Amendments—Principle to Observe

Called Unto Liberty, J. Reuben Clark Jr., 20th Century Sermons

It is not my belief nor is it the doctrine of my Church that the Constitution is a fully grown document. On the contrary, we believe it must grow and develop to meet the changing needs of an advancing world. We know that greed and avarice and lust for power and dominion over men are always with us, and will be until the millennium shall come. We know that these curses of men never sleep nor die, that they alter their ways of vice to evade the control of law and order. We know that sometimes they reach such size and influence that their handling may require changes not only in legislation but on rare occasion, in the Constitution itself. But all changes must be made to protect and preserve our liberties, not to take them from us. Greater freedom, not slavery, must follow every constitutional change.

So we do hold that in all that relates to its great fundamentals—in the division of powers and their full independence one from the other, in the equal administration of the laws, in the even-handed dispensing of justice, in the absence of all class and casts, in the freedom of the press and of speech and of religion—we believe that in all such matters as these our Constitution must not be changed.

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Source: J. Reuben Clark Jr., 1938, Vital Speeches, 4:177. J. Reuben Clark Jr. (1871–1961), served as a mem­ber of the First Pres­i­dency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1931–1961. Prior to his full-time church ser­vice he was assis­tant solic­i­tor to the State Depart­ment, worked in the Attor­ney General’s office, Under Sec­re­tary of State, the author of the clas­sic study, the “Clark Mem­o­ran­dum on the Mon­roe Doc­trine” and U.S. ambas­sador to Mex­ico. Among those who knew his work best, J. Reuben Clark was rec­og­nized as the fore­most con­sti­tu­tional scholar of the 20th Century.

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