Have You Lost Your Priesthood?

Why would I ask such a question?  Why would it even be in question? What does it have to do with freedom?  To understand these questions, we have to understand the following questions as well as their answers:  What is agency?  What happens when we support the government’s attempt to take it away from others?  What is compulsion?  What happens to us when we support the government’s attempt to use it on others?

Moses Chapter 4 states that because Satan “sought to destroy the agency of man”, he was cast out of Heaven.  What did Satan want to force us to do?  The scriptures say Satan wanted to force us back to Heaven.  This brings up the question, “What is wrong with going back to Heaven?” Nothing. The Book of Moses teaches that our exaltation is our Father in Heaven’s entire purpose. (Moses 1:39)  Clearly it is the “how” not the “what” that really matters.

Satan and his followers were cast out of the Father’s presence for attempting to compel us to do his will.  In Doctrine and Covenants 121:37 we learn what our consequence is for following the same path:

(W)hen we undertake to… exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men… behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.

These scriptures instruct us that when we try to compel anyone to do something, when they themselves have not violated the rights of others, we are literally following Satan’s plan, are rejecting the law of God, and the sacrifice of those that came before us and most importantly, we lose our priesthood.

The scriptures are clear that whenever we venture to compel another to do something, we must be sure that we are acting in righteousness, and not (in a metaphorical way) forcing our brothers and sisters back to Heaven.

This applies to every aspect of our lives, from parenting, to martial relationships, Church callings, and even to our actions in relation to government; any aspect that we can use our position of authority to compel another.

Doctrine and Covenants 134:1 states that the Father,

“holds [us] accountable for [our] acts in relation to [government], both in making laws and administering them”

Verse 2 teaches that to remain in peace, we must ensure that our agent, the government, protects (notice it does not say provide) the life, conscience and property of all within its area of jurisdiction.  Not only must it protect our right to our property, but it says it must protect our right to control our property.

To protect those basic God given rights, we learn from scripture that- “all governments necessarily require civil officers and magistrates to enforce the laws of the same; and that such as will administer the law in equity and justice should be sought for and upheld.” (D&C134:3).  Therefore, if I am not violating your life, your conscience, or your property, how can you feel justified in violating mine?  Obedience to this basic principle is a necessity for peaceful government. God says he will hold us accountable for such actions.

Regarding government, the Lord Himself said He gave us the US Constitution,

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 beaccountable for his own sins in the day of judgment.” (D&C 101:78)

He gave us the Constitution as a tool that He will hold us accountable towards in regards to its heavenly appointed purpose of protecting the agency of our fellow man.  And according to Doctrine and Covenants 98:7, to use the Constitution in any other way is evil. When we use government to compel others to “do good”, no matter how “good” it is, we are putting our Priesthood authority at risk.

Some take this to mean that to obey this principle is to neglect our holy mandate to provide for the poor and needy. Nothing is further from the truth.  While it is true that we all have an obligation to be a good neighbor, to take good care of the stewardship the Lord has given us, to care for others, etc., if I am compelled to do those things, that portion of my existence is a waste. I did not have the opportunity to act, but was acted upon and therefore cannot be accountable for those sins of neglecting my neighbor or blessed for that “good” that was done on their behalf.  Those that seek to compel others to do good actually follow a plan they rejected before they were born.

Another way we put our Priesthood at risk is through government education. Education is essential to our progression, and has always been a commandment from our Father in Heaven. However, we have been warned about the elements of compulsion used in its implementation.  President Brigham Young said,

“I am opposed to free education as much as I am opposed to taking away property from one man and giving it to another… Would I encourage free schools by taxation? No!” –General Conference 1877

John Taylor was even clearer on the matter when he said this about sending our children to government schools,

“I very much question men and women’s getting into the Celestial kingdom of God who have no more knowledge about principles of life and salvation than to go and tamper with the sacred offspring, the principle of life which God entrusted to your care.” –General Conference 1878

Remember, it was Lucifer that wanted us all to return to our Father in Heaven (clearly a good goal, in line with the will of the Father).  However, he wanted to use compulsion to do it. Would God be a just god if our consequence was any different than Lucifer’s for the same action here on earth?

As Howard W. Hunter said,

“If you deprive a man of his right to fail in the righteous use of his property, you also deprive him of his right to succeed. If you remove from a man his right to ‘go to hell,’ you likewise remove his free agency to go to heaven.” Howard W. Hunter, BYU, 8 March, 1966

So how do we “get” people to do what is right?  What about lazy parents that won’t ensure their children are educated or greedy people that will not help those in need?

