Tag Archives: Latter-day Saint

The Proper Role of Government

The Proper Role of Government—Gospel Doctrine Lesson, Mosiah 29-Alma 1

“People who regard themselves as members of the only true Church have the fatal tendency to consider themselves immune from the disease of deception. Knowing that they belong to the Lord’s Church and have his scriptures and his prophet to guide them, they blindly assume that this adequately protects them against false beliefs. All history teaches the folly of such an assumption, and the scriptures specifically deny its validity.”

  • Verlan Andersen (The Great and Abominable Church of the Devil, p. 186)

“Important in the record of the dispensations is that when men depart from God’s way and substitute their own ways in its place they usually do not admit that that is what they are doing; often they do not deliberately or even consciously substitute their ways for God’s ways; on the contrary, they easily and largely convince themselves that their way is God’s way.”

  • Hugh Nibley (Beyond Politics)

“Men are often asked to express an opinion on a myriad of government proposals and projects. All too often, answers seem to be based, not upon solid principle, but upon the popularity of the specific government program in question. Seldom are men willing to oppose a popular program if they, themselves, wish to be popular. Such an approach to vital political questions of the day can only lead to public confusion and legislative chaos. Decisions of this nature should be based upon and measured against certain basic principles regarding the proper role of government. If principles are correct, then they can be applied to any specific proposal with confidence. Unlike the political opportunist, the true statesman values principle above popularity, and works to create popularity for those political principles which are wise and just.”

  • Ezra Taft Benson (The Proper Role of Government)

D&C 101:78-80

78 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.

79 Therefore, it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another.

80 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, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood.

D&C 98:4-10

5 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.

6 Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land;

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

8 I, the Lord God, make you free, therefore ye are free indeed; and the law also maketh you free.

9 Nevertheless, when the wicked rule the people mourn.

10 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.

“I am saying to you that to me the Constitution of the United States of America is just as much from my Heavenly Father as the Ten Commandments. When that is my feeling, I am not going to go very far away from the Constitution, and I am going to try to keep it where the Lord started it, and not let anti-Christs come into this country that began because people wanted to serve God.”

  • George Albert Smith (Conference Report, Apr 1948, p. 182)

“I am the greatest advocate of the Constitution of the United States there is on the earth,”

  • Joseph Smith. (DHC,  6, p. 56.)

“God provided that in this land of liberty, our political allegiance shall run not to individuals, that is, to government officials, no matter how great or how small they may be. Under His plan our allegiance and the only allegiance we owe as citizens of the United States, runs to our inspired Constitution which God himself set up.”

  • Reuben Clark Jr. (Improvement Era, July 1940, p. 444.)

“How often would I have gathered thy children together, . . . and ye would not!” (Matthew 23:37.)

God wants men to do right, but he does not coerce them to it.

“The central issue in the premortal council was: Shall the children of God have untrammeled agency to choose the course they should follow, whether good or evil, or shall they be coerced and forced to be obedient? The war that began in heaven over this issue is not yet over. The conflict continues on the battlefield of mortality. And one of Lucifer’s primary strategies has been to restrict our agency through the power of earthly governments.”

  • Ezra Taft Benson (The Constitution—A Heavenly Banner)

“The position of this church on the subject of Communism has never changed. We consider it the greatest satanical threat to peace, prosperity, and the spread of God’s work among men that exists on the face of the earth.”

  • David O. McKay (Communism: A Statement of the position of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)

“It is time, therefore, that every American, and especially every member of the priesthood, became informed about the aims, tactics, and schemes of socialistic-communism. This becomes particularly important when it is realized that communism is turning out to be the earthly image of the plan which Satan presented in the pre-existence. The whole program of socialistic-communism is essentially a war against God and the plan of salvation—the very plan which we fought to uphold during “the war in heaven” (Rev. 12:7).

  • Ezra Taft Benson (The American Heritage of Freedom—A Plan of God)

“References in the scriptures show that this principle of free agency is (1) essential to man’s salvation; and (2) may become a measuring rod by which the actions of men, of organizations, and of nations may be judged.”

  • David O. McKay (Era, Feb. 1962)

“If all of the “actions of men, of organizations, and of nations,” may be classified as righteous or wicked according to their effect upon freedom, then the only way Satan can deceive us regarding the distinction between his plan and the Lord’s is by confusing us regarding what acts preserve and what acts destroy freedom. This truth provides a single, easily-applied test which may be used to avoid deception.”

