Ayn Rand: An Antichrist
Just to be clear, according to Mormon doctrine The Antichrist is Satan. An antichrist is anyone who actively teaches against Christ in an attempt to deceive believers. I have not read Ayn Rand’s books, nor anything written by her that I can recall, other than the snippets necessary to write this article. However, in recent weeks, I have heard a lot about her, and have even seen parts of old recordings of interviews with her. I believe I have learned enough about her to make this assertion; Ayn Rand was an antichrist.
One of the adjectives often associated with an antichrist is “cunning,” in that they tend to be skilled with logic and language – as Rand was – and use it to distort the truth to fit their views. The process of deceiving is most effective when it starts with indisputable facts. When it can also appeal to the natural desires of human nature it becomes very persuasive. In the case of Rand, she used the logic of capitalism, to promote the “virtue of selfishness.”
Rand used her vision of how capitalism should be as a lure to win over her listeners. She appealed to their base desires to win followers. She indoctrinated them with ideas in direct conflict with those taught by Christ, and ultimately asserted not only that God does not exist, but that believing that God exists is weakness.
Here are some of her core tenets and directly conflicting teachings from scripture:
Rand: “Very few in this world are worthy of love.”
Christ: “Love thy neighbor,” (Matt 19:19) and “love thy enemies”. (Matt 5:44)
Rand: “The evil of a robber does not lie in the fact that he pursues his own interests, but in what he regards as to his own interest; not in the fact that he pursues his values, but in what he chose to value”
A prophet: “If ye do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God…ye must perish.” (Mosiah 4:30)
Rand: “The reasons why man needs a moral code will tell you that the purpose of morality is to define man’s proper values and interests, that concern with his own interests is the essence of a moral existence, and that man must be the beneficiary of his own moral actions.”
Christ: “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.” (Matt 6:19-20)
This is only a cursory survey; I’m sure I could come up with more but I really have no interest in reading her material. (If you think of any, please leave a comment.)
There is no doubt that Rand was well-educated and persuasive. Unfortunately, her arguments were inspired by the worst of human traits, and served primarily as a means to justify wickedness. She was not an ethical person, as was manifested most openly by her public affair with a younger man. Instead, she tried to redefine “ethical” so that it applied to her, but this was merely calling black white.
Not everything Rand said or wrote is a deception or wrong. Her logic is very good to a point. However, the conclusions she draws cannot be reconciled to the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Her goal was not to enlighten others. If you believe her philosophies will bring society to a better place, you are deceived. Lasting peace and happiness can only be obtained through principles which are in harmony with God’s laws. Rand’s teachings may bring power, wealth and self indulgence, but never true happiness. “Wickedness never was happiness.” (Alma 41:10)
Perhaps Rand was sick – with uncontrollable sociopathic tendencies. Perhaps she herself was deceived. Perhaps. Ultimately, that makes little difference now that she is gone. Her words are her legacy, and her words are in direct opposition to Jesus Christ and everything He stood for. Her words are those of an antichrist.
“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?” (Matt 7:15-16)
The Plan of Salvation Part II: Our Pre-Mortal Existence
(For those picking up here, you may want to read the overview first.)
There is very little in the Bible that mentions the existence of people as individuals before we were born. It is primarily through the LDS scriptures and prophets that we know of our existence as spirits before we were born, or as the church curriculum calls it, the “pre-mortal existence.” It’s an important point in LDS theology, and is key in understanding the Mormon perspective of the world.
Most of the references in the Bible to a pre-mortal existence are concerning Christ. So, it is easy to see how most other Christian religions would consider him an exception to the rule, and therefore understandable that most Christian religions don’t speak of any existence before our birth. However, despite the lack of detail in the Bible, there are several references that should make it clear that our spirits lived with God before being sent to Earth. One is in Jeremiah 1:5 when the Lord said to Jeremiah, “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” Similarly, other individuals were also “foreordained” to their callings: Jesus, of course (1 Peter 1:20) and John the Baptist (Luke 1:17), for instance.
As the Bible provides only hints, it’s the LDS scriptures and modern prophets that have expressly defined the doctrine. What follows is my own retelling, informed by various specific sources and a lifetime in the church.
We believe that human beings are literally the spiritual children of God, which is why He loves us and why we call Him our “Father in Heaven,” or “Heavenly Father.” We lived with him as spirits before human beings ever set foot upon the Earth. Jesus Christ was our elder brother in that pre-mortal existence. He too, was only a spirit at that time. God, the Father, on the other hand, had a body of flesh and bone. (Interestingly, in none of our scriptures does it reference heavenly beings as having blood.)
As children of God, we learned from Him and progressed in our development. However, we were limited in our progression somewhat by our lack of a physical body, and, in a way, because we were with God. One of the critical elements for progression and development is agency. We needed to be able to make our own decisions and judgements without His pervasive influence. To give us the opportunity to gain physical bodies and exercise our agency, God presented a plan. If we followed His plan and were faithful to the knowledge given to us, we would be able to become like our Father.
Everything worthwhile is challenging. All would sin in this life, and in that state, we would be unworthy to return to God’s presence. So, he provided a Savior to provide an Atonement and provide a path back to Him. Jesus accepted the responsibility to be our Savior and to show us the way.
Lucifer thought he had a better idea. He proposed that we not be given our agency; he would make sure all people did what was needed to return to God. For his role, he thought he should also get the glory. He led others to rebel against the plan, and for this great sin of rebellion, he and his followers were cast from God’s presence. They would not be able to participate – at least in terms of gaining a body.
The Earth was created, and God sent His children to the families where they would have the opportunities they needed to progress as part of the plan. He foreordained prophets and other leaders to accomplish His work. We all had different talents and strengths that God considered when sending us to this life. His goal was to provide us, His children, with the best opportunities he could provide to help us learn the things that are most important and to develop godlike characteristics.
The Plan of Salvation: Mortality