How can a Mormon be a Conservative?

This "Voices" feature was written by Samantha F.

I am not someone who knows a great deal about America’s fairly complex system of government and like a lot of voters I tend to think about issues on a case by case basis. That is why this past election was a particularly hard decision. Do I swing towards the democrat side of our country or the republican side? Or do I settle for an independent party that realistically has little influence at the polls? I am young and I admit I have very little life experience so I turned to others for advice. One such person was my own father who I consider a very sensible and knowledgeable man.

I started the conversation with very loaded questions that concerned me the most. Already by looking at what I’ve learned from our church, how it runs, and what the savior has taught I didn’t understand why my dad, the majority of my family and even the majority of my church were republicans.

Why do so many people in the church identify more with the Republican Party and capitalism when we fully anticipate (and currently participate in a form of) the Law of Consecration? The concept of nationalization and the redistribution of wealth will be very present during the millennium in Christ’s kingdom. Throughout his reign earth will become a paradise. No one will be left to starve or suffer in poverty. The church already has a system of commodity resource centers that make sure no saint will go hungry or cold. How can Mormon republicans support capitalism when it seems like the Lord will create a worldwide government that strays away from the rat race of materialism and is based off our understanding of socialization?

How can political decisions and restrictions of lifestyles based off of religious reasons coincide with "we claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may" (Articles of Faith 13). This applies to religious freedom yet when stretched it can also be used to endorse the “live and let live” attitude. Basing your decisions off your spirituality may create a society that you feel more comfortable in but it can also limit others in their pursuit of happiness.

Why do we teach about the personal responsibility to be hospitable to others and value people as individuals, to give to society and work with what you get to build up God's kingdom but actively be against multiculturalism, equality, economic responsibility, fair taxes, and the separation of church and state?

After our very long conversation he understood my opinions and I understood his as a very conservative republican. He identifies with the right-wing party because they seem to have a purer belief in free agency when it comes to what you earn. It's like our position on gambling. We don't gamble because if you win, you didn't earn that money and it isn't fair to have something you did not personally work for. Being required by a government to give up your hard earned money to help those less fortunate goes against that because both parties, in the end, might not get what they earned. The Law of Concentration trusts people to be faithful laborers who are accountable, sensible stewards of their possessions and inheritance (D&C 42:32, D&C 72:17, 22). The New Jerusalem guarantees that people will be “amply supplied and receive according to his wants” (D&C 42:33). Not everyone is a practicing, faithful laborer and a disciple of Christ or other respected spiritual and/or political leaders. Looking back at history communism and socialism can easily become corrupt and unfair. Democrats and republicans bank on different economic systems, however; in the end every system of generating, dispensing, and consuming possessions and services can be successful. Currently it’s just a matter of trusting a system that imperfect people can survive on.

The kingdom of God values socialism. End of story. There is no question to that, but it will also promise to reward you with what you deserve, taking away equality in mankind. After the millennium you will only receive a degree of glory that is based off your behavior in this life. Those two ideas clash with each other. I joked that he wants to skip the millennium and get right to the final judgment. I suppose democrats just have more faith in man-made organizations and trust that others outside of the faith work for the same common good. I recognize that the church, on a fundamental level, looks out for the best interest of others but I also recognize that the church is not in charge of the general public. The government is and they deserve to have the same level of intense control on society.

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