Quote Category: ‘Gospel Restoration’
I testify that America is a choice land. (See 2 Nephi 1:5.) God raised up the founding fathers of the United States of America and established the inspired Constitution. (See D&C 101:77–80.) This was the required prologue for the restoration of the gospel. (See 3 Nephi 21:4.) America will be a blessed land unto the righteous forever, and is the base from which God will continue to direct the worldwide latter-day operations of His kingdom. (See 2 Nephi 1:7.)
The restoration of the gospel and the establishment of the Lord’s Church could not come to pass until the Founding Fathers were raised up and completed their foreordained missions. Those great souls who were responsible for the freedoms we enjoy acknowledged the guiding hand of Providence. For their efforts we are indebted, but we are even more indebted to our Father in Heaven and to His Son, Jesus Christ. How fortunate we are to live when the blessings of liberty and the gospel of Jesus Christ are both available to us.
Before the gospel could again shine forth its resplendent light, religious and political freedom first had to be restored. This land had been preserved as a continent apart from the religious oppression, tyranny, and intolerance of Europe. In time, emigrants came to the new land and established colonies. By and large, they were a God-fearing people. A war was fought for their independence, and by God’s intervention, victory was achieved (see 1 Nephi 13:16–19). By that same omnipotent power the Constitution was born (see D&C 101:80), which guaranteed religious and political liberty (see D&C 98:5–8). Only then was the time propitious for the kingdom of God — that “stone cut out without hands” — to be restored (see Dan 2:34).
To serve God’s eternal purposes and to prepare this land for Zion, God “established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom [He] raised up . . . and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood” (D&C 101:80).
The Constitution of the United States was ratified in 1789. The priesthood of God was restored in 1829. Between those two dates is an interval of forty years. It is my conviction that God, who knows the end from the beginning, provided that period of time so the new nation could grow in strength to protect the land of Zion.
This restoration was preceded by a long period of preparation. The Pilgrims and other Europeans were inspired to find this American haven of refuge and thus people this land with honest and God-fearing citizens. Washington and his fellows were inspired to revolt from England and bring political liberty to this land, along with the more valuable treasure of religious liberty so that the soil might be prepared for the seed of the truth when it should again be sown.
We are grateful that thou didst cause this land to be rediscovered and settled by people who founded a great nation with an inspired constitution guaranteeing freedom in which there could come the glorious restoration of the gospel and the Church of thy Beloved Son.
All of this had to be before the establishment of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints upon the earth. These things took place in Europe before the discovery of America. After America was discovered liberty upon this land received an impetus which the old world could not give to it; and through the shedding of blood, the land was redeemed (the Lord has said it [D&C 101:80]) and freedom proclaimed in the constitution of the country, so that all peoples of the earth could find a place of refuge in America, the Land of Promise. When that was accomplished, the time had come for the bringing forth and establishing of the gospel of Jesus Christ upon the earth.
The art of printing along with the other inventions and discoveries which preceded the coming of Moroni and the restoration of the Gospel, had to be revealed before the Church could be established in the earth. The framing of the American Constitution, we well know, was by divine inspiration. And thus, revealing line upon line and precept upon precept, the Lord prepared the way for the restoration of His work in fulness in the earth.
The wisdom of these provisions in the Constitution which protect the liberties and inherent rights of the citizens, should be apparent to all. They should be guarded and protected with a jealous care. The Constitution is our assurance against anarchy and despotism. Every Latter-day Saint should be familiar with every part of this great document. Such knowledge is essential to an understanding of the significance of the word of the Lord in the Doctrine and Covenants. . . .
With this provision of the Constitution, that there should be no religious test, and that every person should have the right to worship according to the dictates of conscience, the fulness of religious liberty was born. This principle, we may see from a study of the past, has been of gradual growth and development since the days of the emancipation of the people from religious tyranny at the time of the Protestant revolution. It took several centuries for the seed to develop and bring forth the fully developed fruit which it did when the government of the United States was formed. In this way the Lord prepared the way for the restoration of the Gospel with all its keys and powers in a humble way in the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times. It would be wrong to say that it was impossible for the Lord to establish his work had not religious freedom come and been guaranteed as we find it in our Constitution. But it is a fact, nevertheless, that he, in his infinite wisdom, prepared the way, commencing several hundred years ago and working through brave and humble men, many of whom became martyrs to the cause of truth, when darkness ruled supreme over the face of the earth.
If there is any doubt in your minds about this being a blessed land in which you live, and that an all-powerful hand directs its destinies, remember that it was the Lord himself who raised up wise men to give to us our Constitution [D&C 101:80]—the greatest palladium of human rights that any people have ever known. . . .
. . . He [the Lord] watched over them [the Pilgrims] and safeguarded their descendants and those who followed them to America, and in due time, there came an opportunity to establish liberty such as humankind had not known before. The Lord raised up Washington, and with him that body of men who fought valiantly to establish for us in this land a government for which surely we are all grateful. . . .
The Lord has watched over his land: He directed Columbus to these shores: he led the Pilgrims here; he established the Constitution of the United States, and through the Prophet Joseph Smith restored the everlasting gospel to bless the children of men. If they will accept it and obey it, it will result in the salvation of the human family.
During the great struggle for independence in the country under the leadership of George Washington, our Heavenly Father was preparing the way for the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ in its purity.
He gave to certain individuals the inspiration to frame the Constitution of the United States that has been referred to in this conference, the greatest palladium of human rights that we know anything about. Under such a Constitution the gospel of Jesus Christ was restored to the earth one hundred nineteen years ago. . . .
Joseph Smith, the Prophet, and his brother Hyrum (the great-great-grandfather of the man who sits at my left here on the stand and grandfather of the man who sits behind me in this congregation) died as martyrs at the hands of a wicked mob. They were sacrificed not for any wrong they had done but because they had sought to teach the truth and call the people of the world to repent before it was too late. The work has gone on and under the Constitution of the United States we have been permitted to carry on in this great land. We have been permitted to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ. Our missionaries of course have gone all over the world, but I am speaking now of the United States of America. However, there are many people, many men and women in this land, some of whom may be friends or relatives who are misguided by the idea that the Constitution of the United States isn’t as fine a system of government as they have in Russia or Germany or Italy or some other part of the world, notwithstanding the fact that the Lord himself said that he raised up the very men who framed the Constitution of the United States and directed that the membership of this Church should pray for and sustain those who represented the Constitution of this land. I hold in my hand the Bible and can read the Ten Commandments that were given to Moses for the guidance of the people wherein the Lord told Moses what the people should live for and do. If those Ten Commandments had been lived up to by the people of the world down to the present time, this earth could long ago have been celestialized. But the people refused.
You know, and I know, that the Ten Commandments contain the will of our Heavenly Father, and I am grateful, not only for the civil laws but also for the laws God has given to us. I feel bound to conform my life to the teachings of the Ten Commandments. I feel equally bound to sustain the Constitution of the United States which came from the same source as the Ten Commandments. Unless the people of this great nation can realize these things and repent, they may forfeit the liberty that they now enjoy, and the blessings that are so multiplied among us. I do hope and pray that they will discover before it is too late that God has spoken again. Your responsibility and mine is to let our light so shine that others seeing our good works will be constrained to glorify him who is the Author of our being.