Friday, June 26, 2009

Views of the Prophet on Constitutional Powers

Situated as we are, with a flood of immigration constantly pouring in upon us, I consider that it is not only prudential, but absolutely necessary to protect the inhabitants of this city from being imposed upon by a spurious currency. Many of our eastern and old country friends are altogether unacquainted with the situation of the banks in this region of country; and as they generally bring specie with them, they are perpetually in danger of being gulled by speculators. Besides there is so much uncertainty in the solvency of the best of banks, that I think it much safer to go upon the hard money system altogether. I have examined the Constitution upon this subject and find my doubts removed. The Constitution is not a law, but it empowers the people to make laws. For instance, the Constitution governs the land of Iowa, but it is not a law for the people. The Constitution tells us what shall not be a lawful tender. Art. I, Section 10 declares that nothing else except gold and silver shall be lawful tender, this not saying that gold and silver shall be lawful tender. It only provides that the states may make a law to make gold and silver lawful tender. I know of no state in the Union that has passed such a law; and I am sure that Illinois has not. The legislature has ceded up to us the privilege of enacting such laws as are not inconsistent with the Constitution of the United States and the state of Illinois; and we stand in the same relation to the state as the state does to the Union. The clause referred to in the Constitution is for the legislature-it is not a law for the people. The different states, and even Congress itself, have passed many laws diametrically contrary to the Constitution of the United States. (emphasis added)

The state of Illinois has passed a stay law making property a lawful tender for the payment of debts; and if we have no law on the subject we must be governed by it. Shall we be such fools as to be governed by its laws, which are unconstitutional? No! We will make a law for gold and silver; and then the state law ceases and we can collect our debts. Powers not delegated to the states or reserved from the states are constitutional. The Constitution acknowledges that the people have all power not reserved to itself. I am a lawyer; I am a big lawyer and comprehend heaven, earth and hell, to bring forth knowledge that shall cover up all lawyers, doctors and other big bodies. This is the doctrine of the Constitution, so help me God. The Constitution is not law to us, but it makes provision for us whereby we can make laws. Where it provides that no one shall be hindered from worshiping God according to his own conscience, is a law. No legislature can enact a law to prohibit it. The Constitution provides to regulate bodies of men and not individuals. (Feb. 25, 1843.)
(Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected and arranged by Joseph Fielding Smith, p.278-279)

The Political Motto of the Church of Latter-day Saints: The Constitution of our country formed by the Fathers of liberty. Peace and good order in society. Love to God, and good will to man. All good and wholesome laws, virtue and truth above all things, and aristarchy, live for ever! But woe to tyrants, mobs, aristocracy, anarchy, and toryism, and all those who invent or seek out unrighteous and vexatious law suits, under the pretext and color of law, or office, either religious or political. Exalt the standard of Democracy! Down with that of priestcraft, and let all the people say Amen! that the blood of our fathers may not cry from the ground against us. Sacred is the memory of that blood which bought for us our liberty. (Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 vols. 3:9)
(Joseph Smith, Encyclopedia of Joseph Smith's Teachings, edited by Larry E. Dahl and Donald Q.Cannon )

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Only Fault In The Constitution

The Prophet Joseph Smith felt that the Constitution of The United States had only one fault:

It is one of the first principles of my life, and one that I have cultivated from my childhood, having been taught it by my father, to allow every one the liberty of conscience. I am the greatest advocate of the Constitution of the United States there is on the earth. In my feelings I am always ready to die for the protection of the weak and oppressed in their just rights. The only fault I find with the Constitution is, it is not broad enough to cover the whole ground. Although it provides that all men shall enjoy religious freedom, yet it does not provide the manner by which that freedom can be preserved, nor for the punishment of Government officers who refuse to protect the people in their religious rights, or punish those mobs, states, or communities who interfere with the rights of the people on account of their religion. Its sentiments are good, but it provides no means of enforcing them. It has but this one fault. Under its provision, a man or a people who are able to protect themselves can get along well enough; but those who have the misfortune to be weak or unpopular are left to the merciless rage of popular fury.

