Thursday, September 20, 2018

Elder Orson Pratt on God's eternal role as King

Elder Orson Pratt (1811-1881) was one of the members of the original Quorum of Twelve ordained in 1835.
"God is the King. In him exists all legal authority. He alone has the right of originating a system of government on the earth. He claims this right by virtue of his having made man and the earth he inhabits. Man, therefore, is indebted to God for his own formation and for the formation of the planet on which he dwells. He also claims the right of establishing his government among men, by virtue of his superior wisdom and power.
"If God had sufficient wisdom and power to construct such a beautiful world as this, with all the infinite varieties of vegetables and animals appended to it; if he could form such an intricate and complicated piece of machinery as the human tabernacle as a dwelling place for the human spirit, then we must admit that his wisdom and power are immeasurably greater than that of man, and hence he is qualified to reign as king.
"An order of government, established by such an all-wise, powerful being, must be good and perfect, and must be calculated to promote the permanent peace, happiness, and well-being of all his subjects.
"The great King is a very amiable being, full of benevolence and goodness, and never turns any person away empty, that comes requesting a favor which he sees would be for his benefit."
- Orson Pratt, "The Kingdom of God. Part I" (Liverpool: R. James, Printer, 1848); see "The Essential Orson Pratt" pp. 49-50
Click here to read the full article

Orson Pratt wrote many philosophical and intellectual investigations of the Gospel in the early part of this dispensation. Much of the understanding of the doctrines of the Restoration was still in its infancy, and these kinds of writings helped to expand the understanding of the early Saints as they built upon the foundation established by the revelations and teachings of Joseph Smith. This particular excerpt, which I believe comes from a pamphlet written while Pratt was serving as a missionary in England, explores the theocracy of God's kingdom and what it means for God to be King.

The concluding paragraph is also very insightful: because of God's friendly and benevolent nature (a true Good King), He "never turns any person away empty, that comes requesting a favor which he sees would be for his benefit." Many can testify of the truth of that statement!

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2018)

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