16 April 2012

Your ziff is safe with Mitt (What the Book of Mormon says about taxes)

(Re-post for tax time)

I know Romney doesn't like to talk about his Mormon faith. And it's unconstitutional for us to ask him about it or even think about it. But I just can't help it.

What does the Book of Mormon say about politics? Taxes, for example.
Well here's a quote from Mitt's second or third favorite book, the Book of Mormon. (His favorite book is either Battlefield Earth or the Bible.)
And now it came to pass [things often come to pass in the Book of Mormon] that Zeniff [don't you just love Book of Mormon names?] conferred the kingdom upon Noah, one of his sons; therefore Noah began to reign in his stead; and he did not walk in the ways of his father. For behold, he did not keep the commandments of God, but he did walk after the desires of his own heart. And he had many wives and concubines. And he did cause his people to commit sin, and do that which was abominable in the sight of the Lord. Yea, and they did commit whoredoms and all manner of wickedness. And he laid a tax of one fifth part of all they possessed, a fifth part of their gold and of their silver, and a fifth part of their ziff, and of their copper, and of their brass and their iron; and a fifth part of their fatlings; and also a fifth part of all their grain. Mosiah 11:1-3
So King Noah was a bad guy (everyone in the Book of Mormon is either a good guy or a bad guy) who didn't keep God's commandments, had lots of wives (like Joseph Smith), and did all kinds of abominable things in front of God and everybody (also like Joseph Smith). And this bad king taxed the people 20% of all their gold, silver, copper, brass, iron, fatlings, and grain. Oh, and on their ziff, too.

Now only a bad king would put a 20% flat tax on everything, including ziff.
The point of these verses (if there is a point) is that taxes are evil and a flat tax of 20% is especially evil. Just what the heck ziff might be is another matter entirely.

Mormon apologists admit that they don't really know what ziff was, but they say it might have been some type of metal. But I doubt it.

I bet it was beer.


sattvicwarrior said...

is it ok if i Quote your blog?? or at least passages from it?
you are SO right on !!!!BRILLIANT actually.
please advise.

Brian_E said...

Good post - but I actually giggled when I got to 'Mormon apologists'. That's funny; although at the same time scary.

Steve Wells said...

Thanks, sattvicwarrior. Feel free to quote anything you like from the blog. I only ask that you let people know where it came from.

Michael Phipps said...

So many misunderstandings can be avoided by reading things in context. In this case, if you'd read the next verse you'd see why this taxation was a problem: "11:4 And all this did he take to support himself, and his wives and his concubines; and also his priests, and their wives and their concubines; thus he had changed the affairs of the kingdom." It wasn't the taxation of the people that was bad in and of itself, but that the king used it for himself only, NOT for the benefit of the people.

willhillebrand said...

Michael is spot on.

willhillebrand said...

Michael Phipps is right. This is taken out of context.

Steve Wells said...

The fun thing about the Book of Mormon is that it makes no sense in or out of context. It is absolute context-free absurdity from start to finish.

Stephen said...

Lo, and it came to pass that mor(m)ons, or those like unto mormon apologists, did appear on the blog with delightsome arguments to smite the unbelievers. And I, Stephi, did read them and laugh at their foolishness, for they amuseth me exceedingly.
Steve Weeks

Ian said...

So, Michael Phipps, if taxes were spent on things like, say, heathcare, or the salaries of teachers or police officers or firefighters, or on maintaining roads, or national parks, then taxation is OK?

Someone needs to ask Romney what he thinks of the "ziff" passage.

wanderer said...

Don't try to cop out Steve. If you really thought that the Book of Mormon is "absolute context-free absurdity" then why did you interpret in the first place?Face it, you analyzed this passage because you thought it had meaning, but you analysis does not hold up to scrutiny.

Steve Wells said...

It's the absurdity of the Book of Mormon that I love so much, wanderer. And it just gets more and more absurd the more it is analyzed.

wanderer said...

"It's the absurdity of the Book of Mormon that I love so much, wanderer. And it just gets more and more absurd the more it is analyzed."

Okay, but what does that have to do with this passage? Are you going to continue to ignore the later verses that explains how the king used the tax money? The Book of Mormon has a whole may be absurd, but do you really think it is absurd to call a ruler who taxes people solely to to enrich himself and his inner circle evil?

Stephen said...

The Bible is tough to interpret. It's quite possible that 20% taxation was a show of restraint.

There might be something similar in Exodus.

wanderer said...

You still haven't addressed what you find absurd about the passage. Do you think that it is okay for rulers to tax people for the sole purpose of enriching themselves?

Steve Wells said...

I don't agree with your interpretation, wanderer.

King Noah was evil, as only a Book of Mormon character can be evil. He did not keep the commandments, he had many wives and concubines, he caused people to sin, he even became a wine-bibber for crying out loud. So the fact that he imposed a 20% flat tax on the people means that it cannot be a good thing -- at least not to the demented mind of the guy who made up the story. That Noah used the money for drunken orgies and whatnot is completely expected but beside the point. Noah was evil. The flat tax was evil. And your ziff is safe with Mitt.

wanderer said...

It sounds like you are using verses that you didn't even quote to give more background about King Noah in order to justify your essay. Hmm, what is that called? Oh yeah, that is putting it in context! Make up your mind Steve! Does the Book of Mormon contain a message about taxes, or is it just a context-free absurdity? You can't have it both ways.

Steve Wells said...

The Book of Mormon is absurd in or out of context, wanderer. I can have it both ways.

twillight said...

According to the Urban Dictionary "zif" is (in this context):

"A south african word used to describe just about anything or anyone in a good or a bad way

Look at that ziff, what a ziff!"

Or maybe I'm mistaken and JS wanned this meaning:

"A white male who likes to shave his anal hair and then procedes to floss his teeth with it"