1. “And now, verily I, say unto you concerning the laws of the land, it is my will that my people should observe to do all things whatsoever I command them. And that law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me. Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is constitutional law of the land; and as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil.” (D&C 98:4-7)
2. The Lord counseled to seek for redress “According to the laws and constitution of the people, which I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles…Therefore, it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another. And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose…” (D&C 101:76-80)
3. “Have mercy, O Lord, upon the nations of the earth; have mercy upon the rulers of our land; may those principles, which were so honorably and nobly defended, namely, the Constitution of our land, by our fathers, be established forever.” – President Joseph Smith, dedicatory prayer for Kirtland Temple (D&C 109:54)
4. “Hence, we say that the Constitution of the United States is a glorious standard; it is founded in the wisdom of God. It is a heavenly banner; it is to all those who are privileged with the sweets of liberty, like the cooling shades and refreshing waters of a great rock in a thirsty and weary land. It is like a great tree under whose branches men from every clime can be shielded from the burning rays of the sun…We say that God is true; that the Constitution of the United States is true…” – President Joseph Smith (HC 3:304)
5. “Besides the preaching of the Gospel, we have another mission, namely, the perpetuation of the free agency of man and the maintenance of liberty, freedom, and the rights of man.” – President John Taylor (JD 23:63)
6. “…as we have progressed the mist has been removed, and in relation to these matters, the Elders of Israel begin to understand that they have something to do with the world politically as well as religiously, that it is as much their duty to study correct political principles as well as religious, and to seek to know and comprehend the social and political interests of man, and to learn and be able to teach that which would be best calculated to promote the interests of the world.” – Elder John Taylor (JD 9:340)
7. “The statement of the Lord, ‘I have established the Constitution’ puts it in the position in which it would be if it were written in this D&C itself. This makes the constitution the word of the Lord to us.” – President J. Reuben Clark (CR, Apr 1935)
8. “As I have said to you before, so I say again, The Constitution of the United States is a great and treasured part of my religion, and the revelations of the Lord and the words of our inspired leaders compel it to be so. The overturning, or the material changing, or the distortion of any fundamental principle of our constitutional government would thus do violence to my religion.” – President J. Reuben Clark (Stand Fast by our Constitution, pg. 7)
9. “Next to being one in worshipping God, there is nothing in this world upon which this Church should be more united than in upholding and defending the Constitution of the United States!“ – President David O. McKay (CR, Oct. 1966)
10. “I come with another theme this morning-Two Contending Forces. Those forces are known and have been designated by different terms throughout the ages. ‘In the beginning’ they were known as Satan on the one hand, and Christ on the other.
In Joshua’s time they were called ‘gods of the Amorites,’ for one, and ‘the Lord,’ on the other. Paul spoke of ‘the works of the flesh’ on the one hand, ‘fruits of the spirit’ on the other. They are often spoken of as ‘selfishness’ for one, ‘life of service,’ the other. In these days, they are called ‘domination by the state,’ on one hand, ‘personal liberty,’ on the other; communism on one hand, free agency on the other.”
As a text I say to you, ‘Choose you this day whom ye will serve.’” – President David O. McKay (BYU Devotional, May 18 1960)
11. “[There is] a great and all-wise plan – the gospel of Jesus Christ…Basic to this all-important plan, is our free agency, the right of choice. Free agency is an eternal principle. We enjoyed freedom of choice in the spirit world as spirit children. In fact, a counterplan to the gospel of our Lord was presented by Lucifer, a plan of force that would have robbed man of his freedom of choice. Lucifer’s plan was rejected, and the scriptures tell us that he, with one-third of the hosts of heaven, was cast out; and they continue their opposition to God’s plan, which is based on the freedom of the individual…
Why have prophets of God been commanded to proclaim liberty and lead the battle to preserve freedom? Because freedom is basic to the great plan of the Lord. The gospel can prosper only in an atmosphere of freedom. This fact is confirmed by history, as well as by sacred scriptures. The right of choice – free agency – runs like a golden thread throughout the gospel plan of the Lord for the blessing of his children…
In spite of the scriptural evidence and the counsel of modern-day prophets during the past more than 100 years, there are still some who seem to feel we have no responsibility to safeguard and strengthen our precious God-given freedom. There are some who apparently feel that the fight for freedom is separate from the gospel. They express it in several ways, but it generally boils down to this: Just live the gospel; there’s no need to get involved in trying to save freedom and the Constitution or to stop Communism.
Of course, this is dangerous reasoning, because in reality you cannot fully live the gospel without working to save freedom and the Constitution, and to stop Communism.
