Mitt Romney vs. King Benjamin

17

August 16, 2012 by gomw

Over 2000 years ago, King Benjamin, knowing he was about to die, conferred the Kingdom on his son Mosiah and gathered the people together to say goodbye and impart his wisdom on how to gain eternal salvation.Image

Today, for the first time in our history, a Mormon, a follower of King Benjamin is running for President of the United States.  Mitt Romney is supported nearly unanimously by his fellow Mormons.  As the potential leader of the world, one who would have far more power, in secular terms, than King Benjamin, he is delivering a totally different message.

This is how King Benjamin opened his remarks to his people reminding them that he had spent is life in their service and not for riches. He told them that he had labored with his hands so as not to be a burden on them by taxes. He added that nothing should come upon them which was grievous to be born.  Many Mormons believe this meant that there should be no taxes but to me it means excessive taxation and excessive business profits.[1]Image

Romney, on the other hand, has never worked a day with his own hands.  Instead, he has made his fortune exploiting those who do work with their own hands.  As a venture capitalist, he has profited in leveraged buyouts and cutting costs by reducing wages and benefits of employees. Romney and his company made over $100 million, a 2000% return from a company that was driven into bankruptcy even after wages and benefits of employees were slashed.[2]

As King Benjamin was living in austerity during his reign, Romney would begin his having lived in opulence which is almost repugnant.  (Thorstein Veblen referred to it as conspicuous consumption).  He did this as millions in the United States lived in poverty and he avoided taxes by nestling is money in foreign banks to avoid paying taxes to support the poor or the wars he approved; and used deductions like $70,000 to train a horse to prance. Further, to advance his chances to be “king” he allies himself with a man, Paul Ryan, whose places the philosophy of an atheist super capitalist over the teaching of Christ.

King Benjamin made it clear that we are expected to take care of the poor – all of them. Warning them that if they did not do this and withheld support for them because we consider them to deserve their fate we have no place in the kingdom of heaven.[3]

Romney, on the other hand, is unconcerned with the plight of the poor.  He has chosen a man as his running mate, a man who would be assistant King, who is at least as deaf to the plea of the poor.  Their plan for tax structure would distribute even more of the wealth of the nation into the hands of the rich. Compare their plan with the admonishment of King Benjamin 2000 years ago.  Nothing has changed in the requirement for salvation but in our society today the darwinistic “survival of the fittest” capitalist system greed and disdain for the poor has not only become acceptable, it has become revered. 

Turn again to Mosiah 4 verses 21-26:

 21 And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another.

22 And if ye judge the man who putteth up his petition to you for your substance that he perish not, and condemn him, how much more just will be your condemnation for withholding your substance, which doth not belong to you but to God, to whom also your life belongeth; and yet ye put up no petition, nor repent of the thing which thou hast done.

23 I say unto you, wo be unto that man, for his substance shall perish with him; and now, I say these things unto those who are rich as pertaining to the things of this world.

24 And again, I say unto the poor, ye who have not and yet have sufficient, that ye remain from day to day; I mean all you who deny the beggar, because ye have not; I would that ye say in your hearts that: I give not because I have not, but if I had I would give.

25 And now, if ye say this in your hearts ye remain guiltless, otherwise ye are condemned; and your condemnation is just for ye covet that which ye have not received.

26 And now, for the sake of these things which I have spoken unto you—that is, for the sake of retaining a remission of your sins from day to day, that ye may walk guiltless before God—I would that ye should impart of your substance to the poor, every man according to that which he hath, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants.

How does this accommodate taking your money out of the country to avoid paying taxes? And why would good Mormons support him?  

In verse 26 above, King Benjamin tells us to visit the sick and administer to their relief, both spiritually and temporally.  Mitt Romney would abolish the program that administers to the relief of the sick without a plan that would replace it – this in spite of the fact that he was responsible for virtually the same plan in the state of which he was governor!  

King Benjamin admonishes us in Mosiah 4: 15 to teach our children to be truthful.  Romney has been anything but truthful in his public appearance and announcements.  The most recent and perhaps the most damning is his claim, which his continues to make even after being shown to be false, is that Obama took $716 billion dollars from Medicare services to finance Obamacare. Those Medicare savings – achieved through reduced provider reimbursements and curbed waste, fraud and abuse, not benefit cuts – appear in the House Republicans’ FY 2013 budget, which Ryan authored.  Of course Obama, as do most, politicians exaggerate or even lie, but this is not about Obama.  He does not follow King Benjamin or anything else in the Book of Mormon and so far, this falsehood sets a new low for this year’s election.