In Doctrine and Covenants Section 121, after learning some of the ways in how to lose our Priesthood authority,  we learn the Lord’s way to help each other do what is right; the Lord said we are to do it,

“(O)nly by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile…” (D&C 121:41–42)

When we use compulsion or direct our agents, the government, to use compulsion and unrighteous dominion, we put our Priesthood authority at risk. With all of the earthly laws and statutes that use this principle of the evil one, there are clearly those amongst us that have put this authority at risk, and have possibly lost it because of their actions in these areas.  Do you support laws that compel your neighbors in an unrighteous way?  If so, it would be beneficial to ask yourself, “Have I lost my Priesthood?”, and if so, “What can I do to get it back?”

For a more in-depth explanation of these principles, I highly recommend reading H. Verlan Andersen’s classic “Many Are Called But Few Are Chosen”, which was recommended in the April 1972 General Conference for all members to read by then Elder Ezra Taft Benson.

About Ezra Taylor

Ezra Taylor has appeared in national (Fox news, USA Today), as well as several other regional publications. Ezra also writes for several freedom oriented publications, has been a radio talk show host and is a grassroots organizer. Visit his personal blog at http://ezrataylormc.blogspot.com Friend Ezra on Facebook https://m.facebook.com/ezra.taylor.12
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94 Responses to Have You Lost Your Priesthood?

  1. Rex says:

    Good article. I doubt that the heaven we would have gone back to under Lucifer’s plan would have been the same one that we left; for in return for “saving” all of us, Lucifer was to have the Father’s glory. Can you imagine a heaven with Lucifer in charge? I can, but it has a different name – Hell.

  2. Jen says:

    I have been reading mormonchronicle.com for several months now and I have to say- you guys are my heros. Before now a few friends and I would secretly discuss these principles and hope we didn’t get betrayed as “apostates”. I have been starving for real doctrine for so long but as a society we have rejected it. It is such a relief that you guys are helping to cover this in a bit more mainstream media. Perhaps some day we will no longer have to hide from any sacred cows.

  3. chris says:

    I just wanted to say I thoroughly agree in principle. However, the unfortunate fact is these all too often get used to beat others who (are in the wrong) and disagree over the head. So in a sense, it becomes seeking to compel others to adopt true principles rather than receive them through discernment and revelation.

    And even further, I agree that I don’t think any one can make it into the celestial kingdom without understanding and internalizing these principles — or you might say having these doctrines of the priesthood distill upon their soul, so they are in effect sanctified through the process of becoming closer to God and making His revelations part of our very being.


  4. chris says:

    However… as the scripture says, you can not have have confidence before God to the degree that the doctrines of the priesthood will distill upon your soul -until- you are truly embodying a virtuous and charitable, Christ-like life.

    And I think judging by the way Christ treated wrong doers who also had their hearts in the right place, he acknowledged their wrongs but often said they were closer to God than many pious right doers, who erred in perhaps the weightier matters.

    Lucifer was cast out not for getting it wrong and having a bad idea, but really have his heart and desires set in the wrong direction.

    I don’t think so many church members who get these fundamentals wrong are on that level. No doubt about it, too many of us cling to incorrect principles…

  5. chris says:

    And just to comment on Rex’s thought about returning to God under Luficer’s plan. It’s fundamentally impossible. God’s plan is for his children to come to earth and “grow up” and become like Him. To become like God, you can’t embody different principles.

    So we would not be “growing up” to become like God, but rather to become like the devil. Free to choose liberty and become like God or to choose captivity and become like the devil, subject unto him. We read this in several places in the BoM.

    • Rex says:

      You are right. Like one of the Brethren said not too long ago, there never was two plans.

    • G. Michael Craig says:

      You got it right Chris. To use James Carville’s lingo, “It’s the principles stupid”! A Protestant who developed at least a sufficient understanding of and commitment to the principles of agency and charity will fare much better on Judgement Day than will the most active LDS who attended the temple every day but failed to develop such an understanding and commitment. That is the central message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

  6. Paul Olsen says:

    Some Church Authorities have stated that Section 121 is “the most significant revelation in modern scripture.”

    It might even qualify for its own website to emphasize these points more. :-)

    • Scott Stover says:

      When I read section 121 as a new convert, I knew immediately that whoever wrote it was inspired, and I recognized it immediately as “this is the kind of man I want to be”. There probably not any other scripture that has affected my life, my eternity, as much as verses those last dozen or so verses.

