Pure and Virtuous Principles


john-taylorPrinciples are, in essence, the algorithms of behavior; they are the behavioral rules we adopt to attain a goal. They are tools, in other words, for us to achieve our desires. As I read, I look for principles at play – the underlying rules which govern behavior – and I extend them to logical absurdity, to see if they will bear the weight of eternity. Facts are interesting to me almost solely as illustrations of principles.

Führerprinzip – Leadership

It was therefore with interest I read of a principle called Führerprinzip, or the leader principle. I leave it to the readers to ascertain the significance of this principle. For additional reading on the principle, I suggest researching Hermann Goering’s testimony at Nuremberg on the subject (until the first recess of the tribunal). Again, ignore the particulars – look for the abstract rules which govern the behaviors being described, which principles, and the ends for which they were adopted, Goering makes extremely plain.

Questions to Ponder

Does Führerprinzip, and the process by which it was established in Germany, seem familiar? Is Führerprinzip the governing principle of the heavens? Is there an alternative principle of governance to Führerprinzip? Is Führerprinzip compatible with the Golden Rule? Why, or why not?

D&C 76:98-101 – Why do they inherit the telestial kingdom? What principle did they take for their guide? Could it be loyalty? Could it be Führerprinzip? Is loyalty a celestial principle? How is JST Mark 9:40-48 explained if loyalty is a celestial principle? How is it explained if Führerprinzip is a celestial principle?

The Golden Rule

“All Things Whatsoever Ye Would That Men Should Do unto You, Do Ye Even so unto Them.”

It is liberating as the law of heaven is written upon our heart according to our sincere repentance, and pleadings to God, because we are made free to do whatever we want, because we want nothing evil. We learn that some rules we thought were binding everywhere are, in fact, not rules of heaven at all.

I have learned that the Golden Rule precludes me from telling people they’re wrong in issues of values. The reason for this is simple – people take their positions based on how they feel about – how they personally value – things, and feelings are not choices, neither are they good nor evil: they just are. I can’t tell someone they’re wrong to feel the way they feel – the plain fact is they feel that way. I used to feel differently about stuff, too.

Taking Offense

We’ve been trained, like Pavlov’s dogs, to take offense – growing angry or emotionally pained – to things which are of themselves harmless, like four-letter words, and facts about realities that distinguish us one from another, like statistical or adopted differences between races or the sexes. (No joke.)

Also, because of the fallen and carnal nature, we take offense when our internal self-contradictions are touched, when our ego is found to be without foundation, floating in the air, and that we are in danger of falling (1 Nephi 12:18), and when our self-image is apparently diminished (2 Nephi 28:28). These things may be accounted for as a practical matter of communication and persuasion – again, as a means to an end – but the claim that others’ offense is our fault is the principle that slew the prophets, stoned them, and cast them out.

Ask and Ye Shall Receive

All are alike unto God (2 Nephi 26:33). There are no relevant distinctions between people. One may be smarter, one may be faster, another more knowledgeable, and so on, but none of it matters – none of it affects his love for them, neither does it affect our duty towards them, inasmuch as we take Jesus for our Lord (Luke 6:46, in context of verses 20-49).

The Golden Rule puts no difference between a family member and an enemy. Why did Jesus permit the legion of devils to go into the herd of swine? Because they asked him to (Matthew 8:28-32). And why did Jesus then depart from the Gergesenes? Because they asked him to (Matthew 8:33-34). And when does Jesus forgive us? When we sincerely ask him to (Mosiah 4:10). And when do we receive the Holy Ghost? When we sincerely ask him for it (Alma 22:15-18). Until then, we are his enemies (Mosiah 3:19) even as the devil is his enemy (Mosiah 16:5).

Then Shall You Be Free

So let us sincerely ask to be forgiven, and let us sincerely ask for the Holy Ghost. Then he will write his law in our hearts, that we are thereby made free – for the Lord God and his law make us free (D&C 98:8, John 8:36).

Be sure you want what you’re asking for. When our words don’t match our hearts, we may not get what we say we want (2 Nephi 31:13, James 1:5-8).

18 Responses

  1. I just read all of the links you suggested. Interesting indeed. Much to ponder. I see how the Führerprinzip or leader principle applies to our government, families, our employment, and church affiliation. What a subtle ploy by the adversary to enlist our agreement first.

    The “Flaxen Cord” analogy in 2 Nephi 26:22 certainly applies to this principle as well. It also gives credence to priesthood instruction in D&C 121:39-42.

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    • “Yes. You are beginning to see already.”

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  2. I’m not certain that this question will be understood in the context of the post, but what makes something eternal–whether the “something” be a god, a principle, a promise, or a relationship? The eternal cannot be determined by looking only on what has been or what currently is (even if we could know those things for certain). A belief in the eternal would require us to know everything that is to come. Therefore, how can we say that anything is eternal (whether it be a god, a principle, a promise, or a relationship) unless we have directly received that sure knowledge?

    “And if the question is asked, how were they to obtain the knowledge of God? (for there is a great difference between believing in God and knowing him: knowledge implies more than faith. Anal [sic] notice, that all things that pertain to life and godliness, were given through the knowledge of God;) the anser [sic] is given, through faith they were to obtain this knowledge; and having power by faith to obtain the knowledge of God, they could with it obtain all other things which pertain to life and godliness” (Lectures on Faith, Section 5).

    If loyalty, for instance, is not an eternal principle (and I can see many reasons to believe it is not), and if the Golden Rule is an eternal principle (and I can see many reasons to believe that it is), what other “algorithms of behavior” need we question?

    In other words, is eternal always synonymous with “true” and “godly.” Is less than eternal always synonymous with “false,” and therefore, does a principle, such as loyalty, ever have a place in righteousness?

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    • Principles are tools. Does the tool perform its intended function? What is that function? What goal is the function intended to accomplish?

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  3. Well, this has certainly not generated the robust conversation I had envisioned. On to the next post, then.

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  4. I wish you would have summarized the Führerprinzip principle. Would have made it easier.

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    • Well, when you read the Wikipedia article on it, what did you get out of it? What do you think the leader principle is?

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  5. Didn’t have time to go there—which is why I suggested that you summarize it. But I imagine it’s something like FTP.

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    • Sometimes, I feel it is better that I not muddy the waters, and that others have the opportunity to let the Spirit guide them in their reading without my attempting to pre-digest it for them – that way, nobody can say I am forcing my opinions on anyone.

      Sometimes, even when we mean well – or, at least, even when I have meant well in the past – I have introduced errors. I’d rather not do that, but let people have the straight dope and see what they get out of it.

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      • Log,
        I think I get what you are saying. I read Goering’s testimony and I have read Hannah Arendt’s book “Eichman in Jerusalem”. Both are “chilling” to read. Both men were so “normal” and rational. Both were very personable and intelligent. One has to ask, could the traps that they were caught up in, could it have happened to me? Is it happening to me? The difference between following the spirit and doing what it says, and following the Fuhrerprinzip is the difference between love and fear. You follow heaven out of love, you follow men out of fear.

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        • Well, to get the direction of my thinking, consider this saying – “If you’re not the lead dog, the view never changes.”

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  6. Do you like to be managed?

    Do you like to be dictated?

    Do you like to be ordered?

    Do you like to be nagged?

    Do you like to be told to shut up?

    Do you like for your sincere questions to be answered with threats?

    Do you like your questions to be answered by knowledge (“this is the reason…”), or do you like them answered by authority (“because we said so!”)?

    Do you like to be told to know your place?

    Do you like being ordered to use honorifics when speaking to someone?

    Do you like to be talked down to?

    Do you like being subjugated in a relationship?

    Do you like being subordinate?

