Thursday, January 14, 2010

2 Nephi 20 - Thoughts on God's governing strategy and America's

2 Nephi 20 starts off by talking about neglecting the poor and made me think of today's society. The democrats seem to think that everyone needs to have the same "things." I got to thinking, why does God have a special group of people that he seems to favor and promise things to (the House of Israel) and destroy other nonbelievers once they've served their purpose in making the House of Israel suffer for their wickedness? The scriptures tell us that He is no respecter of persons. So I thought back to the beginning. God revealed his will to Adam who then had the responsibility to teach his family. He taught them, but some chose to not listen and as a result many generations have been lost in unbelief. God will not force us to listen to him. He will make sure that everyone has a chance to accept the gospel, but that doesn't mean they have to.

Now this isn't anything new to me. However, the connection I drew to our government was what made me really think (along with reading in the 5000 Year Leap by Skousen). The Declaration of Independence states that, "all men are created equal." We know that we are not literally equal (not in "physical strength, mental capacity, emotional stability, inherited social status, in their opportunities for self-fulfillment, etc." [Skousen]), Skousen says we can really only be equal in three ways:
  1. Treated as equals in the sight of God
  2. Treated as equals in the sight of the law
  3. Treated as equals in the protection of their rights.
Skousen elaborates on number three by saying,
"The Founders distinguished between equal rights and other areas where equality is impossible. They recognized that society should seek to provide equal oppportunity but not expect equal results; provide equal freedom but not expect equal capacity; provide equal rights but not equal possessions; provide equal protection but not equal status; provide equal educational opportunities but not equal grades.

"They knew that even if governmental compulsion were used to force its citizens to appear equal in material circumstances, they would immediately become unequal the instant their freedom was restored to them. As Alexander Hamilton said: 'Inequality would exist as long as liberty existed.... It would unavoidably result from that very liberty itself.'"


sherrie bebe said...

Awesome thoughts! This makes so much sense. It made me think of the scripture we talked about during FHE on Monday, 2 Nephi 7:1. "Yea, for thus saith the Lord: Have I put thee away, or have I cast thee off forever? For thus saith the Lord: Where is the bill of your mother’s divorcement? To whom have I put thee away, or to which of my creditors have I sold you? Yea, to whom have I sold you? Behold, for your iniquities have ye sold yourselves, and for your transgressions is your mother put away."

We have only ourselves to blame when equal opportunities exist, whether it be with God or our country.

Talon5 said...
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Officer Leeroy said...

Talon5 decided to leave a comment that had nothing to do with the post I wrote, it was just a vague attack on religion in general. This is not the place to debate such things. If you have something intelligent to say about the topic I wrote about, namely liberty and equality, say it. Liberty and equality are universal beliefs that I happened to find embedded in the heart of my religion and saw fit to draw that connection here.

If I were to write something about religion specifically, your comments are welcome, as long as they're not destructive.

Coach Ann said...
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Coach Ann said...

That is the paradox of freedom. No matter how hard people try, things will never be equal. the parable of the talents holds true in every instance. Given the same set of circumstances, some will do a lot, some a little and some nothing with what they have.

Dad of the Year said...

Have you read any books by Malcolm Gladwell? He makes the point in one of his books (I'd have to talk to MK to find out which one) that "equal educational opportunities" don't come by sending two kids from different cultural environments to the same school. Kids from poor families need a different system.

Specifically, he cited a study that tested kids at the end of one school year and the beginning of the next. What the results showed was kids from wealthy families got smarter over the summer, while kids from poor families did not. Both sets of kids showed about the same improvement over the school year. So the school was working. What was different is how kids spent summer vacations. Did they read books, visit museums and go to summer camps? Or did they sit in front of the TV?

Gladwell goes on to cite alternative educational models that fit kids from poor families better (e.g., by having 11-month school years including Saturdays).

So, if "equal educational opportunities" aren't as simple as building similar schools in different parts of town, how do we provide equal opportunities, rights & protection, say to women and minorities in employment or to the poor in healthcare?

Officer Leeroy said...

That is a really good question. What does "equal opportunity" really mean? Income might be one indicator of how much kids learn, but so could religion, or just the kind of parents the kids have. I don't think we need to have something for everyone, just something for most; otherwise we could spend forever analyzing who should be doing what and where. Obviously it's not this simplistic, but if kids want to learn, they will learn; you can't force them if they don't want to, or bring down those who do want to their level. Good points. I read Tipping Point and don't remember it from there.