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?

Next Anarchism/Anarchy article: 1930’s Spanish Anarchy

Previous Anarchism/Anarchy article: Free-church vs. state-church

Complete List of Articles authored by LDS Anarchist

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16 Comments

  1. I’ll be interested to see how well the Mormon Worker does over the next six months or so, and what kind of readership it attracts. LDS Anarchy, you’ll have to let us know if you and the Mormon Worker develop any relationships, and how you do in convincing others of your view points.

  2. Good stuff! It’s funny but I never would have thought that I would be an anarchist if I had not found your site, or rather if you had not commented on mine which led me to yours. Anyhow, every day I read something from here I am finding that this all fits so perfectly with the plans I have for the future. Now I do have a question, what are your thoughts on the Constitution? Do you believe it is a divinely inspired document? Do you believe it was necessary to establish a state government to ensure the freedoms outlined in the Constitution, or could have we been more prosperous and more free under true anarchy?

  3. I plan on writing about the Constitution in a separate post. Thanks for the brain jog.

  4. If anyone is interested in a copy of The Mormon Worker, please e-mail TheMormonWorker@gmail.com. We are asking for $1 donation to cover shipping costs, and to help maintain the project. If you are in the Salt Lake area, you can pick up a copy at Sam Weller’s or Ken Sander’s Bookstores. We appreciate you support!

  5. My brother in SL forwarded a link to TheMormonWorker after reading the article in the tribune. “You’re not alone, say it one more time, you’re not alone….”
    After googling William Van Wagenen and finding
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article9596.htm
    I’m sure he’s a kindred spirit.

  6. I just now discovered that William Vanwagenen did a podcast interview yesterday. Here’s the link:

    Mormon Stories Podcast – Mormon Stories #95-96: The Mormon Worker with William Vanwagenen

  7. nice work, brother

  8. Is the Book of Mormon what it claims to be? The LDS faith rests on two things; the first, is that the Book of Mormon is a true testament to Jesus’ visit to the Americas, and the second is that Joseph Smith was a prophet. Here we’ ll deal with the first question. See the PDF and decide.

  9. Fascinating and rather humurous. Never in my wildest dreams could I have envisionened the nexus of anarchy and the Holy Priesthood of the Son of God. Chronogical or eternal time distance between the two concepts have yet to meet in any dispensation. When Jesus Christ comes in the FULNESS of TIMES; that is the time when I celebrate theocracy.

    In the beginnig of your post I thought you were trying for some sort of revival of the ideas underlying the United Order of the past. It did not work then and will not work now, for sure. Why? The Plan for Redemption is not founded on any ”
    hierARCHY” or “lowerARCHY”. It’s foundation is FAITH! That means when searching for godliness and perfection; we can do nothing, unless God directs us in the right way and the priesthood is for that purpose.

  10. “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.”

    I’m pretty naive about anarchism, but it seems to me that having everyone involved in making the wealth sharing the wealth via a distribution of the wealth equally and justly implies a government of some form — someone or a group of people will be the ones to decide how much each worker gets. That person or group becomes the government of that society. I think the only way to truly have a society without government of some kind is to have person autonomous, and the trade between them would some form of bartering. Even in this form of society, I expect there would be government on the family level since small children would be unable to fend for themselves as independent agents.

  11. Mormons should be for Aristarchy, not anarchy! Anarchy is a doctrine that requires faith, but as such it is a soulless religion. Aristarchy has become my soulful alternative to anarchy. (Back when I embraced doubt, I used to be a “hopeful, spiritual, implicitly critical, explicitly skeptical, freethinking, existentialist, humanist, agnostic atheist anarchist”. I’ve only had to drop two of those descriptive terms.)

    Joseph Smith, Jr., talked a lot about what we want to term today as “anarchy”, but he used the word INDEPENDENCE to describe this state of affairs.

    I would agree that we are today attempting to use a more academic definition of the term “anarchy” than has been used in the past (without-leadership vs. destructive chaos).

    But I don’t think we’re really after “no leaders” as in anarchy, but “great leaders” as in Aristarchy! (The arista being the pinnacles or spikelets arising out of the hulls in a shaft of wheat.)

    http://www.boap.org/LDS/Joseph-Smith/Teachings/T3.html

  12. Nice blog, please check out mine when you get a moment:

    realmormonism.blogspot.com

  13. I am 24 and have recently studied Anarchism and wow it was like so natural to me, of course this is correct. Voluntaryism, duh! hehe. So I went into google to type in LDS anarchist and I found you and TheMormonWorker, was very encouraging to know there are other lds out there.

    I am going to make a website soon about my adventures into this philosophy , etc.

    I knew what I believed about natural rights and I knew what I believed about non aggression, I just never considered Anarchism to be the way these could be applied and once I studied some freedomainradio.com stuff and some Rothbard it was like, OF COURSE THIS IS THE WAY IT SHOULD BE!

    It’s very exciting to find a philosophy that my values and beliefs sustain.

  14. The Mormon Worker web site linked in this post (and on every page of this blog) brings up the following notice:

    Reported Attack Page!

    This web page at http://www.themormonworker.org has been reported as an attack page and has been blocked based on your security preferences.

    Attack pages try to install programs that steal private information, use your computer to attack others, or damage your system. Some attack pages intentionally distribute harmful software, but many are compromised without the knowledge or permission of their owners.

    I’m afraid to click, “Ignore this warning.” Is there anyone else getting this notice with The Mormon Worker web site?

  15. Probably the site has been compromised and malicious software was installed on it.
    LDSA, I hope you are using Firefox’s NoScript add-on for all your browsing needs. NoScript disables all JavaScript.
    Also, don’t launch the PDFs from that site on your computer, since viruses hide in PDFs as well.
    With JavaScript on, I don’t suggest visiting infected sites, since JavaScript is usually one of the ways those viruses attack your computer.

  16. Nope. I didn’t have the NoScript add-on, but now I do. Thanks for the tip!


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