Wednesday, June 15, 2022

The Roots of Liberty

Creation of Adam (C) Sergey Nivens licensed through DepositPhotos.com

Most of my career has been focused on solving problems. First as a computer programmer, then as a systems analyst and later as a project and program manager my job was to solve problems for my clients. Early on I learned that if you can correctly define the problem you are about half way to solving it. However, correctly defining a problem is not as easy at is sounds. Problems are often so distracting, urgent, messy, volatile, or all of the above that it is difficult to separate the symptoms from the actual problem.

To illustrate this concept consider a situation where fires are springing up all around you. What do you do first?  Do you call the Fire Department, start throwing water, or, do you stop the arsonist from starting more fires? Good sense demands the latter. However, when you are distracted by all the smoke, flames, noise, panic, and confusion it is often easier to try to extinguish one fire and then another. Unfortunately, when you treat the symptoms (in this case the fire) your efforts are in vain because the real root of the problem keeps causing more symptoms.

There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.
Henry David Thoreau

Thoreau's statement (above) illustrates the fact that, most of us are more than ready and willing to address symptoms while those who address the root of an issue are much more rare.

As a professional problem solver I was trained in techniques of root cause analysis. I have used those tools and techniques many times to ensure that the time, energy, and money provided to me was used to resolve root causes instead of being wasted treating symptoms. Metaphorically, instead of simply putting out fires I made sure the arsonist was dealt with first, then we could move on to putting out the fires and repairing the damage.

On July 4, 1776 The Declaration of Independence of the United States of America was published. Among the words of the Declaration it stated "... we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights..."

Allow me, please, to unpack this a bit and in my own order and hopefully I can explain the connection between the elements in this phrase, symptoms, and roots.

Unalienable Rights

Unalienable rights are rights ingrained into humanity. When governments seek to deprive people of these inherent, ingrained, and unalienable rights, they cannot rule in peace. They can only deprive people of these rights through the constant, consistent application of force and violence. Efforts to deprive people of these rights inevitably provoke strong resistance from people. Depending on the conditioning of the people this resistance can range from editorials in the press, petitions, peaceful protests in the streets, violent protests, assassinations, insurrections, and armed rebellions.  

If you look at the arc of events leading up to the American Revolution you see that same progression. The American Colonists first resorted to opinion pieces in the papers. From there to petitions sent to the government. When these seemed to be ignored, or worse used as pretext to attack them, they escalated to peaceful protests, then violent protests. Finally, finding their efforts only resulted in greater violence against them they came out in open rebellion against their government.

When their rebellion prevailed and they were able to establish their own government, instead of embracing a monarchy where an elite few made and enforced the laws, they opted to form a constitutional republic. A government "... of the People, by the People, and for the People." Through the power of elections, Americans are given the power of rebellion. Every election we can throw off those leaders who fail to represent our interests over their own, or those of others. This electoral system balances the power of the majority against the rights of the minority, and is based on the foundational principle that either the rights of every individual are important, or none are important. 

Endow

To endow is to equip. An endowment, often associated with large contributions to charitable institutions, is to provide a financial source of income which keeps providing benefits in perpetuity, forever. Their value typically exceeds anything we could give in return for them. Endowments are gifts, not purchases. 

These unalienable rights are a gift that equips us to live our lives in a manner that makes us responsible for our own outcomes, rather than allowing us to be victims of others' actions.

The most fundamental of our unalienable rights is freedom of conscience. The right to embrace and act on our own beliefs. This is only restrained if our actions have the effect of depriving others of their unalienable rights.

The unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, mentioned specifically in the Declaration, all rest upon our freedom of conscience.

By the Creator

Monarchies prevailed across the world at the time of the American Revolution. Under a monarchy (and other forms of dictatorship) all rights flow from the monarch (the King or Queen). If the ruler grants a right, s/he can subsequently revoke that right. History shows monarchs and dictators have rescinded rights and privileges from their people almost as often as they granted them.

In blatant defiance of all forms of dictatorship (monarchies or otherwise) the Declaration of Independence states that the Creator gifted these rights to humanity and no government has the authority to revoke them.  

Here we arrive at the root.

The implications of acknowledging a "Creator" are significant and affect everything that comes after that acknowledgement.

Many today embrace the notion that there is no Creator. They argue that against all the mathematical odds the extremely complex creatures and ecosystems which surround us came into being spontaneously and over eons of time have self-modified to result in the current state.  If one of these advocates of wholly natural evolution were somehow transported to a distant, uninhabited planet and there, amid the sands of a desert came upon a digital camera their reason would conclude that the camera was the product of a creator, an intelligent designer. They would never accept the argument that the cosmos had shaken the sand of that desert so long that the minerals and crystals there had spontaneously formed to make this camera. And yet, they can look at the human optic system, which is much more complicated than that of a camera and assert that it was not created, it evolved.

The root reason why many people today reject the notion of an intelligent Creator is not through lack of evidence. Rather they reject the Creator out of fear. What people fear the most is the unknown.

A mind which can create the cosmos we see is infinitely more capable than us. If we cannot comprehend the cosmos, its origins, its rules, its destination, its purpose, then we certainly cannot comprehend the intelligence which set it all up. Living in the shadow of such an unfathomable and powerful intelligence is naturally very frightening. 

If you acknowledge the existence of a Creator, what choices does that lead to?

A) You can choose to pretend that the Creator doesn't exist. Because you cannot fathom the mind of the Creator you can imagine that you are of no consequence. The Creator takes no notice of you, so you are free to do as you please.

