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, I made a few remarks, alluding to Sidney Rigdon and Alexander Campbell getting up a community at Kirtland, and of the big fish there eating up all the little fish. I said I did not believe the doctrine. 1

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. 2

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 (authors 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 isimpossible to produce a true and correct union without the Spirit of the living God, … 3

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, … 4

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. 5

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. 6

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. 7

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. 8

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 obtained 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 shaft 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. 9

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?” 10

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 globe, take care of the cattle, the ‘locks 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 your character the moment you do. 11

During the first half of the twentieth century we have traveled far into the soul-destroying land of socialism … 12

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 it perfection. (Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, Vol. 4, p. 69)

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; … 13

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; … 14

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 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. 15

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) 16

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 to force reluctant citizens to perform acts of charity against their will. Government is created by the people. The creature cannot exceed the creator. 17

No true Latter-day Saint and no true American can be asocialist or a communist or support programs leading in that direction. 18

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, … 19

We must keep the people informed that collectivism, another word for socialism, is a part of the communist strategy. Communism is essentially socialism. 20

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 the other, 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… 21

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 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. 22

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinrssyoutube

Notes:

  1. Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 6, p. 33
  2. Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 14, p. 21
  3. John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 18, p. 137
  4. John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 1, p. 23, August 22, 1852
  5. Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 23, p. 77
  6. Lorenzo Snow, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 19, p. 346, 349-350
  7. Joseph F. Smith, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 25, p. 251
  8. Heber J. Grant, J. Reuben Clark Jr., David O. McKay, The First Presidency, CR, April, 1942, p. 90
  9. President George Albert Smith, Prophets, Principles and National Survival, p. 343 [compiled by Jay Newquist], CR-10/49:171-2
  10. The Teachings of George Albert Smith, Bookcraft, Salt Lake City, [1996], p. 171
  11. David O. McKay, Statements on Communism and the Constitution of the United States, p. 23
  12. David O. McKay, Gospel Ideals, p. 273
  13. Joseph Fielding Smith, The Progress of Man, p. 397
  14. Harold B. Lee, Stand Ye in Holy Places, p. 280
  15. Harold B. Lee, The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, [1996], p. 314-15
  16. Spencer W. Kimball, Teachings, pp. 408-409
  17. Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, Sept. 1987, p. 8
  18. Ezra Taft Benson, Title of Liberty, p. 190
  19. Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, July, 1988, p. 80
  20. Ezra Taft Benson, This Nation Shall Endure, p. 90
  21. Howard W. Hunter, That We Might Have Joy, pp. 77-78
  22. Gordon B. Hinckley, Talk given at the funeral of Ezra Taft Benson, June 4, 1994

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *