Sunday, March 31, 2013

Judge, Jury, and Executioner: A Modern-day Correlation with the Corrupt, Tyrannical Judges Described in 3rd Nehpi 6:20-30

 On Sept. 30th, 2011, President Barrack Obama's Administration located and killed alleged Al Queda member and sympathizer Anwar Al-Alwaki in Yemen by drone strike.  In addition to Al-Alwaki, alleged terrorist, Samir Khan, who was with Al-Alwaki at the time was also killed by the Hellfire Missles fired by the US drone.  Two weeks later, Al-Alwaki’s 16 year old son, Abdulrahman Al-Alwaki was also killed by drone strike in Yemen as well.[1]  Both of the Al-Alwakis as well as Khan, all alleged terrorists and Al Queda sympathizers, were also all American citizens, and all were killed without Due Process, meaning without a trial by jury.  In other words, President Obama and his administration, supported by many Americans both Democrat and Republican, but namely President Obama, acted as judge, jury and executioner, arbitrarily and unlawfully judging, condemning and executing 3 American citizens located in foreign countries, simply because they were arbitrarily deemed or labeled terrorists and members of Al-Queda by the Obama Administration.  The reason many have supported these unlawful killings by the Obama Administration is because many Americans, including the Obama Administration have deemed these individuals traitors, having committed treason against their own country, declaring war against America.  Many, like one individual from Facebook who calls herself the “Opinionated Democrat,” thinks these 3 individuals gave up their rights in committing treason against their own country and thus deserved to be killed unjustly and illegally by one man in charge of the country.  Such action by one man is diametrically opposed to American laws and principles, even the fundamental or supreme law of the land, the US Constitution.  This story of President Obama acting illegally as judge, jury, and executioner is a modern-day correlation with a Book of Mormon incident that took place in the Nephite society between AD 26-30 in the Land of Zarahemla.  The government at this time was still the democratically elected judges system that had been in existence for nearly 100 years at that point in time.  Read the following verses from 3 Nephi 6 20-30:

“20 And there began to be men inspired from heaven and sent forth, standing among the people in all the land, preaching and testifying boldly of the sins and iniquities of the people, and testifying unto them concerning the redemption which the Lord would make for his people, or in other words, the resurrection of Christ; and they did testify boldly of his death and sufferings.
21 Now there were many of the people who were exceedingly angry because of those who testified of these things; and those who were angry were chiefly the chief judges, and they who had been high priests and lawyers; yea, all those who were lawyers were angry with those who testified of these things.
22 Now there was no lawyer nor judge nor high priest that could have power to condemn any one to death save their condemnation was signed by the governor of the land.
23 Now there were many of those who testified of the things pertaining to Christ who testified boldly, who were taken and put to death secretly by the judges, that the knowledge of their death came not unto the governor of the land until after their death.
24 Now behold, this was contrary to the laws of the land, that any man should be put to death except they had power from the governor of the land—
25 Therefore a complaint came up unto the land of Zarahemla, to the governor of the land, against these judges who had condemned the prophets of the Lord unto death, not according to the law.
26 Now it came to pass that they were taken and brought up before the judge, to be judged of the crime which they had done, according to the law which had been given by the people.
27 Now it came to pass that those judges had many friends and kindreds; and the remainder, yea, even almost all the lawyers and the high priests, did gather themselves together, and unite with the kindreds of those judges who were to be tried according to the law.
28 And they did enter into a covenant one with another, yea, even into that covenant which was given by them of old, which covenant was given and administered by the devil, to combine against all righteousness.
29 Therefore they did combine against the people of the Lord, and enter into a covenant to destroy them, and to deliver those who were guilty of murder from the grasp of justice, which was about to be administered according to the law.
30 And they did set at defiance the law and the rights of their country; and they did covenant one with another to destroy the governor, and to establish a king over the land, that the land should no more be at liberty but should be subject unto kings.”

What is noteworthy in particular is that it was the law of the Zarahemla society that no one could be put to death without such death sentence being signed off by the chief judge.  There was a check against the local and intermediate judges being able to condemn a man to death by having to have the chief judge, or the governor of all the land of Zarahemla sign off on it.  Such is different of course from America’s laws, but it has a similar effect.  The chief judge was democratically elected by the voice of the people, and only the chief judge, the representative of the people could judge a man as worthy of capital punishment.   In America, the system requires, as stated in the 4th and 5th Amendments, that “no person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger,” and that “no person shall be…deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.”[2]  Also worthy of note that the wording used is person, not citizen.  While the two checks on power are obviously different, the principle remains the same.  There needs to be a check on government being able to condemn its people to death.  In the Nephite society, it was a democratically elected chief judge, whereas in America, it’s a democratically self-imposed fundamental law of the law that governs the federal and state governments and that governs the non-democratically appoint federal and state judges.  Of course, the American way is more protecting.  But regardless of the differences in the protection provided by the laws of the two different societies, the main point remains that in both examples there were governmental officials who condemned to death and killed citizens of the country contrary to the law of the land.

