Taxation and Its Role in a Free Society

May 9, 2011 Posted by zachary

Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s (Matthew 22:21; King James Version of the Bible)

Taxation is a contract between the people and the government stating that the people are willing to part with some of their income in support of programs and services offered by the government with the idea that these programs and services provide a public good.

It is often the case with unjust leadership to break this contract and use taxation as a means to unjustly enrich the people in power and their friends while also oppressing those who are seen as enemies.

And it came to pass that Riplakish … did tax them with heavy taxes; and with the taxes he did build many spacious buildings.

And he did erect him an exceedingly beautiful throne; and he did build many prisons, and whoso would not be subject unto taxes he did cast into prison; (Ether 10: 5-6; Book of Mormon)

As was the case with wicked rulers of the Book of Mormon and the Bible, the government today often seeks to restrict the freedom of the people by compelling them to part with their money through taxation.

As Latter-day Saints we have a duty to follow the laws of the land:

We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and Magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law. (Articles of Faith 12; Pearl of Great Price)

Yet, the question remains, are we to pay taxes if we feel that such taxation is unjust? No we are not.

And now, verily I say unto you concerning the laws of the land, it is my will that my people should observe all things whatsoever I command them.

And that law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me.

Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land;

And as pertaining to the law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this cometh of evil. (Doctrine and Covenants 98: 4-7)

According to these verses we are to obey the constitutional law of the land. Anything that goes beyond the limited scope of that Constitution is evil. Yet, the 16th amendment grants the Federal Government seemingly limited power to tax the people. As Latter-day Saints, what are we to do?

The answer to this is in one of the following verses:

Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold. (Doctrine and Covenants 98:10)

We are top seek out leaders in the country that will reduce the taxation of this people or we will continue on the path that evil leaders such as King Noah, Riplakish and others like them put us on. We are being oppressed through taxation.

If we as Latter-day Saints wish to overcome the burden of taxation, we need to seek the leadership of people who recognize the limited scope of government as outlined in the Constitution and elect them to lead this country back to prosperity. It is the Libertarian Party that seems most likely to do so:

All persons are entitled to keep the fruits of their labor. We call for the repeal of the income tax, the abolishment of the Internal Revenue Service and all federal programs and services not required under the U.S. Constitution.  We oppose any legal requirements forcing employers to serve as tax collectors. Government should not incur debt, which burdens future generations without their consent. We support the passage of a “Balanced Budget Amendment” to the U.S. Constitution, provided that the budget is balanced exclusively by cutting expenditures, and not by raising taxes. (Libertarian Party Platform 2.4)

The Libertarian Party seems most equipped to bring about the ideal environment described in the Book of Mormon by King Benjamin:

And even I, myself, have labored with mine own hands that I might serve you, and that ye should not be laden with taxes, and that there should nothing come upon you which was grievous to be born (Mosiah 2:14; Book of Mormon)

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