This principle of freedom is based on the idea that virtuous leaders can help their people to be virtuous and morally strong. The Prophet Joseph Smith recognized this principle of freedom. When he was asked how he governed such a large group of people, he answered, "I teach them correct principles and then they govern themselves."
There are numerous examples in the scriptures of good men leading their people in righteousness. One such man was Enoch, who taught his people so well that the entire city was taken into heaven (Moses 7:23-23). Another good man who led his people in righteousness was Melchizedek, who taught his people so well that he was able to establish peace in the land. He was known as the prince of peace (Alma 13:17-18).
The Founders of our nation knew that leaders must be good men in order to have virtuous and moral people. They also understood the dangers of wicked rulers. James Madison wrote, "If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary" (The Federalist Papers, No. 51, p 319).
Our Constitution was written for a moral people. There have been numerous times and places in our nation when wicked men were controlling the circumstances. At a time when some of his followers were being persecuted and killed, the Prophet Joseph Smith received the following revelation: "I, the Lord God, make you free, therefore ye are free indeed; and the law also maketh you free. Nevertheless, when the wicked rule the people mourn. Wherefore, 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" (Doctrine and Covenants 98:8-10).
The Founders were good, honest and wise men who set up our government in such a way as to keep evilness in check. That is the reason why we have three branches of federal government as well as state governments. At the same time they encouraged good men to become public servants. They knew that a good example could encourage people to become better. Any person who reads about Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Franklin, Adams, etc. should feel a sense of pride in the greatness of our Founders. Let us continue to seek for good, honest, and wise men and women to lead our states and nation. When we find them, let's support them!
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