Our Loss of Freedom is Our Fault

Mormon Chronicle EXCLUSIVE! Never before available personal writings of Elder H. Verlan Andersen.

One reason the conservative movement has not succeeded in halting the trend toward the welfare state is lack of unity and lack of a definite philosophy. Although there have been an enormous number of people over the years who have spoken out strongly against each new program and each new innovation, somehow the opposition to centralized government has not been organized well enough to bring the trend to a halt.

I have wondered if it is because of a lack of certainty which I have observed among people. I have wondered if it is because we have been fighting delaying actions and making retreats instead of coming out boldly and positively in favor of a program of our own. I have wondered if our difficulty is because we do not have a definite program, a political philosophy to which we could subscribe whole-heartedly, one which we could explain to ourselves and to anyone else, one which was simple and uncomplicated, which could be applied immediately to any action of government.

I Have Undertaken To Construct A Philosophy Which Was A Part Of My Religious And Moral Beliefs—One Which I Had Complete Faith In And Could Give My All For.

I have attempted to construct for myself a theory of government, a philosophy of political science in which I had unquestioning faith. To do this I had to first realize that I was dealing with a problem which was perhaps transcendent above all other problems of my existence, since it dealt with my free agency.

I find it impossible to keep my political beliefs and my religious beliefs separate. Being a member of the L.D.S. Church and believing as I do in the scriptures of the Church, I accept as a fact the intervention of the Lord in setting up the Constitution of the United States and the further statement that it should be established forever. I believe that free agency is first and foremost a religious question and that my own attitude toward it may be the most important belief that I hold.

Realizing the deep concern which the Lord has about this matter of free agency and that He provided us with our agency in the first place, I have assumed, and I believe rightly so, that the Lord would have given us plenty of guidance in forming a political philosophy if we would go to the right place to find it.

This is one subject about which the Lord does not desire that we become confused. He has every reason in the world to give us guidance here, if we know enough to hunt it out and believe it. Just as in our pre-earth life, we may well be divided in the next life according to the degree to which we understand and accept the Lord’s plan of freedom as set forth in our scriptures and the words of our prophets. (Ogden Speech, / /1966)

About H. Verlan Andersen

Elder H. Verlan Andersen (1914 - 1992) was a Seventy in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He authored the following books: The Great and Abominable Church of the Devil, Many are Called but Few are Chosen, Moral Basis of a Free Society, The Proper and Improper Role of Government, and The Book of Mormon and the Constitution.
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37 Responses to Our Loss of Freedom is Our Fault

  1. James says:

    Love Elder Andersen’s writings. But am I alone in feeling like this article is incomplete? I thought he was going to deliver a simple and powerful boiling down of the Lord’s “political science” only to feel let down. Then again maybe that’s the slothful servant in me. :(

  2. RedGyl says:

    That can’t be it. He was just getting warmed up. Now I feel the great and terrible need to try and find the rest of this speech. Thanks.

  3. accountablemormon says:

    Elder Anderson was a wise man. He had good things to say. Personal responsibility and accountability are vital. “Living” freedom is important. All of us can make choices that expand our freedom. But citizenship freedom has been slowly eroding for generations. To say that all of us are responsible is somewhat narrow when many of the ancestors who allowed such things as the Federal Reserve Act were simply trying to keep body and soul together and were probably barely aware of it. My ancestors probably didn’t even get newspapers, and even then newspaper journalism was slanted.

  4. MuchoBrento says:

    I concur with the previous two comments. It certainly doesn’t sound as though his message is complete. I’ll be looking forward to seeing more!

  5. Janet says:

    I too, feel the need for more. One of my frustrations over the years of seeing our freedoms being taken away is what to do to stop it. I have tried writing/calling to congressmen, but they seem to have their own minds made up regardless of what I have to say, and all I get is a form letter back about why they have made their decision. It has been made very difficult to even be able to contact a congressman (most of them, there are a few who listen) and I feel I’ve even lost the freedom to influence my representative . Joining a group doesn’t seem to work either, as we see by the Tea Party. Real answers would be very welcome.