B) You can choose to cower in fear of unwittingly offending such a being and finding yourself on the wrong end of the wrath of a cosmic power. Down this road lies a life of superstition. Like the ancient Greeks, you erect altars to all aspects of the Creator you can imagine. To cover your bases you even set up an altar to "the Unknown God" mentioned by Paul in Acts 17:23.

C) You can seek to find the Creator in order to either align your life with the Creator's purposes or defy that power, seeking to thwart it. This course is quite challenging because there is nothing you can do which will uncover the existence of the Creator. You cannot force the Creator into the light of day under a microscope or a telescope. You can only find the Creator if the Creator chooses to reveal himself to you, and the very concept of revelation really scares most people and is easily faked by someone seeking power.

For now, allow me to set aside the issue of revelation. Instead, let's focus on the implications from our being endowed by our Creator with these inalienable rights.

If the Creator thought it worthwhile to give us these rights, then it stands to reason the Creator will hold us accountable for what we do with these rights. It is logical that it is especially important whether or not we seek to preserve them, or seek to deprive others of them.

It seems clear to me that the Declaration of Independence makes clear that the Creator is the root of our rights and the associated duty to preserve those rights. We may ignore the many witnesses in nature, history, and word which bear witness to the intelligent hand of a Creator but our willful ignorance does not alleviate us one whit from our accountability to honor and defend these unalienable rights.

Divisiveness

Today we are in the midst of what is still a largely civil conflict over these rights. At the root of this conflict is the belief in a Creator. If you acknowledge a Creator then you must deliberately defy that Creator or seek to align with that Creator. It becomes an important, conscious choice with significant consequences.

Those who seek to deprive us of our rights almost unanimously also seek to deny us the rights of conscience, particularly when it comes to religion. If our religion will adapt to not oppose their views then it is marginally acceptable. However, if our religion doesn't admit of compromise on fundamental issues, then we are to be redefined as dangerous extremists and turned into enemies of the state. Once that latter indictment sticks, then the full power of government can be unleashed to exterminate us and eradicate our views.

Our best defense against being destroyed (spiritually and physically) by this escalating conflict is to speak up in defense of our rights. Silence is acceptance. Show your gratitude to the Creator by speaking up in defense of the rights endowed to us. Use your voice. Use your vote. Use your time and money to support people and organizations who are trying to defend our rights.

When you speak up in defense of our rights you will definitely offend some people and incur the anger of others. Speak up and defend rights politely, but firmly. Don't resort to demonization and name calling. If they are offended when you are not being offensive it is their choice, not yours. 

When you remain silent and inactive in the defense of our rights you will offend your Creator and may incur that divine wrath.


See Tom's political views on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/TomSheppardPoliticalViews/
Follow Tom on Twitter: @ThomasKSheppard

Tom Sheppard is a business consultant and coach to small business owners and individuals. He is a recognized author with dozens of titles in business and fiction to his credit. One of his endeavors is to help those who want to see their own book in print. He does this through his trademarked Book Whispering Process (TM).

The author is not an official spokesperson for any organization or person mentioned herein.

(c) Copyright 2020 A+ Results LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Your comments are welcome... Please observe some ground rules. No profanity, vulgarity, or personal attacks. Profanity, vulgarity and personal attacks not only betray a lack of vocabulary and imagination, they also are the hallmarks of bigotry, and bigotry is the hallmark of someone who is fundamentally insecure in their views. Facts are always welcome.

If you believe Government is NOT the answer to all our problems, you will want to read
 Godvernment: Government as God

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Give to Get

Truth persists regardless of our beliefs, feelings, complaints, or votes.

Without regard to your beliefs, feelings, or complaints, gravity keeps you from floating off the planet to asphyxiate in space. Gravity is a physical law of the universe. To live a happy and healthy life we have to adjust our lives to the inexorable law of gravity.

There is a force which animates each of us. It turns this lump of clay we call our body into a living organism. When that force departs, our body dies. This essence which animates each of us is undeniably real, though we don’t seem to be able to detect it with our five senses or any of the scientific instruments we have built to extend those senses. Whether you call it a soul, a spirit, or don’t believe it exists, it exists. Its effects on our body are undeniable and our death when it departs is unavoidable.

Just as the universe abounds with laws our bodies must accommodate, such as the law of gravity, there are laws in the universe which our spirit must accommodate. Perhaps the most important of these is known in western religions as the law of the harvest, or in the eastern, karma.

This universal spiritual law is that we get what we give. We reap what we sow. And, just as the harvest does not come immediately after planting the seed, usually the receipt of what we have given is delayed.

Whether you believe it, or not, this law affects your life.

  • If you want love in your life, give forgiveness.

  • If you want peace in your life, give kindness.

  • If you want abundance in your life, be generous.

  • If you don’t feel forgiving, kind, or generous, fake it until you make it. Over time you will become what you do.

What you give may not come back into your life immediately. It may take a lifetime. It may come to those you love, who you leave behind when you are dead. The effects it has upon your spirit are immediate.

Try it. You’ll like it.



See Tom's political views on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/TomSheppardPoliticalViews/
Follow Tom on Twitter: @ThomasKSheppard

Tom Sheppard is a business consultant and coach to small business owners and individuals. He is a recognized author with dozens of titles in business and fiction to his credit. One of his endeavors is to help those who want to see their own book in print. He does this through his trademarked Book Whispering Process (TM).

The author is not an official spokesperson for any organization or person mentioned herein.

(c) Copyright 2020 A+ Results LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Your comments are welcome... Please observe some ground rules. No profanity, vulgarity, or personal attacks. Profanity, vulgarity and personal attacks not only betray a lack of vocabulary and imagination, they also are the hallmarks of bigotry, and bigotry is the hallmark of someone who is fundamentally insecure in their views. Facts are always welcome.

