I speak today as an American citizen who believes as he believes in Deity, that God inspired the framing of our Constitution and the setting up of our form of government thereunder,—an American citizen who believes that the preservation of this government under our Constitution as it now stands is necessary that liberty and free political and religious institutions may not disappear from the earth.
A Nation With Christian Standards
This is a Christian nation. Before the Revolution it was so in accord with law; since the Revolution it has remained so in fact. We, the people of the United States, guarantee full religious freedom to all within our jurisdiction, whether they be non-Christian or Pagan. But the nation itself is a Christian nation. Our standards and principles are Christian. Other creeds we protect, that all may be free. These facts must never be lost sight of.
For us of the Church this fact cannot be challenged, for the Lord has declared in modern revelation:
Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ. who hath been manifested by the things which we have written. (Ether 2:12)
The penalty of disobedience to these principles has been declared to be that the people shall “be swept off when the fulness of his wrath should come upon them,” and that “The fulness of his wrath cometh upon them when they are ripened in iniquity.” (Ether 2:8, 9.)
These principles have been repeatedly declared.
Thus we of America can stand for no cause which would dethrone Christianity here and put in its place any other creed, whether non-Christian or Pagan; nor can we as Christians support a cause designed to set up non-Christian or Pagan states elsewhere in the world. Our duty, divinely imposed, is clear on this.
Declaration Of Belief
Furthermore, for more than a hundred years this Church has declared this principle of government, which is based upon divine commands and the revelations of God’s will, namely:
We believe that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man; and that he holds men accountable for their acts in relation to them both in making laws and administering them, for the good and safety of society. We believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property and the protection of life. (Doctrine and Covenants 134: 1-2).
Thus we can stand for no cause and can support no state fostering a cause that would seek to compel the consciences of men, that would set up the state as deity, that would destroy private property, that bulwark of a peaceful, stable ordered society, indeed of civilization itself, that would make men slaves of the state to the destruction of all safety, due protection of life and limb, and all individual liberty, that would blot out the Christian home.
All these things are fundamental to this people and to this nation. Again I warn that there are amongst us evil influences plotting and conspiring to destroy all that we hold sacred in our Church and in the nation. If we shall fall asleep to these dangers, we shall some day awaken to find ourselves their slavish victims. We people here in the valleys are a mere handful—a microscopic minority—and yet if we shall, with completely united hearts and hands, put on an armor of righteousness and do battle for righteousness, we shall be the means under God’s care and guidance of helping finally to serve and save the world.
Source: J. Reuben Clark Jr. Excerpts from his October 1939 General Conference Address, Friday Morning Session, pg. 10. Joshua Reuben Clark, Jr. (September 1, 1871 – October 6, 1961) was an American attorney, civil servant (serving as Assistant Solicitor General at the U.S. State Department and as Ambassador to Mexico), and a prominent leader in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, serving in the Church’s First Presidency from 1933 until his death in 1961.
Called Unto Liberty is researched, compiled, and edited (with occasional introductory notes and commentary) by Steve Farrell, Founder and Editor In Chief of The Moral Liberal. Copyright © 2009-2014 Steve Farrell.