  • Verlan Andersen (The Great and Abominable Church of the Devil, p. 29)

The Four Elements of Free Agency

Those four possessions without which it is impossible to exercise freedom or accomplish our purposes here on earth are as follows:

  • Life, with some degree of physical and mental health and strength;
  • Freedom from the restraint or coercion of others;
  • Knowledge of laws;
  • The right and control of property

“Let us consider the origin of those freedoms we have come to know are human rights. There are only two possible sources. Rights are either God-given as part of the Divine Plan, or they are granted by government as part of the political plan. Reason, necessity, tradition and religious convictions all lead me to accept the divine origin of these rights. If we accept the premise that human rights are granted by government, then we must be willing to accept the corollary that they can be denied by government. I, for one, shall never accept that premise.”

  • Ezra Taft Benson (The Proper Role of Government)

“Since God created man with certain unalienable rights, and man, in turn, created government to help secure and safeguard those rights, it follows that man is superior to the creature which he created. Man is superior to government and should remain master over it, not the other way around. Even the non-believer can appreciate the logic of this relationship.”

  • Ezra Taft Benson (The Proper Role of Government)

“It is obvious that a government is nothing more or less than a relatively small group of citizens who have been hired, in a sense, by the rest of us to perform certain functions and discharge certain responsibilities which have been authorized. It stands to reason that the government itself has no innate power or privilege to do anything. Its only source of authority and power is from the people who have created it.”

  • Ezra Taft Benson (The Proper Role of Government)

“The inherent nature of a good or an evil act is unaffected by changing the number of people involved in its commission. An act which is beneficial and virtuous when done by one acting alone, is the same when done in concert, and an act which is evil when done by the individual is equally evil when done by a group; and this is true even though the group is acting in the name of government. Legislatures are as powerless to alter the fundamental laws of good and evil as they are to alter the law of gravity. This being so, the rightness or wrongness of every act performed in the name of government can be determined by using the conscience of the individual. If, because of moral scruples, the individual should refrain from exercising the force called for under the law in question, then he should refuse to consent to the use of that force through government.”

  • Verlan Andersen (The Great and Abominable Church of the Devil, p. 66)

“We are told in 134:1 that he holds us accountable for our acts in relation to government, both in making laws and administering them. How can He do this? Very simply, HE MERELY REQUIRES EACH OF US TO APPLY EXACTLY THAT SAME TEST OF RIGHT AND WRONG TO THE ACTIONS OF GOVERNMENT AS WE DO TO EVERY OTHER ACT FOR WHICH WE ARE RESPONSIBLE. THIS IS THE TEST OF CONSCIENCE. We need only realize that an act performed by public servants which has our approval makes us equally as responsible as if we had done it ourselves, and therefore we should apply the same test of conscience.”

  • Verlan Andersen (Many Are Called But Few Are Chosen, p. 29)

“The necessity of viewing government action and individual action through the same eyes is also observed when we note that the officers of government are mere servants of the people and derive all the power they possess from those they serve. Since a power can rise no higher than its source, unless the people have the moral right to perform an act, they cannot confer that right upon government officials. No person can increase his authority merely by acting through an agent. Therefore anything which would be wrong for citizens to do as individuals, would be equally wrong for them to direct their representatives in government to do on their behalf.”

  • Verlan Andersen (The Great and Abominable Church of the Devil, p. 68)

“The fact that the same moral laws which apply to individual action also apply to government action is easily seen when we note that any given act has exactly the same effect on freedom whether performed by one person or a group. The effect of a deed upon individual freedom is not changed in the slightest by a mere change in the number who undertake it. And once again this is true even though it is committed in the name of government. It will be remembered that every law either commands or forbids human action. Its only purpose is to alter human behavior by compelling people to act in a manner different from the way they would have acted had not the law been passed.”

  • Verlan Andersen (The Great and Abominable Church of the Devil, p. 67)

Mosiah 27: 3-6

Mosiah 29: 33-34, 40

Government can give nothing to one person unless it has first taken something from someone else. This taking is usually in the form of taxes which the taxpayer is compelled to pay at the risk of having his property taken by force. How would you regard compulsory charity if performed without being legalized?”

  • Verlan Andersen (Many Are Called But Few Are Chosen, p. 38)

“Nothing can enter the public treasury for the benefit of one citizen or one class unless other citizens and other classes have been forced to send it in.”

  • Frederic Bastiat (THE LAW, p. 30; P.P.N.S., p. 350)

The only options the government has for funding is to tax (steal from) its citizens, or borrow freshly inflated money from the  Federal Reserve Bank. Either way, the citizens are the ones paying.

taxation 2

“In order for man to prosper, he cannot afford to spend his time constantly guarding his family, his fields, and his property against attach and theft, so he joins together with his neighbors and hires a sheriff. At this precise moment, government is born. The individual citizens delegate to the sheriff their unquestionable right to protect themselves. The sheriff now does for them only what they had a right to do for themselves – nothing more.

