Statements on Communism and the Constitution of the United States
With great regret we learn from credible sources, governmental and others, that a few Church members are joining, directly or indirectly the Communists and are taking part in their activities.
The Church does not interfere, and has no intention of trying to interfere with the fullest and freest exercise of the political franchise of its members, under and within our Constitution which the Lord declared, “I established … by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose,” and which, as to the principles thereof, the Prophet, dedicating the Kirtland Temple, prayed should be “established forever.”
But Communism is not a political party nor a political plan under the Constitution; it is a system of government that is the opposite of our Constitutional government, and it would be necessary to destroy our Government before Communism could be set up in the United States.
Since Communism, established, would destroy our American Constitutional government, to support Communism is treasonable to our free institutions, and no patriotic American citizen may become either a Communist or supporter of Communism.
To our Church members we say, —Communism is not the United Order, and bears only the most superficial resemblance thereto; Communism involves forceful despoliation and confiscation; the United Order voluntary consecration and sacrifice.
Communists cannot establish the United Order, nor will Communism bring it about. The United Order will be established by the Lord in His own due time and in accordance with the regular prescribed order of the Church.
Furthermore, it is charged by universal report, which is not successfully contradicted or disproved, that Communism undertakes to control, if not indeed prescribe, the religious life of the people living within its jurisdiction, and that it even reaches its hand into the sanctity of the family circle itself, disrupting the normal relationship of parent and child, all in a manner unknown and unsanctioned under the Constitutional guarantees under which we in America live. Such interference would be contrary to the fundamental precepts of the Gospel and to the teachings and order of the Church.
Communism being thus hostile to loyal American citizenship and incompatible with true Church membership, of necessity no loyal American citizen and no faithful Church member can be a Communist.
We call upon all Church members completely to eschew Communism. The safety of our divinely inspired Constitutional government and the welfare of our Church imperatively demand that Communism shall have no place in America.
—Statement published in the Improvement Era, July 1936 by the First Presidency— Heber J. Grant, J. Reuben Clark, Jr. and David 0. McKay—under date of July 3, 1936. (Reprinted in “The Messenger,” Presiding Bishopric Publication, Oct. 1961.)
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There are present in our own United States influences the avowed object of which is to sow discord and contention among men with the view of undermining, weakening, if not entirely destroying our Constitutional form of government. If I speak plainly, and in condemnation lay bare reprehensible practices and aims of certain organizations, please do not think that I harbor ill-will or enmity in my heart towards other United States citizens whose views on political policies do not coincide with mine. But when acts and schemes are manifestly contrary to the revealed word of the Lord, we feel justified in warning people against them. We may be charitable and forbearing to the sinner, but must condemn the sin….
There is another danger even more menacing than the threat of invasion of a foreign foe. It is the unpatriotic activities and underhanded scheming of disloyal groups and organizations within our own borders. … the secret, seditious scheming of an enemy within our ranks, hypocritically professing loyalty to the government, and at the same time plotting against it, is more difficult to deal with.
Disintegration is often more dangerous and more fatal than outward opposition…. It is the enemy from within that is most menacing, especially when it threatens to disintegrate our established form of government. …
Today there are in this country enemies in the form of “isms”. I call them Anti-Americanisms. Only a few of the leaders fight openly—most of the army carry on as termites, secretly sowing discord and undermining stable government. Of the truth of this statement recent investigations made by a committee of the United States Senate bear ample evidence. Of the menace of one of these, Dr. William F. Russell, Dean of Teachers’ College, Columbia University, in an address “How to Tell a Communist, and How to Beat Him,” is one of the many authorities whom we might quote as to the pernicious activity of these groups.
Communist leaders have steadily insisted that Communism cannot live in just one country. Just as we fought to make ‘the world safe for democracy,’ so they are fighting to make the world safe for Communism. They are fighting this fight today. Every country must become Communistic, according to their idea. So they have sent out missionaries. They have supplied them well with funds. They have won converts. These converts have been organized into little groups called ‘cells,’ each acting as a unit under the orders of a superior. It is almost a military organization. They attack where there is unemployment. They stir up discontent among those oppressed. … They work their way into the unions. where they form compact blocks. They publish and distribute little papers and pamphlets. At the New York Times they pass out one called ‘Better Times.’ At the Presbyterian Hospital, it is called ‘The Medical Worker.’ At the College of the City of New York, it is called ‘Professor, Worker, Student.’ At Teachers College, it is called ‘The Educational Vanguard.’ These are scurrilous sheets. In one issue I noted twenty-nine errors of fact. After a recent address of mine they passed out a Dodger attacking me, with a deliberate error of fact in each paragraph. These pamphlets cost money— more than $100 an issue. The idea is to try to entice into their web those generous and public-spirited teachers, preachers, social workers and reformers who know distress and want to do something about it. These Communists know what they are doing. They follow their orders. Particularly they would like to dominate our newspapers, our colleges and our schools. The campaign is much alike all over the world. I have seen the same articles, almost the same pamphlets, in France and England as in the United States.
You see, when it comes to fighting Communists I am a battle-scarred veteran. But after twenty years I cannot tell one by looking at him. However, only the leaders proclaim their membership. The clever are silent, hidden, anonymous, boring from within. You can only tell a Communist by his ideas.
Their method of working their way to the seizure of power he describes as follows:
Talk about peace, talk about social equality, especially among those most oppressed. Talk about organization of labor, and penetrate into every labor union. Talk on soap boxes. Publish pamphlets and papers. Orate and harangue. Play on envy. Arouse jealousy. Separate class from class. Try to break down the democratic processes from within. Accustom the people to picketing, strikes, and mass meetings. Constantly attack the leaders in every way possible, so that the people will lose confidence. Then in time of national peril, during a war, on the occasion of a great disaster, or on a general strike, walk into the capitol and seize the power. A well-organized minority can work wonders.
