*******Stand Up For Freedom
by President Ezra Taft Benson
October 4, 1987
My beloved brethren and sisters, what a glorious blessing to be assembled in another great general conference of the Church. I ask for an interest in your faith and prayers as I speak to you about a subject that is very close to my heart and that affects the worldwide Church.
We have recently celebrated the bicentennial of the signing of the United States Constitution. That commemorated the beginning of a series of events leading up to the ratification of the Constitution, implementation of the government it created, and the writing and ratification of the Bill of Rights. We look forward to the future commemoration of each of these important events during the next four years. It is as a result of these events that we are able to meet today in peace as members of the are able to meet today in peace as members of the restored Church of Jesus Christ. For this we should all be eternally grateful.
I desire, therefore, to speak to you about our divine Constitution, which the Lord said "belongs to all mankind" (D&C 98:5) "and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles" (D&C 101:77; italics added).
The Constitution of the United States has served as a model for many nations and is the oldest constitution in use today.
"I established the Constitution of this land," said the Lord, "by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose" (D&C 101:80).
For centuries the Lord kept America hidden in the hollow of His hand until the time was right to unveil her for her destiny in the last days. "It is wisdom that this land should be kept as yet from the knowledge of other nations," said Lehi, "for behold, many nations would overrun the land, that there would be no place for an inheritance" (2 Nephi 1:8).
In the Lord's due time His Spirit "wrought upon" Columbus, the pilgrims, the Puritans, and others to come to America. They testified of God's intervention in their behalf (see 1 Nephi 13:12-13). The Book of Mormon records that they humbled "themselves before the Lord; and the power of the Lord was t;themselves before the Lord; and the power of the Lord was with them" (1 Nephi 13:16).
Our Father in Heaven planned the coming forth of the Founding Fathers and their form of government as the necessary great prologue leading to the restoration of the gospel. Recall what our Savior Jesus Christ said nearly two thousand years ago when He visited this promised land:
"For it is wisdom in the Father that they should be established in this land, and be set up as a free people by the power of the Father, that these things might come forth" (3 Nephi 21:4). America, the land of liberty, was to be the Lord's latter-day base of operations for His restored church.
The Declaration of Independence affirmed the Founding Fathers' belief and trust in God in these words:
"We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
The Doctrine and Covenants states,
"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" (D&C 134:2). Life, liberty, property--mankind's three great rights.
property--mankind's three great rights.
At the conclusion of the Declaration of Independence, they wrote,
"And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."
This Declaration was a promise that would demand terrible sacrifice on the part of its signers. Five of the signers were captured as traitors and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons in the Revolutionary War, another had two sons captured. Nine died from wounds or from the hardships of the war. The Lord said He "redeemed the land by the shedding of blood" (D&C 101:80). Nephi recorded that the Founders "were delivered by the power of God out of the hands of all other nations" (1 Nephi 13:19).
The years immediately preceding the Constitutional Convention were filled with disappointments and threats to the newly won peace. Washington was offered a kingship, which he adamantly refused. Nephi had prophesied hundreds of years before that "this land shall be a land of liberty unto the Gentiles, and there shall be no kings upon the land" (2 Nephi 10:11; italics added).
Between the critical years of 1783 and 1787, an outsider viewing the affairs of the United States would have thought that the thirteUnited States would have thought that the thirteen states, different in so many ways, could never effectively unite. The world powers were confident that this nation would not last.
Eventually, twelve of the states met in Philadelphia to address the problem. Madison said at the beginning of the Convention that the delegates "were now digesting a plan which in its operation would decide forever the fate of Republican Government" (26 June 1787, Records of the Federal Convention; 1911, 1:423).
"The Lord knoweth all things from the beginning," said Nephi, "wherefore, he prepareth a way to accomplish all his words among the children of men" (1 Nephi 9:6).
Four months later, the Convention delegates had completed their work. As Gladstone said, it was "the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man" (William Gladstone, North American Review, Sept. Oct. 1878, pp. 185-86), and the Prophet Joseph Smith called it "a glorious standard. . . . a heavenly banner" (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1938, p. 147).
The delegates were the recipients of heavenly inspiration. James Madison, often referred to as the father of the Constitution 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" (The Federalist, ed. Henry Cabot Lodge, New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1983, no. 37, p. 222).
Alexander Hamilton, famous as the originator of The Federalist papers and author of fifty-one of the essays, said:
"For my own part, I sincerely esteem it a system, which without the finger of God, never could have been suggested and agreed upon by such a diversity of interest" (Paul L. Ford, Essays on the Constitution of the United States, 1892, pp. 25152).
Charles Pinckney, a very active participant and author of the Pinckney Plan during the Convention, said:
"When the great work was done and published, I was struck with amazement. Nothing less than the superintending Hand of Providence, that so miraculously carried us through the war . . . could have brought it about so complete, upon the whole" (Essays on the Constitution, p. 412).
Within ten months, the Constitution was ratified by nine states and was therefore in force for them. Prophecy had been fulfilled.
During his first inaugural address in 1789, President George Washington, a man who was raised up by God, said:
"No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invas raised up by God, said:
"No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men, more than the people of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have [p. 6] been distinguished by some token of providential agency" (First Inaugural Address, 30 April 1789).
In compliance with Article 6 of the Constitution, the very first act passed by Congress and signed by President Washington on June 1, 1789, was the actual oath to support the Constitution that was to be administered to various government officers.
The dedicatory prayer for the Kirtland Temple, as dictated by the Lord and found in the Doctrine and Covenants, contains these words: "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).
Shortly after President Spencer W. Kimball became President of the Church, he assigned me to go into the vault of the St. George Temple and check the early records. As I did so, I realized the fulfillment of a dream I had had ever since learning of the visit of the Founding Fathers to the St. George Temple. I saw with my own eyes the record of the work which was done for the Founding Fathers of this great nation, beginning with George Washington.
Think of it: the Founding Fathers of this nation, those great mthe Founding Fathers of this nation, those great men, appeared within those sacred walls and had their vicarious work done for them.
President Wilford Woodruff spoke of it in these words:
"Before I left St. George, the spirits of the dead gathered around me, wanting to know why we did not redeem them. Said they, 'You have had the use of the Endowment House for a number of years, and yet nothing has ever been done for us. We laid the foundation of the government you now enjoy, and we never apostatized from it, but we remained true to it and were faithful to God' " (The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, sel. G. Homer Durham, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1946, p. 160).
After he became President of the Church, President Wilford Woodruff declared that
"Those men who laid the foundation of this American government were the best spirits the God of heaven could find on the face of the earth. They were choice spirits . . . [and] were inspired of the Lord" (in Conference Report, April 1898, p. 89).
Unfortunately, we as a nation have apostatized in various degrees from different Constitutional principles as proclaimed by the inspired founders. 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 Cto 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" (19 July 1840, as recorded by Martha Jane Knowlton Coray; ms. in Church Historian's Office, Salt Lake City).
For centuries our forefathers suffered and sacrificed that we might be the recipients of the blessings of freedom. If they were willing to sacrifice so much to establish us as a free people, should we not be willing to do the same to maintain that freedom for ourselves and for future generations?
Only in this foreordained land, under its God-inspired Constitution and the resulting environment of freedom, was it possible to have established the restored church. It is our responsibility to see that this freedom is perpetuated so that the Church may more easily flourish in the future.
The Lord said, "Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land" (D&C 98:6).
How then can we best befriend the Constitution in this critical hour and secure the blessings of liberty and ensure the protection and guidance of our Father in Heaven?
First and foremost, we must be righteous.
John Adams said,
"Our Constitution was mams said,
"Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." (The Works of John Adams, ed. C. F. Adams, Boston: Little, Brown Co., 1851, 4:31). If the Constitution is to have continuance, this American nation, and especially the Latter-day Saints, must be virtuous.
The Book of Mormon warns us relative to our living in this free land:
"Wherefore, this land is consecrated unto him whom he shall bring. And if it so be that they shall serve him according to the commandments which he hath given, it shall be a [p. 7] land of liberty unto them; wherefore, they shall never be brought down into captivity; if so, it shall be because of iniquity; for if iniquity shall abound cursed shall be the land for their sakes, but unto the righteous it shall be blessed forever" (2 Nephi 1:7).
"And now," warned Moroni,
"We can behold the decrees of God concerning this land, that it is a land of promise; and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall serve God, or they shall be swept off when the fulness of his wrath shall come upon them. And the fulness of his wrath cometh upon them when they are ripened in iniquity" (Ether 2:9).
Two great American Christian civilizations--the Jaredites and the Nephites--were swept off this land because they did not &quere swept off this land because they did not "serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ" (Ether 2:12). What will become of our civilization?
Second, we must learn the principles of the Constitution in the tradition of the Founding Fathers.
Have we read the Federalist papers? Are we reading the Constitution and pondering it? Are we aware of its principles? Are we abiding by these principles and teaching them to others? Could we defend the Constitution? Can we recognize when a law is constitutionally unsound? Do we know what the prophets have said about the Constitution and the threats to it?
As Jefferson said, "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free . . . it expects what never was and never will be" (Letter to Colonel Charles Yancey, 6 Jan. 1816).
Third, we must become involved in civic affairs to see that we are properly represented.
The Lord said that "he holds men accountable for their acts in relation" to governments "both in making laws and administering them" (D&C 134:1). We must follow this counsel from the Lord:
"Honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil" (D&C 98:10).
Note the qualities that the Lord demands of those who are to represent us. They must be good, wise, andse who are to represent us. They must be good, wise, and honest.
Fourth, we must make our influence felt by our vote, our letters, our teaching, and our advice. We must become accurately informed and then let others know how we feel. The Prophet Joseph Smith said:
"It is our duty to concentrate all our influence to make popular that which is sound and good, and unpopular that which is unsound. 'Tis right, politically, for a man who has influence to use it . . . From henceforth I will maintain all the influence I can get" (History of the Church, 5:286).
I have faith that the Constitution will be saved as prophesied by Joseph Smith. It will be saved by the righteous citizens of this nation who love and cherish freedom. It will be saved by enlightened members of this Church--among others--men and women who understand and abide the principles of the Constitution.
I reverence the Constitution of the United States as a sacred document. To me its words are akin to the revelations of God, for God has placed His stamp of approval upon it.
I testify that the God of heaven sent some of His choicest spirits to lay the foundation of this government, and He has now sent other choice spirits to help preserve it.
We, the blessed beneficiaries of the Constitution, face difficult days in America, "a land which is choice above all other lands" (Ether 2:10).
May God give us the faith and the courage exhibited by those patriots who pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.
May we be equally as valiant and as free, I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.*******
The New World Order
An Analysis for Latter-day Saints
From The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson
Dedicated to William Tyndale who was martyred in 1536 for printing the words of the prophets without permission.
In Germany, in 1524, William Tyndale completed the first printed English New Testament. Six thousand copies were smuggled into England, but anyone found in possession of one had to relinquish it for burning or face excommunication from the church. Tyndale continued his work on the Old Testament, living like a fugitive, until he was finally arrested and jailed. In October of 1536, he was martyred at the request of the English authorities. (See Lenet H. Read, "How the Bible Came to Be, Part 6: No Price Too Great," Ensign, July 1982, pp. 45-47.)
Prepared and Published in September 1992 by R. Gary Shapiro, Kaysville, Utah 84037
Printed in the United States of America
The Apostle Paul wrote 14 of 27 books in the New Testament, two of them before his ordination to the apostleship. He traveled the world as an apostle for approximately 13 years.
Many of Bruce R. McConkie's writings, including his oft-quoted Mormon Doctrine, were published before his call to the apostleship. He served as an apostle for just under 13 years.
Neither of these two apostles became President of the Church. Yet today nearly every Church lesson manual and magazine contains quotations from both of them.
Ezra Taft Benson has served as an apostle for 49 years. In 1985, he became President of the Church. Missionaries and Church members around the world, young and old alike, bear frequent and solemn testimony that Ezra Taft Benson is a Prophet of God.
This booklet is about some of Ezra Taft Benson's less popular teachings. In the first chapter, we examine the importance of the Prophet's teachings, whether popular or unpopular. Here we find that our only safety lies in following the Prophet. Even when some are embarrassed by what he says, we can be sure that God sustains him and expects us as individuals to follow him. No living person or group of persons has authority from God to question the Prophet's teachings.
In the second chapter, we review some of the Prophet's teachings about our national Constitution. His concerns about internationalist proposals to abandon our nationhood make it unmistakably clear that the emerging New World Order imperils the Constitution. A significant part of his 49 year ministry has been directed toward preserving the U.S. Constitution.
The third chapter evaluates several warnings from the Prophet about an international conspiracy and its efforts to overthrow Constitutional freedoms in all countries and rule the world. These warnings have caused embarrassment among some members of the Church and have received limited attention in Church curriculum materials. Some Church members go so far as to belittle the idea of a conspiracy to overthrow the Constitution. Those who would mock the words of the Prophet should carefully consider the Lord's warning: "Fools mock, but they shall mourn." (Ether 12:26.)
During the 1960s, it was suggested by some that Communism was not actually being run from Moscow or Peking, but was being run by a conspiracy of influential and widely respected non- Communists from within the United States and Europe. The term Insiders has been used to refer to members of this conspiracy. During the 1970s, Ezra Taft Benson frequently recommended a certain book about these Insiders and their efforts to establish a New World Order. The last chapter of this booklet contains excerpts from that book.
Regardless of how you have felt about Ezra Taft Benson's political views in the past, you ought to consider them carefully now because God simply does not call as Prophets men who preach false doctrine.
Follow the Prophet
1. The Prophet Is Like Unto Moses
2. Giving Heed To All the Prophet’s Words
3. There Is Safety In Following the Prophet
4. Use the Prophet’s Words To Evaluate the Words of All Others
The Prophet and the Constitution
1. Constitution Established by God For All Mankind
2. The Crisis of the Constitution
3. The New World Order—A Threat to the Constitution
4. Saving the Constitution
The Prophet’s Warning
1. Secret Combinations
2. Moroni's Urgent Appeal
3. Most Abominable and Wicked Above All
4. Seducing the Righteous
5. We Must Awake
Every Citizen of Every Country
1. Don’t Confuse Me With Facts
2. Socialism—Royal Road to Power For the Super-Rich
3. You Are The Answer
1. Becoming Informed
2. Now Is The Time
President Ezra Taft Benson's statements quoted in this booklet have come from his public writings after he was called to the apostleship.
The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson (Bookcraft, 1988), was published three years after he became President of the Church. Its preface notes that "President Benson personally reviewed the entire manuscript, as did his counselors in the First Presidency."
Other sources published since his call as Church President include The Constitution: A Heavenly Banner (Deseret Book, 1986) and his official General Conference messages.
God, Family, Country: Our Three Great Loyalties (Deseret Book, 1974) was published after he became President of the Quorum of the Twelve, and his book An Enemy Hath Done This (Parliament Publishers, 1969) was published after he had served for more than 25 years as an apostle.
Follow the Prophet
Receive the prophet's words as if from God himself and use them to evaluate all other counsel.
We have a prophet living on the earth today. He is the president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He alone has the right to receive revelation for the entire Church. He alone holds the "keys of the kingdom," meaning he directs the administration of the ordinances.
Latter-day Saints sustain the first presidency and the twelve apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators. However, when we speak of "the prophet" we mean the President of the Church, the President of the High Priesthood. No other person is authorized to receive God's will for the membership of the Church. (See Gospel Principles [1978, Revised 1979,1981 ], pp. 44-45.)
The Prophet Is Like Unto Moses
• D&C 107:91-92. "And again, the duty of the President of the office of the High Priesthood is to preside over the whole church, and to be like unto Moses—
"Behold, here is wisdom; yea, to be a seer, a revelator, a translator, and a prophet, having all the gifts of God which he bestows upon the head of the church."
How is the Prophet "like unto Moses?" Do we sometimes feel that if we had a prophet like Moses, we would be led with greater manifestations of power than we now are? Yet, we know that the same spirit of revelation that rested upon Moses and enabled him to lead the children of Israel through the Red Sea rests upon the President of the Church today.
• Moses 1:25. "Blessed art thou, Moses, for I, the Almighty, have chosen thee, and thou shalt be made stronger than many waters; for they shall obey thy command as if thou wert God."
Moses was told that the waters would obey his command "as if thou wert God" and they certainly did.
• Helaman 12:7-8 (7-16). "O how great is the nothingness of the children of men; yea, even they are less than the dust of the earth.
"For behold, the dust of the earth moveth hither and thither, to the dividing asunder, at the command of our great and everlasting God."
Because the dust of the earth is always obedient to God whereas the children of men are not always obedient, the children of men are here referred to as "less than the dust of the earth." The elements are obedient to God and his prophet. Shouldn't we likewise follow the prophet who is "like unto Moses" as if he were God?
• Exodus 4:15-16. Defining his relationship as Prophet to his brother Aaron, God said to Moses: "And thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth: and I will be with thy mouth, . . . and will teach you what ye shall do.
"And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people; and he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God."
President Harold B. Lee, while a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, used these verses to explain the relationship that the prophet has with other Church leaders: "I think that is as clear a relationship as you can find anywhere—the relationship of the prophet of the Lord and the President of the Church, the prophet, seer, and revelator, to others of us to whom he may delegate authority." (Teachings of the Living Prophets [Student Manual Religion 333, 1982], p. 13.)
• In September of 1830, the First Presidency had not yet been organized, but Oliver Cowdery was the Second Elder of the Church. The question arose concerning who might receive revelations for the Church when Oliver Cowdery took the Prophet Joseph Smith to task for not accepting certain revelations that had been received by others. In answer to the Prophet Joseph's prayer about this matter, the Lord revealed section 28 of the Doctrine and Covenants and gave the following instructions to Oliver Cowdery (see verses 2-3, 6-7):
"No one shall be appointed to receive commandments and revelations in this church excepting my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., for he receiveth them even as Moses.
"And thou shalt be obedient unto the things which I shall give unto him, even as Aaron, to declare faithfully the commandments and the revelations, with power and authority unto the church. . . .
"And thou shalt not command him who is at thy head, and at the head of the church.
"For I have given him the keys of the mysteries, and the revelations which are sealed, until I shall appoint unto them another in his stead."
• D&C 43:1-4. The Lord plainly states that only the President of the Church is appointed to receive commandments and revelations, and "there is none other appointed . . . to receive commandments and revelations until he be taken." (Italics added.)
• D&C 100:9-11. In 1833, the Lord reminded Sidney Rigdon, a counselor in the First Presidency, that he was to be a "spokesman" for the Prophet, and that the Prophet should "be a revelator unto thee."
• D&C 132:7. "And there is never but one on the earth at a time on whom this power and the keys of this priesthood are conferred."
The prophet is the only person on the earth who holds all of the keys of the priesthood and is "the only one who is empowered to receive revelation for the whole Church. Neither his counselors nor members of the Quorum of the Twelve nor any person in any position in the Church may declare official doctrine, change policies, or speak as the Lord's representative for the entire Church, without the prophet's authorization." (Teachings of the Living Prophets [Student Manual Religion 333, 1982], p. 13.)
Giving Heed To All the Prophet's Words
• D&C 1:38. "What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same."
The prophet's words are God's words and God's words shall all be fulfilled. (See 1 Ne. 7:13; 9:6; Alma 37:16; 3 Ne. 27:18; 29:1-3; D&C 42:39; 56:11; Moses 4:30; JS-M 1:35.)
• D&C 21:4-5. "Thou shalt give heed to all his [the prophet's] words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me;
"For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith." (Italics added.)
The prophet's teachings should be followed completely. There is no option to follow part of his counsel and discard that which is unpleasant or difficult. The Lord has commanded us to follow all of the prophet's teachings. (See Gospel Principles [1978, Revised 1979,1981], p. 45.)
There Is Safety In Following the Prophet
• President Harold B. Lee said our only safety lies in following the words of the living prophet as if from God's own mouth:
"Now the only safety we have as members of this church is to do exactly what the Lord said to the Church in that day when the Church was organized. We must learn to give heed to the words and commandments that the Lord shall give through his prophet, 'as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me; . . . as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith.' (D&C 21:4-5.) There will be some things that take patience and faith. You may not like what comes from the authority of the Church. It may contradict your political views. It may contradict your social views. It may interfere with some of your social life. . . .
"Your safety and ours depends upon whether or not we follow the ones whom the Lord has placed to preside over his church. He knows whom he wants to preside over this church, and he will make no mistake. The Lord doesn't do things by accident. . . .
"Let's keep our eye on the President of the Church." (Living Prophets for a Living Church [Church Educational System, 1974], p. 32. see also The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 139.)
