Saturday, July 4, 2009

Independence Day Notes and Quotes

I gave a talk last Sunday in church about the Constitution (based on President Benson's 'Our Divine Constitution'). Reading this talk and others he wrote, I've really felt like this is pretty important stuff, more than I've realized in the past. Mostly, that it really is critical to be doing whatever we can to promote those things that are right and to take action in whatever way possible to protect the freedoms we have. Here's some great quotes from his talk that especially stood out to me. (Everything below is quoted from 'Our Divine Constitution' or another talk by President Benson printed in the Ensign a few months prior.)

First and foremost, we must be righteous.

• John Adams said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

• We must live the gospel principles—all of them. We have no right to expect a higher degree of morality from those who represent us than what we ourselves exhibit. To live a higher law means:
  • we will not seek to receive what we have not earned by our own labor.
  • It means we will remember that government owes us nothing.
Second, we must learn the principles of the Constitution in the tradition of the Founding Fathers.

• As Jefferson said, “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free … it expects what never was and never will be.
• Have we read the Constitution and pondered it? Are we aware of its principles? Could we defend it? Can we recognize when a law is constitutionally unsound?

Third, we must become involved in civic affairs to see that we are properly represented.

• As citizens of this republic, we cannot do our duty and be idle spectators. It is vital that we follow this counsel from the Lord: “Honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil.” (D&C 98:10.) Note the qualities that the Lord demands in those who are to represent us. They must be good, wise, and honest.

Fourth, we must make our influence felt by our vote, our letters, our teaching, and our advice.

• We must become accurately informed and then let others know how we feel. The Prophet Joseph Smith said: “It is our duty to concentrate all our influence to make popular that which is sound and good, and unpopular that which is unsound. ‘Tis right, politically, for a man who has influence to use it

We, the blessed beneficiaries, face difficult days in this beloved land, “a land which is choice above all other lands.” (Ether 2:10.) It may also cost us blood before we are through. It is my conviction, however, that when the Lord comes, the Stars and Stripes will be floating on the breeze over this people. May it be so, and may God give us the faith and the courage exhibited by those patriots who pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor that we might be free, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen