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A confused apostate

From today's Daily Universe reader's forum:

I have enjoyed several successful years working as an engineer in the computer industry, and I have seriously considered pursuing an MBA degree to further my career. Since I am a BYU graduate, the first MBA program that naturally comes to mind is the highly competitive and well-respected Marriott School of Management.

I was disappointed to learn that my alma mater will categorically reject my application. This is because I have resigned my membership in the Mormon Church and have requested for my name to be removed from its records.

He goes on to say:

There are those who would say I am not welcome at BYU, and they would suggest I attend graduate school at another university. That is exactly what I am currently doing, along with many others who have left the Mormon Church. Due to its admittance policy that discriminates based on one's beliefs (or lack thereof), BYU is forfeiting the opportunity to have many highly qualified students participate in its various graduate programs.

If this guy is trying to argue that it's bad policy on BYU's part to deny people like himself admittance to BYU, he didn't do a very good job of it. Why should a private religious institution seek to fill one of its limited enrollment spots with someone who has actively sought divorcement from it?

NEWS FLASH: BYU Discriminates & You'll Just Have to Live With It

First of all, the fact that the Daily Universe actually printed this in their reader's forum probably caused a few students to go into cardiac arrest. Aside from that, it has taken years for BYU to perfect its current mold of blatant discrimination. Why take that away from them? They deserve to be the most bigoted university in the nation. They've basically gone unchallenged by the entire Zoobie student body. So, BYU has earned it. They can be all they be. Even if that means being a douche.

glad to see the daily universe open minds

Considering how uniquely conservative BYU is, it's refreshing to occassionally see the controversy that is displayed in The Daily Universe's editorial section. Although I agree with the discrepancy pointed out in the 'apostate's' views, I commend the school newspaper in being more open-minded in the last few years -- especially in their attempt to broaden the student body's views of the world outside of our bubble here.

Duh.

Why in the world would he WANT to go here? Maybe he simply wants the education here. But you can't expect to attend a private religious university and keep your student life separate from the religious culture. Maybe he's distanced himself from LDS ideals and beliefs, but still likes the people and wants to hang out with us. That's what I would hope. But maybe he's interested in coming here so he can have a venue to voice his concerns to believers. In which case, he could definitely find other venues.

As for bigotry, let's not throw the word around too lightly. If he wants an MBA, he'd do well to realize that the business school is run much like the business world. If he resigned from a job and had all of his employment records stricken on the basis that he didn't agree with what the company was doing, why in the world would that company hire him back? Matched against all the other applicants who like it there? It's a no-brainer.

I can't help but consider

I can't help but consider the block on ex-members to be somewhat of a double standard. I recognize that as a private, Church-funded institution, BYU certainly has the right to deny whatever people they like from admission to the university. But a legal right doesn't necessarily guarantee that the ban is ethical. I honestly feel that as long as BYU is willing to admit non-members, they shouldn't disciminate against former members of the Church.

Perhaps what bothers me more, however, is the knowledge that so many BYU students read this guy's letter and automatically classify him as a wicked "apostate." Come on, he's probably a nice guy. He's probably a good person. And he wouldn't be the first good person to lose his faith. We don't win any points by screaming "apostate" and avoiding these people like lepers.

mason, why didn't you title

mason, why didn't you title this "stupid evil bastard"? why use weighted and politically charged language that is not asserted in his letter?

i see no confusion in his letter. he knows he's an athiest. he graduated from BYU and wants to attend one of the best business schools in the nation. what is so confusing? if he had always been an athiest, then he could go to byu. if he was a baptist, he could go to byu. if he was a baptist that became an athiest, he could go to byu. if he was worshipping baal, he could go to byu. however, because he lost his faith in god and chose to be honest about it and formalizing his absence from the church (unlike over 60% of the 12 million strong), he cannot be admitted.

i can understand BYU not admitting students for immoral acts, but becoming an athiest is hardly an act. he didn't wake up one morning and choose to not believe in god. it isn't something that can be turned on and off. it just happens. if he could just choose to believe in god, i'm pretty sure he would. it isn't that simple.

