Published in the Improvement Era, August 1936.
Warning to Church Members
With great regret we learn from credible sources, governmental and others, that a few Church members are joining directly or indirectly, the Communists and are taking part in their activities.
The Church does not interfere, and has no intention of trying to interfere, with the fullest and freest exercise of the political franchise of its members, under and within our Constitution which the Lord declared: “I established . . . by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose,”(D&C 101:80) and which, as to the principles thereof, the Prophet, dedicating the Kirtland Temple, prayed should be “established forever.”(D&C 109:54)
But Communism is not a political party nor a political plan under the Constitution; it is a system of government that is the opposite of our Constitutional government, and it would be necessary to destroy our government before Communism could be set up in the United States.
Since Communism, established, would destroy our American Constitutional government, to support Communism is treasonable to our free institutions, and no patriotic American citizen may become either a Communist or supporter of Communism.
To our Church members we say: Communism is not the United Order, and bears only the most superficial resemblance thereto; Communism is based upon intolerance and force, the United Order upon love and freedom of conscience and action; Communism involves forceful despoliation and confiscation, the United Order voluntary consecration and sacrifice.
Communists cannot establish the United Order, nor will Communism bring it about. The United Order will be established by the Lord in His own due time and in accordance with the regular prescribed order of the Church.
Furthermore, it is charged by universal report, which is not successfully contradicted or disproved, that Communism undertakes to control, if not indeed to proscribe the religious life of the people living within its jurisdiction, and that it even reaches its hand into the sanctity of the family circle itself, disrupting the normal relationship of parent and child, all in a manner unknown and unsanctioned under the Constitutional guarantees under which we in America live. Such interference would be contrary to the fundamental precepts of the Gospel and to the teachings and order of the Church. Communism being thus hostile to loyal American citizenship and incompatible with true Church membership, of necessity no loyal American citizen and no faithful Church member can be a Communist.
We call upon all Church members completely to eschew Communism. The safety of our divinely inspired Constitutional government and the welfare of our Church imperatively demand that Communism shall have no place in America.
HEBER J. GRANT
J. REUBEN CLARK, JR.
DAVID O. MCKAY
Comment on Communism
The foregoing statement on Communism by the First Presidency of the Church has been received thankfully and with fervent approval, both within and without the Church, by Americans who love America. Typical of the resultant reactions is an editorial which appeared July 8, 1936, in the Salt Lake Tribune, a newspaper published by interests not of our Church. At the suggestion of President Heber J. Grant, The Improvement Era’s Editor-in-Chief, the editorial referred to is here reproduced in full:
“Enemies Within Our Gates”
There is both reason and logic in the recent pronouncement of the Mormon Church against communism. The statement is more than a religious document because it warns of a menace that drives at the very foundations of American life. Communism has nothing in common with the Mormon Church or any other, this government or any other, this people or any other. It is an enemy to religion, to freedom, and to civilization.
The warning of the First Presidency is timely and to the point. It distinguishes between communistic enterprise and free political discussion within the bounds of the Constitution. It recites forcibly that communism is not freedom but serfdom, not the exponent of new political rights for the people, but the enemy of existing governmental guarantees to them.
“The statement says:
“‘Communism is not a political party nor a political plan under the Constitution; it is a system of government that is the opposite of our Constitutional government, and it would be necessary to destroy our Constitution before communism could be set up in the United States. Since communism, established, would destroy our American constitutional government, to support communism is treasonable.’
“Communistic preachment, first of all, is a means to an end. It is an essential step in the overthrow of established government. Once the people are disarmed there is no turning back. They become slaves under a rule of force, which tolerates no interference or resistance, be it peaceful or violent. Russia is the outstanding example of an enslaves people. The roseate promises held out to accomplish the revolution are forgotten, the fanciful ideals are repudiated and the rule of a designing leadership is made absolute.
“Established communism endures no criticism of its course. Such activities as the Mormon Church warns against would be punishable as treason in Russia. Only the other day, Joseph Stalin declared that the Soviet Union will avoid any electoral system under which any part could defeat the government and take its place Why should the American people be more tolerant of the enemies within their gates? Why should they hold out the guarantees of Constitutional government to men and women who seek to destroy them? Why should not allegiance or subscription to principles conceived and designed to destroy the Constitution be sternly punished?
“We do not abandon our homes to the burglars. No more should we tolerate the activities of those who seek to destroy the foundations of our homes and our civilization. Constitutional government. Spies and traitors to the trust of our government are handled without gloves. Why should any more consideration be shown those who would destroy the government itself?
First Presidency, “Warning to Church Members,” Improvement Era, August 1936, 488.