Use the Prophet's Words To Evaluate the Words of All Others
• President Ezra Taft Benson gave this counsel: "Let me give you a crucial key to help you avoid being deceived. It is this—learn to keep your eye on the Prophet. He is the Lord's mouthpiece and the only man who can speak for the Lord today. Let his inspired counsel take precedence. Let his inspired words be a basis for evaluating the counsel of all lesser authorities. Then live close to the Spirit so you may know the truth of all things." (Seek to Obtain My Word [Melchizedek Priesthood Personal Study Guide 1989], p. 58; see also The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 134; italics added.)
• President Benson has taught this same principle many times. The following examples are representative of his teachings on this subject:
"Other officers in the kingdom have fallen, but never the Presidents. The words of a living prophet must and ever will take precedence." (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 134; italics added.)
"As members of the Church we have some close quarters to pass through if we are going to get home safely. We will be given a chance to choose between conflicting counsel given by some. That is why we must learn—and the sooner we learn, the better—to keep our eye on the prophet, the President of the Church." (Ibid., p. 139.)
"Some so-called experts of political science want the prophet to keep still on politics. Some would-be authorities on evolution want the prophet to keep still on evolution. And so the list goes on and on.
"How we respond to the words of a living prophet when he tells us what we need to know, but would rather not hear, is a test of our faithfulness." (Ibid., pp. 139-140.)
"Of all mortal men, we should keep our eyes most firmly fixed on the captain—the prophet, seer, and revelator, and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is the man who stands closest to the fountain of living waters (Jeremiah 2:13; 1 Nephi 11:25). There are some heavenly instructions for us that we can only receive through the prophet. A good way to measure your standing with the Lord is to see how you feel about, and act upon, the inspired words of His earthly representative, the prophet-president. The inspired words of the President are not to be trifled with. All men are entitled to inspiration, and various men are entitled to revelation for their particular assignment. But only one man stands as the Lord's spokesman to the Church and the world, and he is the President of the Church. The words of all other men should be weighed against his inspired words." (Ibid., p. 140; italics added.)
"All men are entitled to inspiration, but only one man is the Lord's mouthpiece. Some lesser men have in the past, and will in the future, use their office unrighteously. Some will use it to lead the unwary astray; some will use it to persuade us that all is well in Zion; some will use it to cover and excuse their ignorance. Keep your eye on the prophet." (Ibid., p. 142.)
"What better way can one become informed than by first studying the inspired words of the prophets and using that as a foundation against which to test all other material?" (Ibid., p. 305.)
The Prophet and the Constitution
D&C 101:77, 80
God established the United States Constitution and raised up a Prophet Patriot to help us preserve it.
President Ezra Taft Benson will be remembered as one of the greatest patriots of our time. President Harold B. Lee said of him: "The two ruling passions of his life might be said to be, first, his unshakable faith in the intervention of an Omnipotent Power in the affairs of men; and second, his certainty that the Constitution of the United States was divinely inspired." (Introduction to So Shall Ye Reap [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1960], p. viii.)
For more than fifty years, in Church and government service, Ezra Taft Benson has boldly and courageously defended the United States Constitution against its domestic and foreign foes. Today it is our privilege as citizens of the United States to follow him as we step forward to help save the Constitution.
Constitution Established by God for All Mankind
• Isaiah 2:3; Micah 4:2. President Ezra Taft Benson has said of these verses: "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. . . . The Constitution fulfilled the ancient prophecy of Isaiah that 'out of Zion shall go forth the law.'" (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 595.)
Other nations will recognize the blessings of freedom provided by the Constitution and, of their own free will, "adopt similar government systems, thus to fulfill the ancient prophecy of Isaiah and Micah that 'out of Zion shall go forth the law.'" (Ibid.)
• In the October 1987 General Conference, President Ezra Taft Benson said that Church members throughout the world should be grateful for the blessings of freedom enjoyed by the Church as a result of the Constitution: "[I] speak to you about our divine Constitution, which the Lord said 'belongs to all mankind' (D&C 98:5) 'and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles' (D&C 101:77; italics added)
"The Constitution of the United States has served as a model for many nations and is the oldest constitution in use today.
"'I established the Constitution of this land,' said the Lord, 'by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose' (D&C 101:80). . . .
"The signing of the United States Constitution . . . marked the beginning of a series of . . . events leading up to the ratification of the Constitution, implementation of the government it created, and the writing and ratification of the Bill of Rights
It is as a result of these events that we are able to meet today in peace as members of the restored Church of Jesus Christ. For this we should al1 be eternally grateful." (Conference Report, Oct. 1987, Ensign, Nov. 1987, p. 4; italics in original.)
• On another occasion, President Benson reminded us: "In the Kirtland Temple dedicatory prayer . . . the Lord directed the prophet Joseph Smith to say: '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.)" ("The Constitution—A Glorious Standard," Ensign, Sept. 1987, p. 9.)
The Crisis of the Constitution
• In 1987, President Ezra Taft Benson said: "We must, with sadness, say that we have not been wise in keeping the trust of our Founding Fathers. For the past two centuries, those who do not prize freedom have chipped away at every major clause of our Constitution until today we face a crises of great dimensions." ("The Constitution—A Glorious Standard," Ensign, Sept. 1987, p. 10; as quoted in The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 612.)
In 1986, President Benson said: "To all who have discerning eyes, it is apparent that the republican form of government established by our noble forefathers cannot long endure once fundamental principles are abandoned. Momentum is gathering for another conflict—a repetition of the crisis of two hundred years ago. This collision of ideas is worldwide. The issue is the same that precipitated the great premortal conflict—will men be free to determine their own course of action or must they be coerced?" (The Constitution: A Heavenly Banner, p. 27; as quoted in The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 623.)
• President Benson feels quite strongly about the following statement, which is taken from an address entitled "Stand Up For Freedom." It has been published by him in four different books, in the Church News, and in pamphlet form. It was also filmed and audio taped for presentation to study groups and TV audiences:
"At this particular moment in history the United States Constitution is definitely threatened, and every citizen should know about it. The warning of this hour should resound through the corridors of every American institution—schools, churches, the halls of Congress, press, radio, and television, and so far as I am concerned it will resound—with God's help.
"Wherever possible I have tried to speak out. It is for this very reason that certain people in Washington have bitterly criticized me. They don't want people to hear the message. It embarrasses them. The things which are destroying the Constitution are the things they have been voting for. They are afraid of their political careers if these facts are pointed out. They therefore try to silence any who carry the message—anyone who will stand up and be counted." (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 684.)
The New World Order—A Threat to the Constitution
• President Ezra Taft Benson has explained: "There is one and only one legitimate goal of United States foreign policy. It is a narrow goal, a nationalistic goal: the preservation of our national independence. Nothing in the Constitution grants that the president shall have the privilege of offering himself as a world leader. He is our executive; he is on our payroll; he is supposed to put our best interests in front of those of other nations. Nothing in the Constitution nor in logic grants to the president of the United States or to Congress the power to influence the political life of other countries, to 'uplift' their cultures, to bolster their economies, to feed their people, or even to defend them against their enemies." (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 614; see also pp. 682 & 704.)
The Prophet continues: "Many well-intentioned people are now convinced that we are living in a period of history which makes it both possible and necessary to abandon our national sovereignty, to merge our nation militarily, economically, and politically with other nations, and to form, at last, a world government which supposedly would put an end to war." (Ibid., p. 695.)
President Benson reasons: "The world is smaller, you say? True, it is, but if one finds himself locked in a house with maniacs, thieves, and murderers—even a small house—he does not increase his chances of survival by entering into alliances with his potential attackers and becoming dependent upon them for protection to the point where he is unable to defend himself. Perhaps the analogy between nations and maniacs is a little strong for some to accept. But if we put aside our squeamishness over strong language, and look hard at the real world in which we live, the analogy is quite sound in all but the rarest exceptions." (Ibid., p. 696.)
The Prophet concludes: "Sovereignty for a nation is hard to come by and even more difficult to retain. It cannot be shared, for then sovereignty becomes something else, and, for want of a better word, when sovereignty is lessened the end-product is internationalism. Sovereignty is neither more nor less than self-government. American self-government is blueprinted in the Constitution." (Ibid.)
• President Ezra Taft Benson has said: "Our leaders in Washington have been acting as though the American people elected them to office for the primary purpose of leading the entire planet toward international peace, prosperity, and one-world government. At times, these men appear to be more concerned with something called world opinion or with their image as world leaders than they are with securing the best possible advantage for us." (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 682.)
Saving the Constitution
• The blessings of the Constitution will go forth to all nations, not by the conquest of war, but by the persuasion of righteous example. In order for that to happen, however, the Constitution must be preserved. President Benson has taught that the Church, as an institution, will not save the Constitution; nor will the Church tell us, as individuals, how to do it. Speaking in a General Conference of the Church, President Benson said: "Maybe the Lord will never set up a specific Church program for the purpose of saving the Constitution. . . .
"The Prophet Joseph Smith declared it will be the elders of Israel who will step forward to help save the Constitution, not the Church. . . .
"Brethren, if we had done our homework and were faithful, we could step forward at this time and help save this country. The fact that most of us are unprepared to do it is an indictment we will have to bear. The longer we wait, the heavier the chains, the deeper the blood, the more the persecution, and the less we can carry out our God-given mandate and world-wide mission. The war in heaven is raging on earth today. Are you being neutralized in the battle?" (Conference Report, April 1965, Era, p. 539; as quoted in An Enemy Hath Done This, pp. 278-279.)
• Alma 48:11-13; 17. "And Moroni was a strong and a mighty man; he was a man of a perfect understanding; yea, a man that did not delight in bloodshed; a man whose soul did joy in the liberty and the freedom of his country, and his brethren from bondage and slavery;
"Yea, a man whose heart did swell with thanksgiving to his God, for the many privileges and blessings which he bestowed upon his people; a man who did labor exceedingly for the welfare and safety of his people.
"Yea, and he was a man who was firm in the faith of Christ, and he had sworn with an oath to defend his people, his rights, and his country, and his religion, even to the loss of his blood. . . .
"Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men."
President Ezra Taft Benson has said of these verses: "Part of the reason we may not have sufficient priesthood bearers to save the Constitution, let alone to shake the powers of hell, is because unlike Moroni, I fear, our souls do not joy in keeping our country free, and we are not firm in the faith of Christ, nor have we sworn with an oath to defend our rights and the liberty of our country." (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 623.)
• In 1986, the Prophet said: "We have been instructed again and again to reflect more intently on the meaning and importance of the Constitution and to adhere to its principles. What have we done about this instruction? Have we read the Constitution and pondered it? Are we aware of its principles? Could we defend it? Can we recognize when a law is constitutionally unsound? The Church will not tell us how to do this, but we are admonished to do it." (The Constitution: A Heavenly Banner, p. 29.)
"I reverence the Constitution of the United States as a sacred document. To me its words are akin to the revelations of God, for God has placed His stamp of approval on the Constitution of this land. I testify that the God of heaven sent some of His choicest spirits to lay the foundation of this government, and He has sent other choice spirits—even you who read my words—to preserve it." (The Constitution: A Heavenly Banner, p. 31; as quoted in The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 614.)
The Prophet's Warning
Strive to understand the Prophet's warnings about a secret combination that seeks to rule the world.
In the first section below are six statements from President Ezra Taft Benson regarding a world- wide conspiracy that is increasing its evil influence and control over America and the entire world. These warnings have come to us from God through His living prophet. All six statements have come since his call in 1985 to be President of the Church. They cannot be safely ignored. Without an understanding of these prophetic warnings, we cannot correctly interpret national and world events.
President Benson's apostolic statements during the 42 years prior to his becoming President of the Church are also helpful as we seek to understand his prophetic statements on this important subject. Remember, God does not call as Prophets men who teach false doctrine.
• Oct. 1986: "From the Book of Mormon we see the evils of secret combinations portrayed in graphic and chilling reality. . . .
"We should constantly ask ourselves, 'Why did the Lord inspire Mormon (or Moroni or Alma) to include that in his record? What lesson can I learn from that to help me live in this day and age?'" (Conference Report, Oct. 1986, Ensign, Nov. 1986, pp. 6-7; also The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 59.)
• April 1989: "Secret combinations . . . are built up to get power, gain, and glory of the world. (See Hel. 7:5; Ether 8:9, 16, 22-23; Moses 5:31.) . . . Secret combinations brought down both the Jaredite and the Nephite civilizations and [have] been and will yet be the cause of the fall of many nations. (See Ether 8:18-25.)" (Conference Report, Oct. 1989, Ensign, May 1989, p. 6.)
• Jan. 1988: "The situation in the world will continue to degenerate unless we read and heed the words of God and quit building up and upholding secret combinations, which the Book of Mormon tells us proved the downfall of ancient civilizations." ("The Book of Mormon Is the Word of God," Ensign, Jan. 1988, p. 5.)
• April 1986: "Our nation will continue to degenerate unless we read and heed the words of the God of this land, Jesus Christ, and quit building up and upholding the secret combinations which the Book of Mormon tells us proved the downfall of both previous American civilizations." ("The Book of Mormon Is the Word of God," Regional Representative Seminar, Friday, April 4, 1986, pp. 3-4; as quoted in The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 61.)
• Oct. 1988: "Wickedness is rapidly expanding in every segment of our society. (See D&C 1:14- 16; 84:49-53.) It is more highly organized, more cleverly disguised, and more powerfully promoted than ever before. Secret combinations lusting for power, gain, and glory are flourishing. A secret combination that seeks to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries is increasing its evil influence and control over America and the entire world. (See Ether 8:18-25.)" (Conference Report, Oct. 1988, Ensign, Nov. 1988, p. 87; italics added.)
• April 1987: "Secret combinations flourished because, as Helaman tells us, the Gadianton robbers 'had seduced the more part of the righteous until they had come down to believe in their works and partake of their spoils' (Helaman 6:38)." (Conference Report, April 1987, Ensign, May 1987, p. 4; italics added.)
Moroni's Urgent Appeal
• In a General Conference of the Church, President Ezra Taft Benson said: "One of the most urgent, heart-stirring appeals made by Moroni as he closed the Book of Mormon was addressed to the gentile nations of the last days. He foresaw the rise of a great world-wide secret combination among the gentiles which 'seeketh to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries.' (Ether 8:25.)" (Conference Report, Oct. 1961, Improvement Era, Dec. 1961, p. 953; as quoted in God, Family, Country, p. 348.)
For more than thirty years, the modern prophet Ezra Taft Benson has echoed the ancient prophet Moroni's warning that "each gentile nation of the last days [must] purge itself of this gigantic criminal conspiracy which would seek to rule the world." (Ibid.)
• The modern prophet Benson continues: "Moroni seemed greatly exercised lest in our day we might not be able to recognize the startling fact that the same secret societies which destroyed the Jaredites and decimated numerous kingdoms of both Nephites and Lamanites would be precisely the same form of criminal conspiracy which would rise up among the gentile nations in this day. . . .
"Moroni described how the secret combination would take over a country and then fight the work of God, persecute the righteous, and murder those who resisted. Moroni therefore proceeded to describe the workings of the ancient secret combinations so that modern man could recognize this great political conspiracy in the last days. (See Ether 8:23-25.) (Conference Report, Oct. 1961, Improvement Era, Dec. 1961, p. 954; as quoted in God, Family, Country, p. 349.)
"Today the Christian constitutionalist mourns for his country. He sees the spiritual and political faith of his fathers betrayed by wolves in sheep's clothing. He sees the forces of evil increasing in strength and momentum under the leadership of Satan, the arch-enemy of freedom. He sees the wicked honored and the valiant abused. He senses that his own generation faces Gethsemanes and Valley Forges that may yet rival or surpass the trials of the early Apostles and the men of '76. And this gives him cause to reflect on the most basic of fundamentals—the reason for our existence. Once we understand that fundamental, the purpose for mortality, we may more easily chart a correct course in the perilous seas that are engulfing our nation." (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 397.)
• In the April 1972 General Conference of the Church, President Benson stated: "Joseph Smith said that the Book of Mormon was the 'keystone of our religion' and the 'most correct' book on earth. (DHC, vol. 6, p. 56.) This most correct book on earth states that the downfall of two great American civilizations came as a result of secret conspiracies whose desire was to overthrow the freedom of the people. 'And they have caused the destruction of this people of whom I am now speaking,' says Moroni, 'and also the destruction of the people of Nephi.' (Ether 8:21.)
"Now undoubtedly Moroni could have pointed out many factors that led to the destruction of the people, but notice how he singled out the secret combinations, just as the Church today could point out many threats to peace, prosperity and the spread of God's work, but it has singled out as the greatest threat the Godless conspiracy. There is no conspiracy theory in the Book of Mormon—it is a conspiracy fact." (Conference Report, April 1972, Ensign, July 1972, p. 60; as quoted in God, Family, Country, pp. 321-322.)
• Ether 8:22. President Benson has emphasized over and over the ancient prophet Moroni's warning that "whatsoever nation shall uphold such secret combinations . . . until they shall spread over the nation, behold, they shall be destroyed." (See, for example, God, Family, Country, pp. 322 & 349; and An Enemy Hath Done This, pp. 331 & 333.)
• Our Prophet says we are "building up and upholding" this great world-wide conspiracy; that we have been "seduced . . . to believe its words," and that it is "flourishing" and "increasing its evil influence and control over America and the entire world." (See section 1 above.)
Most Abominable and Wicked Above All
• Ether 8:18-19. Why did Moroni say that secret combinations are the "most abominable and wicked above all, in the sight of God?"
1 Nephi 13:5. Nephi said that the church of the devil is "most abominable above all" Is it possible that Nephi and Moroni were talking about the same thing?
3 Nephi 9:9. The voice of the Lord proclaimed that the wickedness of the great city of Jacobugath "was above all the wickedness of the whole earth, because of their secret murders and combinations; for it was they that did destroy the peace of my people and the government of the land."
• President Benson cites President J. Reuben Clark's warning that, "'we stand in danger of losing our liberties, and that once lost, only blood will bring them back; and once lost, we of this church will, in order to keep the Church going forward, have more sacrifices to make and more persecutions to endure than we have yet known. . . .' (CR, April 1944, p. 116.) He also stated that if the conspiracy 'comes here it will probably come in its full vigor and there will be a lot of vacant places among those who guide and direct, not only this government, but also this Church of ours.' (CR, April 1952, p. 80.) (Conference Report, April 1972, Ensign, July 1972, p. 61; as quoted in God, Family, Country, p. 323; quoted also in The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 107; again on pp. 658-659.)
Seducing the Righteous
• 2 Timothy 3:13. President Ezra Taft Benson has said of this verse: "The Apostle Paul saw our day. He . . . warned that 'evil men and seducers would wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived' (2 Timothy 3:13)." (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 88; italics added.)
• Mark 13:22. "For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect." (Italics added.)
Matthew 24:24. "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."
President Benson has said of this verse: There is a conspiracy of evil. The source of it all is Satan and his hosts. He has a great power over men to 'lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken' to the voice of the Lord (Moses 4:4). His evil influence may be manifest through governments; through false educational, political, economic, religious, and social philosophies; through secret societies and organizations; and through myriads of other forms. His power and influence are so great that, if possible, he would deceive the very elect (see Matthew 24:24). (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 404.)
• Helaman 6:38. The Modern Prophet Ezra Taft Benson, quoting the Book of Mormon Prophet Helaman, has noted that secret combinations flourish because they are able to seduce "the more part of the righteous" to "believe in their works and partake of their spoils." (Conference Report, April 1987, Ensign, May 1987, p. 4.)
This seduction happens by deception. And the greatest deceptions were not among the Nephites, but are among us today. President Benson has said: "We are going through . . . the greatest propaganda campaign of all time. We cannot believe all we read." (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 302; see also p. 90.)
• President Benson has said: "It is from within the Church that the greatest hindrance comes. And so, it seems, it has been. Now the question arises, will we stick with the kingdom and can we avoid being deceived? Certainly this is an important question, for the Lord has said that in the last days the 'devil will rage in the hearts of men' (2 Nephi 28:20), and if it were possible he 'shall deceive the very elect' (see Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:22)." (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, pp. 406-407.)
We Must Awake
• Ether 8:24. The modern Prophet Benson and the ancient Prophet Moroni speak to us in unison: "Wherefore, the Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation, because of this secret combination which shall be among you." (See God, Family, Country, pp. 322 & 349; italics added.)
• The Prophet has said: If you use the scriptures as a guide, you know what the Book of Mormon has to say regarding murderous conspiracies in the last day and how we are to awake to our awful situation today (see Ether 8:18-25). I find certain elements in the Church do not like to read the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants so much—they have too much to say about freedom." (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 81; see also p. 42.)
The Prophet continues: The Book of Mormon warns us that when we see these murderous conspiracies in our midst, we should awaken to our awful situation (see Ether 8:24). Now, why should we awaken if the Lord is going to take care of us anyway? Let us suppose that it is too late to save freedom. It is still accounted unto us for righteousness' sake to stand up and fight. Some Book of Mormon prophets knew of the final desolate end of their nations, but they still fought on, and they saved some souls, including their own, by so doing. For, after all, the purpose of life is to prove ourselves, and the final victory will be for freedom." (Ibid., p. 660.)
