This past weekend we had a bit of a family get together to celebrate my Daughters birthday as well as my birthday. My cousin and his wife joined us and I had asked him if he will support me as I seek the nomination for the Libertarian party of Canada for the 2019 federal election. He said that he does not think he could do that given that Libertarians support the legalization of Marijuana, gay marriage and other such aspects.
I had asked him is it not possible to be strongly morally and ethically opposed to something while at the same time understanding that we do not have a right to force our ethics, morals, and ideology on others. I had asked him if everything that the church stands for in the gospel and otherwise should be made the law and everyone would have to live it. He said yes. I asked him if we would honestly then force everyone to be LDS against their will and if that is truly moral and right. At this point he left the conversation and I continued with his wife who seemed to feel that I have some great thoughts that while she may not fully agree it gives something to think about.
As I was thinking about this conversation My mind was brought to Doctrine and Covenants Section 134 which explains the Churches position on government and I have found it to be a very Libertarian View in our position on Government and Its purpose.
1 We believe that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man; and that he holds men accountable for their acts in relation to them, both in making laws and administering them, for the good and safety of society.
This section starts out with a basic statement with regard to our responsibilities relating to government. We will be held accountable for how we behave in relation to our government however our government (meaning those who are elected to office) will be held accountable for how they behave in relation to us the people. Law’s are to be made for the good and safety of society.
When it comes to laws for the good and safety of society that does not mean that everything that is bad for us should be outlawed by default simply because it is not good for us. That is a slippery slope and does not contribute to the safety or good of society. This would rather have the effect of creating black markets and criminals out of people who are now committing crimes that have no victims, more victimless crimes. Laws need to be designed to benefit. As the phrase says “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” If the law you propose will create more crime and increase the burden on law enforcement, and the act that is being outlawed serves no real harm to others then it probably is not for the good or safety of society.
In the case of marijuana as an example there are countless other substances that are much more destructive to our bodies, such as cigarettes, alcohol, even regular consumption of coke will have greater harm on the body and in many cases is more addictive than smoking a joint. More deaths are related to alcohol and other legal substances than have ever been reported from smoking a joint, in fact I have never heard of a case of a marijuana overdose death. Given that we have to ask is such laws prohibited such a substance good or bad for society? has it served any benefit? if so what benefit has resulted from barring such a substance?
I am not suggesting that we should use marijuana or that it is good for you. I am not saying that to do so would be of benefit but rather trying to point out that some laws cause more harm that good and we need to look at the cost – benefit equation to ensure they are good laws. I drink a lot of coke, I know it’s not good for me but that does not mean it should be outlawed. That is a choice that I have to make.
2 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.
This Statement is a very clear statement of libertarian values. When governments begin to pass laws that do not secure the free exercise of conscience we move toward a society of state control. Laws that legislated morality such as laws against drugs use and gambling for example do not secure the free exercise of conscience but rather try to legislate our decision and remove the ability for us to exercise our conscience as we see best fit. The right to control of property as we see fit is vital to our peace and prosperity. The right to defense of our property through any reasonable means and the protection of life is ordained of God and vital to the success of any society.
I was having a conversation with a friend at work who was saying that it is wrong to kill under any circumstances even when the life and well-being of our family was at risk. I had asked her how she can justify sacrificing her family to protect the one inflicting said harm. I do not believe that God would allow our families to come to extreme harm for the sake of not inflicting harm on the one threatening us. We are perfectly justified in defending our families and homes with deadly force if necessary even against the state. As this verse states “no government can exist in peace” unless they hold to the principles in this verse of scripture. Sadly governments around the world are rapidly moving away from these principles.
3 We believe that all governments necessarily require a b 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 by the voice of the people if a republic, or the will of the sovereign.
Wherever there is government their needs be those who will administer said government, whether through elected officials or otherwise. We have an obligation to ensure that we are supporting those that will uphold and administer with equity and justice. Noticeable in this verse there is not a statement indicating the will of the people should be upheld but rather equity and justice. Thus if the people choose corruption, that is the result we get, if the people choose equity and justice then that is what we will get. It is through equity and justice that peace can be established within our societies and homes. Equity and justice is fundamental to the administration of a healthy, happy and righteousness society.
When politicians play favorites with business buddies or fellow civil servants corruption springs forth, equity and justice disappear and the people suffer. “When the wicked rule the people mourn.”
Equality does not mean the same and this must be understood. No 2 of us are the same and never will be. Equity will not always mean we get what we want, when we want it, and how we want it. Justice Means that those who commit crimes will be punished accordingly and those who earn rewards will be given them accordingly.