So far so good. But now we come to the moment of truth. Suppose pioneer “A” wants another horse for his wagon, He doesn’t have the money to buy one, but since pioneer “B” has an extra horse, he decides that he is entitled to share in his neighbor’s good fortune, Is he entitled to take his neighbor’s horse? Obviously not! If his neighbor wishes to give it or lend it, that is another question. But so long as pioneer “B” wishes to keep his property, pioneer “A” has no just claim to it.

If “A” has no proper power to take “B’s” property, can he delegate any such power to the sheriff? No. Even if everyone in the community desires that “B” give his extra horse to “A”, they have no right individually or collectively to force him to do it. They cannot delegate a power they themselves do not have.

  • Ezra Taft Benson (The Proper Role of Government)

“Suppose it were suggested that you join a group who were going to use force to take part of the property from a wealthy citizen “A” and give it to “B” who had but little, or divide it among your group who were also “poor.” Would it violate your conscience to do that?

Or applying the golden rule, put yourself in “A’s” shoes. He has already given all he desires to charity. Are you not violating his conscience when you compel him to give more? Would you enjoy having someone dictate how much you must give to your church, a hospital or college? Would not this be a plain case of theft? And if you pass a law and legalize the taking and the giving, have you really changed the essential nature of the act? Haven’t you merely legalized stealing? . . . . Is it not an exercise of unrighteous dominion to forcibly take any property from one to whom it belongs and give it to another to whom it does not belong?”

  • Verlan Andersen (Many Are Called But Few Are Chosen, p. 38)

 

“No one has the authority to grant such powers, as welfare programs, schemes for re-distributing the wealth, and activities which coerce people into acting in accordance with a prescribed code of social planning. There is one simple test. Do I as an individual have a right to use force upon my neighbor to accomplish this goal? If I do have such a right, then I may delegate that power to my government to exercise on my behalf. If I do not have that right as an individual, then I cannot delegate it to government, and I cannot ask my government to perform the act for me.

  • Ezra Taft Benson (The Proper Role of Government)

“Most people agree that each person has a moral obligation to be charitable, but is it morally right for us to compel others to be as charitable as we think they should be? Is it not rather our moral obligation to allow them to determine for themselves how much they shall give?

If those who are wealthy fail to voluntarily impart of their substance to the poor, they will be adequately punished by the Lord for their selfishness. (D&C 104:18) But if, through the force of government or otherwise, they are compelled to divide with those in need, how can the Lord either bless them for being charitable or punish them for being uncharitable? The same freedom which permits men to do evil permits them to do good. If you destroy one, you have destroyed both and made freedom of choice, with its consequent rewards and punishments, impossible.”

  • Verlan Andersen (Many Are Called But Few Are Chosen, p. 40)

“Simon Magus then applies his argument against Peter to Peter’s God, bringing out the favorite old chestnut of the schools: either God is vicious because he does not want to prevent evil or weak because he cannot.

“Could not God have made us all good,” he asks, “so that we could not be anything else but virtuous?”

To which Peter replies with a statement of the ancient law of liberty:

“A foolish question,” he says, “for if he made us unchangeably and immovably inclined to good, we would not really be good at all, since we couldn’t be anything else; and it would be no merit on our part that we were good, nor could we be given credit for doing what we did by necessity of nature. How can you call any act good that is not performed intentionally? For this reason the world has existed through the ages, so that the spirits destined to come here might fulfill their number, and here make their choice between the upper and the lower worlds, both of which are represented here, so that when their bodies are resurrected the blessed might go to eternal light and the unrighteous for their impure acts be wrapped in a spiritual flame.”(4)

  • Hugh Nibley (The Ancient Law of Liberty)

“How is the legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime…”

  • Frederic Bastiat (THE LAW, p. 21, 26; P.P.N.S., p. 377)

The government will take from the “haves” and give to the “have nots.” Both have last their freedom. Those who “have,” lost their freedom to give voluntarily of their own free will and in the way they desire. Those who “have not,” lost their freedom because they did not earn what they received. They got “something for nothing,” and they will neither appreciate the gift nor the giver of the gift. Under this climate, people gradually become blind to what has happened and to the vital freedoms which they have lost.”

  • Howard W. Hunter (The Law of the Harvest, Devotional Address, BYU, 1966)

“The distinction between socialism . . . and Communism . . . 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.”

  • Marion G. Romney (Is Socialism the United Order?)