• President Benson has warned: "Our complacency as a nation is shocking—yes, almost unbelievable! We are a prosperous nation. Our people have high-paying jobs. Our incomes are high. Our standard of living is at an unprecedented level. We do not like to be disturbed as we enjoy our comfortable complacency. We live in the soft present and feel the future is secure. We do not worry about history. We seem oblivious to the causes of the rise and fall of nations. We are blind to the hard fact that nations usually sow the seeds of their own destruction while enjoying unprecedented prosperity.
"I say to you with all the fervor of my soul: We are sowing the seeds of our own destruction in America and much of the free world today. It is my sober warning to you today that if the trends of the past continue, we will lose that which is as priceless as life itself—our freedom, our liberty, our right to act as free men. It can happen here. It is happening here. . . .
"The sad and shocking story of what has happened in America in recent years must be told. Our people must have the facts. There is safety in an informed public. There is real danger in a complacent, uninformed citizenry. This is our real danger today. Yes, the truth must be told even at the risk of destroying, in large measure, the influence of men who are widely respected and loved by the American people. The stakes are high. Freedom and survival is the issue." (Ibid., p. 582.)
"The fight for freedom is God's fight. . . . When a man stands for freedom he stands with God. And as long as he stands for freedom he stands with God. And were he to stand alone he would still stand with God—the best company and the greatest power in or out of this world. Any man will be eternally vindicated and rewarded for his stand for freedom." (Ibid., p. 656.)
Every Citizen of Every Country
Learn the facts about modern secret combinations and stop building up and upholding their conspiracies.
During the 1970s, Ezra Taft Benson frequently recommended a non-Church book about the conspiracy entitled, "None Dare Call It Conspiracy." In fact, he gave this personal endorsement on its back cover:
"I wish that every citizen of every country in the free world and every slave behind the Iron Curtain might read this book. (Gary Allen and Larry Abraham, None Dare Call It Conspiracy [Seal Beach, California: Concord Press, 1971], back cover.)
None Dare Ca11 It Conspiracy discusses how the Insiders of a world-wide conspiracy are increasing their evil influence and control over America and the entire world through a "New World Order."
As you read the following excerpts from its pages, please keep in mind Ezra Taft Benson's endorsement printed on its back cover.
Don't Confuse Me With Facts
Most of us have had the experience, either as parents or youngsters, of trying to discover the "hidden picture" within another picture in a children's magazine. Usually you are shown a landscape with trees, bushes, flowers and other bits of nature. The caption reads something like this: "Concealed somewhere in this picture is a donkey pulling a cart with a boy in it. Can you find them*." Try as you might, usually you could not find the hidden picture until you turned to a page farther back in the magazine which would reveal how cleverly the artist had hidden it from us. If we study the landscape we realize that the whole picture was painted in such a way as to conceal the real picture within, and once we see the "real picture," it stands out like the proverbial painful digit.
We believe the picture painters of the mass media am artfully creating landscapes for us which deliberately hide the real picture. In this book we will show you how to discover the "hidden picture" in the landscapes presented to us daily through newspapers, radio and television. Once you can see through the camouflage, you will see the donkey, the cart and the boy who have been there all along. . . .
There are a number of problems to be overcome in convincing a person of the possible existence of a conspiratorial clique of Insiders who from the very highest levels manipulate government policy. . . .
It must be remembered that the first job of any conspiracy, whether it be in politics, crime or within a business office, is to convince everyone else that no conspiracy exists. The conspirators success will be determined largely by their ability to do this. That the elite of the academic world and mass communications media always pooh-pooh the existence of the Insiders merely serves to camouflage their operations. These "artists" hide the boy, the cart and the donkey. . . .
Psychological problems are also involved in inducing people to look at the evidence concerning the Insiders. People are usually comfortable with their old beliefs and conceptions. When Columbus told people the world was a ball and not a pancake, they were highly upset. They were being asked to reject their way of thinking of a lifetime and adopt a whole new outlook. The "intellectuals" of the day scoffed at Columbus and people were afraid they would lose social prestige if they listened to him. Many others just did not want to believe the world was round. It complicated too many things. And typical flat-earthers had such a vested interest involving their own egos, that they heaped abuse on Columbus for challenging their view of the universe. "Don't confuse us with facts; our minds are made up," they said.
Because the Establishment controls the media, anyone exposing the Insiders will be the recipient of a continuous fusillade of invective from newspapers, magazines, TV and radio. In this manner one is threatened with loss of "social respectability" if he dares broach the idea that there is organization behind any of the problems currently wracking America. . . .
Instead of getting mad at the Insiders, [some] people actually get angry at those who are trying to save the country by exposing the conspirators.
One thing which makes it so hard for some socially minded people to assess the conspiratorial evidence objectively is that the conspirators come from the very highest social strata. They are immensely wealthy, highly educated and extremely cultured. Many of them have lifelong reputations for philanthropy. Nobody enjoys being put in the position of accusing prominent people of conspiring to enslave their fellow Americans, but the facts are inescapable. Many business and professional people are particularly vulnerable to the "don't jeopardize your social respectability" pitch given by those who don't want the conspiracy exposed. The Insiders know that if the business and professional community will not take a stand to save the private enterprise system, the socialism through which they intend to control the world will be inevitable. They believe that most business and professional men are too shallow and decadent, too status conscious, too tied up in the problems of their jobs and businesses to worry about what is going on in politics. . . .
We are hoping that the conspirators have underestimated the courage and patriotism remaining in the American people.
We feel there are a sufficient number of you who are not mesmerized by the television set, who put God, family and country above social status, who will band together to expose and destroy the conspiracy of the Insiders. . . .
Socialism—Royal Road to Power For the Super-Rich
Everyone knows that Adolph Hitler existed. No one disputes that. The terror and destruction that this madman inflicted upon the world are universally recognized. Hitler came from a poor family which had absolutely no social position. He was a high school drop-out and nobody ever accused him of being cultured. Yet this man tried to conquer the world. During his early career he sat in a cold garret and poured onto paper his ambitions to rule the world. We know that.
Similarly, we know that a man named Vladimir Ilich Lenin also existed. Like Hitler, Lenin did not spring from a family of social lions. The son of a petty bureaucrat, Lenin, who spent most of his adult life in poverty, has been responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of your fellow human beings and the enslavement of nearly a billion more. Like Hitler, Lenin sat up nights in a dank garret scheming how he could conquer the world. We know that too.
Is it not theoretically possible that a billionaire could be sitting, not in a garret, but in a penthouse, in Manhattan, London or Paris and dream the same dream as Lenin and Hitler? You will have to admit it is theoretically possible. Julius Caesar, a wealthy aristocrat, did. And such a man might form an alliance or association with other like-minded men, might he not? Caesar did. These men would be superbly educated, command immense social prestige and be able to pool astonishing amounts of money to carry out their purposes. These are advantages that Hitler and Lenin did not have.
It is difficult for the average individual to fathom such perverted lust for power. The typical person, of whatever nationality, wants only to enjoy success in his job, to be able to afford a reasonably high standard of living complete with leisure and travel. He wants to provide for his family in sickness and in health and to give his children a sound education. His ambition stops there. He has no desire to exercise power over others, to conquer other lands or peoples, to be a king. He wants to mind his own business and enjoy life. Since he has no lust for power, it is difficult for him to imagine that there are others who have . . . others who march to a far different drum. But we must realize that there have been Hitlers and Lenins and Stalins and Caesars and Alexander the Greats throughout history. Why should we assume there are no such men today with perverted lusts for power? And if these men happen to be billionaires is it not possible that they would use men like Hitler and Lenin as pawns to seize power for themselves?
Indeed, difficult as this is to believe, such is the case. Like Columbus, we are faced with the task of convincing you that the world is not fiat, as you have been led to believe all your life, but, instead, is round. We are going to present evidence that what you call "Communism" is not run from Moscow or Peking, but is an arm of a bigger conspiracy run from New York, London and Paris. The men at the apex of this movement are not Communists in the traditional sense of that term. They feel no loyalty to Moscow or Peking. They are loyal only to themselves and their undertaking. And these men certainly do not believe in the clap-trap pseudo-philosophy of Communism. They have no intention of dividing their wealth. Socialism is a philosophy which conspirators exploit, but in which only the naive believe. . . .
We know that down through the annals of history small groups of men have existed who have conspired to bring the reins of power into their hands. History books are full of their schemes . . . . like the Cosa Nostra where men conspire to make money through crime. . . . The question is: Which is the more lethal form of conspiracy—criminal or political?
And what is the difference between a member of the Cosa Nostra and a Communist, or more properly, an Insider conspirator? Men like Lucky Luciano who have scratched and clawed to the top of the heap in organized crime must, of necessity, be diabolically brilliant, cunning and absolutely ruthless. But, almost without exception, the men in the hierarchy of organized crime have had no formal education. They were born into poverty and learned their trade in the back alleys of Naples, New York or Chicago.
Now suppose someone with this same amoral grasping personality were born into a patrician family of great wealth and was educated at the best prep schools, then Harvard, Yale or Princeton, followed by graduate work possibly at Oxford. In these institutions he would become totally familiar with history, economics, psychology, sociology and political science. After having graduated from such illustrious establishments of higher learning, are we likely to find him out on the streets peddling fifty cent tickets to a numbers game? Would you find him pushing marijuana to high schoolers or running a string of houses of prostitution? Would he be getting involved in gangland killings? Not at all. For with that sort of education, this person would realize that if one wants power, real power, the lessons of history say, "Get into the government business." Become a politician and work for political power or, better yet, get some politicians to front for you. That is where the real power—and the real money—is.
Conspiracy to seize the power of government is as old as government itself. We can study the conspiracies surrounding Alcibiades in Greece or Julius Caesar in ancient Rome, but we are not supposed to think that men today scheme to achieve political power. . . .
Many extremely patriotic individuals have innocently fallen for the conspiracy's line. Walter Trohan, columnist emeritus for the Chicago Tribune and one of America's outstanding political commentators, has accurately noted:
It is a known fact that the policies of the government today, whether Republican or Democratic, are closer to the 1932 platform of the Communist Party than they are to either of their own party platforms in that critical year.
Doesn't it strike you as strange that some of the individuals pushing hardest for socialism have their own personal wealth protected in family trusts and tax-free foundations? Men like Rockefeller, Ford and Kennedy are for every socialist program known to man which will increase your taxes. Yet they pay little, if anything, in taxes themselves. . . .
We are usually told that this clique of super-rich are socialists because they have a guilt complex over wealth they inherited and did not earn. Again, they could relieve these supposed guilt complexes simply by divesting themselves of their unearned wealth. There are doubtless many wealthy do-gooders who have been given a guilt complex by their college professors, but that doesn't explain the actions of the Insiders like the Rockefellers, Fords or Kennedys. All their actions betray them as power seekers.
But the Kennedys, Rockefellers and their super-rich confederates are not being hypocrites in advocating socialism. It appears to be a contradiction for the super-rich to work for socialism and the destruction of free enterprise. In reality it is not.
Our problem is that most of us believe socialism is what the socialists want us to believe it is—a share-the-wealth program. . . .
If one understands that socialism is not a share-the-wealth program, but is in reality a method to consolidate and control the wealth, then the seeming paradox of super-rich men promoting socialism becomes no paradox at all. Instead it becomes the logical, even the perfect tool of power-seeking megalomaniacs. Communism, or more accurately, socialism, is not a movement of the downtrodden masses, but of the economic elite. The plan of the conspirator Insiders then is to socialize the United States, not to Communize it. . . .
If you and your clique wanted control over the United States, it would be impossible to take over every city hall, county seat and state house. You would want all power vested at the apex of the executive branch of the federal government; then you would have only to control one man to control the whole shebang. If you wanted to control the nation's manufacturing, commerce, finance, transportation and natural resources, you would need only to control the apex, the power pinnacle, of an all-powerful SOCIALIST government. Then you would have a monopoly and could squeeze out all your competitors. If you want a national monopoly, you must control a national socialist government. If you want a worldwide monopoly, you must control a world socialist government. That is what the game is all about. "Communism" is not a movement of the downtrodden masses but is a movement created, manipulated and used by power-seeking billionaires in order to gain control over the world . . . first by establishing socialist governments in the various nations and then consolidating them all through a "Great Merger," into an all- powerful world socialist super-state probably under the auspices of the United Nations. . . .
After the Insiders have established the United Socialist States of America (in fact if not in name), the next step is the Great Merger of all nations of the world into a dictatorial world government. . . .
The Insiders" code word for the world superstate is "new world order," a phrase often used by Richard Nixon. The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) states in its Study No. 7.- "The U.S. must strive to: "A. BUILD A NEW INTERNATIONAL ORDER." (Capitals in the original.) Establishment spokesman James Reston (CFR member) declared in his internationally syndicated column for the New York Times of May 21, 1971: "Nixon would obviously like to preside over the creation of a new world order, and believes he has an opportunity to do so in the last 20 months of his first term."
Before you can facilitate the Great Merger, you must first centralize control within each nation, destroy the local police and remove the guns from the hands of the citizenry. You must replace our once free Constitutional Republic with an all-powerful central government. And that is exactly what is happening today. . . . Every action of any consequence, despite the smokescreen, has centralized more power in what is rapidly becoming an all-powerful central government.
You Are The Answer
Many people cannot refrain from rationalizing. After reading this book, some will bemoan the fact that the situation is hopeless. These will be many of the same people who, before reading this book, really did not believe the problems facing us were serious. Some people wake up and give up in the same week. This is, of course, just exactly what the Insiders want you to do.
The conspiracy can be defeated. The Insiders are not omnipotent. It is true that they control important parts of the federal government, high finance and the mass media. But they do not control everything, or the vise would already have been closed. We might say the conspiracy controls everything but you. You are their Achilles heel if you are willing to fight. There is an old cliche in sports that quitters never win and winners never quit. We need a million Americans who are not quitters, but, moreover, who have the will to win! . . .
The one thing these conspirators cannot survive is exposure. The Insiders are successful only because so few of their victims know what is being planned and how Insiders are carrying out those plans. Conspiracies can operate only in the dark. They cannot stand the truthful light of day. Once any sizeable minority of the American people becomes aware of the conspiracy and what it is up to, the many decades of patient planning and work by the Insiders in this country can be destroyed in an amazingly short period of time.
This job is largely a matter of getting others to realize that they have been conned and are continuing to be conned. You must become the local arm of the world's largest floating university. But before you can go to work, pointing out these conspiratorial facts to others, you must know the facts yourself. . . . The concept of an army of individuals which is dedicated to exposing "the conspiracy" frightens the Insiders because it works outside the channels which they control. . . .
Democrats and Republicans must break the Insider control of their respective parties. The C.F.R.-types and their flunkies and social climbing opportunist supporters must be invited to leave or else the Patriots must leave.
It is up to you to put the politicians on the spot and make the C.F.R.-insiders a campaign issue. This can be accomplished easily by creating the base of thinking that will oppose their positions. The Socialists must be forced to gather into one party. The conspiracy doesn't want the resultant clear distinction between party ideologies. The Insiders want the issues between the parties to be cloudy and gray, centering on personalities, not principles. Neither party can come out strongly against Socialism as long as it is pushing Socialist programs. But that is the way the Insiders want it. . . .
You are in this fight whether you want to be or not. Unless you are an Insider, you are a victim. Whether you are a multimillionaire or a pauper you have an enormous amount at stake. . . .
WHAT WILL YOU DO?
Now is the time to courageously become alerted, informed, and active.
President Ezra Taft Benson has said: Never before in the history of our country has there been a greater need for all of our people to take time to discover what is happening in the world. (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 662.)
On another occasion, he said: Our great need in America today is to be alerted and informed. . . . There is safety in an informed public. There is real danger in a complacent, uninformed citizenry. This is our real danger today." (Ibid., p. 582.)
• It is hoped that, after reading this booklet, you will want to learn more about the New World Order, the U.S. Constitution and the conspiracy. Your most important reading, as discussed in the first chapter of this booklet, will be the words of the prophets, especially the Living Prophet.
Therefore, we recommend a careful study of President Benson's books as listed on the Sources page of this booklet (p. vi).
Another excellent book is Prophets, Principles and National Survival (Jerreld L. Newquist, comp., Publishers Press, 1964), which President Benson has recommended in three of his own books (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 658; God, Family, Country, p. 321; and An Enemy Hath Done This, pp. 276 & 286), as he did also in three General Conferences of the Church (October 1964, April 1965, and April 1972).
Of course, you will want to read the entire book, None Dare Call It Conspiracy. This book is available from CPA Book Publisher, P.O. Box 596, Boring, Oregon 97009-0596.
For an up-to-date analysis of the New World Order and what the Insiders are doing today, we suggest a new book, The Insiders, by John F. McManus (The John Birch Society, 1992), which includes a survey of Insider control over the Carter, Reagan, and Bush administrations. And, for a recent in-depth look at the conspiracy, The Shadows of Power by James Perloff (Western Islands, 1988) is also available.
• On several occasions, President Benson has recommended a news magazine, The New American (formerly American Opinion). Examples of this are found in Conference Report, Oct. 1962, Improvement Era, Dec. 1962, p. 912; the Church News, Feb. 26, 1966, p. 12; and An Enemy Hath Done This, p. 44.
In 1986, President Benson purchased subscriptions to The New American for his counselors in the First Presidency and wrote to the magazine's editor: "Congratulations on a job well done. I am deeply grateful for The New American."
The New American is a biweekly publication affiliated with The John Birch Society, and is must reading for those who want to be accurately informed about the New World Order and other Insider schemes.
Now Is The Time
• President Ezra Taft Benson has reminded: The Prophet Joseph Smith is reported to have prophesied the role the priesthood might play to save our inspired Constitution. Now is the time to move forward courageously—to become alerted, informed, and active.
"The Lord's priesthood has a mission to perform for liberty-loving people everywhere. We cannot, any more than Jonah of old, run away from our calling." (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 620; italics added.)
On another occasion, President Benson said: "Any Christian constitutionalist who retreats from this battle jeopardizes his life here and hereafter. Seldom has so much responsibility hung on so few, so heavily; but our numbers are increasing, and we who have been warned have a responsibility to warn our neighbor (see D&C 88:81)." (Ibid., p. 591.)
"[The] divine duty to be a faithful fighter for freedom requires that those of us who have been warned do our duty to warn our neighbor." (Ibid., p. 657.)
• Righteousness is important. In fact, President Benson has said repeatedly that "righteousness is the one indispensable ingredient to liberty." (Ibid, p. 346; see also pp. 416 & 588.)
"How," asks the Prophet, "can we best befriend the Constitution in this critical hour and secure the blessings of liberty?" (Ibid., p. 621.)
The Prophet answers his own question: "First and foremost, we must be righteous." (Ibid.; italics in original.)
It has been suggested, however, that the fundamental principles of the Constitution will be upheld and the nation will be saved as members of the Church simply live the gospel. President Benson has responded to this suggestion as follows:
"Satan is anxious to neutralize the inspired counsel of the prophet and hence keep the priesthood off balance, ineffective, and inert in the fight for freedom. He does this through diverse means, including the use of perverse reasoning.
"For example, he will argue, 'There is no need to get involved in the fight for freedom;all you need to do is live the gospel.' Of course this is a contradiction, because we cannot fully live the gospel and not be involved in the fight for freedom.
"We would not say to someone, 'There is no need to be baptized—all you need to do is live the gospel.' That would be ridiculous because baptism is a part of the gospel. How would you have reacted if during the War in Heaven someone had said to you, 'Look, just do what is right; there is no need to get involved in the fight for free agency.' It is obvious what the devil is trying to do, but it is sad to see many of us fall for his destructive line.
"The cause of freedom is a most basic part of our religion. Our position on freedom helped get us to this earth and it can make the difference as to whether we get back home or not." (Ibid., p. 656.)
• And finally, President Benson has warned: "One of our most serious problems is the inferiority complex which people feel when they are not informed and organized. They dare not make a decision on these vital issues. They let other people think for them. They stumble around in the middle of the road trying to avoid being 'controversial,' and get hit by traffic going both ways. In this mighty struggle each of you has a part. Every person on the earth today chose the right side during the War in Heaven. Be on the right side now. Stand up and be counted." (Ibid., p. 387.)*******
A Witness and a Warning
by President Ezra Taft Benson
General Conference Priesthood Session - October 6, 1979
The Lord has declared this "a day of warning, and not a day many words" (D&C 63:58). My message is a witness and warning about some of the evils which threaten America--a land I love with all my heart. There are other countries with this same problem. You who have seen these dangers in the land you love will have a deep feeling for what I will say.
America is a place of many great events. Here is where Adam dwelt, where the Garden of Eden was located. America was the place of former civilizations, including Adam's, the Jaredites', and Nephites'. America is also the place where God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, appeared to Joseph Smith, inaugurating the last gospel dispensation on earth be, inaugurating the last gospel dispensation on earth before the Savior's second coming.