In the war in heaven, what would have been your reaction if someone had told you just to do what is right – there’s no need to get involved in the fight for freedom?
Of course, the war in heaven over free agency is now being waged here on earth, and there are those today who are saying, ‘Look, don’t get involved in the fight for freedom. Just live the gospel.’ That counsel is dangerous, self-contradictory, unsound…
Now, part of the reason we may not have sufficient priesthood bearers to save the Constitution, let alone to shake the powers of hell, is because unlike Moroni, I fear, our souls do not joy in keeping our country free, and we are not firm in the faith of Christ, nor have we sworn with an oath to defend our rights and the liberty of our country…
Should we counsel people, ‘Just live your religion. There’s no need to get involved in the fight for freedom’? No, we should not, because our stand for freedom is a most basic part of our religion; this stand helped get us to this earth, and our reaction to freedom in this life will have eternal consequences.” – Elder Ezra Taft Benson (CR, Oct. 1966)
12. All of D&C 134
13. CIVIC STANDARDS FOR THE FAITHFUL SAINTS
Elder Ezra Taft Benson, April 1972 General Conference. (Text Here)
Links to pdf files of the books recommended:
– The American Tradition by Clarence Carson (Text Here)
– Prophets, Principles, and National Survival by Jerreld L. Newquist (Text Here)
– Many Are Called But Few Are Chosen by H. Verlan Andersen (Text Here)
– The Elders of Israel and the Constitution by Jerome Horowitz (Text Here)
– None Dare Call It Conspiracy by Gary Allen (Text Here)
14. THE CONSTITUTION: A GLORIOUS STANDARD
by President Ezra Taft Benson
April 1976 General Conference [Full Text here]
Here is an excerpt:
“Unless we as citizens of this nation forsake our sins, political and otherwise, and return to the fundamental principles of Christianity and of constitutional government, we will lose our political liberties, our free institutions, and will stand in jeopardy before God of losing our exaltation. I am in full agreement with the statement made by President J. Reuben Clark, Jr.:
‘I say to you that the price of liberty is and always has been blood, human blood, and if our liberties are lost, we shall never regain them except at the price of blood. They must not be lost!’ (Stand Fast by Our Constitution, p. 137.)…
Goodness, wisdom, and honesty are the three qualities of statesmanship, qualities this country needs more than ever before. May we be wise—prayerfully wise—in the electing of those who would lead us. May we select only those who understand and will adhere to Constitutional principles. To do so, we need to understand these principles ourselves…
May I urge every Latter-day Saint and all Americans in North and South America to become familiar with every part of this document. Many of the constitutions of countries in South America have been patterned in large measure after that of the United States. We should understand the Constitution as the founders meant that it should be understood. We can do this by reading their words about it, such as those contained in the Federalist Papers. Such understanding is essential if we are to preserve what God has given us.”
15. OUR DIVINE CONSTITUTION
President Ezra Taft Benson, October 1987 General Conference (Text Here)
Here is an Excerpt:
“Unfortunately, we as a nation have apostatized in various degrees from different Constitutional principles as proclaimed by the inspired founders. We are fast approaching that moment prophesied by Joseph Smith when he said: ‘Even this nation will be on the very verge of crumbling to pieces and tumbling to the ground, and when the Constitution is upon the brink of ruin, this people will be the staff upon which the nation shall lean, and they shall bear the Constitution away from the very verge of destruction’ (19 July 1840, as recorded by Martha Jane Knowlton Coray; ms. in Church Historian’s Office, Salt Lake City)
For centuries our forefathers suffered and sacrificed that we might be the recipients of the blessings of freedom. If they were willing to sacrifice so much to establish us as a free people, should we not be willing to do the same to maintain that freedom for ourselves and for future generations?….
…we must learn the principles of the Constitution in the tradition of the Founding Fathers.
Have we read The Federalist papers? Are we reading the Constitution and pondering it? Are we aware of its principles? Are we abiding by these principles and teaching them to others? Could we defend the Constitution? Can we recognize when a law is constitutionally unsound? Do we know what the prophets have said about the Constitution and the threats to it?…
I reverence the Constitution of the United States as a sacred document. To me its words are akin to the revelations of God, for God has placed His stamp of approval upon it. I testify that the God of heaven sent some of His choicest spirits to lay the foundation of this government, and He has now sent other choice spirits to help preserve it.”
– The Federalist Papers can be found in their entirety here.
– The Anti-Federalist Papers can be found in their entirety here.
