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Associated Locations:

  • Independence Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Location of Constitutional Convention

Associated Dates:

  • May 14 – September 17 1787 -– Convention Length

Prophetic Statements

First Presidency

Because some Americans have not kept faith with our Founding Fathers, the Constitution faces severe challenges. Those who do not prize individual freedom are trying to erode its great principles. We, as Latter-day Saints must be vigilant in doing our part to preserve the Constitution and safeguard the way of life it makes possible. Learn more about this divinely inspired charter of our liberty, speak in its defense, and preserve and protect it against evil or destruction. We Encourage your participation and involvement in this worthy endeavor. 1

We should, in the tradition of the Founding Fathers, learn the principles of the Constitution and abide by its precepts. We encourage Latter-day Saints throughout the nation to familiarize themselves with the Constitution. They should focus attention on it by reading it and studying it. They should recommit themselves to its principles and be prepared to defend it and the freedom it provides. Citizens of this nation are free to participate in efforts designed to warn of the threat of any force or power, theory or principle, that would deprive them of their freedom or the individual liberties vouchsafed by the Constitution.2

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 its 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 whos 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 . ..3

I am the greatest advocate of the Constitution of the United States there is on the earth.4

The benefits of the Constitution and laws are alike for all; and the great Eloheim has given me the privilege of having the benefits of the Constitution.5

Having an opportunity of speaking to General Wilson, I inquired of him why I was thus treated. I told him I was not aware of having done anything worthy of such treatment; that I had always been a supporter of the Constitution and of democracy. His answer was, “I know it, and that is the reason why I want to kill you, or have you killed.6

Brigham Young

#1:

There never was a better constitution on the face of the earth than the constitution of the United States. There is nothing but the people of God could enjoy under it. But the Federal constitution is trodden under foot. All that I am afraid of is that the Elders of Israel will forget their God7

#2:

I want to say to every man, the Constitution of the United States, as formed by our fathers, was dictated, was revealed, was put into their hearts by the Almighty, who sits enthroned in the midst of the heavens; although unknown to them, it was dictated by the revelations of Jesus Christ, and I tell you in the name of Jesus Christ, it is as good as I could as for.8

#3:

. . . our national organization originated in the heavens.9

#4:

The General Constitution of our country is good, and a wholesome government could be framed upon it, for it was dictated by the invisible operations of the Almighty . . . God’s purpose, in raising up these men and inspiring them with daring sufficient to surmount every opposing power, was to prepare the way for the formation of a true Republican government . . . The signers of the Declaration of Independence and the framers of the Constitution were inspired from on high to do that work.10

#5:

The present Constitution, with a few alterations of a trifling nature, is just as good as we want; and if it is sustained on this land of Joseph, it will be done by us and our posterity.11

#6:

[The Constitution] is the best earthly Government that ever was framed by man, and the true and righteous are alone worthy of it. It cannot long be administered by wicked hands.12

#7:

Erroneous traditions and the powers of darkness have such sway over mankind, that, when we speak of a theocracy on the earth, the people are frightened. The government of the “Holy Catholic Church,” from which all the Protestant churches are offshoots, is professedly theocratic, though it is directly opposed to the theocracy described in the Bible.

But few, if any, understand what a theocratic government is. In every sense of the word, it is a republican government, and differs but little in form from our National, State, and Territorial Governments; but its subjects will recognize the will and dictation of the Almighty. The kingdom of God circumscribes and comprehends the municipal laws for the people in their outward government, to which pertain the Gospel covenants, by which the people can be saved; and those covenants pertain to fellowship and faithfulness.

The Gospel covenants are for those who believe and obey; municipal laws are for both Saint and sinner.  The Constitution and laws of the United States resemble a theocracy more closely than any government now on the earth, or that ever has been, so far as we know, except the government of the children of Israel to the time when they elected a king….

