Why So Many Latter-day Saints Uphold the Supreme Court's Constitution
If the Framers' Constitution is so clear and understandable when examined in the light of gospel principles, why do so many Latter-day Saints uphold the Supreme Court's Constitution which is based on principles incompatible with the gospel world view?
In this chapter an attempt will be made to answer that question.
Differing thought processes.
The two incompatible Constitutions arise out of two conflicting world views that produce two different thought processes. This is the reason so many who adhere to the Supreme Court's Constitution seem unable to understand and apply the Framers' Constitution, and seem to feel that they have to change it by interpretation.
Not only do those oriented to the philosophy of the world not understand the Framers' inspired Constitution, but they often ridicule it as foolishness because it is outside the scope of what they regard as reality. Their attitude represents another aspect of what Paul was writing about when he said:
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:14)
While Latter-day Saints should be oriented to the things of the spirit and apply the gospel world view in all aspects of their lives, the fact is that many of them tend to compartmentalize their thinking and apply a worldly orientation to what they regard as worldly matters.
A major misconception.
When I first became a member of the Mormon Church I had a major misconception about the Church that required time and experience to correct.
I thought most Mormons did most of the things they were supposed to do, including reading the scriptures and orienting their thinking to gospel principles. [p. 56]
However, I gradually learned that the number of those who apply gospel principles in the religious compartment of their minds, and the philosophy of the world in the political compartment of their minds, is larger than I thought.
The influence of the philosophy of the world.
The tendency to compartmentalize our thinking and apply the philosophy of the world in areas not directly thought of as religious is readily understandable. The reality is that we live immersed in a worldly environment where concepts of good and evil, and sound and unsound, are turned upside down, and many of the unsound principles of the philosophy of the world are regarded as unquestionable truth.
The upside down philosophical ideas that saturate the environment in which we live can be aptly characterized in the words of Isaiah who wrote:
Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! (Isaiah 5:20)
The influence of the pervasive philosophy of the world on the thinking of even faithful followers of Christ was known to Nephi when he prophesied of conditions that would exist in our day. He wrote this concerning those who profess to be religious:
They have all gone astray save it be a few, who are the humble followers of Christ; nevertheless, they are led, that in many instances they do err because they are taught by the precepts of men. (2 Nephi 28:14)
As Nephi makes clear, for example in verses 19 through 26 of that same 28th chapter of 2nd Nephi, the pervasive attempts to mislead even the humble followers of Christ are not accidental.
The fact that attempts to mislead and inculcate false ideas are not accidental, and how to recognize and protect against those attempts, will be the principal subject of the remainder of this chapter.
The vital importance of knowing your enemy.
In any conflict it is vitally important to understand your enemy and his strategy and method of operating lest you fall into a trap and find yourself defeated.
Today there are some who feel the conflict is over and there is no enemy we need to be concerned about. [p. 57]
But I remember that at an LDS servicemen's meeting in the Philippine Islands at the end of the Second World War one of the hymns we sang began with the words, "We are all enlisted till the conflict is o'er." The import of that hymn, of course, was to remind us that although the particular war among nations was over, the age old conflict with Satan was not over.
Conflicting teachings about Lucifer.
Today those who believe that Lucifer (or Satan or the devil) is a real person are often looked down upon as gullible believers in primitive superstition out of touch with modern scientific understanding.
Yet, not only does the Bible speak of the devil as a real person (for example, in Matthew 4:1-11 describing Jesus' temptation in the wilderness), but in the Book of Mormon we learn that the devil himself is the one promoting the idea that there is no devil. In 2 Nephi 28:22 we read:
And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is noneand thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance.
Conflicting teachings about secret combinations.
There are also widely different teachings on whether there really are secret combinations and whether and to what extent the devil is their behind the scenes motivator and instructor.
The popular point of view today is to ridicule what is scornfully referred to as the conspiracy theory of history, and to brush aside as unworthy of serious consideration any suggestion that human history is influenced by a devil.