“Assume, for example, that we were farmers, and that we received a letter from the government telling us that we were going to get a thousand dollars this year for plowed up acreage. But rather than the normal method of collection, we were to take this letter and collect $69.71 from Bill Brown, at such and such an address, and $82.47 from Henry Jones, $59.80 from a Bill Smith, and so on down the line; that these men would make up our farm subsidy. “Neither you nor I, nor would 99 percent of the farmers, walk up and ring a man’s doorbell, hold out a hand and say, ‘Give me what you’ve earned even though I have not.’ We simply wouldn’t do it because we would be facing directly the violation of a moral law, ‘Thou shalt not steal.’ In short, we would be held accountable for our actions.”

  • James R. Evans (The Glorious Quest)

“Each person who believes in the golden rule and the divine law of retribution might do well to re-examine his own views on government and ask—Am I using it only for the purpose of punishing evil as the Lord has directed, or am I one of those ‘social engineers’ who believes the common man is too selfish and foolish to be left free to spend his own money, make his own contracts, run his own business, and provide for his own future?

When men resort to the use of the force of government to solve all social problems, they demonstrate a loss of faith in God. In place of that faith they have substituted reliance on the “arm of flesh.”

The more completely one believes in the omnipotence, omniscience, and justice of God, the more willing he is to accept Christ’s philosophy of freedom. Such a believer knows—nothing doubting—that no matter what he, or any other man does, every person will receive exactly what he deserves.

On the other hand, those who deny the existence of God tend to judge everything from a materialistic viewpoint. Their idea of justice consists of an equal distribution of the material comforts and bodily needs of the world—food, clothing, shelter, medicine, education, etc. They assume that since there is no divine law of justice in operation, they must use force to bring about equality. They would use government force for this purpose.”

  • Verlan Andersen (Many Are Called But Few Are Chosen, p. 47)

The solution to the welfare problem…. Alma 1:27, 30-31

Mosiah 29: 16-17; You do not want an oligarchy, which is all power vested in a few people. (A king and his priests.)

Mosiah 29: 25-29; Type of Government: A Republic, not a Democracy

Alma 1:3, 12; Priestcraft—Nehor

“In this passage Alma points out that there are two types of priestcraft—the type which is enforced and the type which is not. Nehor was trying to establish the enforced type which, according to Alma, was so evil in its consequences that it would have caused the entire destruction of the people had they adopted it.

What did Alma mean by “enforced” priestcraft? All of the evidence indicates that he meant the enforcement of the practice by the police power of government…

The enforcement of this system would require that taxes be imposed for the support of the priestly class just as Noah had done. The unenforced type would exist where the teachers and priests receive their pay from voluntary contributions. In reality there is only one way to enforce priestcraft and that is through the police power. Government has an exclusive monopoly on the use of force and anyone who attempts to use compulsion outside its framework to support a movement as did Nehor, is treated as a criminal and punished.”

  • Verlan Andersen (The Great and Abominable Church of the Devil, p. 126)

“It is veritably true that there is no principle of the Communist Manifesto more essential to the success of Satan’s plan than that of socialized education. If all children can be forcibly taken from their homes where the Lord intended they be trained, and during the innocence of youth their unsuspecting and defenseless minds are indoctrinated with a belief in organic evolution, atheism, materialism, and socialism, the perpetuation of these satanic doctrines is systematized and imposed uniformly upon each succeeding generation.”

  • Verlan Andersen (The Great and Abominable Church of the Devil, p. 122)

Election… Alma 2: 1-8

In Closing/ So What?

“Our political desires are an extremely accurate index of what we would do if the Lord made us a king, a judge, or a ruler with the power to govern others. If we would exercise “control or dominion or compulsion,” unrighteously, then our support of laws which regiment and control the business and private affairs of our neighbors and deprive them of their stewardships would clearly indicate this. If we would steal except for the fear of being punished or exposed, then our approval of laws which forcibly take property from its rightful owner and give it to those to whom it does not belong would demonstrate this trait. We must expect the Lord to use our political beliefs as a measure of our moral or immoral character.”

  • Verlan Andersen (The Great and Abominable Church of the Devil, p. 53)

“If during this life we have been persuaded to believe that the force of government, or any other agency, should be used to deny our fellow men the stewardships which God has given them over their families, their property, and their private affairs, we can be very certain that we will be placed with a group in the hereafter who will hold similar views. With such an attitude we cannot expect to have stewardships or dominions of our own because we do not believe in them for others and neither will those with whom we will dwell believe in them for us. The poetic justice of God decrees that if we deprive fellow men of those unalienable rights which, according to the Declaration of Independence, they have been endowed by their Creator, we will lose our free agency to the same extent.”

