Posted by: 2thdocbob | 30 May 2021

Our Inspired Constitution

Brothers and sisters, I am grateful for the assignment to speak this morning. On this Memorial Day weekend, we remember those who have sacrificed so that we can enjoy the blessings we enjoy in this great land. I think in particular of the Founding Fathers, who laid everything upon the altar to help establish the United States of America. A wise person has said “when you drink from the fountain, don’t forget who dug the well.” We celebrate in gratitude this weekend.

I will speak of the Constitution this morning. In parallel with President Oaks’ statement at the beginning of his masterful conference talk, let me make it clear that I do not identify with any particular political party or group. I speak as an Elder in Israel, and as a disciple of the God of this land, who is Jesus Christ.

I am not the constitutional scholar that President Oaks is, but I have I have studied the Constitution in some depth, and I have read commentaries and even Supreme Court decisions to gain a deeper understanding.

As we study the Doctrine & Covenants this year, I encourage you to pay attention to the statements the Lord has made about this land of promise. It will fortify your faith and your patriotism.

President Nelson testified in April Conference, “Satan has marshaled his forces and is raging against the work of the Lord and those of us engaged in it. Because of the increasing dangers we face, our need for divine guidance has never been greater, and our efforts to hear the voice of Jesus Christ—our Mediator, Savior, and Redeemer—have never been more urgent.”[1]

In the Doctrine & Covenants, Section 101, we read of the

“constitution of the people, which I have suffered to be established, and [it] 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 … 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.

“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[2].”

The founding fathers have been judged harshly by many in our generation. But the Lord has testified through the Prophet Joseph that he raised up these “wise men” to establish this nation and free it by the shedding of blood.

In Section 98, the Lord informs us:

“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.”[3]

Heavenly Father has given the Constitution his seal of approval. Do we dare reject it? As for me and my house, we will follow the Lord. The prophets continue to testify that it is an inspired document. Does that mean it is perfect? No, but it is inspired. Things change over time and laws do require some adjustments. As President Oaks stated, we do not believe that all legal interpretations of the Constitution are inspired.

Elder J. Reuben Clark, Jr. an Apostle, and perhaps the most noted Constitutional scholar in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, testified in Conference in 1935 that the Constitution was given by the workings and operation of the Lord’s mind and Spirit upon the minds of these men. This is what makes it an inspired document.[4]

A few years later, he stated: “Brethren, I wish you to understand that when we begin to tamper with the Constitution we begin to tamper with the law of Zion which God Himself set up, and no one may trifle with the word of God with impunity.” [5]

This statement and others from the Prophets and Apostles of the Latter Days resound in my heart, because the prophets have stated in very clear terms over the years that the Constitution was established to pave the way for the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Prior to 1787, there was no nation on the earth that offered the protections that were necessary to allow the Church of Jesus Christ to be restored and to flourish in its infancy.

President George Albert Smith testified: The founding of the United States was not an accident. The giving to us of the Constitution of the United States was not an accident. Our Heavenly Father knew what would be needed, and so he paved the way to give us the Constitution. It came under the influence of prayer, and he guided those who framed that wonderful document.” [6]

President Oaks asked “What was God’s purpose in establishing the United States Constitution? We see it in the doctrine of moral agency.”[7]

Please note that Elder Clark, Presidents Smith and Benson, and Elder Christofferson also testified that the Constitution was given to preserve our agency. Our moral agency is one of the greatest gifts that Heavenly Father has granted us.

President Oaks stated further:

“God has given His children moral agency—the power to decide and to act. The most desirable condition for the exercise of that agency is maximum freedom for men and women to act according to their individual choices. Then, the revelation explains, “every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment” (Doctrine and Covenants 101:78).[8]

As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we understand the concepts of agency and accountability through the lens of our testimonies of Heavenly Father’s Plan of Salvation. Proper exercise of our agency will qualify us for eternal life in Heavenly Father’s presence.

John Adams stated: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”[9]

These important truths that were revealed to the Brother of Jared about the promised land explain why President Adams’ statement is true:

“And now, we can behold the decrees of God concerning this land, that it is a land of promise; and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall serve God, or they shall be swept off when the fulness of his wrath shall come upon them. …

“For behold, this is a land which is choice above all other lands; wherefore he that doth possess it shall serve God or shall be swept off; for it is the everlasting decree of God. …

“Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ.”[10]

You will recall that after the dedication of the St. George Temple in 1877, the Founding Fathers appeared to Elder Wilford Woodruff, the Temple President and requested that saving ordinances be performed for them in the temple. He saw to it that this was done, along with other notable men and women who helped establish our nation.

This shows us the caliber of these individuals. They were not perfect. I am not perfect, either, but I have access to God’s inspiration, too.

All the blessings enjoyed under the United States Constitution are dependent upon the rule of law. The righteous respect the rule of law. That is why President J. Reuben Clark said, “Our allegiance run[s] to the Constitution and to the principles which it embodies, and not to individuals.” The rule of law is the basis of liberty. It is part of our civic duty to be moral and respectful in our conduct toward all people. There is no place in responsible citizenship for dishonesty or deceit or for willful law breaking of any kind. We believe with the author of Proverbs that “righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” The personal righteousness of citizens will strengthen a nation more than the force of its arms.[11]

I urge you to prayerfully study President Oaks’ powerful talk from April Conference. I also urge your prayerful study of the Doctrine and Covenants in relation to this important topic. Study the teachings of the prophets about America. And study the Constitution as well. This will help us hold these great men in sacred memory on Memorial Day and always. They played an important part in the Restoration. They dug the well.

I testify that if you will do this, you will be blessed with a deeper understanding of the promises of the Lord to us, his covenant people.

I testify to you that the Constitution was inspired of God. I know that it was established to allow the Restoration of the Gospel to occur so that we can fulfill our roles in covenant Israel and assist in the gathering.

I testify that God is at the helm. He is directing the affairs of his kingdom.

I know that if we are true to the principles of liberty as revealed by God, we will find peace amid the confusion and evils of our world.

That we may do so is my prayer.

[1] Russell M. Nelson, Ensign January 2021.

[2] D&C 101: 77-78, 80.

[3] D&C 98:5.

[4] J. Reuben Clark, Conference Report, p. 90. April 1935.

[5] J. Reuben Clark, Conference Report, October 58, 1942.

[6] George Albert Smith, Teachings, 167.

[7] Oaks, Defending Our Divinely Inspired Constitution. General Conference, April 2021. Italics mine.

[8] Oaks, ibid,

[9] From John Adams to Massachusetts Militia, 11 October 1798

[10] Ether 2:9-10, 12.

[11] Benson?


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