    Do you like being treated as a child?

    Do you like having others’ opinions forced upon you?

    Do you want to be led, or do you want to be served?

    Do you like being treated as a lesser for things you did in the past?

    Do you like being treated as a lesser for your gender or race or intelligence?

    Do you like being treated as having less power or value in a relationship?

    Do you like being less than the other in a relationship?

    Do you like being told what you must value?

    Do you like being told what your goals must be?

    What does the Golden Rule tell you about what you should do to others, then?

    What do you suppose God does?

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    • Brother Log,

      I wanted to thank you for your comments on your post “Pure and Virtuous Principles” February 6, 2015 at 10:59 pm. You gave a questionnaire that impressed me with its accurate simplicity.

      I just wanted you to know that I used that list of questions in my sacrament meeting talk which I gave on Sunday 15 February. The topic of my talk was Love Thy Neighbor As Thyself.

      I appreciate the thought which you put into those comments.

      Thank you very much,

      Linda

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      • How was your talk received?

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        • Brother Log,

          I am very passionate about showing love to others, so my passion carried the talk very well. I teach monthly in RS, and each month I draw a big heart shape on the chalk board and fill it in with the word ‘love’. Then I remind my sisters that all gospel principles center around love.

          During the time I was reading your questions, everyone was paying close attention; there was not even noise from little children.

          Thank you again for the concise list.

          Linda

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  7. How can there be equality in a society of leaders and followers?

    How can there be leaders and followers in a society of equals?

    Are there leaders or followers in the kingdom of God?

    If race and gender and even sinful status are irrelevant distinctions between people with respect to the commandments of God, might leadership positions or priesthood ordinations likewise be irrelevant distinctions to see if we will behave or misbehave from a position of perceived power?

    The reason the Lord issues commands is because the Golden Rule implies all requests should be granted; the Lord’s commands are simply requests that, to his servants, take higher priority than competing requests; nevertheless, we may choose for ourselves which requests to grant, remembering that we receive our wages from him whom we list to obey. So if a request falls afoul of one of the Lord’s commands, we are justified before him as his servants in refusing that request in favor of his command, even if we are not justified to the other requester.

    The chastisements of God are that we are brought into the power of our enemies that we may repent or prove our integrity before he shows forth his power and delivers us from our enemies.

    Contrast this with the commandments of men, wherein they threaten us and beat us if we disobey. As it used to be said, “if I leave [Satan’s] employ, what will become of me?”

    He who must be commanded in all things is a slothful and unwise servant; the Lord teaches us pure and virtuous principles and lets us choose whether to govern ourselves thereby – he’s not our dictator, our manager, or our team captain. As a shepherd, the sheep walk where he walks without compulsory means because they love him.

    When he says “follow me,” he means “come after me, and do what you have seen me do.”

    2 Nephi 31:12
    12 And also, the voice of the Son came unto me, saying: He that is baptized in my name, to him will the Father give the Holy Ghost, like unto me; wherefore, follow me, and do the things which ye have seen me do.

    By so doing we will be brought to him.

    Ether 12:27-28
    27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

    28 Behold, I will show unto the Gentiles their weakness, and I will show unto them that faith, hope and charity bringeth unto me—the fountain of all righteousness.

    Therefore, we have this.

    JST John 14:15-24
    15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

    16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever;

    17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

    18 I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you.

    19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me; because I live, ye shall live also.

    20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.

    21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me; and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

    22 Judas saith unto him, (not Iscariot,) Lord, how is it thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?

    23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words; and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

    24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings; and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.

    What are his commandments? What are his words? What are his sayings?

    You know just as I know – they are those things that he spake by his own mouth – Luke 6, 3 Nephi 12-15, Matthew 5-7, and so on.

