Theodemocracy

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Types of government

Theodemocracy is a theocratic political system including elements of democracy, first theorized by Joseph Smith, founder of the Latter Day Saint movement (Mormonism), in the early nineteenth century. An outgrowth of Jacksonian democracy, Smith advanced the concept during his 1844 bid for the United States Presidency, advertising it as a system in which "God and the people hold the power to conduct the affairs of men in righteousness," and "liberty, free trade, and sailor's rights, and the protection of life and property shall be maintained inviolate, for the benefit of all."[1]

History and theory

Joseph Smith wrote in 1842 that earthly governments "have failed in all their attempts to promote eternal peace and happiness. . . . [Even the United States] is rent, from center to circumference, with party strife, political intrigues, and sectional interest."[2]

Smith believed that only a government led by Deity could banish the destructiveness of unlimited faction and bring order and happiness to the earth. This government was to be based on principles in the United States Constitution, holding sacred the will of the people and individual rights. In a theodemocratic system, God was to give laws to the people which they could either accept or reject, based on republican principles.

Brigham Young explained that there would be "many officers and branches" in relation to a theodemocratic government, "as there are now to that of the United States."[3]

In 1844, Smith organized a "Council of Fifty" in Nauvoo, Illinois which was meant to be the central municipal body within a theodemocratic system. The Council was comprised of Smith and many members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in addition to several prominent non-Mormons. Full consensus was required for the Council to pass any measures, and each participant was commanded to fully speak their minds on all issues brought before the body, the debate continuing until consensus could be reached. However, if consensus could not be reached, then Smith would "seek the will of the Lord" and break the deadlock through divine intervention.

Smith and his successors believed that a religiously pluralistic society would endure even after Christ's return, and that theodemocracy demanded the representation of non-Mormons by non-Mormons.

Micronational examples

See also

External links

Notes and references