    • G. Michael Craig says:

      President John Taylor said that.

  7. Tiff says:

    The article-I love it. I understand completely where Chris is coming from, though. Where none are perfect, and all sin is damning to the soul, we must remember the grace that Jesus Christ has already provided. And while keeping that in mind, we must also remember that it is not as easy as to believe and continue in our set ways. I mean to say, those that wish to gain the highest glory must STRIVE for it. We MUST STUDY these things out. Where I understand the heart of [mostly] those that think welfare stateism is the path to follow… in MY experience they are the SAME that stop up their ears when confornted with words of the modern prophets and scripture that contradicts their views. So while “beating over the head” is NOT the way to go… at least in my case..

  8. Tiff says:

    I feel RESPONSIBLE to alert them. I know not everyone is desirous to do these things to clear their conscience, I realize there are many that seek only to be “proven right”, and while I can see and even be tempted to feel a need for vindication in the future… [my] heartfelt concern for their SOUL to not be damned from progression outweighs that. I feel a bit like one of the ten virgins.. and I’m WARNING the others to GET THE EXTRA OIL! If that is compulsion I need to study more. ::shrug::
    The bottom line is socialism does NOT ONLY affect those that want it.. it compels us ALL. Therefore I DO have a right to fight. And actually… no. I don’t think the main problem with Satan was pride. I think it was his desire to chain us to slavery that was the issue…

    • Jen says:

      Also, no one is being compelled to read this website or learn these principles. Therefore if they have a lesser portion of knowledge it stand to reason that they will be judged accordingly.

    • G. Michael Craig says:

      Tiff, you are on the right path. The reason socialism is satanic is due to the fact that it is anti-Christ, i.e., antagonistic to agency and charity. A thief cannot honestly say he is committed to either principle. For a person to put someone in a position of authority for the purpose of having that politician forcefully take the sweat equity from someone else and give it to them like the stupid Nephites did in Helaman’s day(Helaman 6:38) makes that person a party to a theft, thus a thief indeed. No thieves will merit exaltation. President Heber J. Grant stated that LDS who thus support the latter-day secret combination will have no exaltation in the eternities. Thus it is a sad thing to see so many LDS today making the same mistake the Nephites did, taking “spoils”.

  9. Tiff says:

    and his pride in not being humble to do things the Father’s way. In essence.. Lucifer wouldn’t listen. He had his mind made up, and would not be teachable. THAT is the sin of those that think socialism/communism/dictatorship etc. are better. They are trying to change the world and take on the role as if they KNOW BETTER than the Father. While it’s absolutely laughable put into text, this IS what their actions say. So I feel it is very important to remember humility. To “get the Spirit” as we have been taught over and over and over again… and be willing to LEARN new principles and LIVE them.
    OH, I pray everyone can understand what I’m trying to convey… I have a habit of going on tangents. =\ So Sorry, if I’m confusing you!!

  10. Tiff says:

    Yes, I realize I said I didn’t believe it was Satan’s pride and then stated it WAS later in the same sentence. =p I typed while still thinking.. then made the connection and instead of denying my new connection I embraced the fact I was WRONG and changed my argument. See, humility. ;p [though not at all on purpose!!] lol

  11. chris says:

    My opinion is to follow the prophets. I do not see them railing against this particular evil in word, but rather in deed. When asked about it, we should all be able and willing to give the true answers. And for that reason I think posts like this are necessary to help us discover or reinforce truths we area already aware of.
    My suggestion to fight socialism is to become the kind of people we think a society should become in order to prove socialism is not necessary. As it is now, if we took away socialist policies, chaos would reign because the people generally have only embodied marginal principles of charity and virtue. We need to be a charitable and virtuous people first and let all things flow from it. Let’s walk the walk and when appropriate talk the talk

  12. chris says:

    BTW- my last post could sound like an endorsement of socialist type policies… that couldn’t be further from the truth of my intent. I’m not suggesting we should support or continue to have these policies/programs.
    I really just mean if we can become the Zion people God wants us to become, when people ask us how we feel about XYZ or when the topic is appropriate our words will have much great weight behind them. If weren’t not plainly recognized as being charitable and virtuous in all things, our words will be as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. What good will it do us to persuade others to come unto principles we aren’t fully embodying.

