Voting and Personal Revelation: Keep it to Yourself

This article is written for two audiences. The first audience is anyone, Mormon or not, who may stumble across this blog and find interest in understanding how Utah’s unique socio-religious base affects the political scene. The second audience is anyone who has, or knows someone who has, seemingly received “personal revelation” from God to act in a particular way and then lambastes everyone for not acting in that expressed way.

A person cannot interact in the political scene in Utah without knowing the Mormon lingo. Mormon scripture and words from the General Authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are used as much of a political tool to justify one’s personal political preference in Utah as any person outside of Utah might invoke political philosophers, Party leaders, or the law to promote their own beliefs.  As a politically active Latter-day Saint living in Utah, I see this mixture of politics and religion on a daily basis in political discussion.

Growing up as a child in Utah County (one of the most “conservative” counties in the country), it was not uncommon to hear how people had prayed about what political Party they should join and “receive an answer” to join the Republican Party (it is a common socio-religious notion in Utah that “you cannot be a good Mormon and vote Democrat” – a position rejected by the Church). There are, however, plenty of good resources demonstrating how good and upstanding Mormons can be Democrat (one of the better articles found here).

Now that there is a viable Mormon candidate a breath away from holding the highest political position in the country, it is not uncommon to hear how people have prayed and received “personal revelation” to vote for Mitt Romney.

I cannot discredit what God has supposedly told any other person. Whether someone has or hasn’t received any “revelation” from God is between them and their Creator.

On this subject I recently came across two surprising statements on Facebook that reflect many misunderstandings of Mormon theology that deal with personal revelation and, therefore, with politics. I will address each comment independently.

“My Personal Revelation so far is to Vote for Mitt”

Here is the first comment as it was posted on Facebook,

Woman A: “Thanks for this. My personal revelation so far is to vote for Mitt. I am concerned over friends who say they’ve received personal revelation to write in RPaul–I’m concerned this is a distraction to what should be. The HG doesn’t give two different answers, and I wonder if some of these can recognize when they are being misled. I have had personal experience to help me see how well the counterfeiter can work, and am concerned others have not. Apparently there is quite the LDS RPaul following. I don’t like that Hatch is involved, but know there is more underfoot than we can comprehend–but the Lord does know!”

This paragraph is problematic for several reasons, especially when considering how the Church deals and speaks concerning personal revelation.

 Principle vs. Application

While principles are eternal, everlasting, and unchanging, applications to those principles are not. Applications to gospel principles will often vary per individual and by social convention. In fact, applications to eternal principles often change. As President Henry B. Eyring once noted,

 Our Heavenly Father has at different periods in the Earth’s history adjusted what he asked of his children because of choices they made.

The Church has worked hard to make many applications to various gospel principles uniform, but in many regards the applications are left to the individual. In advising its members to become more politically active, the Church has left the application of certain principles to the individual. As then Elder Harold B. Lee once stated,

 All through the last political campaign they were saying, “Why doesn’t the Church tell us how we should vote?” If the Church had done that, we would have a lot of Democrats or Republicans who would have wanted to apostatize. We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers and magistrates. We are told to obey the laws of God and we will have no need to break the laws of the land. When they would ask me who to vote for in the coming election, I would tell them to read Mosiah 29 and Section 134 of the Doctrine and Covenants, pray about that, and any Latter-day Saint could know who to vote for in any given election. It is just as simple as that.

Elder Harold B. Lee offers the understanding that voting is an application, and the principles upon which we should live according to that are contained within various verses of scripture. I see no problem with members bearing witness and testimony of the principles they know are true (in fact I argue here and here that they should), but where a person ventures into dictating God’s will and application of a principle onto another – that is where problems start.

It is wrong for any person to promote their individual and personal revelation to act in a particular application as a universal axiom of how all people must act under God. It is presumptuous to assume that the Lord cannot, or will not, direct another of his children to act in a different application than myself (albeit, there are principles that let us know that the Lord will not ask us to act in certain ways). By way of example, Elder Ezra Taft Benson, quoting Orson F. Whitney, even gave a situation where the Lord would directly keep some from “receiv[ing] a testimony of the truth” in this life, as the Lord would direct them in other ways because they could do more for the kingdom of God outside the Church than within it.

 “Perhaps the Lord needs such men on the outside of His Church to help it along,” said the late Elder Orson F. Whitney of the Quorum of the Twelve. “They are among its auxiliaries, and can do more good for the cause where the Lord has placed them, than anywhere else. … Hence, some are drawn into the fold and receive a testimony of the truth; while others remain unconverted … the beauties and glories of the gospel being veiled temporarily from their view, for a wise purpose. The Lord will open their eyes in His own due time. God is using more than one people for the accomplishment of His great and marvelous work. The Latter-day Saints cannot do it all. It is too vast, too arduous for any one people. … We have no quarrel with the Gentiles. They are our partners in a certain sense” (Conference Report, April 1928, p. 59.).

Now, let us suppose that a person who can do more for the kingdom of God outside of the Church than within it prays to know whether the LDS Chuch is “true”, or whether the Book of Mormon is “true”, or anything is “true” that might lead them to joining the Church — when it is the will of the Lord for them to act outside of the Church. The Holy Ghost, as a witness, will certainly lead them towards the will of the Lord to act according to God’s will — although this action is not to join the Church (for God’s own purposes). If Woman A’s claim is true that the Holy Ghost “will not give two different answers”, then she is certainly pitting her understanding against that as expressed by two prophetic witnesses.

We often confuse application for principle, and voting is very much an application – not a principle. For a man to say that another person who does not follow his personal revelation of a particular application is deceived is, places him on very, very shaky ground.

 Personal Revelation

Personal revelation is just that, personal. I cannot contend whether either of these women have or haven’t received personal revelation on face value – such is between them and God. As a Ron Paul supporter (who has prayed about the situation and received my own confirmation), I have absolutely no problem with believing that God may also instruct another to vote differently than I have felt inspired to and vote for Romney (or even Obama, Goode, or Johnson).

