The citizenship of Zion is a condition fruit of the conversion to the gospel. It is the manifestation of the civil aspect of our membership in an open society. This is an issue that has made me think with intensity and frequency. I consider it of interest and delightful.
In section 134 we find the keys to this condition of citizens.
«We believe that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man; and that he holds men accountable for their acts in relation to them, both in making laws and administering them, for the good and safety of society.» ( 1 )
The verb institute comes from the Latin instituere, which means to establish, to found. In this verse all the natures of government are summarized in one. In our case we will define them to better understand the condition of citizens of Zion and its manifestation in the world.
The constituent power
This action is the origin, the will to create a government and the way in which it will exercise its power. In democracy, the constituent power is in the town. The constitution is the first legal norm, which emanates from the constituent power. Therefore the law has its origin in the people, who give themselves this rule for their governance.
In the case of Spain, the constituent power is the will of many, which in a given moment, lasts in time to constitute its government in the form of parliamentary monarchy.
In contrast, the government of the church is the reflection of the heavens. The constituent power is not in its membership but in God the Father, and by delegation in «the general assembly and church of the Firstborn» ( D & C 107: 19 ) We see a sample of the government action of that assembly in administering who «… by whom they cannot pass; they cannot « ( D & C 132: 18 )
In the Book of Mormon, we see how the people of Nephi, in a constituent assembly , gave themselves that freedom.
«choose you by the voice of this people, judges, that ye may be judged according to the laws which have been given you by our fathers …» ( Mosiah 29:25 )
They, like in Spain in December 1978, had their own transition to a better government in 92 BC without changing their identity as a nation. From the first King Benjamin, his son Benjamin II and finally Mosiah. That dynasty was able to extinguish itself and in that process prepare the people to be led by the law and not by a sovereign.
I can not in this article emphasize enough the importance of the law for citizenship. Nor is it a great need to do so, because as soon as you reflect on each one, you can realize it.
This statement of belief about governments, adopted by unanimous vote in Kirtland, Ohio, on August 17, 1835, and resulting in section 134, can guide us today when the basic principles are swayed.
«We believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life.« ( 2 )
Keep inviolate, the laws that guarantee freedom and harmonize the interests of each, suggests that they do not admit violence for its purpose or modification. It has not been until recently that violence against the law has stopped using the sword and has taken as a weapon lies and demagogy. Even feelings can be used as extortion for a petty purpose.
The slow mechanisms for the reform of the laws, are a safeguard to protect them from the emotions that demand ardent changes, as they are. The nature of the laws is more dense than the fluidity of a liquid world . The slowness of justice, while being criticized in everyday life, assures us a careful transition in the big issues.
And what I say I do not think about it but I write it. Often in Teancum I find myself expressing strange ideas to my opinion. But the logic of writing is different from that of speaking. Speaking and writing have different circuits. That is why justice and the executive often diverge in their times and sentences.
The laws in the church
Con frecuencia, los santos de los últimos días, nos vemos urgidos por la conmoción de nuestro tiempo a tener una posición en cada asunto. Y asuntos hay muchos. Circulan con mayor velocidad que nuestra capacidad de entenderlos cabalmente. Sus tiempos son cortos y rebasan nuestra capacidad de atención. Al perder capacidad de juicio lo trasladamos a la justicia. En este caso exigimos a la iglesia, apurados en nuestro dolor privado, que adopte una postura pública inmediata.
Pero la iglesia no es un sistema de emociones.
Since I was baptized to the present there have been many changes. Where the devil lived in 1975, now we extend a hand of brotherhood. Where indictment and rejection resided now is love and understanding. But it is also true that 43 years have passed. And if you do not believe it, those over 50 who remember.
The restoration, as Pte. Nelson suggests, continues to unfold . And where we thought we saw edges, it was nothing but the expansion of their condescension. That is why we can not demand that its laws be governed by our time.
In the creation «… their decisions at the time that they counseled among themselves to form the heavens and the earth.» ( Abraham 5: 3 ) Seeing the good result obtained, it would not hurt to understand the times and ways of his justice, independently of our emotions and pains.
That is why in the separation of powers of a democracy, the proper separation of our emotions and the judgments of things is inferred. If we look for a filter to detect demagoguery, there you have one.
In the war of the heavens we observed how, through violence, an attempt was made to overthrow a government based on the source of its sovereignty, the Heavenly Father. This movement, contrary to government plans, already existed before the rebellion. Their positions and proposals were known. It was not taken, as far as we know, any measure. Not even after the council when it clearly manifested its discrepancy at the institutional level. Only the punishment of exile was applied when they rebelled, this is when they turned against the legal authority with violence. With the intention of destroying the instituted government order. Order from which they manifested themselves with such great freedom. So the crime of Lucifer and his followers was not the opinion, it did not exist. But crime of rebellion.
