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Mormon Criminals

Last fall, I pruned the two apple trees in my back yard. One damp day this winter, I drove down to the nearby fire station to check on the legality of burning the pile of dried-out branches. The fireman I spoke with told me that it was illegal.

“What if I built a fire with the branches, then roasted marshmallows on it? Is that legal?” I asked.

“Well, you could get around the law that way, because technically, cooking fires are allowed, so long as you followed the restrictions for cooking fires,” he answered with a dismayed look on his face.

“Great, we’re going to roast some marshmallows tonight!” I said, and left.

Let’s say I didn’t bother to cook any food on the fire. Does building an illegal fire make me a bad person? Remember, “We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.” But if I use a loophole in the law, and warm up a marshmallow and then eat it, am I then no longer a bad person? Should good people ever need to find ways around laws, to do what they want to do? If a person blatantly breaks the law, can they still be a good person?

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