Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Violent Opposition to the Plan of Salvation?

Anti-PC Infidel (warning, his blog is a bit much for a moderate like myself- also you can't comment and tell him you disagree with him, so read it at your own risk) said something interesting to me on Pursuit of Liberty

But hey, if you want to accept a political philosophy that is in violent opposition to the foundation of the Plan of Salvation, that’s your choice. Because I’m not a “liberal” (who are only liberal with their morals and other people’s money), I won’t try to rob you of your ability to choose between good and evil.

This was interesting to me, that someone would think being a liberal* is in opposition to the "foundation of the plan of salvation".

Any thoughts?

*(I actually consider myself more of a moderate, but compared to much of Utah, his assumption that I'm a liberal is probably not too far off- although I can't think of anyone in Utah that I know for sure fits his specific definition of liberal, except maybe our current republican legislature).


Anonymous said...

Okay, I don't have a lot of time to keep spending on you, but it's very, very simple. If you actually are a Mormon as you claim, then you are aware of the plan that Satan proposed in our pre-mortal existence. His plan was not to force us to do bad things, but to force us to obey God, to do good things. His plan was rejected because of that violation of the most fundamental element of the Plan of Salvation. Without that agency (whether "free" is added to it or not is irrelevant; it's the same thing), there could be no exaltation. This is simple, elementary stuff. Primary stuff. I don't know of any simpler way to explain it, and if you really are a Mormon as you claim, I am surprised at your resistance to this core doctrine that has been made abundantly clear in the standard works and in the words of the prophets and apostles from Joseph Smith on.

So, your efforts to force me to pay for the upkeep of another is simply the application of Satan's plan here on earth. Your efforts to take away my fundamental right to my property (and if you believe the scriptures, then you believe in that God-given right, since it is clearly stated in the Doctrine and Covenants; see, for example, Section 134, among others) is immoral. I might choose to use my property correctly (to serve God and his children) or I might choose to use my property incorrectly (to serve myself alone). But the only moral and righteous thing for you to do is to leave that completely up to me.

I realize that acceptance of the Church's doctrine regarding this may not be emotionally satisfying, and that it means that the bulk of the responsibility is on the individual, which can be scary if you aren't used to it. Freedom is neither easy nor safe, but it is always right.

Essentially, I am explaining the same thing over and over and over again, regardless of your efforts to brand it as nothing more than "insults." It's unfortunate that some people are so thin-skinned that they can't see the clear and simple point (1 Nephi 16:2).

If you still don't understand it, then there's nothing more I can do, and God help you in the coming dystopia of "hope" and "change."

You have the scriptures before you, and a wealth of material both religious and secular that discusses these issues, so you can do your own research. But if you reject the core element of the Plan of Salvation, we will never be able to come to any agreement, and my efforts to explain the principles of liberty to you will make no sense. So put the emotionally satisfying position to the side, do the spiritual and intellectual work, and then I'll be willing to spend time on you. Until then, I'm just too busy.

Alice said...

I don't need a lesson on the plan of salvation, I am just trying to understand why you think the way you do.

I get that you don't want any "free agency" taken away from you. I just think your application of what it is and is not okay for the government to do is incorrect.

Along with your "fundamental rights" to your property, you have a fundamental duty to care for those who are less fortunate, and I believe that an updated version of our current welfare system would be the best way to do that. Unfortunately, I don't believe that Good People like yourself would be doing much in the way of charitable work with the money they didn't pay in taxes.

I understand your frustration with explaining the same things over and over again. I feel like I've been doing the same thing.

Funny isn't it.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is incredibly emotionally satisfying. I'm sorry your missing out on that part.

Alice said...

That should be a "you're" there at the end. Pardon the typo.

Obi wan liberali said...

Ah yes, the plan of salvation. The right to do what you want, but face the consequences from an angry God and those who claim to speak for him, if you don't do what you are told.

Anti-pc infidel is right in that scripture supports his radical right-wing views. Scripture also supports all kinds evil including racism, genocide, slavery, murder(Laban comes to mind), you name it.

In virtually all religions, the fundamentalists can win the scripture battles, whether it is Christians, Mormons or Muslims. And anti-pc infidel has definately drank the kool-aid and is a true believer.

Anonymous said...


That's a great question. I think that we could get the vast majority of people to agree that should (or inevitably will) inform your decision making in politics. The real question is about where we draw the lines between personal religion informing personal choices of a political nature and having religious doctrines dictate our government actions.

Personally, I think that the proper balance is that religion should inform our individual decisions and government decisions, while they may be influenced by the religious beliefs of the individuals that make the decisions, should also be heavily influenced by the idea that we should never try to create a permanent solution to a temporary problem.


I don't see that Allie has been resisting that core doctrine of the preeminence of the principle of agency within the Plan of Salvation. It appears clear that her understanding and your are not the same, but in all fairness I have to say that many, perhaps most, of the Latter-day Saints I know do not recognize the implications of the doctrine regarding agency and how that is the defining difference between the Plan of Salvation and the plan of Lucifer.

adamf said...

anti-pc - With this logic, you must be libertarian, right? All taxation would be in violent opposition, would it not?