I have been informed from several sources that some of these spurious political growths are sprouting here in our own midst, that members of these groups have even received instructions regarding what to do in case this country should become involved in war. The nature of these instructions savors very much of the diabolical gun-powder plot in the times of James the First of England.
Latter-day Saints should have nothing to do with secret combinations and groups antagonistic to the Constitutional law of the land, which the Lord “suffered to be established,” and which “should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles;
That every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment.
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, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood.
(Doctrine and Covenants 101:77-80.)
Of course there are errors in government which some would correct, certainly there are manifest injustices and inequalities, and there will always be such in any government in the management of which enter the frailties of human nature. If you want changes, go to the polls on election day, express yourself as an American citizen, and thank the Lord for the privilege that is yours to have a say as to who shall serve you in public office.
Next to being one in worshiping 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.
—General Conference held in the Salt Lake Tabernacle, Sunday, October 8 1939.
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Humanity is passing through one of its most crucial experiences. We are in the midst of a revolution both of thought and mode of life. Beliefs of parents are questioned, old ideals are in the discard. Communism, Nazism, Fascism, Totalitarianism are giving birth to new conceptions that strike relentlessly at beliefs and teachings which were accepted a decade ago as fundamentals and unassailable. “Under the influence of a science as superficial as proud,” writes M. Paul Gaultier, a leading publicist of France, “old beliefs have been turned into ridicule, conscience is treated as a superstition, and honesty as a prejudice. Self-interest alone remains as a motive, and pleasure as the sole end of life. For too many people,” he continues, “evil consists not in infringing social laws, but in getting caught. Morality and duty figure in their eyes as so many prejudices out of fashion, and vestiges of centuries gone by.”
Granting the severity of this arraignment, the fact still remains that moral and religious skepticism is too generally apparent, and political chicanery, fraud, and civic unrighteousness all too common.
—Church of the Air Broadcast, Sunday morning, October 6, 1940.
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We again warn our people in America of the constantly increasing threat against our inspired Constitution and our free institutions set up under it. The same political tenets and philosophies that have brought war and terror in other parts of the world are at work amongst us in America. The proponents thereof are seeking to undermine our own form of government and to set up instead one of the forms of dictatorships now flourishing in other lands. These revolutionists are using a technique that is as old as the human race, —a fervid but false solicitude for the unfortunate over whom they thus gain mastery, and then enslave them.
They suit their approaches to the particular group they seek to deceive. Among the Latter-day Saints they speak of their philosophy and their plans under it as an ushering in of the United Order. Communism and all other similar “isms” bear no relationship whatever to the United Order. They are merely the clumsy counterfeits which Satan always devises of the gospel plan. Communism debases the individual and makes him the enslaved tool of the state to whom he must look for sustenance and religion; the United Order exalts the individual, leaves him his property, “according to his family, according to his circumstances and his wants and needs,” (Doctrine and Covenants 51:3.) and provides a system by which he helps care for his less fortunate brethren; the United Order leaves every man free to choose his own religion as his conscience directs. Communism destroys man’s God-given free agency; the United Order glorifies it. Latter-day Saints cannot be true to their faith and lend aid, encouragement, or sympathy to any of these false philosophies. They will prove snares to their feet.
— The Message of the First Presidency—Heber J. Grant, J. Reuben Clark, Jr., and David O. McKay— read by President Clark at the final session of General Conference held in the Assembly Hall, Monday, April 6. 1942.
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Satan is making war against all the wisdom that has come to men through their ages of experience. He is seeking to overturn and destroy the very foundations upon which society, government, and religion rest. He aims to have men adopt theories and practices which he induced their forefathers, over the ages, to adopt and try, only to be discarded by them when found unsound, impractical, and ruinous. He plans to destroy liberty and freedom—economic, political, and religious— and to set up in place thereof the greatest, most widespread, and most complete tyranny that has ever oppressed men. He is working under such perfect disguise that many do not recognize either him or his methods. There is no crime he would not commit, no debauchery he would not set up, no plague he would not send, no heart he would not break, no life he would not take, no soul he would not destroy. He comes as a thief in the night; he is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Without their knowing it, the people are being urged down paths that lead only to destruction. Satan never before had so firm a grip on this generation as he has now.
—The Message of the First Presidency— Heber J. Grant, J. Reuben Clark, Jr., and David O. McKay—read by President Clark at the first session of General Conference, Saturday, October 3, 1942, held in the Salt Lake Tabernacle.
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Today contention, strife and hatred are manifest between capital and labor unions, and bitterness among advocates of Nazism, Fascism, Communism, and Capitalism. No matter how excellent any of these may seem in the minds of their advocates, none will ameliorate the ills of mankind unless its operation in government be impregnated with the basic principles promulgated by the Savior of men. On the contrary, even a defective economic system will produce good results if the men who direct it will be guided by the spirit of Christ.
Actuated by that spirit, leaders will think more of men than of the success of a system. Kindness, mercy, and justice will be substituted for hatred, suspicion, and greed. There is no road to universal peace, which does not lead to the heart of humanity.
—General Conference held in the Salt Lake Tabernacle, Saturday, October 7, 1944.
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Today America is reputedly the only nation in the world “capable of sustaining western civilization.”
Opposed to her is Russia, which has renounced faith in God and in His overruling power in the universe.
The threatened impending clash between these two nations is more than a test of political supremacy, more than a fight between Capitalism and Communism—it is the ever-contending conflict between Faith in God and in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and disbelief in the philosophy of Christian ideals. Faith in man is the power that leads to brotherhood; faith in God, the ladder by which men climb toward perfection. Faith is strength; doubt is weakness and disintegration.
