Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I'm a Liberal. I'm a Mormon.

It's true. I am a Mormon Liberal. A lot of other Mormons view this as an oxymoron and a few have asked how it works for me to be both. I have two answers for them:

1. Sometimes my Mormon-ness makes me a liberal

2. Others times it's just that I don't understand conservative thought

Then they say, "Lucy, you got some 'splaining to do." (Not really, they're never that funny. They're usually concerned for my soul and don't have time for jokes.)

#1 I often feel that the views of Conservative Mormons contradict my understanding of scripture.

-Conservative Mormon says, "Socialism is more evil than crushing kittens!"

I have noticed that conservative Mormons often confuse socialism with dystopian sci-fi novels. For the record, socialism is:
a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.

Such a society was described in the book of Fourth Nephi:
And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift. 4 Nephi 3

All things were communal, there was no distinction between rich and poor. Sounds like...I dunno...socialism. Actually, it sounds like hard core communism the likes of which no living man has seen. Apparently it's a heavenly gift.

Early members of the church tried to do something similar called the Law of Consecration, a system wherein property became communal and was redistributed as best suited the community. It is argued that this law is not at all like socialism because socialism was invented by the devil so he could control people and the Law of Consecration was based on love. I am surprised people say this because all it does is prove that members of the church don't love each other. The Law of Consecration failed. It failed because people are selfish and greedy. The problem is not that socialism is evil, we are too evil for socialism.

The Christian Socialist, George Lansbury said,
"Socialism which means love, cooperation and brotherhood in every department of human affairs, is the only outward expression of a Christian's faith. I am firmly convinced that whether they know it or not, all who approve and accept competition and struggle against each other as the means whereby we gain our daily bread, do indeed betray and make of no effect the "will of God."
Maybe a bit extreme, but I think he's on to something.
-Conservative Mormon says, "Capitalism is the Lord's way! Hooray money!"
I sincerely doubt it. The goal of Capitalism is to earn money. The more money you make the more successful you are. While capitalism has its merits, it is a system that fosters greed and materialism. The scriptures say, "For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." 1 Timothy 6:10. Jesus said, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God."

If we were to ask James and Jesus about these statements they wouldn't say, "Oh, that? I was just talking." I'm sure they meant what they said. People can do terrible things to each other in the pursuit of money and possessions. It can easily consume a person and make them turn against others. You may be thinking, "Well, I don't exploit other people just so I can have things." We've all heard the jokes about kids in sweat shops making our clothes. Odds are, someone is being exploited because of the things you own.

-Conservative Mormon says, "Welfare is the Devil's allowance and I would never accept it in any form!"

Some people are in difficult situations, they need food stamps, they need money to get by. People do abuse it, but people also use it as it was intended to be used. I am willing to pay for the abusers because I know for a fact it helps people.

Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just--But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God. Mosiah 4:17-18

I would also point out that you have probably been the recipient of welfare. If you have ever received a pell grant, accepted WIC when you were a starving student with a child, had your children on free or reduced price lunch, or driven on a public road (in Idaho our roads are largely paid for by the Feds, because we can't afford them), then you have received welfare.
If you don't need welfare, good for you. Some people genuinely need it. Don't act like you are better than them. Your farts stink too.

#2 The stuff I just don't get

-Conservative Mormon says, "Don't ever vote for a pro-choice, baby killing candidate!"
Deciding who governs you based on one issue seems unwise. How does abortion affect your life- Have you ever had one? Do you plan to have or fund one? I think most Mormons will answer no to those questions, and if that's the case why are you so concerned about it? Changing the laws on abortion will have little effect on you. I understand that it is offensive-I personally don't think abortion should be used as birth control, but I'm not willing to completely dismiss a candidate just because they disagree with me on an issue that won't change my life. I can't overturn a Supreme Court ruling, but I can vote about issues like poverty, education and government services.

-Conservative Mormon says, "If we let the gays marry, society will collapse into a puddle of sin and rainbows!"

Both the Old and New Testaments have scriptures condemning homosexuality. But I have a secret for you. I don't care if gays get married. If voters approve it, fine. If they don't, fine. According to religious belief, their sin is that they have sex. They're going to do that whether they can marry or not.
It is argued that gay marriage will 'blasphemically' desecrate marriage. My problem with that is marriage offers legal benefits that I think gay couples should have. I feel the government should be in the business of granting rights to its citizens, not preventing citizens from gaining rights. Perhaps it's time the government got out of the marriage business. Let them give civil unions to whomever wants them. If you want to get married, go to a church.

I have reasons for being a liberal. I'm not doing it to be contrary, I don't have a devil in me, it's just how I see things.

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