(November 5, 2014)
One of the criticisms of the Book of Mormon, and one that I considered once upon a time, was that the book’s politics were clearly taken from Joseph Smith’s understanding of democracy and are not consistent with ancient civilizations. It is true that a modern constitutional republic is not consistent with the ancient forms of government, but the political system in the Book of Mormon is not consistent with either democracy or a constitutional republic.
The voice of the people does not mean “one man, one vote.” It is clear that the voice of the people means the leadership of the various clans getting together and talking through issues until they come to a conclusion that represents the agreement of the parties. When there is a contentious issue, the various sides make claims to legitimacy and eventually enough people are swayed on the one side or the other.
If there is any doubt about that, the language of this chapter should end it. After all, in a democracy is there ever an ascension to the leadership position according to a person’s right to that position?