—Church of the Air Broadcast, July 20, 1947.
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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….
Governments are the servants, not the masters of the people. All who love the Constitution of the United States can vow with Thomas Jefferson, who, when he was president, said:
I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.
He later said:
To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must take our choice between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude. If we run into such debts, we must be taxed in our meat and drink, in our necessities and in our comforts, in our labors and in our amusements.
If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under pretense of caring for them, they will be happy. The same prudence which in private life would forbid our paying our money for unexplained projects, forbids it in the disposition of public money. We are endeavoring to reduce the government to the practice of rigid economy to avoid burdening the people and arming the magistrate with a patronage of money which might be used to corrupt the principles of our government. …
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. (Doctrine and Covenants 101:79.)
(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.
—General Conference held in the Salt Lake Tabernacle, Thursday afternoon, April 6, 1950.
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More destructive to the spreading of Christian principles in the mind, particularly of the youth, than battleships, submarines, or even bombs, is the sowing of false ideals by the enemy. Particularly, during the last five years, Communist Russia has gained for the time being conquests over the satellites under her domination, including China, and is now threatening Japan by sowing seeds of mistrust in the body politic.
Misrepresentation, false propaganda, innuendoes soon sprout into poisonous weeds, and before long the people find themselves victims of a pollution that has robbed them of their individual liberty and enslaved them to a group of political gangsters. Let us draw a lesson from this. …
I mentioned Communism in its war against individual liberty and free enterprise as surreptitiously sowing poisonous seeds within the body politic. It is also from within, morally speaking, that our cities become corrupt; not from outward, open assaults on virtue, but from insidious, corrupt actions of trusted individuals.
—General Conference held in the Salt Lake Tabernacle, Sunday, April 8, 1951.
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David O. McKay, who has been President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints just eighteen days, said Thursday that his Church looks with “deep concern upon the attitude of Communism toward the Christian religion.”
He warned, “A third World War is inevitable unless Communism is soon subdued. Communism yields to nothing but force.” …
Returning to the precarious world situation, President McKay again raised his voice against Communism. He said, “Communism looks upon the individual as a ‘mere cog in the wheel of state.’ ”
“That is a false doctrine,” he said, pounding out his emphasis on a desk top. “The state exists for the welfare of the individual. Another thing, government by dictatorship must be supported by force —the only power it recognizes.
“The Church of Christ stands for influence of love,” he said, “which is eventually the only power that will bring to mankind redemption and peace. Communism is just opposite. It uses force.
“During the present world crisis the greatest need in the world now is spirituality,” he emphasized. “Men must turn their hearts from selfishness and they must be more willing to render service to others. It is a time when men should pray to God for guidance.”
—Article appearing in The Salt Lake Telegram, Thursday, April 26. 1951.
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One condition that gives cause for concern and apprehension is the insidious influences, as well as the blatant heralding of ideas that undermine century-tried principles of peace, of justice, and of advancement toward the day of universal brotherhood.
We are grieved when we see or hear men and women, some of whom even profess membership in the Church, looking with favor upon the pernicious teachings of these groups, especially Communism. These credulous, misguided persons claim to be advocates of peace, and accuse those who oppose them as advocates of war. They should remember that all of us should ever keep in mind that there are some eternal principles more precious than peace, dearer than life itself.
Our revolutionary fathers sensed this, and their innermost feelings were expressed in the words of Patrick Henry:
Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery.
Free agency, for example, is a divine gift more precious than peace, more to be desired even than life. Any nation, any organized group of individuals that would deprive man of this heritage should be denounced by all liberty-loving persons. Associated with this fundamental principle is the right of individual initiative, the right to worship how, where, or what one pleases, and the simple privilege to leave a country, if one choose, without having to skulk out as a culprit at the risk of being shot and killed.
At heart Communism is atheistic, and Fascism is equally antagonistic to freedom and to other Christian principles—even denying the divinity of Jesus Christ, and the existence of God.
—General Conference held in the Salt Lake Tabernacle, Friday morning, October 5, 1951.
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The deep concern of every loyal citizen regarding this threatened loss of our freedom has been well expressed by a Mr. Fred G. Clark, Chairman of the American Economic Foundation, in a speech delivered before the Sixtieth General Court, Society of Colonial Wars, New York, N.Y., Dec. 19, 1951, wherein he expresses the fear that the code of the people is replacing the code of God. Here are his own words:
Today the American giant towers over the world in its physical strength, greater than that of all the rest of the nations put together.
But something is wrong with America.
At this high moment of history when the task of world leadership has been thrust upon us, we stand confused, reluctant, hesitant, and ineffectual. …
We are no longer certain of what we stand for, and this, I believe, is because we have forgotten the circumstances surrounding the birth of our nation. …
For decades it has been popular in America for the cynical intellectuals to sneer and scoff at what we call the traditions of Americanism.
The instruments of this sabotage were words and thoughts—plausible half-truths, sly appeals to that spark of larceny that lurks in every human heart, subtle suggestions of an atheistic nature, and the careful nurturing of a patronizing attitude toward everything America has held to be fine and sacred.
The people who planted these words and thoughts may have been either stupid or vicious, fools or foreign agents, smart alecs, or smart organizers.
What they were does not now matter: the thing that does matter is to counteract what they have done.
Everybody in every position of leadership has to get into this act because the damage has affected every phase of our life.
The places in which this sabotage occurred were the schools, the churches, the communist-dominated labor halls, the lecture platforms, the motion pictures, the stages, the pages of our newspapers and magazines, and the radio. Every means of communication has been utilized against us….