also, why apostate? you should know better. sure you could be technical about it, but you know that is BS. you would be equally offended if a southern baptist used "cult" in describing mormonism even though it's use is defended by it's technical definition. you used it because it is a politcally charged word used to paint him as an opposing enemy of the church.

project mayhem

Oh, the ironies

I hope I'm not the only one who's caught the irony of a person aplying to BUSINESS school at an institution sponsored by a religion he strongly disagrees with. I think BYU has the right to discriminate in this regard; its one way of ensuring that the sponsoring institution gets a return on the investment it makes in its students

If this guy is trying to

If this guy is trying to argue that it's bad policy on BYU's part to deny people like himself admittance to BYU, he didn't do a very good job of it. Why should a private religious institution seek to fill one of its limited enrollment spots with someone who has actively sought divorcement from it?

Because it just proves that BYU is as close-minded, exclusionary and hypocritical as every other religion / exclusive club in existence?

You know all those crazy ideas that Jesus guy talked about? Love your enemies. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Not judging people for what you might view as their mistakes because no one is perfect.

Yeah, BYU doesn't embody any of those attributes just like just about every other person/institution who claims to follow him.

Sorry if my cynicism offends those of you who view the LDS church & Christianity as forces for good in the world. I just think that 95% of so called "Christians" are very un-Christlike in their attitudes and actions. I think this is just one more example of "Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof" i.e. false piety and a hollow, self-aggrandizing facade. That's BYU to the T in my opinion.

Sorry if my cynicism offends

Sorry if my cynicism offends those of you who view the LDS church & Christianity as forces for good in the world. I just think that 95% of so called "Christians" are very un-Christlike in their attitudes and actions.

To say that the LDS church and/or Christianity aren't forces for good is just as shallow as saying they're pure evil. The institutions have flaws, and there are bad people everywhere, it's not confined within or without religion. But they teach good principles, helping others, being charitable, etc, and do countless good things in the world, despite the attitudes and actions of the minority. Your cynicism (i.e. 95% of "Christians etc) seems grossly exaggerated. Had some bad experiences?

And while it might have some

And while it might have some quality aspects to it that no one can really argue with, it still falls way short of what I would consider to be the standards of the TRUE church and pure Christ-like attributes.

I never understood this attitude. The central theme of the church is the Atonement: being able to be forgiven and overcome sins. And yet when people see that the church has imperfections, they run around yelling, "sinners! hypocrites! liars!" ad infinitum, as if that isn't obvious to everyone. What do you expect? Obviously we aren't perfect, but we're trying. I guess not enough, is that how you feel?

Christianity has done as much evil in the world (The Crusades, The Inquisition, "witch trials", the dark ages, the holocaust, institutionalized discrimination, etc) as it has good which gives it a net effect of 0.

No doubt a great deal of evil has been doe in the name of Christianity. Then again, a great deal of evil has been done in the name of Islam too. And any other number of "foundations." Saying the net effect is 0 is pretty pessimistic, and you're right, I disagree.

Hmmm

Do you have to be a Mormon to be a good person? I don't think so. Actually, I have seen many members of the church do a lot of damage to others, even driving some out of the church entirely, in the name of "fellowshipping others." yeah, right -- so you fellowship the people you like into the church, and those you don't like out of it? way to go, keep up that Christ-like attitude!!! sounds to me like this is another example of byu demonstrating their great example to the world...

so you fellowship the people

so you fellowship the people you like into the church, and those you don't like out of it? way to go, keep up that Christ-like attitude!!! sounds to me like this is another example of byu demonstrating their great example to the world...

Are you replying to some specific comment?

communiscm

Please read this"

http://speeches.byu.edu/reader/reader.php?id=6162&x=68&y=7

haha! you just said douche!

haha! you just said douche! mason's gonna censor you.

i'd like to see you comment on the letter concering "the fall of mormon cinema"

project mayhem

what about the irony of the

what about the irony of the church-owned university named after brigham young having one of the best business schools in that nation?

i know. it's a sign that God is backing up the school and proving that you can serve God and Mammon.

project mayhem

Had some bad

Had some bad experiences?

