In politics and in government there is an essential tension between individual freedom and governmental regulation. Many Mormons presume that freedom is more important than regulation. “After all,” they say, “doesn’t the story of the War in Heaven make it clear that the Father and the Son support freedom while Lucifer is the advocate for control?” Actually, the answer to that question is, “No.” That is a common misreading of the story.
The Plan of Salvation requires choice (or agency) but that is not the same thing as freedom. The choice God’s plan guarantees to us is the opportunity to obey laws so we can claim the attendant blessings. (D&C 130:20-21). The idea that freedom is more important than the law comes from Satan. Remember, after he killed Abel, Cain boasted, “I am free; surely the flocks of my brother falleth into my hands.” (Moses 5:33).
The Doctrine and Covenants says that “governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man… for the good and safety of society.” (D&C 134:1). In other words, governments have a noble and God-given purpose. This is not what I hear from the Republicans.
The Republicans believe there is little or no role for government in regulating the economic marketplace. They unabashedly support unbridled capitalism. When elected, they prefer to manage public affairs “like a business.”
This is the philosophy of Korihor, the anti-Christ, in the Book of Mormon. “Every man fared in this life according to the management of the creature; therefore every man prospered according to his genius, and that every man conquered according to his strength; and whatsoever a man did was no crime.” (Alma 30:17).
The Bible teaches that the marketplace is Babylon and will eventually be destroyed. (Revelation 18). In the meantime, I believe the marketplace should be regulated by the voice of the people (i.e. the government) to try to minimize cheating and fraud.
I simply cannot be part of a political party that is in thrall to the false doctrines of selfishness, materialism, environmental destruction, militarism, science denial, gated communities, voter suppression, withholding medical services, racism, sexism, union busting, wage suppression, and a cynical dereliction of duty.
My Mormon beliefs require me to be a Democrat.
Brian Ferguson is a writer, a speaker, and a teacher. He has a Master’s degree in Educational Technology from the University of Utah. His thoughts and insights about social and political issues can be found at http://insight.bibliotech.us.
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First of all, your attempt at separating freedom from agency is absolutely incorrect. In fact, most explanations of agency in scriptures use the word free or freedom. We are ‘free to choose’ (2 Nephi 2:27) No where in the scriptures or in modern revelation have we been taught that we are free in the gospel but captive in all other aspects of life.
The Doctrine and Covenants does say that governments were given for the benefit of man and the good and safety of society. I challenge you to find a knowledgeable Mormon that would argue that the Lord didn’t have a hand in forming the ideas and principles of the constitution. All of us believe that document is divinely inspired. My issue with the Democratic position and the government in general is that we have strayed far from the constitution. The Book of Mormon is full of examples of faithful followers of Christ upholding the government when it stood for liberty and standing apart or even against it when the will of the people or the direction of government was to gain power or abuse liberties. In Alma 59-60, Moroni threatens to overthrow the Nephite government unless they recommitted to ‘freedom.’ Mosiah said that it was only a benefit to have a king if he was a righteous king. Mormon left his post as general when the will of the people was against the doctrine of Christ.
You are absolutely incorrect in your assessment of freedom in society and the economy. Just so you know, the establishment Republicans are better than democrats on the economy but are far from advocating a free-market. But because this comment is already too long and any argument I give you would probably go over your head, I will forego a critique on your assessment of free-market economies and instead issue a challenge. I challenge you to go and find one instance in which someone advocating, Republican or Free-market, advocates an economy with no laws or protections where everyone is free to cheat, lie to, and steal from anyone for any reason. If you want to be a Democrat, fine be my guest. But to get there through a set of dishonest and incorrect premises is shameful and in direct opposition to Christ’s teachings.