The man (or nation) who has a plan—a way of life—in which he believes, has mental security.
To destroy this security, one must destroy that man’s faith in his plan. …
Reliance on a code of life which, if held in common with one’s fellow men, brings peace of mind, develops the abilities of the group….
The degree to which the American code of life has been weakened can best be demonstrated by simply calling attention to the degree to which the foundation of that code has been weakened.
Many people become self-conscious when discussing this foundation: I am not one of those people.
That foundation (and of this there cannot be the slightest shadow of a doubt) is made up of the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule.
Within this moral code, we have a complete way of life. Acceptance of these precepts takes care of every phase of human life—spiritual, political, social, and economic. …
America was a nation of people who had faith in their political and economic systems because they had faith in God, and had built those systems around the teachings of God.
Every collectivist from Karl Marx to Stalin has agreed that faith in God must be destroyed before socialism can take over.
Therefore, it was obvious that the problem of sabotaging America’s faith in America was the problem of transferring the people’s faith in God to faith in the State.
That thing called morality in politics, business, and private contracts, had to be broken down. …
To an increasing extent the people have come to look upon morality as an old-fashioned superstition.
Religion has for many church members become a safe way of dying rather than a good way of living.
I commend his entire speech, from which I have taken these extracts.
Add to this threatening upset in national standards the increasing tendency to abandon ideals that constitute the foundation of the American home, and you will agree with me that there is cause for apprehension.
Now what shall we do about it? That concerns us. … In simple words, this is the Word which we should preach—the gospel plan of salvation.
The founders of this great republic had faith in the economic and political welfare of this country because they had faith in God. Today it is not uncommon to note an apologetic attitude on the part of men when they refer to the need of God governing in the affairs of men. Indeed, the success of Communism depends largely upon the substitution of the belief in God by belief in the supremacy of the State.
First: Preach in season and out of season belief in God the Eternal Father, in His Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. …
Second: Latter-day Saints proclaim that fundamental in this gospel plan is the sacredness of the individual, that God’s work and glory is “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”
Under this concept, it is a great imposition, if indeed not a crime, for any government, any labor union, or any other organization to deny a man the right to speak, to worship, and to work.
Third: Preach that the plan involves the belief that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man. Man was not born for the benefit of the state. Preach that no government can exist in peace … except such laws are framed and held inviolate, as will secure to each individual the “free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life.”
Fourth: Preach the sacredness of family ties—the perpetuation of the family as the cornerstone of society.
Fifth: Proclaim the necessity of honesty and loyalty, doing an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. Preach that honesty in government is essential to the perpetuation and stability of our government as it is necessary to the stability of character in the individual.
—General Conference held in the Salt Lake Tabernacle, Friday morning, April 4, 1952.
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I would not deal with a nation which treats another as Russia has treated America. It is a condition which cannot be permitted to exist. Russia is determined to kill capitalism and to spread Communism throughout the world.
—Statement made to Rotary Club which appeared in the Deseret News, August 6, 1952.
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The First Presidency, the Council of the Twelve, and other officers who constitute the General Authorities of the Church, preside over members of both political parties.
The President is President of the Church. … The welfare of all members of the Church is equally considered by the President, his Counselors, and the General Authorities. Both political parties will be treated impartially….
This does not mean, however, that error will be condoned. Teachings and ideologies subversive to the fundamental principles of this great Republic, which are contrary to the Constitution of the United States, or which are detrimental to the progress of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, will be condemned, whether advocated by Republicans or Democrats.
—General Conference held in the Salt Lake Tabernacle, Sunday afternoon, October 5, 1952.
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Next to the divine authority of the Priesthood I believe that no principle of the Gospel is more endangered today than is that principle which gives us individual freedom. Free agency is a blessing next to life itself, a God-given principle, and I just ask you while you are saying a prayer in your heart tonight for this country and for the freedom of worship, that you think how this freedom is being threatened by the encroachment of the State and groups through which we are losing our individuality, the right of the individual.
It was that very principle that induced our Founding Fathers to declare their independence from the countries in Europe and to establish the Constitution, giving to each individual the right to worship, the right to build, the right to work, the right to think, to speak, to preach, so long as each gave to other individuals that same privilege.
—Dedication of Douglas Ward Chapel, Salt Lake City, Sunday, October 18, 1953.
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The need was never more urgent than at present—to teach youth the advantage and privilege of the American way of life. … Today millions of children are taught that each life belongs not to himself, but to the State, and the advocates of this false theory are energetic in seeing to it that every child under their domination is thoroughly indoctrinated with it.
In a talk delivered by General William F. Dean at the University of Utah, Founders’ Day Banquet, March l, 1954, he said:
. . . We must not underrate the spread of communism in the Orient. They are planting their seed in fertile soil. These people in the Orient who are accepting this doctrine are people who have never had anything in a material way. They have known only poverty and distrust and distress. They have known only exploitation, and a beautiful promise is something to them, and we are never going to sell them our way of life by word, because no matter what extravagant promises we make, we can never make them as extravagant as those that the Communists make.
Communism is antagonistic to the American way of life. Its avowed purpose is to destroy belief in God and free enterprise. In education for citizenship, therefore, why should we not see to it that every child in America is taught the superiority of our Constitution and the sacredness of the freedom of the individual? Such definite instruction is not in violation of either the Federal or the State Constitution. Teach that free enterprise is the right to open a gas station or a grocery store, or to buy a farm if you want to be your own boss, or to change your job if you do not like the man for whom you work. Under Communism you work where you are told, and you live and die bossed by hard-fisted bureaucrats who tell you every move you dare make. Free enterprise is the right to lock your door at night. In Communist countries the dread secret police can break it down any time they like. …
I love the Stars and Stripes, and the American Way of Life. I have faith in the Constitution of the United States. I believe that only through a truly educated citizenry can the ideals that inspired the Founding Fathers of our Nation be preserved and perpetuated.