Apparently you haven't read anything I have ever written on here. I am probably the most outspoken Ex-Mormon on here. :)

But they teach good principles, helping others, being charitable, etc, and do countless good things in the world, despite the attitudes and actions of the minority.

I really can't argue with that, and yes, my 95% comment was a bit extreme, but I must make a point. The LDS church (and therefore BYU) does not claim to merely be an institution that teaches good principles and helps people out. They claim to be the ONLY true church and the ONLY organization to officially represent Christ. And while it might have some quality aspects to it that no one can really argue with, it still falls way short of what I would consider to be the standards of the TRUE church and pure Christ-like attributes. The LDS church just does not and can not fit the bill. "Good"... sure, why not?. "True"... no way.

And I know many people would disagree with me on my interpretation, but Christianity has done as much evil in the world (The Crusades, The Inquisition, "witch trials", the dark ages, the holocaust, institutionalized discrimination, etc) as it has good which gives it a net effect of 0. Is the LDS church really any different in it's own sphere of influence? I know many, many people who would say no. Sure it's just my opinion, but I have pretty valid reasons for thinking it.

lets see here...

well, yeah... it seems to me that byu won't accept this fellow that applied (who used to be lds), or did I read the article wrong?

And yet when people see that

And yet when people see that the church has imperfections, they run around yelling, "sinners! hypocrites! liars!" ad infinitum, as if that isn't obvious to everyone. What do you expect? Obviously we aren't perfect, but we're trying. I guess not enough, is that how you feel?

Obviously all human beings have flaws and for me to expect some arbitrary level of perfection from an individual would be overly demanding and unrealistic (as opposed to the demand that humans be perfect that the LDS church / "God" makes on its members).

I, however, was referring to the LDS church as an institution and an organization. You know, the multi-billion dollar corporation that proclaims to have a perfect organization, lead by a perfect and infallible individual (Christ) and to have pure unadulterated doctrines that represent the truth and the way things really are. An objective personal assessment of the church and its officially sanctioned institutions (such as BYU) makes it painfully obvious that the LDS church is in reality none of the things which it claims to be.

No doubt a great deal of evil has been doe in the name of Christianity. Then again, a great deal of evil has been done in the name of Islam too. And any other number of "foundations."

No argument here. Any dogmatic line of thought will eventually produce "evil" results when people stop thinking for themselves and start following their inflexible creed. All dogmatic religion, be it Christianity, Islam, the LDS church, will eventually lead to more evil than good. Just my opinion, but I would have to say that anyone who looks at the history of the world objectively has to agree.

I don't see the conflict.

I don't see the conflict. Care to expound?

This is somewhat of a

This is somewhat of a tangent, but if someone really thinks that business is somehow equal to "Mammon," then they obviously don't know much about business. At its core, business consists of providing goods and services that people need and want. What's wrong with that? If it weren't for businesses, where would you get your clothes, food, shelter, books, computers, cars, etc.? Every college is essentially a business. Capitalism isn't perfect, but it's the best system we've got right now. Communism hasn't worked so far. "Consecration" hasn't worked yet either.

No you read it right, I just

No you read it right, I just didn't understand the context. I couldn't tell if you were replying to someone else's comments or just commenting on the article to begin with.

