Now that Mitt Romney is the presumptive Republican nominee for president, the left is increasing its attacks on his Mormon religion, hoping to distract voters into focusing on perceived negatives about Mormonism. The latest attack is shrewdly done. Instead of directly attacking Mormonism, which could look bad, the left is claiming that Mormonism is really socialist.
Last month, the far left website Salon ran an article entitled, “When Mormons Were Socialists.” It relied completely upon a deliberate misinterpretation of a few verses in the Book of Mormon. The author claimed that Mormon doctrine about events in the first century A.D. advocated for socialism. He declared that in the Third Book of Nephi, God punished a city because “the government disregarded the sick and poor.” Tellingly, the Salon article did not indicate where in the Book of Mormon the verses it relies upon are located, because they do not exist. At no time did the Nephite government ever give even a tiny amount of assistance to the poor.
The Book of Mormon is heavily critical of excessive government taxation. Wicked King Noah was criticized for taxing his people mercilessly to fund his extravagant building plan. Like the Bible, which Mormons follow, the Book of Mormon teaches the principle of asking others – not the government – to help the poor.
The Third Book of Nephi is about a city that was punished by God for greed, immorality and turning away from God. It is similar to Bible stories about God punishing the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and the king of Babylon.
The Bible and the Third Book of Nephi both criticize the wealthy for their arrogance. Chapter 6, verses 12 & 15 of the Third Book of Nephi, state:
There began to be some disputings among the people; and some were lifted up unto pride and boastings because of their exceedingly great riches, yea, even unto great persecutions…..Satan had great power, unto the stirring up of the people to do all manner of iniquity, and to the puffing them up with pride, tempting them to seek for power, and authority, and riches, and the vain things of the world.
Similarly, the Bible rails against the greedy rich in James 5:1-4: