Editor’s Note: This is another in a series of excerpts from the book “The War in Heaven Continues: Satan’s Tactics to Destroy You, Christianity, the Family, the Constitution, and America” by Gary Lawrence. The views are those of the author and are not necessarily the views of this publication.

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“It’s good to be the king,” said a Mel Brooks character in an old movie. Many are the reasons: massive power, first dibs on the fruits of peasant labor, fancy clothes, adulation and even worship by the masses.

But before there can be a king, there must be an aristocracy in waiting. If not born as crown prince, the would-be monarch must have allies who propel him to the top, and they will do so only if there’s something in it for them. It was already an age-old ploy in the days of Captain Moroni versus Amalickiah: “And they had been led by the flatteries of Amalickiah, that if they would support him and establish him to be their king that he would make them rulers over the people.”[1]

And again a few years later when Gadianton came on the scene: “…if they would place him in the judgment-seat he would grant unto those who belonged to his band that they should be placed in power and authority among the people….”[2]

Creeping Royalism

Any signs of a creeping-royalism mindset in America? Well, in addition to worship of the intellect discussed in a previous excerpt (Meridian July 28th), try these three:

  • Self-worshiping office-holders. Those we elect should enjoy our support and a proper amount of deference, but their temptation is to picture themselves several notches above the rest of us. How often we hear of special perks for those in power, even failure to follow the laws they pass for everyone else. Once having drunk the water of Washington, Sacramento, Albany, or Austin, it’s difficult for our political royalty to remember that their true place in society is only one notch above the rest of us – and answerable.           
  • Celebrity worship. How do societies treat royalty? By buying whatever they’re selling. More than DVDs, CDs, movie tickets, rock concert tickets, ballgame tickets, and associated paraphernalia, too many buy their lifestyles. How often we see little girls in front of a TV saying, “I’m her!” or boys acting out the male characters they see. (I have a brother-in-law who as a little boy was so taken with Superman that he jumped off the garage roof wearing a cape. Not much of a hero worshiper since.) So sad that the celebrity lifestyles have more in common with alley cats than decent citizens. How often we read of celebrities pulled over for speeding who indignantly hiss, “Don’t you know who I am?” What’s the use of being better than others, they seem to be thinking, if you have to live by the same rules as the great unwashed?
  • Windsor worship.

I wonder what the king is doing tonight?

What merriment is the king pursuing tonight?

Why do Americans care what the House of Windsor is doing? When a new heir to the English throne was born, you might well have wondered if you had been transplanted to that island nation given all the media attention … here … in America. Princess Diana has been gone for years, and yet she’s still the subject of stories … here … in America. And isn’t it a tad much when American reporters refer to them as “the royal family?”

I recognize the agency of residents of that land to choose their government and aristocracy systems as they will, but why should America ape them? Is America’s royalty fixation healthy? Why the aristocracy addiction? Why the fascination with a system where you are a subject instead of a citizen?

Perhaps the inordinate attention we pay to officeholders, inane celebrities, high intellect, and royalty is nothing to worry about, but what if it presages a clamoring for a king, as the relatively enlightened Israelites did many centuries ago? Mosiah explained the risk:

Therefore, if it were possible that you could have just men to be your kings, who would establish the laws of God, and judge this people according to his commandments, … then it would be expedient that ye should always have kings to rule over you.[3]

But he cautioned: “…because all men are not just it is not expedient that ye should have a king or kings to rule over you.” He told of king Noah and his priests who “were lifted up in the pride of their hearts,”[4] assessed themselves better than others, and laid a 20% tax on the people (we should be so lucky) to support their opulent sloth. Should such a king be enthroned, Mosiah continued,“…ye cannot dethrone an iniquitous king save it be through much contention, and the shedding of much blood.”

When those in power say, “Don’t worry about X lurking around the corner,” you can be fairly sure that X is lurking around the corner.

Portending Hints

By caving in to growing government power exercised by unelected bureaucrats, have we not set the stage for a de facto monarch? Do the following postures of the current occupant of the White House not hint of scepter and crown?

  • August 14, 2013: In looking to unilaterally impose a $5 a year tax on all cellphone users, President Obama told his staff: “We are here to do big things – and we can do this without Congress.”[5] Perhaps he should read Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution: “All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives.”
  • February 10, 2014: To French President Francoise Hollande: “That’s the good thing about being president, I can do whatever I want.” Perhaps a light-hearted quip as they broke protocol, but given his pronouncements on other matters, one wonders. As the saying goes, “A joke is truth wrapped in a smile.” Obama also joked in 2009 about using the IRS to audit his political enemies.
  • April 4, 2013: While calling for Congress to limit access to guns, President Obama revealed his feelings: “I am constrained, as [other elected officials] are constrained, by a system our Founders put in place.”[6] When a president implies that his ideas are better than the Second Amendment, one cannot lightly dismiss fears that he will try to work his way around it.
  • On numerous occasions, the same theme: “We can’t wait for a dysfunctional Congress to do its job” … “Where Congress isn’t acting, I act on my own” … “Wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation….” … “That’s what I’m going to do with or without Congress” … “We can’t wait for Congress to solve it.”[7]
  • June 27, 2014 in Minneapolis, the same tirade: “I’m not going to let gridlock and inaction and willful indifference and greed threaten the hard work of families like yours. … And so we can’t afford to wait for Congress right now. And that’s why I’m going ahead and moving ahead without them wherever I can.”[8] Would-be potentates hate deliberative bodies that slow them down. Thus do they demonize inaction by coupling it with greed and framing it as the enemy of hard-working families while calculated, slow-moving legislation is precisely what the Constitution requires of our representatives to protect those same hard-working families.  
  • May 6, 2013, Ohio State University commencement address: “I think it’s fair to say our democracy isn’t working as well as we know it can. It could do better.”[9] In other words, he could accomplish more good things if he weren’t restrained.
  • Same address: “And I think of what your generation’s traits … might mean for a democracy that must adapt more quickly to keep up with the speed of technological and demographic, even wrenching economic change.” The implicit point: The Constitution isn’t nimble enough to keep up with technology.
  • Same address: “Unfortunately, you’ve grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s at the root of all our problems; some of these same voices are also doing their best to gum up the works. They’ll warn that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices.”

When those in power say, “Don’t worry about X lurking around the corner,” you can be fairly sure that X is lurking around the corner.

Fundamental Change

On October 30, 2008, Barack Obama declared, “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” Twelve weeks later in his inaugural address he stated, “Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and begin again the work of remaking America.”

Dismissed at the time as the exuberance of victory, is there any doubt today of his intention to bring about the decline of America so America can be remade? Any doubt that he intends to build a new form of government by tearing down the old one? Anyone still believe that the president and his allies are faithfully executing the laws and honoring the Constitution? Anyone believe he is not acting dangerously like a king?    

Two types of leaders fundamentally transform the societies they lead – great statesmen and great tyrants.

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Gary Lawrence is a public opinion pollster and author of “How Americans View Mormonism” and “Mormons Believe …What?!”. He lives in Orange County, California, a state with altogether too many who clamor for a king. He welcomes reader comments at [email protected].