This consecrated land has been placed under the everlasting decree of God. That decree is recorded in the sacred Book of Mormon, a new witness for Christ, in these words:
"For behold, this is a land which is choice above all other lands; wherefore he that doth possess it shall serve God or shall be swept off; for it is the everlasting decree of God. . . .
"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" (Ether 2:10, 12).
The eventful destiny of America has also been revealed to God's prophets. To Joseph Smith the Lord revealed that "the whole of America is Zion itself from north to south" (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1938, p. 362). Further, the Lord decreed this land to be "the place of the New Jerusalem, which should come down out of heaven, the holy sanctuary of the Lord" (Ether 13:3). To serve God's eternal purposes and to prepare this land for Zion, God "established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom [He] raised up and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood" (D&C 101:80).
The Constitution of thf blood" (D&C 101:80).
The Constitution of the United States was ratified in 1789. The priesthood of God was restored in 1829. Between those two dates is an interval of forty years. It is my conviction that God, who knows the end from the beginning, provided that period of time so the new nation could grow in strength to protect the land of Zion.
In the decade prior to the restoration of the gospel, many countries of South America fought wars of independence to free themselves from European rule. Russia, Austria, and Prussia, however, urged France to aid Spain and Portugal to restore their monarchies in South America. This effort was repulsed by a proclamation from the United States government known as the MonroeDoctrine. The heart of the Monroe Doctrine consists of these words: "The American continents. . . are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European powers."
The Lord had promised, "I will fortify this land against all other nations" (2 Ne. 10:12). President Joseph Fielding Smith said that "the greatest and most powerful fortification in America is the `Monroe Doctrine.'. . . It was the inspiration of the Almighty which rested upon John Quincy Adams, Thomas Jefferson and other statesmen, and which finally found authoritative expression in the message of James Monroe to Congress in the year 18223" (The Progress Of Man, Salt Lake City: Deseret Boo(The Progress Of Man, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., pp. 466-67).
Thus, in that four-decade period the United States had grown to sufficient strength that she was able to provide a cradle of liberty for the restored Church of Jesus Christ.
But whenever the God of heaven reveals His gospel to mankind, Satan, the archenemy to Christ, introduces a counterfeit.
Isaiah foresaw the time when a marvelous work and a wonder would come forth among men. Isaiah also predicted there would be those who would "seek deep to hide their counsel from the Lord, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us?" He saw the time when the work shall say of him that made it, "He made me not" (Isa. 29:15-16).
It is well to ask, what system established secret works of darkness to overthrow nations by violent revolution? Who blasphemously proclaimed the atheistic doctrine that God made us not? Satan works through human agents. We need only look to some of the ignoble characters in human history who were contemporary to the restoration of the gospel to discover fulfillment of [p. 32] Isaiah's prophecy. I refer to the infamous founders of Communism and others who follow in their tradition.
Communism introduced into the world a substitute for true religion. It is a counterfeit of the gospel plan. The false prophets of Communism predict a utopian society. This, theye prophets of Communism predict a utopian society. This, they proclaim, will only be brought about as capitalism and free enterprise are overthrown, private property abolished, the family as a social unit eliminated, all classes abolished, all governments overthrown, and a communal ownership of property in a classless, stateless society established.
Since 1917 this godless counterfeit to the gospel has made tremendous progress toward its objective of world domination.
Today, we are in a battle for the bodies and souls of man. It is a battle between two opposing systems: freedom and slavery, Christ and anti-Christ. The struggle is more momentous than a decade ago, yet today the conventional wisdom says, "You must learn to live with Communism and to give up your ideas about national sovereignty." Tell that to the millions--yes, the scores of millions--who have met death or imprisonment under the tyranny of Communism! Such would be the death knell of freedom and all we hold dear. God must ever have a free people to prosper His work and bring about Zion.
I am a witness to nations and people deprived of their freedom. I was there. I watched that great Iron Curtain drop around nations which formerly had prized their freedom--good people. I was aghast as these were written off by the stroke of a pen. I saw Poland abandoned by nations with a heritage of freedom--the United States and Great Britainitage of freedom--the United States and Great Britain.
I was in Warsaw in June of 1946. I shared a room with seven other men in the Polonia Hotel, the only hotel even partially intact in the great city of Warsaw. Our ambassador, Bliss Lane, had his office in part of the building. He was so saddened that he resigned and wrote the book I Saw Poland Betrayed, which detailed the failure of the United States and England to keep their promise that the Poles would have a free election after the war.
I saw firsthand our great nation stand by at the time of the Hungarian revolution--when "freedom fighters" with bare hands and stones resisted bullets, tanks, and artillery. I confess I was ashamed at the response of my country--a nation which I believe the Lord intended to be an ensign of freedom to all others. Freedom did not die that day (23 October 1956) for Hungary alone. Hope died for many in other captive nations and has only recently been somewhat revived by courageous men willing to speak against oppression.
Since that day, I have seen the Soviet Union, under its godless leaders, spread its ideology throughout the world. Every stratagem is used--trade, war, revolution, violence, hate, detente, and immorality--to accomplish its purposes. Many nations are now under its oppressive control. Over one billion people--one-fourth of the population of the world--have now lost their freedom and aretion of the world--have now lost their freedom and are under Communist domination. We seem to forget that the great objective of Communism is still world domination and control, which means the surrender of our freedom--your freedom--our sovereignty.
On 3 July 1936, the First Presidency published this warning to Church members:
"Communism is not a political party nor a political plan under the Constitution; it is a system of government [p. 33] that is the opposite of our Constitutional government.
"Since Communism, established, would destroy our American Constitutional government, to support Communism is treasonable to our free institutions, and no patriotic American citizen may become either a Communist or supporter of Communism. . . .
"We call upon all Church members completely to eschew [shun] Communism. The safety of our divinely inspired Constitutional government and the welfare of our Church imperatively demand that Communism shall have no place in America" (signed: Heber J. Grant, J. Reuben Clark, Jr., David O. McKay, The First Presidency, in Deseret News, 3 July 1936; italics added).
More recently, President Marion G. Romney, in the First Presidency Message in the September 1979 ENSIGN, wrote: "Communism is Satan's counterfeit for the gospel plan, and it is an avowed enemy of the God of the land. Communism is the greatest anti-Christ power in th of the land. Communism is the greatest anti-Christ power in the world today and therefore the greatest menace not only to our peace but to our preservation as a free people. By the extent to which we tolerate it, accommodate ourselves to it, permit ourselves to be encircled by its tentacles and drawn to it, to that extent we forfeit the protection of the God of this land" (p. 5).
The truth is, we have to a great extent accommodated ourselves to Communism--and we have permitted ourselves to become encircled by its tentacles. Though we give lip service to the Monroe Doctrine, this has not prevented Cuba from becoming a Soviet military base, ninety miles off our coastline, nor has it prevented the takeover of Nicaragua in Central America, the surrender of the Panama Canal, or the infiltration by enemy agents within our American borders.
Never before has the land of Zion appeared so vulnerable to so powerful an enemy as the Americas do at present. And our vulnerability is directly attributable to our loss of active faith in the God of this land, who has decreed that we must worship Him or be swept off. Too many Americans have lost sight of the truth that God is our source of freedom--the Lawgiver--and that personal righteousness is the most important essential to preserving our freedom. So, I say with all the energy of my soul that unless we as citizens of this nation forsake our sins, political and otherwise, nation forsake our sins, political and otherwise, and return to the fundamental principles of Christianity and of constitutional government, we will lose our political liberties, our free institutions, and will stand in jeopardy before God.
No nation which has kept the commandments of God has ever perished, but I say to you that once freedom is lost, only blood-- human blood--will win it back.
There are some things we can and must do at once if we are to stave off a holocaust of destruction.
First: We must return to worship the God of this land, who is Jesus Christ. He has promised that the righteous will be preserved by His power (see 1 Ne. 22:17). But we must keep the commandments of God. We must pay our tithes and offerings, keep the Sabbath day a holy day, stay morally clean, be honest in all our dealings, and have our family and personal prayers. We must live the gospel.
Second: We must awaken to "a sense of [our] awful situation, because of this secret combination which [is] among [us]" (Ether 8:24). We must not tolerate accommodation with or appeasement toward the false system of Communism. We must demand of our elected officials that we not only resist Communism, but that we will take every measure to prevent its intrusion into this hemisphere. It is vital that we invoke the Monroe Doctrine.
Then we must put our trust in Him who has promised us His protection--and pray that He will intervene to preserve our freedom just as He intervened in our obtaining it in the first place.
Third: We must do as the Lord commanded us by revelation in 1833: "Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil" (D&C 98:10).
Men who are wise, good, and honest, who will uphold the Constitution of the United States in the tradition of the Founding Fathers, must be sought for diligently. This is our hope to restore government to its rightful role.
Last: We must study the inspired Constitution and become involved in the political process ourselves. I quote the First Presidency statement that was read in sacrament meetings on Sunday, 1 July 1979: "We encourage all members, as citizens of the nation, to be actively involved in the political process, and to support those measures which will strengthen the community, state, and nation--morally, economically, and culturally" (Letter from the First Presidency, 29 June 1979).
I fully believe that we can turn things around in America if we have the determination, the morality, the patriotism, and the spirituality to do so.
My single-minded concern is for the freedom and welfare of my countrymen a, and the spirituality to do so.
My single-minded concern is for the freedom and welfare of my countrymen and my posterity, the freedom of all men.
I testify to you that God's hand has been in our destiny. I testify that freedom as we know it today is being threatened as never before in our history. I further witness that this land--the Americas--must be protected, its Constitution upheld, for this is a land foreordained to be the Zion of our God. He expects us as members of the Church and bearers of His priesthood to do all we can to preserve our liberty.
May God bless us that, with His help, we will not fail to bring to pass His purposes on earth. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.*******
The Constitution--A Glorious Standard
by Elder Ezra Taft Benson
General Conference, April 1976
My beloved brethren and sisters, humbly and gratefully I stand before you today. I thank the Lord for the eternal principle of freedom, free agency, the right choice. I cherish patriotism and love of country in all lands.
This morning, I speak about the Constitution of the United States--that glorious standard raised up by the Founding Fathers. I want to pay tribute to those who laid the foundation of our Republic. I desire to bear testimony concerning one of the most vital principles that makes the work of the founders timeless and inspired.
Every Latter-day Saint should love the inspired Constitution of the United States--a nation with a spiritual foundation and a prophetic his States--a nation with a spiritual foundation and a prophetic history--which nation the Lord has declared to be his base of operations in these latter days.
The framers of the Constitution were men raised up by God to establish this foundation of our government, for so the Lord has declared by revelation in these words:
"I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood." (D&C 101:80; italics added.)
Yes, this is a land fertilized by the blood of patriots. During the struggle for independence, nearly 9,000 of the colonist forces were killed. Among those fifty-six patriots who had pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor by signing the Declaration of Independence, at least nine paid that price with their life's blood.
At the close of the Revolution, the thirteen states found themselves independent but then faced grave internal economic and political problems. The Articles of Confederation had been adopted but proved to be ineffectual. Under this instrument, the nation was without a president, a head. There was a congress, but it was a body destitute of any power. There was no supreme court. The states were merely a confederation.
Washington wrote of the defects of this loose federation in these words: "The fabrick which took nine years, at the expe these words: "The fabrick which took nine years, at the expense of much blood and treasure to rear, now totters to the foundation, and without support must soon fall." (John C. Fitzpatrick, ed., Writings of George Washington, Washington, D. C.: Government Printing Office, 1939, 29:68.) Because of this crisis, fifty-five of the seventy-four appointed delegates reported to the convention, representing every state except Rhode Island, for the purpose of forming "a more perfect union." Thirty-nine finally signed the Constitution.
Who were these delegates, those whom the Lord designated "wise men" whom he raised up? They were mostly young men in the prime of their life, their average age being forty-four. Benjamin Franklin was the eldest at eighty-one. George Washington, the presiding officer at the convention, was fifty-five. Alexander Hamilton was only thirty-two; James Madison, who recorded the proceedings of the convention with his remarkable Notes, was only thirty-six. These were young men, but men of exceptional character, "sober, seasoned, distinguished men of affairs, drawn from various walks of life." (J. Reuben Clark, Jr., Stand Fast by Our Constitution, Deseret Book Co., 1965, p. 135.)
Of the thirty-nine signers, twenty-one of them were educated in the leading American colleges and in Great Britain; eighteen were, or had been, lawyers or judges; twenty-six had seen service in the Continental Co; twenty-six had seen service in the Continental Congress; nineteen had served in the Revolutionary army, seventeen as officers. Four had been on Washington's personal staff during the war. Among that assembly of the thirty-nine signers were to be found two future presidents of the United States, one the "Father of his Country"; a vice- president of the United States; a secretary of the treasury; a secretary of war; a secretary of state; two chief justices of the Supreme Court, and three who served as justices; and the venerable Franklin, a diplomat, philosopher, scientist, and statesman.
"They were not backwoodsmen from far-off frontiers, not one of them . . . There has not been another such group of men in all [the 200 years of our history] that even challenged the supremacy of this group." (J. Reuben Clark, Jr., Conference Reports, April 1957, p. 47.) President Wilford Woodruff said they "were the best spirits the God of heaven could find on the face of the earth. They were choice spirits. . . ." (Wilford Woodruff, CR, April 1898, p. 89; italics added.)
Following the drafting of the Constitution, it awaited ratification by the states, in 1787 three states ratified the Constitution. In the next year eight more followed; and on April 6, 1789, 187 years ago today, the Constitution of the United States went into operation as the basic law of the United States when the electoral college unanimousnited States when the electoral college unanimously elected George Washington as the first president of the nation. This date, I believe, was not accidental.
In the final analysis, what the framers did, under the inspiration of God, was to draft a document that merited the approval of God himself, who declared it to "be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh." (D&C 101:77; italics added.)
The document has been criticized by some as outmoded, and even a recent president of the United States criticized it as a document "written for an entirely different period in our nation's history." (U.S. News and World Report, Dec. 17, 1962, p. 104.) The eminent Constitutional authority, President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., has answered this argument in these words:
"These were the horse and buggy days as they have been called in derision; these were the men who traveled in the horse-drawn buggies and on horseback; but these were the men who carried under their hats, as they rode in the buggies and on their horses, a political wisdom garnered from the ages." (Stand Fast by Our Constitution, p. 136.)
What those framers did can be better appreciated when it is considered that when the instrument went into operation, it covered only thirteen states with fewer than four million people. Today it adequately covers fifty states and over 200 million people.
Theres fifty states and over 200 million people.
The wisdom of these delegates is shown in the genius of the document itself. The founders had a strong distrust for centralized power in a federal government. So they created a government with checks an balances. This was to prevent any branch of the government from becoming too powerful.
Congress could pass laws, but the president could check this with a veto. Congress, however, could override the veto, and by its means of initiative in taxation, could further restrain the executive department. The Supreme Court could nullify laws passed by the Congress and signed by the president. But Congress could limit the Court's appellate jurisdiction. The president could appoint judges for their lifetime with the consent of the Senate.
Each branch of the government was also made subject to different political pressures. The president was to be chosen by electors, Senators by state legislatures, representatives by the people, and the Supreme Court by the president, with the consent of the Senate.
All this was deliberately designed to make it difficult for a majority of the people to control the government and to place restraints on the government itself. The founders created a republic which Jefferson described as "action by the citizens in person in affairs within their reach and competence, and in all others by representatives. . . ." (Paul , and in all others by representatives. . . ." (Paul L. Ford, ed., Works of Thomas Jefferson, New York: J. P. Putnam Sons, 1905, 11:523.)
A study of the basic principles which undergird the document would be profitable for all Americans during this Bicentennial year.
When James Russell Lowell was asked, "How long will the American Republic endure?" he replied: "As long as the ideas of the men who founded it continue dominant." May I comment on one of the most vital ideas and principles.
Constitutional government, as designed by the framers, will survive only with a righteous people. "Our Constitution," said John Adams, first vice-president and second president, "was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." (John R. Howe, Jr., The Changing Political Thought of John Adams, Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1966, p. 189.)
American, North and South, is a choice land, a land reserved for God's own purposes. This land its inhabitants are under an everlasting decree. The Lord revealed this decree to the brother of Jared, an American prophet, in these solemn words:
"And now, we can behold the decrees of God concerning this land, that it is a land of promise; and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall serve God, or they shall be swept off when the fulness of his wrath shall come uponhall be swept off when the fulness of his wrath shall come upon them. And the fulness of his wrath cometh upon them when they are ripened in iniquity.
"For behold, this is a land which is choice above all other lands; wherefore he that doth possess it shall serve God or shall be swept off; for it is the everlasting decree of God. . . .
"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. . . ." (Eth. 2:9, 10, 12.)
The Lord has also decreed that this land should be "the place of the New Jerusalem, which should come down out of heaven, . . . the holy sanctuary of the Lord." (Eth. 13:3.) Here is our nation's destiny! To serve God's eternal purposes and to prepare this land and people for American's eventual destiny, the Lord established the Constitution of this land by the hands of wise men whom he raised up to this very purpose. (See D&C 101:80.)
Many Americans have lost sight of the truth that righteousness is the one indispensable ingredient to liberty. Perhaps as never before in our history is our nation collectively deserving of the indictment pronounced by Abraham Lincoln in these words:
"We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven; we have been preserved these many years inounties of Heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth, and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self- sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.
"It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the Offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness." ("A Proclamation by the President of the [p. 93] United States of America," March 30, 1863, as cited in Richardson, Messages and Papers of the Presidents, Washington, D.C.: United States Congress, 1897, pp. 164-65.)
Unless we as citizens of this nation forsake our sins, political and otherwise, and return to the fundamental principles of Christianity and of constitutional government, we will lose our political liberties, our free institutions, and will stand in jeopardy before God of losing our exaltation. I am in full agreement with the statement made by President J. Reuben Clark, Jr.:
"I say to you that the price of liberty is and
"I say to you that the price of liberty is and always has been blood, human blood, and if our liberties are lost, we shall never regain them except at the price of blood. They must not be lost!" (Stand Fast by Our Constitution, p. 137.)
Yes, I repeat, righteousness is an indispensable ingredient to liberty. Virtuous people elect wise and good representatives. Good representatives make good laws and then wisely administer them. This tends to preserve righteousness. An unvirtuous citizenry tend to elect representatives who will pander to their covetous lustings. The burden of self-government is a great responsibility. It calls for restraint, righteousness, responsibility, and reliance upon God. It is a truism from the Lord that "when the wicked rule the people mourn." (D&C 98:9.)
As presiding officer of the Constitutional Convention, George Washington appealed to the delegates in these words: "Let us raise a standard to which the wise and the honest can repair." Wise and honorable men raised that glorious standard for this nation. It will also take wise and honorable men to perpetuate what was so nobly established.
A citizen of this republic cannot do his duty and be an idle spectator. How appropriate and vital it is at the time of our nation's 200th birthday to remember this counsel from the Lord:
"Honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and gost men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold." (D&C 98:10.)
Goodness, wisdom, and honesty are the three qualities of statesmanship, qualities this country needs more than ever before. May we be wise--prayerfully wise--in the electing of those who would lead us. May we select only those who understand and will adhere to Constitutional principles. To do so, we need to understand these principles ourselves.
In 1973 the First Presidency of the Church made public this statement:
"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." (ENSIGN, Nov. 1973, p. 90.)
May I urge every Latter-day Saint and all Americans in North and South America to become familiar with every part of this document. Many of the constitutions of countries in South America have been patterned in large measure after that of the United States. We should understand the Constitution as the founders meant that it should be understood. We can do this by reading their words about it, such as those contained in the Federalist Papers. Such understanding is essential if we are to preserve what God has given us.
I reverence the Constitution of the United States as a sacred document. To me its words are akin to the revelations of God, for God has placed his stamp of approval on the Constitution of this land. I testify that the God of heaven selected and sent some of his choicest spirits to lay the foundation of this government as a prologue to the restoration of the gospel and the second coming of our Savior.
May God bless us to protect this sacred instrument. In the words of the Prophet Joseph Smith, "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.) For this I pray, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.*******
Civic Standards for the Faithful Saints
by Elder Ezra Taft Benson
General Conference - April 8, 1972
My beloved brothers and sisters, seen and unseen--and we are all brothers and sisters, children of the same Father in the spirit--humbly and gratefully I stand before you on this anniversary date of the organization of the restored church of Jesus Christ, 142 years ago. I love a general conference of the Church, except this particular part, and yet I rejoice in the opportunity to bear testimony to this, the greatest work in all the world.
