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ARNOLD - I have studied and read studies about the Federal Income Tax and its code for nearly 25 years now. There is no law imposing a tax on most American citizens. Everyone files due to a false notion propogated by the IRS on the American public. I have even asked top tax lawyers about the supposed law. They agree that there is no law that makes most citizens liable for a tax. I know, the Church says "pay your taxes." But if there is no law that makes me liable to pay, then what does the church say? Surely, there are General Authorities that know the truth about the income tax. Why do they not speak out? Why do we allow the largest fraud on the American public to continue without even a peep?

JOEL - You have your own interpretation and opinion on the laws regarding taxes which might be in agreement with many others' interpretation, but here are some quotes you asked for from a couple of LDS Church leaders who have also read and studied the tax code and include the Church's policy on the subject:

Elder Dalin H. Oaks:
"I have corresponded with several Church members who sought to use something President Ezra Taft Benson was quoted as saying as a basis for refusing to file an income tax return or to pay income taxes. I have tried to persuade these persons that their interpretation cannot be what President Benson intended, because all who have held that sacred office, and all of the General Authorities, have faithfully filed their income tax returns and paid the taxes required by law. The servants of God are under the Master’s commands to follow him and to be examples to the flock (see 1 Tim. 4:12; 1 Pet.5:3). We should interpret their words in the light of their works. To wrest the words of a prophet to support a private agenda, political or financial or otherwise, is to try to manipulate the prophet, not to follow him." (Dallin H. Oaks, “Our Strengths Can Become Our Downfall,” Ensign, Oct 1994, 11)

Another quote from Elder Oaks:
"I come now to the first two fundamental citizen responsibilities that have been compromised in my lifetime in the United States: serving in the military and paying taxes.
Modern opponents of compulsory military service and of enforced payment of taxes have this common objection. Both claim that the government compulsion to do these unpopular things interferes with freedom. The issue, they say, is freedom versus slavery.
The problem with this argument is that it proves too much. It would take us back to the toothless Articles of Confederation from which our inspired Constitution rescued us. A government that cannot compel military service or a government that cannot compel the payment of taxes is not much of a government.
At root, these objections to government compulsion are objections to the whole idea of government. Such objections are contrary to Christian doctrine. Jesus did not preach sedition. He taught his followers to "Render... unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's" (Matt. 22:21). His apostles taught the same...
Of course, there are legitimate technical objections to laws requiring military service and to certain tax laws, but these are objections to the terms of the law, not to the idea of compulsion. Technical objections should be presented in the forums provided by law.
However, for reasons I cannot explain, some persons are now arguing that the federal income tax is unconstitutional.
Church members involved in various forms of tax protest have sent me many legal memoranda that purport to justify their positions. For the first several years of my service as a General Authority, I did a good deal of personal research to evaluate these legal theories in view of the principles I had learned during a quarter of a century in the legal profession, including several years teaching tax law in a major law school. In not one single instance have I found any merit in the legal theories asserted as a basis for these tax protests. Yet, some good people are still being misled by them, and their mistaken reliance on false theories is wrecking havoc with their financial prospects and even their spiritual lives.
A claim often made by protesting taxpayers is that the IRS is afraid to challenge them. Some who have written me have claimed that the merit of their position is evident in the fact that they have not filed a tax return for many years and nothing has happened to them. I received one such a letter from a prominent tax protestor in Utah, and then, a few months later, read a press account of his beginning service of a long prison sentence in a federal penitentiary. The wheels of justice grind slowly, but exceedingly fine.
For many in this audience, the ultimate mortal authority on religious doctrine is the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Just last year, the Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve gave this instruction:
Church members in any nation are obligated by the twelfth article of faith to obey the tax laws of that nation (see also D&C 134:5) .... A member who refuses to file a tax return, to pay required income taxes, or to comply with a final judgment in a tax case is in direct conflict with the law and with the teachings of the Church. (Bulletin, 1993-2, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; also see General Handbook of Instructions, p. 11-2.)
There is nothing inappropriate in taking political action to reduce taxes or in pursuing well-founded court challenges to a particular application of the tax laws. In their 1993 statement, the Church leaders declared:
"If a member disapproves of tax laws, he may attempt to have them changed by legislation or constitutional amendment, or, if he has a well-founded legal objection, he may challenge them in the courts." (Ibid.)
However, contrary to the position of some tax protestors, this statement provides no justification for a general and persistent failure to pay taxes or to refrain from filing tax returns. The courts that our Constitution and laws have established to rule on such matters have uniformly upheld the constitutionality of the federal income tax law and have regularly rejected assertions that wages and salaries are not taxable, that federal reserve notes do not count as income, and that individuals or businesses can elect not to comply with the income tax laws. As a result, failures to obey the income tax law that are based on these and similar theories must be regarded as actions without "a well-founded legal objection" and therefore unacceptable to persons committed to uphold and sustain the law."
(“Some Responsibilities of Citizenship” Elder Dallin H. Oaks July 3, 1994)

From Rex E. Lee, a former BYU president and Constitutional lawyer:
"One of the institutions--and the people who compose it--to whom we have an integrity obligation is the nation of which we are citizens. In the case of most of us, that country is the United States of America. For me, the most consistently dismaying lack of individual integrity in this respect is the failure of rather large numbers of American citizens to pay their income taxes. Equally dismaying are the reasons given by some of these people. The two most common are that the income tax is either unconstitutional or (in the case of some LDS Church members) inconsistent with gospel principles. Each of these positions is absurd. Concerning constitutionality, the income tax is explicitly authorized by the Constitution itself. The Sixteenth Amendment states, in words that could not be more plain: "The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes." I have spent a good part of my life arguing and litigating over what is and is not constitutional. But I have never understood how any rational human being can take the position that a part of the Constitution itself is unconstitutional. And the notion that the anti-income tax position is rooted in gospel principles is equally insupportable in light of President Harold B. Lee's statement describing as "vicious and wicked" the practice of those "who are taking the law into their own hands by refusing to pay their income tax because they have some political disagreement with constituted authorities" ("Admonitions for the Priesthood of God," Ensign, January 1973, pp. 105, 106). (From "Honesty and Integrity", REX E. LEE. President of Brigham Young University when this devotional address was given on 5 September 1995. He was a Constitutional lawyer, a law clerk for former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Byron White, and the United States Solicitor General under the Reagan administration.)

I guess the main idea to get out of all this is that there is nothing wrong with disagreeing with the tax laws; but changes have to be made by challenges through the court system or through legislation or constitutional amendment rather than by simply refusing to file a tax return. And so far, Sixteenth Amendment ratification arguments have been rejected in every court case where they have been raised and have been identified as legally frivolous. There have been many arguments made both for and against the income tax laws, but the bottom line is that, at the moment, the government interprets the income tax law as constitutional and legal and those who try to defy it will be punished.

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