I believe that four fundamental elements in such an education are:
1. The basic essentials of oral and written composition—arithmetic, social studies and science.
2. Loyal leadership as found in men who “cannot be bought or sold, men who will scorn to violate truth, genuine gold.”
3. Open and forcible teaching of facts regarding Communism as an enemy to God and to individual freedom.
4. More emphasis upon moral and spiritual values.
—Inauguration Ceremonies at the Utah State Agricultural College, Logan, Utah, March 8, 1954.
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Now we know that Communism is wrong; it has been tried before and failed. Some of us have hoped that it would break of itself as error always does, but forty years have passed and it still exists. Its atheistic spirit, however, is abroad, and the feeling exists that life is just an animal existence after all, and young people are going to be influenced by it. You have to make a choice. Either Christ is a reality, and Communism is wrong; or Christ is a theory and Communism is right. Well, we know that Communism is wrong, absolutely. If we do not know it we can find it out, for every person, every child of God, may know for himself or herself that it is wrong, and that Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God; that He is directing today His Gospel, the means of happiness and salvation to the human family. I say every person may know it, but he must find out for himself.
—Devotional Assembly at Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, held in the George Albert Smith Fieldhouse, Wednesday, April 15, 1959.
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On the flyleaf of the book, The Naked Communist, by W. Cleon Skousen, we find this quotation, (and I admonish everybody to read that excellent book of Chief Skousen’s):
The conflict between communism and freedom is the problem of our time. It overshadows all other problems. This conflict mirrors our age, its toil, its tensions, its troubles, and it5 tasks. On the outcome of this conflict depends the future of mankind. …
In their false teachings the Communists accept the doctrine of Marx, who denies the existence of God, and repudiates man’s immortality. Second, they deny the divinity of Jesus Christ, and of course, His resurrection. They challenge the free agency of man. …
The United States recently entertained the leading man of the ideology that denies the God, Jesus Christ, and the right of free agency and dignity of man. Even while he was here we could hear echoing his own words:
We remain the atheist that we have always been; we are doing as much as we can to liberate those people who are still under the spell of this religious opiate.
Those are his words. He said further:
Those who expect us to abandon Communism will have to wait until a shrimp learns to whistle. …
—General Conference held in the Salt Lake Tabernacle, Friday, October 9, 1959.
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We are placed on this earth to work, to live; and the earth will give us a living. It is our duty to strive to make a success of what we possess—to till the earth, subdue matter, conquer the globe, take care of the cattle, the flocks and the herds. It is the Government’s duty to see that you are protected in these efforts, and no other man has the right to deprive you of any of your privileges. But it is not the Government’s duty to support you. That is one reason why I shall raise my voice as long as God gives me sound or ability, against this Communistic idea that the Government will take care of us all, and everything belongs to the Government. It is wrong! No wonder, in trying to perpetuate that idea, they become anti-Christ, because that doctrine strikes directly against the doctrine of the Savior. …
No government owes you a living. You get it yourself by your own acts!—never by trespassing upon the rights of a neighbor; never by cheating him. You put a blemish upon your character the moment you do.
—Meeting commemorating the Founding of the Original Ward, North Ogden Ward Chapel, March 8, 1953.
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An incident has prompted me to choose this theme —“Two Contending Forces”—the wreck of the recent Summit Conference. Two forces are operative. A great battle of ideas is in progress in the world today—has been for years. There is no question that we are living in what may be the most epoch-making period of all time. Scientific discoveries and inventions, the breaking down of heretofore approved social and moral standards, the uprooting of old religious moorings—all the evidence that we are witnessing one of those tidal waves of human thought which periodically sweep over the world and change the destiny of the human race. …
Let us look at the man who disrupted the great consultation of the leaders of the world. In his heart are the teachings of Karl Marx. You who have heard know about the kind of life he lived, how his wife suffered, how his children starved.
Here is what one man said about him:
Marx loved his own person much more than he loved his friends and apostles, and no friendship could hold water against the slightest wound to … his vanity. Marx will never forgive a slight to his person. You must worship him, make an idol of him, if he is to love you in return; you must at least fear him if he is to tolerate you. He likes to surround himself with pygmies, with lackeys, and flatterers. All the same, there are some remarkable men among his intimates. In general, however, one may say that in the circuit of Marx’s intimates there is very little brotherly frankness, but a great deal of machination and diplomacy. There is a sort of tacit struggle, and a compromise between the self-loves of the various persons concerned, and where vanity is at work there is no longer place for brotherly feeling. Everyone is on his guard, is afraid of being sacrificed, of being annihilated.
Marx is a chief distributor of honors, but is also the invariably perfidious and malicious, the never frank and open incitor to the persecution of those whom he suspects, or who had the misfortune of failing to show all the veneration he expects. As soon as he has ordered a persecution there is no limit to the baseness of infamy of the methods.
So wrote Mikhail Bakunin, the first Russian to become interested in revolutionary activities, and a party pillar who fell under the purge.
That same doctrine was advocated by Lenin who succeeded, who was a leader in the revolution in Russia. Note the same spirit:
We must hate. Hatred is the basis of Communism. Children must be taught to hate their parents if they are not Communists.
Listen to the amazing declaration of the former Russian Commissar of Education:
We must hate Christians and Christianity. Even the best of them must be considered our worst enemies. Christian love is an obstacle to the development of the revolution. Down with love of one’s neighbor! What we want is hate. Only then will we conquer the universe. (From The Naked Communist by W. Cleon Skousen, p. 288.)