If you believe Government is NOT the answer to all our problems, you will want to read
 Godvernment: Government as God

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Man Didn't Make God

Recently I was relaxing and enjoying watching a relatively successful and very well-done science fiction series about people and true artificially intelligent robots.  One of the main characters asserted that man created Heaven and Hell, God and the Devil to keep everyone else in line.  Holding over their heads the notion that their disobedience could result in an eternal punishment.

This atheist's article of faith is what Karl Marx alluded to when he said that religion is the opiate of the masses.

While it is true that throughout history many people have cynically used religion as a tool to bolster their power over others, the fundamental notion that man invented God is a theory without a single shred of evidence to support it it actually flies in the face of countless evidences which contradict this prideful and hopeless premise.

The fact that those who reject God reject the evidences and witnesses of God does not obliterate those witnesses, rather it shows the lack of rationality of those who reject those witnesses.

Those who say that no one has returned from death to tell us what is on the other side are liars or ignorant of the facts.  I am not talking here about ghosts and phantasms.  I am speaking of the fact that Jesus of Nazareth was publicly put to death and three days later ate food and conversed with people who had seen him die and laid his body in the grave.

But that is not the only person to pass the portal of death and return.  The New Testament (Matthew 27:52, 53) notes that after the resurrection of Jesus:
 "And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many."
Note the word "many" which is repeated.  Many arose from the dead and appeared to many people.  So, aside from those who witnessed the resurrection of Jesus many others witnessed the resurrection of many who they knew to have died.

Further, the appearance of Jesus was not limited to just one instance or a few people.  He appeared many times after his crucifixion and at one point (1 Corinthians 15:6) appeared to more than 500 people in one meeting.

In The Book of Mormon (3 Nephi 11) the resurrected Jesus appears, shortly after his death and resurrection, to people gathered in the Americas.  Upwards of 2,000 people were present.

In more recent times we have several people who have testified that they have had dealings with people who were long dead and appeared as resurrected beings.  These include John the Baptist, Peter, James and John the Apostles of Jesus, Moroni, a prophet among God's people in ancient America, Moses, Elias, Elijah, and others.  At the apex of these appearances we have the resurrected Jesus having appeared more than once since 1820.

No rational person could not consider the testimony of so many first-hand witnesses and dismiss them based solely on the power of their own prejudices. 

Further, those who purport, against the evidence, that the concept of God evolved over time, the records show that God revealed himself to Adam, our first father, and again to Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, and others.  When they saw God they understood, because He told them, that He is our parent. They could see Him and discern that He and we are of the same species, so we are created in His image.

God put Man on this Earth and did not leave him ignorant of our relationship to Him or His expectations of us.  It is Man who has attempted to reinvent God to be something more of their liking.  Finally coming to the point of a devolution of thought which purports that we created God in our own image and for wholly our own purposes.  Which is to say, there is no god, only Man.

I will concede that good and evil exist independent of God and Satan.  By God's command and design every human being (Man) is an agent unto ourselves and able to choose and act.  Sometimes we choose to do good, sometimes evil. Sometimes we know what we are doing and other times the good or evil that comes from our choices is unintended.

God and Satan each tempt us.  God tempts us to choose to do good.  Satan tempts us to choose to do evil.  When we do either, it is our choice, not the will of God or Satan forcing us to act one way or another.  So, the evil in the world which so many ascribe to the acts of religionists are not the evil acts of God, nor are they the evil acts of Satan.  They are the evil acts of people who followed inclinations of their own.  Inclinations which we are free to indulge in a world where we live with a significant degree of uncertainty regarding the existence of God and Satan, Heaven, and Hell.

It may seem like the safest course is to try to choose the middle ground between these two extremes.  Many who reject God and Satan and religion in general think they are choosing a middle way.  They end up choosing themselves.  They worship themselves and others like them. They put people as their deities and worship at the temples of human government and human institutions.  

Unfortunately, rejecting God is not a middle ground.  Putting yourself, or another human, in the place of God is not a middle ground.  It is opposing God.  It has the net effect of tempting people to reject God.  In this rejection, the temptations of Satan are heeded.  

Satan doesn't need us to worship him to achieve his ends.  He only needs us to reject God.

Notice, I didn't say Satan wins.  Satan doesn't win in any scenario.  He lost when he opposed God before Adam ever walked this Earth.  He and his followers were cast out and lost their opportunities to grow more like God.  They lost the opportunity to fulfill their genetic potential as children of God.

Because of that loss Satan and his hosts are bitter.  They know that they cannot win.  What they want is for you and I to make the same choices they did and cast aside our divine potential.  

God will win.  Those who follow God will win because of His victory and their faith.  

Satan will lose.  Those who reject God will lose, whether or not they embrace Satan.  Inasmuch as they think they are smarter than God they become like Satan and embrace his destiny.


See Tom's political views on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/TomSheppardPoliticalViews/
Follow Tom on Twitter: @ThomasKSheppard

Tom Sheppard is a business consultant and coach to small business owners and individuals. He is a recognized author with dozens of titles in business and fiction to his credit. One of his endeavors is to help those who want to see their own book in print. He does this through his trademarked Book Whispering Process (TM).

The author is not an official spokesperson for any organization or person mentioned herein.

(c) Copyright 2020 A+ Results LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Your comments are welcome... Please observe some ground rules. No profanity, vulgarity, or personal attacks. Profanity, vulgarity and personal attacks not only betray a lack of vocabulary and imagination, they also are the hallmarks of bigotry, and bigotry is the hallmark of someone who is fundamentally insecure in their views. Facts are always welcome.

If you believe Government is NOT the answer to all our problems, you will want to read
 Godvernment: Government as God

Sunday, March 6, 2022

Objectification 101

Some years ago my youngest daughter got a tattoo.  Expressing my disapproval I told her, "people don't put bumper stickers on Ferraris."  She retorted that the only person in her life who had every objectified her was me, when I compared her to a Ferrari.

She was wrong.  I am reasonably certain that every man and boy who ever wanted to bed her objectified her.  Further, she missed the definition of objectification, and so took offense when none was offered.

Objectification happens when a person is reduced to being considered like an object, without thought for their real self, their intelligence, and their feelings.  When a woman (or a man) is objectified as a sex object they are only considered for how their body can be used to gratify the sexual desires of another person, without regard to the needs, feelings, and intelligence of the person being objectified.

Here is the real lesson in Objectification 101 - you can't objectify an object.  

When I compared my daughter's body to a Ferrari, I was referring to the object that is her body and comparing it to another object. A car body.  I was not saying anything about her intelligence, her needs, or her feelings. I was questioning her judgement in how she was using one of the most important objects in her life.  I was making an analogy that points out the fact that when you have a very expensive and valuable object you don't mark it up with graffiti or stickers.  Our bodies are very expensive and valuable objects, but they are objects after all.

The Apostle Paul said that our bodies are temples for the spirit of God and that if we defile that temple God will destroy us. (1 Corinthians 3:17 & 6:19-20).  So, at least as far back as the first century AD it has been understood that our bodies are objects provided for our use by God, and He will hold us accountable for what we do with them.

The confusion conflating making an analogy about our body and objectification of our self arises because most of us identify ourselves too much with our bodies, rather than looking on our bodies for what they are, a home for our spirit and mind.  While it is true that our spirit, mind, and body are intertwined, our body does not truly represent our self.

A body may, like that of Stephen Hawking, be broken, weak, or twisted.  Or, like Arnold Schwarzenegger's be well formed, agile, and muscular.  But, neither the broken body, nor the well-formed one is a reflection of our mind and spirit.  The body is a temporary home for our mortal probation.

The world does its best to conflate our physical appearance with our self, and our self-worth.  Fashion models are worshipped and esteemed because of their bodies, rather than because of any particular intelligence or goodness they manifest.

When I was a young man Kathy Ireland was a world-famous fashion model.  At the time, her fame and fortune was wholly based on the attractiveness of her body.  Many years later I met Kathy Ireland in person.  When I met her I found that she was someone worthy of admiration.  She is a woman of intelligence, integrity, and ingenuity.  She took the monies she earned from her fashion career and turned them into a business empire which she runs.  She invested her money and her intelligence wisely.  Now that she is far beyond competing with young girls for the lustful attentions of the world, her brilliance, and her goodness are evident in both her deeds and her words.  When I met she expressly warned people about the false doctrine of the "prosperity Gospel" which equates righteousness with financial and physical well-being.

Kathy Ireland and Tom Sheppard


After we resurrect our bodies will be glorified and perfected and then they will reflect our true selves.  Until then, our body is an object, a mobile home, a Ferrari in which we travel through this life.

What is more is it is given to us as a loaner, and the true owner will hold us accountable for what we do with it.  God gives us our body, whether it is bent or straight, sickly or healthy, weak or strong.  He gives us a body out of his wisdom and love according to what he sees we need to help us grow more like Him.  Just as He gives us the circumstances of our life.  

When life is over we will face him again with all the bandages of self-deception ripped away and we will account to Him for what use we made of what He provided us.  

He won't judge us for the objects in our life.  Our physical frailties won't define us.  What we did with what He gave us will define us.  Did we trash it, hide it away, or do our best to use it well and honorably until it was no longer in our grasp?

Most of our world is comprised of objects.  Our bodies are objects.  Our minds, our feelings, our thoughts, our intentions, our imaginations, our will, those are not objects.  Those are the powers inherent in us that we apply to the objects in our life to shape and change the world.   

See Tom's political views on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/TomSheppardPoliticalViews/
Follow Tom on Twitter: @ThomasKSheppard

Tom Sheppard is a business consultant and coach to small business owners and individuals. He is a recognized author with dozens of titles in business and fiction to his credit. One of his endeavors is to help those who want to see their own book in print. He does this through his trademarked Book Whispering Process (TM).

The author is not an official spokesperson for any organization or person mentioned herein.

(c) Copyright 2020 A+ Results LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Your comments are welcome... Please observe some ground rules. No profanity, vulgarity, or personal attacks. Profanity, vulgarity and personal attacks not only betray a lack of vocabulary and imagination, they also are the hallmarks of bigotry, and bigotry is the hallmark of someone who is fundamentally insecure in their views. Facts are always welcome.

If you believe Government is NOT the answer to all our problems, you will want to read
 Godvernment: Government as God

Friday, December 17, 2021

Socialism is Not the United Order

Socialism and the United Order

Elder Marion G. Romney of the Council of the Twelve Apostles

The One Hundred and Thirty-sixth Annual Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint

Saturday Evening Session, General Priesthood Session

April 9, 1966

As found in the report of discourses for this conference pp. 95 - 101

https://ia600604.us.archive.org/31/items/conferencereport1966a/conferencereport1966a.pdf, viewed 12/172021

 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 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.) 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.) 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.

Differences

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.

(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. 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 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. 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" 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.

