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.
Return to “Called Unto Liberty” Home Page
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.