Alice said...

Obi wan- You can find something to support whatever your view is in the scriptures.

It's more important to understand what you are reading and act the way that Jesus would were he in your position.

David- hopefully I'm not misinterpreting somehow, but "...the implications of the doctrine regarding agency and how that is the defining difference between the Plan of Salvation and the plan of Lucifer." Most people don't understand that? Really?

Here's a question... why do people like Infidel get so riled up about taxes to help the poor (although, like I've said before, I would like to see some major changes to our welfare system) but they don't get riled up about taxes to pay for roads, or schools (for the most part), or police and fire services? Aren't you being "forced" equally in each case? Isn't that Satan's plan too?

The argument can be made that roads and schools, and police and fire services benefit everyone. My view is that taking care of the poor (and supporting them while they do nothing indefinitely is not what I mean), making sure some basic level of health care is provided to everyone, also benefits everyone, in the way of lower crime rates, less sick days, less crowded emergency rooms, lower health care costs for everyone (ER care is expensive).

Carissa said...


You said:

"Along with your "fundamental rights" to your property, you have a fundamental duty to care for those who are less fortunate".

This fundamental duty to care for the poor is a spiritual admonition. Where does the government derive the authority to enforce it?

In the conversation I had with you before, you seemed to think that as long as something is a good idea, it is alright to use government to carry it out. There are some who still believe in the concept of following the constitution's list of specifically enumerated powers (this includes taxation for certain things because they are clearly listed). For the government to usurp power beyond the ones clearly listed in the constitution can be seen by some as taking away a degree of agency that God would prefer us to exercise while here on earth.

With regard to government-implemented charity, you may be interested in this article:

Alice said...

Perhaps, but I would say caring for all people is a human issue, not just a spiritual one.

If you don't like to look at it that way, look at it from a practical stance. I've already stated my reasoning behind this in other places, so I won't repeat them again here.

I've also stated that I think a welfare program would be more effective on a local or state level, which conveniently avoids any constitutional issues.

Carissa said...

But Allie, you seem to claim that the fundamental duty to take care of other people trumps the clearly-stated right to private property. How do you support that claim without appealing to religious authority (God has said we have a duty)? And then, how do you justify it in light of the agency situation (God says you have a duty so you HAVE do it)? I really don't get it.

Anonymous said...

I said "perhaps most" and the reason I said that is because of the number of people that I know who show by their actions that they truly believe in "agency and how to enforce it" - our "conservative" Utah legislature for example.

Charlotte said...

I'm a liberal. And a Mormon. It seems to me that anti-PC enjoys hiding behind untrue generalizations rather than discussing actual politics. There's a reason why the church never declares allegiance to a political party and why, while we are always encouraged to vote, we are never told whom to vote for.

And your tone? Rather un-Christian, I daresay.

Alice said...

It seems very selfish to me to insist in the right to let people die because "what mine is mine".

I don't think society ought to operate that way.

I also find it amusing that so many people cry foul over being taxed and having their property taken from them, but they see no problem with paying more for health insurance to cover all of the uninsured people.

I may view it from a spiritual perspective, because I'm a religious person, but many in the world are not religious and still manage to feel the responsibility to care for others- even without a god telling them to do so. A mandate from God is not necessary to make taking care of our fellow human beings a decent thing to do.

Carissa said...

But again Allie, we are not talking about if it is a "decent thing" for all people to do. Of course it is. All people should "feel" a responsibility to help others in need to some degree because of the light of Christ in everyone.

What we're talking about is taking it to a whole new level and forcing people to do it. How do you justify doing that in light of how important we know agency is? That is the question that causes people to think this plan is so similar to the "force all people to do good" plan proposed by Satan. Surely you must see some degree of correlation. That is the issue that needs to be addressed in this post if it is to be meaningful.

Alice said...

Why is it okay to selectively apply "agency". We, as a society (for the most part), decide what things we are going to pool our money (through taxes) to support. I don't see why doing things to make society safer and healthier are a bad thing.

Here's a question, and maybe the whole point of this post- how do religion and government come together and to what extent if any should they? We talk about the evils of satan's plan (and really, I do see why people might be concerned about what they view as forced charity in relation to agency.) and people like to cry foul about taxes used for anything that might be viewed as a charity, but the government is not ruled by religion. In the government there is no "satan's plan". The role of government ought to be to look out for the welfare of the people.

In an ideal world, I'd agree with you that people shouldn't be forced to help others. I'd love to see people helping those around them out of the goodness of their hearts. I just don't see it happening, I think too many people would just spend more on their big screen TV's, so I think however you view it religiously, we have to have tax funded programs as an insurance policy to make sure that people don't get left behind.

Alice said...

Also, why do we cry, "agency, we have to have agency" over being taxed for welfare programs, but not for things like same sex marriage or abortion?

Carissa said...