That same spirit was manifest by a man by the name of Hitler, I quote from him:
In my great educative work, I am beginning with the young. Weakness has to be knocked out of them. … A violently active, dominating, intrepid, brutal youth—that is what I am after. There must be no weakness or tenderness in it. I want to see once more in its eyes the gleam of pride and independence of the beast of prey.
That is from “The Voice of Destruction,” pp. 251-252, by Herman Rauschning, confidant of Hitler and a member of the secret conclaves from 1932 to 1935.
Remember we were talking about two conflicting forces. You know the story of Hitler. Now, Khrushchev who, during his American tour last fall, according to The Salt Lake Tribune, said, “If anyone believes that our smiles involve abandonment of the teaching Marx, Engels, and Lenin, he deceives himself poorly. Those who wait for that must wait until a shrimp learns to whistle.” That was 1959!
He spoke about a common goal. According to good authority, Edward Hunter, foreign news correspondent, who has studied Communism for many years, said that Communist goal means something different from what you and I have in mind when we speak about the millennium or a universal peace.
Unity in the Communist mind is voluntary submission to Communist discipline. This writer says: To which force? Voluntary submission to Communist discipline.
When you speak of peace, the Communists mean the cessation of all opposition to Communism, the acceptance of a Communist world. Then, and only then, can there be peace. This alone is what peace means in Communist language. Once this is understood the utter falsity and hypocrisy of Communist references to peace becomes at once obvious.
I have mentioned these things simply to emphasize one dominant force which has as its ultimate achievement and victory—the destruction of Capitalism, the destruction of the free agency of man which God has given him, and that destruction may be brought about—as advocated by Marx himself—in a brutal way.
What is the other force? It is just the opposite. Jesus said to the man who came and asked him which is the greatest law, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God and him only shalt thou serve, and the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”
When Marx was asked one time what was his objective, he answered, “To dethrone God.”
Perhaps there was never a time in the world when these two forces faced each other as they did at the Summit Conference, as they are facing right today.
—Brigham Young University Studentbody Address, Provo, Utah, May 18, 1960.
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Last Monday morning, October third, the Premier of Soviet Russia threatened that if the United Nations does not reorganize as he demands, the Communist bloc will “rely on their own strength to block us.” He also threatened to ignore the United Nations’ peace-making machinery unless the Secretary General of the United Nations resign, and his position, that is the Secretary’s position, be replaced by a Communist-styled, three-man presidium armed with veto powers.
Who is this man (Khrushchev) who presumes to tell the United Nations what to do? He is a man who rejects the divinity of Jesus Christ and denies the existence of God, who is imbued with the false philosophy of Karl Marx, whose aim in life was “to dethrone God and destroy Capitalism.” He is a follower of Lenin, who said, “I want children to hate their parents who are not Communists.” The followers of these men, to gain their ends, “resort to all sorts of stratagems, maneuvers, illegal methods, evasions, and subterfuges.” This atheistic attitude, and the advice to hate others, even one’s own family, is just the opposite of the spirit of love as manifest and taught by the Savior. In sessions in another part of the United States are men who believe as I have indicated and who are willing to resort to any subterfuge, any scheme, that will further their ends to dethrone God. We appeal to God, who exists and lives, and with whom we are in harmony this morning—we have met in the name of His Beloved Son.
—General Conference held in the Salt Lake Tabernacle, Friday morning, October 7, 1960.
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Recently a feature writer for one of the western newspapers of the United States called at my office and during a brief visit inquired about the “greatest threat to the Church today.” I immediately replied, “Communism with its godless ideology, its complete subjection of the individual to the State and its complete materialism.”
The entire concept and philosophy of Communism is diametrically opposed to everything for which the Church stands, belief in Deity, in the dignity and eternal nature of man and the application of the Gospel to the hopes for peace of the world.
—Statement at Press Conference, Hyde Park Chapel, London, England, February 24, 1961.
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Your work has just begun. For the edifying of the body of Christ, until you all come to the perfection of the Master—that is a great ideal, is it not? Communism will never bring it, because they appeal to the animal nature, and we all know it. The ideology of the Communists is on the level of the animal. Man has reached a point where he must reach to spirituality, develop the spirituality of the Christ—that is what is indicated in the organization of the Church—till all come to that perfection.
—London Stake Organization, Hyde Park Chapel, London, England, February 26, 1961.
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Equally fundamental and important to man’s happiness and progress is the right of personal security, the right of personal liberty, and the right of private property. The right of personal security consists in the enjoyment of life, limbs, body, health, and reputation. Life, being the immediate gift of God, is a right inherent by nature in every individual. Likewise, man has a natural inherent right to his limbs. His personal liberty consists in the right of changing one’s situation or habitation according to will. The right of property consists in the free use, enjoyment, and disposal of all acquisitions, without control or diminution save by the laws of the land. The right of private property is sacred and inviolable. If any part of these inalienable individual possessions should be required by the State, they should be given only with the consent of the people. …
“If Western civilization emerges from existing situations safely, it will be only through a deeper appreciation of the social ethics of Jesus than diminished by the fancied security in which our masses live.”
Merely an appreciation of the social ethics of Jesus is not sufficient. Men’s hearts must be changed. Instead of selfishness, men must be willing to dedicate their ability, their possessions—if necessary, their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor for the alleviation of the ills of mankind. Hate must be supplanted by sympathy and forbearance.
Force and compulsion will never establish the ideal society. This can come only by a transformation within the individual soul—a life brought into harmony with the divine will. We must be “born again.”
—General Conference held in the Salt Lake Tabernacle, Friday morning, September 29, 1961.