Whoever lives to see the kingdom of God fully established upon the earth will see a government that will protect every person in his rights. If that government was now reigning upon this land of Joseph, you would see the Roman Catholic, the Greek Catholic, the Episcopalian, the Presbyterian, the Methodist, the Baptist, the Quaker, the Shaker, the Hindoo, the Mahometan, and every class of worshippers most strictly protected in all their municipal rights and in the privilege of worshipping who, what, and when they pleased, not infringing upon the rights of others. Does any candid person in his sound judgment desire any greater liberty?  13

John Taylor

We believe that our fathers were inspired to write the Constitution of the United States, and that it is an instrument, full, lucid, and comprehensive…that the strict and implicit observance of which is the only safeguard of this mighty nation.14

[It] was by and through the power of God, that the fathers of this country framed the Declaration of Independence, and also that great palladium of human rights, the Constitution of the United States.15

The very genius of our Constitution and institutions is freedom. If there is a fault, it is the fault of party, sectional strife, or narrow bigotry; it is not in our institutions…16

The Constitution of the United States has ever been respected and honored by us. We consider it one of the best national instruments ever formed. May, further, Joseph Smith in his day said it was given by inspiration of God.17

We believe that the Constitution of the United States was given by inspiration of God. And why? Because it is one of those instruments which proclaims liberty throughout the land, and to all the inhabitants thereof [Leviticus 25:10]. And it was because of those noble sentiments, and the promulgation of those principles which were given by God to man, we believe that it was given by the inspiration of the Almighty. We have always esteemed it in this light, and it was so declared by Joseph Smith.18

I will tell you what I think about the Constitution. I have just the same opinion of it that Joseph Smith had, and he said it was given by the inspiration of God…. There is an embodiment of principles contained therein that are calculated to bless and benefit mankind.19

Under a government just and equitable…this country flourished, following the arts of industry and peace, as no nation ever did before…. She prospered under the direction, the guidance and protection of the Constitution. Well might Joseph Smith exclaim, “It was given by inspiration of God.”20

It is true that the founders of this nation, as a preliminary step for the introduction of more correct principles and that liberty and the rights of man might be recognized, and that all men might become equal before the law of the land, had that great palladium of liberty, the Constitution of the United States, framed. This was the entering wedge for the introduction of a new era, and in it were introduced principles for the birth and organization of a new world. The Prophet Joseph Smith said that “The Constitution of the United States was given by the inspiration of God.”21

Wilford Woodruff

[The Constitution] is an instrument inspired by the power of God. Our forefathers were inspired when they framed it.22

But O!! America America!! Whose land is choice above that of all the footstool of God, whose Constitution was framed by the Spirit of inspiration & whose Government was established by the hand of Omnipotent power.23

We live in a government raised up by the God of heaven. We have a constitution that was given by inspiration from God to man. I believe it is the best human form of government that was ever given to the human family.24

[The] Constitution we believe was given by revelation, and whatever laws are passed agreeable to it we desire to honor. It guarantees to all men the right to enjoy their religion, to worship God according to the dictates of their conscience.25

The Lord inspired the men that framed the Constitution of our country, and has guarded the nation from its foundation, in order to prepare free people in which to establish his kingdom. Columbus was inspired of God to persevere as he did to discover this continent, and thus prepare the way for a class of people upon whom the Spirit of the Lord moved to follow; and when they were oppressed hard enough they declared themselves independent, and by the help of God they established and have maintained the government which God gave our forefathers, which is one of the best constitutional governments ever known among men.26

Lorenzo Snow

We look upon George Washington, the father of our country, as an inspired instrument of the Almighty; we can see the all-inspiring Spirit operating upon him. And upon his co-workers in resisting oppression, and in establishing the thirteen colonies as a confederacy; and then again the workings of the same Spirit upon those men who established the constitution of the United States.27

David O. McKay

Next to being one in worshiping God, there is nothing in this world upon which this Church should be more united than in upholding and defending the Constitution of the United States! May the appeal of our Lord in His intercessory prayer for unity be realized in our homes, our wards, our stakes, and in our support of the basic principles of our Republic.28

Ezra Taft Benson

I testify that America is a choice land. (See 2 Nephi 1:5.) God raised up the founding fathers of the United States of America and established the inspired Constitution. (See D&C 101:77–80.) 29

On September 17, 1987, we commemorate the two-hundredth birthday of the signing of the United States Constitution. The group of inspired men assembled for that convention produced the document that the Prophet Joseph Smith referred to as “a glorious standard” and “a heavenly banner” 30.