I sincerely and whole-heartily question the source of anyone’s supposed “personal revelation”, however, when they argue that the Spirit of God revealed to them to act in a certain way and so everyone else must act in such a way else they are deceived. This falls into the arena of receiving revelation to act for another person, a practice directly counter LDS belief. As Elder Dallin H. Oaks said,

 When one person purports to receive revelation for another person outside his or her own area of responsibility—such as a Church member who claims to have revelation to guide the entire Church or a person who claims to have a revelation to guide another person over whom he or she has no presiding authority according to the order of the Church—you can be sure that such revelations are not from the Lord.

Now, granted, I doubt Woman A sees herself as “purport[ing] to receive revelation for another person”, but this is the reality of her claim. She is not speaking of eternal principles, but she is addressing her supposedly divine answer in application and projecting it onto others – to which she is holding all who do not follow that application as “deceived”. While I do not have a problem accepting that any person can receive an answer from God to vote for Romney, I do reject that this woman – because she has overstepped the bounds of personal revelation – has actually received any meaningful revelation beyond her own fancy, especially where anyone outside of her person and stewardship is concerned.

We receive revelation for ourselves and those under our own stewardship and responsibility, pertaining to the portion of the vineyard in which we are laboring and according to what light, knowledge, and truth we have already received and accepted. The only person on Earth, according to the Church’s teachings, that receives universal revelation for the Church at large – i.e. a universal revelation pertaining to where the Church is at – is the Prophet, Seer, and Revelator of the Church.

 “I Feel the Same… POWERFUL Burning in the Bosom… When Romney Spoke…”

Here is the second comment,

 Response from Woman B: “I feel the same as you and had a POWERFUL burning in the bosom experience when Romney spoke at the convention. I know your friends are misled, as I had a similar experience in supporting Ross Perot and only afterward realized that it would have been better to vote for the lesser of two evils, even though he was the best candidate in my eyes because our system with the electoral college does not allow third-party candidates to be elected, no matter what the popular vote is. Tell them to encourage RPaul to run in the future, but to be careful their actions do not keep Obama in office. Romney is going to need every bit of support in order to oust him. And that is CLEARLY what the Lord wants. I am not the only one who has had this experience of getting a very strong burning witness to vote for Romney.”

This statement has the same basic problems addressed in the first, with the added problems pertaining to “voting for the lesser of two evils” and a fundamental misunderstanding of the Electoral College.

“Burning in the Bosom

For the non-Mormon, such a phrase as this is extremely peculiar – borderline crazy. Perhaps it is, but it is in reference to a scripture in the LDS-based Doctrine and Covenants that describes how one might feel the Spirit of God in their life.

But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.

But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong… (D&C 9:8-9).

By using this phrase, Woman B is implying that (1) she has studied the issues out in her mind (apparently by listening to his convention speech) and (2) that, because she had such a feeling, that supporting Mitt Romney is right. She proceeds to bear testimony of what she knows, in that she knows that Ron Paul supporters are misled. Her evidence for this is her experience in supporting Ross Perot, as she has learned to ever “vote for the lesser of two evils” (somehow then placing Mitt Romney into the category of a “lesser evil”, of which the Lord told her that he is actually right – regardless of being somewhat evil – because of burning in said “bosom”).  To seal the conversation, she then proceeds to rip in to the Electoral College as a way of justifying the “lesser of two evils” position, and concludes that supporting Mitt Romney is “clearly what the Lord wants”. The logic and evidence given herein has placed me clearly in a stupor of thought regarding what the Lord wants so “clearly”.

Electoral College

The argument given herein is completely false and shows a complete lack of knowledge concerning the Electoral College process. There is nothing t all about the Electoral College that would prevent a third-party candidate from winning. In fact, Abraham Lincoln won the Electoral College with a third-party candidacy. I am led to wonder if this “burning in the bosom” testament applies to her wrongful claims about the Electoral College. It does Romney no good for people to cite reasons for voting for him that are simply not true.

Taking the Name of God in Vain

It is sad that people will claim God’s authority to justify something that is not true. We are commanded to not take the name of God in vain, and we largely interpret this command as applying against the expletive use of God’s name. There is, however, a far more prevalent – yet far more subtle – way of taking God’s name in vain, and that is by promoting something in his name (or by his supposed witness) that God would never condone.

In such a way, both Woman A and Woman B have taken the name of God in vain, as they have both asserted God’s supposed personal witness to them to act in a particular application as a moral foundation to hold all people to. If, by their supposed divine witness, someone does not vote for Romney, then they are not doing God’s will – for supporting Romney is “clearly what the Lord wants” (even though, according to the LDS theology, God’s will for all people is given by his Prophet).

Vote for Who You Want, But Leave Personal Revelation out of It

As a Ron Paul supporter, it is wrong for me to say that because I have had spiritual experiences that have lead me to support Ron Paul that all people should. None of us labor in the same part of the vineyard, and the application of our voices, talents, abilities, and expressions to the eternal principles of the gospel will vary depending on countless factors. There are some divinely established applications that Latter-day Saints follow, surely; however, when it comes to voting, God does not have a candidate.

The Holy Ghost will reveal to each of us line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little. An answer to prayer does not inherently constitute the revelation of a celestial principle. A telestial person who cannot yet comprehend celestial things in purity will receive revelation pertaining to what light and knowledge they have received and accepted. Where the Spirit is the guide, that is the end of the discussion – for a person who follows the Spirit in all things will become internally and externally consistent (of which, by these quotations, the arguments presented by both women are not).

The best we can do as Latter-day Saints is to check to principles, look at the guidelines laid down by the Church, and then prayerfully act according to our light and knowledge. It is presumptuous to assume that one of us has all light and knowledge. We may admonish each other to adhere to certain basic, unchanging, eternal, and everlasting principles, but where matters of application are concerned – leave it between the individual and their Creator.