4 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 a 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 b, but never suppress the freedom of the soul.
As all men answer to God in the end the state or government does not have the right to prescribe rules of worship. The only time the state should get involved is if the religious beliefs prevent, or forcibly infringe on the rights of others. Some religious practices do this now such as polygamist sects where the marriages are not by consent but assigned or dictated by the religious leader. This would be an example of religious opinion infringing on the rights and liberties of others.
But what about human law prescribing rules of worship? or dictating forms of public or private devotion. This happens in many ways. I had mentioned in previous post titled Why I have decided to run as a libertarian candidate, there are many examples of the state forcing via threat of severe financial penalty and other extreme measures to provide services business owners have religious and moral objections to. The state is effectively proscribing rules of public devotion concerning ones faith. If we cannot be safe in our conviction publicly and privately we have lost our liberties.
When the state steps in and dictates how we are to think, who we are to serve, and how our faith is to be manifested in the private or public sphere they are enforcing or binding our consciences. No government has the moral, religious, ethical or moral authority to do so. To do so suppresses the freedom of the soul to which we all have been given the gift of agency to choose for our selves. It is this freedom or agency that gives us the freedom of our souls.
5 We believe that all men are bound to a and uphold the respective b in which they reside, while protected in their inherent and inalienable rights by the laws of such governments; and that sedition and c 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.
This is one of my favorite verses from this section of the Doctrine and Covenants. In this verse we learn that as part of LDS beliefs we do believe in upholding our respective government, however there is a condition to supporting said government. That condition is that we are to uphold the state so long as our inalienable rights are protected by the state. As soon as the state begins to pass laws that restrict and remove our rights as citizens we are no longer required to uphold such a government. As long as the state respects our rights and liberties rebellion is not acceptable. All laws passed by the state must hold sacred our freedoms. liberties and rights as citizens.
We as people are responsible for ensuring that we elect to office those who will hold sacred our liberties and freedoms. When we support evil and elect evil we will no longer have the freedom of conscience that is vital and sacred to our freedom and liberties.
When it comes to enacting laws based on the public interest, it will always be in the public interested to enact laws that protect freedom and liberty not destroy or limit it.
6 We believe that every man should be a in his station, rulers and magistrates as such, being placed for the protection of the innocent and the punishment of the guilty; and that to the b all men owe c and deference, as without them peace and harmony would be supplanted by anarchy and terror; human laws being instituted for the express purpose of regulating our interests as individuals and nations, between man and man; and divine laws given of heaven, prescribing rules on spiritual concerns, for faith and worship, both to be answered by man to his Maker.
In other words It is important to respect those who are in office, even if we do not agree with their political ideology but here is the catch. Politicians roles are for the “protection of the innocent and punishment of the guilty”. All men are accountable to the laws of the land including politicians. All men owe respect to the law. And all men must be punished that violate the law regardless of their office or position within or without the government of our respective nations.
Our laws made by man are just that, man-made laws thus apply to man only and thus man-made laws cannot interfere or determine spiritual laws of any kind. The spiritual law is given by God for the purpose of determining spiritual matters. Human or man-made laws are for the regulation of secular matters within our societies while spiritual laws are responsible for our spiritual welfare, However we are answerable to God for both types of laws while with man-made laws we are only answerable to man.
7 We believe that rulers, states, and governments have a right, and are bound to enact laws for the protection of all a in the free exercise of their religious b; but we do not believe that they have a right in justice to deprive citizens of this privilege, or proscribe them in their opinions, so long as a regard and reverence are shown to the laws and such religious opinions do not justify sedition nor conspiracy.
This verse is one of great importance. Laws are meant to protect citizens “in the free exercise of religious belief” and no law or authority has the right to deprive citizens of this God-given right. When the state tells you what to believe and how to believe it as it does not now in so many ways. “you can’t say marriage is between man and women” for example; Bill Whatcott was brought before human rights commission for distributing what was deemed hate flyers. He was punished and dragged through court not because he actually hurt someone, but because his statements on the flyers were offensive to some people and it angered people. He did not threaten anyone by name, or personally but denounced LGBT as sodomites. Whatever you position and I do not agree with the manner in which he expressed his opinion, He did not commit a crime. The state has effectively proscribed him in his opinions. Not state has the right to deprive citizens for expressing their personal beliefs no matter how vulgar, or hateful they may be.
