Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Constitution and that Tiny Thread

Joseph Smith is said to have prophesied that one day the US Constitution would hang by a thread, and that the Latter-day Saints would play a role in saving it. His concern over the future of the Constitution was witnessed and recorded as early as 1840, and his statement about the Constitution in the last days eventually hanging "by a brittle thread" was given in a speech in May 1843, as recorded by James Burgess, long before two men wrote down what they called his "White Horse Prophecy" - now widely repudiated - that also spoke about the Constitution one day hanging by a thread. See "The White Horse Prophecy" by George Cobabe, made available by FAIRLDS.org.

I say that only to remind you that there may be a legitimate basis for accepting the prophetic warning that the Constitution would one day be severely threatened, and that the Latter-day Saints would then need to rise up and resist its fall. Some of our critics make fun of us for keeping that statement in our lore when the alleged context, the White Horse prophecy, has been rejected as false. But the White Horse prophecy, however bogus, was not the source.

So it's OK to accept that statement as a potentially valid prophecy. Might also be a good idea to look at what's happening and do something. Any of you folks ready to stand? We're staring at the most grandiose, audacious grab of power and wealth in the history of the world.

48 comments:

JD said...

Read this Apparently it was not just Joseph Smith who said it.

BruceC said...

Yes, but Brigham Young, and John Taylor, knew Joseph Smith and probably heard it from him first hand. I think George Q Cannon was too young (17) when Joseph Smith died to know him well. GQC was, however, John Taylor's nephew and could have easily met JSJ on multiple occasions. But ultimately I believe the source is still Joseph Smith.

Karen said...

There's an Anti-Christ going around predicting the fall of the Us, starting in the fall. As my friends have been reading the newspaper and notifying me of their findings, it indicated that the US is starting to fall. In revelations it talks of the Anti-Christ. I think it's neat that during these last days things are starting to happen!

Mike Parker said...

The Constitution has been progressively dismantled over the last 8 years of the Bush administration, but most Latter-day Saints I know have approved of what's been done.

How can we save the Constitution if we are willing participants in its destruction?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Iguana Montana said...

@Mike Parker:
It's not just been the Bush Administration, but I agree with your point.

The key is Education.

Start with your kids and see how quickly the knowledge 'infects' the Primary.

Work with your neighbors and friends. Work with your ward members.

Education of the Constitution, fundamental Constitutional principles, and the Founding Fathers is essential. I take that as a personal responsibility; it's also the best way for one person to have a significant effect in government.

It is not a Party issue, but it is a Person issue. We all have the responsibility to study and learn; I believe that we also, thereafter, have the responsibility to teach and educate.

Anonymous said...

I agree that nothing states the Constitution is hanging by a thread stronger than the Fed/Treasury power grab. I have/will raise my voice against in my conversations, activities, etc. but will Church leadership be more vocal about this as well? My Stake has advised us to prayerfully consider a "yes" vote on a marriage proposition in my state (AZ). Would such direct statements come out on this as well? I guess we shall see.

@iguana montana: I agree, this is a person and education issue. Both major parties share blame here.

-Scott Edwards

Anonymous said...

all right; TWO parties are not proscribed in the constitution--

so vote 3rd party and send a message to the partisans!!!

That would be a neat "first way" to wake up--

Anonymous said...

What part of the constitution is hanging by a thread right now?

Dennis West said...

Very interesting! I have heard that "constitution hanging by a thread" quote many times, but I'd never heard of the White Horse Prophecy. I read the article that you linked to and that was very interesting as well.

Bookslinger said...

The constitution has been unraveling since at least Roosevelt's New Deal. Roosevelt and every president since him have signed and re-authorized a "state of emergency" to maintain emergency powers in the executive branch.

It's not just Bush. I started paying attention politically since the Nixon years, so it goes back at least that far, so far as I can tell

Hans said...