  • Verlan Andersen (The Great and Abominable Church of the Devil, p. 72)

“If you wish to go where God is, you must be like God, or possess the principles which God possesses.”

  • Joseph Smith (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, Ch. 5)

Jesus is not a Jedi that magically waves us into the Celestial Kingdom of God the way we are, we cannot go there if we think any degree of unrighteous dominion is acceptable. We cannot go there if we think it is okay for a government to infringe on the free agency of its citizens in any way. We must possess the principles God possesses, and that includes political principles. How can he trust us with the authority and responsibility attached with being a king and a priest, or queen and priestess if He can’t even trust us to vote for a constitutionally sound candidate that respects freedom?

Recommended talks/articles:

By Ezra Taft Benson:

“Civic Standards for the Faithful Saints,” “The Proper Role of Government,” “Freedom and Free Enterprise,” “Secret Combinations,” “The Book of Mormon Warns America,” “The Constitution: A Heavenly Banner,” “God’s Hand in Our Nation’s History,” “Stand Up For Freedom,” “The American Heritage of Freedom—A Plan of God,” “Our Immediate Responsibility,” “United States Foreign Policy.”

“The Constitution” by J. Reuben Clark Jr., “Demand For Proper Respect of Human Life” by J. Reuben Clark Jr., “Is Socialism the United Order?” by Marion G. Romney, “Moral Agency” by D. Todd Christofferson, “Meeting the Challenges of Today” by Neal A. Maxwell, “But Watchman, What of the Night?” by Vaughn J. Featherstone, “Beyond Politics” by Hugh Nibley, “The Ancient Law of Liberty” by Hugh Nibley, “Origins of the Federal Reserve” by Murray Rothbard, Louis T. McFadden’s Speech in the House of Representatives June 10 1932, George Washington’s 1796 Farewell Address.

Recommended Books:

“None Dare Call it Conspiracy” by Gary Allen; “Hiding in Plain Sight” by Ken Bowers; “Awakening to Our Awful Situation: Warnings From the Nephite Prophets” by Jack Monnett; “Awakening to Our Awful Situation: Responding to Satan’s War on Agency” by Jack Monnett; “Economics In One Lesson” by Henry Hazlitt; “A Witness and a Warning” by Ezra Taft Benson; “An Enemy Hath Done This” by Ezra Taft Benson; “Many Are Called But Few Are Chosen” by H. Verlan Andersen; “The Great And Abominable Church of the Devil” by H. Verlan Andersen; “The Book of Mormon and the Constitution” by H. Verlan Andersen; “The Making of America” by W. Cleon Skousen; “The Naked Communist” by W. Cleon Skousen; “The Majesty of God’s Law” by W. Cleon Skousen; “The Five Thousand Year Leap” by W. Cleon Skousen; “The Cleansing of America” by W. Cleon Skousen; “Socialism” by Ludwig von Mises; “The Law” by Frederic Bastiat.

Communism, by any other name is still communism, and is destructive to the individual and to the society.

The 10 PLANKS stated in the Communist Manifesto and some of their American counterparts are…

  1. Abolition of private property and the application of all rents of land to public purposes.

Americans do these with actions such as the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (1868), and various zoning, school & property taxes. Also the Bureau of Land Management (Zoning laws are the first step to government property ownership)

  1. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.

Americans know this as the 16th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, 1913, The Social Security Act of 1936.; Joint House Resolution 192 of 1933; and various State “income” taxes.

  1. Abolition of all rights of inheritance.

Americans call it Federal & State estate Tax (1916); or reformed Probate Laws, and limited inheritance via arbitrary inheritance tax statutes.

  1. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.

Americans call it government seizures, tax liens, Public “law” 99-570 (1986); Executive order 11490, sections 1205, 2002 which gives private land to the Department of Urban Development; the imprisonment of “terrorists” and those who speak out or write against the “government” (1997 Crime/Terrorist Bill); or the IRS confiscation of property without due process. Asset forfeiture laws are used by DEA, IRS, ATF etc…).

  1. Centralization of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.

Americans call it the Federal Reserve which is a privately-owned credit/debt system allowed by the Federal Reserve act of 1913. All local banks are members of the Fed system, and are regulated by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) another privately-owned corporation. The Federal Reserve Banks issue Fiat Paper Money and practice economically destructive fractional reserve banking.

  1. Centralization of the means of communications and transportation in the hands of the State.

Americans call it the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Department of Transportation (DOT) mandated through the ICC act of 1887, the Commissions Act of 1934, The Interstate Commerce Commission established in 1938, The Federal Aviation Administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Executive orders 11490, 10999, as well as State mandated driver’s licenses and Department of Transportation regulations.

