THE KINGDOM OF GOD OR NOTHING: JACOB TAUBES, JOSEPH SMITH, AND MORMON POLITICAL THEOLOGY Does Mormon political theology endorse positive political action in the world or theological withdrawal from worldly political authority as a political attitude? While many political theologies are often either positive or negative toward involvement, LDS doctrine seems to have characteristics of both. In this paper, I compare Joseph Smith’s teachings with Jacob Taubes’s “radical” reading of St. Paul. Taubes, a Jewish philosopher, argues that Paul’s Epistle to the Romans expresses a negative political theology. Building on Richard Lloyd Anderson’s argument that Paul and Smith have much in common, I use Taubes’s perspectives as a tool for identifying aspects of negative political theology in LDS teachings which, despite appearances to the contrary, seem to underlie and, in a sense, override the better-known and more frequently quoted aspects of positive political theology.
Peter Leman and John Dewey Remy