I think the Constitution has been hanging by a thread since Marbury vs. Madison when the judiciary grabbed a large amount of power for a cheap political victory for the Jefferson Administration.

Other examples beyond the New Deal include the use of language like penumbra towards fundamental rights. No matter what your personal view on abortion is, how does one pull the right to abortion out of the right to liberty? Because of Marbury's power grab by the Supreme Court, it is able to make such decisions without an recourse for us.

Sorry if that became a threadjack, but I think it's relevant to the use of power by officials that are political appointments.

Hans said...

I think the Constitution has been hanging by a thread since Marbury vs. Madison when the judiciary grabbed a large amount of power for a cheap political victory for the Jefferson Administration.

Other examples beyond the New Deal include the use of language like penumbra towards fundamental rights. No matter what your personal view on abortion is, how does one pull the right to abortion out of the right to liberty? Because of Marbury's power grab by the Supreme Court, it is able to make such decisions without an recourse for us.

Sorry if that became a threadjack, but I think it's relevant to the use of power by officials that are political appointments.

Anonymous said...

Hi All,

Not to be offensive here, but I take very little comfort in the idea that the LDS Church might be the ones to preserve the constitution. From what I've read of JS's history, he wasn't exactly a defender of the First Amendment Rights of Free Speech and Freedom of Religion. Perhaps I am wrong here, but isn't he the guy that destroyed a printing press in Navuoo because there was some negative journalism printed about the LDS Church. Isn't it also the LDS Church's mission to bring all of us into the true and restored gospel of Jesus Christ. These actions don't exactly seem consistent with defending the US Constitution, no offense intended.

I do have a better solution than relying on the LDS Church to preserve our constitution. We as American Citizens have the power to preserve our own laws. This is the Republic of the United States (check your pledge of allegiance for the reference to republic). That means we the people make the rules that govern this country. If you want to protect and preserve the constitution, you need to be exercising your 1st amendment rights and speak out, and speak out loud. You also need to stop voting based on party lines and start educating yourselves about who it is you are voting for. Some republicans are good guys, some are not. The same is true for democrats. We need to be putting the people who are good for our country in office, not the ones who are good for their party and the special interest groups.

I agree that after Roosevelt we've seen more and more of a decline in the respectibility of our presidents. The last good president we really had was Truman. After him, we seen presidents who cater to their parties, the special interests, and their own special interests and not those of the people. Mr. Bush, our current president is a good example. With the Patriot Act he was able to almost singlehandedly remove a number of the civil rights we've had since the inception of the constitution. If you actually read that act, there's very little in it that would pass constitutional muster. That was an act passed in an emotional moment and was a kneejerk response to a terrorist act. We can't be enacting laws based upon emotion, which we've been doing for years. We can stop that though if we start voting good people into office.

To Hans, I would tell you that the reason the Supreme Court was able to reach the conclusion it did in Roe v Wade, was because the Supreme Court ignored the 10th amendment which gave the states the right to decide if they would allow abortions to be legal or not. That is the only way they could decide that issue, since there'd have been no jurisdiction to do so otherwise. The other thing that happened is that the Roe court ignored the primary question, which was when does life begin. They did that so that they could allow abortions. Now we're stuck with that decision because we have people in office with no backbone and willing to take a stand against the atrocity of abortion by passing a constitutional amendment which says life begins at conception. Again it comes down to you, me, and everyone else out there to change the make up of those in congress. If we don't vote them out, no one else will.

Catholic Defender

Pops said...

CD:

There's a difference between protected speech and libel.

Anonymous said...

Hi Pops,

Let me pose this question to you. What do the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Koran, The Communist Manifesto, Cosmopolitan, The Enquirer, and Playboy Magizine all have in common. Want a hint...they are all protected speech under the first amendment. If you try to censor one, you risk having all the others censored. Furthermore, who decides what is good speech and what isn't? You? Me? The LDS Church? The government? If you allow one of these, or someone else to decide what is good speech, and what isn't, where will it end, and how is it they are right and we're wrong.

