D&C 134-5. D&C 134; 98:8-11; 101:78-80; 58:21-22. Find the verse(s) that addresses the following issues: SlaveryDuty to vote The ConstitutionValue of law wicked leadersFreedom of speech Freedom of religionRight to bear arms Speaking ill of political leaders
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Find the verse(s) that addresses the following issues:
SlaveryDuty to vote
The ConstitutionValue of law
wicked leadersFreedom of speech
Freedom of religionRight to bear arms
Speaking ill of political leaders
Separation of Church and State
The Saints’ duty to obey existing laws
“It was decreed in the councils of eternity, long before the foundations of the earth were laid, that [Joseph Smith] should be the man, in the last dispensation of this world, to bring forth the word of God to the people and receive the fullness of the keys and power of the Priesthood of the Son of God. The Lord had his eye upon him, and upon his father, and upon his father’s father, and upon their progenitors clear back to Abraham, and from Abraham to the flood, from the flood to Enoch and from Enoch to Adam. He has watched that family and that blood as it has circulated from its fountain to the birth of that man. [Joseph Smith] was foreordained in eternity to preside over this last dispensation.” (Brigham Young, Deseret News, Oct. 26, 1859, p. 266).
“What I have received from the Lord, I have received by Joseph Smith” (Brigham Young, DBY, 458).
“The Prophet Joseph Smith was not only ‘one of the noble and great ones,’ but he gave and continues to give attention to important matters here on the earth even today from the realms above. For in the eyes of the Lord … it is all one great eternal program in which the Prophet Joseph plays an important role—all through the eternal priesthood and authority of God.” (Ezra Taft Benson, “Joseph Smith—Man of Destiny,” address given on Dec. 3, 1967, in Logan, Utah, pp. 3–4).
“The First Vision of the Prophet Joseph Smith is bedrock theology to the Church. The adversary knows this and has attacked Joseph Smith’s credibility from the day he announced the visitation of the Father and the Son. … You should always bear testimony to the truth of the First Vision. Joseph Smith did see the Father and the Son. They conversed with him as he said they did. It is the most glorious event since the resurrection of our Lord. Any leader who, without reservation, cannot declare his testimony that God and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith can never be a true leader, a true shepherd. If we do not accept this truth, … if we have not received a witness about this great revelation, we cannot inspire faith in those whom we lead.” (Ezra Taft Benson, address given on May 20, 1984, in Salt Lake City, Utah, p. 2; Ezra Taft Benson, Addresses 1943–89, Church Archives).
“Who was Joseph Smith? The Book of Mormon tells us he was of the seed of Joseph that was sold into Egypt, and hence he was selected as Abraham was to fulfil a work upon the earth. God chose this young man. He was ignorant of letters as the world has it, but the most profoundly learned and intelligent man that I ever met in my life, and I have traveled hundreds of thousands of miles, been on different continents and mingled among all classes and creeds of people, yet I have never met a man so intelligent as he was. And where did he get his intelligence from? Not from books; not from the logic or science or philosophy of the day, but he obtained it through the revelations of God made known to him through the medium of the everlasting gospel.” (John Taylor, Deseret News, June 2, 1880, p. 275).
“As far as our records show, he [Joseph] has given us more revealed truth than any prophet who has ever lived upon the face of the earth” (LeGrand Richards, CR, 4/81, 43).
Not everything in life is so black and white, but it seems the authenticity of the Book of Mormon and its keystone role in our belief is exactly that. Either Joseph Smith was the prophet he said he was, who, after seeing the Father and the Son, later beheld the angel Moroni, repeatedly heard counsel from his lips, eventually receiving at his hands a set of ancient gold plates which he then translated according to the gift and power of God—or else he did not. And if he did not, in the spirit of President Benson’s comment, he is not entitled to retain even the reputation of New England folk hero or well-meaning young man or writer of remarkable fiction. No, and he is not entitled to be considered a great teacher or a quintessential American prophet or the creator of great wisdom literature. If he lied about the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, he is certainly none of those.
I feel about this as C. S. Lewis once said about the divinity of Christ: “I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: [that is,] ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to” (Mere Christianity, New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1952, pp. 40–41).
I am suggesting that we make exactly that same kind of do-or-die, bold assertion about the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the divine origins of the Book of Mormon. We have to. Reason and rightness require it. Accept Joseph Smith as a prophet and the book as the miraculously revealed and revered word of the Lord it is or else consign both man and book to Hades for the devastating deception of it all, but let’s not have any bizarre middle ground about the wonderful contours of a young boy’s imagination or his remarkable facility for turning a literary phrase. That is an unacceptable position to take—morally, literarily, historically, or theologically. (Jeffrey R. Holland, “True or False,” New Era, Jun 1995, 64; Excerpted from a Church Educational System Religious Educators’ Symposium address given at Brigham Young University on August 9, 1994.)