A Truly Patriotic Spirit — Joseph F. Smith

Prophet Statesmen, Joseph F. Smith

Excerpt from address given by President Joseph F. Smith in 1912, found in Juvenile Instructor, Volume 47, p. 388.

Patriotism should be sought for and will be found in right living, not in high sounding phrases or words. True patriotism is part of the solemn obligation that belongs to the nation and to the individual and to the home. Our nation’s reputation should be guarded as sacredly as our family’s good name. That reputation should be defended by every citizen, and our children shall be taught to defend their country’s honor under all circumstances.

A truly patriotic spirit in the individual begets a public interest and sympathy which should be commensurate with our nation’s greatness. To be a true citizen of a great country takes nothing from, but adds to, individual greatness. While a great and good people necessarily adds greatness and goodness to national life, the nation’s greatness reacts upon its citizens and adds honor to them, and insures their welfare and happiness.

Loyal citizens will probably be the last to complain of the faults and failures of our national administrators. They would rather conceal those evils which exist, and try to persuade themselves that they are only temporary and will in time be corrected. It is none the less a patriotic duty to guard our nation whenever and wherever we can against those changeable and revolutionary tendencies which are destructive of a nation’s weal and permanence.

Our nation’s welfare should always be a theme deeply rooted in our minds and exemplified in our individual lives and the desire for our nation’s good should be stronger than political party adherence. The nation’s welfare means the welfare of every one of its citizens.

To be a worthy and a prosperous nation, it must possess those qualities which belong to individual virtues. The attitude of our country toward other nations should always be honest and above suspicion, and every good citizen should be jealous of our nation’s reputation both at home and abroad.

National patriotism is, therefore, something more than mere expression of willingness to fight, if need be.

Joseph F. Smith (1838-1913) served as the sixth president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.