From the First Presidency and
Members of the Quorum of the Twelve

The following quotations represent a growing list of statements and comments from Conference and other official addresses/publications on various issues of politics and freedom made by latter-day prophets, seers and revelators. These have been selected for their brief and to-the-point nature so that the reader may obtain an idea of the stance of Church leaders on these issues. Additional resources have been listed where such elaborate upon the topic. You may also be interested in viewing some of the political and governmental entries in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism. Topics below are listed alphabetically.

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Current List of Issues


"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints holds to the doctrine of the separation of church and state; the non-interference of church authority in political matters; and the absolute freedom and independence of the individual in the performance of his political duties. . . . we favor: The absolute separation of church and state; No domination of the state by the church; No church interference with the functions of the state; No state interference with the functions of the church, or with the free exercise of religion; The absolute freedom of the individual from the domination of ecclesiastical authority in political affairs; [and] The equality of all churches before the law" (Address to the World, Conference, April, 1907; excerpt)

"The Church stands for the separation of church and state…As the church may not assume the functions of the state, so the state may not assume the functions of the church…" (First Presidency, Conference, April 1942)

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"Now there is nothing wrong with civil rights - it is what's being done in the name of civil rights that is alarming. There is no doubt that the so-called Civil Rights movement as it exists today is used as a communist program for revolution in America, just as agrarian reform was used by the communists to take over China and Cuba." (Ezra Taft Benson, Conference, September 1967)

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"…Communism being thus hostile to loyal American citizenship and incompatible with true Church membership, of necessity no loyal American and no faithful Church member can be a Communist. We call upon all Church members to completely eschew Communism." (First Presidency, Deseret News, July 1936)

"…Among the Latter-day Saints they speak of their philosophy and their plans under it, as an ushering in of the United Order. Communism and all other similar “isms” bear no relationship whatever to the United Order. They are merely the clumsy counterfeits which Satan always devises of the gospel plan. Communism debases the individual and makes him the enslaved tool of the state to whom he must look for sustenance and religion; the United Order exalts the individual, leaves him his property, “according to his family, according to his circumstances and his wants and needs,” (D&C; 51:3) and provides a system by which he helps care for his less fortunate brethren; the United Order leaves every man free to choose his own religion as his conscience directs. Communism destroys man’s God-given free agency; the United Order glorifies it. Latter-day Saints cannot be true to their faith and lend aid, encouragement, or sympathy to any of these false philosophies. They will prove snares to their feet." (Heber J. Grant, J. Reuben Clark Jr., David O. McKay, The First Presidency, Conference, April, 1942, p. 90)

"Communism is turning out to be the earthly image of the plan which Satan presented in the pre-existence. The whole program of socialistic-communism is essentially a war against God and the plan of salvation..."(Ezra Taft Benson, Conference, October 1961)

"We have urged you, above all, to try to support good and conscientious candidates of either party who are aware of the great dangers inherent in communism and who are truly dedicated to the constitution in the tradition of our fathers. We have suggested also that you should support candidates who pledge their sincere fidelity to our liberty-a liberty which aims at the preservation of both personal and property rights." (David O. McKay, "Vote Your Convictions," Deseret News, 11/2/64)

"The position of this Church on the subject of communism has never changed. We consider it the greatest Satanical threat to peace, prosperity, and the spread of God's work among men that exists on the face of the earth... No member of this Church can be true to his faith, nor can any American be loyal to his trust, while lending aid, encouragement, or sympathy to any of these false philosophies; for if he does, they wil prove snares to his feet." (David O. McKay, Conference, April 1966)

"Communism is Satan's counterfeit for the gospel plan…it is the greatest anti-Christ power in the world today and therefore the greatest our preservation as a free people. By the extent to which we tolerate it, accommodate ourselves to it, permit ourselves to be encircled by its tentacles and drawn to it, to that extent we forfeit the protection of the God of this land." (Marion G. Romney, of the First Presidency, Ensign, September 1979)

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"In things that pertain to celestial glory there can be no forced operations. We must do according as the Spirit of the Lord operates upon our understandings and feelings. We cannot be crowded into matters, however great might be the blessing attending such procedure. We cannot be forced into living a celestial law; we must do this ourselves, of our own free will. And whatever we do in regard to the principle of the United Order, we must do it because we desire to do it …The United Order is not French Communism." (Lorenzo Snow, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 19, p. 346, 349-350)

"Communism and all other similar 'isms' bear no relationship whatever to the United Order. They are merely the clumsy counterfeits which Satan always devises of the gospel plan. Communism debases the individual and makes him the enslaved tool of the state to whom he must look for sustenance and religion; the United Order exalts the individual, leaves him his property, 'according to his family, according to his circumstances and his wants and needs,' (D&C; 51:3) and provides a system by which he helps care for his less fortunate brethren…"(First Presidency, Conference April 1942)

"In the first place I repeat again, the United Order recognized and was built upon the principle of private ownership of property; all that a man had and lived upon under the United Order, was his own. Quite obviously, the fundamental principle of our system today is the ownership of private property." (J. Reuben Clark, Conference, October 1942)

"This procedure [the Law of Consecration and Stewardship] preserved in every man the right to private ownership and management of his property. At his own option he could alienate it or keep and operate it and pass it on to his heirs…the United Order is operated upon the principle of private ownership and individual management. Socialism is operated on the principle of collective or governmental ownership and management. Thus in both implementation and ownership and management of property, the United Order preserves to men their God-given agency, while socialism deprives them of it…" (Marion G. Romney, Socialism and the United Order Compared, BYU, March 1966)

"These things [peace, plenty, freedom] it [socialism] will never bring, nor will it do away with idleness and promote 'industry, thrift and self-respect,' for it is founded, in theory and in practice, on the principles of the evil one." (Marion G. Romney, Socialism and the United Order Compared, BYU, March 1966)

"The United Order is not a communal system; it is not one under which all things are held in common..." (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 813)

"The Church never was, and under existing commandments never will be, a communal society, under the directions thus far given by the Lord. The United Order was not communal nor communistic. It was completely and intensely individualistic, with a consecration of unneeded surpluses for the support of the Church and the poor." (J. Reuben Clark, Jr., "The United Order and Law of Consecration As Set Out in the Revelations of the Lord" from a pamphlet of articles reprinted from the Church Section of the Deseret News, 1942, pp. 26-27. As quoted by Marion G. Romney, Conference, April 1977)

