Quote Category: ‘Independence’
With independence won, another body of men assembled; and under the inspiration of heaven, they too drafted a document, probably the greatest instrument ever struck off at a given time by the mind of man: the Constitution of the United States.
About two hundred years ago some inspired men walked this land. Not perfect men, but men raised up by the Perfect Man to perform a great work. Foreordained were they to lay the foundation of this republic. Blessed by the Almighty in their struggle for liberty and independence, the power of heaven rested on these founders as they drafted that great document for governing men — the Constitution of the United States. Like the Ten Commandments, the truths on which the Constitution was based were timeless; and also as with the Decalogue — the hand of the Lord was in it. They filled their mission well. From them we were endowed with a legacy of liberty — a constitutional republic.
No nation has been more greatly blessed than has the United States. We live in a land which has been called choice above all other lands by divine pronouncement. The Lord has watched over it with a jealous care and has commanded its people to serve him lest his wrath be kindled against them and his blessings be withdrawn. Our government came into existence through divine guidance. The inspiration of the Lord rested upon the patriots who established it, and inspired them through the dark days of their struggle for independence and through the critical period which followed that struggle when they framed our glorious Constitution which guarantees to all the self-evident truth proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence, “that all men are created equal: that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights: that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” That is to say, it is the right of every soul to have equal and unrestricted justice before the law, equal rights to worship according to the dictates of conscience and to labor according to the individual inclinations, independently of coercion or compulsion. That this might be, the Lord has said, “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” (D&C 101:80).
The founders of this nation were men of humble faith. Many of them saw in vision a glorious destiny for our government, provided we would faithfully continue in the path of justice and right with contrite spirits and humble hearts, accepting the divine truths which are found in the Holy Scriptures. The appeal of these men has echoed down the passing years with prophetic warning to the succeeding generations, pleading with them to be true to all these standards which lay at the foundation of our government. This country was founded as a Christian nation, with the acceptance of Jesus Christ as the Redeemer of the world.
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. . . .
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. . . .
(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.