The Constitution should contain a provision that every officer of the Government who should neglect or refuse to extend the protection guaranteed in the Constitution should be subject to capital punishment; and then the president of the United States would not say, "Your cause is just, but I can do nothing for you," a governor issue exterminating orders, or judges say, "The men ought to have the protection of law, but it won't please the mob; the men must die, anyhow, to satisfy the clamor of the rabble; they must be hung, or Missouri be damned to all eternity." Executive writs could be issued when they ought to be, and not be made instruments of cruelty to oppress the innocent, and persecute men whose religion is unpopular. (Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected and arranged by Joseph Fielding Smith, p.326-327)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Why The Prophet Ran For President - in his own words.

I would not have suffered my name to have been used by my friends on anywise as President of the United States, or candidate for that office, if I and my friends could have had the privilege of enjoying our religious and civil rights as American citizens, even those rights which the Constitution guarantees unto all her citizens alike. But this as a people we have been denied from the beginning. Persecution has rolled upon our heads from time to time, from portions of the United States, like peals of thunder, because of our religion; and no portion of the Government as yet has stepped forward for our relief. And in view of these things, I feel it to be my right and privilege to obtain what influence and power I can, lawfully, in the United States, for the protection of injured innocence; and if I lose my life in a good cause I am willing to be sacrificed on the altar of virtue, righteousness and truth, in maintaining the laws and Constitution of the United States, if need be, for the general good of mankind. (Feb. 8, 1844.) (Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected and arranged by Joseph Fielding Smith, p.331)

Presidential Platform:

1. A central banking system owned by the government, with the mother bank at Washington, and branch banks in the several states.

2. The annexation of Texas upon her application, and the extending of an invitation to Mexico and Canada to become parts of the United States of America.

3. The immediate occupation and settlement of the Oregon region.

4. The reduction of the National Congress, the House two-thirds and the Senate one-half.

5. The freedom of the slaves through purchase by the Federal Government; the funds to be obtained by the sale of public lands.

6. A reform of the prison system, which would make the prisons workhouses and seminaries of learning.

7. The building by the government of a dam across the Mississippi River at Keokuk (just below Nauvoo) and the construction of locks to aid shipping around the rapids at that place.

8. A reform of the strict military punishment for desertion in time of war.

9. A high tariff to protect young industries.
These views created wide interest and newspapers commented upon the new candidate. The Iowa Democrat published the following: (William E. Berrett, The Restored Church, 7th ed., p.245)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Prophet Joseph Smith Ran For President

Most Latter-day Saints are aware that the Prophet Joseph Smith ran for President of the United States. Here is a very brief outline of that event.

(click on image to enlarge)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Be Positive About America's Future

With all that we see in the news it would be easy to become discouraged about our future and the future of our great nation. However, there is reason to be positive about the future the United States of America.

President Harold B. Lee made this statement about the success of our nation,

Men may fail in this country, earthquakes may come, seas may heave beyond their bounds, there may be great drought, disaster, and hardship, but this nation, founded on principles laid down by men whom God raised up, will never fail. This is the cradle of humanity, where life on this earth began in the Garden of Eden. This is the place of the New Jerusalem. This is the place that the Lord said is favored above all other nations in all the world. This is the place where the Savior will come to His temple. This is the favored land in all the world. Yes, I repeat, men may fail, but this nation won't fail. I have faith in America; you and I must have faith in America, if we understand the teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are living in a day when we must pay heed to these challenges. (Harold B. Lee, The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, edited by Clyde J. Williams, p.365)

When President George Albert Smith was dedicating the Idaho Falls Temple, he stated that America and it's form of government were the fulfillment of Isaiah 2:3,

We pray that kings and rulers and the peoples of all nations under heaven may be persuaded of the blessings enjoyed by the people of this land by reason of their freedom under thy guidance and be constrained to adopt similar governmental systems, thus to fulfill the ancient prophecy of Isaiah that "... out of Zion shall go forth the law and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem."
(Improvement Era, October 1945, p. 564.)
(Harold B. Lee, Ye Are the Light of the World: Selected Sermons and Writings of Harold B. Lee )

Elder Orson Hyde gave a talk on the 4th of July, 1854, in which he stated that Moroni was the guardian angel of America and would restore her constitution,

