Paper Itself Cannot Enforce Its Own Precepts

Called Unto Liberty, 19th Century Sermons, Parley P. Pratt

Paper itself cannot enforce its own precepts; and unhallowed principles in the people, or in the rulers which they choose, may pervert any form of government, however sacred, true, and liberal. They may overthrow and destroy the practical working of those very principles, which are so true, and so dear to us, and in which we so rejoice. It is the living administration, after all that is the government, although a good form opens the way for good results, if carried out; but if not carried out, the form becomes a dead letter. Much depends on the feeling and action of the people in their choice of men and measures, and much depends on the administration of those they may choose.

Source: Parley P. Pratt. 1853, Journal of Discourses, Volume I, p. 139. Parley Parker Pratt, Sr. (1807 – 1857) was a leader in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and an original member of Quorum of the Twelve Apostles from 1835 until his murder in 1857. He served in the Quorum with his younger brother, Orson Pratt. He was a missionary, poet, printer, religious writer, and longtime editor of the religious publication The Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star. Having explored, surveyed, built, and maintained the first road for public transportation there, scenic Parley’s Canyon in Salt Lake City, was named in his honor.

Called Unto Liberty is a project of Steve Farrell and The Moral Liberal.


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