The prophetic counsel against having kings (rulers)


King Nephi didn’t want the people to have a king (a ruler)
From the time Lehi and his family left Jerusalem down to the time that Nephi and company split from Laman and Lemuel and company in the promised land, the Lehites had lived in tribal anarchy using the law of Moses as the tribal, customary law.

And it came to pass that they would that I should be their king. But I, Nephi, was desirous that they should have no king; nevertheless, I did for them according to that which was in my power. (2 Ne. 5: 18 )

The Nephites, though, sought to change that tribal anarchy into a monarchy and despite his protests, he hearkened unto the voice of the people and became their first king. In fact, when he was about to die, he anointed another king in his stead, too, thus perpetuating the reign of Nephite kings among the people.

Now Nephi began to be old, and he saw that he must soon die; wherefore, he anointed a man to be a king and a ruler over his people now, according to the reigns of the kings. The people having loved Nephi exceedingly, he having been a great protector for them, having wielded the sword of Laban in their defence, and having labored in all his days for their welfare-wherefore, the people were desirous to retain in remembrance his name. And whoso should reign in his stead were called by the people, second Nephi, third Nephi, and so forth, according to the reigns of the kings; and thus they were called by the people, let them be of whatever name they would. And it came to pass that Nephi died. (Jacob 1: 9-12)

Alma didn’t want the people to have a king (a ruler)
During the reign of the Nephite kings Noah, Limhi and Mosiah and the lamanitish king Laman, Alma and his people (see The Anarchy of Alma) escaped (see Mosiah 18 ) from king Noah and founded the city of Helam, in the land of Helam, where they lived in tribal anarchy using the law of Moses as the customary, tribal law. Like the people of the first king Nephi, Alma’s people wanted a king to rule over them, and they asked him to become their king. Again like the first king Nephi, Alma counseled against having kings. Remarkably, these people actually listened to his counsel and remained in anarchy, unlike their ancestors.

And the people were desirous that Alma should be their king, for he was beloved by his people. But he said unto them: Behold, it is not expedient that we should have a king; for thus saith the Lord: Ye shall not esteem one flesh above another, or one man shall not think himself above another; therefore I say unto you it is not expedient that ye should have a king. Nevertheless, if it were possible that ye could always have just men to be your kings it would be well for you to have a king. But remember the iniquity of king Noah and his priests; and I myself was caught in a snare, and did many things which were abominable in the sight of the Lord, which caused me sore repentance; nevertheless, after much tribulation, the Lord did hear my cries, and did answer my prayers, and has made me an instrument in his hands in bringing so many of you to a knowledge of his truth. Nevertheless, in this I do not glory, for I am unworthy to glory of myself. And now I say unto you, ye have been oppressed by king Noah, and have been in bondage to him and his priests, and have been brought into iniquity by them; therefore ye were bound with the bands of iniquity. And now as ye have been delivered by the power of God out of these bonds; yea, even out of the hands of king Noah and his people, and also from the bonds of iniquity, even so I desire that ye should stand fast in this liberty wherewith ye have been made free, and that ye trust no man to be a king over you. And also trust no one to be your teacher nor your minister, except he be a man of God, walking in his ways and keeping his commandments. Thus did Alma teach his people, that every man should love his neighbor as himself, that there should be no contention among them. (Mosiah 23: 6-15)

King Mosiah didn’t want the people to have a king (a ruler)
The Nephite monarchy lasted until king Mosiah, who proposed that monarchies be done away in favor of a popularly elected governmental system of higher and lower judges, who would not legislate, judge and execute like kings, but merely serve as adjudicators using the law of Moses.

And I command you to do these things in the fear of the Lord; and I command you to do these things, and that ye have no king; that if these people commit sins and iniquities they shall be answered upon their own heads. (Mosiah 29: 30)

The system of judicial government, set up by Mosiah, lasted until 3 Nephi 7, when it was dissolved and the people naturally fell back into tribal anarchy, each tribe having their own set of laws and tribal chiefs and leaders, with inter-tribal agreements securing the peace between tribes. From this point on to the end of the Nephite civilization, the Book of Mormon is silent concerning any other form of government established among the people. For all we know, anarchy remained to the end, a period of over 300 years. (See 300 + years of Nephite anarchy.)

Jared and his brother didn’t want the people to have a king (a ruler)
From the time that Jared, his brother and their tribes left the Tower of Babel to the time that they were nearing death in the promised land, the Jaredite tribes lived in tribal anarchy, using whatever customary laws they had among them. However, the last thing asked of them by their people was that they anoint a king for them, which they reluctantly did, after protesting to the people.

And it came to pass that the people desired of them that they should anoint one of their sons to be a king over them. And now behold, this was grievous unto them. And the brother of Jared said unto them: Surely this thing leadeth into captivity. But Jared said unto his brother: Suffer them that they may have a king. And therefore he said unto them: Choose ye out from among our sons a king, even whom ye will. And it came to pass that they chose even the firstborn of the brother of Jared; and his name was Pagag. And it came to pass that he refused and would not be their king. And the people would that his father should constrain him, but his father would not; and he commanded them that they should constrain no man to be their king. And it came to pass that they chose all the brothers of Pagag, and they would not. And it came to pass that neither would the sons of Jared, even all save it were one; and Orihah was anointed to be king over the people. (Ether 6: 22-27)

From king Orihah to the end of the Jaredite civilization, they remained under monarchies.

The Lord doesn’t want the people to have a king (a ruler)
In a couple of the revelations given to Joseph Smith, Jun., the Lord prophesies that in time there will be no kings, rulers or laws, at all, only his laws, with him as our king.

But, verily I say unto you that in time ye shall have no king nor ruler, for I will be your king and watch over you. Wherefore, hear my voice and follow me, and you shall be a free people, and ye shall have no laws but my laws when I come, for I am your lawgiver, and what can stay my hand? (D&C 38: 21-22)

And at that day, when I shall come in my glory, shall the parable be fulfilled which I spake concerning the ten virgins. For they that are wise and have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been deceivedverily I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day. And the earth shall be given unto them for an inheritance; and they shall multiply and wax strong, and their children shall grow up without sin unto salvation. For the Lord shall be in their midst, and his glory shall be upon them, and he will be their king and their lawgiver. (D&C 45: 56-59)

Samuel didn’t want the people to have a king
Moving on to the Bible, from the time the Israelites were led from Egypt by Moses to their promised land, down to the time of the prophet Samuel, they lived in tribal anarchy, using the law of Moses as the customary, tribal law.

In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes. (Judges 21: 25)

Then, as always, the people wanted a king and asked Samuel to anoint one. He protested and explained to them the horrors a human king would bring them, but they still wanted one and he ended up anointing Saul. From that point on the Israelites always had kings or other rulers ruling over them.

And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.

But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD. And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee. Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.

And Samuel told all the words of the LORD unto the people that asked of him a king. And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots. And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots. And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers. And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants. And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants. And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants. And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day.

Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us; that we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles. And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he rehearsed them in the ears of the LORD. And the LORD said to Samuel, Hearken unto their voice, and make them a king. And Samuel said unto the men of Israel, Go ye every man unto his city. (1 Samuel 8: 5-22)

And thus we see that whenever faced with the choice of establishing a state government of rulers (kings) or remaining in tribal anarchy, the prophets among the people always counseled the people to remain in anarchy.

Next Anarchism/Anarchy article: A basic right denied

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