In those early and perilous times, our men were few, and our resources limited. Poverty was among the most potent enemies we had to encounter; yet our arms were successful; and it may not be amiss to ask here, by whose power victory so often perched on our banner? It was by the agency of that same angel of God that appeared unto Joseph Smith, and revealed to him the history of the early inhabitants of this country, whose mounds, bones and remains of towns, cities and fortifications speak from the dust in the ears of the living with the voice of undeniable truth. This same angel presides over the destinies of America, and feels a lively interest in all our doings. He was in the camp of Washington; and, by an invisible hand, led on our fathers to conquest and victory; and all this to open and prepare the way for the Church and kingdom of God to be established on the western hemisphere, for the redemption of Israel and the salvation of the world.

This same angel was with Columbus, and gave him deep impressions, by dreams and by visions, respecting this New World. Trammelled by poverty and by an unpopular cause, yet his persevering and unyielding heart would not allow an obstacle in his way too great for him to overcome; and the angel of God helped him-was with him on the stormy deep, calmed and troubled elements, and guided his frail vessel to the desired haven. Under the guardianship of this same angel, or Prince of America, have the United States grown, increased, and flourished, like the sturdy oak by the rivers of water.

To what point have the American arms been directed since the Declaration of our National Independence, and proven unsuccessful? Not one!

The peculiar respect that high Heaven has for this country, on account of the promises made to the fathers, and on account of its being the land where the mustard seed of truth was planted and destined to grow in the last days, accounts for all this good fortune to our beloved America.
But since the Prophets have been slain, the Saints persecuted, despoiled of their goods, banished from their homes, and no earthly arm to interpose for their rescue, what will be the future destiny of this highly-favoured country? Should I tell the truth as it clearly passes before my mind's eye, my friends might censure me, and I might be regarded as an enemy to my country. If I should not tell the truth, but withhold it to please men, or to avoid giving offence to any, I might be regarded, by the powers celestial, as the enemy of God. What shall I do under these circumstances? Shall I be guilty of the crime of hesitating for a moment? No. Neither time nor place to hesitate now.


So sure and certain as the great water-courses wend their way to the ocean, and there find their level,-so sure as the passing thunder-cloud hovers around yonder Twin Peaks of the Wahsatch Mountains, and upon their grey and barren rocks pours the fury of its storm, just so sure and certain will the guardian angel of these United States fly to a remote distance from their borders, and the anger of the Almighty wax hot against them in causing them to drink from the cup of bitterness and division, and the very dregs, stirred up by the hands of foreign powers, in a manner more cruel and fierce than the enemies of the Saints in the day of their greatest distress and anguish; and all this because they laid not to heart the martyrdom of the Saints and Prophets, avenged not their blood by punishing the murderers, neither succoured nor aided the Saints after they were despoiled of their goods and homes.

Would to God that we could forget this part of our experience in the land of our fathers! But we cannot forget it. It is incorporated in our being. We shall carry it to our graves, and in the resurrection it will rise with us. Had the United States been as faithful a guardian to the Latter-day Saints as the angel of God has been to them, she would never know dissolution, nor be humbled in dishonour by the decrees of any foreign powers.

I ask no earthly being to indorse this my testimony, or to adopt it as his own sentiment. A little time will prove whether Orson Hyde alone has declared it, or whether the heavenly powers will back up this testimony in the face of all the world.

When Justice is satisfied, and the blood of martyrs atoned for, the guardian angel of America will return to his station, resume his charge, and restore the Constitution of our country to the respect and veneration of the people; for it was given by the inspiration of our God. (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols., 6:, p.368-370)

However, we cannot allow these statements to make us complacent and to feel that we have no responsibilities. We know that the Lord will hold each of us accountable for our role in maintaining our rights and privileges. There are several things that each of us can do to be help our great nation.

1. Read and know what the constitution says and know when national policies and laws violate the spirit of the constitution.

2. Call, write, or email your representatives and senators when you feel that the constitution is being violated. There are several good websites that have legislative watches that draw attention to these violations and give talking points to help the readers express themselves to their political representatives.

3. Vote in every election.

4. As warned in the Book of Mormon, be aware that there are forces that seek the overthrow of our nation and all nations and that they are active in their efforts.