Brigham Young, the Capitalist

When we first came into the Valley, the question was asked me, if men would ever be allowed to come into this Church, and remain in it, and hoard up their property. I say, NO. That is a short answer, and it is a pointed one. The man who lays up his gold and silver, who caches it away in a bank, or in his iron safe, or buries it up in the earth, and comes here, and professes to be a Saint, would tie up the hands of every individual in this kingdom,and make them his servants if he could. It is an unrighteous, unhallowed, unholy, covetous principle; it is of the devil, and is from beneath. Let every person who has capital, put it to usury. Is he required to bring his purse to me, to any of the Twelve, or to any person whatever, and lay it at their feet? No, not by me. But I will tell you what to do with your means. If a man comes in the midst of this people with money, let him use it in making improvements, in building, in beautifying his inheritance in Zion, and in increasing his capital by thus putting out his money to usury. Let him go and make a great farm, and stock it well, and fortify all around with a good and efficient fence. What for? Why for the purpose of spending his money. Then let him cut it up into fields, and adorn it with trees,and build a fine house upon it. What for? Why for the purpose of spending his money. What will he do when his money is gone? The money thus spent, with a wise and prudent hand, is in a situation to accumulate and increase a hundred-fold. When he has done making his farm, and his means still increase by his diligent use of it, he can then commence and build a woollen factory for instance, he can send and buy the sheep and have them brought here, have them herded here, and shear them here, and take care them, then set the boys and girls to cleaning, carding, spinning, and weaving the wool into cloth, and thus employ hundreds and thousands of the brethren and sisters who have come from the manufacturing districts of the old country, and have not been accustomed to dig in the earth for their livelihood, who have not learned anything else but to work in the factory. This would feed them and clothe them, and put within their reach the comforts of life; it would also create at home a steady market for the produce of the agriculturist, and the labor of the mechanic. When he has spent his hundred and fifty thousand dollars, which he began business with, and fed five hundred persons, from five to ten years, besides realizing a handsome profit from the labor of the hands employed, by the increased population, and consequent increased demand for manufactured goods, at the end of ten years, his factory would be worth five hundred thousand dollars. Suppose he had wrapped up his hundred and fifty thousand in a napkin, for fear of losing it, it would have sent him down to perdition, for the principle is from beneath. But when he puts forth his money to usury, not to me or any other person, but where it will redouble itself, by making farms, building factories for the manufacture of every kind of material necessary for home consumption, establishing blacksmith's shops and other mechanical establishments, making extensive improvements to beautify the whole face of the earth, until it shall become like the garden of Eden, it becomes a saving blessing to him and those around him.And when the kings, princes, and rulers of the earth shall come to Zion, bringing their gold, and silver, and precious stones with them, they will admire and desire your possessions, your fine farms, beautiful vineyards, and splendid mansions. They will say "We have got plenty of money, but we are destitute of such possessions as these." Their money loses its value in their eyes when compared with the comfortable possessions of the Saints, and they will want to purchase your property. The industrious capitalist inquires of one of them "Do you want to purchase this property? I have obtained it by my economy and judgment, and by the labour of my brethren, and in exchange for their labour I have been feeding and clothing them, until they also have comfortable situations, and means to live. I have this farm, which I am willing to sell to enable me to advance my other improvements." "Well," says the rich man, "how much must I give you for it?" "Five hundred thousand dollars," and perhaps it has not cost him more than one hundred thousand. He takes the money and builds up three or four such farms, and employs hundreds of his brethren who are poor.

Excerpt from "Use And Abuse of Blessings" (Journal of Discourses Vol. 1 Pg 248-256) An address delivered by President Young on June 5, 1853.

Mammon

"Mammon" according to Hugh Nibley, comes from the Hebrew term, "mammonut" which literally means, "financial transaction." Business is not evil in itself, but the greed that men bring to it is. Capitalism being the best system is disputable. Communism (which is actually socialism) has not been allowed to flourish. Every time it pops up we squash it for fear of a good example, or to stop the domino effect. Consecration has worked, 1900 years ago in what we read of 4Nephi, and in the time of Enoch from the Book of Moses. The law of consecration doesn't fail, it is the greed of men that fail the celestial law. Eventually, all who want to enter the celestial glory, must live by that law.
What we call capitalism right now is actually socialism for major corporations who profit handsomely from corporate welfare and protectionist policies. We don't have pure capitalism in the world today.

Communism (which is actually

Communism (which is actually socialism) has not been allowed to flourish. Every time it pops up we squash it for fear of a good example, or to stop the domino effect. Consecration has worked, 1900 years ago in what we read of 4Nephi, and in the time of Enoch from the Book of Moses. The law of consecration doesn't fail, it is the greed of men that fail the celestial law. Eventually, all who want to enter the celestial glory, must live by that law.