Last fall I was invited by Baron von Blomberg, president of the United Religions Organization, to represent the Church as a guest of the king of Persia at the twenty-five hundredth anniversary of the founding of the Persian Empire by Cyrus the Great. Advised by the First PresidEmpire by Cyrus the Great. Advised by the First Presidency to accept the invitation, I left immediately following the October conference to join with representatives of twenty-seven world religions, some fifty monarchs, and other notables at this historic celebration in Iran.
King Cyrus lived more than five hundred years before Christ and figured in prophecies of the Old Testament mentioned in 2 Chronicles and the book of Ezra, and by the prophets Ezekiel, Isaiah, and Daniel. The Bible states how "the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus, King of Persia." (2 Chron. 36:22.) Cyrus restored certain political and social rights to the captive Hebrews, gave them permission to return to Jerusalem, and directed that Jehovah's temple should be rebuilt.
Parley P. Pratt, in describing the Prophet Joseph Smith, said that he had "the boldness, courage, temperance, perseverance and generosity of a Cyrus." (Autobiography of Parley Parker Pratt [Deseret Book Company, 1938], p. 46.)
President Wilford Woodruff said:
"Now I have thought many times that some of those ancient kings that were raised up, had in some respects more regard for the carrying out of some of these principles and laws, than even the Latter-day Saints have in our day. I will take as an ensample Cyrus. . . . To trace the life of Cyrus from his birth to his death, whether he knew it or not, it looked as though he liveether he knew it or not, it looked as though he lived by inspiration in all his movements. He began with that temperance and virtue which would sustain any Christian country or any Christian king. Many of these principles followed him, and I have thought many of them were worthy, in many respects, the attention of men who have the Gospel of Jesus Christ." (Journal of Discourses, vol. 22, p. 207.)
God, the Father of us all, uses the men of the earth, especially good men, to accomplish his purposes. It has been true in the past, it is true today, it will be true in the future.
"Perhaps the Lord needs such men on the outside of His Church to help it along," said the late Elder Orson F. Whitney of the Quorum of the Twelve. "They are among its auxiliaries, and can do more good for the cause where the Lord has placed them, than anywhere else. . . . Hence, some are drawn into the fold and receive a testimony of the truth; while others remain unconverted . . . the beauties and glories of the gospel being veiled temporarily from their view, for a wise purpose. The Lord will open their eyes in His own due time. God is using more than one people for the accomplishment of His great and marvelous work. The Latter- day Saints cannot do it all. It is too vast, too arduous for any one people. . . . We have no quarrel with the Gentiles. They are our partners in a certain sense." (Conferenc our partners in a certain sense." (Conference Report, April 1928, p. 59.)
This would certainly have been true of Colonel Thomas L. Kane, a true friend of the Saints in their dire need. It was true of General Doniphan, who, when ordered by his superior to shoot Joseph Smith, said:
"It is cold blooded murder. I will not obey your order. . . . and if you execute these men, I will hold you responsible before an earthly tribunal, so help me God." (Joseph Fielding Smith, Essentials in Church History, p. 241.)
We honor these partners because their devotion to correct principles overshadowed their devotion to popularity, party, or personalities.
We honor our founding fathers of this republic for the same reason. God [p. 60] raised up these patriotic partners to perform their mission, and he called them "wise men." (See D&C 101:80.) The First Presidency acknowledged that wisdom when they gave us the guideline a few years ago of supporting political candidates "who are truly dedicated to the Constitution in the tradition of our Founding Fathers." (Deseret News, November 2, 1964.) That tradition has been summarized in the book The American Tradition by Clarence Carson.
The Lord said that "the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light." (Luke 16:8.) Our weneration wiser than the children of light." (Luke 16:8.) Our wise founders seemed to understand, better than most of us, our own scripture, which states that "it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority . . . they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion." (D&C 121:39.)
To help prevent this, the founders knew that our elected leaders should be bound by certain fixed principles. Said Thomas Jefferson: "In questions of power then, let no more be heard of confidence in man but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution."
These wise founders, our patriotic partners, seemed to appreciate more than most of us the blessings of the boundaries that the Lord set within the Constitution, for he said, "And as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil." (D&C 98:7.)
In God the founders trusted, and in his Constitution--not in the arm of flesh. "O Lord," said Nephi, "I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm." (2 Ne. 4:34.)
President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., put it well when he said:
"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." (Improvement Era, July 1940, p. 444.)
"Patriotism, said Theodore Roosevelt,
"means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the President or any other public official save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. . . .
"Every man," said President Roosevelt, "who parrots the cry of `stand by the President' without adding the proviso `so far as he serves the Republic' takes an attitude as essentially unmanly as that of any Stuart royalist who championed the doctrine that the King could do no wrong. No self-respecting and intelligent free man could take such an attitude." (Theodore RKing could do no wrong. No self-respecting and intelligent free man could take such an attitude." (Theodore Roosevelt, Works, vol. 21, pp. 316, 321.) And yet as Latter-day Saints we should pray for our civic leaders and encourage them in righteousness.
". . . to vote for wicked men, it would be sin," said Hyrum Smith. (Documentary History of the Church, vol. 6, p. 323.)
And the Prophet Joseph Smith said,
". . . let the people of the whole Union, like the inflexible Romans, whenever they find a promise made by a candidate that is not practiced as an officer, hurl the miserable sycophant from his exaltation. . . ." (DHC, vol. 6, p. 207.)
Joseph and Hyrum's trust did not run to the arm of flesh, but to God and correct eternal principles.
"I am the greatest advocate of the Constitution of the United States there is on the earth," said the Prophet Joseph Smith. (DHC, vol. 6, p. 56.)
The warning of President Joseph Fielding Smith is most timely:
"Now I tell you it is time the people of the United States were waking up with the understanding that if they don't save the Constitution from the dangers that threaten it, we will have a change of government." (Conference Report, April 1950, p. 159.)
Another guideline given by the First Presidency was "to support good and consc
Another guideline given by the First Presidency was "to support good and conscientious candidates, of either party, who are aware of the great dangers" facing the free world. (Deseret News, November 2, 1964.)
Fortunately we have materials to help us face these threatening dangers in the writings of President David O. McKay and other church leaders. Some other fine sources by LDS authors attempting to awaken and inform us of our duty are: Prophets, Principles, and National Survival (Jerreld L. Newquist), Many Are Called But Few Are Chosen (H. Verlan Andersen), and The Elders of Israel and the Constitution (Jerome Horowitz).
But the greatest handbook for freedom in this fight against evil is the Book of Mormon.
This leads me to the second great civic standard for the Saints. For in addition to our inspired Constitution, we have the scriptures.
Joseph Smith said that the Book of Mormon was the "keystone of our religion" and the "most correct" book on earth. (DHC, vol. 6, p. 56.) This most correct book on earth states that the downfall of two great American civilizations came as a result of secret conspiracies whose desire was to overthrow the freedom of the people. "And they have caused the destruction of this people of whom I am now speaking," says Moroni, "and also the destruction of the people of Nephi." (Eth. 8:21.)
Now undoubtedly Moroni could have pointed out many factow undoubtedly Moroni could have pointed out many factors that led to the destruction of the people, but notice how he singled out the secret combinations, just as the Church today could point out many threats to peace, prosperity, and the spread of God's work, but it has singled out the greatest threat as the godless conspiracy. There is no conspiracy theory in the Book of Mormon --it is a conspiracy fact.
Then Moroni speaks to us in this day and says,
"Wherefore, the Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation, because of this secret combination which shall be among you. . . . (Eth. 8:24.)
The Book of Mormon further warns that
"Whatsoever nation shall uphold such secret combinations, to get power and gain, until they shall spread over the nation, behold they shall be destroyed. . . ." (Eth. 8:22.)
This scripture should alert us to what is ahead unless we repent, because there is no question but that as people of the free world, we are increasingly upholding many of the evils of the adversary today. By court edict godless conspirators can run for government office, teach in our schools, hold office in labor unions, work in our defense plants, serve in our merchant marines, etc. As a nation, we are helping to underwrite many evil revolutionarieAs a nation, we are helping to underwrite many evil revolutionaries in our country.
Now we are assured that the Church will remain on the earth until the Lord comes again--but at what price? The Saints in the early days were assured that Zion would be established in Jackson County, but look at what their unfaithfulness cost them in bloodshed and delay.
President Clark warned us that
"we stand in danger of losing our liberties, and that once lost, only blood will bring them back; and once lost, we of this church will, in order to keep the Church going forward, have more sacrifices to make and more persecutions to endure than we have yet known. . . ." (CR, April 1944, p. 116.)
And he stated that if the conspiracy
"comes here it will probably come in its full vigor and there will be a lot of vacant places among those who guide and direct, not only this government, but also this Church of ours." (CR, April 1952.)
Now the third great civic standard for the Saints is the inspired word of the prophets--particularly the living president, God's mouthpiece on the earth today. Keep your eye on the captain and judge the words of all lesser authority by his inspired counsel.
The story is told how Brigham Young, driving through a community, saw a man building a house and simply told him to double the thickness of hiw a man building a house and simply told him to double the thickness of his walls. Accepting President Young as a prophet, the man changed his plans and doubled the walls. Shortly afterward a flood came through that town, resulting in much destruction, but this man's walls stood. While putting the roof on his house, he was heard singing, "We thank thee, O God, for a prophet!"
Joseph Smith taught "that a prophet was a prophet only when he was acting as such." (DHC, vol. 5, p. 265.)
Suppose a leader of the Church were to tell you that you were supporting the wrong side of a particular issue. Some might immediately resist this leader and his counsel or ignore it, but I would suggest that you first apply the fourth great civic standard for the faithful Saints. That standard is to live for, to get, and then to follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
Said Brigham Young:
"I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by Him. . . . Let every man and woman know, by the whisperings of the Spirit of God to themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates, or not." (JD, vol. 9, p. 150.)
A number of years ago, because of a statement that appeared to represent the policy of the Church, a faithful member feared he was supporting the wrong candidate for public office. Humbly he took the matter up with the Lord. Through the Spirit of the Lord he gained the conviction of the course he should follow, and he dropped his support of this particular candidate.
This good brother, by fervent prayer, got the answer that in time proved to be the right course.
We urge all men to read the Book of Mormon and then ask God if it is true. And the promise is sure that they may know of its truthfulness through the Holy Ghost, "and by the power of the Holy Ghost [men] may know the truth of all things. (Moro. 10:5.)
We need the constant guidance of that Spirit. We live in an age of deceit. "O my people," said Isaiah in the Book of Mormon, "they who lead thee cause thee to err and destroy the way of thy paths." (2 Ne. 13:12.) Even within the Church we have been warned that
"the ravening wolves are amongst us, from our own membership, and they, more than any others, are clothed in sheep's clothing, because they wear the habiliments of the priesthood." (J. Reuben Clark, Jr., CR, April 1949, p. 163.)
The Lord holds us accountable if we are not wise and are deceived.
"For they that are wise," he said, "and have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been decewise," he said, "and have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been deceived--verily I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day." (D&C 45:57.)
And so four great civic standards for the faithful Saints are, first, the Constitution ordained by God through wise men; second, the scriptures, particularly the Book of Mormon; third, the inspired counsel of the prophets, especially the living president, and fourth, the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
God bless us all that we may use these standards and by so doing bless ourselves, our families, our community, our nation, and the world, I humbly pray, as I bear my witness to the truth of this great latter-day work in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.*******
United States Foreign Policy (1)
Ezra Taft Benson
Friday, June 21, 1968, Preston Idaho
"Observe good faith and justice towards all Nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all. Religion and Morality enjoin this conduct; and can it be, that good policy does not equally enjoin it? It will be worthy of a free, enlightened, and, at no distant period, a great Nation, to give to mankind the magnanimous and too novel example of a people always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence.
. . . Can it be that Providence has not connected the permanent felicity of a Nation with its Virtue?"
President George Washington,
Farewell Address, September 17, 1796
In the "Virginia Bill of Rights," drafted by George Mason and adopted by the Virginia Convention on June 12, 1776, there appears this statement in Article 15:
No free government, or the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people, but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality and virtue, and by frequent recurrence to fundamental principles. (Documents of American History, [Henry S. Commager, Editor], 1: 104)
"The paramount need today," recently wrote David Lawrence, "is for the United States to clear the air by emphasizing fundamental principles. Until there are acts that implement those principles--not just words--diplomacy will accomplish nothing and the world will remain continually on the brink of war." (U.S. News and World Report, January 27, 1964)
It has been truly said that:
We cannot clean up the mess in Washington, balance the budget, reduce taxes, check creeping Socialism, tell what is muscle or fat in our sprawling rearmament programs, purge subversives from our State Department, unless we come to grips with our foreign policy, upon which all other policies depend. (Senator Robert A. Taft, quoted by Phyllis Schlafly, A Choice Not An Echo, p. 26)
Ever since World War I, when we sent American boys to Europe supposedly to "make the world safe for democracy," our leaders in Washington have been acting as though the American people elected them to office for the primary purpose of leading the entire planet toward international peace, prosperity and one-world government. At times, these men appear to be more concerned with something called world opinion or with their image as world leaders than they are with securing the best possible advantage for us, that they are not "nationalistic" in their views, that they are willing to sacrifice narrow American interests for the greater good of the world community. Patriotism and America-first have become vulgar concepts within the chambers of our State Department. It is no wonder that the strength and prestige of the United States has slipped so low everywhere in the world.
In this connection, it is well to remember that on June 25, 1787, during the formulation of the Constitution at the Philadelphia Convention, Charles Pinckney, of South Carolina, made the famous speech in which he asserted:
We mistake the object of our Government, if we hope or wish that it is to make us respectable abroad. Conquest or superiority among other powers is not or ought not ever to be the object of republican systems. If they are sufficiently active & energetic to rescue us from contempt & preserve our domestic happiness & security, it is all we can expect from them, - it is more than almost any other Government ensures to its citizens. (The Records of the Federal Convention [Max Farrand, Editor], 1: 402)
In his book, A Foreign Policy for Americans, the late Senator Robert A. Taft correctly reasoned that:
No one can think intelligently on the many complicated problems of American foreign policy unless he decides first what he considers the real purpose and object of that policy. . . There has been no consistent purpose in our foreign policy for a good many years past. . . Fundamentally, I believe the ultimate purpose of our foreign policy must be to protect the liberty of the people of the United States. (p. 11)
There is one and only one legitimate goal of United States foreign policy. It is a narrow goal, a nationalistic goal: the preservation of our national independence. Nothing in the Constitution grants that the President shall have the privilege of offering himself as a world leader. He's our executive; he's on our payroll, in necessary; he's supposed to put our best interests in front of those of other nations. Nothing in the Constitution nor in logic grants to the President of the United States or to Congress the power to influence the political life of other countries, to "uplift" their cultures, to bolster their economies, to feed their peoples or even to defend them against their enemies. This point was made clear by the wise father of our country, George Washington:
I have always given it as my decided opinion that no nation has a right to intermeddle in the internal concerns of another; that every one had a right to form and adopt whatever government they liked best to live under them selves; and that if this country could, consistent with its engagements, maintain a strict neutrality and thereby preserve peace, it was bound to do so by motives of policy, interest, and every other consideration. -- George Washington (1732-1799) Letter to James Monroe (25 Aug. 1796)
The preservation of America's political, economic and military independence--the three cornerstones of sovereignty--is the sum and total prerogative of our government in dealing with the affairs of the world. Beyond that point, any humanitarian or charitable activities are the responsibility of individual citizens voluntarily without coercion of others to participate.
The proper function of government must be limited to a defensive role--the defense of individual citizens against bodily harm, theft and involuntary servitude at the hands of either domestic or foreign criminals. But to protect our people from bodily harm at the hands of foreign aggressors, we must maintain a military force which is not only capable of crushing an invasion, but of striking a sufficiently powerful counterblow as to make it unattractive for would-be conquerors to try their luck with us.
As President Washington explained in his Fifth Annual Address to both Houses of Congress:
There is a rank due to the United States among nations, which will be withheld, if not absolutely lost, by the reputation of weakness. If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it; if we desire to secure the peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known that we are at all times ready for war. (December 3, 1793; Writings 12:352)
He had earlier, in his First Annual Address, strongly warned that:
To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace. A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined. (January 8, 1790; Writings 11:456)
To protect our people from international theft, we must enter into agreements with other nations to abide by certain rules regarding trade, exchange of currency, enforcement of contracts, patent rights, etc. To protect our people against involuntary servitude or the loss of personal freedom on the international level, we must be willing to use our military might to help even one of our citizens no matter where he might be kidnapped or enslaved.
For those of you who have never heard or do not remember it, the story of Ion Perdicaris instructs us what an American President can and should do to protect the lives of its citizens. It seems that in the early years of the century, a North African bandit named Raisuli kidnapped Perdicaris, a naturalized American of Greek extraction.
Teddy Roosevelt was our President at that time, and he knew just what to do. He did not "negotiate." And he did not send any "urgent requests." He simply ordered one of our gunboats to stand offshore, and sent the local sultan the following telegram: "Perdicaris alive, or Raisuli dead." They say Raisuli didn't waste any time getting a healthy Perdicaris down to the dock. (Review of the News, February 7, 1968, pp. 20-21)
Certainly we must avoid becoming entangled in a web of international treaties whose terms and clauses might reach inside our own borders and restrict our freedoms here at home.(2)
This is the defensive role of government expressed in international terms. Interestingly enough, these three aspects of national defense also translate directly into the three aspects of national sovereignty: military, economic and political.
Applying this philosophy to the sphere of foreign policy, one is able almost instantly to determine the correct answer to so many international questions that, otherwise, seem hopelessly complex. If the preservation and strengthening of our military, economic and political independence is the only legitimate objective of foreign policy decisions, then, at last, those decisions can be directed by a brilliant beacon of light that unerringly guides our ship of state past the treacherous reefs of international intrigue and into a calm open sea.
Should we disarm? And does it really make any difference whether we disarm unilaterally or collaterally? Either course of action would surrender our military independence. Should we pool our economic resources or our monetary system with those of other nations to create some kind of regional common market? It would constitute the surrender of our economic independence. Should we enter into treaties such as the U.N. Covenants which would obligate our citizens to conform their social behavior, their educational practices to rules and regulations set down by international agencies? Such treaty obligations amount to the voluntary and piece-meal surrender of our political independence. The answer to all such questions is a resounding "no," for the simple reason that the only way America can survive in this basically hostile and topsy-turvy world is to remain militarily, economically and politically strong and independent.
We must put off our rose-colored glasses, quit repeating those soothing but entirely false statements about world unity and brotherhood, and look to the world as it is, not as we would like it to become. Such an objective, and perhaps painful, survey leads to but one conclusion. We would be committing national suicide to surrender any of our independence, and chain ourselves to other nations in such a sick and turbulent world. President George Washington, in his immortal Farewell Address, explained our true policy in this regard:
The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is in extending our commercial relations to have with them as little political connection as possible…'Tis our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances, with any portion of the foreign world…Taking care always to keep ourselves, by suitable establishments on a respectably defensive posture, we may safely trust to temporary alliances for extraordinary emergencies. (September 17, 1796; Writings 13: 316-318; P.P.N.S., p. 547)
President Thomas Jefferson, in his First Inaugural Address, while discussing what he deemed to be "the essential principles of our government,"(3) explained that as far as our relations with foreign nations are concerned this means:
Equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political; peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations--entangling alliances with none. . . (March 4, 1801; Works 8:4)
The world is smaller, you say? True, it is, but if one finds himself locked in a house with maniacs, thieves and murderers--even a small house--he does not increase his chances of survival by entering into alliances with his potential attackers and becoming dependent upon them for protection to the point where he is unable to defend himself. Perhaps the analogy between nations and maniacs is a little strong for some to accept. But if we put aside our squeamishness over strong language, and look hard at the real world in which we live, the analogy is quite sound in all but the rarest exceptions.
Already, I can hear the chorus chanting "Isolationism, isolationism, he's turning back the clock to isolationism." How many use that word without having the slightest idea of what it really means! The so-called isolationism of the United States in past decades is a pure myth. What isolationism? Long before the current trend of revoking our Declaration of Independence under the guise of international cooperation, American influence and trade was felt in every region of the globe. Individuals and private groups spread knowledge, business, prosperity, religion, good will and, above all, respect throughout every foreign continent. It was not necessary then for America to give up her independence to have contact and influence with other countries. It is not necessary now. Yet, many Americans have been led to believe that our country is so strong that it can defend, feed and subsidize half the world, while at the same time believing that we are so weak and "inter-dependent" that we cannot survive without pooling our resources and sovereignty with those we subsidize. If wanting no part of this kind of "logic" is isolationism, then it is time we brought it back into vogue.