----- END ----

The editor previously published a blog post directly related to this topic title Socialism is Anti-Christian


See Tom's political views on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/TomSheppardPoliticalViews/
Follow Tom on Twitter: @ThomasKSheppard

Tom Sheppard is a business consultant and coach to small business owners and individuals. He is a recognized author with dozens of titles in business and fiction to his credit. One of his endeavors is to help those who want to see their own book in print. He does this through his trademarked Book Whispering Process (TM).

The author is not an official spokesperson for any organization or person mentioned herein.

(c) Copyright 2020 A+ Results LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Your comments are welcome... Please observe some ground rules. No profanity, vulgarity, or personal attacks. Profanity, vulgarity and personal attacks not only betray a lack of vocabulary and imagination, they also are the hallmarks of bigotry, and bigotry is the hallmark of someone who is fundamentally insecure in their views. Facts are always welcome.

If you believe Government is NOT the answer to all our problems, you will want to read
 Godvernment: Government as God

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

The MOST Important Thing for Fulfillment


Tom Sheppard
11/30/2021

The single most important thing you need to know to help you live a happy and fulfilling life is that you are a literal child of God.

Even many of those who believe in God don't believe or understand that we are literally his children.  They have bought into the tripe peddled by philosophers and apostates that says we are creations of God and thus his metaphorical children.

They deny the explicit language in the Holy Bible and other scriptures which tell us the humanity is created in the image of God.  We are in the image of God in the same way children are created by their parents in the image of their parents.

I will concede that if we were just guessing about all this, or making it up, it would be the pinnacle of pretention to assert that we are literal children of God.  Unfortunately for all the philosophers who try to dilute scriptural truths by calling them metaphors, the idea that we are created in the image of God and are his children came directly from God himself.  It is a message he has reiterated throughout time.

When Adam first opened his eyes in the Garden of Eden, he saw God.  He and Eve walked and talked with God.  They could see that they looked like him and he told them they were his children.  That knowledge wasn't wiped from their minds when they were cast out of Eden.  They carried it with them and taught their children the true nature of God and our relationship to Him.

The scriptures record that some time later God revealed himself to the prophet Enoch.  Enoch walked with God.  Just as Adam had, Enoch was able to bear first hand witness of the true nature of God and our relationship to Him.  Although Enoch had likely been taught all these things before he was called, after his call, he could testify of them through his first-hand knowledge.

Abraham is called the Father of the Faithful.  He obtained great promises from God and talked with God face-to-face on several occasions. This would allow him too as a first-hand witness of the true nature of God and our relationship to Him.

Moses talked with God face to face as a man talks with his friend, according to the scriptures.  That means that when the Israelites were led out of Egypt they were led by someone who was able to tell them from personal experience the true nature of God and our relationship to Him.  Those Israelites who tried to make it all a metaphor and set up a golden calf and called it God, were destroyed.  Likewise all those who think that God as our father is a metaphor wander in a wilderness of doubt and are destroyed by their despair.  That is a metaphor.

Jesus of Nazareth was threatened with death more than once because of his assertion that he was a literal son of God.  He repeatedly taught the true nature of God and our relationship to Him.  He said, "if you have seen me, you have seen the Father."  Further, when Jesus appeared to his Apostles after his resurrection from the dead it was clear that they recognized him and saw him as a man, similar to them.

In these latter days we are not left without witnesses to this key point either.  In the Spring of 1820 a young boy in upstate New York had the heavens opened to him in response to his earnest prayer.  He saw God the Father and Jesus Christ as two separate and distinct personages, in form and shape like man.  In seconds that young boy knew as fact more about the nature of God and our relationship to Him than all the religious doctors for the past 1,500 years combined.  He knew first hand, while they were struggling to reconcile what they could imagine with what they read, and so dismissed this foundational fact as a metaphor.

Understanding the true nature of God and our relationship to Him is foundational to our happiness because that one fact alone gives meaning to everything else.  This fact lets us know that God is our parent and as a perfect parent all he does is designed to help us fulfil our greatest potentials and to be happy.  It means that God created this amazing world, with all its beauty and complexity, out of love for us, his children.  It means that he allows the presence of evil in this world because of his wisdom and love for us requires that we have freedom of choice and the ability to learn from our mistakes, and the mistakes of others. It means that He will not leave us without the benefit of his personal guidance and tender care over our lives.

As children we often misunderstand or fail to comprehend the reasons and objectives driving the actions of our parents.  Further, our parents are imperfect and so their intentions and actions may go astray.  God is a perfect parent and loves us perfectly.  We may not understand all his actions, but we can have perfect faith that all He does and allows to happen will, if we heed Him, be turned to our ultimate benefit.


#MyGodAndGovernment #ChildofGod

See Tom's political views on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/TomSheppardPoliticalViews/
Follow Tom on Twitter: @ThomasKSheppard
Follow Tom on Instagram:  ThomasKSheppard

Tom Sheppard is a business consultant and coach to small business owners and individuals. He is a recognized author with dozens of titles in business and fiction to his credit. One of his endeavors is to help those who want to see their own book in print. He does this through his trademarked Book Whispering Process (TM).

The author is not an official spokesperson for any organization or person mentioned herein.

(c) Copyright 2020 A+ Results LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Your comments are welcome... Please observe some ground rules. No profanity, vulgarity, or personal attacks. Profanity, vulgarity and personal attacks not only betray a lack of vocabulary and imagination, they also are the hallmarks of bigotry, and bigotry is the hallmark of someone who is fundamentally insecure in their views. Facts are always welcome.

If you believe Government is NOT the answer to all our problems, you will want to read
 Godvernment: Government as God

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Unalienable Rights. Unavoidable Responsiblities.