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"I have seen the end of this nation and it is terrible. I will tell you in the name of the LORD that a secret band will sap the life of this nation." (Apostle Moses Thatcher, from an address given at Franklin Ward, Franklin, Idaho, June 16,1882 and entered into the historical record thereof)

"Satan...[plans] to destroy liberty and freedom ~ economic, political, and religious, and to set up in place thereof the greatest, most widespread, and most complete tyranny that has ever oppressed men. He is working under such perfect disguise that many do not recognize either him or his methods." (First Presidency, Conf, October 1942)

"...we should accept the command of the Lord and treat socialistic communism as the tool of Satan. We should follow the counsel of the President of the Church and resist the influence and policies of the socialist-communist conspiracy wherever they are found--in the schools, in the churches, in governments, in unions, in businesses, in agriculture." (Ezra Taft Benson, Conference, October 1961)

"Concerning the United States, the Lord revealed to his prophets that its greatest threat would be a vast, worldwide 'secret combination' which would not only threaten the United States but also seek to 'overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations...'(Ether 8:25)" (Ezra Taft Benson, Conference, October 1961)

"Do not think that all these usurpations, intimidations, and impositions are being done to us through inadvertency or mistake, the whole course is deliberately planned and carried out; its purpose is to destroy the Constitution and our Constitutional government...." (J. Reuben Clark, Jr., Deseret News, Sept. 25th 1949; as quoted by Ezra Taft Benson, Conference, April 1963)

"Our priceless heritage is threatened today as never before in our lifetime: from without by the forces of Godless Communism, and at home by our complacency and by the insidious forces of the Socialist-Communist conspiracy, with the help of those who would abandon the ancient landmarks set by our fathers and take us down the road to destruction. It was Alexander Hamilton who warned that 'nothing is more common than for a free people, in times of heat and violence, to gratify momentary passions, by letting into the government, principles and precedents which afterwards prove fatal to themselves.' (Alexander Hamilton and the Founding of the Nation, p. 462.)" (Ezra Taft Benson, General Conference, April 1968)

"It is well to ask, what system [referring to Isaiah 29:15-16] established secret works of darkness to overthrow nations by violent revolution? Who blasphemously proclaimed the atheistic doctrine that God made us not? Satan works through human agents. We need only look to some of the ignoble characters in human history who were contemporary to the restoration of the gospel to discover fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy. I refer to the infamous founders of Communism and others who follow in their tradition…" (Ezra Taft Benson, A Witness and a Warning, Conference, October 1979)

"[Wickedness] is more highly organized, more cleverly disguised, and more powerfully promoted than ever before. Secret combinations lusting for power, gain, and glory are flourishing. A secret combination that seeks to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries is increasing its evil influence and control over America and the entire world." (Ezra Taft Benson, I Testify, Conference, October 1988).

"The Book of Mormon narrative is a chronicle of nations long since gone. But in its descriptions of the problems of today’s society, it is as current as the morning newspaper and much more definitive, inspired, and inspiring concerning the solutions of those problems. I know of no other writing which sets forth with such clarity the tragic consequences to societies that follow courses contrary to the commandments of God. Its pages trace the stories of two distinct civilizations that flourished on the Western Hemisphere. Each began as a small nation, its people walking in the fear of the Lord. But with prosperity came growing evils. The people succumbed to the wiles of ambitious and scheming leaders who oppressed them with burdensome taxes, who lulled them with hollow promises, who countenanced and even encouraged loose and lascivious living. These evil schemers led the people into terrible wars that resulted in the death of millions and the final and total extinction of two great civilizations in two different eras." (Gordon B. Hinckley, First Presidency Message, Ensign, August 2005)

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"The Constitution and laws of the United States resemble a theocracy more closely than any government now on the earth, or that ever has been, so far as we know, except the government of the children of Israel to the time when they elected a king." (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 6:342)

"Every Latter-day Saint should love the inspired Constitution of the United States…" (Ezra Taft Benson, The Constitution - A Glorious Standard, Conference April 1976)

"...I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose." (Doctrine & Covenants 101:80)

"We have a divine mandate to preserve [the Constitution]. But unfortunately, today in this freedom struggle many gentiles are showing greater wisdom in their generation than the children of light." (Ezra Taft Benson, Conference, April 1965)

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"…we regard the killing of human beings, except in conformity with the civil law, as a capital crime which should be punished by the shedding the blood of the criminal, after a public trial before a legally constituted court of the land…The revelations of God to this Church make death the penalty for capital crime…" (First Presidency, 1890)

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EDUCATION (& Home Education)

"I am opposed to free education as much as I am opposed to taking property from one man and giving it to another....Would I encourage free schools by taxation? No!" (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 18:357)

"We had to pay our own schoolteachers, raise our own bread and earn our own clothing, or go without; there was no other choice. We did it then, and we are able to do the same to-day. I want to enlist the sympathies of the ladies among the Latter-day Saints, to see what we can do for ourselves with regard to schooling our children. Do not say you cannot school them, for you can..." (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol.16, p.19)

"We do not want outside folks to teach our children, do we? I think no. We do not want them to teach us how to get to heaven, do we? If we did, it would be of no use, for they do not know the way. Well, then, we do not want them to tamper with the minds of our little ones. You will see the day that Zion will be as far ahead of the outside world in everything pertaining to learning of every kind as we are today in regard to religious matters. You mark my words, and write them down, and see if they do not come to pass. We are not dependent upon them, but we are upon the Lord." (John Taylor, Journal of Discourses 21:100)

"We do not want men or women to teach the children of Latter-day Saints who are not Latter-day Saints themselves. Hear it you Elders of Israel, and you school-trustees! We want none of these things. Let others who fear not God take their course; but it is for us to train our children up in the fear of God. God will hold us responsible for this trust. Hear it, you Elders of Israel and you fathers and you mothers!" (John Taylor, Journal of Discourses 20:179)

"…the duty of which [the school] is to instill patriotism and loyalty to the government and society. I think the real purpose of the school is to develop character! Educators say it is to teach the three "R's"…but the main purpose is…to develop character, loyalty to God, to the government, loyalty to the home, and loyalty to the individual himself…"(David O. McKay, Church News, August 1963)