Senator Robert A. Taft clearly explained our traditional foreign policy:
Our traditional policy of neutrality and non-interference with other nations was based on the principle that this policy was the best way to avoid disputes with other nations and to maintain the liberty of this country without war. From the days of George Washington that has been the policy of the United States. It has never been isolationism; but it has always avoided alliances and interference in foreign quarrels as a preventive against possible war, and it has always opposed any commitment by the United States, in advance, to take any military action outside of our territory. It would leave us free to interfere or not according to whether we consider the case of sufficiently vital interest to the liberty of this country. It was the policy of the free hand. (A Foreign Policy for Americans, p. 12)
"But that is nationalism," chants the chorus. "And nationalism fosters jealousy, suspicion and hatred of other countries which in turn leads to war."(4) How many times has this utter nonsense been repeated without challenge as though it were some kind of empirical and self-evident truth! What kind of logic assumes that loving one's country means jealousy, suspicion and hatred of all others? Why can't we be proud of America as an independent nation and also have a feeling of brotherhood and respect for other peoples around the world? As a matter of fact, haven't Americans done just that for the past 200 years? What people have poured out more treasure to other lands, opened their doors to more immigrants, and sent more missionaries, teachers and doctors than we? Are we now to believe that love of our own country will suddenly cause us to hate the peoples of other lands?
It was the late Herbert Hoover who pointed out the social poison in the current derision of American nationalism:
We must realize the vitality of the great spiritual force which we call nationalism. The fuzzy-minded intellectuals have sought to brand nationalism as a sin against mankind. They seem to think that infamy is attached to the word "nationalist." But that force cannot be obscured by denunciation of it as greed or selfishness--as it sometimes is. The spirit of nationalism springs from the deepest of human emotions. It rises from the yearning of men to be free of foreign domination, to govern themselves. It springs from a thousand rills of race, of history, of sacrifice and pride in national achievement. (Quoted by Eugene W. Castle, Billions, Blunders and Baloney, p. 259)
In order for a man to be a good neighbor within his own community, he had better first love his own family before he tries to save the neighborhood. If he doesn't love his own, why should we believe he would love others? Theodore Roosevelt firmly believed that "it is only the man who ardently loves his country first who in actual practice can help any other country at all." (P.P.N.S., p. 196)
Many well-intentioned people are now convinced that we are living in a period of history which makes it both possible and necessary to abandon our national sovereignty, to merge our nation militarily, economically, and politically with other nations, and to form, at last a world government which, supposedly, would put an end to war. We are told that this is merely doing between nations what we did so successfully with our thirteen colonies. This plea for world federalism is based on the idea that the mere act of joining separate political units together into a larger federal entity will somehow prevent those units from waging war with each other. The success of our own federal system is most often cited as proof that this theory is valid. But such an evaluation is a shallow one.
First of all, the American Civil War, one of the most bloody in all history, illustrates that the mere federation of governments, even those culturally similar, as in America, does not automatically prevent war between them. Secondly, we find that true peace quite easily exists between nations which are not federated. As a matter of fact, members of the British Commonwealth of Nations seemed to get along far more peacefully after the political bonds between them had been relaxed. In other words, true peace has absolutely nothing to do with whether separate political units are joined together--except, perhaps, that such a union may create a common military defense sufficiently impressive to deter an aggressive attack. But that is peace between the union and outside powers; it has little effect on peace between the units, themselves, which is the substance of the argument for world government.
Peace is the natural result of relationships between groups and cultures which are mutually satisfactory to both sides. These relationships are found with equal ease within or across federal lines. As a matter of fact, they are the relationships that promote peaceful conditions within the community and think for a moment; if you were marooned on an island with two other people, what relationships between you would be mutually satisfactory enough to prevent you from resorting to violence in your relationship? Or, to put it the other way around, what would cause you to break the peace and raise your hand against your partners?
Obviously, if one or both of the partners attempted to seize your food and shelter, you would fight. Their reaction to similar efforts on your part would be the same. If they attempted to take away your freedom, to dictate how you would conduct your affairs, or tell you what moral and ethical standards you must follow, likewise, you would fight. And if they constantly ridiculed your attire, your manners and your speech, in time you might be sparked into a brawl. The best way to keep the peace on that island is for each one to mind his own business, to respect each other's right to be different (even to act in a way that seems foolish or improper, if he wishes), and to have compassion for each other's troubles and hardships--but not to force each other to do something! And, to make sure that the others hold to their end of the bargain, each should keep physically strong enough to make any violation of this code unprofitable.(5)
Now, suppose these three got together and decided to form a political union, to "federate" as it were. Would this really change anything? Suppose they declared themselves to be the United Persons, and wrote a charter, and held daily meetings and passed resolutions. What then? These superficial ceremonies might be fun for awhile, but the minute two of them out-voted the other, and started "legally" to take his food and shelter, limit his freedom or force him to accept an unwanted standard of moral conduct, they would be right back where they all began. Federation or no federation, they would fight.
Is it really different between nations? Not at all. The same simple code of conduct applies in all human relationships, large or small. Regardless of the size, be it international or three men on an island, the basic unit is still the human personality. Ignore this fact, and any plan is doomed to failure.(6)
It might be worthwhile at this point to mention that Washington's policy of neutrality and non-interference was adhered to by those who followed him. For instance, President John Adams, in his Inaugural Address, resolved "to do justice as far as may depend upon me, at all times and to all nations, and maintain peace, friendship, and benevolence with all the world." He later said, in a special message to Congress:
It is my sincere desire, and in this I presume I concur with you and with our constituents, to preserve peace and friendship with all nations. . .
To which the Senate, presided over by Thomas Jefferson, replied:
Peace and harmony with all nations is our sincere wish; but such being the lot of humanity that nations will not always reciprocate peaceable dispositions, it is our firm belief that effectual measures of defense will tend to inspire that national self-respect and confidence at home which is the unfailing source of respectability abroad, to check aggression and prevent war. (Quoted by Clarence B. Carson, The American Tradition, p. 210)
When the thirteen colonies formed our Federal Union, they had two very important factors in their favor, neither of which are present in the world at large today. First, the colonists themselves were all of a similar cultural background. They enjoyed similar legal systems, they spoke the same language, and they shared similar religious beliefs. They had much in common. The second advantage, and the most important of the two, was that they formed their union under a constitution which was designed to prevent any of them, or a majority of them, from forcefully intervening in the affairs of the others. The original federal government was authorized to provide mutual defense, run a post office, and that was about all. As previously mentioned, however, even though we had these powerful forces working in our favor, full scale war did break out at one tragic point in our history.
The peace that followed, of course, was no peace at all, but was only the smoldering resentment and hatred that follows in the wake of any armed conflict. Fortunately, the common ties between North and South, the cultural similarities and the common heritage, have proved through the intervening years to over-balance the differences. And with the gradual passing away of the generation that carried the battle scars, the Union has healed.
Among the nations of the world today, there are precious few common bonds that could help overcome the clash of cross-purposes that inevitably must arise between groups with such divergent ethnic, linguistic, legal, religious, cultural, and political environments. To add fuel to the fire, the concept woven into all of the present-day proposals for world government (The U.N. foremost among these) is one of unlimited governmental power to impose by force a monolithic set of values and conduct on all groups and individuals whether they like it or not. Far from insuring peace, such conditions can only enhance the chances of war.(7)
In this connection it is interesting to point out that the late J. Reuben Clark, who was recently described as "probably the greatest authority on [the Constitution] during the past fifty years" (American Opinion, April 1966, p. 113), in 1945--the year the United Nations charter was adopted--made this prediction in his devastating and prophetic "cursory analysis" of the United Nations Charter:
There seems no reason to doubt that such real approval as the Charter has among the people is based upon the belief that if the Charter is put into effect, wars will end. . . The Charter will not certainly end war. Some will ask - why not? In the first place, there is no provision in the Charter itself that contemplates ending war. It is true the Charter provides for force to bring peace, but such use of force is itself war. . . It is true the Charter is built to prepare for war, not to promote peace. . . The Charter is a war document, not a peace document.
Not only does the Charter Organization not prevent future wars, but it makes it practically certain that we will have future wars, and as to such wars it takes from us the power to declare them, to choose the side on which we shall fight, to determine what forces and military equipment we shall use in the war, and to control and command our sons who do the fighting. (Unpublished Manuscript; quoted in P.P.N.S., p. 458)
Everyone is for peace and against war--particularly the horrors of nuclear war. And what are the horrors of war? Why, death, destruction and human suffering, of course! But, wait a minute. Since the big "peace" began at the end of World War II, isn't it a fact that, behind the iron and bamboo curtains, there has been more death, destruction and human suffering than in most of the big wars of history combined? Yes, it is a fact--a horrible fact--which Martin Dies, the former long-time Chairman of the House Committee on Un-American Activities, described in these words:
In Russia, a minimum of 25,000,000 people have been starved to death and murdered in 45 years. In Red China, the figure is probably at least 35,000,000 in a short 12 years. These ruthless, inhuman atrocities have been investigated, documented and reported in print, by numerous committees of the Congress. Yet only a relative handful of Americans know where to look for the facts, or even know the reports exist; and still fewer have read them. (The Martin Dies Story, p. 20)
A consideration of these facts means that we have to redefine our terms when we talk about "peace." There are two kinds of peace. If we define peace as merely the absence of war, then we could be talking about the peace that reigns in a communist slave labor camp. The wretched souls in prison there are not at war, but do you think they would call it peace?
The only real peace--the one most of us think about when we use the term--is a peace with freedom. A Nation that is not willing, if necessary, to face the rigors of war to defend its real peace-in-freedom is doomed to lose both its freedom and its peace! These are the hard facts of life. We may not like them, but until we live in a far better world than exists today, we must face up to them squarely and courageously.(8)
In a discussion of war and its effects these wise words of James Madison should always be remembered:
Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people. The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and in the degeneracy of manners and of morals, engendered by both. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare. . . .(April 20, 1795; Works 4:491-2; P.P.N.S., p. 468)
Shortly after this, in a letter to Thomas Jefferson, James Madison issued another warning which should never be forgotten:
The management of foreign relations appears to be the most susceptible of abuse, of all the trusts committed to a Government, because they can be concealed or disclosed, or disclosed in such parts & at such times as will best suit particular views; and because the body of the people are less capable of judging & are more under the influence of prejudices, on that branch of their affairs, than of any other. Perhaps it is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged to provisions against danger real or pretended from abroad. (May 13, 1798; Works 2:140-1; P.P.N.S., p. 431)
Until all nations follow the concept of limited government, it is unlikely that universal peace will ever be realized on this planet. Unlimited, power-grasping governments will always resort to force if they think they can get away with it.(9) But there can be peace for America. As long as our leaders faithfully discharge their duty to preserve and strengthen the military, economic and political independence of our Republic, the world's petty despots will leave us alone. What more could we ask of U.S. foreign policy?
From these primary policy pronouncements some general principles emerge. They can be reduced to a few heads and stated as imperatives in the following manner:
The United States should:
Establish and maintain a position of independence with regard to other countries
Avoid political connection, involvement or intervention in the affairs of other countries
Make no permanent or entangling alliances
Treat all nations impartially, neither granting nor accepting special privileges from any
Promote commerce with all free peoples and countries
Cooperate with other countries to develop civilized rules of intercourse
Act always in accordance with the "laws of Nations"
Remedy all just claims of injury to other nations and require just treatment from other nations, standing ready, if necessary to punish offenders
Maintain a defensive force of sufficient magnitude to deter aggressors.(10) (See The American Tradition, p. 212)
For the first hundred years and more of the existence of the Republic, Americans developed and maintained a tradition that was in keeping with the above principles. We can say with confidence that the United States established a tradition of foreign relations in keeping with the principles laid down by the founding fathers. In the words of Senator Taft:
I do not believe it a selfish goal for us to insist that the over-riding purpose of all American foreign policy should be the maintenance of the liberty and the peace of the people of the United States, so that they may achieve that intellectual and material improvement which is their genius and in which they can do an even greater service to mankind than we can by billions of material assistance--and more than we can ever do by war. (A Foreign Policy For Americans, p. 14)
It seems fitting in conclusion to refer you again to the inspired words of the wise father of our country. He said:
My ardent desire is, and my aim has been. . . to keep the United States free from political connections with every other country, to see them independent of all and under the influence of none. In a word, I want an American character, that the powers of Europe may be convinced we act for ourselves, and not for others. This, in my judgment, is the only way to be respected abroad and happy at home. (October 9, 1795; Writings 13:119)
1. Address delivered on June 21, 1968, at the Farm Bureau Banquet in Preston, Idaho.
2. "Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence, I conjure you to believe me, my fellow-citizens, the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican Government.--But that jealousy, to be useful, must be impartial; else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defense against it." (President George Washington, Farewell Address, September 17, 1796; Writings 13:315)
3. "About to enter, fellow-citizens, on the exercise of duties which comprehend everything dear and valuable to you, it is proper you should understand what I deem the essential principles of our Government, and consequently those which ought to shape its Administration. I will compress them within the narrowest compass they will bear, stating the general principle, but not all its limitations. Equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political; peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none; the support of the State governments in all their rights, as the most competent administrations for our domestic concerns and the surest bulwarks against anti-republican tendencies; the preservation of the General Government in its whole constitutional vigor, as the sheet anchor of our peace at home and safety abroad; a jealous care of the right of election by the people--a mild and safe corrective of abuses which are lopped by the sword of revolution where peaceable remedies are not provided; absolute acquiescence in the decisions of the majority, the vital principle of republics, from which is no appeal but to force, the vital principle and immediate parent of despotism; a well disciplined militia, our best reliance in peace and for the first moments of war, till regulars may relieve them; the supremacy of the civil over the military authority; economy in the public expense, that labor may be lightly burdened; the honest payment of our debts and sacred preservation of the public faith; encouragement of agriculture, and of commerce as its handmaid; the diffusion of information and arraignment of all abuses at the bar of the public reason; freedom of religion; freedom of the press, and freedom of person under the protection of the habeas corpus, and trial by juries impartially selected. These principles form the bright constellation which has gone before us and guided our steps through an age of revolution and reformation. The wisdom of our sages and blood of our heroes have been devoted to their attainment. They should be the creed of our political faith, the text of civic instruction, the touchstone by which to try the services of those we trust; and should we wander from them in moments of error or of alarm, let us hasten to retrace our steps and to regain the road which alone leads to peace, liberty, and safety. (Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801; also known as the Creed of our Political Faith; Works 8:4-5)
4. Credit is given to G. Edward Griffin, The Fearful Master, for some of the thoughts expressed in this chapter.
5. "It takes a combination of three factors to protect our national interests under all conditions and to maintain peace on our terms. The three factors are: credible military superiority along the entire spectrum of modern warfare; courageous and decisive diplomacy; and the active support of the American people." (General Thomas S. Power, Design for Survival, p. 6)
6. "Those who have written on civil government lay it down as a first principle, and all historians demonstrate the same, that whoever would found a state and make proper laws for the government of it must presume that all men are bad by nature: that they will not fail to show that natural depravity of heart whenever they have a fair opportunity. . . constant experience shows us that every man vested with power is apt to abuse it. He pushes on till he comes to something that limits him." (Machiavelli, 1469-1527; quoted by John Adams, Works 4:408)
7. "Power and law are not synonymous. In truth they are frequently in opposition and irreconcilable. There is God's Law from which all Equitable laws of man emerge and by which men must live if they are not to die in oppression, chaos and despair. Divorced from God's eternal and immutable Law, established before the founding of the suns, man's power is evil no matter the noble words with which it is employed or the motives urged when enforcing it. Men of good will, mindful therefore of the Law laid down by God, will oppose governments whose rule is by men, and if they wish to survive as a nation they will destroy the government which attempts to adjudicate by the whim of venal judges." (Cicero, quoted in A Pillar of Iron, p. ix)
8. It is our duty. . . to endeavor to avoid war; but if it shall actually take place, no matter by whom brought on, we must defend ourselves. If our house be on fire, without inquiring whether it was fired from within or without, we must try to extinguish it." (Thomas Jefferson, to James Lewis, May 9, 1798; Works 4:241)
9. "There is one safeguard known generally to the wise, which is an advantage and security to all, but especially to democracies as against despots. What is it? Distrust." (Demosthenes, 384-322 B.C.; Familiar Quotations, p. 277)
10. "Deterrence is more than bombs and missiles and tanks and armies. Deterrence is a sound economy and prosperous industry. Deterrence is scientific progress and good schools. Deterrence is effective civil defense and the maintenance of law and order. Deterrence is the practice of religion and respect for the rights and convictions of others. Deterrence is a high standard of morals and wholesome family life. Deterrence is honesty in public office and freedom of the press. Deterrence is all these things and many more, for only a nation that is healthy and strong in every respect has the power and will to deter the forces from within and without that threaten its survival." (General Thomas S. Power, Design for Survival, p. 242)*******
The Proper Role of Government
By The Honorable Ezra Taft Benson
Former Secretary of Agriculture [The Eisenhower Administration - ed.]
Published in 1968
Men in the public spotlight constantly are asked to express an opinion on a myriad of government proposals and projects. "What do you think of TVA?" "What is your opinion of Medicare?" How do you feel about Urban Renewal?" The list is endless. All too often, answers to these questions seem to be based, not upon any solid principle, but upon the popularity of the specific government program in question. Seldom are men willing to oppose a popular program if they, themselves, wish to be popular - especially if they seek public office.
Such an approach to vital political questions of the day can only lead to public confusion and legislative chaos. Decisions of this nature should be based upon and measured against certain basic principles regarding the proper role of government. If principles are correct, then they can be applied to any specific proposal with confidence.
"Are there not, in reality, underlying, universal principles with reference to which all issues must be resolved whether the society is simple or complex in its mechanical organization? It seems to me we could relieve ourselves of most of the bewilderment which so unsettles and distracts us by subjecting each situation to the simple test of right and wrong. Right and wrong as moral principles do not change. They are applicable and reliable determinants whether the situations with which we deal are simple or complicated. There is always a right and wrong to every question which requires our solution." (Albert E. Bowen, Prophets, Principles and National Survival, P. 21-22)
Unlike the political opportunist, the true statesman values principle above popularity, and works to create popularity for those political principles which are wise and just.
I should like to outline in clear, concise, and straight-forward terms the political principles to which I subscribe. These are the guidelines which determine, now and in the future, my attitudes and actions toward all domestic proposals and projects of government. These are the principles which, in my opinion, proclaim the proper role of government in the domestic affairs of the nation.
"(I) 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."
"(I) 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..."
"(I) believe that all men are bound to sustain and uphold the respective governments in which they reside, while protected in their inherent and inalienable rights by the laws of such governments; and that sedition and rebellion are unbecoming every citizen thus protected, and should be punished accordingly; and that all governments have a right to enact such laws as in their own judgments are best calculated to secure the public interest; at the same time, however, holding sacred the freedom of conscience." (D&C 134: 1-2,5)
It is generally agreed that the most important single function of government is to secure the rights and freedoms of individual citizens. But, what are those rights? And what is their source? Until these questions are answered there is little likelihood that we can correctly determine how government can best secure them. Thomas Paine, back in the days of the American Revolution, explained that:
"Rights are not gifts from one man to another nor from one class of men to another... It is impossible t discover any origin of rights otherwise than in the origin of man; it consequently follows that rights appertain to man in right of his existence, and must therefore be equal to every man." (P.P.N.S., p. 134)
The great Thomas Jefferson asked:
"Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath?" (Works 8:404; P.P.N.S., p.141)
Starting at the foundation of the pyramid, let us first consider the origin of those freedoms we have come to know are human rights. There are only two possible sources. Rights are either God-given as part of the Divine Plan, or they are granted by government as part of the political plan. Reason, necessity, tradition and religious convictions all lead me to accept the divine origin of these rights. If we accept the premise that human rights are granted by government, then we must be willing to accept the corollary that they can be denied by government. I, for one, shall never accept that premise. As the French political economist, Frederick Bastiat, phrased it so succinctly, "Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place." (The Law, p.6)
I support the doctrine of separation of church and state as traditionally interpreted to prohibit the establishment of an official national religion. But I am opposed to the doctrine of separation of church and state as currently interpreted to divorce government from any formal recognition of God. The current trend strikes a potentially fatal blow at the concept of the divine origin of our rights, and unlocks the door for an easy entry of future tyranny. If Americans should ever come to believe that their rights and freedoms are instituted among men by politicians and bureaucrats, then they will no longer carry the proud inheritance of their forefathers, but will grovel before their masters seeking favors and dispensations - a throwback to the Feudal System of the Dark Ages. We must ever keep in mind the inspired words of Thomas Jefferson, as found in the Declaration of Independence:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." (P.P.N. S., p.519)
Since God created man with certain unalienable rights, and man, in turn, created government to help secure and safeguard those rights, it follows that man is superior to the creature which he created. Man is superior to government and should remain master over it, not the other way around. Even the non-believer can appreciate the logic of this relationship.