I should probably ammend my previous comments; when I said that Consecration has not worked, I did not mean that there's some deficiency in the system, but rather that the system has not permanently worked yet, due to man's shortcomings. What I was getting at is that, as a society (even as an LDS society), we aren't capable of making the law work. We tried at the beginning of this dispensation, but it failed, and I don't think we're a whole lot closer to making it work now. But that's just my opinion.

As for communism, the system has been alive in China since 1949. Economically, it has not worked. In the 50's, some of the leaders in China started to make some reforms that bore a resemblance to a market economy, and were successful. However, Mao put a stop to these, as he didn't think that they kept in line with his vision of socialism. What ended up happening? Under his communist regime, Mao tried to spur the country's economy and industry forward with the Great Leap Forward. That resulted in unprecedented famine and failure, killing tens of millions of people. It wasn't until the Reform and Open Door movement, initiated in 1979, that China started to really reform their economy to conform to more capitalist principles. These reforms have brought huge growth to the country. Its economy is growing at 8 or 9 percent a year, something that NEVER happened under a strictly socialist economic system. While China still has its problems, this movement toward a free market economy has certainly increased the quality of life for millions.

And I wouldn't call Cuba or North Korea real world powers; they've yet to show that a strictly communist system works.

Given man's natural tendencies and weaknesses, I'm not convinced that we currently have a better economic system than capitalism.

Consecration, Capitalism, Communism, China etc

I agree with you that we are not close to making the Law of Consecration work within us. I think that what you are trying to say is that we failed in trying to live the Law of Consecration. The biggest reason for this is covetousness of course. Pretty rampant in the Church.

As for communism, it has never even really been tried. What we have had in China and other places has been Socialism lead by dictators and corrupt rulers. If you recall, the communism that Karl Marx spoke of really didn't have a government. Anything that still has a government therefore by definition is still at least socialist.

As for China being better off now, I think you have to look at other indicators than just the GDP and economic growth. Sure they never had that kind of growth, but they also had at least rudimentary health care for their people, even the poorest. Now, as the NY Times pointed out last week, 80% of rural Chinese are without health insurance! That's a heck of a lot of people living pretty poorly. Perhaps the upper class is living better with capitalistic changes in China, but apparently the vast majority of Chinese are suffering from the effects of the withdrawal of their social safety nets.

North Korea and Cuba are ruled again by dictators more or less. I wouldn't point to them as examples of anything unless it is a democratically ran deal. Of course, in Cuba's instance, the US government is not willing to find out if Cuba could succeed in its governmental philosophy since we keep our blockade going despite universal opposition from the rest of the world. Vietnam was the same way. We stomp it down as soon as socialism makes headway there. Chile, Greece, Nicaragua, Haiti, Guatemala, Iran, Iraq, Indonesia, East Timor etc. The list gets pretty long where we have crushed socialism in its infancy in order to stop the threat of a good example.

An interesting case currently is Venezuela. Chavez is implementing socialist reform into every aspect of government and is doing it with the full support of the majority of his constituency. The US government is upset about this and villifies him and supports coups against him and crippling oil industry strikes against him etc., but he has survived all of this with the support of 60-70% of the nation and has several great accomplishments to show for it. He has ended illiteracy in Venezuela, is making education free, has increased healthcare access for his people by trading subsidized oil for 20,000 Cuban doctors, has increased housing for the poor, reduced unemployment and decreased poverty. Because of his successes, the rest of South America is standing up and paying attention. Perfect example of the threat of a good example. Bolivia has elected Morales, a man after the mold of Chavez. Peru is about to do the same. A similar type of candidate is making headway in Mexican polls. It remains to be seen how we will stifle democracy in South America this time to stop this rise of Socialism.

In any case, we don't even really have Capitalism as I stated earlier. We have a pretty socialistic state when it comes to welfare for corporations. If we had true capitalism we may actually be better off, but it appears we'll never know the answer to that one.

Communism

Please read this:

http://speeches.byu.edu/reader/reader.php?id=6162&x=68&y=7

Have a great Sabbath!

