (D&C 42:30). That is, he completely divested himself of all of his property by conveying it to the Church.

Having thus voluntarily divested himself of title to all his property, the consecrator received from the Church a stewardship by a like conveyance. This stewardship could be more or less than his original consecration, the object being to make "every man equal according to his family, according to his circumstances and his wants and needs" (D&C 51:3).

This procedure preserved in every man the right to private ownership and management of his property. At his own option he could alienate it or keep and operate it and pass it on to his heirs.

The intent was, however, for him to so operate his property as to produce a living for himself and his dependents. So long as he remained in the order, he consecrated to the Church the surplus he produced above the needs and wants of his family. This surplus went into a storehouse from which stewardships were given to others and from which the needs of the poor were supplied.

These divine principles are very simple and easily understood. A comparison of them with the underlying principles of socialism reveal similarities and basic differences.

Comparisons and contrasts: Similarities

The following are similarities: Both (1) deal with production and distribution of goods; (2) aim to promote the well-being of men by eliminating their economic inequalities; (3) envision the elimination of the selfish motives in our private capitalistic industrial system.


Now the differences:

(1) The cornerstone of the United Order is belief in God and acceptance of him as Lord of the earth and the author of the United Order.

Socialism, wholly materialistic, is founded in the wisdom of men and not of God. Although all socialists may not be atheists, none of them in theory or practice seek the Lord to establish his righteousness (D&C 1:16).

(2) The United Order is implemented by the voluntary free-will actions of men, evidenced by a consecration of all their property to the Church of God.

One time the Prophet Joseph Smith asked a question by the brethren about the inventories they were taking. His answer was to the effect, "You don’t need to be concerned about the inventories. Unless a man is willing to consecrate everything he has, he doesn’t come into the United Order." (Documentary History of the Church, Vol. 7, pp. 412-13.) On the other hand, socialism is implemented by external force, the power of the state.

(3) In harmony with church belief, as set forth in the Doctrine and Covenants, "that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property" (D&C 134:2), the United Order is operated upon the principle of private ownership and individual management.

God-given agency preserved in United Order

Thus in both implementation and ownership and management of property, the United Order preserves to men their God-given agency, while socialism deprives them of it.

(4) The United Order is non-political.

Socialism is political, both in theory and practice. It is thus exposed to, and riddled by, the corruption that plagues and finally destroys all political governments that undertake to abridge man’s agency.

(5) A righteous people is a prerequisite to the United Order.

Socialism argues that it as a system will eliminate the evils of the profit motive.

The United Order exalts the poor and humbles the rich (D&C 104:16). In the process both are sanctified. The poor, released from the bondage and humiliating limitations of poverty, are enabled as free men to rise to their full potential, both temporally and spiritually. The rich, by consecration and by imparting of their surplus for the benefit of the poor, not by constraint but willingly (1 Pet. 5:2) as an act of free will, evidence that charity for their fellowmen characterized by Mormon as "the pure love of Christ" (Moro. 7:47).

Socialism not United Order

No, brethren, socialism is not the United Order. However, notwithstanding my abhorrence of it, I am persuaded that socialism is the wave of the present and of the foreseeable future. It has already taken over or is contending for control in most nations.

"At the end of the year [1964] parties affiliated with the [Socialist] International were in control of the governments of Great Britain, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Israel, and the Malagasy Republic. They had representatives in coalition cabinets in Austria, Belgium, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, and Switzerland, constituted the chief opposition in France, India, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand and West Germany; and were significant political forces in numerous other countries. Many parties dominant in governments in Africa, Asia, and Latin America announced that their aim was a socialist society." (Encyclopedia Britannica, 1965 Book of the Year, p. 736.)

United States has adopted much socialism

We here in the United States, in converting our government into a social welfare state, have ourselves adopted much of socialism. Specifically, we have to an alarming degree adopted the use of the power of the state in the control and distribution of the fruits of industry. We are on notice, according to the words of the President, that we are going much further, for he is quoted as saying:

"We’re going to take all the money we think is unnecessarily being spent and take it from the ‘haves’ and give it to the ‘have nots.'" (1964 Congressional Record, p. 6142, Remarks of the President to a Group of Leaders of Organizations of Senior Citizens in the Fish Room, March 24, 1964.)

Socialism takes: United Order gives

That is the spirit of socialism: We’re going to take. The spirit of the United Order is: We’re going to give.

We have also gone a long way on the road to public ownership and management of the vital means of production. In both of these areas the free agency of Americans has been greatly abridged. Some argue that we have voluntarily surrendered this power to government. Be this as it may, the fact remains that the loss of freedom with the consent of the enslaved, or even at their request, is nonetheless slavery.

As to the fruits of socialism, we all have our own opinions. I myself have watched its growth in our own country and observed it in operation in many other lands. But I have yet to see or hear of its freeing the hearts of men of selfishness and greed or of its bringing peace, plenty, or freedom. These things it will never bring, nor will it do away with idleness and promote "industry, thrift and self-respect," for it is founded, in theory and in practice, on force, the principle of the evil one.

As to the fruits of the United Order, I suggest you read Moses 7:16-18 and 4 Nephi 2-3, 15-16 (4 Ne. 1:2-3,15-16; Moses 7:16-18). If we had time we could review the history, what little we know, of Zion in the days of Enoch and about what happened among the Nephites under those principles of the United Order in the first two centuries following the time of the Savior.

What can we do?

Now what can we do about it?

As I recently reminded my wife of the moratorium on the United Order, which the Lord placed in 1834 (D&C 105:34), that socialism is taking over in the nations and that its expressed aims will surely fail, she spiritedly put to me the question: "Well, then, what would you suggest, that we just sit on our hands in despair and do nothing?" Perhaps similar questions have occurred to you. The answer is, "No, by no means!" We have much to do, and fortunately for us the Lord has definitely prescribed the course we should follow with respect to socialism and the United Order.

Constitution God-inspired

He has told us that in preparation for the restoration of the gospel, he himself established the Constitution of the United States, and he has plainly told us why he established it. I hope I can get this point over to you. He said he established the Constitution to preserve to men their free agency, because the whole gospel of Jesus Christ presupposes man’s untrammeled exercise of free agency. Man is in the earth to be tested. The issue as to whether he succeeds or fails will be determined by how he uses his agency. His whole future, through all eternity, is at stake. Abridge man’s agency, and the whole purpose of his mortality is thwarted. Without it, the Lord says, there is no existence (see D&C 93:30). The Lord so valued our agency that he designed and dictated "the laws and constitution" required to guarantee it. This he explained in the revelation in which he instructed the Prophet Joseph Smith to appeal for help,

Just and holy principles

"According to the laws and constitution of the people, which I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles;

"That every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment.

"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" (D&C 101:77-78,80).

Sustain Constitutional law

Previously he had said:

"And now, verily I say unto you concerning the laws of the land, it is my will that my people should observe to do all things whatsoever I command them.

"And that law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me.

"Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land [the test of its constitutionality in the words of the Lord here is whether it preserves man’s agency];

"And as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this cometh of evil.

"I, the Lord God, make you free, therefore ye are free indeed; and the law [that is, constitutional law] also maketh you free.

"Nevertheless, when the wicked rule the people mourn.

"Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil" (D&C 98:4-10).

These scriptures declare the Constitution to be a divine document. They tell us that "according to just and holy principles," the Constitution and the law of the land which supports the "principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before" God; that, "as pertaining to [the] law of man whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil." They remind us that the Lord has made us free and that laws that are constitutional will also make us free.

"When the wicked rule, the people mourn"

Right at this point, almost as if he were warning us against what is happening today, the Lord said: "Nevertheless, when the wicked rule the people mourn." Then, that we might know with certainty what we should do about it, he concluded: "Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold"

In its context this instruction, according to my interpretation, can only mean that we should seek diligently for and support men to represent us in government who are "wise" enough to understand freedom—as provided for in the Constitution and as implemented in the United Order—and who are honest enough and good enough to fight to preserve it.

". . . under no other government in the world could the Church have been established," said President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., and he continued:

". . . if we are to live as a Church, and progress, and have the right to worship as we are worshipping here today, we must have the great guarantees that are set up by our Constitution. There is no other way in which we can secure these guarantees." (Conference Report, October 1942, pp. 58-59.)

Now, not forgetting our duty to eschew socialism and support the just and holy principles of the Constitution, as directed by the Lord, I shall conclude these remarks with a few comments concerning what we should do about the United Order.

What to do about United Order

The final words of the Lord in suspending the order were: "And let those commandments which I have given concerning Zion and her law be executed and fulfilled, after her redemption" (D&C 105:34).

Further implementation of the order must therefore await the redemption of Zion. Here Zion means Jackson County, Missouri. When Zion is redeemed, as it most certainly shall be, it will be redeemed under a government and by a people strictly observing those "just and holy principles" (D&C 101:77) of the Constitution that accord to men their God-given moral agency, including the right to private property. If, in the meantime, socialism takes over in America, it will have to be displaced, if need be, by the power of God, because the United Order can never function under socialism or "the welfare state," for the good and sufficient reason that the principles upon which socialism and the United Order are conceived and operated are inimical.