Leaving aside, for a moment, the question of the divine origin of rights, it is obvious that a government is nothing more or less than a relatively small group of citizens who have been hired, in a sense, by the rest of us to perform certain functions and discharge responsibilities which have been authorized. It stands to reason that the government itself has no innate power or privilege to do anything. Its only source of authority and power is from the people who have created it. This is made clear in the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States, which reads: "WE THE PEOPLE... do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
The important thing to keep in mind is that the people who have created their government can give to that government only such powers as they, themselves, have in the first place. Obviously, they cannot give that which they do not possess. So, the question boils down to this. What powers properly belong to each and every person in the absence of and prior to the establishment of any organized governmental form? It is a hypothetical question. Yes, indeed! But, it is a question which is vital to an understanding of the principles which underlie the proper function of government.
Of course, as James Madison, sometimes called the Father of the Constitution, said, "If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary." (The Federalist, No. 51)
In a primitive state, there is no doubt that each man would be justified in using force, if necessary, to defend himself against physical harm, against theft of the fruits of his labor, and against enslavement of another. This principle was clearly explained by Bastiat:
"Each of us has a natural right - from God - to defend his person, his liberty, and his property. These are the three basic requirements of life, and the preservation of any one of them is completely dependent upon the preservation of the other two. For what are our faculties but the extension of our individuality? And what is property but an extension of our faculties?" (The Law, p.6)
So far so good, but now we come to the moment of truth. Suppose pioneer "A" wants another horse for his wagon, He doesn't have the money to buy one, but since pioneer "B" has an extra horse, he decides that he is entitled to share in his neighbor's good fortune. Is he entitled to take his neighbor's horse? Obviously not! If his neighbor wishes to give it or lend it, that is another question. But so long as pioneer "B" wishes to keep his property, pioneer "A" has no just claim to it.
If "A" has no proper power to take "B's" property, can he delegate any such power to the sheriff? No. Even if everyone in the community desires that "B" give his extra horse to "A", they have no right individually or collectively to force him to do it. They cannot delegate a power they themselves do not have. This important principle was clearly understood and explained by John Locke nearly 300 years ago:
"For nobody can transfer to another more power than he has in himself and nobody has an absolute arbitrary power over himself, or over any other, to destroy his own life, or take away the life of property of another." (Two Treatises of Civil Government, II, 135; P.P.N.S. p. 93)
This means, then, that the proper function of government is limited only to those spheres of activity within which the individual citizen has the right to act. By deriving its just powers from the governed, government becomes primarily a mechanism for defense against bodily harm, theft and involuntary servitude. It cannot claim the power to redistribute the wealth or force reluctant citizens to perform acts of charity against their will. Government is created by man. No man possesses such power to delegate. The creature cannot exceed the creator.
In general terms, therefore, the proper role of government includes such defensive activities, as maintaining national military and local police forces for protection against loss of life, loss of property, and loss of liberty at the hands of either foreign despots or domestic criminals. It also includes those powers necessarily incidental to the protective functions such as:
(1) The maintenance of courts where those charged with crimes may be tried and where disputes between citizens may be impartially settled.
(2) The establishment of a monetary system and a standard of weights and measures so that courts may render money judgments, taxing authorities may levy taxes, and citizens may have a uniform standard to use in their business dealings.
My attitude toward government is succinctly expressed by the following provision taken from the Alabama Constitution:
"That the sole object and only legitimate end of government is to protect the citizen in the enjoyment of life, liberty, and property, and when the government assumes other functions it is usurpation and oppression." (Art. 1, Sec. 35)
An important test I use in passing judgment upon an act of government is this: If it were up to me as an individual to punish my neighbor for violating a given law, would it offend my conscience to do so? Since my conscience will never permit me to physically punish my fellow man unless he has done something evil, or unless he has failed to do something which I have a moral right to require of him to do, I will never knowingly authorize my agent, the government to do this on my behalf.
I realize that when I give my consent to the adoption of a law, I specifically instruct the police - the government - to take the life, liberty, or property of anyone who disobeys that law. Furthermore, I tell them that if anyone resists the enforcement of the law, they are to use any means necessary - yes, even putting the lawbreaker to death or putting him in jail - to overcome such resistance. These are extreme measures but unless laws are enforced, anarchy results. As John Locke explained many years ago:
"The end of law is not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom. For in all the states of created beings, capable of laws, where there is no law there is no freedom. For liberty is to be free from restraint and violence from others, which cannot be where there is no law; and is not, as we are told, “a liberty for every man to do what he lists.” For who could be free, when every other man's humour might domineer over him? But a liberty to dispose and order freely as he lists his person, actions, possessions, and his whole property within the allowance of those laws under which he is, and therein not to be subject to the arbitrary will of another, but freely follow his own." (Two Treatises of Civil Government, II, 57: P>P>N>S., p.101)
I believe we Americans should use extreme care before lending our support to any proposed government program. We should fully recognize that government is no plaything. As George Washington warned, "Government is not reason, it is not eloquence - it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master!" (The Red Carpet, p.142) It is an instrument of force and unless our conscience is clear that we would not hesitate to put a man to death, put him in jail or forcibly deprive him of his property for failing to obey a given law, we should oppose it.
Another standard I use in deterring what law is good and what is bad is the Constitution of the United States. I regard this inspired document as a solemn agreement between the citizens of this nation which every officer of government is under a sacred duty to obey. As Washington stated so clearly in his immortal Farewell Address:
"The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government. - But the constitution which at any time exists, until changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established government." (P.P.N.S., p. 542)
I am especially mindful that the Constitution provides that the great bulk of the legitimate activities of government are to be carried out at the state or local level. This is the only way in which the principle of "self-government" can be made effective. As James Madison said before the adoption of the Constitution, "We rest all our political experiments on the capacity of mankind for self-government." (Federalist, No.39; P.P.N.S., p. 128) Thomas Jefferson made this interesting observation: "Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the forms of kings to govern him? Let history answer this question." (Works 8:3; P.P.N.S., p. 128)
It is a firm principle that the smallest or lowest level that can possibly undertake the task is the one that should do so; first, the community or the city; if the city cannot handle it, then the county. Next, the state; and only if no smaller unit can possibly do the job should the federal government be considered. This is merely the application to the field of politics of that wise and time-tested principle of never asking a larger group to do that which can be done by a smaller group. And so far as government is concerned the smaller the unit and the closer it is to the people, the easier it is to guide it, to correct it, to keep it solvent and to keep our freedom. Thomas Jefferson understood this principle very well and explained it this way:
"The way to have good and safe government is not to trust it all to one, but to divide it among the many, distributing to every one exactly the functions he is competent to. Let the national government be entrusted with the defense of the nation, and its foreign and federal relations; the State governments with the civil rights, law, police, and administration of what concerns the State generally; the counties with the local concerns of the counties, and each ward direct the interests within itself. It is by dividing and subdividing these republics from the great national one down through all its subordinations, until it ends in the administration of every man's farm by himself; by placing under every one what his own eye may superintend, that all will be done for the best. What has destroyed liberty and the rights of man in every government which has ever existed under the sun? It is the generalizing and concentrating all cares and powers into one body." (Works 6:543; P.P.N.S., p. 125)
It is well to remember that the states of this republic created the Federal Government. The Federal Government did not create the states.
A category of government activity which, today, not only requires the closest scrutiny, but which also poses a grave danger to our continued freedom, is the activity NOT within the proper sphere of government. No one has the authority to grant such power as welfare programs, schemes for redistributing the wealth, and activities which coerce people into acting in accordance with a prescribed code of social planning. There is one simple test. Do I as an individual have a right to use force upon my neighbor to accomplish this goal? If I do have such a right, then I may delegate that power to my government to exercise on my behalf. If I do not have that right as an individual, then I cannot delegate it to government, and I cannot ask my government to perform the act for me.
To be sure, there are times when this principle of the proper role of government is most annoying and inconvenient. If I could only force the ignorant to provide for themselves, or the selfish to be generous with their wealth! But if we permit government to manufacture its own authority out of thin air and to create self-proclaimed powers not delegated to it by the people, then the creature exceeds the creator and becomes master. Beyond that point, where shall the line be drawn? Who is to say this far, but no farther? What clear principle will stay the hand of government from reaching farther and yet farther into our daily lives? We shouldn't forget the wise words of President Grover Cleveland that "... though the people support the Government the Government should not support the people." (P.P.N.S., p.345) We should also remember, as Frederic Bastiat reminded us, that "Nothing can enter the public treasury for the benefit of one citizen or one class unless other citizens and other classes have been forced to send it in." (THE LAW, p. 30; P.P.N.S., p. 350)
As Bastiat pointed out over a hundred years ago, once government steps over this clear line between the protective or negative role into the aggressive role of redistributing the wealth and providing so-called "benefits" for some of its citizens, it then becomes a means for what he accurately described as legalized plunder. It becomes a lever of unlimited power which is the sought-after prize of unscrupulous individuals and pressure groups, each seeking to control the machine to fatten his own pockets or to benefit its favorite charities - all with the other fellow's money, of course.
Listen to Bastiat's explanation of this "legal plunder."
"When a portion of wealth is transferred from the person who owns it - without his consent and without compensation, and whether by force or by fraud - to anyone who does not own it, then I say that property is violated; that an act of plunder is committed!
"How is the legal plunder to be identified - quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime..." (THE LAW, p. 21, 26; P.P.N.S., p. 377)
As Bastiat observed, and as history has proven, each class or special interest group competes with the others to throw the lever of governmental power in their favor, or at least to immunize itself against the effects of a previous thrust. Labor gets a minimum wage, so agriculture seeks a price support. Consumers demand price controls, and industry gets protective tariffs. In the end, no one is much further ahead, and everyone suffers the burdens of a gigantic bureaucracy and a loss of personal freedom. With each group out to get its share of the spoils, such governments historically have mushroomed into total welfare states. Once the process begins, once the principle of the protective function of government gives way to the aggressive or redistributive function, then forces are set in motion that drive the nation toward totalitarianism. "It is impossible," Bastiat correctly observed, "to introduce into society... a greater evil than this: the conversion of the law into an instrument of plunder." (THE LAW, p. 12)
Students of history know that no government in the history of mankind has ever created any wealth. People who work create wealth. James R. Evans, in his inspiring book, "The Glorious Quest" gives this simple illustration of legalized plunder:
"Assume, for example, that we were farmers, and that we received a letter from the government telling us that we were going to get a thousand dollars this year for plowed up acreage. But rather than the normal method of collection, we were to take this letter and collect $69.71 from Bill Brown, at such and such an address, and $82.47 from Henry Jones, $59.80 from a Bill Smith, and so on down the line; that these men would make up our farm subsidy.
"Neither you nor I, nor would 99 percent of the farmers, walk up and ring a man's doorbell, hold out a hand and say, 'Give me what you've earned even though I have not.' We simply wouldn't do it because we would be facing directly the violation of a moral law, 'Thou shalt not steal.' In short, we would be held accountable for our actions."
The free creative energy of this choice nation "created more than 50% of all the world's products and possessions in the short span of 160 years. The only imperfection in the system is the imperfection in man himself."
The last paragraph in this remarkable Evans book - which I commend to all - reads:
"No historian of the future will ever be able to prove that the ideas of individual liberty practiced in the United States of America were a failure. He may be able to prove that we were not yet worthy of them. The choice is ours."
According to Marxist doctrine, a human being is primarily an economic creature. In other words, his material well-being is all important; his privacy and his freedom are strictly secondary. The Soviet constitution reflects this philosophy in its emphasis on security: food, clothing, housing, medical care - the same things that might be considered in a jail. The basic concept is that the government has full responsibility for the welfare of the people and in order to discharge that responsibility, must assume control of all their activities. It is significant that in actuality the Russian people have few of the rights supposedly "guaranteed" to them in their constitution, while the American people have them in abundance even though they are not guaranteed. The reason, of course, is that material gain and economic security simply cannot be guaranteed by any government. They are the result and reward of hard work and industrious production. Unless the people bake one loaf of bread for each citizen, the government cannot guarantee that each will have one loaf to eat. Constitutions can be written, laws can be passed and imperial decrees can be issued, but unless the bread is produced, it can never be distributed.
Why, then, do Americans bake more bread, manufacture more shoes and assemble more TV sets than Russians do? They do so precisely because our government does not guarantee these things. If it did, there would be so many accompanying taxes, controls, regulations and political manipulations that the productive genius that is America's would soon be reduced to the floundering level of waste and inefficiency now found behind the Iron Curtain. As Henry David Thoreau explained:
"This government never of itself furthered any enterprise, but by the alacrity with which it got out of its way. It does not keep the country free. It does not settle the west. It does not educate. The character inherent in the American people has done all that has been accomplished; and it would have done somewhat more, if the government had not sometimes got in its way. For government is an expedient by which men would fain succeed in letting one another alone; and, as has been said, when it is most expedient, the governed are most let alone by it." (Quoted by Clarence B. Carson, The American Tradition, p. 100; P.P.S.N., p.171)
in 1801 Thomas Jefferson, in his First Inaugural Address, said:
"With all these blessings, what more is necessary to make us a happy and prosperous people? Still one thing more, fellow citizens - a wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it had earned." (Works 8:3)
The principle behind this American philosophy can be reduced to a rather simple formula:
1. Economic security for all is impossible without widespread abundance.
2. Abundance is impossible without industrious and efficient production.
3. Such production is impossible without energetic, willing and eager labor.
4. This is not possible without incentive.
5. Of all forms of incentive - the freedom to attain a reward for one's labors is the most sustaining for most people. Sometimes called The Profit Motive, it is simply the right to plan and to earn and to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
6. This profit motive diminishes as government controls, regulations and taxes increase to deny the fruits of success to those who produce.
7. Therefore, any attempt through governmental intervention to redistribute the material rewards of labor can only result in the eventual destruction of the productive base of society, without which real abundance and security for more than the ruling elite is quite impossible. (See G. Edward Griffin, The Fearful Master, p. 128)
We have before us currently a sad example of what happens to a nation which ignores these principles. Former FBI agent, Dan Smoot, succinctly pointed this out on his broadcast number 649, dated January 29, 1968, as follows:
"England was killed by an idea: the idea that the weak, indolent and profligate must be supported by the strong, industrious, and frugal - to the degree that tax-consumers will have a living standard comparable to that of taxpayers; the idea that government exists for the purpose of plundering those who work to give the product of their labor to those who do not work.
The economic and social cannibalism produced by this communist-socialist idea will destroy any society which adopts it and clings to it as a basic principle - any society."
Nearly two hundred years ago, Adam Smith, the Englishman, who understood these principles very well, published his great book, The Wealth of Nations, which contains this statement:
"The natural effort of every individual to better his own condition, when suffered to exert itself with freedom and security, is so powerful a principle, that it is alone, and without any assistance, not only capable of carrying on the society to wealth and prosperity, but of surmounting a hundred impertinent obstructions with which the folly of human laws too often encumbers its operations; though the effect of these obstructions is always more or less either to encroach upon its freedom, or to diminish its security." (Book 4, Chapter. 5, IV)
On the surface this may sound heartless and insensitive to the needs of those less fortunate individuals who are found in any society, no matter how affluent. "What about the lame, the sick and the destitute? is an often-voice question. Most other countries in the world have attempted to use the power of government to meet this need. Yet, in every case, the improvement has been marginal at best and has resulted in the long run creating more misery, more poverty, and certainly less freedom than when government first stepped in. As Henry Grady Weaver wrote, in his excellent book, The Mainspring of Human Progress:
"Most of the major ills of the world have been caused by well-meaning people who ignored the principle of individual freedom, except as applied to themselves, and who were obsessed with fanatical zeal to improve the lot of mankind-in-the-mass through some pet formula of their own....the harm done be ordinary criminals, murderers, gangsters, and thieves is negligible in comparison with the agony inflicted upon human beings by the professional do-gooders.”, who attempt to set themselves up as gods on earth and who would ruthlessly force their views on all others - with the abiding assurance that the end justifies the means." (p. 40-41; P.P.N.S., p. 313)
By comparison, America traditionally has followed Jefferson's advice of relying on individual action and charity. The result is that the United States has fewer cases of genuine hardship per capita than any other country in the entire world or throughout all history. Even during the depression of the 1930's, Americans ate and lived better than most people in other countries do today.
In reply to the argument that a little bit of socialism is good so long as it doesn't go too far, it is tempting to say that, in like fashion, just a little bit of theft or a little bit of cancer is all right, too! History proves that the growth of the welfare state is difficult to check before it comes to its full flower of dictatorship. But let us hope that this time around, the trend can be reversed. If not then we will see the inevitability of complete socialism, probably within our lifetime.
Three factors may make a difference. First, there is sufficient historical knowledge of the failures of socialism and of the past mistakes of previous civilizations. Secondly, there are modern means of rapid communications to transmit these lessons of history to a large literate population. And thirdly, there are a growing number of dedicated men and women who, at great personal sacrifice, are actively working to promote a wider appreciation of these concepts. The timely joining together of these three factors may make it entirely possible for us to reverse the trend.
This brings up the next question: How is it possible to cut out the various welfare-state features of our government which have already fastened themselves like cancer cells onto the body politic? Isn't drastic surgery already necessary, and can it be performed without endangering the patient? In answer, it is obvious that drastic measures are called for. No half-way or compromise actions will suffice. Like all surgery, it will not be without discomfort and perhaps even some scar tissue for a long time to come. But it must be done if the patient is to be saved, and it can be done without undue risk.
Obviously, not all welfare-state programs currently in force can be dropped simultaneously without causing tremendous economic and social upheaval. To try to do so would be like finding oneself at the controls of a hijacked airplane and attempting to return it by simply cutting off the engines in flight. It must be flown back, lowered in altitude, gradually reduced in speed and brought in for a smooth landing. Translated into practical terms, this means that the first step toward restoring the limited concept of government should be to freeze all welfare-state programs at their present level, making sure that no new ones are added. The next step would be to allow all present programs to run out their term with absolutely no renewal. The third step would involve the gradual phasing-out of those programs which are indefinite in their term. In my opinion, the bulk of the transition could be accomplished within a ten-year period and virtually completed within twenty years. Congress would serve as the initiator of this phase-out program, and the President would act as the executive in accordance with traditional constitutional procedures.
As I summarize what I have attempted to cover, try to visualize the structural relationship between the six vital concepts that have made America the envy of the world. I have reference to the foundation of the Divine Origin of Rights; Limited Government; the pillars of economic Freedom and Personal Freedom, which result in Abundance; followed by Security and the Pursuit of Happiness.
America was built upon a firm foundation and created over many years from the bottom up. Other nations, impatient to acquire equal abundance, security and pursuit of happiness, rush headlong into that final phase of construction without building adequate foundations or supporting pillars. Their efforts are futile. And, even in our country, there are those who think that, because we now have the good things in life, we can afford to dispense with the foundations which have made them possible. They want to remove any recognition of God from governmental institutions. They want to expand the scope and reach of government which will undermine and erode our economic and personal freedoms. The abundance which is ours, the carefree existence which we have come to accept as a matter of course, can be toppled by these foolish experimenter and power seekers. By the grace of God, and with His help, we shall fence them off from the foundations of our liberty, and then begin our task of repair and construction.
As a fitting summary to this discussion, I present a declaration of principles which have recently been prepared by a few American patriots, and to which I wholeheartedly subscribe.
As an Independent American for constitutional government I declare that:
(1) I believe that no people can maintain freedom unless their political institutions are founded upon faith in God and belief in the existence of moral law.
(2) I believe that God has endowed men with certain unalienable rights as set forth in the Declaration of Independence and that no legislature and no majority, however great, may morally limit or destroy these; that the sole function of government is to protect life, liberty, and property and anything more than this is usurpation and oppression.
(3) I believe that the Constitution of the United States was prepared and adopted by men acting under inspiration from Almighty God; that it is a solemn compact between the peoples of the States of this nation which all officers of government are under duty to obey; that the eternal moral laws expressed therein must be adhered to or individual liberty will perish.
(4) I believe it a violation of the Constitution for government to deprive the individual of life, liberty, or property except for these purposes:
(a) Punish crime and provide for the administration of justice;
(b) Protect the right and control of private property;
(c) Wage defensive war and provide for the nation's defense;
(d) Compel each one who enjoys the protection of government to bear his fair share of the burden of performing the above functions.
(5) I hold that the Constitution denies government the power to take from the individual either his life, liberty, or property except in accordance with moral law; that the same moral law which governs the actions of men when acting alone is also applicable when they act in concert with others; that no citizen or group of citizens has any right to direct their agent, the government to perform any act which would be evil or offensive to the conscience if that citizen were performing the act himself outside the framework of government.
(6) I am hereby resolved that under no circumstances shall the freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights be infringed. In particular I am opposed to any attempt on the part of the Federal Government to deny the people their right to bear arms, to worship and pray when and where they choose, or to own and control private property.
(7) I consider us at war with international Communism which is committed to the destruction of our government, our right of property, and our freedom; that it is treason as defined by the Constitution to give aid and comfort to this implacable enemy.
