The Twelfth article of faith

AOF12.44

12 We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.

The 12th article of faith is one that speaks about our role in relation to government. We have a responsiblity to be loyal to the governments which over see us. This article talks about honoring, obeying and sustaining the law. What is our role and how do we do this.

Amongst libertarian circles which I am part of this can come off as arguing that we should just obey without question. I don’t believe that is the point of this article however. As a libertarian I believe in speaking up against wrongful and corrupt laws within the country, city or province that I live in, however that does not mean that I believe that I can pick and choose which laws I want to obey based on whether I agree that they are good or bad, for or against liberty and freedom.

If you are passionate about defending freedoms from oppressive laws, many of which I would rather not have to obey, like I am it is important to remember that we can hardly help to defend the freedoms and liberties if we are in prison.

Like every law or commandment there are always exceptions but only in extreme cases should we disobey a law.

Being subject to kings, presidents, magistrates is not only a reality of life but necessary. This has been shown time and time again throughout scriptural history. Through the bible and Book of Mormon there has always been a form of government brought out by the people with which the stories take place. Whether that is kings or judges, or other forms of government.

Mankind has alway’s been subject to rulers in one form or another and for any society that functions at all we must have a leader and government to do so effectively. This applies not only within the church but within our nations in a secular environment as well. Even within our own homes there is government with the leadership of the home being the parents and the subjects of that home government being the children.

Businesses have government (aka management) within them as well outlining the rules of conduct of its employees and interactions with their customers. Failure to comply with any form or level of government results in unpleasant consequences.

For minarchist like myself the roles of that government should however, be limited to the most basic and neccessary roles for the functioning of soceity. That is protecting our rights and liberties. We are however still subject to even for those who live within the most libertarian leaning governments.

Our loving father in heaven wants us to be as free as we can be under whatever government we reside under. To achieve this objective we must ensure we are living within the law to the best of our ability so that we can use whatever legal means we have to spread the message of the gospel or otherwise.

There are certainly times when civil disobedience is important and like I mentioned earlier this is not about obeying the law no matter what. Many throughout the history of the world and certainly in North American history have used civil disobedience to spark drastic change. Rosa parks refusing to give up her seat, people who help with the underground railroad and freed the slaves, the translators of the bible into english were all acts of civil disobedience. These are examples of extreme cases and serve as the exception to the rule rather than a reason to be disobedient to the law.

I do not believe that God expects us to simply submit to unjust and evil men just because they are the leaders we have in place now, But I do believe that God expects us to be obedient to all laws that do not put us in a place to contradict the gospel standard and that support liberty and freedom.

And that is the gospel according to Andrew.

The Eleventh Article Of Faith

eleventh article of faith

We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.”

The 11th article of faith touches on a very important aspect of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Specifically one of liberty and freedom that I have come to love and embrace. The idea of allowing men to worship God according to the dictates of there own conscience is a wonderful principle and one of liberty and freedom.

Different churches around the world worship God via different means, styles and methods. Much of them can seem quite different from ours with traditions and rituals that seem bizarre and strange to the outside observer. When thinking that however we must also remember that we too as Latter Day Saints are unusual and different from them as well.

I have been to church services in the catholic church, Baptist and united respectively as well as some non denominational community church services. I have found there services to be everything from different to strange to what I felt was not reverent and respectful at all.

One church service I went to was loud and involved live band music which was very different from the traditional organ and hymns of a LDS service. The friend I went with ask what I thought of his church services. I told him that I honestly found it be irreverent and not conducive to the spirit of worship I felt that should be present in a worship service.

The catholic services I went to I found to be long, boring and while certainly more reverent it was not the kind of service that I could see my self attending regularly Perhaps it was my LDS faith that turned me off these ceremonies but it still did not feel right to me.

The United church I felt just did not have the right authority and felt off to me in a way I cannot describe.

The Baptist were highly energetic and certainly had the spirit as part of there worship services.

All of these churches have different practices and styles of worship Just as the Muslims and Jews do, or the Hindi or any number of other religious faiths that worship God even if by a different name. All these faiths must be respected in there styles of worship.

All must have the right to worship God according to the dictates of there own heart. This belief is essentiall in order to maintain religious freedom and liberty. Without it the church could not have come to be.

Ann M Madsen said in the Ensign, jun 1984

“How should we respond in these troubled times as we are faced with daily criticism and hostility in the world? And how should we respond to the everyday frictions and failings in our own lives?

I would like to suggest that part of the answer can be found in two phrases in our own Articles of Faith. The 11th article of faith [A of F 1:11] reads: “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may” (italics added).

“Allow all men the same privilege” expresses, of course, the idea of religious tolerance. And I like to think that this is a gospel principle that can be extended to include tolerance in all its forms, which is what my father wanted me to understand.”

This religious tolerance is important to understanding others so that we might share and express our faith with them in a way that is non-confrontational.

As an example I recently met a gentleman while getting off of the train who certainly practice his religious faith quite differently from how most people do in the modern world. It was new years eve and I had said to him happy new year.

