Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Testing Legality

In my view, the restoration has a poor record of success when it comes to testing the laws of the land in court. For more than 150 years it has been a dismal and discouraging effort for the saints of God to importune the courts for redress. In legal matters regarding everything from trivial personal harassment lawsuits against Joseph Smith, on up to the testing of the constitutionality of federal anti-polygamy laws, the church has waged and consistently lost many important legal battles through the courts at every level.

Having personally sustained my own significant trauma at the handling of the courts, I shrink from the very suggestion that we might obtain any kind of satisfying judgement in the several legal matters currently concerning the general body of the church. But, notwithstanding my own reticence, and even in the face of confusion within the ranks regarding these matters, we are clearly obligated to follow the consistent counsel of the brethren in this matter. The saints have always been instructed to make every effort to work within the law. We believe in honoring and sustaining the law of the land. In many instances throughout church history, church members have been horribly abused at the hands of the system which should have protected them. Yet they always continued to press for justice and sound judgment.

I can see no other alternative. In the case of the assault on marriage laws, I honestly believe it may be a futile effort. But we ought to follow the example set by our stalwart predecessors, in exhausting every recourse to obtain legal settlement of the current issues.

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