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I know my liberal friends are sufficiently tolerant of my Mormon-ness, but I would beg attention for just a

few minutes to explain some key political, economic and civil rights lessons found in the Book of Mormon.
Most religions do not have such a rich history to offer on this subject, so I hope this is interesting to all.

Background theology:

We come from heavenly parents, before we were born. Prior to living here, we determined to build this
earth as a place to obtain bodies and, in perfect freedom, to choose good over evil/ freedom over
bondage, according to our actual and true desires. That which corrects us on this journey include 1) the
civil law- the laws of man which we create to protect us from each other- 2) physical or natural
consequences (example: drinking can cause a hang-over) and 3) the workings of the spirit- which joins
with us and gives us peace when we are doing right (even though battles can be very difficult) or
withdraws from us when we are doing that which we know to be wrong. Mormons often call that
"feeling" about right/wrong The Still Small Voice (a reference to Elijah).

Book of Mormon:

King Mosiah in the Book of Mormon was a fantastic king. I am the most flaming liberal Mormon you've
ever met, but I would be thrilled ---absolutely thrilled--- to have this man as my king. He was grandson of
King Benjamin, who gave The Number One Most Inspiring Political and Prophetic Speech I have ever
thrilled to, in my life. It is found in the first 5 or so chapters of the book of Mosiah. Sample from King
Benjamin:

17 Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand,
and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his
punishments are just—
18 But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he
repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.
19 For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the
substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches
which we have of every kind?
20 And behold, even at this time, ye have been calling on his name, and begging for a remission of your
sins. And has he suffered that ye have begged in vain? Nay; he has poured out his Spirit upon you, and has
caused that your hearts should be filled with joy, and has caused that your mouths should be stopped that
ye could not find utterance, so exceedingly great was your joy.
21 And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye
have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive,
O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another.

King Benjamin is later outshone, if such is possible, by his grandson, King Mosiah. King Mosiah had 4 sons
who misbehave rather excessively in their youth, probably causing this good king to ponder a lot of what
happens when kings lead people astray. They boys do come back, but won't take the kingdom, preferring
to preach.

King Mosiah properly reasons out the inherent evil of having Kings, and proposes Judges and an "equal"
standing for all people.

(I know, Mormons today aren't quite the civil rights leaders that we once were... )

16 Now I say unto you, that because all men are not just it is not expedient that ye should have a king or
kings to rule over you.
17 For behold, how much iniquity doth one wicked king cause to be committed, yea, and what great
destruction!
18 Yea, remember king Noah, his wickedness and his abominations, and also the wickedness and
abominations of his people. Behold what great destruction did come upon them; and also because of
their iniquities they were brought into bondage.
19 And were it not for the interposition of their all-wise Creator, and this because of their sincere
repentance, they must unavoidably remain in bondage until now.
20 But behold, he did deliver them because they did humble themselves before him; and because they
cried mightily unto him he did deliver them out of bondage; and thus doth the Lord work with his power
in all cases among the children of men, extending the arm of mercy towards them that put their trust in
him.
21 And behold, now I say unto you, ye cannot dethrone an iniquitous king save it be through much
contention, and the shedding of much blood.
22 For behold, he has his friends in iniquity, and he keepeth his guards about him; and he teareth up the
laws of those who have reigned in righteousness before him; and he trampleth under his feet the
commandments of God;

(does this remind us also of ancient Israel?)

23 And he enacteth laws, and sendeth them forth among his people, yea, laws after the manner of his
own wickedness; and whosoever doth not obey his laws he causeth to be destroyed; and whosoever doth
rebel against him he will send his armies against them to war, and if he can he will destroy them; and thus
an unrighteous king doth pervert the ways of all righteousness.
24 And now behold I say unto you, it is not expedient that such abominations should come upon you.
25 Therefore, choose you by the voice of this people, judges, that ye may be judged according to the
claws which have been given you by our fathers, which are correct, and which were given them by the
hand of the Lord.
26 Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right;
but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right; therefore this shall ye
observe and make it your law—to do your business by the voice of the people.
27 And if the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the
judgments of God will come upon you; yea, then is the time he will visit you with great destruction even
as he has hitherto visited this land.
28 And now if ye have judges, and they do not judge you according to the law which has been given, ye
can cause that they may be judged of a higher judge.