About Shiloh Logan

Shiloh Logan is a happily married father of four, and serves as LDS Liberty's editor-in-chief. He graduated from Brigham Young University with dual majors in philosophy (studying the philosophy of the Enlightenment, empiricism, ethics, natural law, natural rights, philosophy of law, and political philosophy) and geography (emphasizing in global studies, ethnography, and socio-political affairs), and with a minor in political science. Shiloh is the former president of BYU's Freedom Society, the current President/CEO of Blackstone Legal Services, and the Director of Individual Liberty at Utah's Libertas Institute. He gives weekly lectures on the principles of liberty and is a consistent contributor to many liberty-oriented publications, including his own blog, ShilohLogan.com, and the liberty-oriented libertasutah.org.
This entry was posted in Articles, Politics Articles and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

42 Responses to Voting and Personal Revelation: Keep it to Yourself

  1. Central Texan says:

    I find it interesting that Gary Johnson originally ran for president in the Republican primary, then, failing to generate sufficient interest, and running as a Libertarian, has primarily attacked Romney.

    Does this make sense to anyone?

    Ron Paul also ran in the Republican primary. If the intention was to oppose Romney, or if the Libertarians were more aligned against Republican policies, then they should not have run in the Republican primary. Otherwise, if the Republican party is the better hope for forwarding Libertarian principles then Johnson and Paul should be spending their efforts ensuring that Obama doesn’t get re-elected.

  2. New Englander says:

    I appreciate and applaud Shiloh Logan’s article. I hear far too many times that we must “vote for the lesser of two evils”, or that “we must vote for Romney because he’s LDS”. I personally think the best vote, the most effective vote, is the one based on one’s conscience, and until more people do that, we will have no choice but to vote for “the lesser of two evils”. As a Ron Paul supporter, I have a real problem with both the Republican Party’s shabby treatment of Dr. Paul, and it’s running ramrod over the Paul delegates at the convention. Romney’s campaign was very much part of that debacle, and Romney, therefore, is responsible even if he somehow “wasn’t aware of it”. However, we saw the same kind of “vote” at the DNC, about the addition of “God” in the platform.

    Anyone who has a problem with the Electoral College needs to read the history of the Constitution and the purpose of the College. We still have the same issue today as when the College was instituted–i.e. very populous states and less populous states.

    I also notice many who use the Lord’s name in vain and don’t realize that’s what they’re doing. The mind goes into auto mode and they don’t think about what it actually means.

    Finally, I see little difference in the two major parties. They both are fiscally irresponsible, both ignore the constitutional limits placed on Congress, and once in the Oval Office, ignore the restraints on the Executive Branch as well. Should I even mention politics in the Judicial Branch?

    Personally, I think the nation is doomed to fall into economic and political chaos. We have allowed secret combinations to run our government, and anyone elected to the highest office in the land does so by suffrage–and may God help those who think otherwise, as they’ll find themselves a target of assassination. If the Elders of Israel are to save the Constitution, I don’t think it will be by electing a president.

  3. Alan Chadwick says:

    I suppose one could pray as to whom to vote for. For me, the criteria is simple, which candidate best follows the Constitution? This past election there was no question, that was Ron Paul. Mitt falls far short and B.O. is running the opposite direction. No person would get real revelation who had not first studied the matter out in his mind, which in this case a basic knowledge of the Constitution and how the Candidates match up against that. I think people really ought to study the Constitution and then they may not have to pray so much, as the answers on who to vote for will become obvious. Why bother God about who to vote for when the answer is clear? D& C 101:77–80

    • Joy says:

      Well said, and spot on!

    • Latesha Stephens says:

      I completely agree with you Alan. My husband and I have always made our decisions on who to vote for by how in line they are with Constitutional principles. Only with Ron Paul running Republican, I decided I would put everything into Ron Paul and then whoever made it past the primaries I would vote for to keep Obama out. For years I have warned people about voting for “the lesser of two evils”. I know that Ron Paul is the better candidate, but since he did not make it past the primaries, wouldn’t voting for him be helping to get Obama in, as it means splitting the conservative vote between Paul and Romney? The Democrats (about 1/3 of Americans) are united and getting things done. We could be getting so much more done but we are all divided. I agree that Ron Paul would have been the best choice to all rally behind. But now, wouldn’t getting all the Ron Paul supporters to come together and vote for Mitt Romney (which may end up just being a slower death than Obama’s way), buy us more time to get another Ron Paul type candidate together and ready to run and lead, someone we ALL can get behind?

      • Greg says:

        Who do you think Ron Paul is voting for?

        • Alan Chadwick says:

          I don’t know who Ron Paul voted for but since he is a ‘Champion of the Constitution’, like we all should be, I would bet he voted for someone that stood for Constitutional principals. I know he is a Libertarian so he may have voted that way?

      • Alan Chadwick says:

        We all need to back those who uphold and sustain the Constitution. We need to read and understand and teach others these same principals. I realize those who stand for the Constitution will not win any elections yet… but as things get worse perhaps the children of light will wake up as Moroni told us to do! In the meantime we need to get prepared and follow the Prophet and live by the Constitution as our law. If we are prepared in every way we need not fear. Look at what happened to the people on the east coast and how unprepared they were. We all need to ask ourselves, how prepared is my family when times get tough, either by a natural or economic storm be it a few weeks or a year or bad? We have been told over and over to ‘get prepared’!

  4. SgtPUSMC says:

    Good article and I agree in the main. However, I am one who does not understand how any faithful Latter Day Saint can be a Democrat. I read the linked article and I was already familiar with the quotes from Elder Jensen and President Faust. I think it is telling that in both cases they said that becoming a one party church is not good (I agree), but I search in vain for any scriptural endorsement of the welfare state, while I find countless explicit condemnations of it in both official and unofficial writings and addresses of church leaders.

