The Lord Prescribed the Way

Called Unto Liberty, J. Reuben Clark Jr., 1944, 20th Century Sermons

We sometimes hear: “Well, the Lord can inspire rulers to change the Constitution. He inspired the first Constitution; he can inspire changes.”

I should like to point out to you that in that inspired document, the Constitution, the Lord prescribed the way, the procedure by which the inspired framework of that Constitution could be changed. Whenever the Constitution is amended in that way, it will be an amendment that the Lord will approve; but whenever it is amended in any other way than He prescribed, we are not following the commandment of the Lord and must expect to lose our liberties and freedom.

The Constitution was framed in order to protect minorities. That is the purpose of written constitutions. In order that minorities might be protected in the matter of amendments under our Constitution, the Lord required that the amendments should be made only through the operation of very large majorities–two-thirds for action in the Senate, and three-fourths as among the states. This is the inspired, prescribed order.

But if we are to have an amendment by the will of one man, or of a small group of men, if they can amend the Constitution, then we shall lose the Constitution; because each succeeding person or group who come into a position of place and power where they can “amend” the charter, will want to amend it again, and so on until no vestige of our liberties shall remain. Thus it comes that an amendment of our Constitution by one person or by a group is a violation of the revealed will of the Lord to the Church, as that will is embodied in that inspired Constitution.

Brethren, let us think about that, because I say unto you with all the soberness I can, that we stand in danger of losing our liberties, and that once lost, only blood will bring them back; and once lost, we of this Church will, in order to keep the Church going forward, have more sacrifices to make and more persecutions to endure than we have yet known, heavy as our sacrifices and grievous as our persecutions of the past have been.


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Source: J. Reuben Clark Jr., General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Priesthood Session, April 1944. 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 served as assis­tant solic­i­tor to the State Depart­ment, served in the Attor­ney General’s office, served as Under Sec­re­tary of State, was the author of the clas­sic study the “Clark Mem­o­ran­dum on the Mon­roe Doc­trine,” and served as 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.