Collectivism, The Danger From WithinTo me, the most basic and important differences which exist between living conditions in one nation and another are largely accounted for by the differences in the laws of those nations and how such laws are executed. I assume that it is the moral, religious, and ethical beliefs of the people which largely determine what the laws of a republic or a democracy shall be; nevertheless it is the law of the land which guarantees the individual his liberty or makes of him a slave. We usually explain the differences between life in one country and another by saying the governments are different. In the last analysis, however, it is the law which either puts restraints upon the law enforcement agencies on the one hand, or gives them unbridled power to deal arbitrarily with the citizen’s life, liberty, and property on the other. Governments are established primarily for the purpose of enforcing a code of moral behavior called criminal law. Man has felt the need to have an agency which is at the same time powerful enough and impartial enough to seek out and punish those who intentionally injure or destroy the life, liberty, or property, of another. Agreement about what the law should be ceases when we get into the area of administrative law. When the state, instead of merely protecting property rights, adopts measures which are in effect a denial of the right of private property—when the state under the sanction of the law, takes by force the property of one person and gives it to another—when it establishes monopolies, by giving some citizens the privilege of entering into certain economic activities but denies all others this privilege—when the state denies its citizens the freedom to enter business contracts of their own choosing—in short when the state becomes an instrument of plunder and benefits one citizen or group of citizens at the expense of others by doing that which the criminal law forbids the individual to do when acting alone—there is bound to be strong opposition to such measures. This type of law has become completely acceptable in the United States both on the state and federal level during the last fifty years of our history. It is this fact, together with the continuing growth of such administrative laws, which in my mind represents the real threat of communism. I have for some time been impressed with the fact that the founders of scientific socialism proposed that their system of government be established in a capitalist nation by means of the ballot box—by the peaceful process of voting into effect those laws which they believed would eventuate in the establishment of communism. Marx and Engels in the Communist Manifesto proposed the use of the democratic process to adopt a system of laws which would bring about the form of government which they proposed. Let us listen to a few excerpts from the Manifesto: We have seen above that the first step in the revolution of the working class is to raise the proletariat to the position of ruling class, to establish democracy. The proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest by degrees all capital from the bourgeoisie, to centralize all instruments of production in the hands of the state…. The Manifesto goes on to say—and again I quote:
Of course, in the beginning this cannot be effected except by means of despotic inroads on the rights of property and on the conditions of bourgeois production;…Clearly Marx and Engels felt it necessary to prepare for the communist coup by first securing the adoption of laws which diminish and destroy the right of private property—laws which I call administrative laws. Let us next examine exactly what their legislative platform consisted of, because they had one. They listed ten separate measures which they considered applicable in the most advanced capitalistic countries. These famous ten points are as follows:
- Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
- A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
- Abolition of all rights of inheritance.
- Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
- Centralization of credit in the hands of the state by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly.
- Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the state.
- Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the state; the bringing into cultivation of waste lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
- Equal obligation of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
- Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the population over the country.
- Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of child factory labor in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, etc.
We are not given the step-by-step backsliding of this Jareditic civilization till it reached the social and governmental chaos the record sets out, but those steps seem wholly clear from the results. Put into modern terms, we can understand them. First there was a forsaking of the righteous life, and the working of wickedness; then must have come the extortion and oppression of the poor by the rich; then retaliation and reprisal by the poor against the rich; then would come a cry to share the wealth which should belong to all; then the easy belief that society owed every man a living whether he worked or not; then the keeping of a great body of idlers; then when community revenues failed to do this, as they always have failed and always will fail, a self-helping by one to the goods of his neighbor; and finally when the neighbor resisted, as resist he must, or starve with his family, then death to the neighbor and all that belonged to him. This was the decreed “fulness of iniquity.” 1President Clark went on to discuss this same fulness of iniquity which overcame the Nephites. He went on to warn us (p.183) that we Gentiles may have a similar fulness of iniquity if we are not righteous. President McKay explained the source this system of government which would lead to this destruction when he said:
President McKay further clarified the system he was describing when he said in 1966,…Even in man’s pre-existent state, Satan sought power to compel the human family to do his will by suggesting that the free agency of man be inoperative. If his plan had been accepted, human beings would have become mere puppets in the hands of a dictator, and the purpose of man’s coming to earth would have been frustrated. Satan’s proposed system of government, therefore, was rejected, and the principle of free agency established in its place…. Any form of government that destroys or undermines the free exercise of free agency is wrong. 2
Was he opposed only to Communism? Referring to the economic system of Communism he stated, when talking about the direction of America:The position of this Church on the subject of Communism has never changed. We consider it the greatest satanical threat to peace, prosperity, and the spread of God’s work among men that exists on the face of the earth. 3
During the first half of the twentieth century we have traveled far into the soul-destroying land of socialism… 4The following graphs display what can only be referred to as America approaching its own fulness of iniquity as we reject the warnings of our prophets in our day.
