The Lord said, "I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up" (D&C 101:80). Among the opening words of his dedicatory prayer at the Washington Temple, President Kimball referred to our inspired Constitution.
The elders of this Church have a prophetic mission yet to perform so far as the Constitution is concerned. In a discourse on July 19, 1840, Joseph Smith said, "Even this nation will be on the very verge of crumbling to pieces and tumbling to the ground, and when the Constitution is upon the brink of ruin, this people will be the staff upon which the nation shall lean, and they shall bear the Constitution away from the very verge of destruction" (M8d 155, Bx4, Joseph Smith, Church Historian's Library).
Now, how are the elders going to prepare for that mission? How are they going to know what the Constitution is, so they will know when it is on the brink of ruin? In many of the law schools of today you will hear that the Constitution is whatever the Supreme Court says it is. Could it be that the Supreme Court, which President McKay said is leading this nation down the road to atheism, is the agency to tell us what this divine document is (David O. McKay, Church News, 22 June 1963; Jerreld Newquist, comp., Prophets, Principles, and National Survival, pp. 187–88)? Can we learn best how to preserve it by studying what it is at the hands of some of those who are seeking to destroy it?
But President McKay had a better approach when he encouraged us to support good and conscientious candidates who are truly dedicated to the Constitution in the tradition of our founding fathers. They are the ones the Lord referred to as wise men. It is to them, the Lord, and his prophets that we should go to determine what the Constitution is. There must have been a tradition of our founding fathers, or President McKay would not have referred to it. (One of the best books on this subject was written by Clarence Carson, entitled The American Tradition, distributed by The Foundation for Economic Education at Irvington-on-Hudson, New York.
President J. Reuben Clark served on their board of trustees for some time. I now have the honor of so serving.) To the Lord, his prophets, and the founding fathers we must go to learn of this divine document so that our efforts will be to preserve and not to destroy the Constitution.
The Prophet Joseph Smith said in a great discourse in Nauvoo on February 7, 1844, "Were I the president of the United States . . . I would honor the old paths of the venerated fathers of freedom; I would walk in the tracks of the illustrious patriots who carried the ark of the Government upon their shoulders with an eye single to the glory of the people" (History of the Church, 6:208).
Said President George Albert Smith, "I am saying to you that to me the Constitution of the United States of America is just as much from my Heavenly Father as the Ten Commandments. When that is my feeling I am not going to go very far away from the Constitution and I am going to try to keep it where the Lord started it, and not let anti-Christ come into this country" (Conference Report, April 1948, p. 182).
And speaking of anti-Christ, I would like to tell you, if you want to get some idea of how we are flaunting the Constitution, see how the Constitution defines treason. Then observe what we are doing to build up the enemy in this totally anti-Christ conspiracy. If we continue on this tragic course of aid and trade to the enemy, then the Lord has warned us of the consequences which will follow in chapter eight of Ether in the Book of Mormon.
Thank God for the Constitution, which made it possible for the Lord to establish his church and base of operations here in the United States for these last days. And may God bless the elders of Israel so that when, as President John Taylor said, "the people shall have torn to shreds the Constitution of the United States the Elders of Israel will be found holding it up to the nations of earth and proclaiming liberty" (Journal of Discourses, 21:8).
Ezra Taft Benson was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles ofThe Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when this devotional address was given at Brigham Young University on 10 December 1974.
© Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.