(so he even has an idea of checks and balances)

29 If your higher judges do not judge righteous judgments, ye shall cause that a small number of your
lower judges should be gathered together, and they shall judge your higher judges, according to the voice
of the people.
30 And I command you to do these things in the fear of the Lord; and I command you to do these things,
and that ye have no king; that if these people commit sins and iniquities they shall be answered upon
their own heads.
31 For behold I say unto you, the sins of many people have been caused by the iniquities of their kings;
therefore their iniquities are answered upon the heads of their kings.
32 And now I desire that this inequality should be no more in this land, especially among this my people;
but I desire that this land be a land of liberty, and every man may enjoy his rights and privileges alike, so
long as the Lord sees fit that we may live and inherit the land, yea, even as long as any of our posterity
remains upon the face of the land.
33 And many more things did king Mosiah write unto them, unfolding unto them all the trials and
troubles of a righteous king, yea, all the travails of soul for their people, and also all the murmurings of the
people to their king; and he explained it all unto them.
The High Priest, Alma the Elder, brings some transgressors to King Mosiah, no doubt expecting the King to
apply a punishment. Mosiah’s reasoning is not expressed there, only in that he says, “I judge them not”
and the entire matter is returned to the church for moral discipline which finally becomes nothing more
or less than counseling and then disfellowship. No civil punishment for moral sins.

Plan of Salvation and Zion:

King Mosiah, in my opinion, is one of the greatest teachers, seers, kings and prophets, of the Book of
Mormon but sadly I couldn’t find any artwork of him. Artwork tends to show “action figures” not a
thoughtful person tweezing out the requirements of freedom so that the effect of the atonement is
maximized. King Mosiah knew that sometimes the majority of the people would practice tyranny-
choosing badly and enforcing morality or whatever inequality the people would imagine- and was still
willing to endorse removal of kings in favor of judges and equal standing before the law, liberty, equal
rights, because this plan is compliant with the Plan of Salvation- the great plan that we put in place before
we even came to earth. According to this plan all mankind must be as free as possible to make moral
choices. Our choices have physical and spiritual consequence, but should not have civil consequences,
except as they hurt another. Inasmuch as the civil law intervenes to enforce any morality, all the people
suffer because we are separated by exactly that amount from the spirit of the Lord which would be
whispering corrections to a soul except it is drown out by the “louder” civil persecutions and thus the
atonement is muted in effectiveness. If you ask a crack addict why he or she is unhappy that person will
rail against the mean, cruel, liberty-removing oppressive civil law, rather than think inward upon his or her
own choices. Whenever there is a law to be persecuted by, it is unreasonable to expect the voice of the
Holy Spirit to penetrate sufficient to cause repentance/improvement because civil oppression is always
LOUD. Here in America the codification of morality into the civil law may be called “tyranny of the
majority” (a term that Dallan Oaks coined to describe how those who were on trial for the martyrdom of
Joseph and Hyrum Smith in 1844 in Liberty Jail were acquitted for their murderous actions because their
legal counsel contended that the illegal mob actually comprised of mostly another city’s militia had
indeed been following “the will of the people” because well… most people in Illinois wanted the men
dead).