    It is a bad thing that the modern Democratic party has given itself wholly to socialism, abortion and the celebration of all that is unholy and impure. It would have been better if good Latter Day Saints and others could have prevented the Democratic party from sliding to its current position, but facts are facts and reality has to be dealt with. I cannot find a single idea or principle in the Democratic Party platform which has not be explicitly condemned by our prophets and apostles.

    No, the church does not endorse candidates or parties, but we have ample evidence that the principles and ideas embraced by the Democrats are evil and that we as Latter Day Saints have a duty to oppose them.

    This is not to say that the Republican party is all good either, as it certainly is not. However, for as flawed as its candidates and operatives are, the Republican Party platform embraces eternal principles of life and liberty.

    I do not support Ron Paul primarily because I disagree with much of his foreign policy positions which I think are dangerously misguided, and I view a vote for him to be a wasted vote.

    • Ron says:

      SgtPUSMC,

      “I do not support Ron Paul primarily because I disagree with much of his foreign policy positions which I think are dangerously misguided, and I view a vote for him to be a wasted vote.”

      I’m surprised you said that. Both Democrat and the Republican positions are “dangerously misguided” putting our troops in harms way for dubious goals. Afghanistan is going to end up like Vietnam, reverting back to its default setting, and all those years of blood, sweat and treasure will be for nothing. Unabated CIA directed drone attacks cause unintended consequences, the least of all recruitment for the radicals, that our troops have to deal with in the field. Our military have been commanded by CIC’s in the past, present, and future who have little to no military experience, and seldom if ever have any of their blood and kin serving in a combat zone.

      Ron Paul is a grunts best friend, because he doesn’t want them to die in someone’s country to preserve their so-called “democracy”. He wants our troops to be saved to fight on OUR soil for OUR nation defense–according to the constitutional oath they sworn to. The Founding Fathers never intended for America to be fighting overseas for other people wars, nor to have our troops spill their blood to protect our “national interests’–Oil, Modern day Hadrian’s walls, or global political face.

      Read again the wars in the Book of Mormon, and observe how Moroni never invaded or occupied the Lamanates territory, only protected his own turf. Or how the the Lord withdrew his help form the Nephites later on when they engaged in a war of revenge against their enemies. Our current foreign policy by both parites is in direct violation with Moroni’s–and the Lord’s for that matter. The only thing we should be sending to other nations are missionaries, not soldiers.

      • SgtPUSMC says:

        I have thought about these issues quite a bit, particularly when I was deployed to places like Kuwait, UAE, and Jordan while serving in the Marine Corps. I have given much thought to the accounts of war in the Book of Mormon and have some conflicting thoughts, I’m not going to tell you that I think I have all the answers…

        Specifically regarding the idea of offensive wars or wars of vengeance; Capt Moroni and the Nephites had simply to protect their land from invading armies of Lamanites, so long as the Lamanites did not invade with their massed armies, the people and property of the Nephites were safe. This is clearly not the case in our world where technology allows a single person, or small group to do incredible damage to life and property. Playing a strictly defensive game on your own soil is a losing proposition in today’s world.

        I’m not defending every policy of Bush, not by a long shot, but I do think that Paul’s isolationism is misguided and dangerous. President Hinkley gave a talk in Apr 2003 General Conference in which he stopped short of saying outright that the war in Iraq was justified, but he did state “there are times and circumstances when nations are justified, in fact have an obligation, to fight for family, for liberty, and against tyranny, threat, and oppression… Furthermore, we are a freedom-loving people, committed to the defense of liberty wherever it is in jeopardy. I believe that God will not hold men and women in uniform responsible as agents of their government in carrying forward that which they are legally obligated to do. It may even be that He will hold us responsible if we try to impede or hedge up the way of those who are involved in a contest with forces of evil and repression.”

        I think it is clear that as a nation which has been blessed historically to enjoy our God-given liberties it is also our duty to support others in throwing off the shackles of tyranny. I think our nation has been blessed for doing so in the past and that the lives of countless others have been blessed. In addition, the doors of many areas of the world are now open to the preaching of the Gospel as a direct result. We wouldn’t be able to send missionaries to many areas of the world if we had not first sent soldiers…

        No, I don’t want us to run around the world engaging in oftentimes futile nation building exercises, but when it makes sense and is in line with our national interests, I think we do have some responsibility to liberate the oppressed. And I reject the idea that our efforts, regardless of how flawed they might be when it comes down to the messy details, are equivalent to the desire of the Nephites for revenge. In the main our efforts have been to protect ourselves from very real threats and to liberate others.

        • Ron Shirtz says:

          SgtPUSMC says:
          We could have an interesting conversation comparing President’s Hickeys views on military intervention verses those of President’s Kimball and Apostle J. Reuben Clark. But that would obscure the larger underlying causes that drag us into our current conflicts.
          You state in your closing remarks:
          “No, I don’t want us to run around the world engaging in oftentimes futile nation building exercises, but when it makes sense and is in line with our national interests, I think we do have some responsibility to liberate the oppressed. “
          Indeed, what exactly are our “national interests”? I would say exploiting Middle Eastern nations for their oil and regime changes of elected governments over decades to secure our position as a world power constitutes our National interests. These policies did little to “liberate the oppressed”. Instead, CIA covert operations have created unintended consequences that now require the humble US soldier on the front line to risk his life and limb to correct and pay the price for CIA’s past miscalculations.
          Please read (If you haven’t already) two-time Medal of Honor winner USMC General Smedly Butler’s “War is a Racket” essay. It illuminates the mindset of certain people in government who set in motion historical policies that required the use of military force not in keeping with their oath of office.
          You mentioned how our soldiers assist in opening Gospel doors to other nations. I don’t disagree, thought I see it as a “making lemonade out of lemons” solution. First, innocent people have to die of collateral damage while being “liberated”. The historical perspective prove the wars against tyranny in the name of freedom often require us to make friends with the enemy of our enemy, who then become our NEW enemy after the war. The resulting Cold War with the Soviet Union after WWII and Afghan resistance fighters we assisted in the 1980’s who we now are combating are prime examples. So , in essence, war never truly ends. Ironically, liberating people in other lands results in loss of personal liberties at home, as warrantless wiretapping, TSA, militarized law enforcement, and drones flying over our own skies will attest.
          So beware of the war justification to “liberate” people. The Civil War was not about freeing the slaves. WWI did not make the world safe for democracy, it preserved the colonial territories of Britain, France, and Belgium. WW2 was not fought to save the Jews from the concentration camps—our State department turned away Jewish refugees seeking asylum— and after Pearl Harbor we incarcerated tens of thousands of Japanese Americans considered security risks. Nor did we succeed preserving a corrupt South Vietnam government after eight years and 50,000 US lives. The First Persian Gulf war was based on a lie that the Iraqi’ soldiers were throwing out Kuwait babies out of their incubators and into the street. And like Vietnam, Afghanistan will default back into its cultural setting after we leave in 2014.

