The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday is a question that combines a lot of seemingly disconnected ideas that I have pondered over the past week. The question is, did you think to pray and ask God for counsel about which candidate for President of the United States you should trust with your vote?
As you may know, 55 delegates attended the Constitutional Convention with numerous men attending only part of the time. There were many debates about how and what should be included in the Constitution. Twelve of the original thirteen states were represented, with no representatives attending from Rhode Island.
The men came from vastly different areas and backgrounds. Some of them were lawyers, while others were farmers, businessmen, or slave owners. There were vast disagreements in what they considered to be important in the new nation. Yet, they worked together and compromised to write a Constitution that has endured for longer than 233 years. Thirty-nine men signed the Constitution on September 17, 1787. It was ratified on June 21, 1788.
How did these men with such different backgrounds and interests come together to create such a grand document? They understood that they were doing a great thing, and some of them praised God for His help. The following information was revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith in December 1833.
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. (Doctrine and Covenants 101:77-80)
The men were divinely inspired while writing the Constitution, but they also compromised to form the Union. Many of the men wanted to ban slavery, but the representatives of the southern states threatened to revolt. Therefore, they compromised and put wrote in the Constitution that no new slaves would be imported after 20 years. The Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves of 1807 provided that no new slaves were permitted to be imported into the United States. This law took effect on January 1, 1808, which is the earliest date permitted by the Constitution. In other words, the Framers of the Constitution and the Founding Fathers did what they could with the circumstances under which they were working.
The Constitution was written under the direction of the Lord Jesus Christ, as shown in the above scripture. I believe that the Lord is just as interested in the men and women who are elected to lead this nation as He was with what was written in the Constitution. Both Democrats and Republicans are contending for the vote of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and there are Latter-day Saints voting for both parties. I find this to be an interesting but unnecessary problem.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is politically neutral and does not support either party. However, it encourages the members to be active politically. There are two latter-day scriptures that should guide every member of the Church of Jesus Christ in their voting practices. The first scripture is found in Doctrine and Covenants 9:8: “… you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.” This scripture tells us that we must study the issues carefully, compare policies, look past the physical attributes, and make the best decision possible. Then we should pray about our decision and ask God if it is correct. He will cause us to feel that it is right or wrong.
The second scripture that should be remembered by Latter-day Saints in their political decision-making is found in Moroni 10:5: “And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.” After we have done our research, made a decision, and asked God, the Holy Ghost will testify to us of the truth. This asset is available to everyone who will ask God, but it is particularly available to Latter-day Saints because we received the gift of the Holy Ghost when we were baptized.
If all Latter-day Saints and good people everywhere followed the counsel in these two scriptures, there would be a powerful voting block for righteousness. Why? The Holy Ghost will give the same answer to every sincere seeker of truth. We know that truth is truth and does not change, and we also know that the Holy Ghost testifies of truth. He will not tell one voter to vote for Candidate A and tell another voter to vote for Candidate B. His message to both voters will be the same because He testifies of truth.
This brings me to the ultimate question: Why is there such diversity in the Latter-day Saint vote? We all have the same resource to ask for truth, and He disperses truth to every sincere seeker. Why are some Latter-day Saints making political decisions without praying for a confirmation that they made the right choice?