In Mark 10:21, a young man who was faithful in all other ways was told by Jesus: One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. Mitt Romney does not have to give everything he has to the poor, but he should not use his powers as president to take from the poor either.

This is not a discourse on economics or Medicare, it is a query on something that bothers and bewilders me. Why do Mormons so enthusiastically support a man who seems to be antithetical to King Benjamin?  Neither do I to judge Brother Romney’s qualifications to enter the Celestial Kingdom – I am not sure of my own!

But I would remind Mitt of a song we learned in Primary:

Do what is right; the day-dawn is breaking,

Hailing a future of freedom and light.

Angels above us are silent notes taking

Of ev’ry action; then do what is right!

 

 

 

 

 


[1] Mosiah 2, verses 12- 14

[3] Mosiah 4, verses 16-18

17 thoughts on “Mitt Romney vs. King Benjamin

  1. sesame street says:

    This is quite an article! I see all the point of views. But as an active Mormon living in the United States and witnessing the the candidates fighting to take the vote, I can only do one thing. Vote for the candidate that is more likely to support what I think needs done in the country. During the last Presidential Election with Obama and McCain, I was very disappointed in both as choices to elect. The analogy that I heard a majority of the time was something like this, “They are both trains taking us in the same direction, a direction that we don’t want to be headed in, but we just need to hop on the one that will take us there slower.
    Whatever comes this November, I will be voting for Romney, with the hope that he will change the direction of the train and make up for the tracks that have been demolished by the Obama administration. The deficit needs to be slowed, the borrowing of money needs to be stopped, but everything does not fit in the budget, things need to be cut, and that sadly will come with a price to those who are paying taxes and living right now. I do not want to see my kids as adults have to foot the bill for the high spending of my Grandparents, Parents and my current generations.
    My Mom often said when I didn’t get my chores done and I wanted to play that, “Life is not fair.” Making a choice between bad and worse candidates will always come back to the bad, and that truly is not fair at all, not one bit.

    • Brooks W. Wilson says:

      Thanks for your comments. I am not surprised that you will vote for Romney. So will 90% or more of our other active Mormons. You say you are voting for a bad candidate over a worse one but the fact is that you are choosing the one who is far more contrary to the teaching of King Benjamin. Obama was weak in overcoming teaparty intransigence but his intentions and efforts were more in line with King Benjamin. His tax policies would have the effect of improving the plight of the poor and his health care act, flawed as it is, flawed I might add by the resistance of the party you support, will save lives and cut costs.

      You are worried about your children having to pay for the high spending of the current and past generation. If Romney is elected, and with the finanacial support of the international corporations that he has, he has a good chance, your children will still be paying for the high spending of this generation only, instead of paying for supporting the poor and administering to the sick, it will be paying even more and it will be for the support of the rich and the military.

      Your choice, anti-King Benjamin-like or King Benjamin wannabe

      • LDSDPer says:

        I agree with you to some extent, but if Obama is more concerned about the poor . . .

        then why does he continue the wars? I LIKE what you have to say about King Benjamin and Romney, but I am disturbed (and I know you are the blogger, so that is your right) with how black and white your opinions are with regards to Obama and Romney.
        Both men are basically evil. Obama promised to bring home the troops, and he did not keep that promise. And for those poor people who do not choose conventional medical care, *we*/*they* will be taxed for not having insurance according to Obama’s plan. Obama’s healthcare plan is no better than Romney’s–
        True, those who are held in bondage to the medical industrial complex and the pharmaceutical industrial complex may be slightly better off with these ‘compassionate’ plans, but alternatives are completely disregarded, and poor people will still be penalized if they don’t go with the mainstream–
        The only difference, in my opinion, between Obama and Romney is that Romney, as a person who supposedly knows about the Book of Mormon, should know better; Obama isn’t as accountable, not having been given as much light–
        I hope I don’t offend–
        I am neither Democrat nor Republican; am I the only one who can see this?

      • gomw says:

        No, you are not the only one who can see this. I must agree with you mostly except I don’t see either man as evil. That is a little strong for me to accept. I have already been too judgmental. I am more concerned about Romney because he is a Mormon and, although completely contrary to King Benjamin, is nearly universally supported by church members. I worry what a Romney administration and what the consequences, inevitable in my mind, would be to our Church. I believe it would set proselyting back years. My article was not really about Obama because, as you say, he is not Mormon but I think his continued would be closer to King Benjamin, abeit a world away, than Romney. I look forward to the day when there are no poor, no mega rich and there are no profits in administering to the sick.

        Thank you.