  1. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the state, the bringing into cultivation of waste lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.

Americans call it corporate capacity, The Desert Entry Act and The Department of Agriculture… Thus read “controlled or subsidized” rather than “owned”… This is also seen in these as well as the Department of Commerce and Labor, Department of Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau of Mines, National Park Service, and the IRS control of business through corporate regulations.

  1. Equal liability of all to labor. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.

Americans call it Minimum Wage and slave labor like dealing with our Most Favored Nation trade partner; i.e. Communist China. We see it in practice via the Social Security Administration and The Department of Labor. The National debt and inflation caused by the communal bank has caused the need for a two “income” family. Woman in the workplace since the 1920’s, the 19th amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, assorted Socialist Unions, affirmative action, the Federal Public Works Program and of course Executive order 11000.

  1. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries, gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equitable distribution of population over the country.

Americans call it the Planning Reorganization act of 1949 , zoning (Title 17 1910-1990) and Super Corporate Farms, as well as Executive orders 11647, 11731 (ten regions) and Public “law” 89-136. These provide for forced relocations and forced sterilization programs, like in China.

  1. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labor in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production.

Americans are being taxed to support what we call ‘public’ schools, but are actually “government force-tax-funded schools” The purpose is to train the young to work for the communal debt system. We also call it the Department of Education, the NEA and Outcome Based “Education”.

The Vain Things of the World

In a 1976 message that Hugh Nibley said was “given the instant deep freeze” by the Latter-day Saints, President Spencer W. Kimball shared a sobering story to demonstrate the dangers of setting our hearts on the things of the world.

I am reminded of an article I read some years ago about a group of men who had gone to the jungles to capture monkeys. They tried a number of different things to catch the monkeys, including nets. But finding that the nets could injure such small creatures, they finally came upon an ingenious solution. They built a large number of small boxes, and in the top of each they bored a hole just large enough for a monkey to get his hand into. They then set these boxes out under the trees and in each one they put a nut that the monkeys were particularly fond of.

When the men left, the monkeys began to come down from the trees and examine the boxes. Finding that there were nuts to be had, they reached into the boxes to get them. But when a monkey would try to withdraw his hand with the nut, he could not get his hand out of the box because his little fist, with the nut inside, was now too large.

At about this time, the men would come out of the underbrush and converge on the monkeys. And here is the curious thing: When the monkeys saw the men coming, they would shriek and scramble about with the thought of escaping; but as easy as it would have been, they would not let go of the nut so that they could withdraw their hands from the boxes and thus escape. The men captured them easily.

And so it often seems to be with people, having such a firm grasp on things of the world—that which is telestial—that no amount of urging and no degree of emergency can persuade them to let go in favor of that which is celestial. Satan gets them in his grip easily. If we insist on spending all our time and resources building up for ourselves a worldly kingdom, that is exactly what we will inherit.

The nut may represent something different for each of us, and the angle Satan takes to capture us may vary, but the monkey typifies us all at some point. Regardless of the level of urging or persuasion we refuse to let go of the things of the world, and are converged upon. To make matters worse, we are not the only losers here. While we are preoccupied with grasping the nut in the box, there are plenty of friends and family who could use a helping hand. An understanding of what the nut truly represents, and what is wrong with holding onto it, reaching for it, and even making sacrifices for it, might motivate us to let go.

“But exactly what are the things of this world? An easy and infallible test has been given us in the well-known maxim: “You can have anything in this world for money.” If a thing is of this world you can have it for money. If you can’t have it for money, it does not belong to this world.” (Hugh Nibley, Leaders and Managers)  Why are we all so focused on money all the time? Because it can get you anything here! The key word though, is here, in this world. Money, and anything you can get for it, does you no good in the other world. In fact, few of the things we value here are of any merit there. “Look around you here, do you see anything that cannot be had for money? Is there anything here you couldn’t have if you were rich enough? Well, for one thing you think of intelligence, integrity, sobriety, zeal, character, and other such noble qualities. But hold on, I have always been taught that those very things the managers are looking for bring top price in the market place… Does their value in this world mean then that they have no value in the other world? It means exactly that. Such things have no price and command no salary in Zion. You cannot bargain with them because they are as common as the once pure air around us. They’re not negotiable in the Kingdom because there everybody possesses all of them in full measure. And it would make as much sense to command pay for having bones or skin as it would to collect a bonus for honesty or sobriety. It’s only in our world that they are valued for their scarcity.” (Hugh Nibley, Leaders and Managers) 

