Author: L. Richard Nielsen

Government: An Uncomfortable Situation

The official opinion of the Church is that secular authority was ordained for the benefit of mankind. The objective reality is that government serves as a benefit to man only as an object lesson of what not to do. The civil authority is a rejection of God’s good creation. The civil authority can only be said to have been instituted by God because God is the author of man’s agency. The civil authority arises out of rebellion against God. Did God institute government? If, by common consent, the members of the church can accept philosophies, opinions, personal beliefs and...

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Purity: The Cleansing of America

The statutes and judgments of the law of Moses are known as the carnal commandments.  These commandments, along with much of the ceremonial law, were fulfilled in Christ.  America is unclean.  She must be cleansed and purified. Ether 12:11 states, “Wherefore, by faith was the law of Moses given.  But in the gift of his Son hath God prepared a more excellent way; and it is by faith that [the law] hath been fulfilled.” There is little wonder why men rely on law for salvation.  It is because they lack faith (Mormon 9:19-20), not unlike Sherem, and bring about their own...

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Execution: The Destruction of Life

To sanctify means to set apart as belonging to God alone, and that is just what scripture says about human life: it is not ours to take. Man has been given dominion over all things, but the execution of human life is forbidden him.  The human soul belongs to God. When Jesus himself was asked to rule on an offense that by the laws of the time called for the death penalty, his answer was clearly such as to abolish it; indirectly by demanding that the judges and executioners must first be sinless (John 8).  This is in line...

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Righteousness: Forbidding the Shedding of Blood

The Law of Moses is not meant to be complementary to the Law of the Gospel.  It was substitutive action for those who could not forgive an offense, who required satisfaction. It is in “opposition” to the Gospel and meant as a curse, or be it, an alternative course of action to the “more excellent way of Christ.” The Law made permissible an alternative course of action within limitations. The channeling of the retaliatory reflex by way of limitations gave the qualifiers of “righteous,” “commensurate,” and “proportionate” to such terms as “retribution,” “justice,” and “vengeance,” respectively. Nevertheless, from the beginning,...

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Virtue: The Conversion of Alma the Younger

As an introduction to Alma the Younger’s reign as Chief Judge, the story of Korihor demonstrates the virtue of the word to be mightier than the violence of the sword. The Lord’s judgments upon the wicked are manifest through the destruction of the wicked by the wicked.  This is an important observation made by CDR Mormon from which we can learn. “But, behold, the judgments of God will overtake the wicked; and it is by the wicked that the wicked are punished; for it is the wicked that stir up the hearts of the children of men unto bloodshed.”...

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