  2. LDSDPer says:

    Thank you; this is very well done–
    I agree that ultimately it is not really ‘about’ programs but about the heart of a man–
    and the heart of a culture; a culture that wants such a man has great need of King Benjamin–

  3. L. Palmer says:

    I wish all our leaders could follow the example of King Benjamin. Recently, my local Stake President had all auxiliary leaders and Bishopric members read from the beginning of Mosiah to the last chapter in Alma before the war chapters, looking for what leadership qualities are exemplified. If only we could require this reading for all politicians.

    It’s a tricky business choosing between a Republican and Democratic choice. Both represent great and positive things, while also representing ideologies contrary to the teachings of Christ.

    It all comes back to agency, the balancing of ideas, and choosing the person we think will lead to a better future than the other.

    In either case, the dialogue around Romney and his role as a Mormon has gotten ridiculous. If anyone’s interested, here’s a post I wrote a few weeks ago in response to a review about The Dark Knight Rises:
    http://goodwholesomefun.wordpress.com/2012/07/18/im-batman-and-im-a-mormon/

    • Brooks W. Wilson says:

      Encouraging! But I am worried about what Romney might do to the Church if elected, and he probably will be, unless he turns out to be the Joker about his plans for taxes, the budget and health care. They spell pure disaster if implemented and everyone will blame the Church.

      Good luck on your writing ventures.

      • LDSDPer says:

        I agree with you on this; though I’m not a collectivist, and I don’t see all Mormons as ‘equal’ spiritually, socially, economically, theologically, etc.–

        (in other words, if Romney is a Mormon, and I am a Mormon, then something is terribly wrong, because we have NOTHING in common, nothing; if left in a room alone together, we could say nothing, and probably there would be a terrible physical scuffle)–

        but I see this as very harmful to the church and something which could certainly bring on persecution–

    • LDSDPer says:

      I like your writing; it is well done and clever.
      But . . .
      how can someone who has done so much evil suddenly become good?
      The man has earned vast wealth by hurting poor people and who KNOWS what else. He has vascillated (earning him the name of a ‘flip flopper’) on political and ethical principles for decades.
      Has he done all that damage simply to hide his goodness so that he could someday rescue the world? I don’t think righteous people operate that way–
      That said, I am one of those ‘radicals’ who believes that both political parties are rotten to the core–
      There really isn’t a place for Mormons who don’t accept the two-party system, but it has become obsolete and completely corrupt–
      I DO know there are good people in both parties, but I am not certain that there are enough of them to overcome the evil–
      Why must *we* as Americans or Mormons accept this sad condition?
      Why must we approve of it; it’s certainly not constitutional–
      Why must it be perpetuated?
      I apologize if I have stumbled onto a Democratic site–
      I think, perhaps, I have, but if this site had been a Republican site, I would have said the same thing–
      Both parties are corrupt–

      • Brooks W. Wilson says:

        I am almost there! You speak the truth. I don’t believe this is a democratic site. I don’t run it; I am merely a contributor. While I am a registered democrat, I am left, far left, of the current democratic party. Under our current two party system, I function through the democratic party because I don’t believe it is as corrupt yet, emphasize yet, as the republican party and I have no place else to go….except here, where I see a glimmer of hope.

  4. james stewart says:

    there seems to be a sentiment, a growing sentiment, (and i have only anecdotal evidence to support this) that being a good mormon=blessing with wealth. members tend to look up to wealthy mormons. it is almost as if it is a sign of righteousness to have wealth. however, the scriptures do not support this.

    in the spectrum of “you can have anything in this world for money” to “there are no poor among them,” i see more of babylon in mitt romney and his campaign than i see of zion. isaiah is clear on riches (in addition to king benjamin), and if members hearkened to their words perhaps they would shun riches, and perhaps even despise, instead of aspire to them. we cannot serve god and mammon, which in hebrew is roughly interpreted as finances.

    hugh nibley expressed it better, “First, of course, the work ethic, which is being so strenuously advocated in our day. This is one of those neat magician’s tricks in which all our attention is focused on one hand while the other hand does the manipulating. Implicit in the work ethic are the ideas (1) that because one must work to acquire wealth, work equals wealth, and (2) that that is the whole equation. With these go the corollaries that anyone who has wealth must have earned it by hard work and is, therefore, beyond criticism; that anyone who doesn’t have it deserves to suffer—thus penalizing any who do not work for money; and (since you have a right to all you earn) that the only real work is for one’s self; and, finally, that any limit set to the amount of wealth an individual may acquire is a satanic device to deprive men of their free agency—thus making mockery of the Council of Heaven.”

    i believe also that these are the false pretenses in which many in the church form their political beliefs, and the sentiment and rationale of many “conservative” talking points.

