by Robert John Stevens, May 15, 2016
Today in Provo, Utah I attended an adult Mormon Sunday School. The teacher, a BYU linguistic professor, spoke about slavery.
I raised my hand and said, “You could argue that we are all slaves. When corporations or entities use the force of government to tax others for their own benefit, that’s slavery. Taxation is forced slavery. Today, individual and family portions of the national debt are huge. The only reason why you don’t rebel is because they haven’t sent you the bill.”
My comments were not well received.
I failed to mention that wicked King Noah in The Book of Mormon taxed his people at an astonishing 20%:
And he laid a tax of one fifth part of all they possessed, a fifth part of their gold and of their silver, and a fifth part of their ziff, and of their copper, and of their brass and their iron; and a fifth part of their fatlings; and also a fifth part of all their grain.
And all this did he take to support himself, and his wives and his concubines; and also his priests, and their wives and their concubines; thus he had changed the affairs of the kingdom.—Mosiah 11:3-4
I also failed to mention that Tax Freedom Day is now April 24th, meaning Americans work from January 1 to April 24 just to pay their taxes. That’s 114 days so Americans are slaves 31.2% of the year.
The Book of Mormon mentions at 50% people were taxed with a tax which is grievous to be borne — Mosiah 7:15.
And it came to pass that they were about to return to the land of Nephi, and they met the men of Gideon. And the men of Gideon told them of all that had happened to their wives and their children; and that the Lamanites had granted unto them that they might possess the land by paying a tribute to the Lamanites of one half of all they possessed. — Mosiah 19:22
The Book of Mormon infers that involuntary taxation is evil:
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; and whoso was not able to pay taxes he did cast into prison; and he did cause that they should labor continually for their support; and whoso refused to labor he did cause to be put to death. Ether 10:5-7.
The Book of Mormon is filled with comments, or small case studies, on the proper role and improper role of government; however, if you aren’t specifically looking for those lessons you’ll probably miss them as they are ingeniously dispersed throughout the book.
Today’s Sunday School consisted of about fifty people, mostly over sixty years old. I remained quiet for the remainder of the class. If anyone there really understood the Book of Mormon, I may have had at least one positive comment but I received none.
Most Americans, and most Mormons aren’t awake enough to realize we’re experiencing slavery2, perhaps even worse than 19th American slavery because when the wealth transfer can no longer be sustained, and the parasitical relationship is severed, history is clear that government usually turns against its own people and kills them; hence, 20th century democide (an estimated 262 million humans murdered by their own government in the 20th century).
Why are so few Mormons awake (Ether 8:24), and why do they ignore the commandment to awaken? And why can’t they connect the dots and realize the Book of Mormon warns its readers of a very powerful secret society that wants us all dead (Ether 8:25)?
Suppose Royal Skousen is correct that the Book of Mormon uses vocabulary dating from 1540 to 17401, then we should refer to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED)—the dictionary Royal Skousen recommends I use for Book of Mormon definitions. BYU has access. I don’t.
In America today, taxation is more refined and often not apparent. For example, in 2014 ZeroHedge listed 97 forms of taxation.
Some libertarians believe all forms of taxation are slavery. I disagree. Any student of the American Revolutionary War knows how difficult it was for General Washington and his colonial troops to survive with sporadic assistance. Their sufferings were beyond description. In today’s high-tech world, limited, forced taxation for defense is necessary.
The Book of Mormon is clear that 20% taxation is oppresive; however, it doesn’t specify what is acceptable. Reason suggests voluntary taxation is always acceptable as long as citizens aren’t deceived or swindled and funds are used efficiently as outlined.
See Royal Skousen’s Vita
, Page 42, “The discovery that the vocabulary of the Book of Mormon dates from 1540 to 1740; it is not based just on the vocabulary in the 1611 King James Bible alone but more generally represents Early Modern English usage; similarly, the discovery that the nonstandard syntactic structure of the Book of Mormon can be traced to Early Modern English usage, in most cases, or to Hebrew-like constructions that have never been acceptable in English.”
2 Word frequencies in Book of Mormon are slavery (1), slave/slaves (5), tax/taxes/taxed (6), and bondage (66); however, other words or phases may be used. For example, I noticed this morning that Mosiah 11:6 equates taxation directly to slavery without using the word slave:
Yea, and thus they were supported in their laziness, and in their idolatry, and in their whoredoms, by the taxes which king Noah had put upon his people; thus did the people labor exceedingly to support iniquity.