          • SgtPUSMC says:

            Wow, I think you have allowed yourself to become far too cynical to the point that just because the U.S. isn’t perfect it is therefore not even good. You see nothing but oppression and exploitation no matter where you look. I suspect this is because oppression and exploitation are all you look for…

            We could debate back and forth about any number of your statements, but I find the oft repeated claim that “the Civil War wasn’t about freeing slaves” to be particularly odious. It is true to say that it wasn’t the ONLY issue, but going back to the Lincoln – Douglass debates it is clear that THE issue dividing the country was none other than slavery. Going back even further to the Missouri Compromise and the Kansas – Nebraska Act, it is plain to see that this issue was central to the building conflict. It is also true that most of the other issues dividing the country were appendages to the slavery issue. Slavery was the central issue of the presidential election of 1860, and the election of Abraham Lincoln is what prompted the secession which began between the time he was elected and when he took office, the attack on Fort Sumpter took place little more than a month after that. The vilification of Lincoln on the part of those who profess to believe in liberty is disgusting and it’s nothing more than revisionist history nonsense. This view was promoted heavily by Southern apologists seeking to deflect responsibility for the war. Read Lincoln’s Cooper Union address and tell me that slavery wasn’t issue number one. Furthermore it is clear that Lincoln (and the Republican Party in general) were not abolitionists in the John Brown sense. He opposed slavery and supported policies which would gradually lead to its end without conflict. Lincoln wanted to preserve the union without violence and appealed to the southern states to abide by previous conventions which would – he hoped – bring about a peaceful end to slavery by attrition. It was the southerners who adopted a radical new idea that slavery was a positive good that should be expanded to new territories. Lincoln appealed for a return to an acknowledgement that slavery was incompatible with the Constitution which was the nearly universal understanding at its adoption. But that it remained a necessary evil only because its sudden end was both economically and politically impossible to achieve without war.

            The Civil War was all about slavery, but not in the normal sense that people think about it. The Civil War was caused by those in the south who wished to promote that institution as a positive good and establish it as a Constitutional right, not only in new territories, but in the entire Republic.

            I would encourage you to find a read Harry Jaffa’s “A New Birth of Freedom” and his classic “Crisis of the House Divided: An Interpretation of the Issues in the Lincoln-Douglas Debates” to get an appreciation of the greatness of the principles which Lincoln embraced and preserved.

            Many of your other statements are just flat out false but it would take too much time and too much effort to adequately address them. In the spirit of civility I wish to point out that I’m not accusing you of having any ill intent. I just think you have been getting your information from some questionable sources.

            Finally, you are correct that war never really ends and it’s not likely to until the Savior comes again, but blaming that fact on the U.S. is as pointless as it is wrong. This is my main problem with Ron Paul and many of his supporters; they blame America for nearly everything that is wrong in the world and seem to think that the world would be a much nicer place if we just kept to ourselves. It seems to me that in your own way, Ron Paul supporters are just as Utopian as the socialists.

        • New Englander says:

          “I think it is clear that as a nation which has been blessed historically to enjoy our God-given liberties it is also our duty to support others in throwing off the shackles of tyranny. I think our nation has been blessed for doing so in the past and that the lives of countless others have been blessed.”

          It is certainly not our duty to overthrow other governments, no matter how altruistic our intentions. It is up to the people who are under the tyrant to throw off his rule. Frankly, I don’t see any of the wars we’ve fought in the past 60+ years as being wars of liberation. Mostly they were fought to put money in the coffers of international banking interests, who ensure that both sides get arms. A careful reading of history will show that we entered WWI and WWII under false pretenses; both time the attack was known by the President ahead of time. We as a nation were manipulated into war.

          Since then, wars have been fought for political reasons, or for oil, to spread the tentacles of the military-industrial complex and keep them all in business, just as President Eisenhower warned. Without a war, they would not exist; it is in their interest to promote war; it is not in our national interest to make enemies wherever we go. The CIA has been responsible for some of the most egregious blunders one could conceive of. What gives us the right to overthrow legitimately elected governments, even if we don’t agree with their political stance?

          I do understand that as a member of the military, you must have faith in our government policies. It would be devastating to believe that we’re in the wrong. Yet, it is not national interest that motivates all these wars; it is greed and lust for power.. Ron Paul’s policies are the sanest we can find. Isolationist? I think not. He has no desire to put us in isolation. He just can’t see the sense of spending our lifeblood for spurious reasons. More fools we for not seeing the sense in that! So far as “protecting ourselves from very real threats”, I fail to see how any of these endless wars protect us. Instead, they take away our freedoms, undermine the Constitution, debase the dollar, and give power to those who care not for our own liberty, in the name of “liberating others”. We as a nation are on the brink of ruin. It’s only a matter of time before our economy crashes.

          WRT President Hinckley’s remarks, I believe in a later talk he stated something quite different. I just wish I could pull it up out of my memory. I do recall President Kimball’s conference talk where he warned of us being a warlike people. So we are, and we need to change to being disciples of Christ.

          • SgtPUSMC says:

            “I do understand that as a member of the military, you must have faith in our government policies. It would be devastating to believe that we’re in the wrong.”