16 thoughts to “First Presidency Message on Communism, July 1936”
This along with Ezra Taft Benson’s addresses on this subject is certainly as important today as it was when these were issued. My question to those in authority is why have the Brethren been virtually silent on this issue in light of the fulfillment of several prophetic warnings in our day and age. Shouldn’t we as members be further put on alert in the prevention of Socialism and Communism which has not only gotten their foot in our nation’s door, but is nearly complete in the process we have been told would happen if we weren’t vigilant.
What a great message. I do wish I had heard this before. But it’s great we can easily find it.
In response to the brother’s comment above…I am sure the Brethren are very aware of our current issues. Some were even in the high councils of the Church when (then) Elder Benson addressed this topic at a BYU devotional (http://speeches.byu.edu/?act=viewitem&id=85). But our Church is now a world-wide Church. It’s also a much more visible Church in the eyes of governments and of peoples of all races. I am sure the Lord, in His wisdom and for His purposes, has been less direct about these issues. Didn’t the Lord ask Mormom and Ether to stop saying things to their peoples as wickedness increased in their day? They had had their warning. So have we. But that doesn’t mean we stop fighting for freedom. That doesn’t mean we stop clinging to the principles in which the US Constitution was built. And we don’t stop uniting with people who share the same beliefs for preserving our freedoms and rights.
You’re exactly right Angie. Very insightful of you to connect the dots. We are running out of time to spread love, light, goodness and wisdom before many will be forced to figure things out the hard way.
Excellent thought Angie. I agree 100%
Thank You Angie I agree with your remarks, our leading authorities are very much aware of what is going on.
I live in South America where Socialism and Fascism have taken a strong root, not only in the countries in Latin America, but also in the church. I work in the Stake High Council, with the charge to teach our young adults about the dangers of Socialism and the principles of self sufficiency. The opposition we get is that our last 3 prophets have really said nothing with regard to Socialism or Communism, and that the churches policy has changed on these positions. My stake President was told this past week by an area 70 that he was to advise the members to take part in the government welfare programs that the Corona Virus 19 has brought upon our area, and to not teach the dangers of the Socialist handouts. We have showed him, the area 70, and the Bishops that there are alternate resources that we as members can come together and apply, to help those members who were disobedient, actually, and did not have any type of food storage built up, nor money put aside,as we have been counseled. A program of self reliance as a Stake and Wards. But this was pushed aside by our Area leaders. Which concerns me. Our members here think that Socialism is the Law of Consecration. Though we struggle to teach them differently, we also battle with local and area leaders that go against the churches earlier declarations and statements. Has the churches policy changed on this? I believe not, and agree that the silence of our leaders in Utah, is due to the now gathering of Israel in these types of government lands. It is obvious, that if they were to be like J Ruben Clarke, Pres McKay and Pres Benson, so bold against Socialism-Communism, that the gathering would be frustrated and delayed. The warnings were given for nearly 50 years, and we do still take into account what past Prophets have stated and declared as gospel. However, the lack of clarifying lately, has divided the church members so conditioned to a Socialist government as their “right” from the government. Can anyone suggest any further policy for and against the Socialist-Communist philosophy in the church? We need to arm ourselves with all that we have that is of reliable sources, even better the church itself, but the church website is also silent, and gives a now different impression. I am sure I understand why, but in order to persuade others under my charge, I cannot give my opinion, I need facts. Help??
I 100% agree with you, and wonder the same myself. I am sure church policy has not changed. Socialism is not the Law of Concecration or the United Order. As it says above, “To our Church members we say: Communism is not the United Order, and bears only the most superficial resemblance thereto; Communism is based upon intolerance and force, the United Order upon love and freedom of conscience and action; Communism involves forceful despoliation and confiscation, the United Order voluntary consecration and sacrifice.” How do some leaders not understand the difference? Is this where even the ‘elect will be deceived’? People here in the US who have come from socialist & communist countries cannot understand why Americans want socialism either. They’ve lived it, and escaped it to come here because they don’t want to live with no freedoms. They think it’s crazy that these people want it. I agree with them as well. I’m sorry, I am frustrated with you.
There is a no more insidiously malicious regime of government than communism/socialism. As a new member of the Church in 1961, I was also recently assigned to my permanent duty station in South Carolina in the USAF. We were well instructed as to the nature of our enemy, the communists. In 1962-63, planes from our base flew missions all over Cuba in an effort to remove the nuclear “gun” from our head, a gun held by Russia and their puppet regime in Havana.
I often ask young people, usually college students, if they’ve ever heard of the “Cuban Crisis”. Far more than half say, “No. When was THAT?!”
I tell them, “1962. You know, when the communist Soviet Union and Cuba almost caused WWIII by putting Nuclear Missiles in Cuba, about 90 miles from Miami, Florida!!! You are very lucky we stopped them! And, don’t be such an idiot about such things!”
