On this 225 Anniversary of the Constitution of the United States of America, Meridian celebrates this glorious Document by publishing four statements that need to be remembered from leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The First Presidency Statement on the Constitution (39 Years Ago):

We urge members of the Church and all Americans to begin now to reflect more intently on the meaning and importance of the Constitution, and of adherence to its principles, in giving strength not only to this country but to the entire family of nations.

In these challenging days, when there are so many influences which would divert us, there is a need to rededicate ourselves to the lofty principles and practices of our founding fathers. While we must never permit an erosion of the freedoms the Constitution guarantees, we cannot let permissiveness replace responsibility.

The late President J. Reuben Clark, an eminent scholar in Constitutional law and for many years a member of the First Presidency, said 33 [72] years ago:

“It [the Constitution] gave us, for perhaps the first time in all history, a republic with the three basic divisions of government-the legislative, executive, and judicial-mutually, and completely independent the one from the other, under which it is not possible for any branch of government legally to set up a system by which that branch can first conceive what it wants to do, then make the law ordering its doing, and then, itself, judge its own enforcement of its own law, a system that has always brought extortion, oppression, intimidation, tyranny, despotism-a system that every dictator has employed and must employ.”

There must be a dedication to observing and honoring the law of the land. To remain strong, we must cherish chastity and fidelity, love of work, personal integrity, and the desire to serve our fellow men. We must always remember that God rules in the affairs of men, and that he is truly the Heavenly Father of all mankind. We are all brothers and sisters.

No priority should come before responsible parenthood. No unit needs continual strengthening more than the family.

Under the blessings of liberty secured by the Constitution, we must continue to pursue excellence and progress, but we must recognize that to move forward we must ever hold fast to those moral laws of the Lord which do not change.

On this anniversary day we invite men and women everywhere to join us in the inspired prayer of a modern prophet: “Have mercy, O Lord, upon all the nations of the earth; have mercy on the rulers of our land; may those principles, which were so honorably and nobly defended, namely, the Constitution of our land, by our fathers, be established forever.” (D&C 109:54.) (Harold B. Lee, N. Eldon Tanner and Marion G. Romney. See Ensign, November 1973, p. 90.)

From the Prophet Joseph Smith:

Hence we say, that the Constitution of the United States is a glorious standard; it is founded in the wisdom of God. It is a heavenly banner; it is to all those who are privileged with the sweets of liberty, like the cooling shades and refreshing waters of a great rock in a thirsty and weary land. It is like a great tree under whose branches men from every clime can be shielded from the burning rays of the sun…We say that God is true; that the Constitution of the United States is true; that the Bible is true. (See Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 147-48) 

From President Ezra Taft Benson:

The Constitutional Convention gave birth to the document that Gladstone said is “the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man.” I heartily endorse this assessment. I would like to pay honor-honor to the document itself, honor to the men who framed it, and honor to the God who inspired it and made possible its coming forth. God Himself has borne witness to the fact that He is pleased with the final product of the work of these great patriots. (The Constitution-A Heavenly Banner, p. 1.)

Our Creator endowed each one of us with certain rights at birth, among which are the rights to life, liberty, speech, and conscience, to name a few. These are not just human rights; they are divine rights. When these rights are not permitted expression by a nation, that nation becomes inhibited in its progress and development, and its leaders are responsible before God for suffocating sacred rights.

This native endowment is what separates man from the animals. It causes men to want to be good and to seek higher aspirations. It creates in man a desire to better his life and his station in life. (“A Spiritual Approach to Man-made Problems,” Brigham Young University-Hawaii, 11 February 1983.)

It is time we recognize, as a people, that this country rests on divinely inspired and uniquely formulated principles. Until 1791, no nation had all basic rights guaranteed and recognized by written contract. That is what the Constitution is-a contract between a sovereign people and their elected officials. It is high time these principles are not just acknowledged, but carried out. Indeed this is the only real hope for our survival as a free nation. (“A Warning to America,” Washington D.C. Stake, 3 July 1979.)

The Constitution of the United States was aimed to establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. (“The American Free-Enterprise System: Will It Survive?” Contemporary Issues Forum, Ogden, Utah, 18 January 1977.)

We must study and learn for ourselves the principles laid down in the Constitution which have preserved our freedoms for the last two hundred years. If we do not understand the role of government and how our rights are protected by the Constitution, we may accept programs or organizations that help erode our freedoms. An informed citizenry is the first line of defense against anarchy and tyranny. (“Righteousness Exalteth a Nation,” Provo Utah Freedom Festival, 29 June 1986.)

How can people who are ignorant of the principles and guarantees of American government stand up in defense of it and our rights under the Constitution? The fundamentals and processes of free government should be known to every schoolboy and his parents.

  No free people can ever survive if they are ignorant of and fail to understand the principles of free government!

Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve:

Elder Oaks said that the Bill of Rights begins with the guarantee of religious freedom. This right to free exercise of religion, he said, is one of the supremely important founding principles in the U.S. Constitution. “We are fortunate to have such a guarantee in the United States, but many nations do not,” Elder Oaks said. “The importance of that guarantee should make us ever diligent to defend it. And it is in need of being defended. During my lifetime I have seen a significant deterioration in the respect accorded to religion in our public life, and I believe that the vitality of religious freedom is in danger of being weakened accordingly.” (See Apostle Extols Fundamental Principles of U.S. Constitution)