            I’m sorry, but that is one of the most pathetically condescending things I’ve ever read.

            If you are “careful” enough in your reading of history, you can find anything at all that you wish to find, but that doesn’t make it true. In fact, it might just make you delusional.

            Just exactly which “legitimately elected” governments have we overthrown?

      • Alan Chadwick says:

        Ron,

        I use to think like you.
        Go read the article, “The False Gods We Worship” by Pres. Kimball. That may change you mind.

        All the Best

        • Alan Chadwick says:

          Sorry- I meant this message to SGT PUSMC not Ron. I think Ron Paul’s Foreign Policy is exactly the way we should go.

    • New Englander says:

      Exactly what in his foreign policy is “dangerously misguided”? Have you ever read his book “A Foreign Policy of Peace”? I’m guessing you have not. Ron Paul’s foreign policy is based on spreading the message of peace through trade, rather than war. War is coercion of the basest kind. If we search the scriptures, we find that in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon, the prophets led the Israelites/Nephites to victory within the borders of their land. Our modern days prophets have cautioned us against the many wars we are fighting. President Kimball gave a conference talk entitled “We Are a Warlike People”; President Benson and President McKay also warned against engaging ourselves in overseas conflicts. Contention is OF THE ADVERSARY. We do not have constitutional authority to “spread democracy”; in fact, our Founding Fathers formed a constitutional REPUBLIC, and feared democracy. They advocated staying out of foreign wars and trading liberally across the world. While we did that, the United States grew rapidly and became the richest nation in the world. Now we are the most debt-ridden and the most hated.

      Any Latter-Day Saint that thinks we should be wasting our blood and our substance upon wars needs to seriously step back, search the scriptures, and ask if this is really what the Lord wants us doing.

      • SgtPUSMC says:

        Did I say anything about “spreading democracy”? No. I understand your point about democracy, but give it a rest, your bringing it up in this context is nothing more than a straw man.

        As for your other points, I think I addressed them in my reply to Ron.

        • New Englander says:

          No, you didn’t say anything about spreading democracy, but that is the “reason” given by our corrupt administrations (Republican and Democrat) for every military action.

    • Greg says:

      I don’t see how any faithful Latter Day Saint can even vote since all votes support the use of force to control people. Which is exactly what we all voted against in the pre-existence.
      And voting for the lesser of two evils is still actively choosing evil.
      Just doesn’t make sense to me.

  5. Fay Washington says:

    And what would you say if a person had in his patriarchal blessing that he was supposed to
    speak out in politics? Would you accept that as a possibility? Just curious. Thanks!

    • Shiloh Logan says:

      A patriarchal blessing is a personal matter, and the prophesied application, duties, and blessings addressed in that blessing are purely individualistic and are based on that individual’s adherence to eternal, unchanging, and uncompromising principles of the gospel.

      “Speaking out in politics” is not inherently a problem. What is a problem is when an individual misunderstands the difference between a knowledge and witness of applications versus a knowledge and witness of eternal principle. While principles are uncompromising, unchanging, and apply to all of God’s children equally, applications to those principles will vary per individual. Only the Prophet, Seer, and Revelator to the Church has the priesthood keys of authority to direct the masses in a unified application, but we all have the individual divine imperative to admonish each other on eternal principles.

      A person who received divine direction to speak out on political matters may morally do so. However, once the claim is made that (1) my patriarchal blessing said that I will speak out on political matters and (2) I received a witness that I am to act politically one such-and-such way and (3) because of that, you are deceived unless you act in my proscribed way too — then that person has overstepped their moral, rightful, and just imperative.

      While a patriarchal blessing may address something unique about the individual, it does not give that individual license to overstep the bounds of personal revelation — especially when application over principle is concerned.

    • Joy says:

      Sure, why not? But that doesn’t absolve someone from being well-grounded in the fundamental principles upon which this country was founded, i.e., the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and The Federalist Papers. Indeed, I was say they have a greater responsibility to be well-versed in all of those things, as well as the principles outlined in the D&C. If they’re in another country, then they have a responsibility to speak out for correct principles and against intrustions against personal freedom.

    • JohnH says:

      If a person had in their blessing to speak out in politics then I would expect them to study the issues and speak out about the issues with that knowledge as their backing rather then a claim of authority from God. No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, but by things like persuasion, knowledge, and love.

      Further, getting a blessing to have a gift such as a knowledge of nations does not mean that one can automatically use the gift with no effort to inform oneself, any more then being blessed with the gift of tongues means that missionaries don’t need language training. Sure a missionary might sometimes say things well beyond what they would normally be able to based on their level of understanding but that is not the normal application of the gift, just like someone might make a point on politics that is far beyond what their understanding of the issues was, but again that is not the normal application of the gift and we are to develop our gifts and talents rather then relying constantly on miraculous application of them .

  6. Ron says:

    Well said, Shiloh.

    I strongly concur with the other comments about “studying it out” first before seeking revelation. I cannot help but think the two women you mentioned were motivated by the emotion of the moment–as well a intellectual lack of curiosity— than to really get to the roots of the issues. I believe they sought for a easy answer so as not to wrestle with their consistence over–forgive the phrase–”inconvenient truths” that are part of Romney’s (and Obama’s ) positions. The are like this quote attributed to JFK; “People prefer the comfort of opinions over the discomfort of truth.”