"As a matter of general policy, the BYU Board of Trustees has long adhered to a position opposed to general federal aid to education. We have always objected to the Church or any of its branches or agencies receiving any subsidy or 'gift' from the government...We have steadfastly refused to participate in any federal education program which is based upon the subsidy principle." (David O. McKay, Deseret News, Nov. 2, 1964)

"If the doctrines of these three men [Charles Darwin (evolution), Karl Marx(communism-socialism), Maynard Keynes(liberalism/socialist economics)] were to become the basic philosophy of our way of life, we as a people would fail as has no other generation before us since the days of Noah." (Ezra Taft Benson, MIA Conference, June 1966)

"Moral values are being neglected and prayer expelled from public schools on the pretext that moral teaching belongs to religion. At the same time, atheism, the secular religion, is admitted to class, and our youngsters are proselyted to a conduct without morality.....we are caught in a current so strong that unless we correct our course, civilization as we know it will surely be wrecked to pieces...The distance between the church and a world set on a course which we cannot follow will steadily increase." (Boyd K. Packer, General Conference, April 1994).

"Whatever you do, be choice in your selection of teachers. We do not want infidels to mold the minds of our children. They are a precious charge bestowed upon us by the Lord, and we cannot be too careful in rearing and training them. I would rather have my children taught the simple rudiments of a common education by men of God, and have them under their influence, than have them taught in the most abstruse [or complex] sciences by men who have not the fear of God in their hearts..." (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: John Taylor, p.90)

"And then we want to study also the principles of education, and to get the very best teachers we can to teach our children; see that they are men and women who fear God and keep his commandments. We do not want men or women to teach the children of the Latter-day Saints who are not Latter-day Saints themselves. Hear it, you Elders of Israel and you school trustees! We want none of these things. Let others who fear not God take their course; but it is for us to train our children up in the fear of God. God will hold us responsible for this trust. Hear it, you Elders of Israel and you fathers and you mothers!" (The Mind and Will of the Lord, John Taylor, Address 4:22)

"...I take this opportunity to speak to the whole country in relation to this matter [education]. I can perceive quite an interest in educational matters, manifesting itself in our brethren who preside here; and I am much gratified in it. I hope that this whole county will go at this matter in all good faith, and where you lack good school-houses put them up; and when you have already the school-house, but lack the furniture, get it and try to make the school-house comfortable for the children; and then good teachers who are good Latter-day Saints. Shall we have them, or shall we employ teachers that will turn the infant minds of our children away from the principles of the Gospel, and perhaps lead them to darkness and death? Some say, "You ought to be very generous, quite as liberal and generous as others." I think so. But if some of these liberal people, who talk so much about liberality, would show a little more of it, we would appreciate it a little better. I would like to know if a Methodist would send his children to a Roman Catholic School, or vice versa? I think not. Do either send their children to "Mormon" schools, or employ "Mormon" teachers? I think not. Do we object to it? No, we do not; we accord to all classes their rights, and we claim rights equal with them. Well, shall we, after going to the ends of the earth to gather people to Zion, in order that they may learn more perfectly of His ways and walk in His paths, shall we then allow our children to be at the mercy of those who would lead them down to death again? God forbid! Let our teachers be men of God, men of honor and integrity, and let us afford our children such learning as will place our community in the front ranks in educational as well as religious matters. But would we interfere with other religious denominations? No. Prevent them from sending their children where and to whom they please? No. Or from shipping where they please? No. I would not put a hair in their way, nor interfere with them in any possible way; they can take their course, and we want the same privilege." (John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, .19:.249 - 50, October 21, 1877)

"In many places it is literally not safe physically for youngsters to go to school. And in many schools - and it's becoming almost generally true - it is spiritually unsafe to attend public schools. Look back over the history of education to the turn of the century and the beginning of the educational philosophies, pragmatism and humanism were the early ones, and they branched out into a number of other philosophies which have led us now into a circumstance where our schools are producing the problems that we face." (Boyd K. Packer, Charge to the David O. McKay School of Education at BYU, October 9, 1996)

"I feel to warn you that one of the chief means of misleading our youth and destroying the family unit is our educational institutions. There is more than one reason why the Church is advising our youth to attend colleges close to their homes where institutes of religion are available. It gives the parents the opportunity to stay close to their children, and if they become alerted and informed, these parents can help expose the deceptions of men like Sigmund Freud, Charles Darwin, John Dewey, John Keynes and others. There are much worse things today that can happen to a child than not getting a full education. In fact, some of the worst things have happened to our children while attending colleges led by administrators who wink at subversion and amorality. Said Karl G. Maeser, "I would rather have my child exposed to smallpox, typhus fever, cholera or other malignant and deadly diseases than to the degrading influence of a corrupt teacher." (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 307.)

"There is absolutely nothing in the Constitution which authorizes the federal government to enter into the field of education. Furthermore, the Tenth Amendment says: "The powers not delegated to the United States Government are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." Nothing could be more clear. It is unconstitutional for the federal government to exercise any powers over education." (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 298.)

"...our young people are being indoctrinated with a Marxist philosophy and I am fearful of the harvest. The younger generation is further to the left than most adults realize. The old concepts of our Founding Fathers are scoffed and jeered at by young moderns..." (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p 321)

"The world worships the learning of man. They trust in the arm of flesh (see D&C; 1:19). To them, man's reasoning is greater than God's revelations. The precepts of man have gone so far in the educational system that in many cases, a higher degree today, in the so-called social sciences can be tantamount to a major investment in error. Very few men can build firmly enough on the rock of revelation to go through this kind of indoctrination and come out untainted. Unfortunately, of those who succumb, some use their higher degree to get teaching positions even in our Church Educational System, where they spread the falsehoods they have been taught. President Joseph Fielding Smith was right when he said that false educational ideas would be one of the threats to the Church within." (Ezra Taft Benson; God, Family & Country p. 258).

"The tenth plank in Karl Marx's Manifesto for destroying our kind of civilization advocated the establishment of "free education for all children in public schools." There were several reasons why Marx wanted government to run the schools. Dr. A. A. Hodge pointed out one of them when he said, "It is capable of exact demonstration that if every party in the State has the right of excluding from public schools whatever he does not believe to be true, then he that believes most must give way to him that believes least, and then he that believes least must give way to him that believes absolutely nothing, no matter in how small a minority the atheists or agnostics may be. It is self-evident that on this scheme, if it is consistently and persistently carried out in all parts of the country, the United States system of national popular education will be the most efficient and widespread instrument for the propagation of atheism which the world has ever seen." (Ezra Taft Benson, Conference, October 1970).

"Let us be sure our educational system turns out young men and women of character, who know the basic facts of economics, free enterprise, history, finance, and government and who have a respect for law and an appreciation of the spiritual - otherwise that educational system will truly have been a failure." (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p.301)

"During the past several years many of our institutions of learning have been turning out an increasing number of students schooled in amorality, relativity, and atheism -- students divested of a belief in God, without fixed moral principles or an understanding of our constitutional republic and our capitalistic, free enterprise economic system. This follows a pattern which was established years ago at some of our key colleges that produced many of the teachers and leaders in the educational field across the country today. The fruits of this kind of teaching have been tragic, not only to the souls of the individuals involved, but also to the parents, and even to our country. . . . The whole process can be quite insidious. Young people know that the best jobs are available to college graduates. They want to do well at school. When exam time comes, they must give back to the teacher what the teacher wants. Now under the guise of academic freedom -- which some apparently feel is freedom to destroy freedom -- some teachers reserve to themselves the privilege of teaching error, destroying faith in God, debunking morality, and depreciating our free economic system. If questions reflecting the teacher's false teachings appear on the exam, how will the student answer who believes in God and morality and our Constitution? ...The problem arises when under the pressure of a heavy course of study and the necessity of parroting back what certain professors have said, the student does not have the time or take the time to learn the truth. If he does not learn the truth, someday he will suffer the consequences. Many an honest student, after graduation, has had to do some unlearning and then fresh learning of basic principles which never change and which he should have been taught initially."(Ezra Taft Benson, Conference, October 1964)

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"There has not been another such group of men in all [the 200 years of our history] that even challenged the supremacy of this group." (J. Reuben Clark,, Conference, April 1957)

"I am going to bear my testimony to this assembly, if I never do it again in my life, that those men who laid the foundation of this American government and signed the Declaration of Independence were the best spirits the God of heaven could find on the face of the earth. They were choice spirits...inspired of the Lord." (Wilford Woodruff, Conference, April 1898)

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"May the appeal of our Lord in his intercessory prayer for unity be realized in our homes, our wards, our stakes, and in our support of the basic principles of our Republic." (President David O. McKay, The Instructor, 1956)

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"As we have progressed the mist has been removed, and in relation to these matters, the Elders of Israel begin to understand that they have something to do with the world politically as well as religiously, that it is as much their duty to study correct political principles as well as religious, and to seek to know and comprehend the social and political interests of man, and to learn and be able to teach that which would be best calculated to promote the interests of the world." (John Taylor, JD: 9:340)

"Every Latter-day Saint should be familiar with every part of this great document [the Constitution]. Such knowledge is essential to an understanding of the significance of the word of the Lord in the Doctrine and Covenants… Above all peoples on the face of the earth the Latter-day Saints should uphold, defend, and cherish this sacred document…" (Joseph Fielding Smith, The Progress of Man, p. 298, 299)

"Every member of the priesthood should understand the divine plan designed by the Lord to raise up the first free people in modern times." (Ezra Taft Benson, Conference, October 1961)

"We should become informed about communism, about socialism, and about Americanism. What better way to become informed than by first studying the inspired words of the prophets and using that as a foundation; against which to test all other material." (Ezra Taft Benson, Conference, October 1961)

"It is time, therefore, that every American and especially every member of the priesthood, become informed about the aims, tactics, and schemes of socialistic-communism."(Ezra Taft Benson, Conference, October 1961)

"We must learn the principles of the Constitution and then abide by its precepts. Have we read the Constitution and pondered it? Are we aware of its principles? Could we defend it? Can we recognize when a law is constitutionally unsound?" (Ezra Taft Benson, BYU Devotional, 16 September, 1986)

"…I speak to you about a subject that is very close to my heart and affects the worldwide Church…I desire, therefore, to speak to you about our divine Constitution, which the Lord said 'belongs to all mankind' (D&C98;:5) 'and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles' (D&C; 101:77)"(Ezra Taft Benson, Our Divine Constitution, Conference October 1987).

"…we must learn the principles of the Constitution in the tradition of the Founding Fathers. Have we read the Federalst Papers? Are we reading the Constitution and pondering it? Are we aware of its principles? Are we abiding by these principles and teaching them to others? … Do we know what the prophets have said about the Constitution and the threats to it?" (Ezra Taft Benson, Our Divine Constitution, Conference October 1987).

"Members of the Church are free to join anti-communist organizations if they desire and their membership in the Church is not jeopardized by doing so. The Church is not opposing the John Birch Society or any other organization of like nature..." (The First Presidency, Church News, March 1963)

"I believe that only through a truly educated citizenry can the ideals that inspired the Founding Fathers of our nation be preserved and perpetuated...[one of] four fundamental elements in such an education [is the] open and forcible teaching of facts regarding communism as an enemy to God and to individual freedom." (David O. McKay, Church News, March 13, 1954)

"...we should help those who have been deceived or who are misinformed to find the truth. Unless each person who knows the truth will "stand up and speak up" it is difficult for the deceived or confused citizen to find his way back." (Ezra Taft Benson, Conference, October 1961)

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"The Foundation for Economic Education, Irvington-on-Hudson, New York on which President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., served as a board member, continues to supply sound freedom literature. We should know enough about American free enterprise to be able to defend it. We should know what makes it possible for six percent of humanity--living under our free economy--to produce about one-half of the earth's developed wealth each year." (Ezra Taft Benson, Conference, October 1961)

"The fostering of full economic freedom lies at the base of our liberties. Only in perpetuating economic freedom can our social, political, and religious liberties be preserved." (President David O. McKay, The Deseret News, 12 March 1952, Church sec., pp. 2,14 and 15.)

"Then why does any honest, patriotic, intelligent citizen of America prefer socialism to free enterprise? Is it not in free enterprise that free agency, a divine gift to every human being, finds an environment favorable to growth and development and to living in harmony with our beautiful doctrine of eternal progression?" (Joseph F. Merrill, Conference, April 1950)

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"The [concerned] bishop reports that these young people [students brainwashed by teachers] made the following statements in a discussion: Communism is an improvement over capitalism. The U.S. Constitution is archaic; it's out of date. A one-world setup governed by the United Nations would be a step forward..." (Ezra Taft Benson, MIA Conference, June 1966)

"There is one and only one legitimate goal of United States foreign policy. It is a narrow goal, a nationalistic goal: the preservation of our national independence. Nothing in the Constitution grants that the president shall have the privilege of offering himself as a world leader. He is our executive; he is on our payroll; he is supposed to put our best interests in front of those of other nations. Nothing in the Constitution nor in logic grants to the president of the United States or to Congress the power to influence the political life of other countries, to ‘uplift' their cultures, to bolster their economies, to feed their people, or even to defend them against their enemies." (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 614; see also pp. 682 & 704.)

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"The right to speak out

When a moral issue does arise, it is the responsibility of the leaders of the Church to speak out. Gambling, for instance, certainly is a moral issue. Life is a moral issue. When morality is involved, we have both the right and the obligation to raise a warning voice...

Physical and moral laws

There are both moral and physical laws "irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world" (D&C; 130:20) which man cannot overrule.

For instance, do you think a vote to repeal the law of gravity would do any good?" (Elder Boyd K. Packer, Conference April 1992)

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“Press reports have for some months indicated that a determined effort is in the making to establish in this country a compulsory universal military training designed to draw into military training and service the entire youth of the nation. We had hoped that mature reflection might lead the proponents of such a policy to abandon it. We have felt and still feel that such a policy would carry with it the gravest dangers to our Republic...we have the honor respectfully to urge that you do your utmost to defeat any plan designed to bring about the compulsory military service of our citizenry" (First Presidency, letter dated December 14, 1945, addressed by the First Presidency of the Church to each member of the Utah Congressional Delegation-Senators Thomas and Murdock and Congressmen Granger and Robinson; for full context see: James R. Clark, compiler, The Messages of the First Presidency, volume 6; published online here.)

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"The struggle [between freedom and slavery] is more momentous than a decade ago, yet today the convention wisdom says, 'You must learn to live with Communism and to give up your ideas about national sovereignty.'" (Ezra Taft Benson, A Witness and a Warning, Conference, October 1979)

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"In the nature of things there is not within the United States a people more patriotic than the Latter-day Saints. I know of no sect that assumes the position that the constitution of the United States was written as it were by the very finger of God. Surely that belief is an inspiration to the highest patriotism..." (Heber J. Grant, General Conference, April 1920)

"To defend one's country is a worthy deed! Patriotism is a virtue. In protecting the good name and holding inviolate the word of their country, men in the service of their country may rise to the heights of true nobility..." (David O. McKay, The Instructor, Vol. 95, June 1960, pp. 177-178)

"The loyal citizens in this Country, in my humble opinion, are to be found among the God-fearing, God-loving people who still trust him and honor him, who recognize his great providence in the inception and growth of this mighty country; and when reverence for God fades and gives way, loyalty, patriotism, devotion to country, will likewise vanish." (Stephen L. Richards, General Conference, October 1924)

"I say to you it can happen here. It is happening here. We have retreated from the Monroe Doctrine. Our liberty is in danger. But we go blithely and gullibly on our way. Some of us fall for the Kremlin line as planned by the mass murderer Khrushchev and call patriots 'extremists' and accuse courageous liberty-loving citizens of 'dividing our people.'" (Ezra Taft Benson, Conference, October 1962)

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"As we have progressed the mist has been removed, and in relation to these matters, the Elders of Israel begin to understand that they have something to do with the world politically as well as religiously, that it is as much their duty to study correct political principles as well as religious..." (Journal of Discourses 9:340)

"President McKay lists the areas our preaching should cover and admonishes us to include in our preaching what governments should or should not do in the interest of the preservation of our freedom. Do we preach what governments should or should not do as a part of the gospel plan...or do we refuse to follow the Prophet by preaching a limited gospel plan of salvation? The fight for freedom cannot be divorced fromt he gospel - the plan of salvation." (Ezra Taft Benson, BYU Address, October 25, 1966)

"The fight against godless communism is a very real part of every man's duty who holds the priesthood...truly it can be called, 'a continuation of the war in heaven.'" (Ezra Taft Benson, Conference, October 1961)

"There are some who feel that the fight for freedom is separate from the gospel. They express it in several ways, but it generally boils down to this: Just live the gospel; there's no need to get involved in trying to save freedom and the Constitution or to stop communism. Of course, this is dangerous reasoning, because in reality you cannot fully live the gospel without working to save freedom and the Constitution, and to stop communism...our stand for freedom is a most basic part of our religion." (Ezra Taft Benson, Conference, October 1966)

"Each priesthood holder should use his influence in the community to resist the erosion process which is taking place in our political and economic life. He should use the political party of his choice to express his evaluation of important issues. He should see that his party as working to preserve freedom, not destroy it. He should join responsible local groups interested in promoting freedom and free competitive enterprise, in studying political issues, appraising the voting records and proposed programs, and writing to members of Congress, promoting good men in public office and scrutinizing local, state, and federal agencies to see that the will of the people is being carried out. he should not wait for the Lord's servants to give instruction in every detail once they have announced the direction in which the priesthood should go. Each member should exercise prayerful judgment and then act." (Ezra Taft Benson, Conference, October 1961)

"Many of the Latter-day Saints have surrendered their independence; they have surrendered their free thought, politically, and we have got to get back to where we are not surrendering the right. We must stay with the right and if we do so God will bless us." (Heber J. Grant, Conference, October 1941)

"Every member of the priesthood should understand the divine plan designed by the Lord to raise up the first free people in modern times." (Ezra Taft Benson, Conference, October 1961)

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"The greatest acts of the mighty men have been to depopulate nations and to overthrow kingdoms; and whilst they have exalted themselves and become glorious, it has been at the expense of the lives of the innocent, the blood of the oppressed, the moans of the widow, and the tears of the orphan." (Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph, Section Five 1842-43, p.248)