Appendix I: Graphs of America’s DeclineINCREASING HOUSING COSTS This graph reflects rising rental rates along the Wasatch front, compared to the Consumer Price Index along the Wasatch Front. While rent rates have grown tremendously, buying a home has also sky rocketed. For instance, the 1998 Economic Report to the Governor of Utah, prepared by the University of Utah Bureau of Economic Research states that:
The average price of the same group of existing houses in Utah increased 74.4% in the 5-year period ending September 30, 1997 (the largest 5 year increase in the nation), according to the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight’s (OFHEO) Housing Price Index. The OFHEO price index measures the average price in repeat sales of the same houses.
I cannot help but think that there is a direct relationship between the present trends which I have above indicated, and the very marked tendency of the people of our country to pass on to the state the responsibility for their moral and economic welfare. This trend to a welfare state in which people look to and worship government more than their God, is certain to sap the individual ambitions and moral fiber of our youth unless they are warned and rewarned . . . I hope that no one on the faculty of Brigham Young University will advocate positions which cannot be harmonized with the views of every prophet of the church, from the Prophet Joseph Smith on down, concerning our belief that we should be strong and self-reliant individuals, not dependent upon the largess or benefactions of government. None of the doctrines of our Church give any sanction to the concept of a socialistic state. . . .If you believe President McKay, not one single prophet from Joseph Smith on down ever crossed the line and advocated welfare state (socialistic) beliefs. He sees “harmonized” teachings of the prophets being violated. Let’s assume President McKay is correct. The promoters of socialism will have zero scriptural and zero prophet support when it comes time for them to justify their rejection of their own prophets on these principles. 5 Because of this seduction, the principles of the prophets are not viable campaign speeches, even in Utah. This brings up the next question: How is it possible to cut out the various welfare-state features of our government which have already fastened themselves like cancer cells onto the body politic? Isn’t drastic surgery already necessary, and can it be performed without endangering the patient? In answer, it is obvious that drastic measures are called for. No half- way or compromise actions will suffice. Like all surgery, it will not be without discomforts and perhaps even some scar tissue for a long time to come. But it must be done if the patient is to be saved, and it can be done without undue risk. Obviously, not all welfare-state programs currently in force can be dropped simultaneously without causing tremendous economic and social upheaval. . . . In my opinion, the bulk of the transition could be accomplished within a ten-year period . . . 6 7 The men who attended that Convention were painfully aware of the great dangers of paper money. Governments with the power to print paper money have always abused this power. Many of the Convention attendees had participated in, and saw the great damage to the nation the paper “Continental Dollar” caused. Those men voted on and struck down the emission of paper money. They further limited the government’s power over money. The Federal government was limited to coining money and regulating its value. They also provided that no state shall make anything but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts. (Art. 1, Sec. 10) 8 While many Americans would fight to stop communism being imposed from abroad, they vote to implement its economic programs piece meal in the U.S. Marx would be pleased to note that the typical American has voted to give up his personal income through May 9, for socialist expansion in the U.S. Marx, in his Communist Manifesto stated, “. . .the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: abolition of private property.” Individual stewardship would be destroyed. Socialism, as it spreads over a country, destroys personal initiative, personal responsibility and family ties. It is not merely an economic program to destroy capitalism. Marx, again in the Manifesto proposed, “abolition of the family.” He also stated therein, . . . “Communism abolishes eternal truths, it abolishes all religion, and all morality, . . .” President McKay saw socialism as more than just economics. He stated, “During the first half of the twentieth century we have traveled far into the soul-destroying land of socialism. . .” 9 10
