The state is that great fiction by which everyone tries to live at the expense of everyone else.
Joseph Fielding Smith:
The Lord revealed to Enoch the history of this earth and its inhabitants from the beginning to the end, but only a part of this has come to us because of the hardness of heart and unbelief. If the Lord should reveal to us all that He taught Enoch and other prophets, there would be many members of the church who would rebel and turn away in opposition to it. Enoch saw, after the flood, men forgetting God and rebelling against light and truth, setting up their own governments in defiance of the laws of God.
This is in harmony with the ninth article of faith. The question for us is whether we are willing to receive all the truth that God may reveal or whether we stick with what we may prefer:
We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.
If the Kingdom of God, or a theocratic government, was established on the earth, many practices now prevalent would be abolished
All governments are more or less under the control of the Almighty, and, in their forms, have sprung from the laws that he has from time to time given to man. Those laws, in passing from generation to generation, have been more or less adulterated, and the result has been the various forms of government now in force among the nations for, as the Prophet says of Israel, “They have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinances, and broken the everlasting covenant.” (Isa. 24:5)
Howard W. Hunter:
From my own experience in business and as a lawyer and church worker, and from my firsthand observations in this country and other countries of the world, there appears to me to be a trend to shift responsibility for life and its processes from the individual to the state. In this shift, there is a basic violation of the law of the harvest or the law of justice. The attitude of “something for nothing” is encouraged. The government is often looked to as the source of wealth. There is a feeling that the government should step in and take care of one’s needs, one’s emergencies, and one’s future. Just as my friend actually became a slave to his own ignorance and bad habits by refusing to accept the responsibility for his own education and moral growth, so, also, can an entire people be imperceptibly transferred from individuals, families, and communities to the federal government.
Dean L. Larsen:
We have inspired leaders today who are reconfirming the fact that there is no ultimate safety in programmed security where others assume accountability for our direction and performance. Those who insist that a Church program exists for every contingency and need are as much in error as their counterparts who demand that government intervene in every aspect of our lives. In both instances, the ideal balance is destroyed with a resultant detriment to human progress.
David O. McKay:
There are “two contending Forces. Those forces are known and have been designated by different terms throughout the ages. “In the beginning” they were known as Satan on the one hand, and Christ on the other… In these days, they are called “domination by the state,” on one hand, “personal liberty,” on the other.
Neal A. Maxwell:
I fear that, as conditions worsen, many will react to the failures of too much government by calling for even more government. Then there will be more and more lifeboats launched because fewer and fewer citizens know how to swim. Unlike some pendulums, political pendulums do not swing back automatically they must be pushed. History is full of instances when people have waited in vain for pendulums to swing back.
Boyd K. Packer:
How often it is that our solutions become problems. This, it seems to me, is particularly true in the government. One of the major issues, perhaps the major issue, of both parties in the recent political campaign, was big government. The bigger the government becomes the more lost we are as individuals. Somehow, always under the notion that our rights are being protected, webs are combined with threads, and threads are added to strings, and strings are fashioned into cords, and cords into ropes, and ropes into bonds.
W. Cleon Skousen:
It is also interesting to observe that communal ownership violates every instinct of human nature. It destroys initiative, nullifies free agency, suppresses inventive exploration, minimizes the dignity of the individual and makes a god out of an abstract thing called “The State”- to which is delegated complete, unrestricted control over life, liberty and property. . . Like so many other weak systems of government, it can survive only in an atmosphere of a slave state, ruled by a king or a dictator.
Joseph Fielding Smith:
Satan has control now. No matter where you look, he is in control, even in our own land. He is guiding the governments as far as the Lord will permit him. That is why there is so much strife, turmoil, and confusion all over the earth. One master mind is governing the nations. It is not the president of the United States it is not Hitler it is not Mussolini it is not the king or government of England or any other land it is Satan himself.
The Church is little if at all, injured by persecution and calumnies from ignorant, misinformed, or malicious enemies. A greater hindrance to its progress comes from faultfinders, shirkers, commandment-breakers, and apostate cliques within its own ecclesiastical and quorum groups. So it is with any government. It is the enemy from within that is most menacing, especially when it threatens to disintegrate established forms of good government. Today, there are in this country enemies in the form of “isms.” I call them anti-Americanisms, and what is true in America is true in other countries. Only a few of the leaders fight openly most of the army carry on as termites, secretly sowing discord and undermining stable government.
Ezra Taft Benson:
The history of all mankind shows very clearly that if we would be free – and if we would stay free – we must stand eternal watch against the accumulation of too much power in government. There is hardly a single instance in all of history where the dictatorial centralization of power has been compatible with individual freedom – where it has not reduced the citizenry to the status of pawns and mere creatures of the state.
Nothing but a revolution in human behavior and a reappraisal of what is enduring in values can rescue us from seemingly impending chaos. There must be a reorientation of life around spiritual verities if individual or national integrity is to be saved. This miracle can be wrought only in the hearts of men. Laws on the statute books howsoever multiplied can never work it. No amount of force which it is possible for human ingenuity to devise or impose can ever introduce a regenerating influence into the human soul. I know of only one power that can do it, the power of a revived living faith and an acceptance of the anciently declared truth that to be saved man must be born again, purged and cleansed. This is one of the messages of religion to this age.
Ezra Taft Benson:
Government 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. No individual possesses the power to take another’s wealth or to force others to do good, so no government has the right to do such things either.
J. Reuben Clark Jr.:
This earth-wide conflict has taken the form of seizing without compensation from the man who has and giving to the man who has not of taking from the worker the fruits of his work and giving to the idler who does not work. It has from its very nature become an economic, uncompensated leveling downward, not upwards of the whole mass. That this result may in one country be reached by confiscatory taxation, and in another by direct seizure, is a mere matter of method. The results are the same. In some countries, outright seizure and confiscation are already openly and shamelessly practiced. All is done in the name of the state as if it were deity – as if the state, not God gives all.
Ezra Taft Benson:
The profit motive diminishes as government controls, regulations, and taxes increase to deny the fruits of success to those who produce. Therefore, any attempt through government intervention to redistribute the material rewards of labor can only result in the eventual destruction of the productive base of society, without which real abundance and security for more than the ruling elite is quite impossible.
The state is not an organization to suppress people. The state should have no power but that which the people give it and when the state becomes a director, a controller of the individual, it becomes despotism and human nature has fought that since man was created and man will continue to fight that false ideal. Individual freedom is innate in the human soul. God has given us our free agency, and next to life itself that is our greatest gift from heaven, and you red-blooded men and women know that is true because of your own love of liberty.
H. Verlan Andersen:
It is corrupted government through which men commit countless abominations. We understand why it is called the mother of abominations. Throughout what organization other than government can this be done? When we further recognize that Satan and his forces prostitute the Lord’s government, and use it to destroy freedom rather than preserve it, we understand better why the prophets would call it the “whore of all the earth” (1 Nephi 14:10, 13).
Fred G. Clark:*
America was a nation of people who had faith in their political and economic systems because they had faith in God, and had built those systems around the teachings of God. Every collectivist from Karl Marx to the present leader has agreed that faith in God must be destroyed before socialism can take over. Therefore, it was obvious that the problem of sabotaging America’s faith in America was the problem of transferring the people’s faith in God to faith in the State.
H. Verlan Andersen:
We are easily deceived about government, because we are inclined to accept the following fallacies:
- Anything legal is also moral.
- We are not individually responsible for government action.
- A different moral law applies when men act in concert, than it does when they act alone.