Some believe Utah is a culture of extreme obedience to the government. However, having a culture based on scriptural principles, we have had a long history of civil disobedience if the laws of men conflicted with the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
These principles are found in the Old Testament, with the most obvious example being Daniel who was thrown in the lions den for disobeying the law that forbid the praying to anyone but the official deity of Babylon. (Dan 6:10)
We should also remember Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, the three Hebrews that were sent into the fiery furnace because the disobeyed the “law of the land” that went against the law of God. (Dan. 3:12–30)
The cultural foundation of Utah is based on the ideas found in the following statement by the official outlet of The Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints,
“God is superior to governments and courts. But he tells his Church to befriend the constitutional law of the land. If it is not constitutional, He says it comes of evil. It must support the principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges; if not, it comes of evil… Whatever is contrary to the freedom guaranteed by the Constitution, which includes not mere belief but the “free exercise” of religion, He does not command His people to obey, but says they shall do His will.” (fDeseret News 7/1/1886)
The Founding Fathers of our nation also understood this principle. They took it upon themselves to commit treason to their government in order to follow correct principles. The Declaration of Independence rejected the “law of the land” in favor of obedience to God. Thomas Jefferson explained, “Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God”.
Helmuth Hübener, a young Mormon boy in Nazi Germany, understood this principle as well. Though he was convicted of the crime of treason he stated, “Now I must die, even though I have committed no crime. So now it’s my turn, but your turn will come.” Hübener understood the principle that true law must, “support the principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges; if not, it comes of evil”
If we are to restore the culture of freedom, we must understand and apply these principles.