  13. chris says:

    Christ was willing to take the burdens of us upon him. We should be willing to take the burdens of those suffering, in need, and be willing to take the burdens of those who are foreigners, etc. upon us. That literally means voluntarily making ourselves “worse off” from a certain point of view, but in the process becoming more like Christ and becoming a people worthy of the celestial kingdom.

    This is the hardest doctrine of all to live. To actually take his name upon us and be willing to follow him in word and deed. As it is now, we just covenant to be “willing to” take his name upon us every week. He didn’t just so to love others, but love -as I have loved-. He showed his ultimate degree of love in the garden and on the cross. There is much we can do that we aren’t

  14. Jacob F says:

    I want to make sure I understand your point–If I support (or even work in) publically-funded education, have I have lost my priesthood authority? If I support Social Security (compelled taxation to support the elderly), have I lost my priesthood authority? What public policies should I not support in order to keep my priesthood authority intact? I want to make sure I am not presiding without priesthood power in my home and Church callings. A list of priesthood-losing policies to reject might be helpful.

    • Ezra Taylor says:

      Those are great questions to be asking yourself :) Study the quotes here from scripture, prophets and Apostles, take it to the Lord and see what He tells you

    • Paul Olsen says:

      I think it is important to remember that in Ezra T Benson’s speech the Proper Role of Government, he stated many are “forced into subservient positions”. Not all parents can afford to pay the forced taxation for government education and Homeschooling or alternatives. However that does not absolve our responsibility to do all we can to get out of the system. For me personally it is a transition. Once we have truth and knowledge, we have the accompanying responsibility on what to do with it! It stands to reason, if we do nothing, we will be held accountable and reap the consequences.

    • G. Michael Craig says:

      Jacob, as I stated above, thieves will not merit exaltation. Prophets have made that clear. Government benefits, or subsidies, are only legalized theft. President Harold B. Lee said that government subsidies are NOT the Lord’s way. Every president of the Church from Joseph to Ezra said similar things. The reason current brethren say nothing of this is due to the unrightousness of the members. Most of us will no longer endure sound doctrine. My stake president forbid me to preach against socialism “because it hurts the member’s feelings”. He also forbid me to preach against Mother’s choosing to unnecessarily enter the work force “because it hurts the sister’s feelings”. The fact that both of these sins were frequent topics of past General Conference addresses

      • G. Michael Craig says:

        was immaterial to him. So just as a people generally get the kind of government they deserve, they also get about as much pure religion as they are willing to tolerate, as Moses discovered.

  15. Jacob F says:

    I guess that’s where my confusion comes in Ezra Taylor. By your words, support for public education causes me to lose my priesthood authority. Supporting other government programs must do the same.
    I follow Pres. Benson’s wise counsel from the “14 Fundamentals of Following the Prophet,” where he said about living prophets being more important than dead ones, “Our instructions about what we should do for each six months are found in the General Conference addresses which are printed in the Church magazines.” I haven’t seen anything in the last 20 years of those Conferences that condemns any government policy other than the fight against Prop 8 in California. I have never read that political opinions could cause me to lose my priesthood authority. What am I missing?

    • Ezra Taylor says:

      You address a few different issues. For starters, I think this article will address your comment on President Benson’s great talk http://www.mormonchronicle.com/sacred-cow-3-expiration-date-on-words-of-prophets/

      Nothing in the last 20 years (as you put it) contradict what is in this article. They talk about principles that is in turn our duty to apply principles to our life. It depends on your definition of “political opinion”. This article seeks to lay out principles and asks each of us if application of that in different spheres of our lives might have an effect.

      Take the principles and apply them ourselves. If we see a connection between our activities and principles, then maybe we should act accordingly.

      • G. Michael Craig says:

        Jacob, there are many sins that were once frequently condemned by the General Authorities but are no longer even mentioned because of the wickedness of the members. Among them is the sin of sending our children to a typical public school. Earlier brethren in Utah had such a fear of the influence of tax funded public schools that they insisted that only active LDS be allowed as teachers in them. Elder John Taylor was appointed as the first Superintendent of Public Education in order to keep an eye on the curriculum. To illustrate the credibility of their fears, it should be noted here that the Church is currently losing 60% of it’s youth according to Elder Gene R. Cook. 8 hours a day of socialist indoctrination is killing our kids. It’s that simple.

