Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

America Is Great

                    The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is the fact that the United States of America is a great nation.  America is great because it is good.  America is great because it is free.  America is great because it was founded on liberty principles set forth in the Word of God.  America is great because this land was preserved by God and continues to be protected by God.

                    Moroni, an ancient American prophet, described this land with these words:  "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, who hath been manifested by the things which we have written."  (See Book of Mormon - Another Testament of Jesus Christ, Ether 2:12.)

                    Ancient prophets are not the only people who consider faith in God to be the foundation for the goodness and liberty found in America.  Other people had the same view of America as shown from the following quotes found in President Ezra Taft Benson's book entitled An Enemy Hath Done This (pp. 113-122.)

                    "I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers, and it was not there; in her fertile fields and boundless prairies, and it was not there; in her rich mines and her vast world commerce, and it was not there.  Not until I went to the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power.  America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.  (Alexis de Tocqueville, P.P.N.S., p. 60)" 
                    "It is sheer folly for Americans to think that military power and scientific knowledge alone provide the answer to the problems now confronting the nation.  Military strength is only a component part.  If the nation is to escape catastrophe, it must be armored with national character derived from moral and spiritual values….
                    "Let us not lose faith in God's ability to deal with tyrants today as he has in the past.  As long as there is a remnant of people in a society who are capable of being instruments in the hands of God, who know how to intercede with God in prayer, mighty changes in the course of events can and will happen swiftly.  (Gwynne W. Davidson, D.D., The Red Carpet, p. 289)"

                    "The French historian, Francois Pierre Guillaume Guizot, while visiting in the United States, asked James Russell Lowell, `How long will the American Republic endure?'  Lowell's answer was:  `As long as the ideas of the men who founded it continue dominant.'
                    "And what were those ideas?  Two fundamental principles were:  Freedom from Dictatorship and Freedom of the Individual!  This goes right back to our free agency, which is as precious as life itself.  (President David O. McKay, 1964, Statements On Communism and the Constitution, p. 34)"

                    "We do not need more material development, we need more spiritual development.  We do not need more intellectual power, we need more moral power.  We do not need more knowledge, we need more character.  We do not need more government, we need more culture.  We do not need more law, we need more religion.  We do not need more of the things that are seen, we need more of the things that are unseen.  It is on that side of life that it is desirable to put the emphasis at the present time.  If that side is strengthened, the other side will take care of itself.  It is that side which is the foundation of all else.  If the foundation be firm, the superstructure will stand.  ([Calvin Coolidge], The Price of Freedom, p. 390; P.P.N.S., p. 35)"

                    President Benson suggested that the history of nations [from ancient Greece and Rome to modern-day European nations to the United States] shows that political entities go through a slow but sure cycle:  "From bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to courage; from courage to freedom; from freedom to abundance; from abundance to selfishness; from selfishness to complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to fear; from fear to dependency; from dependency to bondage."

                    We can see from this cycle that our greatest danger comes from weakness within our nation rather than from foreign forces.  In fact, we know that "nations are never conquered from outside unless they are rotten inside" (Benson, p. 120.)  Benson quoted Tom Anderson who wrote, "Our greatest national problem is … erosion of the national morality (Straight Talk, p. 73)."  He also quoted John Steinbeck who said, "If I wanted to destroy a nation I would give it too much and I would have it on its knees, miserable, greedy and sick."

                    President Benson included the following quoted from a historian:  "The prominent historian, Channing Pollock, observed that most democracies last for about 200 years.  They are conceived and developed by simple, vigorous, idealistic, hard-working people who, unfortunately, with success become rich and decadent, learn to live without labor, depend more on the largess of big government, and end by trading domestic tyrants for foreign tyrants."

                    The fact that our nation has stood for 225 years can probably be attributed to the fact that the Framers of our Constitution gave us a republic and not a democracy.  The reason we are on a slippery slope now is because we changed the Constitution, particularly ratifying the Seventeenth Amendment (April 8, 1913) and changing the way Senators are elected.  When the Constitution was written, Senators were elected by the state legislatures and represented states; after this amendment passed, Senators were elected directly by the people and started being swayed by special interests.

                    It appears that Benjamin Franklin was prophetic.  "As Franklin emerged from the Constitutional Convention, a woman tugged on his sleeve and asked what system of government had been proposed for the American people.  His famous reply remains timely after nearly two centuries:  `A Republic, if you can keep it.'  Later amplifying his remarks, he predicted that the new nation would be well administered for a few years, `but only end in despotism, as other forms have done before, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic government, being incapable of any other'.  (See George C. Roche III, The Freeman, March 1967, p. 145)"

                    President Benson considered the following quote by Admiral Ben Moreell as "most appropriate" in 1968 when he spoke at the Annual Boy Scouts Banquet in Commerce, Texas.  The quote seems to me to be "most appropriate" in 2012 also.

                    "Is there a way ahead which will take us out of this morass?  Is there a way to recover the sanity and balance which once marked our life?  I am sure there is, if we are willing to pay the price.  But it is not by resort to political legerdemain.  It is by beating our way upstream, against the swift-running current, to those moral and spiritual values upon which this nation was built.  We must be born again of the spirit!
                    "… if men are not right at the deeper level, in their understanding of the nature of the universe and man's position therein, they can tinker with economic and political problems from now until doomsday and still come up with the wrong answers.

                    "It is a case of putting first things first and the very first thing is a rehabilitation of our basic moral principles.  Such an effort on our part will call forth the support of cosmic sanction, for God intended men to be free.  `The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time,' Jefferson observed.  But we will need conviction, courage, tenacity, understanding, humility, compassion and above all, faith in our traditional American way of life, our inspired constitution and the Lord our God.  (The Freeman, September 1966, p. 13)"

                    America is not "just another nation" in the world.  America is a choice land with a divine destiny to preserve and protect freedom throughout the world.  America is the last great hope for the world and must remain great in order to perform its mission of saving the world from the godless conspiracy that seeks to destroy freedom everywhere.

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