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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, his relationship to Deity, and the necessity of obedience to the principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Only thus will mankind find peace and happiness. …
Above all else, strive to support good and conscientious candidates of either party who are aware of the great dangers inherent in Communism, and who are truly dedicated to the Constitution in the tradition of our Founding Fathers. They should also pledge their sincere fealty to our way of liberty—a liberty which aims at the preservation of both personal and property rights. Study the issues, analyze the candidates on these grounds, and then exercise your franchise as free men and women. Never be found guilty of exchanging your birthright for a mess of pottage!
—October Conference held in the Salt Lake Tabernacle, Opening Session, Friday morning, October 5, 1962.
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I must say I do think the Communist conspiracy is one of the greatest menaces in history. The individual inherently objects to being controlled by any one man or group. The Communist principle strikes at the freedom of man.
—Statement made to Don Reed, National Bureau Manager for United Press International, in an interview in connection with his Ninetieth Birthday, Wednesday, August 28, 1963. (Published in the Deseret News, Monday, September 9, 1963.)
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As we celebrate the birthday of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, one hundred and eighty-eight years ago, let us catch the spirit of that morning and awaken appreciation for the blessings and privileges that are ours if we but remain loyal and true to the Constitution of the United States as established by our Founding Fathers. Compared to other nations, we are still a young nation. But what has happened during that period of over a hundred years? We are a nation now leading all others. Uncounted billions of dollars have been poured out to protect the world against dictatorship and slavery, and gigantic burdens have been borne successfully by America.
One hundred and eighty-eight years ago, fifty-six men sat in the Old State House at Philadelphia, determining whether they should break away from the mother country and the tyranny of George the Third. I do not know who wrote the poem, “Independence Bell,” but its lines give the spirit of the momentous occasion that morning. I used to study it in school. Some of the lines are as follows:
“There was tumult in the city
In the quaint old Quaker town,
And the streets were rife with people
Pacing restless up and down—
People gathering at the corners,
Where they whispered each to each,
And the sweat stood on their temples
With the earnestness of speech.
As the bleak Atlantic currents
Lash the wild Newfoundland shore,
So they beat against the State House,
So they surged against the door;
And the mingling of their voices
Made the harmony profound,
Till the quiet street of Chestnut
Was all turbulent with sound.
‘Will they do it?’ ‘Dare they do it?’
‘Who is speaking?’ ‘What’s the news?’
‘What of Adams?’ ‘What of Sherman?’
‘Oh, God grant they won’t refuse!’
‘Make some way there!’ ‘Let me nearer!’
‘I am stifling!’ ‘Stifle then!
When a nation’s life’s at hazard.
We’ve no time to think of men!’
So they surged against the State House
While all solemnly inside,
Sat the Continental Congress,
Truth and reason for their guide.
O’er a simple scroll debating,
Which, though simple it might be,
Yet should shake the cliffs of England
With the thunders of the free.
Far aloft in that high steeple
Sat the bellman, old and gray,
He was weary of the tyrant
And his iron-sceptered sway;
So he sat with one hand ready
On the clapper of the bell,
When his eye could catch the signal,
The long-expected news to tell.
“See! See! The dense crowd quivers
Through all its lengthy line,
As the boy beside the portal
Hastens forth to give the sign!
With his little hands uplifted,
Breezes dallying in his hair,
Hark! with deep, clear intonation,
Breaks his young voice on the air.
Hushed the people’s swelling murmur,
Whilst the boy cries joyously;
‘Ring!’ he shouts, ‘Ring! Grandpa,
Ring! Oh, ring for Liberty!’
Quickly at the given signal
The old bellman lifts his hand,
Forth he sends the good news, making
Iron music through the land.
How they shouted! What rejoicing!
How the old bell shook the air,
Till the clang of freedom ruffled
The calmly gliding Delaware!
How the bonfires and the torches
Lighted up the night’s repose,
And from the flames, like fables Phoenix,
Our glorious liberty arose.
That old State House bell is silent,
Hushed is now its clamorous tongue;
But the spirit is awakened
Still is living—ever young!
And when we greet the smiling sunlight
On the fourth of each July,
We shall ne’er forget the bellman
Who, betwixt the earth and sky,
Rang out, loudly, ‘Independence;
Which please God, shall never die!’ ”
Fifty-six men signed that document, the Declaration of Independence! They were all educated, well-trained, but common, loyal, ordinary men. Their average age was only forty-four, and that included Benjamin Franklin who was seventy years of age. Some were in their fifties. Others, however, were just young men.
This is what they signed:
“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our Fortunes, and our Sacred Honor.”
That gives the spirit of that occasion in the old Philadelphia town one hundred and eighty-eight years ago.
The Revolutionary War was fought, and they gained their independence from the despot, George the Third. I say George the Third because there were many Englishmen who were in sympathy with the American colonies. William Pitt, a member of Parliament, was one of them. You will remember reading in school about Pitt’s reply to Walpole when they were discussing the rebellion of the American colonies. Walpole made an accusation against Pitt, accusing him of being a young man, and said that Parliament should not listen to him. If I remember rightly, Pitt arose and said: “Of the irretrievable crime of being a young man, I shall neither palliate or deny.” And then he said, “Were I an American, as I am an Englishman, I would never lay down my arms. Never! Never! Never!”
After the Revolutionary War was over and nine years after the Declaration of Independence was signed, the Founding Fathers met in that same Old State Hall to frame the Constitution of the United States.
The French historian, Francois Pierre Guillaume Guizot, while visiting in the United States, asked James Russell Lowell, “How long will the American Republic endure?” Lowell’s answer was: “As long as the ideas of the men who founded it continue dominant.”
