True Democracy: Ancient Versus Modern American Government
In ancient America, an ethnic culture called the Nephites transitioned through several types of governments with one of them relatable to the republicanism of the United States of America, it being a political stretch to do so. The freedom and liberty referred to in the record centered around preventing harm to families and communities and the right to worship God according to the desires of the people.
Americas are blessed lands where every nation that dwells on them must worship the God of the lands or destruction awaits them, a warning found in the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. This article addresses this provision in the United States ti worship God to keep it from following the path of the Nephites into destruction.
Avoiding the Nephite Pit through the Republic
Swearing that the Church would never plummet into apostasy again in a revelation to Joseph Smith, Jesus Christ fashioned a nation where religion is a guarantee in the form of the Constitution. Jesus said,
According to the laws and Constitution of the people [of the United States], which I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh [humanity], according to just and holy principles; that every man may act in doctrine [belief system] and principle [lifestyle] pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment. Therefore, it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another. And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land [the United States of America], by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood [the Revolutionary War], Doctrine & Covenants 101:77-80.
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that the US Constitution is an inspired document meant for the entire human family with expressed mention of a Bill of Rights and a representative government so that the citizens have no power to change the form of government directly, or the legal power to infringe on other peoples’ belief system from any foundation—religious, political, or philosophical in nature!
Those protections can only apply as far as the Guiding Principles of the Constitution are held inviolate. As it is true that US citizens did not always uphold the true intent of the Constitution, war and debate has been a troubling concern in the United States to whom the laws apply. In the last 40 years, the laws have been understood to apply to all citizens of the nation.
The Divine Constitution
The Church of Jesus Christ in modern times does support the actuality of many types of governments because if it, did not it would not be able to operate within those governments’ domain. Joseph Smith articulated articles of faith that the church adopted later as canonized scripture stating that “We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law” Pearl of Great Price, Articles of Faith 1:12.
United States is no Democracy
Jesus explicitly vouchsafes the agency of humanity, all humanity, though particularly regarding the freedoms of the people in the United States when He said,
…that law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me. Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land; and as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil, Doctrine & Covenants 98:5-7.
The United States is not a democracy for the precise reasons to avoid what occurred with the Nephites. The Nephite Tribal Confederacy eventually precluded Christ and failed. The voice of the people could not vote to eliminate religious rights as it could among the Nephites. The voice of the people could not change governments as did the Nephites, which could jeopardize the religious freedom of the people and endanger the Church of Jesus Christ.
Subsequently, to make sure that the voice of the people could not infringe on the rights of others, God inspired the writers of the Constitution to contrive a government where the authority to govern separated into three divisions instead of one group as did the Nephite nation, a group of judges. This government allowed representatives of the denizens to enact laws regularly with the option for a plebiscite by circumstance, still with the possibility of the Judiciary to usurp. This government would sanction elected representatives, legislatures; an elected person of the electorates, executive/president; and appointed people of the Judiciary, the US Supreme Court Justices. Therefore, this new American nation upon the promised lands, the United States of America, would serve as an example to the residue of the world’s nations of how a government should labor to protect the rights of the people.
Is the Constitution for all people in principle, or just the US?
Wrapping Things Up
Because of the covenant that God made with the modern Church of Jesus Christ, a government was inspired into existence that makes it almost impossible to turn the people against Christ, almost. Ultimately, a two-thirds majority of legislative representatives can amend the Constitution. The determination of the people to act for or against the celestial will is inviolate by heavenly decree to all powers. The wrath of God ignites against those who expressly infringe on the liberties of His offspring.
Unfortunately, the Nephites did not have the provision common to what God preserved for the latter days. Provisions for a minority population are not evident in the current translation of the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ regarding Nephite government. Those in disagreement with the majority had to yield completely to the will of the people. There was no bicameral body to give two types of representation for the people, just the word of the Chief Judge as law. God ensured the agency of humans in the United States epitomized freedom towards benevolent virtuosity or malevolent discord. When divine retribution descends upon the people it will be solely the individuals’ just reward.
- Government and Legal History in the Book of Mormon,
Because the Book of Mormon focuses on religious themes, information about political and legal institutions appears only as background for the religious account.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2016 Rodric Anthony Johnson