In the meantime, while we await the redemption of Zion and the earth and the establishment of the United Order, we as bearers of the priesthood should live strictly by the principles of the United Order insofar as they are embodied in present church practices, such as the fast offering, tithing, and the welfare activities. Through these practices we could as individuals, if we were of a mind to do so, implement in our own lives all the basic principles of the United Order.

As you will recall, the principles underlying the United Order are consecration and stewardships and then the contribution of surpluses into the bishop’s storehouse. When the law of tithing was instituted four years after the United Order experiment was suspended, the Lord required the people to put "all their surplus property . . . into the hands of the bishop" (D&C 119:1); thereafter they were to "pay one-tenth of all their interest annually" (D&C 119:4). This law, still in force, implements to a degree at least the United Order principle of stewardships, for it leaves in the hands of each person the ownership and management of the property from which he produces the needs of himself and family. Furthermore to use again the words of President Clark:

". . . in lieu of residues and surpluses which were accumulated and built up under the United Order, we, today, have our fast offerings, our Welfare donations, and our tithing, all of which may be devoted to the care of the poor, as well as for the carrying on of the activities and business of the Church."

What prohibits us from giving as much in fast offerings as we would have given in surpluses under the United Order? Nothing but our own limitations.

Furthermore, we had under the United Order a bishop’s storehouse in which were collected the materials from which to supply the needs and the wants of the poor. We have a bishop’s storehouse under the Welfare Plan, used for the same purpose . . .

"We have now under the Welfare Plan all over the Church . . . land projects . . . farmed for the benefit of the poor . . .

"Thus . . . in many of its great essentials, we have, [in] the Welfare Plan . . . the broad essentials of the United Order. Furthermore, having in mind the assistance which is being given from time to time . . . to help set people up in business or in farming, we have a plan which is not essentially unlike that which was in the United Order when the poor were given portions from the common fund."

It is thus apparent that when the principles of tithing and the fast are properly observed and the Welfare Plan gets fully developed and wholly into operation, "we shall not be so very far from carrying out the great fundamentals of the United Order." (Conference Report, October 1942, pp. 51-58.)

The only limitation on you and me is within ourselves.

A Prayer:

And now in line with these remarks, for three things I pray:

(1) That the Lord will somehow quicken our understanding of the differences between socialism and the United Order and give us a vivid awareness of the awful portent of those differences.

(2) That we will develop the understanding, the desire, and the courage, born of the Spirit, to eschew socialism and to support and sustain, in the manner revealed and as interpreted by the Lord, those just and holy principles embodied in the Constitution of the United States for the protection of all flesh, in the exercise of their God-given agency.

(3) That through faithful observance of the principles of tithing, the fast, and the welfare program, we will prepare ourselves to redeem Zion and ultimately live the United Order, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

#2 Why I love America: My First Liberties

American liberty is the first attempt by the governments of men to found a nation on the proposition that all men are CREATED equal, that they stand equal before God, and are endowed by GOD with certain unalienable rights; rights that are preexistent to the institutions of government. As such, these natural rights are inalienable, unable to be forcibly severed from the individual because our rights are not allowance from governments of men, but rather a supreme gift from God.

The Constitution of the United States was written to limit government and thus leave the individual's natural rights to be securely exercised without improper constraints by the governments of men. The greatest blessing of this Constitutional government in my life is hard to parse out, because all of the God given rights we retain because of this inspired Constitutional government are essential to my ability to live my life in a way that allows me to progress along my path to happiness. If I had to choose which of my natural rights I cherish the most, I would choose what George Washington thought of as our first liberties.

The first amendment asserts the freedom of religion and the free exercise of conscience, freedom of speech, freedom to write and share our political ideals, and to peaceably assemble and associate in the public square. These liberties guard what is central to my life, my freedom to worship God after the dictates of my own conscience, to freely and openly exercise my religion in practice and deed, and to freely teach others the tenants of my faith. There is no freedom more important to me that these. To act and speak my conscience would be the greatest loss if the protections provided by our Constitutional government were to one day be dissolved.