We hear much talk—even among some of our own sisters—about so-called ‘alternative life- styles’ for women. . . . Some have even been so bold as to suggest that the Church move away from the ‘Mormon woman stereotype’ of homemaking and rearing children. God grant that that dangerous philosophy will never take root among our Latter-day Saint Women! (Ezra Taft Benson, A Biography, p. 472)Based on statistics, that “dangerous philosophy” appears to have taken root. Assuming the vast majority of Utah women would prefer to heed the brethren’s counsel, what driving force leads the vast majority to not heed their counsel? Economic necessity is one driving force. While economic necessity to one is high living to another, economic necessity is the primary factor in the minds of many mothers who work outside the home. With socialism increasing its take of the average workers annual income, more and more women have entered the work force to make up the difference, and pay the taxes. The promoters of socialism are primarily responsible for the number of mothers in the U.S. and Utah coming into the work force, against the unanimous counsel of the prophets. 11 Socialism is the primary consumer of a man’s earnings. As a man’s income annually shrinks to fund expanding socialism, his ability to fulfill his primary economic stewardship, the support of his family, declines. It is not just a coincidence that expanding socialism, expanding mothers in the workforce, and increasing divorce are parallel occurrences. Our Prophets and Apostles have addressed the need for men to support their families and for wives to let them. The fact that it is harder and harder each year has not changed the message. Paul must have sensed this same need of men in his day to support, protect and provide for their families when he wrote,
But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel. (1st Timothy, 5:8) . . .when the wicked rule the people mourn. (D&C 98:9)Each year socialism grows. Each year fewer men fill the requirement of their stewardship. Each year more wives experience economic necessities their husbands don’t fill. Each year more wives leave their homes to enter the work force. Each year more marriages fail because of money troubles. These unhappy wives never know their husband is just another drowning victim of the consequences of socialism. His stewardship shrinks as socialism expands. If you refer back to the graph on the eight hour work day you will note that you spend more time on a daily basis working to pay your taxes than you do to pay for your housing, food and transportation combined.
Appendix II: Prophet’s Opposing Socialism
JOSEPH SMITH Wednesday, 13. I attended a lecture at the Grove, by Mr. John Finch, a Socialist, from England, and said a few words in reply… Thursday, 14. I attended a second lecture on Socialism, by Mr. Finch; and after he got through, Imade a few remarks, alluding to Sidney Rigdon and Alexander Campbell getting up a community at Kirkland, and of the big fish there eating up all the little fish. I said I did not believe the doctrine. 12 BRIGHAM YOUNG 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. 13 JOHN TAYLOR …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 (author’s note: Francois Fourier was a French socialist and writer), 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,… 14 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, fourierism, and several other isms. Communism is a specimen of the same thing,… 15 WILFORD WOODRUFF You may wish to know why I make these remarks. I will tell you. Because God himself grants this right to every human being upon the earth irrespective of race or color; it is part of the divine economy not to force any man to heaven, not to coerce the mind but to leave it free to act for itself. He lays before His creature man the everlasting Gospel, the principles of life and salvation, and then leaves him to choose for himself or to reject for himself, with the definite understanding that he becomes responsible to Him for the results of his acts. 16
LORENZO SNOW In things that pertain to celestial glory there can be no forced operations. We must do according as the Spirit of the Lord operates upon our understandings and feelings. We cannot be crowded into matters, however great might be the blessing attending such procedure. We cannot be forced into living a celestial law; we must do this ourselves, of our own free will. And whatever we do in regard to the principle of the United Order, we must do it because we desire to do it… The United Order is not French Communism. 17 JOSEPH F. SMITH …We must choose righteous men, good men to fill these positions. Hence if you will only get good men to fill these offices no one should care who they are, so that you have agreed upon them, and were one. We want you to be one both in temporal, political and religious things, in fact, in everything you put your hands to in righteousness. We want you to be one, one as God and Christ are one, seeing eye to eye. Do not try to crush anybody, or build yourselves up at the expense of your neighbor. Do not do it; it is a custom of the world, and it is a wrong principle. 