Mormonism’s resolution to one of the Reformation’s most vexing riddles

Return To Article
Add a comment
  • UtahTroutStalker Draper, UT
    Nov. 6, 2017 1:32 p.m.

    Man may receive God's grace through Christ's atonement alone.

    Priests and Church authority figures are needed or required.

    Why some people feel the need to place themselves under the authority of men and institutions rather than God and God alone is really a mystery to me.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Nov. 6, 2017 11:38 a.m.

    To "marxist " you are wrong. The United Order didn't fail because of capitalism. It failed because people were disobedient.

    You should also realize that the term alt-right means the LEFT, since the alternate to the right is the left. You should also realize that Nazi's are on the left.

  • What in Tucket? Provo, UT
    Nov. 6, 2017 10:30 a.m.

    Christendom killed people like stacks of cordwood. Guess the writer would not want to mention Islam killing 250 million since its inception. The Prophet Mohammed as he went along conquered thousands. 25,000 Jews in one town were slaughtered for opposing him. The other great killers of history are atheists, Hitler with perhaps 50 million or more dead, Mao 60 million. Pol Pot maybe only 2 million what a piker.

  • fatenews Lehi, UT
    Nov. 6, 2017 9:46 a.m.

    The freethinker in me believes there is no such thing as absolute freedom; man is always subject to someone or something outside of self. Man is a slave. Even the “freedom” to choose is still influenced and/or dictated by something outside of self; that is if we can definitively define "self". Philosophically speaking, of course. lol!!

  • logical Meridian, ID
    Nov. 6, 2017 8:34 a.m.

    I don't consider myself a "smart" person, but I love to read their thoughts even though I don't understand them all. I enjoyed reading this article and and the comments. There are many smart people commenting on this, thanks.
    This quote, I believe, is at the root of Joseph's teachings and his confidence in the saints being able to follow the Church's leadership; " seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom, seek learning even by study and also by faith; ". The Church leaders today are doing the same thing as Joseph and through their faith are implementing procedures and policies that appear as "great reforms". In many cases the these are not changes, but just acknowledgements of a changing society, the Proclamation on the Family is a great example.
    I will state the obvious here, the last 4 words of the quote above are the most important "and also by faith." That is what allows our freedom of choice and our desire to conform to be harmonious most of the time. We are not conforming to "Church leadership", we are conforming through our faith to God's will. I am grateful for the Holy Ghost that helps guide me through this conundrum.

  • threedegreecougar Kaysville, UT
    Nov. 5, 2017 10:19 p.m.

    Douthat is quoted stating that Luther's reforms "...ultimately permitted liberalism to triumph.” 1. Religion is only one factor in the rise of liberalism. Liberalism rejected all political and social norms of hereditary power, state religion, absolute monarchy, and the divine right of kings, in favor of humankind's natural right to self govern. The American experiment is the apex of that movement. 2. Mr. Boyd frames Mr. Carlyle's opinion as an apologetics for Mormonism's ability to reconcile freedom and tyranny. I argue that it is not Mormonism that reconciles the freedom of the political ballot, and the personal choice to follow a despot (a "good" or "bad" despot), but the American form liberalism, not Mormonism - one could invoke Puritans following tyrant ministers, Catholics free to vote, and pledge allegiance to infallible popes, or Millerites freely following Miller to the rapture. Submission to a tribal tyrant for the good of the tribe and for self interest is as old as humans - liberalism, the European Enlightenment, and its American political incarnation resolved the dilemma of separating tribal authoritarianism from the body politic, not a particular religious movement.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 5, 2017 3:34 p.m.

    @BoMerit "Marxist; can we assume that the LDS Church would be more fitting for your liking if LDS leaders had no moral authority by which members of the faith would voluntarily fit their behaviors? "

    No. I hold the leadership of the LDS Church in high esteem. I only wished to point out that we may well be in a time of passage. The Protestant Reformation with the attendant rise of capitalism was a major passage. The acceptance of Utah into the union, along with acceptance in Utah of the national system was another passage.

    The passage we are into now may be a rough one. Moreover the duality of freedom and obedience described by the writer may be of great use.

  • BoMerit Provo, UT
    Nov. 5, 2017 3:19 p.m.

    In the end, no analysis of this subject is complete without understanding where Brigham Young got this mild yet mighty temperament from - his predecessor Joseph Smith. And Joseph cannot be understood on this subject - without quoting his response to the query about how he governed the people of Nauvoo to such order: "I teach the correct principles and they govern themselves." Also, the Lord's demands communicated through Joseph to church members that they shouldn't be commanded in all things but should use their agency to do many good things without compulsion. There is, therefore, a flip side to this topic. The truly righteous & benevolent leader works to preserve the liberty of his subjects to continue to do those good things that come to their own minds through the instrumentality of spiritual communications and of their own human love. The fostering of love and agency together creates a powerful nation. Self-interest need not always been manifest in greed if proper teachings are widely distributed in curriculum (catechism), in print, and in example. Sacrifice can be a matter of agency and not just divine dictum. I think people taught this well would never fall.

