Article of Faith 12:
“We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.”
“Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe in obeying the laws of the country in which they live. Members of the Church are counseled to be good citizens, to participate in civil government and the political process, and to render community service as concerned citizens.” reference: Mormon.org
Obeying the law and being good citizens in the larger community is a foundational principle of our Church. In the 20th century, our consistency with this principle opened surprising doors in countries closed to other religious denominations.
The former German Democratic Republic (East Germany) allowed the LDS Church to build a temple in Freiburg in the late 1980’s. It was still a communist, cold-war, Soviet satellite nation. The peaceful and obedient example set by members of the LDS Church trapped behind the Iron Curtain after WWII gave the East German government the level of confidence they needed to accept such a religious structure in their land. The Freiburg temple was actually the FIRST temple built on German soil. The West German temple was built a couple years later.
The positive aspects of being engaged with, and supportive of governments, being obedient to the laws of the land, and honoring our communities has been a great tool to reach out with the Gospel.
I would like to pose this question: Where do we draw the line? When do we have to say “no?”
There certainly has to be a point where we can not obey the law. Jesus answered the Pharisees and Herodians “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” At some points in history though, “Caesar” crosses the line.
Is it acceptable to go to war and kill other people for our rulers? I’m not talking about defending ourselves from direct attack, but to “protect our international interests.”
Is it ok for members to actively support a government that represses basic freedoms?
Is it noble for members to actively support a government that imprisons and tortures political dissidents?
At what point do faithful LDS members have an obligation to actively oppose their rulers?
What is your personal line in the sand? I would love to hear what you all think about this personally.
[Please note, I will actively moderate rants about specific countries or political parties that do not add to a constructive and positive discussion. Thank you in advance for that cooperation!]