The point is, you may consider what JS did to be destroying a printing press that printed libel. As I see it, he was trying suppress protected speech. In either case neither of us was there. But, historically, this country is founded upon, and this right is still intact, everyone being allowed to express their ideas. The reason you and I and everyone else can sit here and debate whether your church is true or not, is because we are all entitled to our opinion. JS's actions, were in fact a stifling of someone's opinion. His recourse was not to destroy the printing press, but instead to challenge what he believed to be libel by more speech. His recourse was to defend himself with the truth as he saw it, not destroy the document and suppress the rights of the person to make the statement. His redress was in court, not in violence and destruction.

Catholic Defender

Anonymous said...

In the life-and-death struggle of dealing with mobs, one can at least understand why the Nauvoo City Council would declare that a press being used to foment violence against the Church was a public menace. They felt the law of their day made that a legal action, though it remains a controversial issue. Probably a serious mistake, but it's somewhat understandable.

Freaked said...

From the LA Times:

The dollar figure alone is remarkable, amounting to 5% of the nation's gross domestic product. But the most distinctive -- and potentially most controversial -- element of the plan is the extent to which it would allow Treasury to act unilaterally: Its decisions could not be reviewed by any court or administrative body and, once the emergency legislation was approved, the administration could raise the $700 billion through government borrowing and would not be subject to Congress' traditional power of the purse.

"Nothing quite of this scale has happened since the early years of the country when Alexander Hamilton wrote the Treasury act to give him the power to borrow and intervene in markets," said New York University financial historian Richard Sylla. And in Hamilton's case, Congress quickly clipped his wings, and no successor -- not even under President Franklin D. Roosevelt at the height of the Depression -- exercised quite such unfettered power again.

"It essentially creates an economic czar with no administrative oversight, no legal review, no legislative review. And it gives one man $700 billion to disperse as he needs fit," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), referring to Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson.

"He will have complete, unbridled authority subject to no law," she said.

Anonymous said...

The Civil War is another example of violation of the constitution. The union came together of their own free accord. It was widely understood by the founders that the states could also leave at will.

Karen, I am not sure I understand your statement. Are you saying that those who predict the fall of the US are anti-Christs?

Anonymous said...

And the Catholic church has historically been so accepting of free speech, right?

Look in the Bible and you will find that even God himself does not always permit "free speech". But isn't the constitution inspired by him? Does he not keep his own rules? I suppose you will say that you would not trust the Almighty to defend the constitution.

Tracy Keeney said...

The constitution has been unraveling since at least Roosevelt's New Deal.

DING! DING! DING!
And the million dollar prize goes to Bookslinger!!!!

pops said...

CD: which of the publications you mention are dedicated to printing libel? Libel is not protected speech.

pops said...

Major milestones in the destruction of the Constitution include the establishment of the Federal Reserve and the institution of the personal income tax.

Anonymous said...

Hi Pops,

I don't disagree with you regarding your last comments about the Fed and The IRS; both are departments not really established in the constitution. But the government does have to be able to raise money to fund itself in order to run, what do you suggest as an alternative?

Regarding your question about which of those publications print libel, arguably one could say all of them do. What you might call libel, another might call truth. For instance, you consider the BOM to be the truth, the rest of the Christian world considers it to be blasphemy. The fact that we don't agree on that point, doesn't mean we get to say you can't print the BOM. Its still protected speech.

If one were to say to the publisher of Playboy, sorry your magazine is obscene and exploitive of women therefore, we're shutting down your printing presses; Playboy could come right back and argue that well we find the Bible offensive in that it misrepresents the muslem culture as being pagans, therefore you can't print that either. Perhaps you think this isn't the case, let me provide you another example.

