As Mormons, we’re supposed to uphold the law of the land. But, living in a democratic society, the law of the land is subject to change. When do we decide which laws to keep and which laws to break? Do we have a moral obligation to advocate changing an unjust law?
For example, say you were living two hundred years ago and you encountered a fugitive slave trying to escape to Canada. Do you turn him in? If you didn’t, you’d have been breaking the law.
A slightly different example: gay marriage is legal in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Are we obligated as Mormons to change this law? Do you respect this law, or do you advocate changing the law?
Seems to me that many Mormons like to pick and choose when to say we should obey and respect the law of the land and when we shouldn’t, but we can’t hide behind the law to determine our morality. Our Mormon ancestors didn’t accept the law of the land to determine their morality. They flagrantly broke the laws. They fought long and hard to change the laws. But, ultimately, they submitted to the law — even when it directly contradicted revelation from God.
So, I’m confused. I don’t want to give up my moral authority to determine a particular course of action to the whims of our government. And our Church is silent on many compelling political issues (illegal immigration, for one). So, what is our moral authority to decide if a law is unjust? How do you decide? Have you ever done anything to change an unjust law?