5. Pray for our great nation on a regular basis. The counsel of the Lord to ancient Israel as they lived in their promised land has application to us as we live in our promised land,

2 Chr 7:14
14. If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Important Documents In LDS Literature

Elder Bruce R. McConkie endorsed five LDS documents of great importance,
(click on image to enlarge)

The Lord has commanded and encouraged us to learn of this world of his creations and of him. When he gave a revelation asking the Prophet Joseph Smith to start what became known as the school of prophets, he outlined some of the subjects that he would like covered,

D&C 88:77-80
77 And I give unto you a commandment that you shall teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom.
78 Teach ye diligently and my grace shall attend you, that you may be instructed more perfectly in theory, in principle, in doctrine, in the law of the gospel, in all things that pertain unto the kingdom of God, that are expedient for you to understand; 79 Of things both in heaven and in the earth, and under the earth; things which have been, things which are, things which must shortly come to pass; things which are at home, things which are abroad; the wars and the perplexities of the nations, and the judgments which are on the land; and a knowledge also of countries and of kingdoms-- 80 That ye may be prepared in all things when I shall send you again to magnify the calling whereunto I have called you, and the mission with which I have commissioned you.

Later the Lord continued to reveal to the Prophet things that we would need to know for our "finishing and the end" so that we can enter his eternal presence (D&C 121:32)

D&C 121:26-32
26 God shall give unto you knowledge by his holy Spirit, yea, by the unspeakable gift of the Holy Ghost, that has not been revealed since the world was until now;
27 Which our forefathers have awaited with anxious expectation to be revealed in the last times, which their minds were pointed to by the angels, as held in reserve for the fulness of their glory; 28 A time to come in the which nothing shall be withheld, whether there be one God or many gods, they shall be manifest. 29 All thrones and dominions, principalities and powers, shall be revealed and set forth upon all who have endured valiantly for the gospel of Jesus Christ. 30 And also, if there be bounds set to the heavens or to the seas, or to the dry land, or to the sun, moon, or stars-- 31 All the times of their revolutions; all the appointed days, months, and years, and all the days of their days, months, and years, and all their glories, laws, and set times, shall be revealed in the days of the dispensation of the fulness of times-- 32 According to that which was ordained in the midst of the Council of the Eternal God of all other gods before this world was, that should be reserved unto the finishing and the end thereof, when every man shall enter into his eternal presence and into his immortal rest.

When we contemplate these commandments and the gifts of knowledge that the Lord is bestowing on us in this world, we realize that there is plenty to do in our spare time in order to come up the the level of knowledge that the Lord expects of us.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Seek Learning and Knowledge

Because we worship the God of light and truth and he loves us, his children, it is his desire that we also be glorified in light and truth. The Lord taught us this in the following scripture,

D&C 93:28
28 He that keepeth his commandments receiveth truth and light, until he is glorified in truth and knoweth all things.

At Christ's second coming he is going to reveal all things (see D&C 101:32). He has cautioned us to prepare our minds for the great events that will take place at his coming, "...prepare for the revelation which is to come" (D&C 101:23). One of the best ways to prepare our minds is to learn the truths that the Lord has already revealed and seek to understand them.

Brother Hugh Nibley had this to say about the truths revealed through the Prophet Joseph Smith,