  6. G. Michael Craig says:

    H. Verlan Andersen wrote 5 books. I consider them to be the most priceless additions EVER to my library, inasmuch as they explain in more complete and practical detail the plan of salvation, and the reasons that most LDS will NOT qualify for exaltation, as per the parables of the wheat and tares, and the ten virgins, and statements by many latter-day prophets over the years, like Heber J. Grant. Anyone who truly has a hunger for such knowledge, and who desires to know ahead of time whether he or she will be judged either a wise or a foolish virgin, had better get these books, and read them several times, starting first with “Many are Called But Few are Chosen”, the most significant book I ever read, behind only the Book of Mormon, and the only book to my knowledge .

  7. G. Michael Craig says:

    to ever be endorsed by a living prophet at General Conference. But as might be expected, Elder Andersen was severely persecuted within the Church, as were his children, because he stepped on toes, he told the unvarnished truth, not having itching ears. The Bishops and Stake Presidents, etc. in the BYU faculty and administration eventually succeeded in having him kicked off the faculty because he refused to stop preaching the conservative principles found in the Book of Mormon, and repeating the warnings to us which are found there if we violate these principles. I and my family have had the exact same experience as LDS. I have even been denied a temple recommend for no reason. Our children have been beaten up by their quorum leaders. But let’s make something

  8. G. Michael Craig says:

    to ever be endorsed by a living prophet at General Conference. But as might be expected, Elder Andersen was severely persecuted within the Church, as were his children, because he stepped on toes, he told the unvarnished truth, not having itching ears. The Bishops and Stake Presidents, etc. in the BYU faculty and administration eventually succeeded in having him kicked off the faculty because he refused to stop preaching the conservative principles found in the Book of Mormon, and repeating the warnings to us which are found there if we violate these principles. I and my family have had the exact same experience as LDS. I have even been denied a temple recommend for no reason. Our children have been beaten up by their quorum leaders. But let’s make something clear,

  9. G. Michael Craig says:

    the reason the so-called conservatives in America have not been able to halt the advance of socialism, of statism, and their inherent assault on freedom is clearly explained in Helaman 6:38–39. The plain fact is, there are almost NO conservatives left in America. Almost all of us who claim to be conservatives are as dependent, and therefore as supportive of, the current “spoils” of the latter-day secret combination running our government as the Nephites were. I’m speaking of course of such spoils as Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, AFDC, Food Stamps, Subsidized Housing, etc. As Elder Andersen taught, ALL such “spoils” are nothing but legalized theft, socialism, making us a party to robbery. We have become a nation of thieves and murderers, with some 40% of all

  10. G. Michael Craig says:

    income now coming from the government, and a large percentage of that being generated by the military/industrial complex by way of our invasion and occupation of foreign countries, already having killed 1.5 million innocent men, women, and children in Iraq, and tens of thousands more in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Syria, Libya, Serbia, Macedonia, etc., as the secret combination continues to use our military to destroy the currencies of Muslim nations and further devalue our Federal Reserve Notes, which are down to 2 cents now on foreign exchange markets. Verlan Andersen taught such things. As such, he was out of step with the “all is well in Zion” crowd, the “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” crowd. I love and respect him for these reasons.

  11. Anne Elwell says:

    I loved the information from H. Verlan Anderson who was a dear friend of President Ezra Taft Benson. President Benson had urged Elder Anderson to finish the manuscript on The Book of Mormon and the Constitution as it contained information vital for the Saints to have. Elder Anderson’s children eventually finished the book from notes their father left. I find it interesting that so few of the Saints have an understanding of the secret combinations so oft mentioned in the Book of Mormon and what is the purpose of the Book – a witness and a warning! Elder J. Reuben Clark, President David O. McKay, President Marion g. Romney and others were very much in tune with these words of Elder Anderson and today we can read between the lines on some of the talks that are given

  12. Aaron Davis says:

    I do not know the timing of the Lord but I do see a strong moral Political structure in both South and North America. This Political structure does not have the major gentile nations interest at this time. I see this national funding being established by it members preparations of food storage and emergency essentials. When the Master of this nation see’s it fit to bless his people with this promise land He will destroy the current gadiaton Robbers off the face of the promise land and establish his Nation. I see us as members of the church having to prepare for the transfer of power form one nation to the other as the most important duty of our time.