16. THE CONSTITUTION: A HEAVENLY BANNER
President Ezra Taft Benson, BYU Devotional Address, 16 September 1986 (Text Here)
Here is an excerpt:
“The central issue in the premortal council was: Shall the children of God have untrammeled agency to choose the course they should follow, whether good or evil, or shall they be coerced and forced to be obedient? Christ and all who followed him stood for the former proposition—freedom of choice; Satan stood for the latter—coercion and force. The war that began in heaven over this issue is not yet over. The conflict continues on the battlefield of mortality. And one of Lucifer’s primary strategies has been to restrict our agency through the power of earthly governments.”
17. “The Church as a Church does not believe in war and yet since its organization whenever war has come we have done our part … we do thoroughly believe in building up our home defenses to the maximum extent necessary, but we do not believe that aggression should be carried on in the name and under the false cloak of defense. We therefore look with sorrowing eyes at the present use to which a great part of the funds being raised by taxes and by borrowing is being put … We believe that our real threat comes from within and not from without, and it comes from the underlying spirit common to Naziism, Fascism, and Communism, namely, the spirit which would array class against class, which would set up a socialistic state of some sort, which would rob the people of the liberties which we possess under the Constitution, and would set up such a reign of terror as exists now in many parts of Europe…”
(LDS First Presidency, namely:
Heber J. Grant, David O. McKay, and J. Reuben Clark,
1941, Letter to Treasury) [See full letter Here]
18. “It is true the Constitution has been revised by the voice of the people; but wherein is it bettered? Some say it is bettered; but as to the light and knowledge that now exist with regard to the true spirit of republicanism, the revolution is on the retrograde motion…The General Constitution of our country is good, and a wholesome government could be framed upon it, for it was dictated by the invisible operations of the Almighty…God’s purpose, in raising up these men and inspiring them with daring sufficient to surmount every opposing power, was to prepare the way for the formation of a true Republican government…The signers of the Declaration of Independence and the framers of the Constitution were inspired from on high to do that work.” – President Brigham Young (JD 7:9-15)
19. “‘I will tell you what I think about the Constitution. I have just the same opinion of it that Joseph Smith had, and he said it was given by the inspiration of God…There is an embodiment of principles therein that are calculated to bless and benefit mankind. ‘What do you think about the government of the United States?’ I think it is a good deal ahead of most governments, but I think that the administrators are apostatizing very fast from the principles that the fathers of this nation instituted. It has become quite a question now-a-days, whether men can be preserved in their rights or not, whether men can worship God according to the dictates of their conscience or not, or whether we are living in a land of freedom or not.
Whats the matter? Why, they are like the religionists. How is it with them? They profess to believe the Bible. They do believe it shut, but when you open it they deny it. The people of this nation profess to believe the Constitution. They do until it comes to be applied to the people and then they do not…
We would say then in regard to the religionists-if you profess a religion be true to it; if you profess to believe in the Bible when shut, believe it when open and practice its principles. We would say to men who profess so much loyalty and patriotism to the government, be true to your institutions, be true to the Constitution of the United States, as we say to all our people to be true to the same. We expect the Latter-day Saints to be so, and to be subject to law, to avoid lawlessness of every kind and the interference with men’s rights in any shape. Let all men worship as they please. That is a matter for their own consciences, it is not for us to dictate. Let all men be free in their business relations, that in all things we may feel that we are performing our part as citizens of the United States and citizens of the Church and kingdom of God upon the earth…
If they choose evil, let them choose it. We talk sometimes about the influence of saloons, of whisky, and beer, and all these kinds of things. Cannot you Latter-Day Saints let them alone? If you cannot you are not fit to be Latter-day Saints and you will not be so long…” – President John Taylor (JD 22:294-295)
20. “It is said in the Doctrine and Covenants, that he that keepeth the laws of God, hath no need to break the laws of the land. It is further explained in section 98, what is meant in relation to this. That all laws which are constitutional must be obeyed, as follows <refers to D&C 98>. That is, taking this nation as an example, all laws that are proper and correct and all obligations entered into which are not violate of the constitution should be kept inviolate. But if they are violative of the Constitution, then the compact between the rulers and the ruled is broken and the obligation ceases to be binding. Just as a person agreeing to purchase anything and to pay a certain amount for it, if he receives the article bargained for, and does not pay it’s price, he violates his contract; but if he does not receive the article he is not required to pay for it.” – President John Taylor (JD 26:350)
21. “No true Latter-day Saint and no true American can be a socialist or a communist or support programs leading in that direction. These evil philosophies are incompatible with Mormonism, the true gospel of Jesus Christ.” – President Ezra Taft Benson (God, Family, Country: Our Three Great Loyalties, pg. 356)
Along these lines, it would be very beneficial to read Elder Marion G. Romney’s General Conference talk from April 1966 entitled: Socialism and the United Order Compared. The full text of the talk is found here.
