Originally posted on LDS Liberty here.

[A podcast of our interview with the author on this topic can be found here.]

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We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying honoring, and sustaining the law.

The Twelfth Article of Faith is a standard of religious compliance and belief of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints specifically regarding every member’s obligation to be subject to the laws of their country and to their leaders. Many interpret this Article of Faith to mean absolute compliance to all laws enacted within a political mechanism, while others have used this article to justify a higher principle of natural rights, justice, and morality.

Grammar of the Twelfth Article of Faith

This particular Article of Faith is commonly misread to include a coordinating conjunction that is not actually found and which dramatically changes its meaning when added. Most quote theTwelfth Article of Faith to read, “We believe in being subject to kings, presidents rulers, and magistrates, [and] in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.” The coordinating conjunction “and,” however, does not exist in the actual text. This is important because, grammatically, the coordinating conjunction changes the meaning of this passage.