  7. It is sad that people will claim God’s authority to justify something that is not true. We are commanded to not take the name of God in vain, and we largely interpret this command as applying against the expletive use of God’s name. There is, however, a far more prevalent – yet far more subtle – way of taking God’s name in vain, and that is by promoting something in his name (or by his supposed witness) that God would never condone.(quoted from the above post)

    I agree that when God has not authorized a person to speak for him that that person is taking the name of the Lord in vain when he speaks as if he were God’s authorized representative. I further agree that many take the name of the Lord in vain in this way without realizing it. The majority of the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints do not have the authority to speak as represetatives of the Lord. Most of those who are authorized representatives are authorized to speak for God only within a certain sphere. For example, a bishop is God’s represetative only to the persons within his own ward and he is not authorized to deviate from the will of God as expressed by those appointed over him in the priesthood hierarchy. I, Warren Rogers, am a Write In candidate for Utah State Treasurer and am other wise working to build up the

    Utah People’s Party
    UtahPeoplesParty.WordPress.com

    This new political party that does not yet have its own ballot line, offers candidates more in tune with the word and will of the Lord than the candidates of the parties on the ballot already but must rely on the the prophets and apostles to tell us what the word and will of the Lord are. Because of the Church’s Political Neutrality policy, the Church neither endorses nor opposes the People’s Party and neither endorse’s nor opposes People’s Party candidates such as myself.

    Warren Rogers
    WarrenTRogers.WordPress.com

  8. Greg says:

    Voting is immoral. And picking a new master to obey doesn’t make you free.
    All government on the earth is based on the initiation of force. And if I recall we have been told that in the pre-existence the advocate of force was Lucifer.
    When you vote you are advocating, promoting and condoning the use of force against your neighbor, whom you have been commanded to love.
    Loving your neighbor by robbing and controlling them seems to be an oxymoron.
    Jesus was against force and the government is all about force.
    Remember, “No man can serve two masters.”

    • New Englander says:

      If you really believe that, then you must believe that the governent that King Mosiah set up was immoral; yet,, he was a prophet. And you must believe that the Constitution is immoral, even though the Lord told us he raised up righteous men to bring it forth.

      Unfortunately, there will always be people who will seek to take away our freedom. Government, legitimate government, serves to protect our rights. Sadly, we always need protection from those who would take what is not theirs.

      • Greg says:

        Neither you or I know what the system under King Mosiah was really like. Did people vote? What kind of force was used in response to broken laws? Were the laws only based on the ten commandments?
        The only governments which exist know are not headed by a prophet so there is no real comparison.
        As to the constitution, yes I believe it is an immoral agreement. For many reasons. First of all imho the only legitimate contract is one which is freely entered into by the interested parties. I can’t bind you to a contract you aren’t part of and vice versa. Where do a few men who lived 200 years ago get the right to make me a part of any contract?
        And secondly the constitution purported to give a certain group of rights and power that nobody else had. How can you give what you don’t have? How can that be moral?
        The constitution is based on force. Some people have the right to use guns to control everybody else.
        And the government gets all its power from the ability to steal from the majority, which violates the ten commandments, which universally apply to all.

        Government protects our rights? Is that a joke? The biggest thief is government. The biggest mass murderer is government. Who killed 100 million people in the last century? Hint, it was government, the state. You are just repeating the propaganda you have swallowed all your life put out by the state.

        • New Englander says:

          Would that we did not need any government, but where people are, there also is the Adversary and his influence. Sure, we can do all the protection by ourselves, but that could take up our entire day. A just government is, yes, about protecting our God-given rights. John Adams stated that the Constitution could not survive except under an moral people. They didn’t have the authority, you say? Didn’t the Lord say he raised them up? What more authority did they need?

          And btw, the Bill of Rights Amendment 2 made it plain that everyone has the right to guns.

          What is “the voice of the people” if not a vote? But you have just stated that you’re smarter than God, because you say that the Constitution is an immoral document. ‘Nuff said.

          • Greg says:

            You have been brainwashed into believing “we need a government” by the statists who run the government. You can’t even conceive of a stateless society because you have swallowed the lie that it is impossible. Wonder who is behind that?
            You should read the free book, “Practical anarchy”.
            http://www.freedomainradio.com/free/books/FDR_5_PDF_Practical_Anarchy_Audiobook.pdf
            Just because God influenced the formation of this country and the constitution doesn’t mean the constitution was the end all and be all forever.
            Blacks couldn’t hold the priesthood until the 70′s. Had nothing to do with their righteousness only the biases of society and the church members. God doesn’t take away our agency to get things done. So he is limited by us in accomplishing His goals.
            The constitution was the best thing he could get done at the time. However, where we now are is a logical and inevitable progression from that limited government. Rolling back the clock, so to speak, won’t prevent sociopaths from continuing to seek power over others through government. Evil people always use the tool available which allows them to do the most evil.
            I am a voluntaryist and a voluntary society, where no entity has a monopoly on the initiation of force, is my goal.

  9. New Englander says:

    I’ve noticed that there is no way to directly reply to recent posts by SgtPUSMC, so I’lll just add a couple of comments here. You said one of my remarks was “condescending”. Well, if that’s how you want to see it, you have that right. I see it as understanding how necessary it is to retain meaning for what you’re doing. As a hypnotist, I worked with people all the time who could not admit something that was very painful, and I draw on my experience.

    So far as the overthrow of legitimately elected governments is concerned, well, unless you live in a vacuum, you must have seen the result of CIA operations. The first one I remember was in Africa, back in the 50′s or 60′s, but you may not have been around then. Then there was the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Mohammad Mossadegh in Iran, who had the audacity to nationalize the oil industry. Then there was Kwame Nkrumah, who was elected in Ghana in 1951, even though he was in prison.. The CIA-backed coup in 1966 took care of that, Then there was the CIA-backed overthrow of Aristide (who won in popular elections) in Haiti, and the list goes on.. There are many other governments overthrown by CIA operations, and we have no business meddling in other nations’ affairs, certainly not in replacing their governments, some elected, some not. There is no moral superiority in forcing our will and our choice of government on other nations.

    National security? How about minding our own business, returning to our entrepreneurial roots, and spreading freedom through trade What do you think brought people to our shores? Our foreign policy? No, it was our liberty and constraint by government which allowed us to grow and become the richest nation on earth. Now with our “my way or the highway” attitude, we are bankrupt both economically and spiritually.

    • Greg says:

      ” There is no moral superiority in forcing our will and our choice of government on other nations. ”

      What does that even mean? Who constitutes your use of the word “our”?