8 We believe that the commission of crime should be a according to the nature of the offense; that murder, treason, robbery, theft, and the breach of the general peace, in all respects, should be punished according to their criminality and their tendency to evil among men, by the laws of that government in which the offense is committed; and for the public b and tranquility all men should step forward and use their ability in bringing c against good laws to punishment.
This verse is pretty straight forward in its statement and I think quite self-explanatory. You break the law you should be punished according to the “tendency to evil” of the crime committed. We have a responsibility to bring offenders to justice. Crimes are those that harm or take the rights of others away. Distributing anti gay material does not constitute a crime for example, no one has been harmed and rights have not been taken in that example.
But here is the thing with this verse, It states that we must “use their ability in bringing offenders against good laws to punishment” not all laws are good. Many like the one used against Bill Whatcott are not good laws. They censor freedom of expression and proscribe men in their opinions. Good laws are laws that will uphold our fundamental freedoms and liberties not ones that would punish us for expressing an opinion no matter how vulgar, reprehensible, hostile or evil that opinion may be.
9 We do not believe it just to a 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.
The idea of church and state should not mix. How then can we have a government with many politicians who have religious associations and convictions. Their religious faith influences how they behave, act, think and feel which will have an influence on the decisions they make while in office. I know that It will influence me if I were to ever be elected.
What this verse means is that no religious body should ever be in control of the government. In the dark ages the monarch was also head of the church and thus the church was the government. This is what this verse is referring to. No religious body can nor should they have any official connection to government office. Or unofficial for that matter. No church is justified in influencing the government of the land. If this were to happen the state would then be dictating to the populous their religious practice and thus freedom of religion would be taken from the people.
10 We believe that all religious societies have a right to deal with their members for disorderly conduct, a to the rules and regulations of such societies; provided that such dealings be for fellowship and good standing; but we do not believe that any religious society has b to try men on the right of property or life, to take from them this world’s goods, or to put them in jeopardy of either life or limb, or to inflict any physical punishment upon them. They can only excommunicate them from their society, and withdraw from them their fellowship.
In other words no religious body has any legal authority or right to punish its members through secular means. Secular crime and punishment should be handled by the state while spiritual crime should be handled by the church. The church can only proscribe spiritual discipline on its members. Any religious punishment that involved physical harm, taking personal property or otherwise threatening liberty, freedom, life or limb is in violation of personal liberties and freedoms.
11 We believe that men should appeal to the civil law for redress of all a and grievances, where personal abuse is inflicted or the right of property or character infringed, where such laws exist as will protect the same; but we believe that all men are justified in b 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.
This verse is again one of my favorites in this section. When our personal liberties, freedoms, properties, character and so forth have been impeded on then we should be able to appeal to the state for redress. However there is a catch to this “Where such laws exist as will protect the same”. Meaning that an appeal to the state will only be available if the state protects those said freedoms in the first place.
We have the right and are justified in defending our livelihoods, friends, families, homes and so forth from assault and encroachments but what happens when it is the state that is committing unlawful assaults and encroachments this is where the “immediate appeal cannot be made to the laws and relief afforded”. When the law is the problem we cannot appeal to said law, however we are still fully justified in defending our freedoms and liberties even when unlawful to do so. There is no contingency here that says “all men are justified, unless the state is the problem then you must submit”. We are justified in defending our freedoms. Period. No matter who is infringing on them.
12 We believe it just to a the gospel to the nations of the earth, and warn the righteous to save themselves from the corruption of the world; but we do not believe it right to interfere with b, neither preach the gospel to, nor baptize them contrary to the will and wish of their masters, nor to meddle with or influence them in the least to cause them to be dissatisfied with their situations in this life, thereby jeopardizing the lives of men; such interference we believe to be unlawful and unjust, and dangerous to the peace of every government allowing human beings to be held in c.
While this verse talks specifically about slavery and those held in bondage this ideology can be expanded upon to cover not just slavery but to political interference with any nations at all. We do not have the moral right or authority to dictate to other nations how they are to manage their culture, country or citizens of their country. It has been proven time and time again that political interference in the affairs of other nations have caused more harm than good and often leads to war not freedom and liberty. When we get involved via military or otherwise we may get rid of the regime we don’t like but the replacement for said regime is often no better than the one we got rid of. Some wise words I once heard “when the rich wage war the poor suffer”
Preaching the Gospel is important and justified but not at the expense of the people we want to preach to as this does not bring the gospel but rather suffering and death. We must work with the governments of other nations to bring about the ideals that we want to see in this world, not by force but for mutual benefit.
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