Photo used with permission (C) DepositPhotos.com

Tom Sheppard
11/18/2021

Unalienable Rights

The Declaration of Independence declares that all people are “endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. That among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  Please note, although The Declaration of Independence lists some specific rights, it expressly states that this list is not exhaustive.

What does unalienable mean?  Dictionary.com gives one definition for inalienable as: “not transferable to another or not capable of being taken away or denied.”[1]

The Declaration of Independence goes on to assert that legitimate governments exist only to preserve these rights.  When a government becomes “destructive of these ends” it is the right of the people to abolish that government and form a new one.  This latter point is effectively calling out another inalienable right, the right to rebel against any government that is seeking to deprive the people of their inalienable rights.  This has been called “the right of revolution.”  Jefferson actually list this as a responsibility.  One author pointed out that citizens of the United States of America exercise this right of revolution every time they vote.

The earliest reference I could find to unalienable rights comes from John Locke.  In 1689, Locke argued in Two Treatises of Government that political society existed for the sake of protecting "property", which he defined as a person's "life, liberty, and estate".[2] In A Letter Concerning Toleration, he wrote that the magistrate's power was limited to preserving a person's "civil interest", which he described as "life, liberty, health, and indolency[3] of body; and the possession of outward things".[4] He declared in his Essay Concerning Human Understanding that "the highest perfection of intellectual nature lies in a careful and constant pursuit of true and solid happiness".[5]

In Section 134 of The Doctrine and Covenants[6], Joseph Smith, Jr. sets forth the lawful purposes of governments and what they must do to retain the loyalty of the governed. 

He begins by asserting that governments are not an invention of humanity, rather they are instituted by God for the benefit of humanity.  He further states that God holds us accountable for our actions relating to both making and administering laws.  This places a solemn and eternal responsibility on those in government to use their offices “for the good and safety of society.”[7]

In the second verse of this section, Joseph, speaking on behalf of the Saints and according to the will of God goes on to define what governments must do to merit the allegiance of the governed.

“We believe 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, and the protection of life.”[8]

Joseph lists as inviolate, the rights to free exercise of conscience, control of property, and protection of life.  These are entirely consistent with the views expressed in The Declaration of Independence and by John Locke.  We further see these rights explicitly defended in The Bill of Rights which amended the US Constitution for the express purpose of clarifying exactly what the people were expecting from the government defined by the US Constitution.

The First Amendment directly addresses the importance of the free exercise of conscience:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”[9]

The Founders of our nation encapsulated this right in the freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petitioning the government over grievances.  Their language is clear in prohibiting the government from making any laws in these areas.

Joseph Smith elaborated and clarified the freedom of religion.

“We believe that religion is instituted of God; and that men are amenable to him, and to him only, for the exercise of it, unless their religious opinions prompt them to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others; but we do not believe that human law has a right to interfere in prescribing rules of worship to bind the consciences of men, nor dictate forms for public or private devotion; that the civil magistrate should restrain crime, but never control conscience; should punish guilt, but never suppress the freedom of the soul.”[10]

Some key points are worthy of call outs.

  1.       Men are accountable only to God for their exercise of religion.
  2.       Government can only interfere with religion when religion is infringing on the rights and liberties of others.

This latter point helps to clarify further the proper relationship between religions and government. 

It also serves to highlight the fact that government exists to protect the rights and liberties of each individual against all forces seeking to deprive them of their rights and liberties. These forces may be foreign governments, corporations, individuals, or even domestic governments.  This latter point is one of the rare instances where the Federal Government, usually after a ruling from the US Supreme Court, is authorized to interfere with actions or ordinances enacted by the sovereign governments of our state and local governments.

An additional right:

·        The right to self-defense: “…all men are justified in defending themselves, their friends, and property, and the government, from the unlawful assaults and encroachments of all persons in times of exigency, where immediate appeal cannot be made to the laws, and relief afforded.”[11]

The Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights speaks directly to this point.  It reads:

“A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”[12]

Many people have gotten themselves so wrapped up in the word “militia” in this amendment that they often ignore the mandate that this right “shall not be infringed.”  The facts are that a posse which consisted of deputized citizens acting under the leadership and authority of law enforcement, have often been referred to a militia.  A militia is simply a group of citizens organized to defend their rights against one or more individuals threatening to deprive them of their unalienable rights.

The Second Amendment asserts that the right of the people to defend their inalienable rights by the use of deadly force, if necessary, is not negotiable.  No sane person doubts the right of one nation to defend itself against the unlawful aggression of another nation.  This sovereign right to self-defense is not one of the rights ceded by the sovereign people of the United States of America as part of our social compact.

Joseph’s teachings curtail this right to “…times of exigency, where immediate appeal cannot be made to the laws, and relief afforded.”[13]

Unavoidable Responsibilities

Unavoidable means: “unable to be avoided; inevitable.”

In verse 5 of Section 133 Joseph notes responsibilities that people have whose rights are protected by their government.

“We believe that all men are bound to sustain and uphold the respective governments in which they reside, while protected in their inherent and inalienable rights by the laws of such governments; and that sedition and rebellion are unbecoming every citizen thus protected, and should be punished accordingly; and that all governments have a right to enact such laws as in their own judgments are best calculated to secure the public interest; at the same time, however, holding sacred the freedom of conscience.”[14]

He notes that we are “bound to sustain and uphold” our governments.  What binds us is often referred to as a social compact.  In our case the social compact is our Constitution.  It is a bilateral contract.  The sovereign individuals cede specific portions of their individual sovereignty to the government in exchange for the commitment that the government will protect and preserve the rights of the individuals against all enemies, foreign and domestic.  To make the bilateral nature of this contract clear, Joseph notes that the individuals are bound to support the government “while protected in their inherent and inalienable rights.”