In 3rd Nephi 6:20-30, there were lower judges who, contrary to the law of the land, condemned to death and killed the prophets who preached about the wickedness of the Nephite society without the permission of the chief judged of the Nephites.  A complaint was made to the chief judge of the land in Zarahemla against these tyrants who used their governmental authority and post to persecute and kill the innocent who preached against their wickedness and abuse of their power and worshipped God according to the dictates of their conscience.  And the chief judge of the land could do nothing because these tyrannical judges banded together and agreed to a secret oath that they would protect each other from having justice done to them for their breaking the law and murdering of the those prophets that preached against them.  They also made an oath amongst each other to destroy the people of God using their governmental authority to condemn them to death.  Indeed, Mormon, the Nephite who compiled the Book of Mormon from the writings of the Nephites, wrote the following concerning these would be tyrants who abused their power to persecute and kill the innocent and deliver the truly guilty from the demands of justice:  these despots “did set at defiance the law and the rights of their country.”[3]  And that is exactly what President Obama has done in authorizing the arbitrary killing of the three American citizens accused of terrorism and treason contrary to the constitutional laws of America, in particular, contrary to the constitutional demands against those accused of treason and contrary to the 5th Amendment.  He has set at defiance the laws and rights of his own country, just as these wicked Nephite judges.  It was the law and right of every individual in Nephite society to be judged of his alleged crime by a democratically elected judge and have a chance to appeal that judgment to the higher democratically elected judge of the country, the chief judge, especially in the case of capital punishment.  It was every person’s right in Nephite society to not be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law, just as it is every American and person’s right when being acted upon by the United States federal government to not be deprived of his life, liberty, or property without due process of law.  And while due process of law is slightly different between the American and Nephite societies, the principle remains the same, that no man can be killed by any government official or branch without having a trial and being able to present his own case and evidence and prove himself innocent and without having the chance to have that case reviewed by a higher court. But in each example, government officials killed its own citizens without due process and thus contrary to the laws of the land.

Mormon, in his abridgment of the writings of the Nephites, had so many things that he could have included in the his abridgement that later became what we know as the Book of Mormon, but he decided to include this specific example of tyranny and abuse of authority in his abridgment, which means it must needs be interpreted as an evil act.  Mormon obviously felt this was important enough to include in his abridgement, possibly because he was inspired to do so because God knew such evil acts might surface again during the reign of the Gentiles in the Promised Land.  The fact that it was included renders this example of tyranny and abuse of authority and lawlessness important to remember and learn from.  And indeed, it has again surfaced in the Promised Land under the rule of the Gentiles, or as we know it, the United States of America.  Mormon was indeed wise and inspired by the Lord to include this incident in the Book of Mormon for us today to learn from and seek to prevent from happening in our own time and punish the offenders if it does. 

It does not matter that in the Book of Mormon incident righteous and truly innocent men were killed unlawfully by wicked tyrannical judges who set at defiance the laws and rights of their own country while in America the 3 men who were killed unlawfully by President Obama were most likely guilty of their alleged crimes.  It doesn’t matter whether the person who is killed unlawfully is wicked or righteous.  What matters is that no one, regardless of whether they are wicked or righteous, guilty or innocent should be killed unlawfully, meaning without due process.  If we allow the laws to be broken and allow the rights of the wicked to be violated unlawfully and unjustly, we allow a precedent to be set for the laws to be broken and the rights of the righteous to be violated unlawfully and unjustly.  Whenever we allow the rights of one group to be violated unjustly and unlawfully, we automatically make our own rights less secure.  In other words, what goes around comes around, if not in our own mortal time here on earth, then in the next life when we are judged by Christ, the God of this Earth.   For as Christ taught during his earthly mission, “with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.”[4]  The rights of everyone, wicked or righteous must be preserved and protected from violation by anyone except after due process has been rendered.  Indeed, it is the principle in America that everyone is considered innocent until proven guilty by a court of law.  So in reality, despite the overwhelming evidence of the wickedness and guilt of the 3 American citizens killed in Yemen by Obama’s drone strike, these 3 men were actually innocent because they were not proven to be guilty by due process.  They weren’t even found guilty enough to be charged by a Grand Jury of a capital crime justifying capital punishment, as required by the 5th Amendment.  President Obama essentially committed the same evil acts that the tyrannically judges committed in the story presented in 3 Nephi 6.  Indeed, they weren’t even charged with treason and tried in a court of law upon the testimony of two witnesses or upon their own confession in an open court as required by Article III, Section 3.[5]  If such tyrannical and unlawful acts were considered evil and wicked during the times of the Nephites during the years AD 26-30, as well as by the Nephite Prophet Mormon around the time of AD 311-385, and Mormon was inspired by the Lord to include this evil act in his abridgment of the Nephite writings and prophecies over other things, it would be just as evil an act today if done by a modern day government official.  For once considered evil by God and God’s chosen mouthpiece on earth, then always evil.  For truth and falsehood, good and evil, righteousness and wickedness are eternal.  An evil act will not be deemed good by God the next day, for God would cease to be God if he were arbitrary and inconsistent.  For as we know, God ceases to change, and eternal principles cease to change as well.[6]  Americans today, particularly those informed Americans who have read the Book of Mormon and have been converted to the truthfulness of it, should pay particular attention to this scripture and cry out against any similar actions in our modern day.  I don’t think it was coincidence that Mormon included this incident in his abridgment of the Book of Mormon.

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