I think you've got some good

I think you've got some good points, and I pretty much agree with all that you say.

I think China has a long way to go, but I also feel that the movements toward a market economy are in the best interests of the people. I know a number of mainland Chinese who are uneducated. For a lot of them, their best prospects to earn a living don't go much further than working in factories for pennies. However, things are gradually improving. More and more of these factory workers can afford to do things like fly home for Chinese New Year, an option they probably never dreamed of before.

This situation is far from universal, but as China continues to open up and reform, it will continue to face pressures from other advanced nations to make reforms in areas other than economics. As the nation advances, modernizes, and enters the ranks of advanced nations, they will be required to more directly confront issues like human rights and health care. And I believe that the pressures to confront these issues would have been much less intense were China still a strictly third-world country. With economic growth and prosperity comes these pressures and responsibilities. For the sake of maintaining prosperity, I don't think China's leaders can avoid these social issues forever.

But this is an entirely different topic. Sorry, I don't intend this to be a thread jack. I guess my whole point is that capitalism, while an imperfect system, does have its benefits, both economically and socially. My personal opinion is that people's imperfections naturally hamper the possibility for a system such as communism, or consecration for that matter, to be really successful. But if I am someday proven wrong, then so be it.

Communism

I'm sorry, I've just got to disagree with alot of what the prophet said in this article. I don't think that an economic system can interfere with spiritual liberty and the ability of a soul to exercise free agency. Evil dictators may lay a difficult burden on people, but economic systems do not, it is the people who run them. Should we call capitalism a bad system because it is the so called, "free market economy" that has impoverished millions and led to countless wars and destructions? We see that it was one of the great hallmarks of secret combinations in the Book of Mormon that, "...gold and silver did they lay up in store in bundance, and did traffic in all manner of traffic."(4Nephi 1:46) It is the merchants of capitalism that grieve in Revelations chapter 18, that the whore of all the earth can no longer buy their silks, linens and other articles that represent the extravagance and lasciviousness of the rich and powerful.
I disagree with the anti-welfare position of our Church leaders. I think that socialism has its definite plusses and that if run equitably, could do very good for its people. Sure, communism and socialism and capitalism aren't good alternatives to the Law of Consecration which we are covenanted to live by in the temple, but I definitely don't see much of an advantage in Capitalism over Socialism in the world today. I point to Venezuela of a great example. Their economy exanded 17% last year. The people are rising up. Education is becoming free for the masses. Illiteracy has been abolished. The people are actively involved in democracy to a high extent in their communities on up to the level of national politics. The poor are better off. They have health care (an inherent right under the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights to which our government is not only a signator, but pretty much wrote the document). Hunger has been tapered (another guaranteed right). The poor are provided with housing (another guaranteed right). All this because the money from oil revenues is now going to help the poor rather than to foreign bank accounts owned by a few rich and powerful people. Religious freedom still abounds there. You are free to worship as you like. LDS missionaries are pulling out of the country granted, but there is no prohibition on proselyting. I guess I'll go ahead and exercise my right and disagree with the prophet on this one. I guess I'd better get on my knees and make sure all is right in my heart, but prophets have been wrong on issues in the past and then have gone on to say that the greater light they have now trumps statements in the past. I hope this is another one of those issues.

We see that it was one of

We see that it was one of the great hallmarks of secret combinations in the Book of Mormon that, "...gold and silver did they lay up in store in bundance, and did traffic in all manner of traffic."(4Nephi 1:46)

I'm sorry, but I don't think that capitalism is one of the "hallmarks of secret combinations." The Book of Mormon describes capitalism and free trade during periods of righteousness in the Book of Mormon. Consider this scripture, which refers to a time of righteousness and peace among both the Nephites and Lamanites:

"And it came to pass that the Lamanites did also go whithersoever they would, whether it were among the Lamanites or among the Nephites; and thus they did have free intercourse one with another, to buy and sell, and to get gain, according to their desire.

"And it came to pass that they became exceedingly rich, both the Lamanites and the Nephites" (Helaman 6:8-9).

