LDS Articles of Faith, Part LXIII
Article 12, Submission to Secular Authority, Part II
The 12th LDS Article of Faith says, “We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.” The 12th LDS Article of Faith is only a partial guide for LDS relationship to government. LDS leaders in Kirtland, OH met in August 1835 and voted unanimously to accept Doctrine and Covenants (D. & C.) Sec. 134 as scripture and D. & C. 134: 6 says, “We believe that every man should be honored in his station, rulers and magistrates as such, being placed for the protection of the innocent and the punishment of the guilty; and that to the laws all men show respect and deference, as without them peace and harmony would be supplemented by anarchy and terror.” Our last blog mentioned that D. & C. 134:9 says, “We do not believe it is just to mingle religious influence with civil government…” But Joseph Smith and Brigham Young served as presidents of the LDS Church while also serving as political leaders, so they ignored their own scripture!
LDS leaders also ignored D. & C. 134:6 which says they are to honor rulers and magistrates. Our last blog also mentioned that the LDS Church had a love-hate relationship with the United States Government in its early years and they didn’t honor some government leaders. Heber C. Kimball was in the First Presidency of the LDS Church when he said on September 6, 1856, “Old (President James) Buchannan: he cannot do anything, but he will bruise somebody’s shins, and they will be after him, and he never shall rest again—no, never, until the time comes for us to redeem him. And that is not all. All his coadjutors, his cabinet and all his governors…they shall never rest in peace till the Lord Almighty has scourged them until they are fully satisfied…we will make monkeys out of them, and we will make them crawl on all fours, and they never will rest” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 5, p.217). Kimball also said on July 26, 1857, “The President of the United States (Buchannan), inasmuch as he has turned against us and will take a course to persist in pleasing the ungodly curses that are howling around him for the destruction of this people, he shall be cursed in the name of Israel’s God, and he shall not rule over this nation, because they are my brethren; but they have cast me out and cast you out; and I curse him and all his coadjutors in his cursed deeds, in the name of Jesus Christ and by the authority of the Holy Priesthood; and all Israel shall say amen” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 5, p. 95). [LDS call themselves “Israel.”] Kimball also said, “Will the President (Buchannan) that sits in the chair of the state be tipped from his seat? Yes, he will die an untimely death, and God Almighty will curse him; and He shall also curse his successor (Abraham Lincoln), if he takes the same stand” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 5, p. 133). [President Buchannan served his full term as President and died of natural causes when he was 77, eight years after leaving office]. So, Kimball’s gave a false prophecy! Kimball also said on September 6, 1856, “The Church and kingdom to which we belong will become the kingdom of our God and His Christ, and brother Brigham Young will become President of the United States. And I will tell you something more; but we do not now want to give him that name: but he is called and ordained to a far greater station than that, and he is foreordained to take that station, and he has got it; and I am Vice-President, and brother Wells is Secretary of the Interior—yes, and all of the armies of the flesh…you may think I am joking; but I am perfectly willing that brother Long (who recorded LDS messages) should write every word of it; for I can see it just as naturally as I can see the earth and the productions thereof” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 5, p. 219). [None of those things happened]. Kimball said Brigham Young was ordained to a far greater position than President of the USA which likely referred to Brigham’s ordination as King of the Earth by the LDS Council of Fifty when LDS arrived in Salt Lake. Joseph Smith was also ordained to that office (Quest for Empire, p. 66).
On September 13, 1857, LDS President Brigham Young said, “It is a pretty bold stand for this people to take, to say that they will not be controlled by administrators of the General Government…There cannot be a more damnable, dastardly order issued by the Administration to this people while they were in Indian country, in 1846. Before we left Nauvoo, IL, not less than two United States senators came to receive a pledge from us that we would leave the United States; and then, while we were doing our best to leave their borders, the poor, low, degraded curses sent a requisition for five hundred of our men to go fight their battles! That was President Polk; and he is now withering in hell with old (President) Zachary Taylor, where the present administrators (President Buchannan) will soon be if they do not repent” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 5, pp. 231-232). Brigham Young also said on p. 235 of that volume, “There is high treason in Washington; and if the law was carried out, it would hang up many of them. And the very act of (Pres.) James K. Polk in taking five hundred of our men, while we were making our way out of the country under an agreement forced upon us, would have hung him
between the heavens and the earth, if the laws had been faithfully executed.” Mormons often picture themselves as victims of persecution, so this story by Brigham Young is still told by LDS. But Brigham knew it wasn’t true when he said it! He knew that he and LDS leaders requested help from the Government to move the LDS to the west. Brigham said in a letter to “Prest. Samuel Bent & Council” dated July 7, 1846, “Elder Little, President of the New England Churches, is here also, direct from Washington, who has been to see the President (Polk) on the subject o emigrating the Saints to the western coast, and confirms all that Capt. Allen has stated to us. The U. S. want our friendship, the President (Polk) wants to do us good and secure our confidence. The outfit of these five hundred men cost us nothing, and their pay will be sufficient to take their families over the mountains…the thing is from above, for our good, has long been understood between us and the U. S. Government” (Manuscript History of Brigham Young, July 7, 1846). The same manuscript says on July 13, 1846, Brigham Young gave a speech in which he said, “The President (James K. Polk of the USA) has now stretched out his hand to help us and I thank God and him too.” Others also reported the same thing during that period, so, Brigham Young lied in 1857 when he accused President Polk of hurting LDS by sending a requisition for five hundred LDS men to fight battles for the USA. The five hundred LDS men were called the Mormon Battalion and they marched through New Mexico and west to San Diego but didn’t fight any battles. Brigham Young spoke against Presidents Zachary Taylor, James K. Polk, and James Buchannan, so when the 4th LDS Prophet Wilford Woodruff was baptized for all the Presidents of the USA, in the St. George LDS Temple, he wasn’t baptized for those three. Read about LDS President Woodruff’s being baptized for one hundred dead men including the signers of Declaration of Independence, John Wesley, Columbus and fifty other eminent men in the Journal of Discourses, vol. 19, pp.228-229.
Next time we will conclude our discussion of LDS submission to government and law.