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.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Stand Up for Freedom

                   I was asked to prepare some patriotic flag ceremonies to present at Young Women's camp this week.  The rest of this essay contains my remarks at the opening flag ceremony tonight.

                    As citizens of the United States of America, we should all be willing to stand up for freedom.  Our freedoms are being challenged and destroyed on a regular basis.  Every time I go through security at an airport, I remember the freedoms lost since 9/11.  There are people, both foreign and domestic, who are working hard to destroy our nation.  We have been warned about "secret combinations" being in every nation in the latter day.  Could some of these groups be classified as "secret combinations"?

                    As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we should recognize our duty to support and defend this great nation.  As members of this Church we have greater knowledge and thus greater responsibility to defend our liberties.

                    The Prophet Joseph Smith apparently prophesied that the Constitution of the United States would one day be in danger.  I could not find the statement in the Prophet's writings, but I did find where several other prophets referred to Joseph's statement.  The following quote is from an address given by President Joseph Fielding Smith in the April 1950 General Conference.

                    "This statement has been made that the Prophet said the time would come when this Constitution would hang as by a thread, and this is true.  There has been some confusion, however, as to just what he said following this.  I think that Elder Orson Hyde has given us a correct interpretation wherein he says that the Prophet said the Constitution would be in danger.
                    "Said Orson Hyde:  `I believe he said something like this - that the time would come when the Constitution and the country would be in danger of an overthrow; and said he [meaning Joseph]:  "If the Constitution be save at all, it will be by the elders of this Church."  I believe this is about the language, as nearly as I can recollect it.' [Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, p. 152]
                    "Now I tell you it is time the people of the United States were waking up with the understanding that if they don't save the Constitution from the dangers that threaten it, we will have a change of government."  (See Conference Report, April, 1950, p. 159 or Doctrines of Salvation - Sermons and Writings of Joseph Fielding Smith, p. 326.)

                    Having heard of this prophecy, I was instantly alert when I read a similar statement in the writing of a modern-day student of the Constitution:  "Dear Patriot Readers, the U.S. Constitution is on life support.  To prevent it from flat-lining, … we must surgically endeavor with our every thought and deed to restore a healthy Rule of Law" (Mark Alexander in "Our Constitution is on Life Support," October 15, 2009).  

                    Both prophets and those who study the Constitution tell us that our Constitution and form of government are being threatened.  The words of the prophets suggest that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be instrumental in upholding the Constitution.  What actions do we need to take in order to help save our Constitution and thus our freedoms?

                    The first thing I suggest is that you and I embark on a great adventure to understand all that is happening as well as what should be happening in our nation.  I suggest that we start with the Book of Mormon - Another Testament of Jesus Christ because it tells us the importance of our land.  As we read the Book of Mormon, we must keep in mind that this book was written for our day to help us solve our problems.

                    The writers of the Book of Mormon warns us numerous times that we must worship Jesus Christ or be swept off the land.  Nephi recorded in 1 Nephi 2:20:  "And inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper, and shall be led to a land of promise; yea, even a land which I have prepared for you; yea, a land which is choice above all other lands."

                    Two chapters later Nephi recorded his experience in obtaining the Brass Plates and remembered the Lord's words:  "Inasmuch as thy seed shall keep my commandments, they shall prosper in the land of promise."

                    This promise is repeated all the way through the Book of Mormon.  In Ether we read, "For behold, this is a land which is choice above all other lands; wherefore he that doth possess it shall serve God or shall be swept off; for it is the everlasting decree of God.  And it is not until the fulness of iniquity among the children of the land, that they are swept off."

                    The Book of Mormon records the destruction of two different groups of people who lived on the American continents - the Jaredites and the Nephites.  They lived here until they reached that point of wickedness where God allowed them to either destroy themselves or to be destroyed by others.

                    The Book of Mormon contains prophecies about the future United States of America.  In the Book of Mormon we find scriptures that seem to tell us about Columbus, the Puritans and Pilgrims, the Revolutionary War, the colonists, etc.

                    "And I looked and beheld a man among the Gentiles, who was separated from the seed of y brethren by the many waters; and I beheld the Spirit of God, that it came down and wrought upon the man; and he went forth upon the many waters , even unto the seed of my brethren, who were in the promised land."  I believe that Nephi was describing Columbus and his discover of America.

                    Nephi saw other Gentiles - could they be the Puritans and Pilgrims - who went across the "many waters" - maybe the Atlantic Ocean - to the promised land to escape captivity.  He saw that the Gentiles in the new land began to prosper; he also saw that they were humble before God and carried a book written by the Jews - the Bible.

                    Nephi apparently saw the Revolutionary War and how the "mother Gentiles were gathered together upon the waters, and upon the land also, to battle against them."  He saw that the "power of God" was with the colonists and that the "wrath of God was upon all those that were gathered together against them to battle."  He saw how the colonists "were delivered by the power of God out of the hands of all other nations."

                    Nephi saw that the colonists did not destroy the Native Americans.  He saw the Book of Mormon come forth.  (See Book of Mormon - Another Testament of Jesus Christ, 1 Nephi 13:10-42.)