I soon learned that he does not practice new years because as he said it is not biblical nor is the year 2015 as the Jewish or biblical calendar is currently in the year 5775. The biblical new year wont happen till march according to this gentleman I met. He believes that animal sacrifice will continue and that while Christ did come to atone for man kind the fulfillment of the law was for him to keep the law of Moses not the ending of animal sacrifice. Shaking hands is also against his religious feelings due to it not being biblical.

I must admit that I was confused on how someone could be a christian while still practice what appeared to be a Jewish lifestyle. How does one believe Christ to be our redeemer and that he did atone for our sins while not believing that he ended sacrifice by his atoning sacrifice and Crucifixion yet here I was talking to someone who believed what he said and worshiped God in what to me seemed to be a contradictory state. However tolerance essentiall to opening up understanding.

I myself got off with a warning that if I continue to be Mormon and don’t start living as per the biblical text in his opinion then I would never get to heaven. I did not get the chance to tell him that he was wrong.

And that is the gospel according to Andrew

Don’t judge me because you disagree with my parenting part 2

anger

A while back I wrote an article titled Don’t judge me because you disagree with my parenting.

Please read that post for details of the situation I am referring to as those details are important to the situation.

I had thought that I was past that issue but it now has become much more complicated and I have become very angry and frustrated with what this man has done and is doing to my family now. This is what I posted on Facebook recently

“You know what is really frustrating and honestly quite angering, if I was being brought up on criminal charges in a court I have the right to face my accuser with full disclosure of the crimes I am being accused of, and who has accused me of such a crime. It is then the court’s job to prove I am guilty.

However because 1 man at church thinks it is child abuse to restrain my daughter, I am now facing accusation with social services that I am abusing my daughter.

My rights have been stripped and all privacy rights for my personal family life has been stripped. My daughter gets confronted by a complete stranger at school with no notice to us or the school and interviewed to find out if she feels safe at home. She was asked whether we are married or not and who she lives with.

I am angry that I now feel extremely violated and that my children are not safe when I send them to school. Taking her out of school now can be seen as trying to cover up the abuse. Yet leaving my kids in school leaves them and us vulnerable to social service investigation and interviews with my kids without notice and without warrant and there is nothing I can do about it, and without legal representation or myself or my wife present for the interviews.

I have no right to face my accuser who gets to remain anonymous though I know exactly who it was, and I am coerced into meeting with this social worker as refusal could be seen as attempting to cover up child abuse which can lead to having my children taken from me and the onus is on me to prove I am not a child abuser rather than the state proving to me that I am. I am basically guilty till proven innocent. The state has effectively stripped me of my parenting rights and I now have to prove that I am good enough to raise my own children.

I am told by this social worker that “touching your child causes harm and so yes it is illegal”. I am being accused under the child youth and family enhancement act section 2 items D and E which state

(d) the child has been or there is substantial risk that the child will be physically injured or sexually abused by the guardian of the child;

(e) the guardian of the child is unable or unwilling to protect the child from physical injury or sexual abuse;

I asked “how does restraining my child cause harm and where does it say that I cannot touch my children? All I could get it is covered under that section but no where does it say that touching your children is illegal.

I am angry and frustrated and have no faith in social services to really keep an open mind and view this in any other way other than I am guilty till proven innocent.

As for the man who accused me he better keep a long way away from me because I have a mind to show him what abuse really looks and feels like.”

I can’t help but live in fear now of disciplining my kids, and yet if I don’t then that will be grounds for state intervention as well.

I had a conversation with this social worker who came and interviewed my daughter without notice, or consent. I also talked to my daughter about it. It would seem that child services does not see fit to properly identify themselves to children when approaching them. A practice that in my mind seems to be deceptive. A complete stranger approaches my daughter when me and her mother are not around, and proceeds to ask her personal questions about her home and family life while not disclosing who they are and why they are there. If we tell our kids not to talk to strangers then how is this acceptable?

How am I supposed to manage my kids when they are putting themselves or others in harm’s way if I am not allowed to touch them or restrain them.

I had a conversation with my bishop for about an hour last night explaining to him how I feel and how angry I am. His counsel to me was to not go into this on the defensive but how can I not. I feel extremely violated and angry that not only have I been judged but now I must answer to the state and defend the interest of my family because of one mans opinion. Given in secret with no correlating witnesses sought to confirm his version of events.

I don’t deny I restrained her, I don’t deny she stated I was hurting her. I stand by my actions 100%. I did not cause her harm or injury. I am not an abusive man. I love my kids and I will defend my family to the death. I defy any parent out their who can say honestly they have never in their life taken any action at any point that had cause some pain or discomfort to there kids in some fashion. If causing injury can be used to define abuse then vaccinations, circumcision, going to the dentist and many other medical procedures are abuse. My daughter was not injured. She did not suffer so much as a scratch. She was restrained to prevent injury and harm to myself or herself, she was forcibly removed from the church as she was unwilling to leave herself. This is not abuse it is being a parent. You may not like or be comfortable with the situation but that does not make me a child abuser.