The chapter goes on to describe all the different ways in which the people were industrious. Granted, prosperity always brings with it the temptation to become focused on your riches, to the neglect of the poor and needy. But it is possible to seek for riches with the intent of doing good, as explained in Jacob 2:19.

Capitalism is mentioned in reference to the Jaredites as well, once again during a period of righteousness:

"And they were exceedingly industrious, and they did buy and sell and traffic one with another, that they might get gain...

"And never could be a people more blessed than were they, and more prospered by the hand of the Lord" (Ether 10:22, 28).

This is just my opinion of course, but I believe capitalism is the best we can do right now. I'm not saying it totally eliminates poverty. But it gives people a motivation to work, because they will be rewarded, more or less, according to how much they work. The competition pushes businesses to improve the quality their services and products, so better goods are provided to the people at competitive prices.

The reason communism is so difficult is people don't naturally think about the good of the group above their own good. If they perceive that they're working harder than someone else or performing more important work than someone else, it doesn't sit well with them to know that they're receiving the exact same pay as that person. People are selfish. This situation just doesn't sit well with people.

If people were less selfish, then yeah, maybe it would work. But I don't see that happening any time soon.

I'm sorry, but I don't think

I'm sorry, but I don't think that capitalism is one of the "hallmarks of secret combinations." The Book of Mormon describes capitalism and free trade during periods of righteousness in the Book of Mormon. Consider this scripture, which refers to a time of righteousness and peace among both the Nephites and Lamanites:

"And it came to pass that the Lamanites did also go whithersoever they would, whether it were among the Lamanites or among the Nephites; and thus they did have free intercourse one with another, to buy and sell, and to get gain, according to their desire.

"And it came to pass that they became exceedingly rich, both the Lamanites and the Nephites" (Helaman 6:8-9).

you obviously don't understand capitalism. what's described in the book of mormon is mercantilism, which is based on equal trade. capitalism requires the centralization and accumulation of capital (hence capitalism). the very idea of centralizing capital requires that some have much while others have little. the centralization of capital (accumulation of wealth) and its necessarily resulting gap between the rich and poor is the very thing condemned by the book of mormon and the early LDS prophets.

the equality of wealth and trade promoted by the book of mormon (and B Young) is a socialist/communal mercantilism, not capitalism.

zcmi (zions cooperative mercantile institution) was B Young's attempt to formalize a mercantile system, in contrast to the big businesses of capitalism. the proclamation on the economy that i linked to earlier is all about the promotion of a mercantile system as opposed to capitalism. of course, as the church strayed from thr communal and economic ideals of Smith and Young, ZCMI became the church prime model of capitalism.

project mayhem

Yeah, at its core,

Yeah, at its core, capitalism specifically refers to the accumulation of capital, etc., etc. But at least in modern usage, the definition typically includes some other conditions. For instance, www.investopedia.com gives the following definition for capitalism:

"An economic system based on a free market, open competition, profit motive and private ownership of the means of production. Capitalism encourages private investment and business, compared to a government-controlled economy. Investors in these private companies (i.e. shareholders) also own the firms and are known as capitalists."

From the brief descriptions we have of Nephite/Lamanite and Jaredite economies, I think they bear some resemblance to the system described above. The markets were apparently free, there's no indication that businesses weren't privately owned, and profit motive was definitely a key factor, as the book of Helaman points out: "and thus they did have free intercourse one with another, to buy and sell, and to get gain, according to their desire."

While I admit that there's not enough information given to conclude that the economy was strictly capitalist, it's not unreasonable to conclude that their system at least bore some resemblance to modern capitalist economies.

In any case, I think this debate could go on forever. I figure that, whether or not capitalism is or is not advocated by the scriptures, modern Church leaders aren't speaking out against it. Perhaps Brigham Young and other early Church leaders had different ideas about the economy, but in any case, those views aren't being advocated by current leadership. And it wouldn't be the first time subsequent Church leaders haven't continued to teach ideas taught by Brigham Young and other early Church leaders.