Ten Government Principles Favored In The Book Of Mormon | Desert Saints Magazine
An excellent article I discovered at Desert Saints Magazine outlining ten correct political principles favored in The Book of Mormon.
By Jamie Huston
The comments of Mormon and the examples of Nephite leaders offer a testimony that the Lord favors certain political principles over others.
1. Government should prepare weapons in peace time and declare the right to bear arms.
2 Nephi 5 is a detailed description of Nephi’s new society. As one part of that program, Nephi “did make many swords, lest by any means the people who were now called Lamanites should come upon us and destroy us” (2 Nephi 5:14).
Notice that the Lamanites weren’t attacking at the time. Nephi was stockpiling arms to prepare for (and deter) any future conflict.
2. Immigrants should assimilate into dominant populations.
When the Nephites move into the established population at Zarahemla (Omni 1:17-18), the native group learned the Nephite language and appointed Mosiah to be their king. They recognized that their society had become corrupted and godless, and Mosiah was a seer and could translate their history. Then the two groups “did unite together.” The Book of Mormon defies current conventional wisdom by showing us that this was a good thing!
It thus rejects the notion of a “multicultural” Nephite nation.
3. Those whose beliefs are based on feelings of resentment and entitlement cannot be appeased.
Mosiah 10: 12-13 makes it clear why the Lamanites hated the Nephites: “Believing that… they were wronged in the wilderness by their brethren, and they were also wronged while crossing the sea; and again, that they were wronged in the land of their first inheritance.”
Their whole world view was a reaction to their perceptions of the Nephites, which prevented them from having personal happiness, peace with the Nephites and a civil society.
4. Heavy taxes and vast government programs are wrong.
Mosiah 11:6 says that evil King Noah taxed his people heavily (unlike good King Benjamin in Mosiah 2:14). Mosiah 11:8-13 details the many needless public works projects he wasted the people’s tax money on.
5. Capital punishment is acceptable.
In Alma 1, a vocal critic of the church named Nehor is executed by the civil government. Alma 46:35 even says that execution is permissible for those who refuse to be patriotic and defend freedom during a time of war.
6. Using the legal system to further a personal agenda is wrong.
When the lawyers of Ammonihah attempt to discredit Alma and Amulek, Mormon makes their real motive clear: “They did stir up the people to riotings, and all manner of disturbances, that they might have more employ, that they might get money according to the suits which were brought before them” (Alma 11:20).
Those laywers weren’t concerned with discovering the truth, they were manipulating the system to forward their own interests, encouraging more lawsuits by agitating people. Does America currently have a political philosophy that encourages using the legal system to create or change legislation?
7. Good leaders preserve freedom, defend religion, and punish crime…and that’s all.
One of the most over-looked treasures in the Book of Mormon is Alma 50:39, where we are given the oath of office Nephite leaders took during one of that people’s most spiritual periods: “to judge righteously, and to keep the peace and the freedom of the people, and to grant unto them their sacred privileges to worship the Lord their God, yea, to support and maintain the cause of God all his days, and to bring the wicked to justice according to his crime.”
That’s it. No social programs, no advocating for progressive causes.
8. Subverting the mainstream is wrong.
In Alma 51:16, Mormon tells us that during a great war where a special interest group sought to obstruct the administration’s progress, Moroni’s “first care [was] to put an end to such contentions and dissensions among the people; for behold, this had been hitherto a cause of all their destruction.” So poisoning your country’s attempts to preserve its institutions is not some alternative form of patriotism, it’s societal suicide.
9. Normal procedures can be changed during a war.
In Alma 51:19, when Moroni won a battle against the dissenters among the Nephite’s own population, “those of their leaders who were not slain in battle were taken and cast into prison, for there was no time for their trials at this period.”
So the prisoners of war were left in a holding tank since conducting the war took precedence over any due process the prisoners might receive. Even the rights of Nephite citizens, apparently, could be suspended. Critics of Guantanamo Bay and the Patriot Act might want to read these verses before their next protest.
10. Good leaders must have private morality.
Those who would defend unethical public leaders, saying that their private lives are not connected to their work, might take this as a warning. The Jaredite king Morianton “did do justice unto the people, but not unto himself because of his many whoredoms; wherefore he was cut off from the presence of the Lord” (Ether 10:11).
In summary, Nephi describes the church of the devil which scourges the righteous as a political entity that is openly hostile to religion (1 Nephi 13:5), embraces sexual immorality (1 Nephi 13:7), and constitutes an international government (1 Nephi 14:1). John the Apostle, in his book of Revelation, adds the detail that this civil Babylon will control a heavily-regulated global economy (Revelation 13:16-17).
America’s current political and social climate bears certain striking resemblances to those described in the Book of Mormon. The question is, will we heed its lessons?