When Mormons Rule the Earth

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First off, we don’t call ourselves mormon. We’re members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or saints for short. “Mormon” was an epithet used by our enemies to describe us.

Regardless, one of the earliest charges laid at the feet of Joseph Smith, the first leader of our church, is that he was trying to setup a theocratic kingdom, akin to what Mohammed had done. I have often wondered what Joseph Smith would’ve done had millions of people flocked to the newly restored church.

We don’t have to wonder much because that’s pretty much what did happen. Very early in the church’s history, an entire population of a town converted and accepted Joseph Smith as their leader. This was Sidney Rigdon’s congregation in the frontier settlement of Kirtland, Ohio. Joseph Smith called the saints to gather there, and soon, what used to be a few houses was a bustling city. (You can read more about the early history of the church in the new history book called Saints: https://history.lds.org/saints?lang=eng

The first thing Joseph Smith did was he put the town in order. At the time, people were exhibiting all sorts of strange behavior they attributed to the Holy Ghost. Joseph taught a simple system for identifying and dispelling evil spirits, and pretty soon the town was behaving civilized.

The next thing Joseph Smith did was he established local leadership. He called a bishop to oversee the welfare of the poor and needy. The bishop would solicit free-will donations and distribute them as well as he could. Rather than handing out free food and shelter, the bishop gave people land and handed them an axe to build their own house and plow their own fields. Self-sufficiency was and is still the primary goal of the welfare program of the church.

The government of Kirtland was established the same as any other government of the time, with elected leaders, a city council, and a mayor.

Joseph Smith soon received revelation that the saints should settle in Missouri, where they began the same process of purchasing land, building homes, and building towns and cities. Joseph laid out the ideal form of a city, with each city of a population of about 10,000 or so, and if that was to be exceeded, a new city to be built nearby until the whole earth was covered with cities of that simple design.

In Missouri, they faced persecution both from the locals and the state government. A “war” of sorts broke out, with the saints acquiescing when it was clear they could not win and God commanded them not to. They left to found another colony with the central city being Nauvoo, Illinois. There, they built their temple and laid out the roads and property just as they had intended in Missouri. (By this time, Kirtland was in rebellion to Joseph’s authority and all the saints loyal to Smith had left.)

In Nauvoo, Joseph was elected the mayor after the former mayor was charged with adultery. Joseph was also appointed the head of the Nauvoo Legion, the militia that trained regularly to ensure that the locals couldn’t persecute them and the state would think twice before sending an army to drive them out of their homes.

The laws in Nauvoo weren’t much different from laws you would expect to see at the time. If anything, they were considerably more liberal, meaning, people had more freedom in Nauvoo than they did in other places. Church membership wasn’t a requirement for living there nor did it affect your standing in the city. Joseph had appointed a Council of Fifty from local church leaders and others who were not members of our church specifically with the intention of figuring out what sort of laws and constitutions should be established to maximize freedom by the time he was slaughtered by a mob.

Brigham Young intended to stay at Nauvoo, but the Lord had other plans and sent them out West to settle the Salt Lake area. Today, the vast majority of land in the West, aside from the coastal areas, are founded by saints who were sent by Brigham Young to build towns. Our towns are found all the way up in Canada and all the way south in Mexico.

Where did Brigham Young get all these people to settle the West? They came from all over the world, especially England and other European countries. As people converted to our church, they were asked to move to Zion, the kingdom that Brigham Young had built. Millions fled Europe and came to the Utah area to be assigned by Brigham Young a place to live.

So what would it look like if mormons took over the world?

The Western United States.

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