Mormons, of course, are the original poster children for desiring to have our morality under our own
control- we fought hard to preserve our way of life out in the Deseret (called Utah, today). We had our
property taken and were imprisoned. The federal government never gave the property back to us, by the
way, we had to pay for all our possessions --all over again. We Mormons love the Civil law- that which the
government recognizes, it protects and regulates. This is the reason one of the first things we did was
organize under the civil law (April 6, 1830). This allowed us as a properly organized church to request the
protection of each state in which we were persecuted. However, we do not choose today to fight
majority tyranny with strength. When can Mormons be found to promote proper freedoms as
recognized under D&C 134?? (I would include these quotes but I’m afraid this post is already terribly
long). Mormons generally are nowhere to be found when the question of how to apply civil protection to
the abused women and children of modern polygamy are discussed – we are AWOL. Can anyone, for
example, find any other way to provide them with civil protection except …..to provide them with civil
protection exactly the same way that the Mormon Church itself applied for civil protection by becoming
organized (recognized) by the civil law (legalize all “marriages” so that the poor abused children can be
regulated by state services and the women can be allowed to divorce and take property)? If there is
another plan to solve this problem, trot it out. Civil marriage is a domestic civil instrument that should be
offered to all who are able to represent themselves in a court of law. As the polygamists of today use
their under-radar status to abuse, I suggest this law be made retroactive and applicable to any who have
entered into public but hidden marriages. I also support ripping the word “marriage” off all civil
marriages and properly renaming them all Domestic Civil Agreements. I think calling civil marriage by the
name “marriage” tends to confuse people into imagining that one might be discussing the religious rite,
marriage. Two separate topics and jurisdictions, they certainly are.
I do not support civil jurisdiction affecting any religious rites except as a church determines. Religious
rites belong solely to churches and should not be regulated by civil law. Inasmuch as we refrain from any
matter affecting life, limb or property, the civil law has not place in religious courts or processes. In my
opinion, too many statements have been made inviting Mormons and others to confuse the civil
instrument with the religious rite, by men who were smart enough to know what they were doing.

Politics:

I can completely understand the Libertarian movement coming out of Utah. I could understand a strong
Flaming Liberal bulwark, but I cannot for the life of me understand how, when, where, why any
Republicans are on the rolls of the church. I don’t see it. I cannot follow any logic of find any spiritual
laws that support most of the platform of the Republican party today among Mormons : it is anti-Plan of
Salvation and anti-Zion and extraordinarily cruel. Consider also the anti-immigrant platform: republicans
tend to want to proscribe immigration and call those that come to this country “illegal” rather than
providing them with welcome and citizenship. How horrible, considering that the Book of Mormon
explains that the Spirit of the Lord brings them to our country. How do Mormons look at all their
Lamanite neighbors whom they are persecuting with an unjust idea that we may, now that we are in this
country, close the door on them?? Does the Statue of Liberty face only east or is her invitation in all
directions? Last, republicans tend to be financially illogical- tend to support the restriction of currency
when we are producing- meaning that they wish to force us to become either impoverished (because we
work but cannot achieve remuneration in an economy with insufficient instruments in suspense) or a
nation of gold-diggers (because many republicans wish to tie all currency in America to one kind of
commodity only, forcing us to acquire that commodity or create production that is LIMITED by the supply
of that commodity. I think this disconnect is one of the reasons God rather humorously decided to use it
as pavement in the hereafter. The Almighty has a sense of irony. Early mormon leaders predicted that
this would be an age of gold-seekers and do all see the Goldline commercials on Glenn Beck?). An
equitable economic policy demands that sufficient debt instruments be in suspense to balance all
production (goods, services and value added). We are no place near that; we need 10 more Stimulus Bills
to approach it. That is the requirement of capitalism. An equitable system is the requirement of Zion.

So, last: I provide my witness that these teachings in the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants
are true. I cannot express my joy for these teachings, in words. I love the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter
Day Saints. We Mormons do have a lot of trust of our leaders but we also recognize that each leader is
human, grows every day, and that the Lord has lessons for each of us. Alma the Elder learned and the
Lord was not displeased but patient and blessed him. As I have said to a good Catholic friend questioning
the financial insanity so often authored by those in Utah: Catholic dogma says that the Pope is infallible,
but no Catholics believe it. Mormon doctrine says that the Prophets are fallible, but no Mormons believe
it. Having leaders doesn’t mean that the Lord isn’t teaching everyone, leaders included. No doubt, I have
many, many lessons to learn.

I am not on any crusade, except my professional path.

There is nothing for me To Do, but to Do Right, with all my heart, might, mind and strength, and let us
each work out our own salvation. I keep my eye on the building up of Zion.

If Harry Reid can do it, so can I.

Marni Zollinger

Wife of John Zollinger and mother of four,


Saturday’s Warrior, active in the Crown Point Ward in the Gresham Oregon Stake.