The Expanding Mind:--Brigham Young was the Prophet Joseph's most faithful disciple; their teachings are one as the minds of the saints and prophets have always been one. Before he met Joseph Smith, Brigham recalls, "the secret feeling of my heart was that I would be willing to crawl around the earth on my hands and knees, to see such a man as Peter, Jeremiah, Moses, or any man that could tell me anything about God and heaven." (8:228:60.) And then "when I saw Joseph Smith, he took heaven figuratively speaking, and brought it down to earth; and he took the earth, brought it up, and opened up, in plainness and simplicity, the things of God; and that is the beauty of his mission." (5:332:57.) It was a mind-stretching religion: "Thy mind, O man!" said the Prophet, "if thou wilt lead a soul to salvation, must stretch as high as the utmost heavens, and search into and contemplate the darkest abyss, and the broad expanse of eternity." (Teachings, p. 137.) The promise he gave to those who took the Gospel and the cause Of Judah to heart was that "your minds will expand wider and wider, until you can circumscribe the earth and the heavens. . . and contemplate the mighty Acts of Jehovah in all their variety and glory." (Teachings, p. 163.) What attests to him the divinity of the Bible is that it is "so much beyond the narrow-mindedness of men, that every man is constrained to exclaim: 'It came from God!'" (Ibid., p. 11.) The Holy Ghost, the ultimate teacher, "has no other effect than pure intelligence. It is more powerful in expanding the mind, enlightening the understanding, and storing the intellect with present knowledge. . . it is. . . the pure light of intelligence." (Ibid., p. 39.) Mind and heart must expand together, according to the Prophet: ". . . you must enlarge your souls towards each other. . . let your hearts expand, let them be enlarged towards others." (Ibid., p. 228.) For not only is "the mind or intelligence which man possesses. . . coequal with God himself" in time (Ibid., p. 353), but "all the minds and spirits that God ever sent into the world are susceptible of enlargement . . . so that they have one glory upon another. . ." (Ibid., p. 354.) (Educating the Saints--a Brigham Young Mosaic by Hugh Nibley Fn, BYU Studies, vol. 11 (1970-1971), Number 1 - Autumn 1970, p.66)

The Prophet Joseph Smith encouraged the saints to seek knowledge,

A fanciful and flowery and heated imagination beware of; because the things of God are of deep import; and time, and experience, and careful and ponderous and solemn thoughts can only find them out. Thy mind, O man! if thou wilt lead a soul unto salvation, must stretch as high as the utmost heavens, and search into and contemplate the darkest abyss, and the broad expanse of eternity-thou must commune with God. How much more dignified and noble are the thoughts of God, than the vain imaginations of the human heart!
(Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected and arranged by Joseph Fielding Smith, p.137)

We consider that God has created man with a mind capable of instruction, and a faculty which may be enlarged in proportion to the heed and diligence given to the light communicated from heaven to the intellect; and that the nearer man approaches perfection, the clearer are his views, and the greater his enjoyments, till he has overcome the evils of his life and lost every desire for sin; and like the ancients, arrives at that point of faith where he is wrapped in the power and glory of his Maker and is caught up to dwell with Him. But we consider that this is a station to which no man ever arrived in a moment: he must have been instructed in the government and laws of that kingdom by proper degrees, until his mind is capable in some measure of comprehending the propriety, justice, equality, and consistency of the same.
(Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected and arranged by Joseph Fielding Smith, p.51)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Word of Wisdom

The word of wisdom given by the Lord to the Prophet Joseph Smith is such a blessing to all of those who give heed to it. Over the years there have been many additives to our foods which causes some to pay more attention to labels. At our home we have learned to be wary of two products because of the injury they cause to the brain. Some people are more physically sensitive to these items than others. The two that we have learned to avoid are MSG and Aspartame. For those concerned about the dangers of MSG click here and for a video on Aspartame click here.

The greatest blessings for those who live the word of wisdom and keep the commandments are the promises that the Lord makes.

1. health in the navel and marrow to their bones
2. find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures
3. run and not be weary and walk and not faint
4. the destroying angel shall pass by them

Number three above is actually taken from Isaiah 40:31. In this context verse 31 is the conclusion of a four verse chiasm which points to the concept that man can become like God.

Isa 40:28-31 28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, [that] the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? [there is] no searching of his understanding. 29 He giveth power to the faint; and to [them that have] no might he increaseth strength. 30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: 31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew [their] strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; [and] they shall walk, and not faint.

Verse 28 points out that it is God that never faints or gets weary. Verses 29 and 30 explain that God can give power to the faint and that even the young faint, get weary, and fall. Verse 31 declares that those who wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength until they are like he is and will be able to run and not be weary, walk and and not faith.

Below are these verses in the form of a chiasm. (click on image to enlarge)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Our Great Responsibility

Our pre-mortal existence has such a powerful influence on our mortal lives. It is so clear that we are only carrying out here the plans that were made there. Because of the restoration of the keys our lives are intricately entwined with those plans and there is a great responsibility resting on our shoulders.

(click image to enlarge)