  16. Tiff says:

    Chris- in regards to helping others, I do NOT disagree! You are completely right! However the act from our GOVT. to FORCE us to do so is robbing us of our AGENCY! THAT is the part that is so critical. We can not vote for socialistic programs that FORCE people, even if it’s for their betterment. I think President Monson’s REAL message here http://lds.org/general-conference/2009/10/what-have-i-done-for-someone-today?lang=eng&query=thomas+s.+%28name%3a%22Thomas+S.+Monson%22%29
    is more than meets the eye, in regards to what at that time [national healthcare] was about to be decided. ;)

  17. Jacob F says:

    Ezra Taylor,
    It is not a matter of words of dead prophets “expiring” but of current emphasis on what matters to us now. Please show me any quote from any modern prophet that says priesthood authority is lost based on political views or participation.
    As for view that nothing you have written has been contradicted in recent prophetic counsel, I beg to differ. In the June 2000 Ensign, Pres. Monson said “The Church has always had a vital interest in public education and encourages its members to participate in parent-teacher activities and other events designed to improve the education of our youth.”
    I guess it is time to let the words of Brigham Young from 1877 be overturned by a living prophet. Feel free to remove or replace that quote at your leisure.

    • Ezra Taylor says:

      I wont play the pit Prophets against each other game, but using a quote from someone who was not President of the Church that was clearly historically inaccurate, which means it was probably given to express a point completely unrelated to what you are trying to make him say. The principles that this article are based upon were again reiterated in conference today.

    • G. Michael Craig says:

      Jacob, having “a vital interest” is just a nicer way of saying “it scares the hell out of us”. Can’t you see that? It is amazing to see so many members willing to believe that God contradicts himself from one prophet to another, as if the current prophet trumps previous prophets. What nonsense!

  18. Jacob F says:

    It has nothing to do with pitting prophets against each other. It’s simply a matter of a living prophet giving further truth that supersedes a dead prophet (from 1877 before Utah was even a state!). I gave the citation from Pres. Monson. How can you possibly say it’s not accurate or out of context? Feel free to to read it yourself and get your thought in alignment with living prophets.
    I listened to every session of Conference today and I didn’t hear a single mention of priesthood holders losing their authority based on any political opinions or political activity. I see no support for that principle that you are espousing and still challenge you to show me any teaching to the contrary. You seem to be out on a dangerous doctrinal limb that leaves you no support.

    • Rex says:

      The Brethren are very careful not to address political matters for fear of the Church losing its tax-exempt status.

      • Jeremy says:

        No, Rex. The Brethren are very careful not to address political matters because it’s the right thing to do. It’s not our job to speculate as to the “real” reasons the Brethren do this or that, with a wink and a nudge. What a cynical view of priesthood revelation you must have!

        • Rex says:

          Sorry you can’t deal with reality.

        • G. Michael Craig says:

          Jeremy, my stake president told me the same thing, about the fear of the brethren losing the Church’s tax exempt status. But an even more important reason that they no longer speak of moral issues which could be considered political issues is the wickedness of the members in no longer accepting condemnations of satanic government policies and programs like social security. President Benson said that doing so at this late date “would split the Church asunder”, freemen on one side; kingmen on the other. He said the Lord doesn’t want that to happen just yet “because the wheat and the tares(both active LDS) are not yet fully ripe”. Pres. Heber J. Grant was also often heavily criticized by the members after GC because he spoke out against government retirement programs.

      • Homer says:

        I don’t believe the brethern operate from fear–faith seems to be the operating principle and casteth out fear

        • Rex says:

          You’re right. Maybe “concern” would be a better word; but the fact remains that if the Church were to lose its tax-exempt status, the repercussions would be tremendous. We have some funky laws based on the unconstitutional concept of separation of Church and State; but funky or not, we have to comply in order to keep government fingers out of Church pockets. The purpose of the First Amendment was to keep the federal government out of religion, not the other way around. Unfortunately, that is not the prevailing interpretation.

          • Homer says:

            I’m not sure what you mean by funky laws and unconstitutional separation of church and state . . . I understand the first amendment to deal with two different sides of the issue–the first concerning the establishment of a government religion and the second concerning the free practice of religion. These are explicit boundaries between individual rights and the power of the state.

            The issue of taxation seems to center on the control and power of the of the state to regulate and control a religious organization and would be unconstitutional. So what’s the worry or the fear?