  13. accountablemormon says:

    G. Michael Craig, I appreciate your mention of the wars, also. The Gadiantons aren’t limited to robbery by way of socialism. However, calling everyone who participates in Social Security a “robber”, even though the program should never have been founded, is harsh. It is somewhat like implicating everyone who works at anything. There was a time in the church when not paying into SS would have called attention to oneself both in the church and in the community. And we chose not to do that. Having paid nearly one hundred thousand dollars into SS makes it very difficult not to use it when one becomes old and loses employment. Does a person just decide that he and his family will starve, because he is old and unemployed, or does he take the SS, for which he . . .

  14. accountablemormon says:

    has paid. While still working as much as possible in the present economic climate I know good people who are using SS to survive, and hope not to use beyond what they have paid into it, not counting inflation. And they are robbers. Other investments, even ones that were considered wise, have failed. And what are investments, if not another form of “taking advantage of one’s neighbor”. It is a terrible conundrum. It’s hard not to live in a muddy world without becoming muddy. And yet, of course you are correct. Who is living above this? Who is able? It is a terrible dilemma. It’s easy to theorize; it’s harder to survive, especially with principles. No wonder it’s called living in “perilous” times.

    • James says:

      accountablemormon, I understand what you are saying about having “paid into” the social security system. However under that logic it will be eternally perpetuated. Assuming you are in retirement age let me give you the point of view of a 40 year old(myself) and possibly many that are much younger than I. Social security was never intended be something anyone could live on. Yet it is treated as a promise that America made to it’s seniors. To a younger person it seems more like a promise that older American’s made to themselves, then underfunded, then allowed to be totally robbed and turned into a ponzi scheme all while promising themselves even more unfunded giveaway’s to be paid for on the backs of their children and grandchildren with no repercussions to politicians

      • James says:

        While many of us can say that we are victims of society at large we need to wonder if that is really a reasonable excuse or not. what did we do to turn this around? Were we vocal? Did we run for office to change it? Did we seek to educate those would hear us at risk of being the labeled the Ward Crackpot or ostracized? Or maybe we silently complained and went along with things as they were blaming past generations and not really doing much to change things now. We will deserve the fruits of our labors or lack of labor. Sadly I haven’t done enough either. But I do realize that I must not depend on this ponzi scheme. No member in good standing would be allowed to starve by their Bishop. We may not have the standard of living that we want but that is not the same.

  15. accountablemormon says:

    Well, I hope you don’t have to, after ‘paying into’ SS become old, un or heavily underemployed and sick (after eating well, after spending all your $$$$$$ on a special needs child instead of taking government help or food stamps, even when you qualified and having put yourself through college and worked very hard) and find yourself unable to pay for a home under 1,000 square feet in an old neighborhood and driving a 10 year old car–

    and say, “I won’t take that money; even though I have a record (my own and the government’s) of having paid over $100,000, because it’s a Ponzi scheme; I’ll just lose my home and be on the street, even though I am old and not well, and my wife is even less well and we still have a special needs child at home . . .

  16. accountablemormon says:

    . . . “–

    I hope you don’t find yourself there. And knowing that your bishop has refused help to people in similar circumstances and said, “get food stamps”–

    and “if you lose your home, you lose your home.”

    You are young and sure of many things–

    but perhaps you will have more integrity than those of *us* who have made these promises to ourselves–

    I should not have commented, and I will be deleting my other comments as soon as I can figure out how to–

    I just don’t believe that telling people “it’s your own fault” is what Jesus would do–

    but maybe we were too busy with the special needs children to run for office; maybe we didn’t have the time or money; too busy trying to survive. Things do look different when you get older–

  17. accountablemormon says:

    Is there someone who can help me delete my comments on this blog? I really shouldn’t have come on here–

    and I regret the things I have written; I see no way of contacting the blog owner–

    I’m asking for help here, please.

    • James says:

      accountablemormon,
      I regret if you feel attacked. That is certainly not my intent. I think your comments are valuable because they are practical, real world scenarios. Though you list many reasons why your needs are dire, I am just asking on this blog for all to see the exact same questions as you. How do we get out of this mess? I think the best solution is to earnestly seek out and find the Lord’s way and try to begin aligning ourselves to it in faith. I don’t want to make any pronouncement for your family. But I do want to say that for me and my family the money I lose to SS and other programs is stolen money taken by force. I will never get it back nor do I want it back at the cost of them taking it from others by force. If I follow the Lord’s way I will be ok.