Ensign 2020, Elder David A. Bed at
Page 9, Church members opining about Brethren have not spoken recently about food storage and related topics in Conference. “Repeated admonitions to prepare have been proclaimed by Leaders for decades. Consistency of prophetic counsel over time creates a powerful concert 🎶 of clarity and a warning volume far louder than solo performances can ever produce.”
I am blessed to have safe curiosity with such questions. Leaders of The Church must remain cautious that such discussion can result in very serious consequences in some situations. Reading the Book of Mormon clarifies what we need to know about secret combinations. Suggestion: Try listening/reading at 1.8X speed with this topic in mind. It takes 16 hours to get through the entire book. Spread it over 8 days if it helps. Repeat the exercise with other important questions in mind. Careful study is another approach, but this long arch of history in a few days can give new insight, too.
I find this very interesting. X O X O
This is such an important subject for church members. I have had church members block me on messenger and I try to alert them to this. It is 2021 now when I post this and back in 2020, some who were my church friends were socialist supporters on the left. It hurts me that they don’t recognize this and don’t want to listen to the church leaders about this. Many of them, like the socialists and communists, are very angry people, to begin with. I understand this as I used to be this way because of horrendous child abuse that I had not dealt with until I was much older. I wonder if this is one reason some people are so drawn to this type of satan’s plan? It seems that all of them have great anger issues and are easily drawn into this. My former friends also tend to not see the wisdom in the first presidency’s views on LGBT issues and women given the priesthood. Any ideas from others would be interesting to me. I just try to love them and I pray that they will find peace from HF through his son and come around.
When the proclamation on the family was issued, that stood as a warning to the world of coming events if our world continued on its path. After the proclamation you will note a change in conference talks. They were directed to individuals on how to maintain their spiritual lives. The brethren had spoken… a bit like the doors of the ark were closing.
I I wonder as well why we are not being warned about socialism and communism by the general authorities of Bathe church. Perhaps they don’t want to say anything about the topic of socialism or communism because they don’t want people stirred up and perhaps doing something drastic out of fear by possibly causing great harm to themselves or others because of their fear. We know very hard times are coming and I feel for the moment we are to stay calm believing Christ and not acting on impulse. Our first presidency want to direct us to believe Jesus Christ and not to fear as fear only creates trouble. We are to read our Book of Mormon daily as well as following “Come, Follow Me” ane know that the Lord will be there for us when trouble does come. Joseph Smith was always being Ipersecuted as well as all the Latter Day Saints back in Joseph’s time and after Joseph was murdered by wickedness because of his belief in God the Father and Jesus Christ and doing only what was righteous even in spite of being jailed and tormented along with those of his followers. Look what our Savior went through and even suffered the atonement for all people who would ever live and also bleeding from every pore his sorrows were so great for all of us. He didn’t fight back.. He stayed calm no matter what he suffered . The early Saints suffered a great deal too. By reading our scriptures and pondering over them and following the commandments of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ we will be prepared for what is coming. The Book of Mormon is for our day as it declares by the examples we read in it tells us what things we also will face in our day. Church History also gives us examples of how we should act by the examples of how evil was handled by righteous Saints. Perfect love casteth out all fear. The Lord said to Joseph Smith when he and others were confined in a jail which was cold and filthy with only a window at the top of those cold walls and wicked people uttering from that window filth at Joseph and those with him where he stood and looked up at them and fiercely yelled at them in a godly manner to stop their wicked ways . He had taken all that he could and prayed with all his might for the Lords help. I cannot at the moment remember all that the Lord replied to Joseph, but he told him even if earth and hell combined against him that it was for his own good and that he will be rewarded for all went through in the resurrection. Joseph was very spiritually strong. The trials made him stronger. In Doctrine & Covenants 6:34, Jesus said, “Fear not, little flock, do good, let earth and he’ll combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail. We need to exercise our faith here a little, there a little, live the commandments, believe Christ, be strong leaning on our own strength through our own righteous living, praying in faith knowing God answers prayers. Keep a prayer journal. Wright your prayers down in black or blue pen. When the answers come, write them down in red or another color you will recognize to know your prayers are always answered. It may be right away, or a couple of days or quite a while after, but you definitely will get an answer. Be patient with the Lord and yourself. Stay calm. You can do it.
Do you happen to have an image of the original document? I would love to hang it in my house right next to my Family Proclamation and my Living Christ.
What has the Prophet been telling us to do? Pray always, read the scriptures daily, repent of our sins and learn how to receive personal revelation. Times are only going to get tougher. We have to be prepared with the armor of God. We cannot be told everything we should already know it. The war in Heaven was about being forced to do things right or choosing to do things right. We know that being forced to do things is Satan’s plan. Therefore Communism and Socialism are of Satan.