But in the Book of Mormon we learn that the Jaredite and Nephite civilizations were destroyed (Ether 8:21) and the Nephite republic was overthrown (3 Nephi 6:28-30 and 7:5-6) by secret combinations induced and guided by the devil. In fact, in writing his abridgment of the Jaredite record Moroni interrupts his historical account and writes directly to us warning us about the great danger inherent in secret combinations (Ether 8:20-22).
The sword of the justice of God to fall upon us to our overthrow and destruction if we let secret combination get above us.
In the Book of Mormon we also have a direct warning to us of the existence of a mighty worldwide satanic secret combination in our day seeking to overthrow the freedom of all nations. [p. 58]
In the strongest terms the Lord places on us the responsibility of opposing secret combinations and especially that mighty worldwide secret combination. In Ether 8 we read:
23. Wherefore, O ye Gentiles, it is wisdom in God that these things should be shown unto you, that thereby ye may repent of your sins, and suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you, which are built up to get power and gainand the work, yea, even the work of destruction come upon you, yea, even the sword of the justice of the Eternal God shall fall upon you, to your overthrow and destruction if ye shall suffer these things to be.
24. Wherefore, the Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation, because of this secret combination which shall be among you . . .
25. For it cometh to pass that whoso buildeth it up seeketh to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries; and it bringeth to pass the destruction of all people, for it is built up by the devil, who is the father of all lies . . .
Testimony of Lord's modern prophet.
Many ignore President Ezra Taft Benson's repeated warnings over the years on the ground that they apply to a different time and were given before he was the president of the church.
But in his powerful "I testify" talk, given in the October 1988 General Conference after he became the Lord's prophet, President Benson confirmed the existence of this secret combination seeking to destroy freedom throughout the world. He said:
I testify that wickedness is rapidly expanding in every segment of our society. (See D&C 1:14-16; 84:49-53.) It is more highly organized, more cleverly disguised, and more powerfully promoted than ever before. Secret combinations lusting for power, gain, and glory are flourishing. A secret combination that seeks to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries is increasing its evil influence and control over America and the entire world. (See Ether 8:18-25.) [p. 59]
Where to look for secret combinations.
Warnings by ancient and modern prophets of the great danger of a worldwide secret combination in our day raise a question of where to look for evidence of it. The fact that it is secret indicates that it is concealed so that its existence is not immediately apparent.
It is important to bear in mind that widely accepted ideas and prominent, respected leaders may not be what they appear to be. For example, in the days before the overthrow of the Nephite republic, many of the prominent leaders of the government were members of the secret combination. (Helaman 7:4-5 and 8:1.)
Latter-day Saints who are aware that Lucifer is "the god of this world" who "hath blinded the minds of them which believe not" (2 Corinthians 4:4) will also be aware that widely accepted ideas are likely to be those promoted by him. They will therefore be cautious to examine popular ideas in the light of the gospel before accepting them.
They will also realize that most of those who uphold and promote secret combinations are not the real conspirators but are well meaning people who have been deceived into thinking they are doing good when they participate in such activities.
Perversion of very concept of doing good.
Commitment to Christ imbues a believer with a strong motivation to do good. In addition a person who does good deeds feels a sense of satisfaction that he is doing the will of God.
Many Latter-day Saints experience these feelings and are anxiously engaged in do good activities pursuant to that wholesome motivation.
But sometimes their focus is so much on doing good that they are not alert enough to the way Lucifer twists that good motivation to his own purposes. One of the great lies of Lucifer is to pervert that true motivation by mixing it with a lie, thereby turning good deeds into evil deeds.
An incident recorded in the 21st chapter of 1 Chronicles in the Bible will help illustrate this. The Lord told David through Gad, David's seer, to set up an altar in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite. Note the following conversation between David and Ornan beginning at verse 22:
22 Then David said to Ornan, Grant me the place of this threshingfloor, that I may build an altar therein unto the Lord: thou shalt grant it me for the full price: that the plague may be stayed from the people. [p. 60]
23 And Ornan said unto David, Take it to thee, and let my lord the king do that which is good in his eyes: lo, I give thee the oxen also for burnt offerings, and the threshing instruments for wood, and the wheat for the meat offering; I give it all.