He goes on to point out that sedition and rebellion, seeking to destroy the government, is a violation of this contract as long as the government is doing its part.

In verse 6 he addresses an issue which is currently rocking our nation.  Today, many are calling for the defunding of police departments and the abolition of them.  Many people vilify the police and the courts, regardless of their diligence while enforcing the law equally on all.

“We believe that every man should be honored in his station, rulers and magistrates as such, being placed for the protection of the innocent and the punishment of the guilty;”[15]

Can any rational person deny that our police departments fall within the broad category of “magistrates?”  While they are not judges, without police to investigate crimes and apprehend criminals, magistrates would be a title without function.

Joseph goes on to explain why we need civil laws and civil governments.

“…human laws being instituted for the express purpose of regulating our interests as individuals and nations, between man and man;”[16]

Our civil laws, rightfully regulate interests and actions between people, one to another, and nations one to another.  He goes on to note that religious laws govern our interests and actions between us and God, and that God holds us accountable for our obedience to both civil and religious laws.  However, he notes that religion has no right to deprive people of their property, opinions, or lives and their lawful punishments extend only to withdraw their fellowship and excommunicate them from their society.[17]

In verse 9 the issue of the appropriate separation of church and state is plainly addressed.

“We do not believe it just to mingle religious influence with civil government, whereby one religious society is fostered and another proscribed in its spiritual privileges, and the individual rights of its members, as citizens, denied.”[18]

This is clarified by a portion of verse 4:

“…we do not believe that human law has a right to interfere in prescribing rules of worship to bind the consciences of men, nor dictate forms for public or private devotion;”[19]

This makes clear that religion is not to be banished from the public square.  Rather, government means should not be used to curtail the rights of one religion versus another.  All have equal right to be heard and to influence, as long as they are not preaching sedition or infringing on the rights of individuals.

I note that these principles stand in sharp contrast to Sharia Law promulgated by Islam.  Sharia asserts that religious government is the only legitimate government and that the ruler has the obligation to kill those who do not believe in Islam. 

Likewise what Joseph is teaching is sharply contrasting to the current “Cancel Culture” which seeks to deprive people of their rights because their views are not acceptable to a certain segment of society.  They seek to force individual and collective conformance with their views by threatening to deprive those who dissent of the safety of their homes and their ability to provide for themselves and their family.

A few other responsibilities called out in Section 133 are:

  •         All men should step forward and use their ability in bringing offenders against good laws to punishment.[20]
  •         Vigilantism is condemned, “…men should appeal to the civil law for redress of all wrongs and grievances, where personal abuse is inflicted or the right of property or character infringed, where such laws exist as will protect the same;”[21]

Invented Rights

Today, the words rights and entitlements are often used interchangeably, and perhaps incorrectly.  Too often our political leaders speak only of entitlements and not of responsibilities.  We are told today that we have a right to affordable health care.  We have a right to a dignified retirement.  We have a right to choose our gender.  These are invented rights, not inalienable ones.  As evidence, note how many governments have existed in relative peace when these so-called rights didn’t exist.  Regardless, if these invented rights done come with commensurate responsibilities, they are not real rights. Instead, they are issues used by power-mongers to enhance their power and wealth at the expense of others.

Rights are wonderful things.  A right bespeaks of an entitlement.  Something which should not be abridged or denied.  It is also an often-misused word today.  Rights or entitlements are used to justify massive transfers of wealth from the hands of those who worked to earn the wealth into the hands of those who want to administer these entitlements.

Throughout history healthcare has often been unavailable no matter how much you were willing to pay for it.  Sometimes, what passed for healthcare, bought by the wealthy, was horrible and counterproductive.  Hospitals in the USA are not allowed to refuse basic, emergency health care to anyone, without regard to their ability to pay for it.  In the past, these treatments were often paid for by charitable organizations or reserve funds of the hospitals set up specifically for this purpose.

Affordable healthcare is a mantra designed to disguise forcing doctors and medical institutions to give up their compensation for the services they provide.

Retirement, dignified or otherwise, has never been a right.  Throughout history, most people were compelled by necessity to work for their food and shelter until death claimed them.  Retirement was a term used to refer to one force leaving a battlefield, usually in defeat.  Pensions from industry or for military service were typically more of a token payment than anything that could keep people housed and fed.  Personal retirement required prudent and successful financial management throughout life.  In most cases retirement plans consisted of having many children who would continue to work the land or business and support their infirm parents and their own children.

During The Great Depression images of aged and infirm people unable to support themselves were used to motivate lawmakers in the USA to shift the responsibility of planning for retirement from individuals to the government.  Wise individuals can look at the Social Security system of the USA and see through the words “Trust Fund” to realize it for the Ponzi Scheme it is.  At some point, such a system will inevitably collapse because it is not built on honest and sustainable financial principles or practices.

Individuals have a responsibility to take measures to provide for their own retirement.  While it is arguable that their children may owe them support in their retirement, their neighbors certainly have no such legal obligation to impoverish themselves to any degree for the benefit of others.  Only the laws of God can, and should, drive us to sacrifice our own means to assist the poor among us, so that they can have the food, shelter, and clothing they need.  Government exists to protect our inalienable rights from predators, not to provide for our shelter and feeding.

The right to choose your gender is something very recent and utterly unscientific.  This notion, concocted for the sole purpose of destroying the nuclear family and societies built on that family, purports that the genetic dictates of biology can somehow be obviated simply by an act of will.  While we all have our rights of conscience, those who believe in things which are demonstrably and invariably false have always been considered irrational and insane.  To believe we can choose our gender, in the face of biological facts to the contrary, is akin to believing we can choose for the world around us to be dark at mid-day simply because we believe it should be nighttime.

