Clark and the United Nations

J. Reuben Clark’s brief written statements about the United Nations have helped to set the attitudes of many members of the Mormon Church toward the U.N. and have been widely used by some groups to influence others against the United Nations. However natural it is for the political attitudes of a single Mormon leader to influence the attitudes of so many of the Church’s members, it is highly unusual that President Clark’s attitudes toward the United Nations should have been so pervasive, especially in light of the facts: (1) President Clark himself said very little about the U.N., and prefaced what he did say with a fairly broad and restrictive caveat; (2) the Church has taken no “official” position with respect to the United Nations, and (3) a president of the Church remarked that there was “enough good” in it to justify its existence.

President Clark’s criticism of the United Nations is philosophical, procedural, and substantive. The philosophical objection which he levels against the United Nations is a very general one based on his assumption that any alliance-creating treaty impairs the sovereignty of the signatory states. Clark’s assertion is a very difficult one to prove or disprove, but it can be evaluated both theoretically and empirically.

Published in BYU Studies Quarterly 13:3
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