  19. Tiff says:

    Actually… I think it’s both. OF course the Church has interest in public education, and, my grief, being involved in your child’s school is paramount to know WHAT is going on.. being taught… knowing WHO is teaching your children! President Monson didn’t contradict a word of President Young’s instructions. He simply meant, if your child is in public school BE INVOLVED! He, like many other prophets and apostles, is giving the church direction pertaining to life NOW. In 1877 public education was new and the people did not heed his words… so if the prophet or an apostle stated today, “Public school is the devil’s device for secret combinations, yea even Gadianton Robbers, to lead your dearest treasures down to hell!” How do you think that would go over???? LOL.

  20. Tiff says:

    … Look what Elder Packer stated two [or three?] conferences ago about homosexuality. People were WROTH! Many left the church. Wheat and tares… wheat and tares. Pray about it. It is a personal decision. I hate my child is in public school at this time. But Father knows my circumstances, I believe He is aware of my limits and pleased with my efforts. =\ Or maybe I’m just one of those that thinks I’m an exception to the rule?? ::sigh::

  21. BBrown says:

    Check out President Uckdorf’s Priesthood talk. He stated over and over that our understanding of the welfare system of the church is essential to our salvation. He told us to study and understand the principles, doctrines and history of the welfare program. The welfare program when working as it should is the proper application of the priesthood. In order to study these things you must go to the bretheren who put them into place (Heber J Grant, George A Smith, J Reuben Clark Jr, Ezra T Benson, David O Mckay, and many others). I know they are all dead now but he gave a pretty strong endorsement for them. As you study what they had to say you’ll find many instances were your priesthood is in jepardy for accepting social security, public ed, etc

  22. Jeremy says:

    I think you’re getting into really, really dangerous territory when you start to bring in your own interpretation of the Constitution and mix it with your own interpretation of the scripture–and start suggesting that people who disagree with you politically have someone forfeited their priesthood.

    A couple of years ago, the Church released a very important and insightful statement called The Mormon Ethic of Civility. This post stands in strident dissonance with several points made in that statement.

  23. Jeremy says:

    Here is a particularly pertinent passage:

    “The need for civility is perhaps most relevant in the realm of partisan politics. As the Church operates in countries around the world, it embraces the richness of pluralism. Thus, the political diversity of Latter-day Saints spans the ideological spectrum. Individual members are free to choose their own political philosophy and affiliation. Moreover, the Church itself is not aligned with any particular political ideology or movement. It defies category. Its moral values may be expressed in a number of parties and ideologies.

    Furthermore, the Church views with concern the politics of fear and rhetorical extremism that render civil discussion impossible. ”

    Comparing a political opponent to Satan? Doesn’t seem very civil.

    • G. Michael Craig says:

      Interesting, your second to last sentence. Every Church President and member of the 12 from Joseph Smith to Ezra Taft Benson spoke with “fear and rhetorical extremism” when they were discussing politics, and were very apparently never in the least concerned about whether this “rendered civil discussion impossible”. As Brigham Young often stated, he and they spoke the truth, and nothing but the truth, and were perfectly willing to allow others to disagree and go to hell if they so chose. But now our leaders are more concerned about being “civil” than about teaching correct doctrine. Interesting. Now I understand how a satanic anti-christ like Harry Reid can get a temple recommend.

  24. KM says:

    You guys are hilarious. Argue, stress, and fight about how much tax you’re paying, cling to your precious money, and fight majority rule. It’s what God wants!

    Funny stuff.

  25. Sonny says:

    It’s a real shame that Jesus lost his priesthood. You know, that whole “Render unto Ceasar…” stuff.

    • Brian says:

      Not what the article was implying at all, or what could be interpreted if you really read what the article is saying, but… you got me laughing :) ROTFL

      • Sonny says:

        Well, Brian, let me point it out to you. If this post can cast a nice wide, vague net of a statement like “When we use compulsion or direct our agents, the government to use compulsion. . . we put our Priesthood at risk”, then certainly it is not a stretch at all to interpret that Christ’s telling us all to “Render unto Ceasar things which are Ceasar’s” as “support [of] laws that compel your neighbor” and therefore His priesthood is at risk as well.
        Can you see how absurd and tenuous the logic is in this piece?

  26. Cynthia L. says:

    It’s also a shame that our current prophet and most (maybe all) of the other 14 people we sustain as prophets, seers and revelators lost their priesthood too. Monson attended UofU (a public university), and probably most/all of the rest attended government schools at some point or another.

    • Ummm…when you go to college you pay tuition. It’s not funded by taxpayers….in other words it’s not funded by stealing from citizens. .

