In a time when too many members of the Church say the principles of the Constitution are no longer relevant to a “worldwide Church”, I think it is wise to remember the words of a Prophet who, while President of the Church, said:
“I ask for an interest in your faith and prayers as I speak to you about a subject that is very close to my heart and that affects the worldwide Church.” (Ezra Taft Benson, Gen Conf Oct 1987)
What was the subject referred to that affects the worldwide Church? The title of his talk was “Our Divine Constitution”.
How could that be? It is the Constitution of the United States, not the United Nations charter.
The Lord said He established the Constitution to allow His children to live by eternal principles, so that we could act “according to the moral agency” that He gave to us, and so that we could all be “accountable for [our] own sins” (D&C 101:78). These are not temporary principles, or principles meant for just a few, these are eternal principles for everyone.
Our Father in Heaven also said that any law that is not Constitutional is evil, and that we should “forsake all evil”. He further establishes that any law that does not protect “rights and privileges” is unconstitutional and therefore, evil. (D&C 98:5-7, 11)
At this time of year, as we celebrate the independence of the United States, let us remember that the Lord had His hand in the establishment of it, that Nephi saw that the Lord caused the victory of those fighting for independence (which was against “the law”) (1 Nephi 13:16-19) and that He (God) sent His mightiest warriors to assure that victory.
“That same angel that appeared unto Joseph Smith (Moroni)… was in the camp of Washington, and by an invisible hand, led on our fathers to conquest and victory” (Elder Orson Hyde JD 6:368)
We must remember that we have a duty and are held accountable to God for continuing that heritage of freedom (D&C 134:1), and that this truly is a subject that “affects the worldwide Church”.
11 thoughts on “US Constitution: For a World-wide Church”
Agree with your post, One more comment there that I think is interesting is that the constitution, according to scripture, was set up for the freedom of not only our land but the entire earth.
77 According to the laws and constitution of the people, which I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles;
(Doctrine and Covenants | Section 101:77)
Short, sweet and to the point!
All true Ezra, but preaching such things in Church today is the surest way to get yourself in trouble with your priesthood leaders, get released from your callings, and maybe even disfellowshipped or worse. Been there. Done that.
hmm good one but I dont think its practical. Nothing is perfect except the Lords scriptures written by his prophets. The constitution is not a holy document so that does not count.
“77 According to the laws and constitution of the people, which I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles;
78 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.
79 Therefore, it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another.
80 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.”
Sounds like it IS scripture to me!
Prophets have clearly included the Constitution with the scriptures in a list of inspired documents. Yet, it must fall just short of being scripture. First, to be binding scripture, it must be accepted as such by the principle of common consent by the body of the church. Of course, that does not mean that a document that has not gone through this ratifying process is untrue. However, in the Joseph Smith Papers, Administrative Records, published by Deseret Book, the minutes of the Council of 50 are revealed showing that one of their primary objectives was to write a perfected U.S. Constitution.
I really have a problem with a couple of the comments so far. First, I don’t see anything in this article that I would hesitate to share with my priesthood leaders. Of course, regardless of whether I might be disfellowshipped, I shouldn’t hesitate to share them simply because I believe they’re true. I also object to the comment that the constitution is not divine. It is true that it is not scripture, but to suggest that the constitution, which has been declared by living prophets as being a divine document, is “not practical” strikes me immediately as, well, wrong. This article is not only short, sweet and to the point – it is also true.
“To me….that statement of the Lord, “I have established the Constitution of this land,” puts the Constitution of the United States in the position in which it would be if it were written in this book of Doctrine and Covenants itself. This makes the Constitution the word of the Lord to us.” ( J. Reuben Clark, April 1935 General Conference )
There is lots of things that the Lord has established for the benefit of man. I repeat, the constitution is not the word of the Lord. its an inspired document but not the word of the Lord. But everyone has the right to believe what they want. The word of the Lord comes from his authorized representative on the earth. The Lord works in a systematic manner. Otherwise all the books written that have some sort of inspiration will be termed as the word of the Lord.
I have to sustain the objection that the Constitution itself is not scripture, and that although we know it to be inspired, it is not therefore contradictory to assert that it may contain imperfections arising from the circumstances and flaws of those men who–despite being guided and blessed by the Provident hand of the Almighty–were not themselves prophets of God.
At the same time, I cannot help but be impressed by the deep and sincere respect for the idea of laws that are binding upon all men, regardless of station of birth or circumstance in life, which informs every line of that great document and which no doubt invited the inspiration of the Spirit of God into the language and principles to be found in the Constitution of the United States of America. It is proper to remember that the Constitution is not, itself, the word of God. But it is in no way just to deny the power and authority of such a remarkable exploration of the fundamental nature of Law, even leaving aside the direct and literal word of God pronouncing the correctness of its principles.
However, I have found that formulaic expressions of reverence for the Constitution can blind us to its more profound meaning. In the last few years, I have become far more aware of how the Declaration of Independence, and the war its signers fought to back their contention of a right to self-rule, gives meaning to the Constitution that it cannot retain outside of this context. In the past decade, Americans have been frustrated by the difficulty of imposing liberation on peoples who, left to their own devices, would have languished under tyranny indefinitely. I have instinctively derided the arguments of those who claim that people of other cultures do not have the same “right” to freedom. But I have over time come also to question whether Americans still retain the qualifications themselves.
Are those who claim the heritage of freedom still willing to stake their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor on it? For that is the premise on which the Constitution was founded, and nowhere has the requirement for a worthy people been revoked.
The Constitution is indeed a legacy to all who love freedom, regardless of country of origin or heritage of culture. And certainly those who follow the Gospel of the Living Christ yearn for that ultimate freedom which is to be found in obedience to the commandments of God Almighty–including the injunction to befriend and uphold the divine pattern of government found in the Constitution.
But how many of us can honestly claim to love freedom enough to risk all else to secure it?
The Constitution surely worked as a Template for other countries to follow and implement in their nations.. To be “imposed” on other nations and preach it as the word of God? I would not.