In commemoration of this important event, we are providing this booklet, which contains three family home evening lessons, activity ideas, and a copy of the Constitution. We encourage you to prepare and teach each lesson prayerfully so that family members may feel the divine significance of the Constitution in their minds and hearts. Faithfully, your brethren, The First Presidency. 31

Our Heavenly Father raised up the men who founded this government (see D&C 101:80), thereby fulfilling the prophecy of His Beloved Son that the people “should be established in this land and be set up as a free people by the power of the Father” (3 Nephi 21:4). 32

In recognizing God as the source of their rights, the Founding Fathers declared Him to be the ultimate authority for their basis of law. This led them to the conviction that people do not make law but merely acknowledge preexisting law, giving it specific application. The Constitution was conceived to be such an expression of higher law. And when their work was done, James Madison wrote: “It is impossible for the man of pious reflection not to perceive in it a finger of that Almighty hand which has been so frequently and signally extended to our relief in the critical stages of the revolution” 33

The coming forth of the Constitution is of such transcendent importance in the Lord’s plan that ancient prophets foresaw this event and prophesied of it. In the dedicatory prayer for the Idaho Falls Temple, President George Albert Smith indicated that the Constitution fulfilled the ancient prophecy of Isaiah that “out of Zion shall go forth the law” (Isaiah 2:3). 34

George Washington referred to this document [the Constitution] as a miracle. This miracle could only have been performed by exceptional men. 35

History is not an accident. Events are foreknown to God. His superintending influence is behind the actions of his righteous children. Long before America was even discovered, the Lord was moving and shaping events that would lead to the coming forth of the remarkable form of government established by the Constitution. America had to be free and independent to fulfill this destiny. 36

On the 17th day of September 1987 we commemorate the two hundredth birthday of the Constitutional Convention which 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. . . .

We 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 [our Founding Fathers]. 37

Do you realize that very, very few people in the history of this world have ever had the opportunity which we have? This last two hundred years has been a very short minuscule period in the history of mankind, where we have had a government with a Constitution-a Constitution endorsed by the Lord Jesus Christ.38

We must teach our children about the spiritual roots of this great nation. We must become actively involved in supporting programs and textbooks in the public schools that teach the greatness of the early patriots who helped forge our liberties. We must teach our children that it is part of our faith that the Constitution of the United States was inspired by God (see D&C 101:77, 80). We reverence it akin to the revelations that have come from His hand. 39

This nation was established by the God of heaven as a citadel of liberty. A Constitution guaranteeing those liberties was designed under the superintending influence of heaven. We may liken our system to the law of Moses which leads men to the higher law of Christ.40

We are fast approaching that moment prophesied by Joseph Smith when he said, ”Even this nation will be on the very verge of crumbling to pieces and tumbling to the ground, and when the constitution is upon the brink of ruin, this people will be the staff upon which the nation shall lean, and they shall bear the Constitution away from the very verge of destruction.” Are we reading the Constitution and pondering it? Are we teaching its principles to others? Could we defend the Constitution? Do we know what the prophets have said about the Constitution and the threats to it? Have we studied the Federalist papers? It is our sacred responsibility to see that the Constitution is perpetuated so that the Church may more easily flourish in the future. I reverence the Constitution as a sacred document. To me its words are akin to the revelations of God. I testify that God sent some of His choicest spirits to lay the foundations of the government, and he has now sent other choice spirits to help preserve it!41

Scriptures

D&C 109:54
Have mercy, O Lord, upon all the nations of the earth; have mercy upon 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.42

Supporting Statements

Alexander Hamilton

“For my own part, I sincerely esteem it [the Constitution] a system which without the finger of God, never could have been suggested and agreed upon by such a diversity of interests.” 43

Orson Pratt

Many great and glorious principles are contained within the Constitution of our country, not to say that it is perfect, but it is perfect so far as it pertains to the rights and privileges of the children of men.44

Benjamin F. Johnson

And then you would have “further truths from the teachings of the Prophet [Joseph Smith].” … And he taught us relating to the Kingdom of God, as it would become organized upon the earth through “all nations learning war no more,” and all adopting the God-given constitution of the United States as a Paladium [sic] of Liberty and Equal Rights.45

J. Reuben Clark, Jr.

#1:

God provided that in this land of liberty, our political allegiance shall run not to individuals, that is, to government officials, no matter how great or how small they may be. Under His plan our allegiance and the only allegiance we owe as citizens or denizens of the United States, runs to our inspired Constitution which God himself set up. So runs the oath of office of those who participate in government. A certain loyalty we do owe to the office which a man holds, but even here we owe just by reason of our citizenship, no loyalty to the man himself. In other countries it is to the individual that allegiance runs. This principle of allegiance to the Constitution is basic to our freedom. It is one of the great principles that distinguishes this ‘land of liberty’ from other countries. 46

#2:

…that statement of the Lord, ‘I have established the Constitution of this land,’ puts the Constitution of the United States in the position in which it would be if it were written in this book of Doctrine and Covenants itself. This makes the Constitution the word of the Lord to us. That it was given, not by oral utterance, but by the operation of his mind and spirit upon the minds of men, inspiring them to the working out of this great document of human government, does not alter its authority.” (J. Reuben Clark, Conference Report, p. 90. April 1935

#3:

So, brethren, I wish you to understand that when we begin to tamper with the Constitution we begin to tamper with the law of Zion which God Himself set up, and no one may trifle with the word of God with impunity.47

#4:

The Constitution will never reach its destiny through force. God’s principles are taken by men because they are eternal and true and touch the divine spirit in men. This is the only true way to permanent world peace, the aspiration of men since the beginning. God never planted his Spirit, his truth, in the hearts of men from the point of a bayonet.48

  1. First Presidency Message, January 1987
  2. First Presidency Message, January 1987
  3. Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 3:304
  4. Joseph Smith, Documentary History of the Church, Vol. 6, p. 56
  5. Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 5:471
  6. Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 3:191
  7. Brigham Young, Journal History of the Church, 3-4
  8. Brigham Young, as quoted in “The Prophets on the Christ,” December 26, 1908, Liahona: The Elders’ Journal, 678
  9. Brigham Young, Messages of the First Presidency, 2:98
  10. Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 7:13-14
  11. Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 8:324
  12. Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 9:368
  13. Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 6:342-349; July 31, 1859
  14. John Taylor, “The Mormon,” as quoted in The Gospel Kingdom, p. 309-310
  15. John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, 24:126
  16. John Taylor, The John Taylor Papers, 1:195
  17. John Taylor, The John Taylor Papers, 1:228
  18. John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, 23:53
  19. John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, 22:295
  20. John Taylor, The John Taylor Papers, 1:271
  21. John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, 21:31
  22. Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses, 25:210-211
  23. Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 2:42
  24. Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses, 22:346
  25. Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses, 24:243
  26. Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses, 23:81
  27. Lorenzo Snow, Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1854-1886], 14: 304 – 305.
  28. David O. McKay, in The Instructor, February 1856, p. 34
  29. Ezra Taft Benson, “I Testify”, General Conference, October 1988
  30. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pg. 147
  31. First Presidency, Ezra Taft Benson, Family Home Evening Lessons for the Bicentennial of the Constitution 2 
  32. Ezra Taft Benson, Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson 594; from an address given at the Bicentennial Ball, Salt Lake City, UT, 18 Sep 1987
  33. The Federalist, no. 37). (Ezra Taft Benson, CHB 23; Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson 597
  34. Ezra Taft Benson, CHB 16; Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson 595
  35. Ezra Taft Benson, CHB 11; Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson 598
  36. Ezra Taft Benson, CHB 10; Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson 587
  37. Ezra Taft Benson, CHB 1, 15; revised in Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson 593
  38. Ezra Taft Benson, Salt Lake Utah Emigration Stake Conference, 5 November 1978; Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 570
  39. “Righteousness Exalteth a Nation,” Provo Utah Freedom Festival, 29 June 1986; Ezra Taft Benson, The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988], 570.
  40. Ezra Taft Benson, “A Vision and a Hope for the Youth of Zion,” in 1977 Devotional Speeches of the Year [Provo, Utah: BYU, 1978], pp.76-77; Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 569
  41. Ezra Taft Benson, Conference Report, October 1987
  42. D&C 109:54; Dedicatory prayer of the Kirtland Temple
  43. Alexander Hamilton, 1787 after the Constitutional Convention
  44. Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses 3:72
  45. Benjamin Johnson Ltr to Gibbs, 1903 in E. Dale LeBaron (1967), p.331
  46. J. Reuben Clark, Jr., Improvement Era, July 1940, p. 444.
  47. J. Reuben Clark, Conference Report, October 58, 1942
  48. J. Reuben Clark, The Constitution, Conference Report, April 6, 1957

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