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this image and superscription? They say unto Him, Caesar's. Then saith He unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's." (Matt. 22:15-21).
The Apostles made it clear that respect for the law and its officers was a part of the religious duty of the saints. In writing to Titus, who was in charge of the Church at Crete, Paul thus admonished him to teach his flock to be orderly and law-abiding: "Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work." (Titus 3:1).
To the saints in Rome the same Apostle wrote, emphasizing their duty toward the civil power, pointing out the necessity of secular government, and designating the officers of the law as ministers of God:
"Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. . . . For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour." (Rom. 13:1-7).
To the same effect the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ has come to the Church in this age. Thus spake He in 1831:
"Let no man break the laws of the land, for he that keepeth the laws of God hath no need to break the laws of the land: Wherefore, be subject to the powers that be, until He reigns whose right it is to reign, and subdues
all enemies under His feet." And the distinction between the laws of the Church and the laws of the nation is emphasized in the further word: "Behold, the laws which ye have received from my hand are the laws of the church, and in this light ye shall hold them forth." (Doctrine & Covenants 58:21-23).
Loyal and whole-souled support of the government, service to country, and devotion to the interests of the nation, are requirements of the religion embodied in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Independent But Mutually Helpful
HE teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints concerning the duty of its members, and of all men, in relation to the secular law, are set forth in Section 134 of the Doctrine & Covenants, which is one of the standard works of the Church. This is part of the law of the Church, and has been adopted as a guide in faith and practise by the members in general conference assembled.
Of Governments and Laws in General
"1. We believe that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man, and that He holds men accountable for their acts in relation to them, either in making laws or administering them, for the good and safety of society.
"2. We believe that no government can exist in peace,
except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life.
"3. We believe that all governments necessarily require civil officers and magistrates to enforce the laws of the same, and that such as will administer the law in equity and justice should be sought for and upheld by the voice of the people (if a republic), or the will of the sovereign.
"4. We believe that religion is instituted of God, and that men are amenable to Him, and to Him only, for the exercise of it, unless their religious opinions prompt them to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others; but we do not believe that human law has a right to interfere in prescribing rules of worship to bind the consciences of men, nor dictate forms for public or private devotion; that the civil magistrate should restrain crime, but never control conscience; should punish guilt, but never suppress the freedom of the soul.
"5. We believe that all men are bound to sustain and uphold the respective governments in which they reside, while protected in their inherent and inalienable rights by the laws of such governments; and that sedition and rebellion are unbecoming every citizen thus protected, and should be punished accordingly; and that all governments have a right to enact such laws as in their own judgment are best calculated to secure the public interest, at the same time, however, holding sacred the freedom of conscience.
"6. We believe that every man should be honored in his station: rulers and magistrates as such, being placed for the protection of the innocent and the punishment of the guilty; and that to the laws, all men owe respect and deference, as without them peace and harmony would be sup
planted by anarchy and terror; human laws being instituted for the express purpose of regulating our interests as individuals and nations, between man and man, and Divine laws given of heaven, prescribing rules on spiritual concerns, for faith and worship, both to be answered by man to his Maker.
. We believe that rulers, states, and governments have a right, and are bound to enact laws for the protection of all citizens in the free exercise of their religious belief; but we do not believe that they have a right in justice, to deprive citizens of this privilege, or proscribe them in their opinions, so long as a regard and reverence are shown to the laws, and such religious opinions do not justify sedition nor conspiracy.
"8. We believe that the commission of crime should be punished according to the nature of the offense; that murder, treason, robbery, theft, and the breach of the general peace, in all respects, should be punished according to their criminality, and their tendency to evil among men, by the laws of that government in which the offense is committed; and for the public peace and tranquillity all men should step forward and use their ability in bringing offenders against good laws to punishment.
"9. We do not believe it just to mingle religious influence with civil government, whereby one religious society is fostered, and another proscribed in its spiritual privileges, and the individual rights of its members as citizens, denied.
"10. We believe that all religious societies have a right to deal with their members for disorderly conduct according to the rules and regulations of such societies, provided that such dealings be for fellowship and good standing; but we do not believe that any religious society has au
thority to try men on the right of property or life, to take from them this world's goods, or to put them in jeopardy of either life or limb, neither to inflict any physical punishment upon them; they can only excommunicate them from their society, and withdraw from them their fellowship.
"11. We believe that men should appeal to the civil law for redress of all wrongs and grievances, where personal abuse is inflicted, or the right of property or character infringed, where such laws exist as will protect the same; but we believe that all men are justified in defending themselves, their friends, and property, and the government, from the unlawful assaults and encroachments of all persons, in times of exigency, where immediate appeal cannot be made to the laws, and relief afforded.
"12. We believe it just to preach the gospel to the nations of the earth, and warn the righteous to save themselves from the corruption of the world; but we do not believe it right to interfere with bond servants, neither preach the gospel to, nor baptize them, contrary to the will and wish of their masters, nor to meddle with or influence them in the least, to cause them to be dissatisfied with their situations in this life, thereby jeopardizing the lives of men; such interference we believe to be unlawful and unjust, and dangerous to the peace of every government allowing human beings to be held in servitude."