PLEASE SEE ADDENDUM AT THE END OF THIS ARTICLE
Throughout time the Lord has caused Gospel principles to be discontinued when the general body of the Church rejects these teachings. A similar fate may soon occur to the principles of agency and freedom…
Latter-day Saints, in general, appear to be rejecting the principles of agency and freedom. This rejection may slowly be causing a change in the official position of the church – similar to what happened during the time of Samuel in ancient Israel. If this change continues to the point where the Church officially rejects the principles of liberty, those who continue to defend these principles could be at risk of a similar fate as those who continued to defend other principles that are no longer the official position of the Church – complete apostasy and excommunication. While there is still time, we, as LDS liberty-lovers, must continue to labor in advancing the cause of liberty so this day of apostasy never is realized.
Over the years I have heard many times the murmuring comments, “Why don’t the Brethren speak as much about the Constitution as they used to?”, “Why aren’t the Brethren as bold as they once were on the principles of freedom?” or some variety of the same intent. I have always felt that this was basically just whining from people that thought they could deliver the message better than the servant of the Lord and basically nonsense.
This complaint is not new, has been around for at least 43 years, and our Church leaders have dismissed it as a lie from Satan.
“‘We really haven’t received much instruction about freedom,’ the devil says. This is a lie, for we have been warned time and again…” (Ezra Taft Benson, “Not Commanded in All Things“, General Conference, April 1965)
We continue to this day to be warned regarding our duty to preserve freedom and the US Constitution. In February of 2006, an Ensign article written by a General Authority of the Church taught us “What a sacred privilege and responsibility is ours to participate with other like-minded people to ensure that basic freedoms are preserved wherever we reside.” (Shirley D. Christensen, “‘I, the Lord God, Make You Free’,” Ensign, Feb 2006)
The admonition to defend freedom did not stop there as we can see from this video produced in December of 2007 called, “Why is it important for Church members to participate in the political process?” In the video, Elder Ballard says, “The very fundamental principle of freedom is absolutely essential for the Gospel of Jesus Christ to prosper… (T)hat principle of sustaining the Constitution… is a very, very important principle and has been taught since the very beginning in the history of our Church.”
And finally this year (2008), in the October General Conference, President Boyd K. Packer teaches us the vital lesson that the Lord “established the Constitution of this land”.
That is three years, three consecutive years of Apostles and General Authorities of the Church speaking boldly regarding the Heavenly nature of the Constitution and our duty to uphold it! President Benson is right, it is a lie from Lucifer himself to say that we have not received much instruction about freedom.
That being said, this author believes if the Elders of Israel do not repent and act now, teaching those statements of the General Authorities above in the future will be tantamount to apostasy. Sound crazy? Let me explain.
In a talk helping members of the Church to gain a greater understanding of Church Welfare services, President Marion G. Romney started out teaching the principle of agency. President Romney stated that, “Agency, (n)ext to life itself, it is man’s most precious inheritance” President Romney then relates the two subjects together and says, “I suggest we consider what has happened to our agency with respect to contributing to the means used by the bureaucracy in administering government welfare services.”
After explaining how the Church welfare program protects agency, he quotes President Clark who explains how the destruction of agency and the family are the end result of Satan’s fraud, “You must remember that back and behind this whole propaganda of ‘pensions’, gratuities, and doles to which we are now being subjected, is the idea of setting up in America, a socialistic or communistic state, in which the family would disappear, religion would be prescribed and controlled by the state, and we should all become mere creatures of the state, ruled over by ambitious and designing men.” (General Conference April 1976)
In a General Conference talk given by then Elder Howard W. Hunter, linking the dangers to our agency to the dole, he said “We are to be free from dependence upon a dole or any program that might endanger our free agency.” (General Conference October 1975)
He gave an explanation of this by saying, “Personal unrighteousness can lead toward a welfare state. What is the real cause of this trend toward the welfare state, toward more socialism? In the last analysis, in my judgment, it is personal unrighteousness. When people do not use their freedoms responsibly and righteously, they will gradually lose these freedoms. If man will not recognize the inequalities around him and voluntarily, through the gospel plan, come to the aid of his brother, he will find that through “a democratic process” he will be forced to come to the aid of his brother. The government will take from the “haves” and give to the “have nots.” Both have lost their freedom. Those who “have,” lost their freedom to give voluntarily of their own free will and in the way they desire. Those who “have not,” lost their freedom because they did not earn what they received. They got “something for nothing,” and they will neither appreciate the gift nor the giver of the gift. Under this climate, people gradually become blind to what has happened and to the vital freedoms which they have lost.” (“The Law of the Harvest“, Elder Howard W. Hunter. BYU Devotional. March 8, 1966.)
Compulsion and slavery are Satan’s alternative to the Savior’s program of agency and independence and the Brethren have stated that government welfare affects our agency. Just as Satan set up his imitation of agency, the Brethren have also stated Satan set up his imitation for caring for the poor.
