The Mormon Worker and the LDS Anarchy Blog: The hand of the Lord or just a coincidence?

Yesterday, after I posted all of the entries for the 20th of October, I started tag surfing and came across the Andrew’s Miracle Drug blog, which favorably mentioned the LDS Anarchy blog twice in an entry entitled, Rebirth of Mormon Radicalism. I publicly thank him for his assessment of this blog as “fascinating.”

What really caught my eye, though, was that he also mentioned an article published on October 19th in the Salt Lake Tribune, entitled, LATTER DAY: Nod to anarchy. Now, I don’t live in Salt Lake City, so I would not have learned of this article had it not been for Andrew mentioning it. Again, a hearty thank-you goes out to him for his post.

The article LATTER DAY: Nod to anarchy talks about a bi-monthly publication called The Mormon Worker that was just launched. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the new newspaper is devoted to “promoting Mormonism, anarchism and pacifism.” The editors (William Van Wagenen and friends) of The Mormon Worker are all active LDS. You can read the article yourself but these two paragraphs really stuck out:

Though Mormons believe in obeying the law and respecting elected officials, they should see capitalism as a necessary evil rather than a system God endorses, he writes. If they were really following LDS principles, Mormons would all be anarchists.

“Every Mormon should look forward to the abolition of government,” Van Wagenen writes, “and the building of a socialist society based on free association and mutual cooperation.”

On the Salt Lake Tribune web site, below the LATTER DAY: Nod to anarchy article, there is an area where comments can be posted. In these comments, many LDS criticized and took issue with Van Wagenen for using the term “socialist” to describe the type of society that should be built. Socialist refers to socialism, which the prophets have spoken against, thus Van Wagenen is out of his mind, so went the logic of the LDS comments.

After I read the Salt Lake Tribune article, and the comments about it, I was quite surprised, as I did not know there were other LDS anarchists in the church, as the only LDS I am surrounded with are statists. So, I decided to do a search for more LDS anarchists. I Googled “LDS Anarchist’ and came up with a blog called In Rare Form, which had an entry entitled, Guest Post: Whither the Mormon Anarchist, which talked about The Mormon Worker, too, but in a negative way. However, they also mentioned that The Mormon Worker newspaper had a website. I have gone through the Mormon Worker web site, which has the entire text of their published newspaper, and have decided to list them under the Blogroll Anarchism category, found to the right of each page.

A reading of the first article (entitled, An Introduction to Mormon Anarchism) published in The Mormon Worker, explains that the term “socialist society” refers to the private, non-capitalistic ownership of the means of production via anarchic cooperation, where everyone involved in making the wealth shares the wealth. Such a socialist system distributes the wealth equally and justly. Van Wagenen is not using the term to mean the forced redistribution of wealth through government or other central means, typically known as socialism, nor is he advocating the abolishment of one’s personal, private property. Socialism advocates a powerful central government, whereas anarchism opposes all government as evil. Socialism requires centralization, whereas anarchy is represented by decentralization. The two systems are not compatible. Had the LDS who commented on the Salt Lake Tribune article taken the time to actually read Van Wagenen’s published words, they would have learned that he defined the term in a strictly anarchical way.

Now, I have to ask: Has Van Wagenen been in my house? Has he been looking at my writings, my papers? Has he broken into my computer? Has he been recording my private conversations? Has what4anarchy (the other contributor to this blog) been talking to him about my views? I find it encouraging that there are other LDS who, on their own, have come to understand that if Mormons really follow LDS principles, they would all be anarchists. (what4anarchy, how long have I been saying this?) So, I extend a welcome to Van Wagenen and friends and wish them success in their new publication.

I’ve held my views for a long time without expressing them publicly to anyone (other than to what4anarchy,) because based upon the conversations I’ve had with other LDS, my assessment was that they weren’t ready for such information, that they would simply discount it as being false or mere opinion, get defensive and nothing would result, except for my own persecution by church members or leadership, who believe that anarchy is wickedness. But two weeks ago I decided, after giving it much thought, that I could and should publish these views anonymously on a blog. Now I learn of Van Wagenen and friends and their just published paper on essentially the same topic. The timing is very close to the launch of LDS Anarchy. All of this smacks of the hand of the Lord at work. I wonder what other LDS will be inspired to publish these views. What do you think? Is this the hand of the Lord?

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