When is War Justified?

And again, this is the law that I gave unto mine ancients, that they should not go out unto battle against any nation, kindred, tongue, or people, save I, the Lord, commanded them,

And if any nation tongue, or people should proclaim war against them, they should first lift a standard of peace unto that people, nation, or tongue;

And if that people did not accept the offering of peace, neither the second not the third time, they should bring these testimonies before the Lord.

Then I, the Lord, would give unto them a commandment, and justify them in going out to battle against that nation, tongue or people.(Doctrine and Covenants 98: 34-36)

War has been on the minds of many people lately. We are reaching our 10th year of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and have entered a new war in Libya. The people of this nation, for the most part, are weary of war and want this era to come to a close.

It can be argued that we were justified in going to war in Iraq and Afghanistan because of the actions of terrorists on September 11, 2001. We entered these wars as retribution toward that terrorist organization.

This past month, we have seen what can be called a victory in that we have taken out the al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden. Yet we remain in both Iraq and Afghanistan. If World War 2 is any indicator of what we are to expect, we will have troops stationed there for many decades to come. Continue reading

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Filed under Defending Liberty

Immigration: The Church Speaks

This past Friday, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a statement on immigration law. They clarify the position they took recently in Utah and made it more general for application in other states and federally.

I want to look at a few key points and expound upon them.

As a matter of policy, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints discourages its members from entering any country without legal documentation, and from deliberately overstaying legal travel visas.

As members of the church, we are bound to obey the laws of the land as outlined in the Twelfth Article of Faith. However, we still hold the right to change laws we consider unjust or over broad. Often, this requires people to deliberately disobey them. I would think that in the case of immigration law, there is some room for civil disobedience. Continue reading

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Filed under Economic Liberty, Personal Liberty

Prohibition and a Word of Wisdom

A Word of Wisdom, for the benefit of the council of high priests, assembled in Kirtland, and the church, and also the saints in Zion—

To be sent greeting; not by commandment or constraint, but by revelation and the word of wisdom, showing forth the order and will of God in the temporal salvation of all saints in the last days—

Given for a principle with promise, adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest of all saints, who are or can be called saints. (Doctrine and Covenants 89:1-3)

In the early days of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Prophet Joseph Smith was led to inquire of God on the use of tobacco and alcohol by members of the church. This inquiry led to the revelation Latter-day Saints call the “Word of Wisdom.”

This revelation has 3 key parts: A proscription on the use of strong drinks, wine, tobacco and “hot drinks” (later decreed by the leaders of the church to refer to coffee and tea); A listing of food fit for the use of man and beast; And a promise to those who follow this word of wisdom.

At the time of this revelation, it was given as strong suggestion rather than a commandment. It wasn’t until much later during the time Brigham Young was prophet that the leaders of the church were inspired to make the proscription portion a requirement for temple access.

As Latter-day Saints we have a duty to live by this Word of Wisdom. However, we do not have a right to force others to do the same. Continue reading

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Filed under Personal Liberty

Government Welfare: Theft or Charity?

In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread (Genesis 3:19; King James Bible)

And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish. (Mosiah 4:16; Book of Mormon)

As Latter-day Saints, we have an obligation to care for those who are in need. To this end the Church has established a number of programs to assist those in need. Chief amongst these is the Fast Offering program. Every month, the members of the church fast for 24 hours and take the funds that would have been used to purchase food for those meals and donate to the Fast Offering program. This money is then used to help those who do not have money to get food for their families and pay for other things. Other notable programs are the Perpetual Education Fund and the church Humanitarian Relief.

However, even with these funds available, those who are in need are still required to do all they can to provide for themselves. For as God commanded Adam after the Fall, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread.” This commandment holds as true today as it did then. We are obligated to provide for our own needs. Continue reading

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Filed under Economic Liberty

Abortion and the Right to Life

About a month ago, a man I admire, Danny Ledonne, wrote a blog post about why libertarians should support a woman’s right to seek an abortion under any circumstance. As he points out, this is a contentious issue that the Libertarian Party has punted on.

Recognizing that abortion is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good-faith views on all sides, we believe that government should be kept out of the matter, leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration. (Libertarian Platform 1.4)

In Danny’s defense of a woman’s right to seek an abortion, he uses what he admits to being an imperfect analogy of an unwelcome house guest:

If I am the owner of a property, I decide who is welcome and who is not.  If an unwelcome person persists in remaining on my property (an “intruder”), I have the right to use every means up to and including deadly force to remove this person from my property.  Naturally, I am going to seek out non-violent means to resolve this conflict first, however at some point if the person refuses to leave my property (“like it or not, I am living in your dining room for the next nine months”), I may choose to use physical confrontation to remove this person.  You see where I am going with this; if a woman has self-ownership over her body, then clearly she is the sole decision-maker as to whom is welcome inside her body.

Now I have a problem with this. This analogy, while written in good faith, is not an accurate representation of pregnancy or abortion. Continue reading

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Filed under Personal Liberty

Seek an Education That Glorifies God

O, remember, my son, and learn wisdom in thy youth; yea, learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God. (Alma 37:35; Book of Mormon)

And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and by faith. (Doctrine and Covenants 88:118)

Latter-day Saints are commanded to learn wisdom and gain an education. We are to seek out the best institutions of education available to us. Not only are we to seek an education, we are to seek one that glorifies God and builds on our faith in him. Continue reading

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Taxation and Its Role in a Free Society

Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s (Matthew 22:21; King James Version of the Bible)

Taxation is a contract between the people and the government stating that the people are willing to part with some of their income in support of programs and services offered by the government with the idea that these programs and services provide a public good.

It is often the case with unjust leadership to break this contract and use taxation as a means to unjustly enrich the people in power and their friends while also oppressing those who are seen as enemies. Continue reading

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Filed under Economic Liberty

Elections Should be Free and Equal

I, the Lord God, make you free, therefore ye are free in deed; and the law also maketh you free.

Never the Less, when the wicked rule the people mourn.

Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil. (Doctrine and Covenants 98:8-10)

We oppose laws that effectively exclude alternative candidates and parties, deny ballot access, gerrymander districts, or deny the voters their right to consider all legitimate alternatives. (Libertarian Platform 3.6)

As a Latter-day Saint, we are asked to vote for honest people who reflect our values and ideals. How are we to do so when those people are blocked from being on the ballot? Many states have laws that restrict the formation of new parties and make campaigning more costly for those who are not in favor with the government. Continue reading

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Filed under Political Liberty

Agency Is the Source of Liberty

As Libertarians, we seek a world of liberty; a world in which all individuals are sovereign over their own lives and no one is forced to sacrifice his or her values for the benefit of others.

These are the words that begin the Libertarian Platform. The words describe the ideal of everything it means to be a Libertarian. We are free to live our own lives and govern what we do within it.

As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormons as we are commonly called, we have a very similar belief.

“Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; … And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil;” (2 Nephi 2:27 The Book of Mormon) Continue reading

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Filed under Personal Liberty

Welcome to the Mormon Libertarian

Hello. My name is Zachary Knight. For a few years now, I have been very active in my political beliefs. I align myself with the Libertarian Party as I find that this party best aligns with my religious views as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

I hope to use this blog to explore the similarities between being a Mormon and a Libertarian when it comes to Politics.

The views that I will be expressing in this blog are that of myself and are not endorsed by either the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or the Libertarian Party.

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