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.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Divinely Inspired Constitution

                The topic of discussion for this Constitution concerns the inspiration behind the Constitution of the United States and how it was drafted and ratified. We know that the entire Constitution was not inspired of God because God would never inspire any program that caused any of His children to live in slavery. God gave each of us moral agency in our premortal life and sent it with us when we came to earth; He wants us to be free to make our choices – good or bad – in order that His judgement because He wants us to receive the consequences we deserve. Slavery of every kind is a tool of Satan because he likes to control people.

                Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has spoken about the Constitution numerous times.  The source of my quotes is an article published in February 1992 Ensign titled “The Divinely Inspired Constitution.” He listed five great fundamentals of the Constitution that he considers to be divinely inspired.  [A version of this address, given at the Freedom Festival, Provo, Utah, was printed in Utah Forum, Fall/Winter 1989, pp. 1-11.]

                1. “Separation of powers [into the three branches of executive, legislative, and judicial]…. Thus, we see that the inspiration on the idea of separation of powers came long before the U.S. Constitutional Convention. The inspiration in the convention was in its original and remarkably successful adaptation of the idea of separation of powers to the practical needs of a national government. The delegates found just the right combination to assure the integrity of each branch, appropriately checked and balanced with the others.”

                2. “A written bill of rights. This second great fundamental came by amendment, but I think Americans all look upon the Bill of Rights as part of the inspired work of the Founding Fathers.  The idea of a bill of rights was not new. Once again, the inspiration was in the brilliant, practical implementation of preexisting principles….
                “I have always felt that the United States Constitution’s closest approach to scriptural stature is in the phrasing of our Bill of Rights. Without the free exercise of religion, America could not have served as the host nation for the restoration of the gospel, which began just three decades after the Bill of Rights was ratified. I also see scriptural stature in the concept and wording of the freedoms of speech and press, the right to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures, the requirements that there must be probable cause for an arrest and that accused persons must have a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury, and the guarantee that a person will not be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law….”

                3. “Division of powers [between nation and states]. Another inspired fundamental of the U.S. Constitution is its federal system, which divides government powers between the nation and the various states.  Unlike the inspired adaptations mentioned earlier, this division of sovereignty was unprecedented in theory or practice.  In a day when it is fashionable to assume that the government has the power and means to right every wrong, we should remember that the U.S. Constitution limits the national government to the exercise of powers expressly granted to it.” [See the Tenth Amendment.]

                4. “Application of Popular sovereignty. Perhaps the most important of the great fundamentals of the inspired Constitution is the principle of popular sovereignty:  The people are the source of government power. Along with many religious people, Latter-day Saints affirm that God gave the power to the people, and the people consented to a constitution that delegated certain powers to the government….”

                5. “The rule of law and not of men. Further, there is divine inspiration in the fundamental underlying premise of this whole constitutional order. All the blessings enjoyed under the United States Constitution are dependent upon the rule of law. … The rule of law is the basis of liberty.”

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