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, October 28, 2018

Constitution Is an Inspired Document

            The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday is the simple fact that the Constitution of the United States was inspired by God. This fact is found in a revelation from Jesus Christ to His prophet, even Joseph Smith. The Lord tells His prophet that his people should seek “redress and redemption” under the Constitution.

77 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;

78 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.

79 Therefore, it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another.

80 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. (See Doctrine and Covenants 101:77-80; emphasis is mine.)

            When we speak of the Constitution as being inspired, we do not mean that every word in it is inspired. However, we can find inspiration in many areas of the creation and the ideas within the document. Three evidences of God’s influence in the Constitution are as follow.

1. The actual creation of the Constitution is miraculous. The delegates to the Constitutional Convention came from different areas and different conditions and had different beliefs about life and government. Yet, they overcame their differences enough to work together in the creation of the Constitution. The wording of the Constitution is simple and clear. The document gives guidance and boundaries even as it allows flexibility for changing times. In a letter written on February 7, 1788, George Washington wrote the following to Lafayette:  “It appears to me, then, little short of a miracle, that the Delegates from so many different States (which States you know are also different from each other in their manners, circumstances and prejudieces) should unite in forming a system of national Government, so little liable to well founded objections.” Washington considered the creation of the document to be miraculous even though he recognized that it was not a perfect one.

2. The assembly of men who gathered at the Constitution Convention can be considered as miraculous. Not all of the great minds of the time were in Philadelphia because Thomas Jefferson was serving as minister to France and John Adams was serving as minister to Great Britain. Also missing from the convention were Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and Patrick Henry. However, Jefferson called the delegates at the Constitutional Convention “an assembly of demigods.” The men attending the convention were some of the best in the new nation and possibly the best in history. As explained at this site, the fifty-five delegates at the convention had important preparation in previous circumstances as shown by the following facts: (1) Two – William S. Johnson and Abraham Baldwin – were college presidents; (2) three – George Wythe, James Wilson, and William C. Houston - were or had been college professors; (3) four studied law in England; (4) thirty-one were members of the legal profession with several judges amongst them; (5) nine had been born in foreign countries and had personal experience with the oppressions in Europe; (6) twenty-eight had served in Congress, and most had served in state legislatures; (7) Nineteen or more had served in the army – seventeen officers and four on Washington’s staff.

3. The Constitution was a written document from the beginning. The delegates created a formal document that detailed the organization of the new government with specific tasks and powers of each part of the government. Then-Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints explains why this is important. 

The United States Constitution was the first written constitution in the world. It has served Americans well, enhancing freedom and prosperity during the changed conditions of more than two hundred years. Frequently copied, it has become the United States’ most important export. After two centuries, every nation in the world except six have adopted written constitutions, and the U.S. Constitution was a model for all of them.”

            The above evidences are only a few of numerous ways that the United States Constitution was created under the influence of God. More about the inspiration in the Constitution will come in future posts.

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