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  8. Luke 6:46
    46 ¶And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

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  9. I had been trying to unravel a mystery – how it was that loyalty as a principle never had good results. I hypothesized it might be team loyalty that was the problem. Then I read a book called “Christ on Trial: An Easter Hymn,” which contained the following, which crystallized my thinking on the issue.

    Goering put on his happy mask once more. “Men should pray in church and not drill there; in the barracks men should drill and not pray.” The witness was obviously amused at his own quip. “That was my view,” he continued. “But in the end of the war, the situation became rapidly more critical. The problem, I believe, arose first in the occupied territories, particularly Poland, where the clergy were strong representatives of national feeling. This led again to clashes on a political level, which were then naturally carried over to religious fields. But on the whole, the Fuhrer was not opposed to the church. In fact, he told me on one occasion that there are certain things in respect to which he owed a debt to the church.”

    “Do you know what he meant by this?” asked the prosecutor.

    “I believe he saw in the church a validation of the ‘leadership principle,’” said the witness.

    “Please explain that to the jury,” said the prosecutor.

    “That principle is simply that authority flows down from above and responsibility flows up from below. The principle on which the Catholic Church rests now, as before, is the leadership principle. This is the principle of hierarchy. The church, itself, then is a validation of this principle without which there could have been no Third Reich.”

    It was then that I started to get a little prickly feeling in the palms of my hands. I picked up my pen.

    “And it is your belief, Herr Goering, that this concept of leadership is the contribution of the Christian church?” asked the prosecutor.

    Here it comes, I thought.

    “Most certainly,” trumpeted Goering.

    “And without it there could have been no Third Reich?” repeated the prosecutor.

    “That is what I said,” replied the witness.

    “And why do you think this is so?” asked the prosecutor.

    At this point, my instincts told me to object, but I had no valid reason. So I stood and said, “Your Honor, I object. It’s irrelevant.”

    The prosecutor turned to me with an expression of mock seriousness and simply raised his eyebrows at me, pursing his lips slightly. The judge did not even wait for his rebuttal: “Overruled. Please proceed.”

    The prosecutor turned back to the witness. “Do you remember the question?” he asked.

    “Yes,” said Goering. “There can have been no Third Reich without the leadership principle because there is no order without authority. So long as each individual has the latitude to decide for himself what shall govern him, what he shall believe, what future he shall make and have for himself, there can never be order. There must exist an authority to conform all of the disparate decisions that individuals can make. Without the leadership principle, no effective change can be brought about in any organization. Authority flows down; responsibility flows up. There must be those who lead and those who follow.”

    The prosecutor was coming through loud and clear.

    “Of course,” continued Goering uninterrupted, “this is not a palatable idea to some, so we tell them that they are all leaders; and we provide them some modicum of leadership authority to which they are capacitated within the structure. But it is we who must control. This view is not understood well by those who have not endured social disorder as it existed in Germany after the Great War, nor by those who cannot imagine a utopian system, which was the basis of National Socialism.”

    “Herr Goering, do you know who the defendant is in these proceedings?” asked the prosecutor, gesturing toward my client.

    “Yes,” said the witness.

    “And, in your opinion, is he the author of this leadership principle without which there would have been no Third Reich?” asked the prosecutor.

    “I would not say that he was the author, for surely the principle existed in some form or another before his time,” said the witness candidly.

    For a brief moment, I thought the prosecutor had made a mistake in asking him this question. But the witness went on: “But certainly, he in his lifetime established the principle as a holy thing and that, thereafter, it has been understood to be the fountain of all great enterprises. He it was, I believe, who said, ‘You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you and ordained you.’” It was Christ who showed to us that there are a few chosen of God to command and a great many chosen of God to follow.”

    Goering paused to toy with his medallion. “No,” he continued, “I would not say that the defendant is the historical author of this principle although, perhaps, he is in some way its mystical author. But I will say absolutely that he was its chief exponent for all those who came after him. He was the first idealist of the West and the first to recognize the only way in which mankind can achieve its ideals.”

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