"The precepts of men would have you believe that by limiting the population of the world, we can have peace and plenty. That is the doctrine of the devil…And so far as limiting the population in order to provide plenty is concerned, the Lord answered that falsehood [D&C; 104:17 quoted]…True to form, many of the people who desire to frustrate God's purposes of giving mortal tabernacles to his spirit children through worldwide birth control are the very same people who support the kinds of government that perpetuate famine. They advocate an evil to cure the results of the wickedness they support." (Ezra Taft Benson, Conference April 1969)

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"I am hereby resolved that under no circumstances shall the freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights be infringed. In particular I am opposed to any attempt on the part of the federal government to deny people their right to keep and bear arms, to worship, and to pray..." (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 617)

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"No one…can deny that in many places and under adverse conditions labor must have some organization in order to protect its members against exploitation. Furthermore, labor is entitled to a fair return for its work. What is a fair return is not a fixed sum, but is dependent upon the economic conditions of a given time and in a given place. It can never be an amount that does not leave some profit to the owner else the owner closes up and labor is without work. But labor is not compelled to work…the opposite of this principle is also true: Every man has a right to work…Labor may not legally, nor in wisdom for themselves, engage in sabotage. Labor may not legally, nor in wisdom for labor, intimidate or coerce the worker. The worker must be left free to work when he will, be idle when he will, and to work for what he wishes, when he wishes, and where he wishes…there must be no 'closed shop' because this means the denial of the divine right to work. It is not necessary for the protection of labor and sets up a labor tyranny which too often falls under the direction of concepts, ideals, and pernicious practices… Sabotage, intimidation, coercion, the 'closed shop' are un-American, un-democratic, uneconomic, criminal and wholly contrary to the principles upon which any stable society can and must be organized. No true patriot can foster, promote, or take part in any such activities or in any organization making use of them. No Church member can engage in any such activities thereto and yet maintain in his heart the spirit of the Master…" (The First Presidency, The Deseret News, November 1941)

"While there is no reason why workmen should not join together for their mutual protection and benefit, there is every reason why in so doing they should regard the rights of their fellows…It is not easy to see how the Latter-day Saints can endorse the methods of modern day labor unions…" (Joseph F. Smith, August and June of 1903; included by First Presidency in later statement)

"Latter-day Saints should avoid affiliation with any committee, any group, any union that would, through coercion of force, deprive a person of the free exercise of his or her freedom of choice. It is understood, of course, that any person is free to join a union, when to do so favors his best interests; but no one should be compelled to join, or be deprived of any right as a citizen, including the right to honest labor, if he chooses not to become a member of a union or especially organized group." (David O. McKay, Conference, April 1940)

"We believe it is fundamental that the right to voluntary unionism should once agian be reestablished in this nation and that State right-to-work laws sgould be maintained inviolate..." (David O. McKay, Church News, June 26, 1965)

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"Rights are either God-given as part of the divine plan, or they are granted by government as part of the political plan. If we accept the premise that human rights are granted by government, then we must be willing to accept the corollary that they can be denied by government. I, for one, shall never accept that premise." (Ezra Taft Benson, BYU Devotional, 16 September, 1986)

"The freedom and independence afforded by the Constitution and Bill of Rights are divine rights - sacred, essential, and inalienable." (M. Russell Ballard, Religion in a Free Society, Ensign October 1992)

"Besides the preaching of the Gospel, we have another mission, namely, the perpetuation of the free agency of man and maintenance of liberty, freedom and the rights of man." (John Taylor, Journal of Discourses 23:63)

"We believe that governments are instituted of God; that individual freedom is necessary. No law should be passed that takes away from man the right of choice. Free agency is fundamental as a law of human conduct. Men have the right to obey or disobey the law as they please, and take the consequences. That is fundamental and lies at the bottom of all Latter-day Saint thinking." (John A. Widstoe, Message of the Doctrine and Covenants, pp. 154).

"We must recognize that property rights are essential to human liberty...'it is not the right of property which is protected, but the right to property. Property, per se, has no rights; but the individual - the man - has three great rights, equally sacred from arbitrary interference: the right to his life, the right to his liberty, and the right to his property. The three rights are so bound together as to be essentially one right. To give a man his life, but deny him his liberty, is to take from him all that makes life worth living. To give him liberty, but take from him the property which is the fruit and badge of his liberty, is to still leave him a slave.'" (David O. McKay, Conference Report, October 1962; quoting George Sutherland's speech before the New York State Bar Association, Jan. 21 1921)

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"…people are superior to the governments they form. Since God created people with certain inalienable rights, and they in turn, created government to help secure and safeguard those rights, it follows that the people are superior to the creature they created…governments should have only limited powers. The important thing to keep in mind is that the people who have created their government can give to that government only such powers as they, themselves, have in the first place. Obviously, they cannot give that which they do not possess. By deriving its just powers from the governed, government becomes primarily a mechanism for defense against bodily harm, theft, and involuntary servitude. It cannot claim the power to redistribute money or property nor to force reluctant citizens to perform acts of charity against their will. Government is created by the people. The creature cannot exceed the creator. " (Ezra Taft Benson, BYU Devotional, 16 September, 1986)

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"It is this union of independence and dependence of these branches - legislative, executive and judicial - and of the governmental functions possessed by each of them, that constitutes the marvelous genius of this unrivalled document." (J. Reuben Clark, Church News, 29 Nov., 1952)

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"I attended a second lecture on Socialism, by Mr. Finch; and after he got through, I made a few remarks, alluding to Sidney Rigdon and Alexander Campbell getting up a community at Kirtland, and of the big fish there eating up all the little fish. I said I did not believe the doctrine." (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 6, p. 33)

"What can they do? [socialists] Live on each other and beg. It is a poor, unwise and very imbecile people who cannot take care of themselves." (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 14:21)

"…the world have generally made great mistakes upon these points. They have started various projects to try to unite and cement the people together without God; but they could not do it. Fourierism [Francois Fourier was a French socialist and writer], Communism — another branch of the same thing and many other principles of the same kind have been introduced to try and cement the human family together. And then we have had peace societies, based upon the same principles; but all these things have failed, and they will fail, because, however philanthropic, humanitarian, benevolent, or cosmopolitan our ideas, it is impossible to produce a true and correct union without the Spirit of the living God,…" (John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 18, p. 137)