In the event that Lucifer had opted for the debate, there would have been no rebellion. He would not have fallen from his position. But he opted for violence.
Being a citizen of Zion, includes having the same loyalty to the law that we had there, here. Because the constituent impulse comes from the preexisting world. And its first manifestation is the enactment of the law. The saints, as citizens of our country, must demonstrate the same temperance that we had in the pre-existence. Support the permanent erosion towards the law and other powers that will always exist. These free spirits, who now proclaim rebellion against all authority and their injustice, come from the same places as those thieves of Gadianton.
They demanded of the Nephites «… sunite with us and become acquainted with our secret works, and become our brethren that ye may be like unto us …» ( 3 Nephi 3: 7 ) or else the thieves «therefore if they should come down against you they would visit you with utter destruction.» ( 4 )
Positioning ourselves in our time and from an advanced democracy, such as Spain, we can easily discern threats to governments and states.
The first stumbling block is to think about the intrinsic goodness of all that group or person that aspires to power. The desire for power is a crack in each person’s firewall. It is a slit for personal integrity. Corrupts the person who holds it. Unless. Unless you submit to the rule of law. A discipline that straightens any deviation of character.
«Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. « ( 1 Samuel 15:22 )
To question the constituent power of a guarantee state, such as Spain or another similar one, has the consequence of disaffection with the laws. These failures are considered. To such, impatience urges them to force the normal sense of government action. To despise the counterweights of power. Dismissing justice and its magistrates. And if they get the power, they hoard all the others in a single scepter.
Discerning the current battle and its nature, by reducing them to a common denominator, results in the same casus belli as the war of the heavens. The struggle for agency and its field of action, freedom. The agency is the greatest source of energy, greater than the atom.
A thin line.
«We believe that all men are bound to sustain and uphold the respective governments in which they reside, while protected in their inherent and inalienable rights by the laws of such governments; and that sedition and rebellion are unbecoming every citizen thus protected … «( D & C 134: 5 )
Situation in a totalitarian country, where there is no protection of citizens’ rights is not my goal. Moreover, I feel unable to judge this terrible situation. To propose an attitude without knowing the price to pay.
But for those of us who live in democracies, in all its varieties . There is a second stumble that often goes unnoticed.
Our rights as citizens are achievements in history. They are not natural. Nor are they consubstantial. They are in a perpetual balance between their disappearance and their permanence. But many believe, without thinking, that they have a natural existence. Just like the stones and the mountains, which were already there when we were born.
The only right with a mineral category in our interior and from which nobody can deprive us, is our free will. All others can disappear in less than 24 hours.
Raising their enjoyment as a natural resource, disconnected from the economy, geography, climate, the nature of the world in short, is a deception. However, many «feel» that welfare is something that is due to them. But Benjamin, that great sage, clarifies us
«And now I ask, can ye say aught of yourselves? I answer you, Nay. Ye cannot say that ye are even as much as the dust of the earth; yet ye were created of the dust of the earth; but behold, it belongeth to him who created you. « ( Mosiah 2:25 )
To appreciate the fragility that the states of law have, is important for its permanence in time. The saints know that the family is instituted by God , but so are the governments. Not such or such a government, but the impulse to constitute them for our good and protection. The saints, from sad experience in the past, know the difference between loyalty to the nation and the need of their government and who holds the helm .
The citizenship of Zion.
The saints of the last days have a background in our history, which helps us to understand the nature of the nation, the state and its government. The constituent power, the powers of the state, their separation. Appreciate the delicate balance that should prevail in its exercise by all actors. We are not just a religious confession. In our constitution is the impulse of civilization and its constituent power. The influence of the gospel extends into the soul of its membership. But the foundations of our faith, the cohesion it produces over all its members is enough to found a nation. Why do I say this? because we already did it in the past.
The citizens of Zion, we must exercise in the use of discernment to understand our environment.
«Wherefore, I beseech of you, brethren, that ye should search diligently in the light of Christ that ye may know good from evil» ( Moroni 7:19 )
The extraordinary benefits of living in a democracy are not natural. It is a heritage of our ancestors. A feat in our incredible history. Understanding their fragility forces us to take care of our judgments and expressions. Seek the light of Christ to discern its dangers. His government is a very serious matter and requires saints reflection and not demagogy. Scrutinize and meditate and not hubbub or partisan fervor.
«… we do not believe that human law has a right to interfere in prescribing rules of worship to bind the consciences of men, nor dictate forms for public or private devotion» ( 4 )
This, which seems so natural to us. And we think that it stands on its own, like stones on earth. This has cost the blood of many.
In the language that surrounds us, in the aspirations of some, their destruction may be unleashed.