Saturday, April 21, 2012

The socialist heritage of the Mormon religion

Many conservatives will dismiss this article by its title. However, the Mormon religion is based on socialism and if you do a search on google for "Mormon socialism" you will get  1,240,000 hits.

The following is the opening to a 2011 article in the Salt Lake City Tribune:

Whether one accepts the historical or theological claims of the Book of Mormon, one theme in it is obvious: At their most righteous, the Nephites presented in the book were benevolent socialists; at their most depraved, they were greedy free-market capitalists.

In the zenith of Nephite culture, "the Lord called his people Zion because they were of one heart and one mind and they did have all things in common — and there were no poor among them." Having "all things in common" suggests a society invested in public infrastructure and welfare for the whole.

Redistribution is not an anomaly in Mormon scriptures. Joseph Smith declared that "It is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin." (Doctrine and Covenants 49:20).

For any conservative this is surely commie talk! Yet Smith persisted, "If you are not equal in earthly things ye cannot be equal in obtaining heavenly things" (D&C 78:5-6).

Early Mormon leaders advocated a United Order to redistribute wealth for the benefit of all Saints.

Though redistribution is the highest economic order in Mormon scripture . . .:

Mormons tithe more to the Latter Day Saints than other churches in the US.  Ninety per cent of Mormons tithe and Mormons have the highest percentage of members who tithe 10 per cent of their income or more. 

Mormons also dedicate time to the church, usually 10 hours a week or more,  and will help other Mormons financially who fall onto hard times such as unemployment. 

In the Book of Mormon , a white Nephrite civilization that flourished in America is described. The Nephrites were descended to one of the lost tribe of Joseph form Israel. The American Indians, the Lamanites wiped out the Nephrites because of their greed. 

In Mormon theology God had called Mormon prophet Samuel to go to Zarahemla.a Nephrite city, , . to stand up and speak out against corporate greed and wealth accumulation.  Samuel scaled the city’s wall and offered Zarahemla a choice: repent or be destroyed by God.  After decades of perpetual wars and environmental upheavals, the inhabitants of Zarahemla were destroyed by the Lamanites. 

Although modern Mormons are very conservative and openly capitalist, the Old Mormon church followers still live in socialistic communes and practice plural marriage. In Salt Lake city, there are believed to be 40,000 families that practice plural marriage in the sister wife tradition.

graphic: Hysterical Raisins
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