18 HEBER J. GRANT …Among the Latter-day Saints they speak of their philosophy and their plans under it, as an ushering in of the United Order. Communism and all other similar “isms” bear no relationship whatever to the United Order. They are merely the clumsy counterfeits which Satan always devises of the gospel plan. Communism debases the individual and makes him the enslaved tool of the state to whom he must look for sustenance and religion; the United Order exalts the individual, leaves him his property, “according to his family, according to his circumstances and his wants and needs.” (D&C 51:3) and provides a system by which he helps care for his less fortunate brethren; the United Order leaves every man free to choose his own religion as his conscience directs. Communism destroys man’s God-given free agency; the United Order glorifies it. Latter-day Saints cannot be true to their faith and lend aid, encouragement, or sympathy to any of these false philosophies. They will prove snares to their feet. 19 GEORGE ALBERT SMITH Consider the condition in the world, the number who are determined to take from the rich man not what belongs to themselves, but that which belongs to the others. God has permitted men to get wealth, and if they obtain it properly, it is theirs, and he will bless them in its use if they will use it properly…. We must not fall into the bad habits of other people. We must not get into the frame of mind that we will take what the other man has. Refer back to the ten commandments, and you will find one short paragraph, “Thou shalt not covet.” That is what is the matter with a good many people today. They are coveting what somebody else has, when as a matter of fact, many of them have been cared for and provided with means to live by those very ones from whom they would take property. 20
God gave this nation the Constitution. No nation in the world has a constitution that was given to it by our Heavenly Father except the United States of America. I wonder if we appreciate that. The Lord gave us a rule of life for this great nation, and as far as we have lived up to it and taken advantage of it, the nation has grown, and the people have been blessed. But there are many people who prefer, or at least they seem to prefer something else. As one man said to me, “Why not try what Russia has tried and what Germany has tried?” And my answer to him was, “Why try something that has already failed? Why not hold on to what the Lord has given?” 21 DAVID O. MCKAY We are placed on this earth to work, to live; and the earth will give us a living. It is our duty to strive to make a success of what we possess—to till the earth, subdue matter, conquer the glebe, take care of cattle, the flocks and the herds. It is the Government’s duty to see that you are protected in these efforts, and no other man has the right to deprive you of any of your privileges. But it is not the Government’s duty to support you. That is one reason why I shall raise my voice as long as God gives me sound or ability, against this Communistic idea that the Government will take care of us all, and everything belongs to the Government. It is wrong! No wonder, in trying to perpetuate that idea, they become anti-Christ, because that doctrine strikes directly against the doctrine of the Savior… No government owes you a living. You get it yourself by your own acts! —never by trespassing upon the rights of a neighbor; never by cheating him. You put a blemish upon you character the moment you do. 22 During the first half of the twentieth century we have traveled far into the soul-destroying land of socialism… 23 JOSEPH FIELDING SMITH We have all been taught the doctrine of personal free agency and that no individual is ever compelled by force or other means to comply with divine edicts and philosophy. We have been informed that a long time ago in the pre-existence there was a rebellion in heaven, and because one notable character, who had been entrusted with great authority, rebelled and led many away with him, he had to be cast out of the kingdom. However we should remember that every principle and law existing in the celestial kingdom has been proved to be perfect through the eternities through which they have come. If any individual proves himself worthy for the exaltation in that kingdom, it will be by strict obedience to every principle and covenant here existing. Therefore we may be assured that every law and principle thereunto pertaining is perfect and cannot be amended or discarded because of its perfection. 24 The modern trend of the nations is towards dictatorship. It is taking form in two great camps, but, nevertheless, the direction is the same, although it is being reached by different routes. On the one side the direction to make an end of all nations, is through communism;… 25 HAROLD B. LEE
