Friday, August 30, 2013

The U.S. Constitution should have the respect and honor of every Latter-day Saint

Canada was opened to missionary work in 1830. Since then, more than 160 countries have been opened to missionary work with an ever increasing percentage of Church members (today more than half) living in countries outside the United States. Yet the U.S. Constitution should have the respect and honor of Latter-day Saints worldwide. Before you disagree, please consider the following.

God established the U.S. Constitution

In every country, Mormons have the same four volumes of scripture, the standard works, by which to measure truth. Notice in this audio clip how Ezra Taft Benson repeatedly emphasizes a certain word as he reads from section 101 in the Doctrine and Covenants:

"I am grateful that the God of heaven saw fit to put his stamp of approval upon the Constitution and to indicate that it had come into being through wise men whom he raised up unto this very purpose. He asked the Saints, even in the dark days of their persecution and hardship, to continue to seek for redress from their enemies 'according,' he said, 'to the laws and constitution ... which I have suffered [or caused] to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh' (D&C 101 :77). And then he made this most impressive declaration: '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' (Ibid., 101:80)." (BYU Speeches, 1973.)

The U.S. Constitution belongs to all mankind

Speaking as God's mouthpiece to the Church and to the world, Ezra Taft Benson reminded us that the U.S. Constitution "belongs to all mankind" (D&C 98:5) and "should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh" (D&C 101:77) (Ensign, Nov. 1987; italics Benson's).

The U.S. Constitution and the Restoration

Ezra Taft Benson testified "that America is a choice land. (See 2 Ne. 1:5.) God raised up the founding fathers of the United States of America and established the inspired Constitution. (See D&C 101:77–80.) This was the required prologue for the restoration of the gospel. (See 3 Ne. 21:4.) America will be a blessed land unto the righteous forever and is the base from which God will continue to direct the worldwide latter-day operations of His kingdom. (See 2 Ne. 1:7.)" (Ensign, Nov. 1988.)

He declared: "Only in this foreordained land, under its God-inspired Constitution and the resulting environment of freedom, was it possible to have established the restored church. It is our responsibility to see that this freedom is perpetuated so that the Church may more easily flourish in the future." (Ensign, Nov. 1987.)

The future of the U.S. Constitution

Regarding the future of the Constitution, Ezra Taft Benson stated: "The elders of this church have a prophetic mission yet to perform so far as the Constitution is concerned." (New Era, May 1975.)

He gave this solemn warning: "Unfortunately, we as a nation have apostatized in various degrees from different Constitutional principles as proclaimed by the inspired founders. We are fast approaching that moment prophesied by Joseph Smith when he said: 'Even this nation will be on the very verge of crumbling to pieces and tumbling to the ground, and when the Constitution is upon the brink of ruin, this people will be the staff upon which the nation shall lean, and they shall bear the Constitution away from the very verge of destruction.'" (Ensign, Nov. 1987.)

In the tradition of the founding fathers

Ezra Taft Benson asked: "Now, how are the elders going to prepare for that mission? How are they going to know what the Constitution is so they will know when it is on the brink of ruin? In many of the law schools of today you will hear that the Constitution is whatever the Supreme Court says it is. Could it be that the Supreme Court, which President McKay said is leading this nation down the road to atheism, is the agency to tell us what this divine document is? Can we learn best how to preserve it by studying what it is at the hands of some of those who are seeking to destroy it?

"But President McKay had a better approach when he encouraged us to support good and conscientious candidates who are truly dedicated to the Constitution in the tradition of our founding fathers. Ah ... there it is ... the Constitution in the tradition of our founding fathers. They are the ones the Lord referred to as wise men. It is to them, the Lord, and his prophets that we should go to determine what the Constitution is." (New Era, May 1975.)