    i certainly agree with the sentiment of this article, i am very concerned that members so sheepishly follow and support a man who is in the top 0.0025% of wealth and who stated, “I’m not concerned about the very poor”! a bold statement for a man who professes to follow the captain of the poor, jesus christ. even more, since our scriptures say:

    “Yea, and will you persist in turning your backs upon the poor, and the needy, and in withholding your substance from them? And finally, all ye that will persist in your wickedness, I say unto you that these are they who shall be hewn down and cast into the fire except they speedily repent.” Alma 5:55-56

    “But behold, they have not learned to be obedient to the things which I required at their hands, but are full of all manner of evil, and do not impart of their substance, as becometh saints, to the poor and afflicted among them.” D&C 105:3

    “And again, if there shall be properties in the hands of the church, or any individuals of it, more than is necessary for their support after this first consecration, which is a aresidue to be consecrated unto the bishop, it shall be kept to administer to those who have not, from time to time, that every man who has need may be amply supplied and receive according to his wants.” D&C 42:33

    “And now, for the sake of these things which I have spoken unto you—that is, for the sake of retaining a remission of your sins from day to day, that ye may walk guiltless before God—I would that ye should impart of your substance to the cpoor, every man according to that which he hath, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants.” Mos 4:26

    sure, maybe romney has done a lot of good with some of his money, but for the man who has more that 99.99755% of the world in wealth, i expect him to be in the top 1% of philanthropists.

    “First is love. The measure of our love for our fellowman and, in a large sense, the measure of our love for the Lord, is what we do for one another and for the poor and distressed.”
    Spencer W. Kimball

    • Brooks W. Wilson says:

      This is excellent, IMO. I love the quote from Hugh Nibley, one of my favorite scholars. I think the current attitude toward wealth by members is more a rationalization for following Rebublican leaders who mostly espouse policies that favor the wealthy. I don’t believe they actually reflect their true feelings or their behavior toward their fellow human beings. I truly love my fellow Mormons and try, in my way, to influence them.

      I base this belief on the fact that Mormons have not always supported the Republicans. Up to the 60’s Utah more often than not went to the democrats. I think the voting habits were radically changed because of the civil rights movement, particularly women’s rights and the perceived libertine attitude attitude of the left section of the democratic party. I think republicans capped on religious aversion to this in the bible belt and the Mormons bought into it. They, IMO, used this as a sedge issue to dupe common people into voting for politicians who were committed to economics that were against their interests. Ironically, I was a policeman in the 60s and 70s and I can tell you without any reservation that immorality transcended party lines. The left was just more up front with it.

    • Blue says:

      Love that Nibley quote! Thank you for sharing. I, too, am perplexed by the rabid, almost hateful, remarks made by some my Republican Mormon friends regarding the poor (and immigrants for that matter). I really don’t understand it and it makes me sad.

    • LDSDPer says:

      responding to James Stewart–

      I enjoyed this post, by the way. I am wondering (and this thought just ‘hit’ me as I read your post) if the reason so many LDS recently have begun to place greater emphasis on “following the brethren” than on the scriptures–
      The scriptures warn about riches; the brethren show both by their lifestyles and in their words that riches are approved!

  5. […] Mitt Romney vs. King Benjamin « The Mormon Worker. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. Posted in Current Affairs, Politics and tagged debate, Fighting Cultural Stereotypes, Mormonism […]

  6. […] that respect when speaking to people outside of our religious or political groups. Read more here: Mitt Romney vs. King Benjamin « The Mormon Worker. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. Posted in Current Affairs, […]

  7. LDSDPer says:

    again–
    I’m a pro-life libertarian who believes drugs should be decriminalized–
    and I’m anti-war–
    Romney is about as far from my beliefs as is possible. I am also a temple recommend holding LDS–
    I’m not a Democrat, so I’ve been afraid of being kicked off this site–LOL!
    I’m a liberal in the sense that I believe in consecration, but I don’t believe that governments handle it well at all–I’m not even sure the church does; I don’t believe that poor people are undeserving, but then I’ve been a bit poor myself, and I’ve also been modestly well-to-do; I have never been homeless, but some close to me have been–and I have great sympathy with those who are impoverished; I do NOT look down on them at all!!! I don’t blame them for the state of affairs in our nation–

    sorry for the caps, but it’s the only way to express it:

    THANK YOU FOR THE HOPE YOU GIVE ME THAT I AM NOT ALONE!!!
    I CHECK THIS BEAUTIFUL BLOG ALL THE TIME–
    GOD BLESS YOU!

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