There are some things of which I am sure, and that is that contrary to the belief and mistaken ideas of some people, the United Order will not be a socialistic or communistic setup;… 26 Now, keep in mind with all the crowding in of the socialistic reform programs that are threatening the very foundation of the Church, we must never forget what the Lord has said, “that the church may stand independent above all other creatures beneath the celestial world” (D&C 78:14). Whenever we allow ourselves to become entangled and have to be subsidized from government sources—and we think that it’s the expedient way to do business in this day—or when we yield to such pressures, 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. 27 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? (0/0/45) 28 EZRA TAFT BENSON The fifth and final principle that is basic to our understanding of the Constitution is that governments should have only limited powers. The important thing to keep in mind is that the people who have created their government can give to that government only such powers as they, themselves, have in the first place. Obviously, they cannot give that which they do not possess. By deriving its just powers from the governed, government becomes primarily a mechanism for defense against bodily harm, theft, and involuntary servitude. It cannot claim the power to redistribute money or property nor force reluctant citizens to perform acts of charity against their will. Government is created by the people. The creature cannot exceed the creator. 29 No true Latter-day Saint and no true American can be a socialist or a communist or support programs leading in that direction. 30 Our nation will continue to degenerate unless we read and heed the words of the God of this land, Jesus Christ, and quit building up and upholding secret combinations,… 31 We must keep the people informed that collectivism, another word for socialism, is a part of the communist strategy. Communism is essentially socialism. 32 HOWARD W. HUNTER …we know from both ancient and modern revelation that Satan wished to deny us our independence and agency in that now forgotten moment long ago, even as he wishes to deny them this very hour. Indeed, Satan violently opposed the freedom of choice offered by Father, so violently that John in the Revelation described “war in heaven” over the matter. (Rev. 12:7) Satan would have coerced us, and he would have robbed us of that most precious of gifts if he could: our freedom to choose a divine future and the exaltation we all hope to obtain….To fully understand this gift of agency and its inestimable worth, it is imperative that we understand that God’s chief way of acting is by persuasion and patience and long-suffering, not by coercion and stark confrontation… 33 GORDON B. HINCKLEY I am confident that it was out of what he saw, the bitter fruit of dictatorship that he developed his strong feelings, almost hatred for communism and socialism. That distaste grew through the years as he witnessed the heavy handed oppression and suffering of the peoples of eastern Europe under what he repeatedly described as a godless communism. These experiences further strengthened his love for the land of his birth…. He never got over his boyhood love for freedom. Rather, it grew within him, nurtured by what he saw of oppression in other lands, and by what he observed first hand of a growing dominance of government in this land over the lives of the people. 34
- Stand Fast by our Constitution, p. 177, J. Reuben Clark
- The Improvement Era, Feb. 1962, p. 87, President David O. McKay
- Conference Report, April, 1966. pp. 109-110, David O. McKay
- Gospel Ideals, p. 273, David O. McKay
- The Utah Taxpayer, August 1997
- Ezra Taft Benson, The Proper Role of Government, p. 16, 17
- Elliot’s Debates, Vol. V, pp. 434-435
- This Nation Shall Endure, p. 90
- Gospel Ideals, p. 273
- Harold B. Lee, The Teachings of, p. 315
- Cornerstones of a Happy Marriage, 1985, p. 8
- Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 6, p. 33
- Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 14, p. 21
- John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 18, p. 137
- John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 1, p. 23, August 22, 1852
- Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 23, p. 77
- Lorenzo Snow, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 19, p. 346, 349-350
- Joseph F. Smith, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 25, p. 251
- Heber J. Grant, J. Reuben Clark Jr., David O. McKay, The First Presidency, CR, April, 1942, p. 90
- President George Albert Smith, Prophets, Principles and National Survival, p. 343 [compiled by Jay Newquist], CR 10/49: 171-72
- The Teachings of George Albert Smith, Bookcraft, Salt Lake City, , p. 171
- David O. McKay, Statements on Communism and the Constitution of the United States, p. 23
- David O. McKay, Gospel Ideals, p. 273
- Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, Vol. 4, p. 69
- Joseph Fielding Smith, The Progress of Man, p. 397
- Harold B. Lee, Stand Ye in Holy Places, p. 280
- Harold B. Lee, The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, , p. 314-15
- Spencer W. Kimball, Teachings, pp. 408-409
- Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, Sept. 1987, p. 8
- Ezra Taft Benson, Title of Liberty, p. 190
- Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, July 1988, p. 80
- Ezra Taft Benson, This Nation Shall Endure, p. 90
- Howard W. Hunter, That We Might Have Joy, pp. 77-78
- Gordon B. Hinckley, Talk given at the funeral of Ezra Taft Benson, June 4, 1994