"Our real enemies are communism and its running mate, socialism…these two are as like as two peas in a pod in their ultimate effect upon out liberties…" (J. Reuben Clark of the First Presidency, Church News, September 1949)

"...I have yet to see or hear of its [socialism] freeing the hearts of men of selfishness and greed or of its bringing peace, plenty, or freedom. These things it will never bring, nor will it do away with idleness and promote 'industry, thrift and self-respect,' for it is founded, in theory and in practice, on force, the principle of the evil one." (Marion G. Romney, Conference, April 1966)

"When we fail to put the love of God first, we are easily deceived by crafty men who profess a great love of humanity, while advocating programs that are not of the Lord…revolutionists…[are] 'using a technique that is as old as the human race - a fervid but false solicitude for the unfortunate over whom they thus gain mastery, and then enslave them. They suit their approaches to the particular group they seek to deceive.' [quoting First Presidency] That timely counsel…could have saved China and Cuba if enough people knew what the Communist masters of deceit really had in mind when they promised agrarian reform." (Ezra Taft Benson, Conference October 1967)

"We should continue to speak out for freedom and against socialism and communism as President McKay has consistently admonished us. We should continue to come to the aid of patriots, programs and organizations which are trying to save our Constitution through every legal and moral means possible." (Ezra Taft Benson, Conference, October 1963)

"We must ever keep in mind that collectivized socialism is part of the communist strategy. Communism is fundamentally socialism. We will never win our fight against communism by making concessions to socialism." (Ezra Taft Benson, Conference, October 1961)

"The socialistic-communist conspiracy to weaken the United States involves attacks on many fronts. To weaken the American free-enterprise economy which outproduced both its enemies and allies during World War II is a high priority target of the communist leaders. Their press and other propaganda media are therefore constantly selling the principles of centralized or federal control of farms, railroads, electric power, schools, steel, maritime shipping, and many other aspects of the economy -- but always in the name of public welfare." (Ezra Taft Benson, Conference, October 1961)

"No true Latter-day Saint and no true American can be a socialist or a communist or support programs leading in that direction. These evil philosophies are incompatible with Mormonism, the true gospel of Jesus Christ." (Ezra Taft Benson, Conference, October 1961)

"Civilized governments are threatened by internal and destructive agencies in the form of Communism. This secret organization assumes different names and forms. It is Communism in France, Socialism in Germany, Internationalism in Spain and Italy, Nihilism in Russia, and similar sentiments and principles are cloaked under a variety of titles in America and Great Britain. All these organizations are opposed in spirit to all the restraints of law and order. Now let me call your attention to the fact that in February, 1831, Joseph Smith received a revelation on this very subject, which no doubt many of you are familiar with. Reference is also made along the same lines in the Book of Mormon." (Reed Smoot, Conference 1933)

"We may first observe that communism and socialism--which we shall hereafter group together and dub Statism--cannot live with Christianity nor with any religion that postulates a Creator such as the Declaration of Independence recognizes. The slaves of Statism must know no power, no authority, no source of blessing, no God, but the State...." (J. Reuben Clark, Jr., Deseret News, Sept. 25th 1949; as quoted by Ezra Taft Benson, Conference, April 1963)

"We believe that our real threat comes from within and not from without, and it comes from that underlying spirit common to Nazism, Fascism, and Communism, namely, the spirit which would array class against class, which would set up a socialistic state of some sort, which would rob the people of the liberties which we possess under the Constitution, and would set up such a reign of terror as exists now in many parts of Europe." (The First Presidency, excerpt from a Letter to the US Treasury, 1941)

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"Perhaps the most important of the great fundamentals of the inspired Constitution is the principle of popular sovereignty: The people are the source of government power. Along with many religious people, Latter-day saints affirm that God gave the power to people, and the people consented to a constitution that delegated certain powers to the government. Sovereignty is not inherent in a state or nation just because it has the power that comes from the force of arms. Sovereignty does not come from the divine right of a king, who grants his subjects such power as he pleases or is forced to concede…The sovereign power is in the people." (Dallin H. Oaks, The Divinely Inspired Constitution, Ensign February 1992)

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"The difficulty with all governments, and one to which our own has fallen heir, is that the majority, by virtue of its right to place limitations on man's free agency, has undertaken to infringe upon the rights reserved to the individual, for the direct and immediate benefit of law and order. For example: the Constitution expressly prohibits taking of personal property for public purposes without just compensation. Under the guise of taxation, the Constitution is violated and property is taken from one and given to another." (Henry D. Moyle, an Apostle, Relief Society Magazine, 1957.)

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"Nor is war justified in an attempt to enforce a new order of government, or even to impel others to a particular form of worship, however better the government or eternally true the principles of the enforced religion may be. There are, however, two conditions which may justify a truly Christian man to enter - mind you, I say enter, not begin-a war: (1) An attempt to dominate and to deprive another of his free agency, and, (2) Loyalty to his country. Possibly there is a third, viz., Defense of a weak nation that is being unjustly crushed by a strong, ruthless one." (David O.McKay, Conference, April, 1942)

"Both in its declarations and in its joinders the present war in Europe has for its sole underlying purpose the secure establishment of the power or powers that, by sheer supremacy in arms, shall dominate Europe, and perhaps the world. This is not a righteous cause of war, and unrighteous war is unholy.

This is the very issue that, twenty years ago, we alleged we sent our young America to Europe to settle. It was our fighting there which gave to the Principal Allied and Associated Powers their victory. We got nothing out of the conflict but the ill-will of everyone--of our foes because they were our foes, and of each of our allies because of our unbounded generosity; and our naive, unsophisticated, unselfishness at Versailles. But we did not then settle the issue. It has risen again. We would not settle it now by joining in this conflict. This is one of those questions which can be settled only by the parties themselves by themselves." (J. Reuben Clark, Jr, Conference, October 1939).