Arthur C. Brooks, writing for CJ magazine in 2008, discussed the profound correlation between happiness and freedom. He said this about freedom of religion:

Religious freedom—known to the Founding Fathers as the “first liberty”—probably brings happiness, too. That assertion is hard to test internationally because there are no widely accepted global indexes of religious freedom. It is even hard to test within the United States because no one without religious freedom exists to tell us how unhappy he might be. Yet we do know that people who support freedom for those with unusual religious beliefs are happier than those who do not. In a 2006 survey asking if respondents endorsed the right of people with antireligious views to speak publicly, those who said “no” were a third likelier than those who said “yes” to say that they were not too happy. In other words, religious tolerance—even tolerance of anti-religiousness—is strongly linked with happiness.

Furthermore, many of the happiest people in America achieve their happiness through faith. When asked in the 2000 GSS about the experiences that made them feel the most free, about 11 percent of adults put religious and spiritual experiences at the top of the list. And these people were more likely than those mentioning any other experience to say that they were very happy.

I thank God daily in my prayers for this blessing and for this blessing I am ever grateful for those who have labored and died in order to build up this nation and preserve it; because of my gratitude for this freedom I strive to use it to the fullest for those rights we do not exercise we most certainly will lose.

#1 Why I Love America: My Heartland

We are entering full blown Presidential election season. It’s going to be intense, even more than we’ve seen this far. We are in serious need of being reminded of those things we love about our nation, our history, our unique way of life, and Constitutional government. My plan for trying to keep my grounding in these tumultuous times is to share with you all, as often as I can, the things I love about America and why I believe it’s so important that we preserve this unique American way of life. I have been sharing these post on my Facebook groups under the hashtags:

#ProudAmerican #AmericanCovenant

#1 Why I Love America: My Heartland

I love America’s heartland!! Especially the lush river farmlands of Easter Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois and parts of Missouri, and Eastern Kansas. I feel overwhelmingly blessed to live in such a choice land. I love the land, the people, the hard-working God fearing culture.

I’m grateful my church is strong here... the heartland Christian culture is down to earth, friendly, and stable, cost of living is fantastic, the economy is strong and the business community is vibrant. Omaha has a beautiful Latter-Day Saint temple (Winter Quarter’s Temple) and I love the peace I find when I worship there. 

I am grateful for plenty of water, great land for gardening and farming, and the beautiful rivers. I love Sarpy County, south of Omaha, the city isn’t far away with all of its conveniences, but there’s lots of beautiful land in Sarpy county between the Platte River and the Missouri River. The river bluffs look like beautiful green foothills. The hills covered in their crops in the spring and summer overlooking the river is amazingly beautiful! You get a lot of that in the big river valleys along the Missouri River and Mississippi River.

Are you familiar with the painter Grant Wood? He painted scenes from Iowa in a style that became known as American Regionalism. I think people look at his paintings and think, that’s not real. Of course his style is meant to be idealistic, but the first time my husband took me to Iowa to see where he grew up I was literally floored! I said, “It’s just like Grant Wood painted it.” The dirt freshly plowed was just as dark, the greens and golds just as vibrant, the planted rolling hills... all of it. I fell in love with the heartland, this verily small circle from Winter Quarters to Nauvoo, and from there south down the river to Missouri and Kansas. It looks just like Grant Wood Painted it.

We love it in Nebraska. I love the  land of this great country. 

Right To Bear Arms: The Last Defense of a Free People

Our Founding Fathers believe that not only is the right to bear arms a sacred right for self defense but a deterrent to ambitious government with tyrannical designs.

Conservatives are often scoffed at for holding this belief. Liberals condescendingly dismiss those who hold this belief as radicals and say that intelligent level headed people can't possibly see a threat from our American government.

Despite the lessons of history that saw 56 million defenseless people exterminated by their own governments in the 20th century many reject the historical examples as insufficient comparisons to our government of checks and balances. That somehow Americans are immune to the pitfalls of history.

As a conservative I find it extraordinary that it is not obvious to every American how our freedoms have eroded over the last 100 years and how precarious our constitutional rights hang in the systematic weakening of our constitution and our government systems. 

We are watching the unraveling of our societies most honored institutions. The American family, the culture, our education systems, and the cankering and corrupting of government at every level. With all of this I find it extraordinary that there are so many who think our nation is immune to the type of Tyranny seen in empires of the past.

Even if you can reject the danger of tyrannical government and the need for an armed citizenry as a deterrent, the threats to the stability of the civil society are real. To assert that the only need a citizen has for a fire arm is to defend against errant criminals rejects every possible scenario that would lead to the disintegration of our way of life and our free government. It ignores the lessons and therefore wisdom of history and most certainly dooms us to repeat it.

Gun ownership is not a cure to what ails our society but rather a last defense against the consequences of it. The Right to Bear Arms was secured by our Founding Fathers as the last defense of a free people.