Most of what the KKK says is slander and misrepresentative of blacks, jews, and non-wasps. Much of it is lies and distortions of half truths. Its hateful and destructive speech. But, the courts have consistently held that such speech is protected because people have a right to the free expression of ideas, and they have a right to disagree. Additionally such awful, decietful, and hateful speech is protected because to censor it would infringe upon the rights of all of us.

The point is that your argument about libel not being protected is a false and misleading one. Libel and slander are the same basic animal, although one is printed the other spoken. The Libel printed by hate groups all over the country is, and has always been protected. The Arian Nation, another group of hate mongering morons prints all kinds of lies. We protect their right to do so, even though we know what they print are lies, for the reason that in the big picture if you start restricting their right to say and print their hatred, the same restrictions apply to the love and peace printed in the Bible. You can't restrict one without applying the same restrictions to the other.

Back to my Klan argument for a moment. People in this country have a right to say and think what they want. What they don't have a right to do is act on those thoughts in a manner that is illegal or harmful to people. I think that is where the confusion lies for most people. The constitution gives people the freedom of expression, not the freedom infringe on the rights of others. Its a very delicate balance.

That brings us back to JS. The City Council in Navuoo from what I can tell of the history books, was run by JS and his buddies. They were able to take what power they had as local government officials, and us it to censor and destroy a printing press. That led to JS being arrested and killed. That destructive act, led to another destructive act...and so on, and so on, and so on. Maybe JS and the city council felt justified in their actions because they were so persecuted. Many of us feel that way at times. That doesn't make us right. Had they thought it through, and acted in accord with the law, the outcome would likely have been different. But that was much of JS problem, the law didn't apply to him because there was a new law issued by God. One that let him restablish the gospel, and therefore convert the masses. The problem was the masses didn't want to be converted in a manner that restricted their freedoms.

To anonymous, no the Catholic Church has not always been receptive of freedom of speech. Most of the churches, Catholic, Protestant or otherwise, have not been receptive to free speech. Don't throw mud at just the catholics when you have mud in your own back yard. The other point I would make is that the constitution was not inspired by God. God is mentioned a number of times; he came up in the discussions; I'm sure some of the drafters prayed about it; but if you look at the background of many of the signers, these were not christian men. The motivation for the freedom of religion came as a result of the Church of England being recognized as the state religion and therefore thrust upon the people against their will. That same church also had great influence over the crown and was interwoven into the politics. The framers saw that as being detrimental to the running of a government so they made sure to keep religion out of politics when they drafted the first amendment.

I trust God to make and keep his own rules. I trust him to be loving and kind and merciful. I trust him to provide for me, and I trust him in all things. I recognize how God has had a hand in my whole life. God will always love and care for his children, which is all of us. What he won't do is involve himself in earthly things, those are not God's affairs. Last time I checked, governments and politics were earthly matters. I would hope God would guide our leaders, but that doesn't seem to be what is happening in the US or the rest of the world. Our leader, Mr. Bush is motivated by greed and power, not divine inspiration.

Catholic Defender.

Russtafarian said...

CD:

You really ought to leave room open in your interpretation that perhaps understanding of "free press" laws have changed over the years. Please do take a look at Dallin Oaks' (a legit., Reagan short-list legal scholar as well as an apostle) article on the topic in Utah historical Review. It might give some of added (and much-needed, in this case), perspective.

Anonymous said...

But I am really curious as to what actions have happened that supersede what is established in the constitution. To me, an action that is now law that supersedes what is in the constitution constitutes this unraveling thereby making the constitution hang by a thread. Yes, the IRS and income tax are not in the constitution but does the constitution specifically say that the government shall not tax its people? What is it exactly about the New Deal that superseded what was in the constitution and has thus become common law or a common area of jurisdiction for the executive branch of the government?

If the US were to transform from our republic into a dictatorship in a similar way that happened to the Weimar Republic, then yes, it would be clear that the constitution at that point had become no longer binding.

Pops said...

