This article shouldn’t be considered an invitation not to pay your taxes. We should keep the laws of the land. (See L&P 58:21 | TA 1:12). Here is just pointed out the wrong, in the way welfare is redistributed, when it is done through the state.

Most of us want to impart of our wealth to the poor and needy. We want to do well with our wealth. From ancient and modern writings it is clear that we should visit the poor and the needy and administer to their relief. This means a lot to the Lord. (Se Luke 3:11 | Mosiah 4:26 | Alma 34:28 | D&C 44:6 | D&C 52:40 | D&C 88:123 | Matt. 25:32-36).

However, the way in which wealth is shared is not without significance. Said the French Economist Frédéric Bastiat: “When a portion of wealth is transferred from the person who owns it — without his consent and without compensation, and whether by force or by fraud — to anyone who does not own it, then I say that property is violated; that an act of plunder is committed.” (The Law – 26)

We should ask ourselves whether it was the Lord’s intention that wealth should be redistributed through the state, through coercion, what it actually is. If you don’t mean that, try not to pay your taxes and see what happens! Or imagine that the government would abolish taxation, and confine itself to requests for voluntary contributions. What would happen then? As Howard W. Hunter once said: “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 Law of the Harvest. Speeches of the Year, 1965-1966, pp. 1-11, BYU, 8 March 1966)

President Heber J. Grant said, “As God’s children and as brothers and sisters in Christ, we must .. care for the helpless, the unfortunate, and the needy.” He further said, “it is essentially a neighbor to neighbor obligation. It is not a function of civil government. This is fundamental.” (A letter from the First Presidency, to the U.S. Treasury, Sept. 30, 1941)

Redistribution of wealth through the state violates an inalienable God-given right

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. This demonstrates clearly the power to tax is the power to destroy. (Henry D. Moyle. Relief Society Magazine 44:576, 1957)

The Constitution of the United States was inspired and its rights apply, not only to the people of the United States but to “all flesh” (D&C 101:77), to all mankind (D&C 98:5 | See The Constitution – For All Mankind). According to the Constitution, the right to own and control private property is an inalienable right. This right is violated when the state takes our income through taxation and thereby deprives us of this right. (See Property Rights Essential to Freedom/a> and Taxation – A Power to Destroy)

The Gospel Law is not abided when welfare is redistributed through the state. When rules are bend to realize good intentions when God-given rights are violated in the process, we don’t stand justified for the Lord and can’t expect Him to accept the offer. The end doesn’t justify the means. (See Welfare – The World’s Way)

Howard W. Hunter:

The right to own and control private property is not only a human right it is a divine right. We will largely be judged, if I understand the Savior’s teachings correctly, by how we use our property voluntarily for the blessings and benefit of our Father’s other children. President McKay continually teaches us that this right of free agency is our most precious heritage. It is our greatest gift in this world and is to be valued even more than life itself. If you deprive a man of his right to fail in the righteous use of his property, you also deprive him of his right to succeed. If you remove from a man his right to “go to hell,” you likewise remove his free agency to go to heaven. Satan’s entire philosophy is based on a “something for nothing” philosophy: salvation without effort – a free gift. This counterfeit doctrine was rejected by God our Father.

* All that we own, incl. our income – the fruit of our labor.The Law of the Harvest: As a Man Sows, So Shall He Reap. BYU Devotional. March 8, 1966.

Ezra Taft Benson:

Basic to our understanding of the Constitution is that governments should have only limited powers .. It cannot claim the power to redistribute money or property nor to force reluctant citizens to perform acts of charity against their will.

The Constitution – A Glorious Standard. Ensign, September 1987

Once government steps over this clear line between the protective or negative role into the aggressive role of redistributing the wealth through taxation and providing so-called “benefits” for some of its citizens, it becomes a means for legalized plunder. It becomes a lever of unlimited power that is the sought-after prize of unscrupulous individuals and pressure groups, each seeking to control the machine to fatten his own pockets or to benefit his favorite charity, all with the other fellow’s money, of course.

Conference Report, October 1968, pp. 17-22. The Proper Role of Government

Albert E. Bowen:

No government – federal, state, or municipal – has any money or anything else out of which to bestow bounty, except what it first takes out of the pockets of its individual citizens. It follows that whenever anyone .. takes help out of the public treasury, he is indirectly reaching round and taking money out of someone else’s pocket—not unlawfully, to be sure, but still so taking it. Has anybody, except under real necessity, any moral right to do that? .. Many hard working people find their taxes a heavy burden. They pay them out of sacrifice, bordering sometimes on deprivation. Is there any sanction in gospel principles or teachings, or in the ordinary codes of honor or fairness of dealing which will say to such a one that he must bear this burden for the benefit of another just as well able to work as he?

Church Welfare Plan, p.83, p.76.

David B. Haight:

The government has succeeded in doing what the Church welfare program seeks to prevent. The Lord’s way is different from government programs.

General Conference, Oct. 1978. The Stake President’s Role in Welfare Services.

Doctrine and Covenants 134:2:

We believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life.

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