Thursday, November 09, 2006

US Imperialism or US Materialism

Under an earlier post entitled "Win Hearts Not War," an interesting point arose. Will, supposed, US imperialism lead to clamities foretold in the Bible?

Jesus Christ warns the Gentiles in 3 Nephi 16:10: "And thus commandeth the Father that I should say unto you: At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth, and shall be filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits, and of mischiefs, and all manner of hypocrisy, and murders, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, and of secret abominations; and if they shall do all those things, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, behold, saith the Father, I will bring the fulness of my gospel from among them."

Many who oppose current US foreign policy see our active involvement overseas, to oppose oppressive tyrrany and support representative democracy, as prideful and hypocritical. Many in this country and around the world question US motives. The US claims altruistic motives. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, "an injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." On the other hand, the US has considerable conflict of interest. The US is guilty, on occasion, of making self-interested decisions at the expense of those we say we are trying to help. Many view US actions as an evil attempt to wrongfully impose our values and policy on other nations.

First off, at the heart of this debate is the "American Question." That is, was the US Constitution an inspired document? Is representative democracy superior to other current forms of government. If the answer is yes. Then we are duty bound to share it with our neighbors (D&C 88: 81, D&C 38: 41).

Avraham Gileadi makes an important interpretation of Isa. 2: 2-3 that answers the "American Question." Isaiah says, "And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem." Gileadi points out that the first "mountain" can also mean "nation" and "top" can also mean "head."

Therefore, this passage could also read, "And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the [nation] of the LORD’s house shall be established [as the head of the nations], and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the [nation] of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. Using this interpretation, this passage of Isaiah can be interpreted to refer to both spiritual and secular law and government.

The Bible teaches that the Lord's Second Coming will not come until the gospel is taken to every corner of the Earth. This prophecy likely applies to secular government as well. Freedom of religion is necessary for effective missionary work. And representative democracy has been generally proven to support religious rights over other systems of government.

That said, critics of current US policy do not oppose sharing the ideas of representative democracy with other nations. They more often oppose the manner in which the US goes about it. The Book of Mormon gives us many insights in how this should be approached. The Book of Mormon discourages war except for defense of family and freedom. The irony is that for a book that discourages war large sections of the Book of Mormon are concerned with it.

Alma 31: 5 teaches that diplomcy is much more effective than war. It reads "And now, as the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just—yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them."

The Book of Mormon also warns of the concequences of long years of war. Morm. 4: 11 "And it is impossible for the tongue to describe, or for man to write a perfect description of the horrible scene of the blood and carnage which was among the people, both of the Nephites and of the Lamanites; and every heart was hardened, so that they delighted in the shedding of blood continually."

That said, the Book of Mormon gives an interesting concept about why diplomacy fails to work. Alma's son Corianton was guilty of sexual immorality while engaged in missionary work with his father. Alma chastises his son for the scandal he created by saying in Alma 39: 11, "Suffer not yourself to be led away by any vain or foolish thing; suffer not the devil to lead away your heart again after those wicked harlots. Behold, O my son, how great iniquity ye brought upon the Zoramites; for when they saw your conduct they would not believe in my words." With the many sexual scandals in US politics, our degrading family values, and pornographic pop. culture and pop. media; the US has lost much of it's moral authority.

I think Western Democracies can strenghthen their influence by being better examples in addition to providing aide and relief to victims of disaster, war, and disease. To do that, we must also "cleans the inner vessel," and repent of our materialism and immorality. Many claim that US policy inspires hatred around the world. However, the Proclamation to the World on the Family says, "the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets."

I think our materialism and sexual immorality generates much more suspicion against us. In front of the camera our advisaries blame US policy but behind closed doors they call us "the great satan" because of our materialism and immorality. Our advasaries are smart to confuse the issues. If they were honest about their objections we would be more motivated to resolve them. Consequently, a minority of evil people feel justified in killing other evil people (infidels). And, the majority of good, freedom loving, opportunity seeking people stand idlely by feeling that the victims of terrorism are due to the judgements of God on a wicked nation.

God promises us that he will protect us and fight our battles for us if we put our trust in him and repent as individuals and as a nation. Through repentance we can both strengthen our moral authority and merit the grace of Jesus Christ.

3 comments:

Curtis said...

Sadly, our moral authority is little related to our politicians exploits behind bedroom doors.

Our loss of moral authority has everything to do with spreading our empire, (not democracy and freedom), at the cost of the lives of the peoples in foreign lands.

We have absolutely no moral authority when we are involved in the killing of 655,000 people in Iraq as we liberate them from Saddam and from their lives apparently.

We have no moral authority when we tell Iran not to build nuclear weapons and then turn around and make even more for ourselves, support Iran and Pakistan in theirs and give huge aid and support to Israel which threatens its neighbors with nuclear weapons as well.

The law of chastity would help alot, but it wouldn't give back our moral authority in the world today.

Read this interview with John Perkins for a shedding of light on this subject:

http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=04/11/09/1526251

Anonymous said...

Where do you get the following doctine from?

"The Bible teaches that the Lord's Second Coming will not come until the gospel is taken to every corner of the Earth. "

Where does it teach that in the Bible? If you are referring to Mat 24 I would suggest that you read the discourse that Joseph gave in Nauvoo wherein he read that chapter out of the German Bible... The verse you are probably referring to is talking about how the last servant (holding the key of David) will witness to all the nations before the end of the world or the destruction of the wicked, it does not say the gospel will have gone to all nations before the Lord returns.

BRoz said...

Thank you for your clarification. I am aware of the teachings regarding this principle. That is why I used the word "corner" instead of "nation."

Also, with the invention of radio and television Pres. Kimball would consider the use of these technologies to spread the gospel a fulfullment of the prophecy.