CD: I don't know what you're talking about. Libel is actionable under the law. Don't confuse the issue.

Anonymous said...

Pops,

I never said that libel wasn't actionable under the law. You're right, it is. What isn't a proper course of action under the law is to go in and destroy the printing press that the libel is printed on. That's a crime as well. Libel is something you can be sued for. But, libel also can be defended by the truth. What JS did was deny the printer the opportunity to defend their words with the truth. Another point is that what is considered libel differs based upon who the person the libel is printed about is. What may be libel for a private citizen, is not libel for a public figure. Go check your tort laws for this information. Public figures should expect distorted and maybe even false information to be printed about them. Libel also requires both publication of the statement, as well as some harm to have resulted for it to be libel. I'm not confusing the issue here, I'm just pointing out that I'm not at all comforted by the idea that LDS church might be the defender of our constitution, given that the LDS takes an overly conservative approach to interpreting that document. I think I'll lose rights that I have if left to your church to interpret what those rights are.

Catholic Defender

Lars said...

The Nauvoo Expositor incident was an order from the Nauvoo city council, which included Joseph Smith but also included several non-Mormons. One might reasonably ask why they too felt the order was necessary.

As for freedom of religion, yes it is a Mormon tenet to spread the gospel to all the world, but not to be imposed on everyone-- only those who willingly ask for baptism are given membership in the church. I think freedom of worship is safe under followers of Joseph Smith, who stated "I am just as ready to die in defending the rights of a Presbyterian, a Baptist, or a good man of any other denomination; for the same principle which would trample upon the rights of the Latter-day Saints would trample upon the rights of the Roman Catholics, or of any other denomination who may be unpopular and too weak to defend themselves."

Which is not to say that I necessarily believe that Mormons are destined to take over the government. I'm not too sure what the "hanging by a thread" statement really means in terms of future events. I definitely see it as an admonition to his followers to uphold the Constitution. A very important message for a group of disillusioned people, and still a very important message to us today.

pops said...

CD: now we're getting somewhere. Libel is defamation that is shown to cause harm to a party. When a publication persists in printing defamatory material that may reasonably be expected to incite mobs to drive law-abiding people from their homes and murder their leaders, it is the responsibility of the governing authorities to put a stop to it.

Joseph Smith and the LDS people were somewhat familiar with being driven from their homes and property and having attmpts made on their lives. This wasn't some abstract intellectual exercise.

What would you have done?

Halibut said...

Karen----who is the Anti-Christ you speak of?

I have heard that the former JBS CEO has a military uniform in his closet ready to take over.

Russtafarian said...

CD:

Have you checked that law review article yet?? Honestly, it's first-rate and will provide answers to many of these questions. I must say that as a historian (and I am...currently attending graduate school) you're engaging in serious presentism. I do it too...but as always, it's harder to see in ourselves than in others.

You really need to look at it first. Also, we have good reason to believe that vigilantism was alive and well in the frontier neck of the woods. This spirit extended from the Mormons to those who drove them out. Other printing presses elsewhere were similarly destroyed. Right or wrong, it was the zeitgeist to both carry out the deed and to express outrage that it was carried out in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Hi Pops,


I do agree with you that it is proper for the governing bodies to put a stop to publications that incite riotous mobs and murder. But, the proper course of action is not to destroy the printing press. And the proper course of action is not to engage in the same course of conduct you are trying to curb. The proper recourse for JS to follow was a resort to the courts. There was a channel for redress that didn't involve taking the law into his own hands.

Newspapers print libel all of the time. When that happens, the author of the article suffers the consequences, not the newspaper itself. And that's the difference here. Had JS taken the author of the paper to task in a court of law, he would've had a proper case, and a possible redress for the wrongs done. Given the inherent bias against your church at that time, he may not have won his case, but he would've used the proper channels. I would've followed the law, and used the proper channels to address the percieved wrongs. I would've have attacked the press itself.