24 And king David said to Ornan, Nay; but I will verily buy it for the full price: for I will not take that which is thine for the Lord, nor offer burnt offerings without cost.
25 So David gave to Ornan for the place six hundred shekels of gold by weight.
Notice what happened. David wanted to do what a prophet told him to do, and Ornan offered to furnish everything so David's performance would not cost him anything.
David's response was an emphatic refusal. If he did a good deed it had to be at his own expensenot someone else's expense.
Many Latter-day Saints in their anxiety to do good sometimes fail to recognize that what superficially appears to be doing good is really doing evil. Sometimes it is hard for them to recognize that while they may feel pleased about what they have done, they have really been deceived into doing evil while they thought they were are doing good.
There is one area where this is especially likely to occur. That is when instead of parting with some significant portion of their own means to do good, they promote use of the compulsory power of government to force others to do good.
As has been pointed out in the previous chapter, that type of program generally seems to harm the intended beneficiaries, in addition to increasing the power of the government at the expense of the people's freedom.
This concept of use of the compulsory power of the government to do good is the essence of what is called socialism. Many people tend to look with favor on socialism while they are antagonistic toward communism or fascism. However, it should be remembered that communism and fascism are varieties of socialism, and that while the term socialism has a do good feeling about it, a more accurate word to describe the concept of use of the compulsory power of the state to do good is statism.
Others have an excuse, but not Latter-day Saints.
People who do not have the benefit of the restored gospel may have an excuse for being taken in by the promises of socialism. They have to rely to a greater extent on their own fallible judgment that is especially subject to Lucifer's deception. [p. 61]
While Latter-day Saints are also subject to the weaknesses of human judgment, they have much more help in seeing through Lucifer's false promises. In addition to greater access to inspiration through the gift of the Holy Ghost, they have specific inspired information to help them make sounder decisions.
One area of such inspired information is the statements by the Lord and his servants that the United States Constitution was established by God through "wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose." (D&C 101:80) Since Latter-day Saints thus have inspired information that the Constitution is correct, and socialism (statism) is incompatible with the Constitution, it would seem that they of all people should recognize that socialism (statism) is not a true principle.
Latter-day Saints also have specific instructions from their leaders who they sustain as prophets that socialism is based on false principles and should be rejected rather than supported. In fact in our day we need to be clearly aware of efforts by our prophets to alert us to realize that what is called socialism is a temporal version of Lucifer's overall premortal plan applied this time to induce people to surrender their freedom to compulsion government in exchange for false promises of worldly benefits.
President Marion G. Romney and President David O. McKay.
A helpful talk on this subject was given by President Marion G. Romney. It is entitled "Socialism and the United Order Compared," and is reprinted in Look to God and Live, compiled by George J. Romney. That talk was originally given at Brigham Young University. Thereafter President McKay had President Romney, who was then an apostle, repeat the talk at the April 1966 General Conference Priesthood Meeting.
In that talk President Romney showed that socialism is based on satanic principles and reminded us of "our duty to eschew socialism and support the just and holy principles of the Constitution, as directed by the Lord."
President Ezra Taft Benson.
President Ezra Taft Benson repeatedly sought to alert us to this danger to our freedom. The following are some quotations from The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, Part 5, entitled "Country." That book was published after President Benson was sustained as the Lord's Prophet.
We cannot afford to minimize the threat of socialism in America. We must be on guard against unsound theories and programs which strike at the very root of all we hold dear. (p. 692)
Yes, we have traveled a long way down the soul-destroying road of socialism. (You young men and women today little realize [p. 62] that the federal government has taken over what once was the exclusive domain of the local government or the individual citizen.) (p. 692)
The purported death of communism.
