I strongly believe that in the U.S., politics and religion are on a collision course as the just and holy principles ? that should be employed to maintain the Constitution continue to deteriorate. This coming storm hopefully leads us to ask ourselves what part the Lord would have us play. Our leaders have counseled us that everyone who is eligible should educate themselves and then vote for good and wise ? people to hold public office. Some feel the call to run for office; others heed the call to teach others or gently and meekly persuade. No matter what the capacity, I believe each Latter-day Saint has a mission and duty related to the politics and government of his or her homeland. As we set out to discover that mission I believe it ?s vitally important that we understand that the Lord has been very clear on what we are to base our political philosophy on the Constitution He established.
From what I have read, studied, and pondered I believe the Constitution is in serious danger. I am certainly not the first to have this worry. Speaking at general conference in October 1942, President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., a member of the First Presidency, said:
You and I have heard all our lives that the time may come when the Constitution may hang by a thread. I do not know whether it is a thread or a small rope by which it now hangs, but I do know that whether it shall live or die is now in the balance.
I have said to you before, brethren, that to me the Constitution is a part of my religion ? It is a part of my religion because it is one of those institutions which God has set up for His own purposes ?because under no other government in the world could the Church have been established as it has been established under this government.
That ?s a strong message for us today. In 1942 one of our greatest constitutional scholars said that he didn ?t know if the Constitution hung by a rope or a thread. Some might say: it must have hung by a rope, because he asked the question over 60 years ago and the Constitution is obviously still holding on. ? I would only suggest that the thickness of the rope is perhaps not as important as the accelerating rate of the fraying of constitutional fiber that has occurred in the interim. That acceleration gives us urgent reason to work as one to save the Constitution from destruction.
I believe much of the Constitutional deterioration we ?re experiencing is fueled by those who lust for power. In the beginning of our country ?s history, the federal government did very little because it adhered strictly to its constitutional mandate. The last century though brought a huge expansion of extra-constitutional federal government power; most that power was not accomplished as prescribed by the Constitution, but was usurped by degrees by the executive, legislators, and judges in the name of stopping the depression, the advance of communism, or any one of a number of other threats, real or perceived.
This is a similar circumstance to what Captain Moroni and Pahoran faced when the Nephite democracy hung in the balance:
And Amalickiah was desirous to be a king; and those people who were wroth were also desirous that he should be their king; and they were the greater part of them the lower judges of the land, and they were seeking for power. Moroni 46:4
As in Captain Moroni ?s day, we are living in a time when government functions are being subverted by a relative few “seeking for power,” power that used to reside with the people.
And there were many in the church who believed in the flattering words of Amalickiah, therefore they dissented even from the church ? Moroni 46:7
Many today have in like manner been deceived by flattering words and have been deluded into believing that large government programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are constitutional when they are not. And as in Captain Moroni ?s day, some have left the church over it.
There are also a multitude of flattering Amalickiahs in our day speaking to us from supposedly reputable news organizations, working hard to convince us that abortion is about choice and that homosexual marriage is about lifestyle. The church has taken positions on these traditional moral issues and it behooves all of us to look inside ourselves to see if we will dissent from the church when tested by political conflict and found on the wrong side of the issue. President Hinckley spoke about members ? loyalty to the church from the pulpit at General Conference in April, 2003:
Now may I say a word concerning loyalty to the Church… The Church will not dictate to any man, but it will counsel, it will persuade, it will urge, and it will expect loyalty from those who profess membership therein ?
In 1933, there was a movement in the United States to overturn the law which prohibited commerce in alcoholic beverages. When it came to a vote, Utah was the deciding state.
I was on a mission, working in London, England, when I read the newspaper headlines that screamed, “Utah Kills Prohibition.”
President Heber J. Grant, then President of this Church, had pleaded with our people against voting to nullify Prohibition. It broke his heart when so many members of the Church in this state disregarded his counsel.
It is my hope and prayer that we will all be found on the Lord ?s side of the battles to be fought in the latter days and that we all seek and find our mission in befriending the constitutional law of the land. ?