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Kirby: Truly heeding the 12th Article of Faith is hard for even the best Mormons

Published March 10, 2017 7:39 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Mormonism's basic doctrines are described in what is known as the Articles of Faith. These 13 points were first spelled out by LDS founder Joseph Smith 175 years ago this month.

Through the years, I've given them a lot of thought and found myself increasingly of a different mind. Eventually, I rewrote them for me — "Kirby's 13 Particles of Faith."

I don't have the time, space, energy or desire to argue about all the articles. Right now, I'm only interested in one. It seems particularly timely, given the mood of American politics.

The 12th Article of Faith explicitly states that we're OK with being bossed around by secular authority. "We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law."

Anyone who considers themselves good Mormons would agree with that. At times, we've even been cautioned by the Brethren to obey the traffic laws going home after General Conference. I don't, probably because I'm notoriously difficult and therefore not a good Mormon.

And so are you — if you're Mormon that is. Do you really believe in being automatically subject to the secular leaders of whichever country you live in, as well as obeying whatever legislation comes into their grape-size heads?

Yeah? No? OK, perhaps a short quiz. For what it's worth, my answers are at the end of each question.

Do you believe in being subject to magistrates when they fine you for not wearing a seat belt and/or driving too fast? What about motorcycle helmets and infant carrier seats? (It's OK with me.)

If you're a true believing Mormon, do you submit yourself to all restrictions imposed by the federal government including Bureau of Land Management agents? (Depends on whether they have guns.)

Do you obey all legally posted "No Trespassing" signs? (No. If Sonny and I want to risk our lives looking for duds on a military bombing and gunnery range, it's our business.)

Would you surrender your firearms if the government (and the Brethren) told you to? (No, but I do like the question. I wonder how many "worthy" priesthood holders would give up their temple recommends to keep their assault rifles.)

If members of a Mexican family whom you have loved for years came to your door and asked you to hide them from immigration officials looking to deport them, would you? (Hell, yes. It might even be fun.)

Is Donald Trump your legally elected president? (Hmm. I guess.)

Would you believe in being subject to a ruler who passed a law banning all couples from having more than two children? (No, although in some restaurants I confess to fantasizing about it.)

Do you believe in being subject to a king based on nothing more than heredity? (No. Chinless, drooling idiots decreeing laws are why Heavenly Father still lets us have guillotines.)

Would you obey and honor a law that imposed a military draft on both genders during wartime? (Depends on the war. If it's against a galactic worm invasion, yes. But generally no.)

See? Just when you believed that you're being a good and obedient Mormon, it turns out that you're a lot less cooperative than you think. Welcome to the club.

Robert Kirby can be reached at rkirby@sltrib.com or facebook.com/stillnotpatbagley.






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