These invented rights all have the commonality that they are presented devoid of any responsibilities.  Affordable healthcare is presented as a right without the responsibility to pay for it.  Dignified retirement is presented as a right without the responsibility to manage your own resources and appetites to provide for it.  Gender-preference is presented as a right without the responsibility to acknowledge and accommodate biological reality.

Another current trend is the notion that the needs of the many outweigh the rights of the few, or the one.  Progressives today are touting a social doctrine call intersectionality to identify new minorities.  Proponents of Intersectionality push the notion that the rights of those within the categories which overlap must be protected even if it destroys the rights of the individual.  They posit that these group rights are more important than individual rights.

The dictionary defines intersectionality as “the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage.”

As noted in the definition, each category is assumed to carry with it some elements of discrimination or disadvantage. Advantages which may come from any category, or categories, are discounted, except when attempting to broadly paint another categorical intersection as inherently and uniformly oppressive to others.  Oppression is another way of expressing the notion that someone is interfering with the inalienable rights of another.

The irony of intersectionality is that if you apply enough categories, you eventually will reduce the size of the minority down to a group of one individual[22].  Carrying through their logic to its inevitable conclusion brings us full circle to the notion that government exists to protect the rights of the individual.  In fact, the only meaningful protection of our inalienable rights must be carried out at the individual level, because within any group there are some individuals who suffer from oppression and other individuals who oppress.

Conclusions

An examination of the rights enumerated in this category as unalienable will reveal that they support the underlying, eternal principle of the sacrosanct moral agency of every individual.

The Atoning Sacrifice of Jesus Christ was done for the sole purpose of preserving our agency and making it both real and worthwhile.  When Adam fell, he and all his descendants were forever cut off from the ability to return to God because the justice of God says that no unclean thing can dwell in His presence. There is nothing any of us can do to subvert the justice of that law.  Uncleanliness would be burnt up in the presence of God.  It would be a never-ending torment to be unclean in the presence of God.

The Atonement of Jesus Christ opened an avenue whereby, if we heed the Savior, he will make us clean before we are presented to the Father.  In that cleaned condition, we can dwell with Him forever in happiness and joy.

Every truly inalienable right inevitably brings with it unavoidable responsibilities.

Our unalienable rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness bring with them the unavoidable responsibilities.  Our rights may be gifted to us by God, but as with any gift they bring with them a responsibility to preserve and defend them.  To preserve and protect our rights we must:

  •        Not infringe the rights of other individuals
  •         Protect, assert, and practice the exercise of our own rights both in private and public
  •         Protect the rights of all others both in private and public
  •         Support governments which are protecting our rights
  •         Abide by the laws of man which are designed to protect individual inalienable rights
  •         Do our part to enact and support laws which protect the inalienable rights of all individuals

·       Honor those who are acting in roles expressly needed to protect our rights such as elected officials, judges, magistrates, police, and military

Joseph Smith, and the Founding Fathers both spoke of unalienable rights which come to us from God, meaning we own them and are responsible for our use and preservation of them.  They do not come to us from other men, or from our governments.  Therefore, we cannot utterly delegate our responsibilities for these rights either to our neighbors or our government.  If we accept the rights, we must also own the ultimate responsibility to maintain them.

 

Endnotes

[1] Dictionary.com, Unalienable, as seen 18 November 2021

[2] Locke, John (1988) [1689]. Laslett, Peter (ed.). Two Treatises of Government. Cambridge, NY: Cambridge University Press. Sec. 87, 123, 209, 222. ISBN 052135448X.

[3] As near as I can equate, indolency is referring to leisurely pursuits, which could be considered equivalent with happiness.

[4] Locke, John (1983) [1689]. Tully, James H. (ed.). A Letter Concerning Toleration. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing. p. 26. ISBN 091514560X.

[5] Locke, John (1975) [1689]. Nidditch, Peter H. (ed.). Essay Concerning Human Understanding. Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press. Book 2, Chapter 21, Section 51. ISBN 0198245955.

[6] The Doctrine and Covenants of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Salt Lake City, UT: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1981.

[7] Ibid, Section 134, Verse 1

[8] Ibid, Verse 2

[9] US Bill of Rights

[10] Doctrine and Covenants, 134, verse 4

[11] Ibid, verse 11

[12] US Bill of Rights

[13] Ibid, verse 11

[14] Doctrine and Covenants, Section 134, verse 5

[15] Ibid verse 6

[16] Ibid

[17] Ibid, verse 10

[18] Ibid, verse 9

[19] Ibid, verse 4

[20] Ibid, verse 8

[21] Ibid, verse 11

[22] Consider the following intersectionality’s and their effects. If you identify all white males born in a specific year, month, and day, whose grandfather is a naturalized citizen, living in a certain county and town in north-central Montana where the failure of the family business forced them to move to another specific neighborhood, town, and county in western-central Montana during the middle of the second year of elementary school you will find the author stands alone at that intersection as a minority of one.  A minority whose rights should be protected by the government.  A similar intersectional analysis can be performed to identify every individual as a minority group with a membership of exactly one person, except perhaps for identical twins, triplets, etc.


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Tom Sheppard is a business consultant and coach to small business owners and individuals. He is a recognized author with dozens of titles in business and fiction to his credit. One of his endeavors is to help those who want to see their own book in print. He does this through his trademarked Book Whispering Process (TM).

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If you believe Government is NOT the answer to all our problems, you will want to read
 Godvernment: Government as God