Some time ago there appeared in a local newspaper an account of an interview with an elderly statesman who wielded great influence in American politics. This elderly statesman, in explaining the reason for his determination and zeal, told of a statement his own father — now long since dead — had made to his four sons just before he died. This is what the father said: “America, with its government and constitution, is the greatest institution invented by the mind of man. If you let them touch a stick or stone of it, I will come back and haunt you.”

As I thought of that statement, my mind went back to our ancestors who pioneered in this dispensation an even greater constitution than that of the American nation, even the constitution of the kingdom of God, which might be said to be another definition of the gospel of Jesus Christ. As I thought of our pioneers, I was reminded of their virtues and their accomplishments and of the underlying principles that made them willing to leave all that they possessed and even willing to sacrifice their lives, if need be, to uphold and to maintain their beliefs. As I remembered that and thought of the statement of this aged American patriot, I wondered if we might not say: “The Lord help us to keep in memory our ancestors that we might be willing to uphold and sustain, by our lives and all that we possess, that for which they gave so much.”

( Source:

Harold B. Lee, “The Spirit of Gathering” 281; Ye Are the Light of the World 163-64