  18. accountablemormon says:

    I really shouldn’t reply, and I am not certain I belong on here anyway–
    the fact is that I believed as you did (or we, I should say, my spouse and me)–
    I believed that if we bought a modest home, worked hard, lived within our means, stored food, planted a big garden and bought old, used cars and gave generously to fast offering and did a lot of temple work and saw to the needs of our children–

    all would be well. We, too, looked at that money as ‘stolen’–

    and then age, health, needs of special children, an economic downturn, and unemployment at retirement age struck.

    And yes, we did take it to the Lord.

    Prayerfully we stayed off food stamps and medicare and SS for special needs children–

    and then prayerfully we accepted the SS for ‘retirement’, other . . .

  19. accountablemormon says:

    be ‘on the streets’–quite literally. Our home is very small; we don’t travel or ‘vacate’. We’ve lived this way our entire marriage (a very long one)–and we’ve had two bishops say, “you are an example to all members for your prudence and frugality and faith”–

    and then–it was with sorrow that we responded in the affirmative to that SS letter–deep sorrow.

    NObody in this church wants Jesus Christ to return more than we do. We talk about it, pray for it, all the time. We talk about, seek, Zion–

    I don’t think there is hope in restoring this republic. And I am deeply concerned that the ‘brethren’ don’t talk about Zion and say very little about the return of the Savior.

    Desperation? Indeed. We did everything right, and now–
    a private pension was robbed . .

  20. accountablemormon says:

    by a spiteful employer. Etc. Our perspectives have changed. We spent years avoiding government ‘programs’ and paid a higher price to do so–we have discovered that it costs a lot of money to be poor. I could laugh, but–
    well, I really don’t think I could contribute anything to this discussion. I often pray for the economy to collapse entirely, so we can all start over. We may be old and ill, but we’ll do what we have to do, if it’s to live in a tent (and I’m not referring to the often discussed tent cities that many LDS talk about, though I’m not laughing at them either)–
    for now, living in a tent would hardly be possible; the woodstove that we use to heat our home in the winter (and for which we gather free wood all the previous summer) wouldn’t fit into . .

  21. accountablemormon says:

    a tent, and the small lot our house sits on has been turned mostly into garden (just enough grass to get from one plot to another)–
    with a tent, where would we pitch it? How would we grow a garden? All things to consider–our larger culture is no longer nomadic. In our ward–most of the people our age live in homes three or four times larger than ours–and fly regularly around the country/world, and take cruises. We do not, have not–ever done that. I’ll appreciate heaven when it comes. :)

    • G. Michael Craig says:

      Accountablemormon, my heart goes out to you and your spouse. I’m sure you represent the feelings and the dilemma of many thousands of other LDS. But if those in your ward were sharing their surplus with you, instead of living high on the hog and jetting all over the country, there would be no need for you to be on SS. I too am at retirement age, but we have decided to eat grass if necessary rather than be the recipients of stolen government property in the form of SS or any other “spoil”. Think about it: SS is relatively new. How did Americans survive before all these socialist programs, “spoils’, became popular? We depended first on our own industry, then our extended families, then our churches and communities; never the government. When people became too old to

      • G. Michael Craig says:

        work, they either moved in with their children, or their children moved in with them. If they had no children, they worked out some arrangement with another relative. By contrast, today, the elderly generally live in a separate house, financed by government “spoils” like SS, Food Stamps, etc., while their children live in another house financed largely by government “spoils” like Food Stamps(as 45 million of us currently do), unemployment, etc. All this unfettered socialism, which our prophets used to heartily condemn, in combination with our unconstitutional military adventurism overseas, has broken our financial back. Our federal government now borrows and spends at the rate of some $54 million/minute. The main question here that you and everyone else needs to be

        • G. Michael Craig says:

          asking themselves is “What are we going to do when the government is soon unable to borrow any more money, which means unable to pay it’s bills, which means the sudden end of SS, Medicaid, Medicare, Food Stamps, subsidized housing, police, firemen, etc? Blood will flow in the streets of America. This is as certain as night follows day. The brethren like Brigham Young, Orson Pratt, John Taylor and others have so testified. In other words, there will be a great correction. The “spoils” will end. I am preparing as quickly as I can with stores of food, water, ammo, toiletries, etc., and warning my neighbors. America is currently duplicating the times described in Helaman 6, and Ether 8. We will soon be duplicating the consequences for such.

