Regardless, I follow any local online conversation I can about freedom. Anyway, Someone with the alias freedomfighter wrote on LDS Freedom Forum a post called: 61 points about Secret Combinations in the Book of Mormon that begins:
"Secret combinations existed in times of old" (2 Nephi 26:22),
"They [evil gentiles] have secret oaths, covenants, agreements, signs, wonders, and plans (Alma 37:27,32)
A common thread of conspiracies is that they start with a belief that some other "evil" entity is engaged in a conspiracy. Therefore, our group must counter their group.
The Book of Mormon is about how an evil conspiracy destroyed a Democracy set up by a fictional group called the Nephites. The article cites some of the ominous warnings of the conspiracy (aka, the secret combination).
Since the LDS Church is a large organized group (with secret rituals) that seeks power, it is very easy to accuse it of being a "secret combination."
Anyway, I've been trying to figure out the dynamics of the local system in which people use freedom rhetoric, but fail to carry through in promoting individual liberty.
There will be a Utah Freedom Conference on September 15th. This conference does not include discussions on individual freedom; nor does it include discussions about free market health care reform.
The subjects of the conference are: Expanding state powers to counter the expansion of Federal Powers. Expanding the powers of local sheriffs to counter evil environmentalists. Getting at public lands, Creating a Utah bank to coin a new precious metal backed currency, and (most important of all) expanding the power and influence of the Mormon Church.
Every single one of these topics is about making select local institutions bigger. There is no talk about defending or expanding individual freedom.
Shouldn't a freedom conference have discussions about freedom or at least discussions about expanding individual liberty?
The most significant issue of our day is health freedom. Free market health care reform is not even on the docket. I should note that, in four years of active search, I've been unable to find a single person in Utah willing to discuss free market health care reform. They throw me out the door when they realize that I am serious.
Why are the minds in this state so completely and utterly shut to the discussion of free market health care reform?
The Utah Freedom Conference reminds me about why I gave up on "liberalism." Modern liberals talk about freedom. When "liberals" talk about "freedom" the conversation always ends up with a demand to expand the state and reduce individual liberty.
I gave up on liberals because they don't support liberty. I am sad, but not surprised, to see Conservatives pulling the same stunt.
The trick of using freedom rhetoric to expand the state started with conservatives. This trick was first perfected by royalists after the revolution. (The Hegelian Right came before the Hegelian Left)!
Hegel (1770-1830) presented a philosophy of history in which the world spirit progressed through national conflicts on the world stage. In this theory Hegel develops a strange ontological concept of freedom in which individual freedom is part of the mechanism through which the world spirit progresses. Individual free will is a little like the random number generator used in computer games to help keep the game of war interesting.
This clever redefinition of freedom allows royalists to dismiss the American Revolution as simply a phase in the evolution of the world. The American experiment in self-rule was just a historical mistake that will soon be rectified.
The Keynote Speaker of the Utah Freedom Conference, Tim Ballard, plays a similar game in his book The Covenant. The book claims history is an ever changing progression of collective covenants between the Heavenly Father and man.
The idea of covenant is not new. Prior to the Revolution, royalists claimed that the monarchy received divine authority through a covenant between God and the ancient patriarchs of Israel. (The Divine Right of Kings).
During the early 1800s, several people presented fantastical histories in which there was an ever progressing covenant with God. God made the first covenant with Adam. Adam's first son (Cain) killed his younger brother (Abel). God was so upset at Abel for breaking the covenant that he smited Cain and turned the descendants of Cain black (the mark of Cain). Some people used this fake history to justify slavery.
The Book or Mormon claims that the lost tribes of Israel (the Nephites) built a submarine and came to the new world to establish a new collective Covenant with God. Depraved evil gentiles formed secret combinations that destroyed the covenant. God got mad. God smited the Nephites and turned them into red savages.
Golly, We know these stories are true because there are people with black skin and indigenous Americans have darker skin. There must be a reason for this!!!
Tim Ballard claims that the US Revolution was directed by the Heavenly Father to create a new covenant. His book presents the US Founders as hapless fools used by the Heavenly Father to create the conditions for the restoration of the true church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints).
In this view, The Declaration of Independence and Constitution were scriptural works revealed by the Heavenly Father. They were not the product of reason, as evil gentiles such as myself contend.
Joseph Smith (1805-1844) advanced a theory called "free agency." Free agency is a little like the random number generator used in a computer games. In the game called life, The Heavenly Father created an ever progressing conflict between the righteous and evil gentiles. Individuals have free agency to side up with the righteous (the one true church) or with the evil gentiles (everybody else). Free agency plays a part in the Heavenly Father's collective covenant because we have to side up for the conflict.
Perhaps this strange definition of "free agency" could explain why a conference on freedom is all about expanding the power of groups that the conference givers control. The righteous need to make the political entities they control stronger to counter then things controlled by the secret combination of the gentiles.
Tim Ballard's thesis that the purpose of the Constitution is simply to create conditions for the rise of the LDS Church might explain why I've found it so difficult to get Utahans to actually talk about freedom. After all, I am an evil gentile who must be part of the secret combination of gentiles.
Anyway, having just read about how evil gentiles set up secret combinations and form secret covenants to undermine the righteous, I thought I should point out that it is easier to make the case that the LDS Church is a secret combination than to claim that all the gentiles not the church are part of a secret combination.
The LDS Church is a large politically active entity with a top-down political structure. The hierarchy makes claims to covenants, it has secret rituals and it promotes a fantastical history of ancient submarines and cultures that vanished without a trace.
Of course, my suggestion that the LDS Church is the same form as the secret covenants Joseph Smith warns against can be dismissed because I am obviously one of those evil gentiles your bishop warned you about.
ADDED: I just discovered a short article by Darrin Andrews called "Waking Up to Secret Combinations. On LDS Freedom Portal. LDS Freedom Portal reiterates the notion that the Constitution was revealed by the Heavenly Father. From its Homepage:
"Over the years the leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have written and spoken much on political matters. In addition, ancient and modern scripture make reference to revealed and inspired governmental laws."