  10. Mitch van Biljon says:

    Shiloah, with all due respect never had I read such malarkey. Truth is truth, God does not vacilate on true principle and he would never encourage any individual to vote for a man who is in direct violation of His will and doctrine. God does not inspire one man to vote for an evil man (obama) and another to vote for a good man. God’s purpose is served one way and one way only i.e. by obedience to his doctrine. This is dangerous ground and is 100% false doctrine.

    • Chelsea says:

      If God’s purpose is only good, then why does Romney stand for so many evil things? How is that justified? If you are wondering what evil things he supports, listen to the podcast just posted.

      • New Englander says:

        Are you equating Romney with God? Is God out there telling us to vote for Romney? No, He’s telling us to work it out in our minds.

        Don’t forgot that the evil that is done here serves as a teaching tool. ALL things can be turned to God’s purposes, even the most heinous. We can’t see the end from the beginning. He can.

  11. New Englander says:

    To Greg: Are you always so insulting or just when you can remain anonymous? I’m not brainwashed, and I was reading Lysander Spooner probably when you were in diapers. Although I think anarchy (that is, true self-government) is the ideal, I don’t think it’s attainable while we still have to deal with human nature; it’s an unattainable Utopia; albeit a much more attractive one than socialism.. I knew you were a voluntaryist (which is a more socially acceptable word for anarchist) by your comments. It’s time to come up for a breath of reality, though. We need a very limited form of government, and the wit to watch it like a hawk.

    BTW, God is not limited by man. God is not limited at all. Man is limited by his willingness to observe God’s laws, and thus make the world what He intented: a place to learn and to prove ourselves.

    • Greg says:

      “Nuff said” isn’t insulting? Diapers?
      You are an apologist for the state. You believe in force which is not what Lysander Spooner espoused. It is not what Jesus taught. However, satan was and is all about force.
      What do all governments base their rule and control on?
      If you think anarchy is the ideal why not work for that objective?

      ” We need a very limited form of government, and the wit to watch it like a hawk.”
      Says who? How has that worked out?
      God is absolutely limited by man on this earth. There are no perfect men and therefore He is limited in what He can accomplish working with imperfect tools.
      We have agency and He is also limited in what he can do without violating that agency on this earth.

      • New Englander says:

        Apologist for the state? Hardly, but I have outgrown my illusions that we can attain heaven on earth before Christ returns. I don’t believe in force except to protect myself. That’s what legitimate government is about–and yes, our government has long since lost its legitimacy, but that doesn’t mean that some government isn’t necessary. Now that you’ve read all the anarchist literature, go read Ezra Taft Benson’s “The Proper Role of Government”. I will believe a prophet’s words over any other anytime.

        You believe God is limited? Have it your way. Be sure and tell him that when you stand before him. I believe that everything that happens here is according to plan.

        • Greg says:

          Anarchy would not be heaven on earth but it would take away the sociopaths who make up government’s most favored tool.
          You rely on the logical fallacy, Reductio ad absurdum, far to much in your rebuttals.
          Your definition of legitimate government is based on force. You seem to think giving a minority the authority to initiate force on innocents will protect innocents somehow.
          I said, ” limited by man on this earth”. Refute that and not “God is limited” as you misstated my words.

  12. Ron says:

    SgtPUSMC

    In less than a decade an industrial revolution would have made slavery impractical and unnecessary, destroying the South economy and make the debate over tariffs, secession, and slavery moot. Almost every nation in the world resolved the slavery issue without war—The US Civil war casualties still accounts for more US deaths than all our other wars combined.

    Lincoln created the colony called Liberia in Africa to ship back the emancipated slaves. He entertained a plan to have the freed slaves go to Panama to dig the canal. The Emancipation Proclamation did not free slaves from the Border States—only those from liberated Southern states. It would still take another 100 years until the Civil Rights bill for black American to gain have full political equality. Not quite the pretty portrait of a man so touted by historical cult worship as the man who freed the slaves.

    Ron Paul is does not blame America–He hold responsible a few power hungry and narcissistic leaders who have imperiled our nation’s security intervening in other nations and have broken their oath of office and trampled upon the Constitution doing so. One of the major platforms of the Founding Fathers when the wrote the Constitution was for “America to mind its own business.” They know from first hand experience the endless and bloody wars that went on Europe, and the alliances that dragged each country in a bloody conflicts over the most trivial and capricious reasons.

    Ron Paul has stated time and again he is all for Military defense–Preserving the US military to protect our OWN soil. Right now our trillion dollar military is being degraded in classic asymmetrical warfare by a bunch of bad guys with inexpensive AK’s, RPG’s, and improvised IEDS–along with some of our own military arms that we gave to so-called “Allied nations”. One of our soldiers cost 1 million to train, maintain, and equip. The bad guys can trade losses with us all day and replace them with a higher birth rate, while our nation’s birth rate has dropped below the minimum to break even. More importantly, they can break our budget spending billions of dollars to supply and equip our forces, ironically doing the same thing we did to bring the USSR’s economy during the arms race in the Cold war. Technology like drones is a force multiplier, but it takes grunts on the ground to hold and keep objective. If we really, truly, want to defeat the bad guys, we need to field like a half-million or more soldiers as a start. But again, even that number was not enough to win in Vietnam, a country half the size of Afghanistan–and Afghanistan shares borders with 6-7 other surrounding nations that the bad guys can use as sanctuary. Yeah, the 80,000 to 100,000 US troops we have in there already, a good part are support, are going to cover that much ground? You know better.

    But to put more troops in would require a draft and higher taxes, and our leaders know they wold not go over with the American public. So they fight a war they know is unwinnable at the expense of our troops lives to save political face, just like they did in Vietnam as the Pentagon Papers revealed. That more US troops have committed suicide this year than all the US causalities at the battlefield should be a red flag that something is seriously wrong with our policy that would make these who served question what they and their buddies bled and died for.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>