Simple answers. Government or society choosing not to recognize a same sex relationship as "marriage" does not restrict the agency of those involved. Agency would be lost if their behavior or relationship was illegal, but it isn't. They are free to have that lifestyle. This is NOT an agency issue. In the case of abortion- the limiting of agency can always be justified when it involves infringing upon another person's agency or life. Now, you said:

The role of government ought to be to look out for the welfare of the people.

But to what extent and in what ways? I believe that the most important role of government is to secure the rights and freedoms of individual citizens. Would you agree with that? Have you ever read The Constitution- A Glorious Standard by Ezra Taft Benson? (Ensign, Sep 1987) Do you disagree with this talk? Here is a quote from it:

"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 to force reluctant citizens to perform acts of charity against their will."

Thomas Jefferson advocated "...a wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned" 1st Inaugural, 1801

Jefferson also said, "I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them."

Likewise Ben Franklin said, "Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both."

I'm sure you've heard these quotes before. Perhaps they mean something different to you than they do to me.

Carissa said...

I want to say one more thing. It wouldn't be honest to claim that Liberals or Democrats are the only ones violating the agency principles we are discussing. Republicans do their fair share of it and it isn't pointed out enough! The Patriot Act for example (supported widely by both parties)... if that isn't giving up liberty for "security", I don't know what is. There are certainly more ways it is happening than just the welfare issue. I don't know why this one is stressed the most.

Alice said...

I have heard most of those quotes before, and I understand where you are coming from, and again, if we lived in an ideal society where people were generous and took care of each other, I'd agree with you.

I don't think we need more welfare- I think we need job training to get people off of welfare.

Perhaps people are more vocal about welfare issues because it's easier to not think about your phone being tapped, than it is to think about the money taken out of your paycheck.

Carissa said...

Are you saying that because there is no guarantee people will be generous, agency is too big of a risk to allow in our society?

Alice said...

I wouldn't word it quite that way, but I suppose, yes, on a societal level, that's what I'm saying. In this case, I don't think you can apply the spiritual idea of agency to this particular function of government at least, because the risk to society is too great.

My Father-In-Law is in a stake presidency and has commented on the fast offerings collected in his stake exceed what is spent so they are able to send the surplus to salt lake. I don't think that is comment in less affluent areas. I also think that although fast offerings are "optional" there is an expectation that we donate. I'm not sure the same expectation would exist on a larger societal level.

Carissa said...

There was much greater risk involved in the plan of salvation (eternal life vs. temporal hardships or even death), and yet agency was preserved. God and Christ thought it was worth the risk. Why should our earthly implementations be any different? I believe they shouldn’t. Consider these quotes:

“I tell you I think this was a great risk that our Father was taking to send us down here with the privilege of our agency to make a choice. You see, free agency takes its chances. The Lord was willing to risk that in order that we might walk by faith and, as free, independent agents, choose the right.” Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee, 9

“It is vital for us in our leadership and our relationships to remember that God so loved that he would not shield us from the perils of freedom, from the right and responsibility to choose. So deep is his love and so precious that principle that he, who was conscious of the consequences, required that we choose. Lucifer had no love in his heart, no real concept of freedom or respect for it. He had no confidence in the principle or in us. He argued for forced salvation, for imposed survival, for an agencyless round trip to the earth and back again. None would be lost, he insisted. But he seemed not to understand that none would be any wiser, either, or any stronger or more compassionate or humble or grateful or more creative, under his plan.” Marion D. Hanks, “Agency and Love,” Ensign, Nov 1983, 21

“Certainly that must have occurred to our Father in the premortal existence when he considered the plan of a free experience in mortality. Loving his children as he does, why was he willing to take the risk that many would not come back? Why not force people to be righteous? Why is experience so essential that it is worth the risk that we may not come back? There is something about forcing people to be righteous that interferes with, even prohibits, the process that righteousness in a free environment is designed to enable.” Bruce C. Hafen, “The Value of the Veil,” Tambuli, Dec 1991, 27

mfranti said...


is this guy in the slat lake area?

i swear i saw a bumper sticker that said apc infidel on it the other day on the 15nb.

how can you miss the words "infidel" and arabic? writing? when they are right in front of you?

mfranti said...

"Okay, I don't have a lot of time to keep spending on you,"

you know, your tone....it's a bit hostile.

remember, you are someone elses blog and she was quite polite about yours.

and...if you want to convert folks like me to your way of thinking, you wont do it having that kind of -i'm too good to answer your questions-attitude.

hey? do i know you? do i work with you? pretty sure i do.

adamf said...

Mormon Matters Trackback: Taxes = Satan?

Carissa said...

Good point about semantics Adam. Feel free to substitute the times I wrote "agency" here with the word "freedom". No one can take away our agency, but our freedom (the means by which we use our agency to act) can certainly be restricted.

adamf said...

Carissa - I'm glad I found that talk by E. Oaks. It helped me realize that we do give up "freedoms" in some cases. Thanks for your comments on MM as well.