By destroying the printing press, JS was attacking the method of conveying free speech, and therefore waging an attack on speech itself. I realize I am splitting hairs here, but there is a difference. In the one case you are attacking the speaker, in the other you are attacking the speech. The law allows you to seek redress against the speaker of the libelous or slanderous speech. The constitution protects the right make the speech.

Rastafarin I haven't read that article yet. Truthfully I'm avoiding reading it, because I know in my own mind I won't be able to read it objectively knowing its written by an LDS Apostle. That to me raises a bit of suspicion and I don't think its fair for me to say I'll read it knowing that I already consider it biased. I do think you're right about the behaviour of LDS and Non-LDS at the time of JS. Having read a great deal from both sides, what strikes me most is how each side tends to downplay their own involvement in contributing to the persecution of your church at that time. A lot of wrongs were committed from both LDS and Non-LDS. Seems a better approach is to acknowledge that both sides engaged in conduct that violated the rights of the citizens of this country.

Anonymous said...

Whoops,

Meant to sign the above from Catholic Defender

Alex Valencic said...

CD:

Even though the author of the article in the Utah Historical Review was written by a member of the LDS Church, that does not take away the fact that the publication is a peer-reviewed journal. It is not some hack-publication.

Dallin H. Oaks is a respected lawyer and jurist. Just take a glance at the Wikipedia entry on him and you'll realise that he knows his stuff when it comes to the law. He spent a great deal of time examining the laws at that time in preparing his article. I think that by dismissing it solely because the author is LDS, you are preventing yourself from being given a perspective outside the 21st Century one you are using. Laws and interpretations of laws have changed dramatically over the past 150 years or so.

Regardless, I don't think that the Constitution thread means that the power of the government, or the preservation of it, will fall into the hands of the LDS church.

Latter-day Saints play a role in many things: humanitarian aid is a big one that comes to mind. This doesn't mean that they are the only players. There are many that participate in providing humanitarian aid. And there are many that will participate in saving the United States Constitution.

Iguana Montana said...

@Alex:
Do you happen to have a citation or online reference to the Dallin H. Oaks article?

Pops said...

CD: you keep saying that libel and slander are protected speech. They are not.

You say that newspapers print libel all the time. They don't if they wish to stay in business. It can be a very costly proposition, since they are likely to be sued. Just ask the National Enquirer.

You say that Joseph Smith took the law into his own hands. He didn't - it was the City Council. They were the law.

You stated previously that Joseph Smith was murdered as a result of anger about his having destroyed that press. I beg to differ. He was murdered for the same reason that other attempts had previously been made to take his life. The destruction of the press was an attempt to stop the libel that was being printed for the express purpose of inciting mob action.

Ryan said...

CD said...
I would've followed the law, and used the proper channels to address the percieved wrongs.

Umm.. they tried that in Missouri. For 6 years. With pillage, rape and murder going unchecked the whole time. With local law enforcement (militias) joining the mob. The only response from the court system (besides your-cause-is-just-but-I-can-do-nothing style hand-wringing) was an extermination order banishing them from the state on pain of death.

No doubt it's "biased" (= not what you want to hear) so you won't read it, but my Dad has a thick book documenting the Church's attempts to seek redress through proper channels. It's called "The Mormon Redress Petitions," appropriately enough.

What, exactly, would be your goal in applying to a deaf court for redress and doing nothing in the meantime?

As far as destroying the press goes, IANAL but if you insist on applying modern law to actions from 175 years ago, I believe you're leaving out a rather important aspect of the law: newspapers and other publishing bodies that exercise editorial review ARE, in fact, responsible for the content they publish. There's been a huge number of cases recently about whether web sites are liable for user-submitted content, and the answer seems to be, "if they moderate/filter/edit rather than simply allowing the user to post, yes." Craig's List came very close to facing the wrath of the law and having its "printing press destroyed" over discriminatory housing ads.