22. “I am going to bear my testimony to this assembly, if I never do it again in my life, that those men who laid the foundation of this American government and signed the Declaration of Independence were the best spirits the God of heaven could find on the face of the earth. They were choice spirits, not wicked men. General Washington and all the men that labored for the purpose were inspired of the Lord. Another thing I am going to say here, because I have a right to say it. Every one of those men that signed the Declaration of Independence, with General Washington, called upon me, as an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, in the Temple at St. George, two consecutive nights, and demanded at my hands that I should go forth and attend to the ordinances of the House of God for them. Would those spirits have called upon me, as an elder in Israel, to perform that work if they had not been noble spirits before God?” – President Wilford Woodruff (CR, April 1898)
23. “Now it seems to me that this makes this matter so clear that it is not possible for any man who professes to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to make any mistake, or to be in doubt as to the course he should pursue under the command of God in relation to the observation of the laws of the land. The Lord Almighty requires this people to observe the laws of the land, to be subject to ‘the powers that be’ so far as they abide by the fundamental principles of good government, but He will hold them responsible if they will pass unconstitutional measures and frame unjust laws as did Nebuchadnezer and Darius, in relation to the three Hebrew children and Daniel. If lawmakers have a mind to violate their oath, break their covenants and their faith with the people, and depart from the provisions of the Constitution, where is the law human or divine, which binds me, as an individual, to outwardly and openly proclaim my acceptance of their acts? I firmly believe that the only way in which we can be sustained in regard to this matter by God our Heavenly Father is by following the illustrious examples we find in holy writ. And while we regret, and look with sorrow upon the acts of men who seek to bring us into bondage and to oppress us, we must obey God, for He has commanded us to do so…” – President Joseph F. Smith (JD 23:70-71)
24. “We believe that our fathers were inspired to write the Constitution of the United States, and that it is an instrument, full, lucid, and comprehensive…that the strict and implicit observance of which is the only safeguard of this mighty nation.” – Elder John Taylor (2/17/1855 in an article entitled “The Mormon”)
25. “Next to the bestowal of life itself, the right to direct that life is God’s greatest gift to man. Among the immediate obligations and duties resting upon members of the Church today, and one of the most urgent and pressing for attention and action of all liberty loving people, is the preservation of individual liberty. Freedom of choice is more to be treasured than any possession earth can give. It is inherent in the spirit of man. It is a divine gift to every normal being. Whether born in abject poverty or shackled at birth by inherited riches, everyone has this most precious of all life’s endowments—the gift of free agency; man’s inherited and inalienable right…
Freedom of the will and the responsibility associated with it are fundamental aspects of Jesus’ teachings. Throughout his ministry he emphasized the worth of the individual, and exemplified what is now expressed in modern revelation as the work and glory of God—’To bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man’ (Moses 1:39). Only through the divine gift of soul freedom is such progress possible.
Force, on the other hand, emanates from Lucifer himself. Even in man’s preexistent state, Satan sought power to compel the human family to do his will by suggesting that the free agency of man be inoperative (Moses 4:1-4). If his plan had been accepted, human beings would have become mere puppets in the hands of a dictator, and the purpose of man s coming to earth would have been frustrated. Satan’s proposed system of government, therefore, was rejected, and the principle of free agency establish in its place…Force rules in the world today; consequently, our government must keep armies abroad, build navies and air squadrons, create atom bombs to protect itself from threatened aggression of a nation which seems to listen to no other appeal but compulsion.
Individual freedom is threatened by international rivalries, inter-racial animosities, and false political ideals. Unwise legislation, too often prompted by political expediency, is periodically being enacted that seductively undermines man’s right of free agency, robs him of his rightful liberties, and makes him but a cog in the crushing wheel of a regimentation which, if persisted in, will end in dictatorship…
This principle of free agency and the right of each individual to be free not only to think but also to act within bounds that grant to every one else the same privilege, are sometimes violated even by churches that claim to teach the doctrine of Jesus Christ. The attitude of any organization toward this principle of freedom is a pretty good index to its nearness to the teachings of Christ or to those of the Evil One…
In conclusion, I repeat that no greater immediate responsibility rests upon members of the Church, upon all citizens of this Republic and of neighboring Republics than to protect the freedom vouchsafed by the Constitution of the United States.