  • BoMerit Provo, UT
    Nov. 5, 2017 2:55 p.m.

    Marxist; can we assume that the LDS Church would be more fitting for your liking if LDS leaders had no moral authority by which members of the faith would voluntarily fit their behaviors? Assuming your socio-political preferences are in alignment with your social media handle, I find it strange you join like-minded choruses in calling for near anarchy while being well aware that disorder's void will be filled with powerful characters stepping in to force order upon the people who now crave security. On the other hand; in stark opposition to LDS Church leaders who are constantly preaching voluntary love for neighbor and frequent sacrificial acts of service, communist leaders encourage tattle-telling and breakdowns in social discipline so the small minority ruling interests of the state can be protected and perpetrated. Eventually you get your order, and all of us have a qualitative decision to make: should we listen to the preaching of religious leaders and voluntarily make our world a better place to live, or should we give up those freedoms in return for promises of security at the hands of those very people who would point their weapons at their own citizens & kind?

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    Nov. 5, 2017 2:40 p.m.

    There's another Christian tradition that is independent of all of this European-centric history and understanding of the theology of Jesus, yet trace their lineage as Christians all the way back to Jesus' apostle, Thomas: The Nasrani / St. Thomas Christians, of the southwest coast of India.

    The St. Thomas Christians have quite different views than the other branches of Christianity, yet also have a documented, uninterrupted claim to the Christian priesthood, provided directly by Thomas the Apostle.

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    Nov. 5, 2017 2:28 p.m.

    "Carlyle observes, referring to Brigham Young, that The Mormon Governor is supreme in Mormon Conviction; what he does and orders is what every good Mormon is longing to see done. That is the secret of just despotism, of a Despotism which can be called beneficent.Setting aside the loose terminology, for Carlyle, Kerry writes, the genius of Mormonism is its uniting of wills: the members hearken to their King, and he in turn has their best interests at heart and through them has the ability to see that their needs are met.
    So Carlyle writes that BY was a King and a Despot and the flock blindly obeys. And Hal Boyd thinks that's a good thing?

  • 1covey Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 5, 2017 1:50 p.m.

    Interesting article. I always considered the Protestant vs Catholic stances to be based on Priesthood authority vs faith as the most important aspect of Christ's church. Of course, the religious and secular power of the Church was an issue. I believe the LDS doctrine of Priesthood authority operating in coordination with faith settled that problem, nicely. Then, the doctrine of Agency was a stunning principle. The God - given right for a person to make his/her own choices, and thereby be responsible for those choices, enables one to choose the kind of person he/she becomes. To quote ( freely ) Cecil B. DeMille, " People don't break God's commandments, they break themselves against the commandments." Christ's atonement enables us to make corrections and obtain forgiveness from God. And this is the road to true freedom.

    Nov. 5, 2017 10:45 a.m.

    Really interesting article. I would suggest reading Mosiah 29 where King Mosiah outlines different forms of government. He states the best form of government is a Kingdom led by a righteous king, but since there is no guarantee a king or reign of kings will remain righteous he establishes a republic made up of judges voted on by the people to rule. When Christ comes again he will rule as King of Kings and Lord of Lords and his Kingdom will perfectly balance justice and mercy for all.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 5, 2017 10:19 a.m.

    "Martin Luther’s 95 Theses — which turned 500 this week — roiled the religious order of his day. More than a theological debate about indulgences or the pope’s powers over purgatory, today the Theses which sparked the Protestant Reformation have come to symbolize individualism’s conquest over authority — an adumbration of the enlightenment, the American Revolution and Western liberalism’s modern retreat from religious authority."

    The Theses, along with Calvin's Doctrine of the Calling created the capitalist revolution. And capitalism curbed the Papacy's power. Similarly the onslaught of American capitalism curbed the powers of Brigham Young and subsequent LDS leadership as Utah was transformed from a system of United Orders to pretty much plain American capitalism.

    This was a major transformation, but much authority remains in the LDS leadership. Now I believe we may be undergoing another transformation in the enormous disruption of traditional American politics, wrought by Trump, Bannon and the alt-right (neo-Nazis). How LDS society might be transformed by this, along with the rest of the country, is anybody's guess.

  • TAS Tehachapi, CA
    Nov. 5, 2017 10:10 a.m.

    Both Calvin and Luther allied themselves to the local governmental authorities, so religious freedom did not exist there. Both were in favor of using the power of the state to put down religious thought they disagreed with. About the only places that had religious freedom in the 17th century was The Netherlands, Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania. Calvin actually had someone burned at the stake he disagreed with. It wasn't until the 18th century that religious toleration spread in England and her American Colonies.

  • GrainOfSalt Draper, UT
    Nov. 5, 2017 9:41 a.m.

    Sorry. I hit submit nut accident. I was going to say that without personal revelation you would not get the unifying obedience mentioned in the article. I know that without it (personal revelation) I would not be one to be told what to do or not do.