This world has it backwards. “To seek ye first financial independence and all other things shall be added, is recognized as a rank perversion of the scriptures and an immoral inversion of value.” (Nibley) God says, “Before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the Kingdom of God. And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good – to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted.” (Jacob 2:18) The telestial world says, “Before ye seek for the Kingdom of God, seek ye for riches.  And after ye have obtained a hope in your wealth and substance, ye shall obtain the Kingdom of God if ye desire it. Then ye will seek the Kingdom of God with the ability to do good. But for now, focus on the fortune.” It is one thing to support yourself and your family’s needs. It is another thing entirely to forego opportunities to serve or bless the lives of others in order to reach like a monkey for things in a box. Not to mention, money and luxuries only bring fulfillment to a certain level which lies just above the meeting of our needs.

This concept is taught in Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin’s book titled “Your Money or Your Life.” It is called the fulfillment curve.

fulfillment-CURVE

They noted that as they climbed up the levels on the graph toward luxuries, they began to believe that money = fulfillment. Then, eventually they report: “We hit a fulfillment ceiling and never recognized that the formula of money = fulfillment not only had stopped working but had started to work against us. No matter how much we bought, the Fulfillment Curve kept heading down. But there is a very interesting place on this graph –it’s the peak… At the peak of the Fulfillment Curve we have enough. Enough for our survival. Enough comforts. And even a little ‘luxuries’.” What I find even more interesting, is their description of passing by the ‘Enough’ climax. They state that at length “we slipped beyond amenities to outright luxuries–and hardly noticed the change… While each one was a still a thrill, it cost more per thrill and the ‘high’ wore off more quickly.” It seems that Satan starts with a small nut in the box that we can grab, and still remove our hand easily. Slowly the nut gets larger until we can hardly manage to squeeze our hand out through the whole with the nut, until not at all. Sometimes it takes being converged upon to get us to stop reaching.

Whether we are willing to learn from the scriptures and the mistakes of others, or have to learn from our own sad experience, eventually we will all come to understand as Elder Dallin H. Oaks has taught, “There is no lasting happiness in what we possess. Happiness and joy come from what a person is, not from what he or she possesses or appears to be.” This can be a difficult principle to grasp in our society with the cultural conditioning that goes on in the media. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland has observed, “Some days it is as if we have been locked in a cubicle of a great and spacious building where the only thing on the TV is a never ending soap opera entitled Vain Imaginations.” There is no season or series finale to that TV series. It doesn’t end.

Keeping up with this attainment of the latest and greatest thing you can have for money is like trying to go up on an escalator that is quickly coming down. You never get anywhere. There is a never ending set of next steps required to get to the top floor where at last you can allegedly purchase the esteemed product of euphoria. In reality, such a trek is not only misplaced zeal, but a downright waste of energy. At some point one comes to the realization that the trudge up the telestial trail is not worth it. “All the quick fixes do not really cure the emptiness and boredom of secularism. Further, some who laboriously scale the secular heights find, after all, that they are only squatting atop a small mound of sand! They have worked so hard to get there!” (Neal A. Maxwell) Furthermore, the things we store in our conquered sand hill will be corrupted anyway. The Lord has said, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)

Setting our hearts on the things of the world will always lead to pride or coveting. Pride when we obtain the vain things we desire, and coveting when we don’t. Both these, in turn, can cause us to forget God. “O, how could you have forgotten your God in the very day that he has delivered you? But behold, it is to get gain, to be praised of men, yea, and that ye might get gold and silver. And ye have set your hearts upon the riches and the vain things of this world.” (Helaman 7:20-21)

“The traits and the behavior Isaiah denounces as the worst of vices are without exception those of successful people. The wickedness and folly of Israel do not consist of indolence, sloppy dressing, long hair, nonconformity, (even the reading of books), radical and liberal unrealistic ideas and programs, irreverence toward custom and property, contempt for established idols and so on. The wickedest people in the Book of Mormon are the Zoramites, a proud, independent, courageous, industrious, enterprising, patriotic, prosperous people who attend strictly to their weekly religious duties with the proper observance of dress standards. Thanking God for all he had given them, they bore testimony of his goodness. They were sustained in all their doings by a perfectly beautiful self-image. Well, what is wrong with any of that? There is just one thing that spoils it all, and that is the very thing that puts Israel in bad with the Lord according to Isaiah. The Jews observed with strictest regularity all the rules that Moses gave them – “and yet… they cry unto thee… and yet” they are really thinking of something else. “Behold, O my God, their costly apparel… all their precious things… ; their hearts are set upon them, and yet they cry unto thee and say – We thank thee, O God, for we are a chosen people unto thee, while others shall perish.” (Hugh Nibley, Great Are the Words of Isaiah)

The world may not notice that we are walking around with our hand stuck in a box resolutely clinching a nut we are particularly fond of, but God does. He knows what we are really thinking about. He also knows what firmly holding onto these vain things leads to. Ultimately we will begin to make sacrifices for them.