"The Church as a Church does not believe in war and yet since its organization whenever war has come we have done our part...But, nevertheless, we repeat, we are against war. We believe that international difficulties can and should be settled by peaceful means, and that America’s great mission in the world is to bring this about. We believe that our entry into this present war [World War II] by sending our men abroad (and this seems now to be deliberately planned) would constitute not only a mistake but a tragedy. We believe that the present war is merely a breaking out again of the old spirit of hatred and envy that has afflicted Europe for a period of a thousand years at least. We do not believe that this war will settle anything when it is over because we believe that the peace, whoever dictates it, will be primarily the outgrowth of hate, and hate never settled anything righteously. However, we do thoroughly believe in building up our home defenses to the maximum extent necessary, but we do not believe that aggression should be carried on in the name and under the false cloak of defense. (!) We therefore look with sorrowing eyes at the present use to which a great part of the funds being raised by taxes and by borrowing is being put." (The First Presidency, excerpt from a Letter to the US Treasury, 1941)

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"These systems [public welfare] rely for their financial resources upon public treasuries which are fed out of the taxation of the people. The donor thus becomes not a voluntary giver but a compelled giver. Between him and the beneficiaries of his contribution there is no bond, hence the character building value which attends voluntary responses to the cry of the need is lost…On the other side the beneficiary of aid paid under the mandate of law is all too likely to forget the sense of gratitude which should well up in the heart of one man who receives voluntary rendered succor. Instead he is all too apt to fall into the habit of thinking that he is getting only what is of personal right his and in that spirit to become demanding and grasping for more and greater bestowals…"(Albert E. Bowen, Apostle, Church Welfare Plan, 1946)

"I have had some of the most insulting letters that ever came to me, condemning me for not being in favor of the Townsend Plan [proposal for Social Security], and that I must be ignorant of the plan. I am not ignorant of the plan. I have not read every word of it, but I have asked one of my secretaries to read every word of the plan and to give me the important points, and to my mind it is in direct opposition to everything I have quoted from Brigham Young and from the revelations of the Lord. The idea of allowing every man and woman who has reached the age of sixty years and wishes to retire from working to get two hundred dollars a month from the government!" (Heber J. Grant, Conference, October 1936)

"Satan argued that men given their freedom would not choose correctly; therefore he would compel them to do right and save us all. Today Satan argues that men given their freedom do not choose wisely; therefore a so-called brilliant, benevolent few must establish the welfare government and force us into a greater socialist society." (Ezra Taft Benson, Conference, April 1965)

"Today two mighty forces are battling for the supremacy of the world...Those forces are known and have been designated by different names throughout the ages. 'In the beginning' they were known as Satan on the one hand, and Christ on the other...In these days, the are called 'domination by the state,' on one hand, 'personal liberty,' on the other hand; communism on one, free agency on the other." (President David O. McKay as quoted by Ezra Taft Benson, Conference, April 1965)

"Reduced to its lowest terms, the great struggle which now rocks the whole earth more and more takes on the character of a struggle of the individual versus the state..." (J. Reuben Clark as quoted by Ezra Taft Benson, Conference, April 1965)

"We who hold the priesthood must beware concerning ourselves, that we do not fall in the traps he lays to rob us of our freedom. We must be careful that we are not led to accept or support in any way any organization, cause or measure which in its remotest effort, would jeopardize free agency, whether it be in politics, government, religion, employment, education, or in any other field. It is not enough for us to be sincere in what we support. We must be right!" (Marion G. Romney, Conference, October 1960)

"Today the devil as a wolf in a supposedly new suit of sheep's clothing is enticing some men, both in and out of the Church, to parrot his line by advocating planned government guaranteed security programs at the expense of our liberties. Latter-day saints should be reminded how and why they voted as they did in heaven...and cease promoting this subversion." (Ezra Taft Benson, Conference, October 1961)

"WE ARE not given the step-by-step backsliding of this Jareditic civilization till it reached the social and governmental chaos the record sets out, but those steps seem wholly clear from the results. Put into modern terms, we can understand them. First there was a forsaking of the righteous life, and the working of wickedness; then must have come the extortion and oppression of the poor by the rich; then retaliation and reprisal by the poor against the rich; then would come a cry to share the wealth which should belong to all; then the easy belief that society owed every man a living whether he worked or not; then the keeping of a great body of idlers; then when community revenues failed to do this, as they always have failed and always will fail, a self-helping by one to the goods of his neighbor; and finally when the neighbor resisted, as resist he must, or starve with his family, then death to the neighbor and all that belonged to him. This was the decreed "fulness of iniquity." "(Prophecies, Penalties, And Blessings -- J. Reuben Clark, Jr. of the First Presidency, Improvement Era, 1940, Vol. Xliii. July, 1940. No. 7 )

"As God’s children all, and as brothers and sisters in Christ, we must as a matter of spiritual responsibility and pursuant to positive divine command care for the helpless, the unfortunate, and the needy. Furthermore it is essentially a neighbor to neighbor obligation. It is not a function of civil government. This is fundamental.." (The First Presidency, excerpt from a Letter to the US Treasury, 1941)

"Viewing all of these things it will be easy for you to understand that the Church has not found it possible to follow along the lines of the present general tendency in the matter of property rights, taxes, the curtailment of rights and liberties of the people, nor in general the economic policies of what is termed the “New Deal”. The great bulk of what these people are trying to do is, in final analysis, absolutely contrary to the fundamental principles of which we have spoken. It is the considered, long considered opinion of President Grant and those who are associated with him, that our nation cannot be preserved if the present governmental policies shall continue." (The First Presidency, excerpt from a Letter to the US Treasury, 1941)

"Personal unrighteousness can lead toward a welfare state. What is the real cause of this trend toward the welfare state, toward more socialism? In the last analysis, in my judgment, it is personal unrighteousness. When people do not use their freedoms responsibly and righteously, they will gradually lose these freedoms. If man will not recognize the inequalities around him and voluntarily, through the gospel plan, come to the aid of his brother, he will find that through “a democratic process” he will be forced to come to the aid of his brother. The government will take from the “haves” and give to the “have nots.” Both have lost their freedom. Those who “have,” lost their freedom to give voluntarily of their own free will and in the way they desire. Those who “have not,” lost their freedom because they did not earn what they received. They got “something for nothing,” and they will neither appreciate the gift nor the giver of the gift. Under this climate, people gradually become blind to what has happened and to the vital freedoms which they have lost.” (Howard W. Hunter, The Teachings of Howard W. Hunter, edited by Clyde J. Williams [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997], 169.)

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