Ryan said...

Pops said...
You say that Joseph Smith took the law into his own hands. He didn't -- it was the City Council. They *were* the law.

From Dr. Oaks' "biased" article:

"The amendment to the United States Constitution that extended the guarantee of freedom of the press to protect against the actions of city and state governments was not adopted until 1868, and it was not enforced as a matter of federal law until 1931."

The First Amendment says:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

At the time, the Constitution served to limit the powers of the federal government and prevent it from stomping on states' rights. Joseph and the Nauvoo council were not members of Congress.

The notion that state and local governments were bound by the constitution came with 14th Amendment, ratified in 1868:

No State [and by extension, local government] shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Joseph died in 1844.

From what I understand, destroying the press was actually legal at the time, but absolutely terrible PR and likely to infuriate folks no end. Of course, if those folks are already actively burning, pillaging, raping and murdering, you could argue that PR is a low priority.

Anonymous said...

Pops,

What I am saying is that what you are calling libel may or may not have been libel under the law. We'll never know because no one ever got to raise the issue. You are certainly going say it was libel. I wasn't there, I don't know if it was libel or not. But I do know that I am not comforted by LDS defending my constitutional rights, which was the original point I was making before we strayed from the subject of this post.

Catholic Defender

Iguana Montana said...

OK. So, I'll answer my own question. The citation to the article (so far as I could find it) is: Dallin H. Oaks, Suppression of the Nauvoo Expositor, Utah L. Rev. 9 (Winter 1965).

If anyone has a more recent citation, or a link to an online text, please post it up. I would really like to read it.

Anonymous said...

CD, so what if you're not comfortable with the Mormon church defending the Constitution (which is not what the prophecy states; the prophecy says the Elders will defend it). If you don't believe Joseph Smith is a prophet, then why even argue about your comfort with the prophecy being fulfilled?

I am not comfortable with only Catholics being in heaven, but I don't argue about it because I don't think the pope is inspired anyway. The real question is not whether only Catholics will be in heaven but rather, is the pope inspired.

Papa D said...

"But I do know that I am not comforted by LDS defending my constitutional rights, which was the original point I was making before we strayed from the subject of this post."

I am comforted by anyone defending my constitutional rights. Anyone. I really have a hard time understanding the opposite point of view. If a talking mouse or a telepathic earwig could help defend my constitutional rights, I would be grateful for the help.

Catholics and Mormons have a LOT of common ground on which they could help each other. I am saddened that anyone in either group would be offended by an offer from anyone in the other group. Evangelicals who think both Catholics and Mormons are going to burn in Hell might be a different story, but I'll even plug my nose and accept their help if it really will defend my constitutional rights.

Aaron said...

I think the LDS Church leadership has already said as much as they need to about this issue (http://tinyurl.com/4bgehj):

"As citizens we have the privilege and duty of electing office holders and influencing public policy. Participation in the political process affects our communities and nation today and in the future.

"Latter-day Saints as citizens are to seek out and then uphold leaders who will act with integrity and are wise, good, and honest. Principles compatible with the gospel may be found in various political parties.

"Therefore, in this election year, we urge you to register to vote, to study the issues and candidates carefully and prayerfully, and then to vote for and actively support those you believe will most nearly carry out your ideas of good government.

"The Church affirms its neutrality regarding political parties, platforms, and candidates. The Church also affirms its constitutional right of expression on political and social issues."


If your LDS, or Catholic, or Evangelical, you can save the constitution by participating in the political process.

Personally, I think there's a greater risk to the constitution from voter apathy, disillusionment, and inadequate education about how to participate in our government than the actions of a single governmental / non-governmental entity.

Anonymous said...