In addition to the above statements condemning government welfare, Social Security was also specifically condemned by at least one Prophet in General Conference:
“I have had some of the most insulting letters that ever came to me, condemning me for not being in favor of the Townsend Plan (original name of Social Security), and that I must be ignorant of the plan. I am not ignorant of the plan… it is in direct opposition to everything I have quoted from Brigham Young and from the revelations of the Lord.” (Heber J. Grant, General Conference, Oct 1936)
With the Brethren pointing out the fact that the counterfeit the world has set up to care for the poor and needy is a false alternative that takes away our agency and destroys the family, it is no wonder they have made such statements as these:
“Occasionally, we receive questions as to the propriety of Church members receiving government assistance instead of Church assistance. Let me restate what is a fundamental principle. Individuals, to the extent possible, should provide for their own needs. Where the individual is unable to care for himself, his family should assist. Where the family is not able to provide, the Church should render assistance, not the government.” (Elder Ezra Taft Benson, General Conference, April 1977)
And finally, this last General Conference (Oct 2008), Bishop Keith B. McMullin quoting President Monson said, “Welfare principles . . . do not change. They will not change. They are revealed truths.”
It seems pretty clear right? It is a principle that government welfare takes away the agency of the giver and the receiver, destroys the family unit, and leads to the government controlling the Church. For that reason we are not to receive welfare assistance from the government, and these welfare principles do not change… or do they?
Speaking to an Area Authority that will remain anonymous, I was made aware that a member of the Twelve Apostles (which I will not name) was in charge of and approved the following text from official manuals of the Church:
“In some instances, individual members may decide to receive assistance from other sources, including government.” (Handbook of Instructions & the booklet, Providing in the Lord’s Way)
“Government welfare agencies should be contacted only if the Church is unable to help us in the ways we need help.” (Lesson 12: The Father’s Responsibilities for the Welfare of His Family, Duties and Blessings of the Priesthood: Basic Manual for Priesthood Holders, Part A)
“Members may choose to use services in the community to meet their basic needs. Such services include hospitals, physicians, or other sources of medical care” (Handbook of Instructions & the booklet, Providing in the Lord’s way)
My last example, the “Managing Household Finances Wisely” course on the Church’s website, ProvidentLiving.org, encourages the use of the government welfare program/Ponzi scheme called Social Security.
These “changes” sound rather innocuous I admit, but under the direction of this same unnamed Apostle, these statements are to be interpreted by local authorities as a recommendation to tell members to seek government welfare assistance. Additionally, much more bold language in favor of government welfare is used by local authorities all over the world.
So what? Who cares if there has been a “toning down” of what members are being told regarding government welfare? Well, there are a few ramifications that I would like to submit:
- Either past and current Prophets were wrong in regards to what happens when people use government welfare or our current leaders are telling us do something that will, at the absolute minimum, take away the agency of all involved, destroy the family unit, and lead to the government controlling the Church.
- If “Latter-day conservatives” promote or share the position of supporting agency, they are in opposition to the official position of the Church as found in its manuals and General Handbook of Instructions.
- The admonitions of Elder Ballard to “sustain the Constitution” and President John Taylor (among scores of others) to, “Perpetuate… the free agency of man” are now invalid since Federal welfare is a violation of the US Constitution and violates the agency of man and we are now advised to take part in those programs.
I ask you, what happens to members of the Church that advocate other principles of the Gospel that are now against the official position of the Church? Will advocates of agency share the same fate?
I believe and submit to you, without exception (to my knowledge), that all principles of the Gospel revealed since the restoration that have been discontinued is the result of what is commonly referred to as “The Samuel Principle”. In the Old Testament, we read the account of how the majority of God’s chosen people rejected the Lord’s council en mass. For generations they were ruled under a system of judges, not drastically unlike our Constitutional Republic. Then, because it was “too much effort” for them to keep their judges in check, they wanted to replace it with one where they wouldn’t have to do anything in regards to their government. Just like the other nations of the world, they would have a king.
“Then the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, and said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways; now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.’ But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, ‘Give us a king to judge us.’ And Samuel prayed unto the Lord. And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee; for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.” (1 Samuel 8:4–7)
Time does not permit me to give sufficient examples of how this applies to the principle of agency and government welfare, so I will limit it to just one more. In October of 2007, Nevada Senator and member of the Church, Harry Reid, had this to say about teachings of the Prophets in regards to agency and government welfare:
“(T)hese people have taken members of the church down the path that is the wrong path.”
With this and the statements recounted above by President Grant, among many other easily available examples, we see that there is a pattern of the people rejecting the revealed word of God on the matter, and as in ancient times, I am concerned that we are rejecting the Lord which means He cannot reign over us.
So what do we do? To escape the promised consequences of rejecting the Lord, we must repent. We must stop receiving government welfare, we must stop demanding government welfare, we must increase our fast offerings, and we must educate others and encourage them to take the same action. We must recognize as Howard W Hunter said that, “When people do not use their freedoms responsibly and righteously, they will gradually lose these freedoms. If man will not recognize the inequalities around him and voluntarily, through the gospel plan, come to the aid of his brother, he will find that through “a democratic process” he will be forced to come to the aid of his brother… (and) (b)oth have lost their freedom.” (“The Law of the Harvest“, Elder Howard W. Hunter. BYU Devotional. March 8, 1966.) We must do as President Hinckley said, “If we are to build that Zion of which the prophets have spoken and of which the Lord has given mighty promise, we must set aside our consuming selfishness. We must rise above our love for comfort and ease, and in the very process of effort and struggle, even in our extremity, we shall become better acquainted with our God.” (General Conference, Oct. 1991).
Failure is not an option.
ADDENDUM: Some confusion has arisen in the intent or point of the article. This was a call for increased obedience to Gospel principles amongst members of the Church, NOT a questioning of any Church authority. The consequences for rejecting these principles is clear, and we must do a better job at not only defending them, but obeying them as well. This is about an introspective look, not about blaming others.
For an even more in-depth treatise on the subject, check out the text of a presentation given January 2014