We should all be grateful

Ezra Taft Benson proclaimed: "We have recently celebrated the bicentennial of the signing of the United States Constitution [which marks] the beginning of a series of bicentennial anniversaries of events leading up to the ratification of the Constitution, implementation of the government it created, and the writing and ratification of the Bill of Rights.... It is as a result of these events that we are able to meet today in peace as members of the restored Church of Jesus Christ. For this we should all be eternally grateful" (Ensign, Nov. 1987; italics Benson's).

Every Church President

Every Church President, from Joseph Smith to Thomas S. Monson, has affirmed that the U.S. Constitution is an inspired document. The Constitution should therefore be appreciated by all Latter-day Saints.

Thomas S. Monson spoke specifically of Ezra Taft Benson's love for the U.S. Constitution, "I think it is the inspiration of Almighty God that at this particular time we have serving as president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints President Ezra Taft Benson, one of the greatest advocates of freedom, and one of those who loves most the Constitution of this land." (Church News, Dec. 30, 1989.)

Affirmed again in 2012

According to Quentin L. Cook, "The U.S. Constitution ... is viewed by Latter-day Saints as both inspired and necessary to the Restoration. Five elements of the Constitution have been identified as being particularly inspired....

These five basic fundamentals have been a great blessing and were necessary to the Restoration of the gospel. We share with many others a love and appreciation for the Constitution." (See Quentin L. Cook, "Ensign," Sept. 2012.)

The above article continues: "Do Latter-day Saints believe the U.S. Constitution is a divinely inspired document? The Lord Himself answered that question when He declared, 'I established the Constitution ... by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose' (D&C 101:80).

"Since the time of the Prophet Joseph Smith, who called the U.S. Constitution 'a heavenly banner' (in History of the Church, 3:304), latter-day prophets have said the Constitution is divinely inspired, declaring that America by divine design was prepared as the place for the Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ. The freedoms and protections enumerated in the Constitution—including freedom of speech, assembly, and religion—made the Restoration possible.

"Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has observed: '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. No wonder modern revelation says that God established the U.S. Constitution and that it "should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles" (D&C 101:77).'" (Ibid.)


The U.S. Constitution should have the respect and honor of all Latter-day Saints. This is not just a political wish. It is firmly grounded both in scripture and in the teachings of latter-day apostles and prophets.

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Saturday, August 24, 2013

A Times and Seasons comment about BYU biology and doctrine

Two paragraphs over at Times and Seasons about BYU science and doctrine recently caught my attention, see Ben's comment here.

"For now, let me just explicitly challenge one cluster of points. Dave, you say that 'the flourishing science departments at BYU make it clear the Church does not oppose science or endorse the false science-religion conflict thesis.' There are several problems with this statement. First, the presence or absence of X, Y, or Z, at BYU tells us very little about the relationship between X, Y, and Z, and church doctrine. The fact that a certain BYU professor merrily teaches repugnant, racist ideas for years, for instance, in no way implies that the church endorses those ideas. Similarly, a course on Marxist, or Platonic, or Buddhist thought, in no way implies that the church endorses Marxist or Platonic or Buddhist ideas or teachings. The fact that caffeinated sodas are or are not available in BYU vending machines or eateries says nothing reliable about the church position on caffeinated soda.

"Second, the fact (which I embrace as a fact) that the church does not regard science as opposed to religion does not imply a position regarding any particular scientific claim. Science as an activity is a matter of forming, testing, and criticizing theories, so endorsing science as an activity is just as much an endorsement of challenging theories as it is of maintaining them. The fact that BYU has a flourishing physics department does not mean that when someone claims to have achieved cold fusion, the church believes in cold fusion. The fact that BYU scientists achieve professional success in atmospheric science does not imply that the church takes any position for or against theories of global warming or climate change. And the presence of a flourishing biology department does not imply anything about the relationship between evolutionary theory and theology."

Here are a couple of my own posts on related topics:

1. May 23, 2008, BYU evolution courses overrated, and

2, Oct. 11, 2010, Darwin and cola drinks.

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