In chapter 1 of The Book of Abraham in The Pearl of Great Price we read an account of false priests trying to sacrifice Abraham to pagan idols.

My fathers, having turned from their righteousness, and from the holy commandments which the Lord their God had given unto them, unto the worshiping of the gods of the heathen, utterly refused to hearken to my voice;

He tried to get them to stop, but they wouldn’t listen.

For their hearts were set to do evil, and were wholly turned to the god of Elkenah, and the god of Libnah, and the god of Mahmackrah, and the god of Korash, and the god of Pharaoh, king of Egypt;

 Therefore they turned their hearts to the sacrifice of the heathen in offering up their children unto these dumb idols, and hearkened not unto my voice, but endeavored to take away my life by the hand of the priest of Elkenah. The priest of Elkenah was also the priest of Pharaoh.

Why dumb idols? “The daring illusion of the schoolmen is that as modern, enlightened, rational thinkers they have made a wonderful discovery: that wood or metal dolls or images cannot really see or hear, and so on. They labor the point to death. But the ancients knew that as well as we do. That is exactly why they patronized the idols. There is the famous story of the Eloquent Peasant from the Middle Kingdom in Egypt that tells how the rascally manager of an estate, when he saw a peasant passing by on his way to the market with a load of goods, cried out, “Would that I had some idol that would permit me to rob this man’s goods.” A dumb image would offer no opposition to any course he chose to take. That was the beauty of idols: They are as impersonal and unmoral as money in the bank – the present-day as well as the ancient equivalent of a useful idol.” (Hugh Nibley, Great Are the Words of Isaiah) There are a plethora of useful idols today. The benefit of worshiping such things is they don’t get involved in our life. They don’t require us to become any better than we are, or to make any changes within our self.

 Now, at this time it was the custom of the priest of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, to offer up upon the altar which was built in the land of Chaldea, for the offering unto these strange gods, men, women, and children.

Has it become a ‘custom’ in our day to sacrifice men, women, and even children to strange gods? We are doing exactly that. Satan does not change. “The adversary steadily promotes all the ancient sins, not because he is uninventive but because his harvest is so great.” (Neal A. Maxwell) We may not be sacrificing someone’s life to the gods of Elkenah, Libnah, or Mahmackrah. But what about sacrificing their time to the god of entertainment; their feelings to the god of popularity; their attention to the god of celebrities or sports teams; their confidence to the god of self-image; their feelings to the god of “i’m always right”; their needs to the god of video games; their friendship to the god of our career; their spiritual welfare to the god of wealth? We constantly sacrifice that which is of worth for that which is of no worth. “Seduced by our culture, we often hardly recognize our idolatry, as our strings are pulled by that which is popular in the Babylonian world.” (David R. Stone) We could apply verse 6 to our day and read it like this: “For their hearts were set to do evil, and were wholly turned to the god of personal fulfillment, and the god of political correctness, and the god of money, and the god of public figures, and the god of social media.” In that same deep frozen address cited earlier, President Kimball also taught, “Whatever thing a man sets his heart and his trust in most is his god, and if his god doesn’t also happen to be the true and living God of Israel, that man is laboring in idolatry.” What are our hearts really set on? Who do we really put our trust in?

The sooner we give these things up the better. “Hearts set so much upon the things of the world may have to be broken. Preoccupied minds far from Him may be jolted by a “heads up”. Many individuals preoccupied by the cares of the world are not necessarily in transgression. But they certainly are in diversion and thus waste “the days of [their] probation”.” (Maxwell) Let’s not waste the days of our probation making sacrifices to reach for Satan’s strategically placed nuts. We have too much to do, the Lord has tasks for us to perform and lives to bless.

The sole aim of this article can be summed up in the principle taught by George Albert Smith in this statement, ““We may have given to us, in this life, a few things that will give us satisfaction, temporally; but the things that are ‘worthwhile,’ are those eternal things that we reach out for, and prepare ourselves to receive, and lay hold of by the effort that we individually make.” After all, “what does the world really have to offer us? One round of applause, one fleeting moment of adulation, or an approving glance from a phantom Caesar?” (Maxwell) The vain things of the world are not worth the price required to pay for them. Let go of the nut!