Sunday, November 15, 2009
We the People
The first principle contained in the Preamble to the United States Constitution is that the Constitution is ordained and established by "We the People." This principle tells us that the people of the United States have the Right to govern themselves. The Founders of this nation were inspired to know that the people hold the power. They understood that the new Constitution would only work in a nation that was good and moral. They knew that the people must be taught virtuous principles and then live them. Abraham Lincoln closed his great address at Gettysburg with the words "that the government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." Joseph Smith, the Mormon Prophet, was once asked how he governed so many people. He answered that he taught them correct principles and then the people governed themselves The phrase "We the People" caused one of the disagreements that existed between the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists and that threatened ratification of the Constitution. The Anti-Federalists thought it should be "we the states" because they thought the states should have the power. We are fortunate indeed that the Federalists won this argument. An ancient and inspired king once told his people that rulers do not always have the good of the people in mind and that it is very difficult to get rid of a bad ruler. He suggested that judges be elected by the voice of the people in order that the people could be judged by the law. This wise king said, "Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right; therefore, this shall ye observe and make it your law - to do your business by the voice of the people" (Mosiah 29:26). Government should be controlled by the people because the people, when taught correctly about their rights, will instinctively want to preserve those rights and freedoms. It is my hope and my prayer that We the People of these United States will understand that we have the responsibility to control the government and thus our freedoms. For visuals in presenting this principle in your family home evening, go to this site or this one or this one or this one.