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nauvoo_Expositor :

"A detailed legal analysis of the Nauvoo City Council's actions was undertaken by Dallin H. Oaks, then a professor at the University of Chicago Law School. Oaks opined that while the destruction of the Expositor's printing press was legally questionable, under the law of the time the newspaper certainly could have been declared libelous and therefore a public nuisance by the Nauvoo City Council. As a result, Oaks concludes that while under contemporaneous law it would have been legally permissible for city officials to destroy, or "abate," the actual printed newspapers, the destruction of the printing press itself was probably outside of the council's legal authority, and its owners could have sued for damages."

I have been unable to find a copy of the actual document "Suppression of the Nauvoo Expositor" online, so I am unable to verify the accuracy of this summary. The Wikipedia discussion page for that same article contains several dissenting opinions that may also be of interest, but it appears that the consensus (so far as consensus can be trusted) was that the above summary accurately represents Oaks' analysis.

That being said, although interesting and possibly worthwhile, all of this is somewhat off-topic.

Whether Joseph Smith's actions were legal or not has little bearing on whether LDS people as individuals or the LDS church as a whole would do a good job of defending the US Constitution. Latter-day Saints revere Joseph Smith as a great prophet, but they do not copy his every action. Although a truly great man, Joseph Smith, like all mortals, was imperfect. Latter-day Saints would, I suppose, be more likely to base their actions in defending the Constitution on scriptures such as the Bible, the Book of Mormon, or the Book of Doctrine and Covenants. Much of the basis for LDS political thought can be found in Section 134 of the Doctrine and Covenants, found at http://scriptures.lds.org/en/dc/134/ It is not a long read -- 12 short verses preceded by a summary and a short paragraph giving some background/contextual information. I encourage anyone who hasn't read it before to give it a look.

Another probable basis for the actions of Latter-day Saints regarding the Constitution can be found in the most recent political actions of the LDS Church. Aaron quoted one letter, which is also available from http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/news-releases-stories/first-presidency-issues-letter-on-political-participation The LDS.org newsroom, by the way, also contains a "public issues" section with information on the Church's formal stance on various contested issues such as abortion and same-gender attraction.

The other recent political action by the church that springs to mind is a letter urging members to support the proposed California Constitutional Amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. The text of that letter can be read here: http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/commentary/california-and-same-sex-marriage

I think that these scriptures and recent actions by the Church are probably better predictors of LDS political action than Joseph Smith's actions all those years ago.

Sincerely,
Some Random Dude

BHodges said...

I voted Obama. GOBAMA.

Note: Obama is not the anti-christ.

Micah Burnett said...

We still have a Constitution? Seriously, what thread is left? There's also a version of his prophecy that says "if the constitution be saved at all, it will be by the Elders of this Church".... I think we're at the point where it will not be saved at all, least of all the two or three Elders in the church who understand the Constitution...ok, maybe there's more.

Anonymous said...

I don't vote, because I choose not to participate in the coercion of the State. Should I be ex'd?

Look up all references to "constitution" in LDS scripture. In all but 2 cases, constitution is used with a lower case "c," not the pro-noun with a capital "C."

The word "constitution" refers to make up, or founding, or establishment. What the thing is made of. If we look at the lower case, we must agree that it is in reference to the founding of America, not the document with the name "Constitution."

These elements that constitute the united States of America would include the Declaration of Independence, the Revolutionary War, the Boston Tea Party, the Articles of Confederation, along with other items and events. These elements combine, along with the desire for individual liberty, "constitute" the founding of America.

The two times "Constitution" is used as a pro-noun were 1) someone transcribing a prayer by Joseph Smith, and 2) a transcription of a prophecy by Joseph Smith. One of these transcripts was added to the D&C after Josephs death and the other was added while he was faced with his pending death. In neither situation does it appear that Joseph would have had the opportunity to review and approve those transcripts.

So should we be defending the constitution, or the Constitution? Are the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation the founding documents we should be fighting for?

Should we recognize the Constitution as the coup d'etat it is, or should we keep pretending the Constitution isn't the very foundation of tyranny in this land?