                    I believe that God preserved and prepared this land for the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  The Gospel could not be restored until the conditions were right.  Those conditions were in place after the land was cleansed by the blood of the Revolutionary War and freedom of religion was guaranteed.

                    I am very interested in the fact that the world - particularly Great Britain - did not really consider the United States as a sovereign country until after the War of 1812.  The British kept fighting against us on the open sea until war was declared.  There was no real winner of the War of 1812, but the British left us alone and recognized our independence after the War of 1812.  Just eight years later in 1820 Joseph Smith experienced his First Vision - the visitation of both Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

                    After completing a study of the Book of Mormon and gleaning all we can from it, I suggest that we study what the Lord said about the Constitution in the Doctrine and Covenants.

                    In Doctrine and Covenants 58:19 we read:  "For verily I say unto you, my law shall be kept on this land."

                    In Doctrine and Covenants 98:5, 8 we read:  "And that law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me….

                    "I, the Lord God, make you free, therefore ye are free indeed; and the law also maketh you free."

                    In Doctrine and Covenants 101:77-80 we read:  "According to the laws and constitution of the people, which I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles;
                    "That every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment. 
                    "Therefore, it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another.
                    "And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood."

                    In the dedicatory prayer for the Kirtland Temple, Joseph Smith prayed:  "Have mercy, O Lord, upon all the nations of the earth; have mercy upon the rulers of our land; may those principles, which were so honorably and nobly defended, namely the Constitution of our land, by our fathers, be established forever" (Doctrine and Covenants 109:54).

                    My third suggestion is for us to pray for our nation.  We learn from the Book of Mormon that prayer gives powerful protection.  When Alma and Amulek were attempting to teach the gospel to the people of Ammonihah, Amulek told them, "Yea, and I say unto you that if it were not for the prayers of the righteous, who are now in the land, that ye would even now be visited with utter destruction….
                    "But it is by the prayers of the righteous that ye are spared; now therefore, if ye will cast out the righteous from among you then will not the Lord stay his hand…. (Alma 10:22-23)

                    Just a few chapters later we read the people of Ammonihah cast the righteous out from among them and were quickly and utterly destroyed.  We must pray for our nation, our leaders, and God's blessings upon us.

                    My fourth suggestion is for us to study history, preferably history books written before 1915 - a time when our history began to be rewritten.  Read the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution to learn what they really say.  Learn what scholars have to say about them.

                    My fifth suggestion is for us to become involved in the politic process as soon as possible at whatever level possible.  We must be aware that there are secret combinations operating in all the nations of the earth.  The Democrat Party, for all rights and purposes, has been taken over by the Far Left - Progressives, Communists, Socialists, etc.  The Republican Party is being pulled both ways - left by Progressives as well as to the Far Right.  Only time will tell who wins the tug of war.  In my studying I learned that the Far Left means tyranny and the Far Right means anarchy.  We do not want either of the two extremes; we want to keep our government in the middle - just enough government to keep order and to protect us but not so much that it takes our freedoms.

                    My last suggestion is to purchase a flag of the United States of America and then fly it - daily if possible but at least on important days.  Flag Day is next week; it is celebrated on June 14 every year.  Flag Day would be an excellent time to practice your patriotism.

                    I am currently reading a book written by Elder Ezra Taft Benson, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and later President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  He also served as Secretary of Agriculture during the Eisenhower Administration.  The book is entitled An Enemy Hath Done This and was copyrighted in 1969.  I purchased the book for my father for Father's Day in 1975 and received it back when he passed away in 1995.  The book contains speeches by Elder Benson; some of the talks were presented at General Conference and some elsewhere.  He spoke about the dangers of Communism and how it was taking over our nation.  I found his comments very fascinating and very relative to the conditions in our nation today.  I remember hearing some of his speeches when he gave them.  Apparently Americans listened to the pleas of Elder Benson and others because America became more patriotic.  We grew tired of Democrat and Moderate Republican Presidents and in 1980 elected Ronald Reagan, a Conservative Republican.  I did not agree with everything President Reagan said and did, but I cheered loudly when he faced Communism squarely and beat it back!

                    Now Communism, Socialism, and radical Islam are encroaching upon our freedoms, and our nation stands in need of more patriots.  We need your generation to stand up for freedom and reject the ideas that are being pushed in our nation today by the media, by Hollywood, and by some educators.

                    President Reagan stated, "Freedom is never more than one generation from extinction.  We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream.  It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free."

                    America is great because Americans are good.  Americans are not perfect, and America has made some mistakes; nevertheless, America has done more good in the world than any other nation.  We must not let anyone tell us that America is evil.  We must stand up for America.  We must stand up for freedom.

                    If and when Americans stop being good, America will cease being great. The principles contained in the Constitution of the United States were inspired by God.  The American value system of free for everyone and equal justice for all is the best in the world.  Do you want to be the generation that has to explain to your children and grandchildren what it meant to be free in America?  I certainly do not.  Please join me in standing up for freedom.





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