And what were those ideas? Two fundamental principles were: Freedom from, Dictatorship and Freedom of the Individual! This goes right back to our free agency, which is as precious as life itself.
The rebellion against that dictatorship of George the Third began hundreds of years before that meeting in the Old State Hall when freedom-loving men in England brought King John to Runnymeade, and made him sign that great document which gave to them the right of trial by jury by their peers and took away the right from the Kings to say, “This man’s head or that man’s head shall come off!” Men had been imprisoned and beheaded without fair trial just because of a whim or because of the fear of the King’s being overthrown.
There is something in human nature that rebels against dominance and compulsion. In our day, we witnessed one of the greatest uprisings against just such dictatorship that the world has ever known. I refer to those loyal Hungarians who rose up against the tyranny of oppression! I do not suppose there has ever been such an uprising—not since the Declaration of Independence at any rate—of a people. They used their bare hands; and children, youths, and adults rose up against tyranny and won—until the Communist gangsters turned on them and killed them by the hundreds, and hundreds of others were shipped off to Siberia. This is in your time and mine! Do we realize it? Do we realize what it means to have a knock come at our door at night, and to have fear because it is the police, then to hear a voice commanding: “Open the door!”? One woman who was alone got just such a command; and, scantily dressed, was taken, not down in the elevator, but rushed down four flights of stairs, put in a black wagon with guards on each side and carried off to prison. She was innocent, but the door closed behind her and that was the beginning of a nine-year prison sentence. This is a frequent happening in dictator countries in this the twentieth century!
That is the kind of treatment the spirit of man rebels against; that is why we had the Declaration of Independence; that is why we had the Constitution of the United States drawn up by men who were inspired; and that is why we have the Bill of Rights, granting protection to each individual. The government was established to protect the individual; the individual is not a part of the State, nor should he be used as part of the State. The government is set up to protect him in his rights.
What other fundamental prompted these men when they framed the Constitution—“the greatest instrument,” said one man, “ever written by the hands of man”? I name it as Faith in God, next to free agency, or correlative with free agency. As an illustration, during the critical time when the representatives of the colonies were trying to frame the Constitution in that Old State Hall, Benjamin Franklin, the oldest man present, arose and stated his faith in an overruling Providence and in the power of prayer, and then said:
I have lived, sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: That God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?
We have been assured, sir, in the sacred writings, that ‘Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it’. I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without His better than the builders of Babel. …
I therefore beg leave to move that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that service.
It is difficult to learn from history whether that was ever carried out. They did not have any money to pay for prayers, and John Quincy Adams implies that they did not have prayers there. Another man says they did. However, the point I wish to make is that Benjamin Franklin emphasized that faith in God is a fundamental principle of the Constitution of the United States. I should also like to refer to a remark made by George Washington, who, following the establishment of the Constitution, and the acceptance of it by the thirteen Colonies, wrote this:
Of all the dispositions of habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.
He stated that neither prosperity nor reputation nor life itself is secure when people are not sincerely religious.
Actuated by these two fundamental and eternal principles—the free agency of the individual, and faith in an overruling Providence—those fifty-six men who signed the Declaration of Independence, those who drew up the Constitution of the United States nine years later, gave to the world a concept of government which, if applied, will strike from the arms of downtrodden humanity the shackles of tyranny, and give hope, ambition, and freedom to the teeming millions throughout the world.
All Americans should be on guard against the scheming of those who would take from us the freedom so dearly bought. Edward F. Hutton gives us this warning:
Why do our people possess more autos, more radios, more washing machines, more of so many things, than the people of any other country? After all, we are plain, ordinary human beings. Why then do we have many more of God’s blessings? One impelling reason I think lies in the simple fact that we believed in the rights of man and have lived under a government of laws as distinguished from a government of men. We have enjoyed the safeguards of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, whose word, until recently, we believed was immutable and inalienable. The protection, the confidence, the assurance provided by the Bill of Rights opened up the faucets of human ambition and let loose an avalanche of new incentives. Men were free to inquire, to reject, to choose, to risk, to create!
Till twenty years ago, the Bill of Rights, generator of the genius of America, was taken for granted. For two decades now it has been under attack … by those who assert, though without proof, that they can improve upon our system of government. The plan seems to be to impose upon the people political control of the daily activities. Under Communism you lose your liberties immediately and perhaps your life. Under Socialism, you lose your liberties a little more slowly but just as surely.
Today the Bill of Rights is in jeopardy. If it could speak, I believe it would have this to say: I am your Bill of Rights. Don’t take me for granted. As man brought me to life, I can be slain by men, and will be slain unless you, the plain people of America, organize to defend me.
I am freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly. I am the privacy and sanctity of your home. I am your guarantee of trial by jury, and I am the custodian who guards your property rights. I am your signed lease to spiritual, mental, and physical freedom.
My existence depends on how vigilantly you watch those who administer your government. Put every law proposed in Washington into the crucible of my ten commandments. Your question must always be: ‘Not what does a law give me, but what does it take away from me?’
We, the plain, humble, God-fearing people, made this republic what it is. Let us unite our voice in defense of the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
(Taken from the Pathfinder Magazine, June 27, 1951)
I love the Stars and Stripes! I love the people who make this country great, and I believe in their loyalty. In its leadership is the greatest responsibility that ever came to a nation. We pray to God to guide our President and Congress. I know that they and we do not want war, but there are things that are worse than death—one is to be deprived of our liberty!
God help us as a people to be true to the Stars and Stripes which stand for individual freedom, the free agency of man, for faith in God, and for service to our country and to our fellow men!
—Instructor Magazine, July, 1964.
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Statements on Communism and the Constitution of the United States by David O. McKay, originally published in 1964 by Deseret Book Company, SLC, UT. (Download the PDF)