While some may feel that communism is dead and the threat is passed, it is important to bear in mind that communism, fascism and Naziism are labels for different varieties of socialism (more accurately statism) and that socialism is not dead and is widely accepted as desirable in the United States.
What about a little socialism.
There are those who recognize that socialism is bad overall, but who believe that a little socialism may be desirable. Many appear to hold to that point of view.
However, that belief is unsound because socialism is like an addictive drug. Its promises seem so desirable that it is easy to start. But once started it tends to grow and is very hard to stop.
That automatic growth is very understandable when we consider that politicians seeking to win elections find it helpful to promise the voters greater benefits from the public treasury than have previously been offered, or are then offered by their opponents.
Also those who receive benefits from the public treasury tend to develop the feeling that they are entitled to them. This feeling of entitlement makes it difficult for recipients of government benefits to give them up even after the bitter fruits of socialism become increasingly apparent. This concept of entitlement also makes it extremely difficult for a politician to promote dismantling of socialistic programs even when their harm is obvious, since other politicians will tend to charge him with being mean spirited and insensitive to the needs of the less fortunate.
For a more detailed discussion of the addictive and growth nature of socialism in real life see Chapter 10 entitled "The Real Threat Against the Constitution" in The Elders of Israel and the Constitution, by Jerome Horowitz.
Why do many rich and powerful promote socialism?
Since our people have been conditioned in our educational establishment and by our major media to accept socialism (statism) as compassionate and desirable, many may hesitate to accept President Romney's characterization of socialism as based on satanic principles.
Perhaps a few comments on what many consider to be a strange and incongruous aspect of socialism will be helpful in understanding its true nature. [p. 63]
Since socialism emphasizes using the compulsory power of government to take from the rich and give to the poor, why do so many of the rich and powerful go out of their way to promote it.
One explanation that has been offered with varying details is essentially that the rich and powerful who support socialism do so because of their feelings of guilt for having so much more than others.
It seems to me that the key to understanding why so many rich and powerful people promote socialism, as well as understanding socialism itself, is contained in a brief but penetrating comment by Joseph Smith.
After listening to some lectures on socialism, Joseph Smith commented that in a socialist experiment he was familiar with the big fish had eaten up all the little fish. He said he did not believe the doctrine. (History of the Church, Vol. VI, p. 33)
I believe Joseph Smith's comment went to the heart of socialism and exposed what really happens when it is adopted. Although it is sold with glowing word pictures of how it will benefit society and particularly those in need, when it is implemented the reality of human nature comes into play and the actual result is very different from the promised result.
The promise of socialism is to benefit the people and especially those less successful in benefitting themselves. But the reality when socialism is adopted is a transfer of power to control people's lives.
This helps explain why so many rich and powerful promote socialism. They realize that the promise to benefit the people is like a political campaign promise to get the people to put you in power. Then once you have the power, you exercise it as you wish and ignore the promise that you probably knew all along could not have been kept anyhow.
Many rich and powerful people support socialism because they expect it to greatly increase their wealth and power. They anticipate that as socialism expands it will be increasingly possible to use the compulsory power of the government to further their own ends. The underlings who do their bidding and promote their programs are also rewarded, while the general populace the system is supposed to help become poorer and more miserable, and find their freedom frustratingly diminished as compulsion government becomes larger and more pervasive.
Lucifer's premortal success.
Many people think of Lucifer as having failed in our premortal existence. It is true that his plan was rejected and he was ultimately cast out. But in spite of those failures there are some ways in which he was fantastically successful. [p. 64]
One way he was incredibly successful was in inducing one out of three of our brothers and sisters to reject our Father's plan and rebel against God himself, thereby destroying their own hope of salvation and happiness. How did he do it?
He did it by promising guaranteed equal salvation for all. Under our Father's free agency plan some would succeed and some would fail. Even among those who succeed, some would succeed to a greater extent than others. The determining factor would be the choices they make.