  22. wini4truth says:

    Accountablemormon – you are in the same boat as we are. My husband and I are recently retired and depend upon our social security and his pension. I agree that we are living off the spoils of the gadianton robbers. It’s a lot easier to take the spoils than to live on eating grass. Until the government collapses, which I believe it will shortly, I’ll live on borrowed or “stolen” spoils, because we are some of the few disheartened Mormons who have left the church’s corporate clutches in hopes of living as faithful Latter-day Saints the best we can. So there is no bishop or ward taking care of us. In a perfectly instituted eccliastical organization , such as living the United Order, you’re right. No need for government programs.

    • James says:

      Apostasy never goes out of style with those who know better than the Lord or his servants. In the end, if we don’t stand with Christ or his chosen representatives, it wont really matter what we have chosen instead. If you do not have faith in Christ or doing things his way, just say so and be honest with yourself. But attempting to “steady the ark of God” always results in heartache.

      His way is a way of invitation. We must trust him beyond our own understanding. In fact when we do not yet understand his way but CHOOSE to obey him because we know him enough to know that we can trust him, that is when we become more like him. a we do so our capacity to understand his ways increases and the wisdom of his way becomes obvious. His ways are higher than our ways.

      • wini4truth says:

        James, beware of your arrogance and self-righteousness. A person sincerely questioning their faith does not qualify for one “steadying the ark”. Read the history. You, like many other Latter-day Saints, will find one day that you are no better off than those who you look down upon. I love brother Joseph Smith’s comment: “”I did not like the old man being called up for erring in doctrine. It looks too much like the Methodist, and not like the Latter-day Saints. Methodists have creeds which a man must believe or be asked out of their church. I want the liberty of thinking and believing as I please. It feels so good not to be trammeled. It does not prove that a man is not a good man because he errs in doctrine.” (History of the Church 5:340)

        • James says:

          wini4truth, I don’t say that out of any delight or looking down on anyone only honest brotherly concern. I am not a good writer and I have often found folks read all sorts of tone into a post or email that was never intended. I am not condemning you as a bad person, per the quote from Pres Smith. Nor do I believe I am more righteousness than anyone. But I do believe that if, IF, I can squeak into the highest level of the Celestial kingdom, which is my goal, I will be the lowest, slowest, and weakest there. I will gladly admit that I struggle as well.You are a person of great worth and I think that heaven cannot be complete without each and every one of us.I do not yet understand how we can have a fullness of joy if even one of us is lost.But I know I can trust Christ

  23. wini4truth says:

    Thanks, James, for your honest reply. It’s easy for people to find fault with those who don’t think along the same lines as them. Brigham Young said: “…how it floods my heart with
    sorrow to see so many Elders of Israel who wish everybody
    to come to their standard and be measured by
    their measure. Every man must be just so long, to fit
    their iron bedstead, or be cut off to the right length: if
    too short, he must be stretched, to fill the requirement.” This has been a source of great sorrow to me and others who don’t fit into the mainstream thinking of LDS, whether on religious views or political.

  24. wini4truth says:

    Brother Brigham also said “”Judge not, that ye be not judged. Let no man judge his fellow being, unless he knows he has the mind of
    Christ within him. We ought to reflect seriously upon
    this point; how often it is said—“Such a person has
    … done wrong, and he cannot be a Saint, or he would not
    do so.” How do you know? We hear some swear and
    lie; they trample upon the rights of their neighbor,
    break the Sabbath by staying away from meeting, riding
    about the city, hunting horses and cattle, or working in
    the kanyons. Do not judge such persons, for you do not
    know the design of the Lord concerning them; therefore,
    do not say they are not Saints. What shall we do
    with them? Bear with them.” (JOD 1: 738)

  25. This is a misguided view of freedom. First off, the notion of collective responsibility and collective punishment (loss of freedom) is misguided to begin with. Individuals bear responsibility. If the loss of freedom is some sort of punishment for the condition of society, there are people within it who do not deserve that punishment.

    Freedom is not something we “earn” by righteous living, activist efforts or anything else. It is simply the moral mandate and valid moral entitlement to the absence of aggression by others. We ALL deserve that by virtue of being humans with agency. Period.

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