Thursday, 14 I attended a second lecture on Socialism, by Mr. Finch .. I said I did not believe the doctrine.
The essential characteristic of socialism is the denial of individual property rights.
Ezra Taft Benson:
It is significant that 118 years ago this month the Prophet Joseph Smith, after attending lectures on socialism, made this official entry in church history: “I said I did not believe the doctrine.” (History of the Church, Vol. 6, p. 33). 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.
Socialism-through-Welfarism poses a far greater danger to freedom than Socialism-through-Nationalization precisely because it is more difficult to combat. The evils of Nationalization are self-evident and immediate. Those of Welfarism are veiled and tend to be postponed. People can understand the consequences of turning over ownership of the steel industry, say, to the State; and they can be counted on to oppose such a proposal. But let the government increase its contribution to the “Public Assistance” program and we will, at most, grumble about excessive government spending. The effect of Welfarism on freedom will be felt later on-after its beneficiaries have become its victims, after dependence on government has turned into bondage and it is too late to unlock the jail.
I was speaking, a while ago, about the people there being divided into three classes. One of them you may call infidel, under the head of Socialism.
Harold B. Lee:
I warn you that government subsidies are not the Lord’s way and if we begin to accept, we are on our way to becoming subsidized politically as well as financially.
Marion G. Romney:
The United Order can never function under socialism or “the welfare state,” for the good and sufficient reason that the principles upon which socialism and the United Order are conceived and operated are inimical.
Brigham Young often spoke very frankly. But in the following quote, he didn’t talk about people who, due to illness or other circumstances, are unable to support themselves. He spoke of those who are able to support themselves, but who would rather live by the fruit of other people’s work.
We heard Brother Taylor’s exposition of what is called Socialism this morning. What can they do? Live on each other and beg. It is a poor, unwise and very imbecile people who cannot take care of themselves.
Spencer W. Kimball:
Assume that you become the world leader of Socialism and in it have marked success, but through your devotion to it, you fail to live the gospel. Where are you then? Is anything worthwhile which will estrange you from your friends, your Church membership, your family, your eternal promises, your faith? You might say that such estrangement is not necessarily a result of your political views, but truthfully hasn’t your overpowering interest in your present views already started driving a wedge?
Marion G. Romney:
As our modern societies follow the course which led to the fall of Rome and other civilizations which succumbed to the deceptive lure of the welfare state and socialism, I think it not inappropriate for me to emphasize again the Lord’s plan for the temporal salvation of His mortal children.*
H. Verlan Andersen:
Communism is more diabolical than any other type of priestcraft because its central doctrines are atheism and the destruction of free agency through socialism.
During the first half of the 20th century we have traveled far into the soul destroying land of socialism.
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,* 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.
Ernest L. Wilkinson:
On August 6 this year, at Amsterdam, Holland, President Kimball reiterated the consistent view of our Church leaders that people in need should rely on their families and the Church for support, rather than any government welfare program. Lest you be unaware of the extent of the present social revolution and the change in our content of government, let me introduce some authorities as to just how socialistic we have become. I call as my chief witness, Norman Thomas, for many years Socialist candidate for president of the United States. After seeing one by one the principles of his party adopted by others, he retired as the perennial Socialist candidate for president, intimating that it was no longer necessary for the Socialist party to continue. I call as my second witness Mr. Earl Browder, former leader of the Communist party in America, who, in a pamphlet published in 1950, stated that socialism was further advanced in the United States than in socialist Britain, that although we did not have governmental ownership, real control by government was much greater in the United States than in Britain. Since the time of this statement (26 years ago), we have gone much, much farther down the road of the welfare state. – President Lyndon Johnson, in a speech to senior citizens 12 years ago, boldly stated: “We are going to try to take all the money we think is unnecessarily being spent and take it from the “haves” and give it to the “have-nots” that need it so much.” (Statement to Senior Citizens at White House, January 15, 1964). – This is the code under which the state will take from you your property and determine how it will be spent and to whom it will be given – a theory of government which was expressly rejected by our Constitutional Fathers in favor of the concept of freedom and individual responsibility.
Ezra Taft Benson:
We have accepted a frightening degree of socialism in our country. The question is, how much? The amount of freedom depends upon the amount of federal control and spending. A good measurement is to determine the amount, or percentage of income of people that is taken over and spent by the state .. They now advocate throughout our economy that we “redistribute wealth and income,” a good definition of socialism.
J. Reuben Clark Jr.:
The plain and simple issue now facing us in America is freedom or slavery. Our real enemies are communism and its running mate, socialism .. And never forget for one moment that communism and socialism are state slavery .. The paths we are following, if we move forward thereon, will inevitably lead us to socialism or communism, and these two are as like as two peas in a pod in their ultimate effect upon our liberties.
Marion G. Romney:
The United Order exalts the poor and humbles the rich (D&C 104:16). In the process, both are sanctified. The poor, released from the bondage and humiliating limitations of poverty, are enabled as free men to rise to their full potential, both temporally and spiritually. The rich, by consecration and by imparting of their surplus for the benefit of the poor, not by constraint but willingly (1 Pet. 5:2) as an act of free will, evidence that charity for their fellowmen characterized by Mormon as “the pure love of Christ” (Moro. 7:47). No, brethren, socialism is not the United Order .. As to the fruits of socialism, we all have our own opinions. I myself have watched its growth in our own country and observed it in operation in many other lands. But I have yet to see or hear of its 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.
Ezra Taft Benson:
No true Latter-day Saint or true American can be a socialist or support programs leading in that direction. These evil philosophies are incompatible with Americanism, with Mormonism, and with the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Ezra Taft Benson:
In reply to the argument that a little bit of socialism is good so long as it doesn’t go too far, it is tempting to say that, in like fashion, just a little bit of theft or a little bit of cancer is all right, too! History proves that the growth of the welfare state is difficult to check before it comes to its full flower of dictatorship.
Joseph F. Merrill:
There are developing tendencies, sponsored by selfishness, greed, and ambition that, if unchecked, will soon or late bring sorrow and ruin to our country. Among these tendencies is that of “something for nothing,” at least “more and more for less and less” – more pay for less work. And as I see it, in whatever words these tendencies are expressed, they all lead to some type of national socialism. And generally, socialism is an enemy of free enterprise in the development of which, I repeat, this country has become the greatest on earth. 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?
Ezra Taft Benson:
We cannot afford to minimize the threat of socialism in America. We must be on guard against unsound theories and programs which strike at the very root of all we hold dear .. Today’s Socialists .. are using the federal government to redistribute wealth in our society not as a matter of voluntary charity, but as a so-called matter of right .. Yes, we have traveled a long way down the soul-destroying road of socialism .. Men .. ascended to high political offices by promising what was not theirs to give, and citizens voted them into office in hopes of receiving what they had not earned. I fear for the future when I realize that our once-free institutions-political, economic, educational, and social – have been drifting into the hands of those who favor the welfare state, and who would ‘centralize all power in the hands of the political apparatus in Washington. This enhancement of political power at the expense of individual rights, so often disguised as ‘democracy’ or ‘freedom’ or ‘civil rights,’ is ‘socialism no matter what name tag it bears.’