What Lucifer promised was equal success for all. This would be accomplished by forcing all to make the right choices by depriving them of the freedom to choose.
Lucifer's program was a fraud because its real result would have been to make himself the all powerful ruler. The promise of equal salvation could not be kept because under his plan all would have been deprived of the growth that can only be achieved through making one's own choices. While Lucifer's promise was empty, the transfer of power he wanted in exchange for it was real.
Speaking of Lucifer's plan, President David O. McKay said:
If his plan had been accepted, human beings would have become mere puppets in the hands of a dictator, and the purpose of man's coming to earth would have been frustrated. (Prophets, Principles and National Survival, by Jerreld L. Newquist, p. 136)
Socialism and Lucifer's plan.
While socialism sounds marvelous in theory, its consistent record of producing poverty, death and misery, rather than of the promised prosperity and happiness, should cause reasonable people to question its validity instead of gullibly giving its side show promises yet another try.
Latter-day Saints should readily recognize that the fundamental flaw in socialism is that it is an attempt to play God using the principles of Lucifer's plan because God's plan cannot be used by Lucifer's adherents since it is based on allegiance to God. Socialism's foundation is laid upon the quicksand promise to build a better society by force instead of freely chosen righteousness motivated by inward religious conviction.
Like Lucifer's premortal plan, the essence of socialism is to promise equality in exchange for freedom. [p. 65]
Statism and secret combinations.
So far we have focused mainly on the human nature desire for power and gain, and touched only lightly on the secret combination or conspiracy against freedom aspect of socialism. Sometimes it is difficult to separate where human nature desire for power and gain ends, and deliberate conspiracy against freedom begins. There is probably a substantial overlap where both motivations operate together.
The Lucifer-like manner of operating used by those conspiring to destroy freedom and establish statism was described with remarkable clarity by President David O. McKay in these words.
We again warn our people in America of the constantly increasing threat against our inspired Constitution and our free institutions set up under it. The same political tenets and philosophies that have brought war and terror in other parts of the world are at work amongst us in America. The proponents thereof are seeking to undermine our own form of government and to set up instead one of the forms of dictatorships now flourishing in other lands. These revolutionists are using a technique that is as old as the human race,a fervid but false solicitude for the unfortunate over whom they thus gain mastery, and then enslave them. (Statements on Communism and the Constitution of the United States, by David O. McKay, p. 7)
The following statement by J. Reuben Clark is another confirmation that the advance of statism in the United States is not accidental, but is deliberately planned.
And do not think that all these usurpations, intimidations and impositions are being done to us through inadvertence or mistake; the whole course is deliberately planned and carried out; its purpose is to destroy the Constitution and our constitutional government; then to bring chaos, out of which the new Statism with its slavery, is to arise. (Church News, September 25, 1959).
In addition to alerting us to efforts to transform the United States into a dictatorship, President McKay wrote:
We therefore commend and encourage every person and every group who is sincerely seeking to study Constitutional principles and awaken a sleeping and apathetic people to the alarming conditions that are rapidly advancing about us. We wish all of our citizens throughout the land were participating in some type [p. 66] of organized self education in order that they could better appreciate what is happening and know what they can do about it. (Folder distributed by Ward Teachers, entitled, "A statement by President David O. McKay concerning the position of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Communism")
While President McKay's statement pertains to communism, it should be remembered that communism is a form of socialism, and that USSR refers to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Furthermore, in the talk President McKay had President Romney give at General Conference Priesthood Meeting, the term used was socialism. That talk is entitled "Socialism and the United Order Compared." It is reprinted in Look to God and Live, compiled by George J. Romney.
In forming such study groups it may be well to include truth seeking individuals from all political parties as long as they are really unitedly committed to doing what is right. Such inclusiveness may help restore adherence to the Framers' concept of political unity, as well as help minimize the damaging effects of the "spirit of party" described in Chapter 4 of this work. [p. 67]