      • Cynthia L. says:

        Andrew, public universities are taxpayer-funded. That is the definition of “public.” The reason tuition at public universities is much lower than tuition at private universities (often as little as half) is that taxpayers are heavily subsidizing the cost. This year, the University of Utah got $674 million from the state (I.e. “stolen” money). See this document: http://www.higheredutah.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/Copy-of-2011-12OSHEBudget.pdf

        • Cynthia, thank you. I stand corrected. If any of these dudes partake, they will have their reward.

          • Cynthia L. says:

            I am now realizing the dangers of using sarcasm on the internet—it can be frightfully difficult to know exactly what people intend when you don’t know them and don’t have facial expression cues, etc.

            I can’t quite tell what you mean, precisely when you say, “they will have their reward.”

            Also, I now realize that people might not know what I was intending with my original comment. So, for the record, I just want to state that I do NOT think that the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve have lost their priesthood. With my original comment, I was just trying to illustrate why I think the original post is very, very wrong. Public education is in my opinion a fantastic idea and I wholeheartedly support it, and that doesn’t conflict in any way with the gospel.

  27. Th. says:


    You must feel obliged to raise your hand in opposition to callings practically every week.

  28. kevinf says:

    How can I say this without offending? I can’t.. You folks are nuts. The quotes you use from Brigham Young and John Taylor are taken way out of the context of the political and cultural environment of the latter part of the 19th century. It’s not that they are dead prophets, but that they were reacting to a government that was set on disenfranchising the church by every available means to stamp out polygamy. Anything the Federal government did was viewed in regards to that openly stated public agenda. We don’t see anyone of late seriously standing up in General Conference and stating that you are losing your priesthood by sending your kids to public schools. I have recently read some letters from Joseph F. Smith encouraging his son to attend public schools.

  29. Scott Stover says:

    Ezra has accomplished what he wanted with his article. He has successfully emphasized how absolutely essential to the gospel is the sacred principle of agency, and that NOONE EVER has the right to infringe on it except perhaps to protect the agency of another. He has also definitely provoked conversation and thinking.
    People, the need to impose one’s desires on another is born of fear. Fear casteth out love. We must lose the desire or the need to infringe on the agency of others, and learn to trust in the Lord. THAT is the point of the article. We’ve taken something sublimely spiritual and turned it into a temporal debate. I see nothing to argue with.

    • mattg says:

      Nope, I’m pretty sure he meant to intend that we lose our priesthood by supporting public schools:

      “Another way we put our Priesthood at risk is through government education.”

      Nobody’s debating that agency is sacred, and that it’s the central focus of our responsibility in the plan of salvation. But to make statements like this you discredit your entire argument and continue the stereotype that some people have of Mormons as being right-wing wack-jobs. If your point is simply to say we need to defend our agency, say so and leave it there without looking beyond the mark.

      • In other words you support in funding a public educational system by forcing everyone to pay into it’s program whether they like it or not? Yeah, people are whack-jobs for thinking this is a good practice.

        • mattg says:

          Yes, just like I support funding a public interstate highway system that allows me to travel freely throughout this beautiful country, and I support funding a public defense program that ostensibly protects me from invaders. All by “forcing” everyone to pay into a system that supports it. It’s called taxation, and it’s been a necessary part of every civilization since the very beginning. By your same logic I should lose my priesthood by paying taxes that support any number of programs that I may or may not agree with. It just doesn’t hold water.

          • Matt, you are not even on your game. You think the roads don’t apply to this argument? If I don’t use the roads or dive yet I am a productive citizen I should have to pay? lol… The founders were against a direct tax and said that it should be used in an emergency and have a sunset clause put on it. People that drive should pay in…but then what happens when the infrastructure is built? The cost should go down for those that use it, right?

        • Homer says:

          My favorite thing I am forced to pay for is the water system–imagine the evil of just anyone turning on the water and taking a drink because our government provides this service with my taxes.

          • If it has fluoride it is evil. Furthermore, that is a utility (service) and we pay for services. Nice try.

          • Homer says:

            Sure, in the end what we get from the government are “services”. I can walk up to a fountain in public and get a drink without paying anything. My taxes go into the common pot and I use or don’t use the service. If I decided to go with bottled water I couldn’t really claim a refund of my “water” taxes–it’s not simply a service I pay for–it’s apart of the public expectation in our society. I don’t plan on using a fire protection sevice like the local fire department but I contribute to that public institution for the common good.