Let us, by exercising our privileges under the Constitution—
(1) Preserve our right to worship God according to the dictates of our conscience,
(2) Preserve the right to work when and where we choose. No free man should be compelled to pay tribute in order to realize this God-given privilege. Read in the Doctrine and Covenants this statement:
. . . it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another (D&C 101:89).
(3) Feel free to plan and to reap without the handicap of bureaucratic interference.
(4) Devote our time, means, and life if necessary, to hold inviolate those laws which will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life.
To sum up this whole question: In these days of uncertainty and unrest, liberty-loving people’s greatest responsibility and paramount duty is to preserve and proclaim the freedom of the individual…”
– President David O. McKay
(“Free Agency…A Divine Gift”, April CR 1950, Full text here)
25 1/2. “The different states, and even Congress itself, have passed many laws diametrically contrary to the Constitution of the United States…Shall we be such fools as to be governed by its laws, which are unconstitutional? No! … The Constitution acknowledges that the people have all power not reserved to itself. I am a lawyer; I am a big lawyer and comprehend heaven, earth and hell, to bring forth knowledge that shall cover up all lawyers, doctors and other big bodies. This is the doctrine of the Constitution, so help me God.” – President Joseph Smith (DHC 5:289-290)
25 3/4. “Then do you profess to ignore the laws of the land? No; not unless they are unconstitutional, then I would do it all the time. Whenever the Congress of the United States, for instance, pass[es] a law interfering with my religion, or with my religious rights, I will read a small portion of that instrument called the Constitution of the United States, now almost obsolete, which says—”Congress shall pass no law interfering with religion or the free exercise thereof” [US Const. Amend. I]; and I would say, gentlemen, you may go to Gibraltar with your law, and I will live my religion. When you become violators of the Constitution you have sworn before high heaven to uphold, and perjure yourselves before God, then I will maintain the right, and leave you to take the wrong just as you please.” – Elder John Taylor (JD 11:343)
Some state that now that the Constitution has allegedly served its purpose – perhaps there is no need to support it as staunchly any longer. Yet:
“God has revealed unto us many things; but never has he revealed anything in opposition to those institutions and that Constitution, no, never; and, another thing, he never will.” – Elder John Taylor, JD 11:90-92
And for those who see things that may supposedly contradict the message of freedom so prominent throughout gospel teachings…PLEASE keep in mind a quotes that may be extremely relevant.
26. Elder Ezra Taft Benson stated:
“There are some regrettable things being said and done by some people in the Church today. As President Clark so well warned, ‘The ravening wolves are amongst us, from our own membership and they, more than any others, are clothed in sheep’s clothing because they wear the habiliments of the priesthood.’
We should be careful of them.
Sometimes from behind the pulpit, in our classrooms, in our Council meetings and in our church publications we hear, read or witness things that do not square with the truth. This is especially true where freedom is involved. Now do not let this serve as an excuse for your own wrong-doing. The Lord is letting the wheat and the tares mature before he fully purges the Church. He is also testing you to see if you will be misled. The devil is trying to deceive the very elect.”
(Our Immediate Responsibility, BYU Devotional)
In the end, it is about principles, not people. Cursed is the man that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh.
27. As President Brigham Young taught:
“I will say a few words in regard to your belief in being led, guided, and directed by one man…Thousands of times my soul has been lifted to God the Father, in the name of Jesus, to make that verily true in every sense of the word, that we may be led by the man Jesus Christ, through Joseph Smith the Prophet. You may inquire how we are to know that we are so led. I refer you to the exhortation you have heard so frequently from me. Do not be deceived, any of you; if you are deceived, it is because you deceive yourselves. You may know whether you are led right or wrong, as well as you know the way home; for every principle God has revealed carries its own convictions of its truth to the human mind, and there is no calling of God to man on earth but what brings with it the evidences of its authenticity. Let us take a course that leads to the perpetuity of the natural life which God has given us, and honor it. Should we pursue this course faithfully, and never bestow one thought for the life that is to come, we are just as sure of that immortal life as we are of the life we now possess. This, in fact, is the only way in which we can be prepared to inherit that more glorious life.
What a pity it would be if we were led by one man to utter destruction! Are you afraid of this? I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by Him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self-security, trusting their eternal destiny in the hands of their leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purposes of God in their salvation, and weaken that influence they could give to their leaders, did they know for themselves, by the revelations of Jesus, that they are led in the right way. Let every man and woman know, by the whispering of the Spirit of God to themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates, or not. This has been my exhortation continually.” (JD 9:149-150)
Have we heeded this counsel? We were on the right side in the war in heaven…Are we on the right side now?