          • Homer says:

            I can walk into any public place and drink from a fountain with safe drinking water and not be charged for the “service” because my taxes go into the big public pot for the common good whether I need or use the service or not. I don’t plan on my house burning down but I agree with those who feel that fire protection is a public good and that is a good thing in our society for everyone to be able to count on firefighters. My taxes also pay for that “service” even if I never need it or want it.

  30. kevinf says:

    In answer to your question, I’m a published amateur Mormon historian, certainly not a professional, but I do have a pretty good understanding of the era. Your BY quote:

    “I am opposed to free education as much as I am opposed to taking away property from one man and giving it to another… Would I encourage free schools by taxation? No!”

    Pres. Young during the 1870′s had been under increasing pressure from the feds over polygamy, beginning with the Morrill Act in 1862, which limited church property ownership in the territories to $50,000, in effect an effort to seize church property. Increasing pressures resulted in the Edmunds-Tucker act in 1882 which seized the assets of the PEF, dissolved the church as a corporation, to use them for public schools in Utah.

  31. kevinf says:

    Also, Andrew, this portion of the quote is left out:

    “…in aiding and blessing the poor I do not believe in allowing my charities to go through the hands of a set of robbers who pocket nine-tenths themselves, and give one-tenth to the poor.”

    Public schools in Utah were viewed, not incorrectly at the time, as a tool to aid in disenfranchising the church. Most LDS schools in 19th Utah century were like coop schools, held in homes or church buildings, and financed by those who sponsored them. Pres. Young employed his own school teachers for his children, and also took in children from some poor families who other wise couldn’t afford to do this on their own. Otherwise, you were on your own. That may have been almost adequate in 1877, but certainly not in 2011.

    • I don’t know about all that, I appreciate you taking the time to explain your position. There is an easy way to fix all of this and have there be an opt-in, opt-out. That way you avoid using compulsion and you give the bleeding hearts somewhere they can donate their money so not one child is left behind. Call it waht you want it is in violation of charity. Charity is something you give, not something that is taken.

  32. James says:

    Ezra, I think your suggestion that a man loses his priesthood when supporting social programs is REALLY dangerous. By that thinking, any democrat in the church (democrats universally support public programs. Maybe not every program, but to be a democrat you will be in support of public programs) has lost his priesthood because he supports using people’s tax dollars towards programs.

    The question I have for you, Ezra is this: Can you sustain a leader whom you know has lost his priesthood? I don’t see how you can sustain someone who has lost their authority. So I’m guessing you didn’t have a temple recommend while James E. Faust (a life-long democrat) was alive because it would be wrong to sustain a man as an apostle when that man obviously has lost the priesthood.

    • G. Michael Craig says:

      President Benson once said it is impossible for someone to be a member of the Democrat party and a member of the Church in good standing at the same time. Such LDS anti-Christ children from hell like Harry Reid who are still allowed to remain in the Church proves how far the Church has moved to the left over the years. Sustaining someone in authority has nothing to do with believing anything they say, respecting them, or recognizing their supposed authority. It only has to do with assisting and supporting them. Look up the definition of the word yourself. And btw, when any priesthood leader teaches incorrect doctrine, even if he is an apostle, like James E. Faust once did in General Conference, we are to reject that council, just as every president of the Church from

      • G. Michael Craig says:

        Joseph to Ezra instructed us to. And just as Wilford Woodruff stated would be the case, Elder Faust died shortly afterwords.

  33. Alex says:

    I can actually smell the crazy coming off of this blog.

  34. Dave Owen says:

    I fear that you may be wresting the scriptures to your own discredit, and please don’t quote Elder Benson on politics, as if his divisive views represented church policy — they don’t. Section 121 pertains to a priesthood holder’s actions in a church position.

    If we were to extend your line of reasoning to its logical conclusion, then you lose your priesthood whether you vote Republican or Democrat. Every year the government pays out more money to companies like GE, Boeing, and Yahoo than it does to the poor through programs like WIC. Personally, I’d fix those programs before I stole food from a single mother who can’t make ends meet. You’re straining at a gnat by only focusing on government welfare to the needy — look at the not-so-needy first.

  35. Spencer says:

    Did Lucifer decide to compel us to be righteous? He said he would save all men. Offered too. How would he do it though? Never said he would force us to be righteous. One third the hosts of heaven, How many people like to be told what to do all the time? Lucifer’s plan is taught in Protestant churches. Not forced righteousness but universal salvation. How would he force that though? never said.

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