(8) I am unalterable opposed to Socialism, either in whole or in part, and regard it as an unconstitutional usurpation of power and a denial of the right of private property for government to own or operate the means of producing and distributing goods and services in competition with private enterprise, or to regiment owners in the legitimate use of private property.
(9) I maintain that every person who enjoys the protection of his life, liberty, and property should bear his fair share of the cost of government in providing that protection; that the elementary principles of justice set forth in the Constitution demand that all taxes imposed be uniform and that each person's property or income be taxed at the same rate.
(10) I believe in honest money, the gold and silver coinage of the Constitution, and a circulation medium convertible into such money without loss. I regard it as a flagrant violation of the explicit provisions of the Constitution for the Federal Government to make it a criminal offense to use gold or silver coin as legal tender or to use irredeemable paper money.
(11) I believe that each State is sovereign in performing those functions reserved to it by the Constitution and it is destructive of our federal system and the right of self-government guaranteed under the Constitution for the Federal Government to regulate or control the States in performing their functions or to engage in performing such functions itself.
(12) I consider it a violation of the Constitution for the Federal Government to levy taxes for the support of state or local government; that no State or local government can accept funds from the Federal and remain independent in performing its functions, nor can the citizens exercise their rights of self-government under such conditions.
(13) I deem it a violation of the right of private property guaranteed under the Constitution for the Federal Government to forcibly deprive the citizens of this nation of their nation of their property through taxation or otherwise, and make a gift thereof to foreign governments or their citizens.
(14) I believe that no treaty or agreement with other countries should deprive our citizens of rights guaranteed them by the Constitution.
(15) I consider it a direct violation of the obligation imposed upon it by the Constitution for the Federal Government to dismantle or weaken our military establishment below that point required for the protection of the States against invasion, or to surrender or commit our men, arms, or money to the control of foreign or world organizations or governments.
These things I believe to be the proper role of government. We have strayed far a field. We must return to basic concepts and principles - to eternal verities. There is no other way. The storm signals are up. They are clear and ominous.
As Americans - citizens of the greatest nation under Heaven - we face difficult days. Never since the days of the Civil War - 100 years ago - has this choice nation faced such a crisis.
Can we cope with these realities? Yes!
In closing I wish to refer you to the words of the patriot Thomas Paine, whose writings helped so much to stir into a flaming spirit the smoldering embers of patriotism during the days of the American Revolution:
"These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will in this crisis shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it NOW, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; 'tis dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed, if so celestial and article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated."
(The Political Works of Thomas Paine, p.55.)
President Theodore Roosevelt warned that:
The things that will destroy America are prosperity-at-any-price, peace-at-any-price, safety-first instead of duty-first, and love of soft living and the get-rich-quick theory of life. (The Red Carpet, p. 315)
I intend to keep fighting. My personal attitude is one of resolution - not resignation.
I have faith in the American people. I pray that we will never do anything that will jeopardize in any manner our priceless heritage. If we live and work so as to enjoy the approbation of a Divine Providence, we cannot fail. Without that help we cannot long endure.
So I urge all Americans to put their courage to the test. Be firm in our conviction that our cause is just. Reaffirm our faith in all things for which true Americans have always stood.
I urge all Americans to arouse themselves and stay aroused. We must not make any further concessions to communism at home or abroad. We do not need to. We should oppose communism from our position of strength for we are not weak.
There is much work to be done. The time is short. Let us begin - in earnest - now and may God bless our efforts, I humbly pray.*******
Protecting Freedom – Our Immediate Responsibility
Elder Ezra Taft Benson
Conference Address, October, 1966
Humbly and gratefully I take as my theme for these brief remarks the following words from the inspiring opening address by President David O. McKay at the Friday morning session of this great conference.
"Efforts are being made to deprive man of his free agency, to steal from the individual his liberty. . . . There has been an alarming increase in the abandoning of the ideals that constitute the foundation of the Constitution of the United States. . . ."
I therefore speak on the subject: "Protecting Freedom--An Immediate Responsibility.
" The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints proclaims that life is eternal, that it has purpose. We believe we lived as intelligent beings in a world of progress before this mortal life. Our life on this earth is a probation, a testing period, an opportunity for growth and experience in a physical world. It is all part of the plan of our Heavenly Father for the benefit and blessing of us, his children.
This is to be done through a great and all-wise plan--the gospel of Jesus Christ. This master plan, if lived, will build men of character, men of strength, men of deep spirituality, Godlike men.
Free agency to preserve freedom
Basic to this all-important plan is our free agency, the right of choice. Free agency is an eternal principle. We enjoyed freedom of choice in the spirit world as spirit children. In fact, a counter-plan to the gospel of our Lord was presented by Lucifer, a plan of force that would have robbed man of his freedom of choice. Lucifer's plan was rejected, and the scriptures tell us that he, with one-third of the hosts of heaven, was cast out; and they continue their opposition to God's plan, which is based on the freedom of the individual.
The scriptures make clear that there was a great war in heaven, a struggle over the principle of freedom the right of choice. (See Moses 4:1-4; D&C 29:36-38; 76:25-27; Rev. 12:7-9.)
History, both sacred and secular, clearly records that the struggle to preserve and safeguard freedom has been a continuous one. Prophets of God as watchmen on the towers, have proclaimed liberty. Holy men of God have led the fight against anarchy and tyranny. Moses was commanded to "proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof." (Lev. 25:10.)
Why have prophets of God been commanded to proclaim liberty and lead the battle to preserve freedom? Because freedom is basic to the great plan of the Lord. The gospel can prosper only in an atmosphere of freedom. This fact is confirmed by history, as well as by sacred scriptures. The right of choice--free agency--runs like a golden thread throughout the gospel plan of the Lord for the blessing of his children.
To a modern-day prophet the Lord declared that "it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another." In a revelation to the restored Church in 1833 the Lord declared:
". . . that law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind and is justifiable before me.
"I, the Lord God, make you free therefore ye are free indeed; and the law also maketh you free.
"Nevertheless, when the wicked rule the people mourn.
"Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil." (D&C 98:5, 8-10.)
A year ago in a great general conference address on freedom and how it is threatened today, our beloved President warned us, saying, "I do not know that there was ever a time in the history of mankind when the Evil One seemed so determined to take from man his freedom." He went on to explain that "pernicious efforts and sinister schemes are cunningly and stealthily being fostered to deprive man of his individual freedom and have him revert to the life of the jungle." ("Man's Free Agency," The Improvement Era, Dec. 1965, pp. 1073, 1099.)
War against wisdom
Still earlier the First Presidency warned the Saints that "Satan is making war against all the wisdom that has come to men through their ages of experience. He is seeking to overturn and destroy the very foundations upon which society, government, and religion rest. He aims to have men adopt theories and practices which he induced their forefathers, over the ages, to adopt and try, only to be discarded by them when found unsound, impractical, and ruinous. He plans to destroy liberty and freedom--economic, political, and religious, and to set up in place thereof the greatest, most widespread, and most complete tyranny that has ever oppressed man. He is working under such perfect disguise that many do not recognize either him or his methods. . . . Without their knowing it, the people are being urged down paths that lead only to destruction. Satan never before had so firm a grip on this generation as he has now." ("Message of the First Presidency," The Improvement Era, Nov. 1942, p. 761.)
In spite of the scriptural evidence and the counsel of modern-day prophets during the past more than 100 years, there are still some who seem to feel we have no responsibility to safeguard and strengthen our precious God-given freedom. There are some who apparently feel that the fight for freedom is separate from the gospel. They express it in several ways but it generally boils down to this: Just live the gospel; there's no need to get involved in trying to save freedom and the Constitution or to stop Communism.
Of course, this is dangerous reasoning, because in reality you cannot fully live the gospel without working to save freedom and the Constitution, and to stop Communism.
In the war in heaven, what would have been your reaction if someone had told you just to do what is right--there's no need to get involved in the fight for freedom?
War in Heaven continues on Earth
Of course, the war in heaven over free agency is now being waged here on earth, and there are those today who are saying "Look, don't get involved in the fight for freedom. Just live the gospel." That counsel is dangerous, self-contradictory, unsound.
The Book of Mormon pays tribute to General Moroni in these words:
"And Moroni was a strong and a mighty man; he was a man of perfect understanding, yea, a man that did not delight in bloodshed; a man whose soul did joy in the liberty and the freedom of his country, and his brethren from bondage and slavery; . . .
"Yea, and he was a man who was firm in the faith of Christ, and he had sworn with an oath to defend his people his rights, and his country, and his religion, even to the loss of his blood." (Alma. 48:11,13.)
And then Moroni is paid this high tribute:
"Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men." (Alma. 48:17.)
Now, part of the reason we may not have sufficient priesthood bearers to save the Constitution let alone to shake the powers of hell, is because unlike Moroni, I fear, our souls do not joy in keeping our country free, and we are not firm in the faith of Christ nor have we sworn with an oath to defend our rights and the liberty of our country.
Need for action now
Moroni raised a title of liberty and wrote upon it these words:
"In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children."
Why didn't he write upon it: "Just live your religion; there's no need to concern yourselves about your freedom, your peace, your wives, or your children"? The reason he didn't do this was because all these things were a part of his religion, as they are of our religion today.
Should we counsel people, "Just live your religion. There's no need to get involved in the fight for freedom"? No, we should not, because our stand for freedom is a most basic part of our religion; this stand helped get us to this earth, and our reaction to freedom in this life will have eternal consequences. Man has many duties, but he has no excuse that can compensate for his loss of liberty.
As members of the Church we have some close quarters to pass through if we are going to get home safely. We will be given a chance to choose between conflicting counsel given by some. That's why we must learn--and the sooner we learn, the better--to keep our eye on the Prophet, the President of the Church. And that Prophet today is President David O. McKay.
On the day the Church was organized, the Lord gave a revelation, too often overlooked, that he expects members of the Church to "give heed unto all his words and commandments which" the Prophet and President "shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me;
"For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith." (D&C 21:4-5.)
All men are entitled to inspiration, especially men who bear the priesthood, but only one man is the Lord's mouthpiece. Some lesser men have used in the past, and will use in the future, their [priesthood] offices unrighteously. Some will, ignorantly or otherwise, use their office to promote false counsel; some will use it to lead the unwary astray; some will use it to persuade us that all is well in Zion: some will use it to cover and excuse their ignorance. Keep your eye on the Prophet, for the Lord will never permit his Prophet to lead this Church astray. Let us live close to the Spirit, so we can test all counsel.
Now, after all the counsel that has been given, what did President McKay have to say to the priesthood at our last annual world conference in April? Fortunately, his inspired words were printed on the editorial page of the June Improvement Era and have been reprinted in folder form by the Deseret Book Company as "the position of the Church." It would be well if every family in America could have a copy. You who have felt that you can righteously avoid standing up for freedom, heed these words:
"In order that there may be no misunderstanding by bishops, stake presidents, and others regarding members of the Church participating in non-church meetings to study and become informed on the Constitution of the United States, Communism, etc., I wish," said President McKay, "to make the following statements that I have been sending out from my office for some time and that have come under question by some stake authorities, bishoprics, and others.
"Church members are at perfect liberty to act according to their own consciences in the matter of safeguarding our way of life. They are, of course, encouraged to honor the highest standards of the gospel and to work to preserve their own freedoms. They are free to participate in non-church meetings that are held to warn people of the threat of Communism or any other theory or principle that will deprive us of our free agency or individual liberties vouchsafed by the Constitution of the United States. . . .
"The position of this Church on the subject of Communism has never changed. We consider it the greatest satanical threat to peace, prosperity, and the spread of God's work among men that exists on the face of the earth.
"In this connection, we are continually being asked to give our opinion concerning various patriotic groups or individuals who are fighting Communism and speaking up for freedom. Our immediate concern, however, is not with parties, groups, or persons, but with principles. We therefore commend and encourage every person and every group who are sincerely seeking to study Constitutional principles and awaken a sleeping and apathetic people to the alarming conditions that are rapidly advancing about us. We wish all of our citizens throughout the land were participating in some type of organized self-education in order that they could better appreciate what is happening and know what they can do about it.
"Supporting the FBI, the police, the congressional committees investigating Communism, and various organizations that are attempting to awaken the people through educational means is a policy we warmly endorse for all our people." (The Improvement Era, June 1966, p. 477.)
Everyone should study the complete statement. This statement is timely and clear. The need for such a Church position has never been greater. I realize that it is sometimes unpopular to speak the solemn warning truth. As a people, we do not like to be disturbed from our comfortable complacency. But today we are face to face with an increasingly successful, ruthless conspiracy. Our remaining liberties are hanging in the balance.
Hear President McKay's further counsel:
"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." (The Instructor, Feb. 1956, p. 34.)
President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., emphasized this fact as he discussed the freedom-slavery issue, from which I quote:
"Now, what has business and industry done about all this revolutionary activity? . . . Business and industry neither planned nor did anything effective. There was no concerted effort. . .
"A common cause with a united front would have worked salvation for us. But business officials were afraid of their stockholders and their outcry against loss of dividends; the lawyers were afraid of getting whipped in the courts, businessmen felt strong vigorous action might further disturb business; bankers (I am a bank director) shivered at their own shadows.
"So one constitutional right after another yielded without any real contest, our backs getting nearer to the wall with each retreat. It is now proposed we retreat still further. Is not this suicide? Is there anyone so naive as to think that things will right themselves without a fight? There has been no more fight in us than there is in a bunch of sheep, and we have been much like sheep. Freedom was never brought to a people on a silver platter, nor maintained with whisk brooms and lavender sprays....
"And do not think that all these usurpations, intimidations, and impositions are being done to us through inadvertence or mistake.
"The whole course is deliberately planned and carried out, its purpose is to destroy the Constitution and our constitutional government; then to bring chaos out of which the new Statism, with its Slavery, is to arise, with a cruel, relentless, selfish, ambitious crew in the saddle, riding hard with whip and spur, a red-shrouded band of night riders for despotism.
". . . if we do not vigorously fight for our liberties, we shall go clear through to the end of the road and become another Russia, or worse." (Church News, Sept. 25, 1949.)
"A bunch of sheep." An old adage declares, "A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves."
In a general conference, President Clark issued this sobering warning:
". . . I say unto you with all the soberness I can, that we stand in danger of losing our liberties, and that once lost, only blood will bring them back; and once lost, we of this church will, in order to keep the church going forward, have more sacrifices to make and more persecutions to endure than we have yet known, heavy as our sacrifices and grievous as our persecutions of the past have been.
"We face a war to the death, a gigantic worldwide struggle. We must face it, enter it, take part in it. In fact, we are all taking part in the struggle, whether we will or not. Upon its final issue, liberty lives or dies." (The Improvement Era May 1944.)
Yes, we all love the gospel--or should do. We should all strive to live according to its precepts. But the basic thread running through the gospel plan is the freedom, the right of choice, of the individual. The gospel can prosper only where there is freedom.
Loss of freedom
I have personally witnessed the heart-rending results of the loss of freedom. I have been close to the godless evil of the socialist-communist conspiracy on both sides of the iron curtain, especially during my service as European Mission president at the close of the war and today, and also during eight years in the Cabinet.
I stood in Czechoslovakia and witnessed the ebbing away of freedom, resulting in the total loss of liberty. I visited among the liberty-loving Polish people and talked with their leaders, as the insidious freedom-destroying philosophy moved in, imposing the chains of bondage on a Christian nation.
In both of these freedom-loving nations were members of the Church, striving, as we are, to live the gospel. But it was not enough. It did not stop the Communists. Our members were few in number, and the danger to freedom seemed far away. One trembles at the thought of members of the Church today in the Communist slave labor camps.
In fact, freedom-loving people have been brought under Communist bondage at the average rate of 6,000 per hour, 144,000 per day, 52 million per year since the end of World War II.
Priesthood to save freedom
But here in America, the Lord's base of operations--so designated by the Lord himself, through his holy prophets--we of the priesthood, members of his restored Church, might well provide the balance of power to save our freedom. Indeed we might, if we go forward as General Moroni of old and raise the standard of liberty throughout the land.
Today our Prophet and President has said: "No greater immediate responsibility rests upon members of the Church, upon all citizens of this Republic and of neighboring Republics than to protect the freedom vouchsafed by the Constitution of the United States." Is this plain enough? In view of this solemn warning, how can any member of the Church fail to act to help save our freedom? We must not be lulled away into a false security
We have a Prophet today. What we need is a listening ear. Let us live the gospel in its fullness, and by so doing we will work unceasingly to preserve and strengthen our God-given freedom.
I bear witness that David O. McKay is a Prophet of God--I know it as I know that I live--and that through him the Lord reveals his will for each of us, our families, and the kingdom of God on earth. God grant we may heed his inspired counsel, I humbly pray, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.*******
By Ezra Taft Benson
Feb 11, 1966
[Editor’s Note: Excerpted from an hour-long address given in 1966. Ezra Taft Benson was a true patriot and a prophet in Israel.]
Humbly and gratefully I stand before you – grateful for patriots such as you – humbled by the magnitude of the task before us.
I speak to you as a fellow citizen of the United States of America deeply concerned about the welfare of our beloved country.
I am not here to tickle your ears – to entertain you. I will talk to you frankly and honestly. The message I bring is not a happy one, but it is the truth, and time is always on the side of truth. As the German philosopher Goethe, said: “Truth must be repeated again and again because error is constantly being preached round about.”
I realize that the bearer of bad news is always unpopular. As a people we love sweetness and light – especially sweetness. Ralph Waldo Emerson said that every mind must make a choice between truth and repose. Those who will learn nothing from history are condemned to repeat it. This we are doing in the Americas today. …
Returning recently from two years abroad has caused me to reflect seriously on recent trends and present conditions in our beloved country. I am shocked and saddened at what I find. I am sorry to say that all is not well in so-called prosperous, wealthy and powerful America.
We have moved a long way – and are now moving further and more rapidly down the soul-destroying road of socialism. The evidence is clear – shockingly clear for all to see.
With our national prestige at – or near – an embarrassing all-time low, we continue to weaken our domestic economy by unsound fiscal, economic and foreign aid policies which corrupt our national currency. Ever increasing centralization of power in the federal government in Washington, D.C. is reducing our local and state governments to virtual federal field offices while weakening individual initiative, enterprise and character.
With the crass unconstitutional usurpation of powers by the Executive Branch of the federal government, anti-spiritual decisions of the Supreme Court – all apparently approved by a weakly submissive rubber-stamp congress – the days ahead are ominously frightening.
Surely – certainly – it behooves patriotic citizens – such as you – to meet together to seriously consider present conditions in our beloved nation. It is imperative that American citizens become alerted and informed regarding the threat to our welfare, happiness and freedom.
No American is worthy of citizenship in this great land who refuses to take an active interest in these important matters.
All we hold dear as a great Christian nation is at stake. …
We Americans have strayed far from sound principles – morally, Constitutionally and historically. It has been getting us into a quagmire of trouble all over the world, and especially here at home.
Americans at the grass roots level have sensed that their way of life is being threatened….
… There are some legitimate functions and services which the Federal Government can and should provide, but those who want the federal power to exceed the authority delegated to it by the Constitution will be resisted both by Democrats and Republicans. This is what is happening in some limited areas today. May the trend increase.
And anyone who tries to equate this love of Constitutional principles as meaning hatred of our national leaders is using Goebbels-style deception. History has already demonstrated that conservative opposition to national leaders was not “hate” but an attempt to do them a favor. …
Therefore, I repeat, this kind of resistance to a national leader is rooted in love and respect, not hate. Regardless of which political party is in power, you do not want to see your President make a serious blunder. …
What causes one to wonder is why these warnings were not carefully considered and acted upon. Why is it that men in high places in government, regardless of party have been deceived? I am convinced that a major part of the cause can be justly laid at the door of the Socialist-Communist Conspiracy, which is lead by masters of deceit who deceive the very elect. J. Edgar Hoover put it well when he said, “I would have no fears if more Americans possessed the zeal, the fervor, the persistence, and the industry to learn about this menace of Red fascism. I do fear for the liberal and progressive who have been hoodwinked and duped into joining with the Communists.”
Therefore, let those who call for unity and the elimination of hate be sure they are not merely trying to silence the friends of freedom. These are they who respect their leaders and resist them only when it is felt they are headed for a catastrophe. What patriotic American would wish to stand silent if he saw the President verging on a blunder because of bad advice or a mistake in judgment of the facts?
I believe one of the most serious mistakes a President could make would be to weaken the Constitution.
From the time I was a small boy, I was taught that the American Constitution is an inspired document. I was also taught that the day will come when the Constitution will be endangered and hang as it were by a single thread. I was taught that we should study the Constitution, preserve its principles and defend it against any who would destroy it. To the best of my ability I have always tried to do this. I expect to continue my efforts to help protect and safeguard our inspired Constitution.
Some two years ago, however, a critic from Washington, D.C. claimed that a person who serves in a church capacity should not comment on such matters. He charged that the separation of church and state requires that church officials restrict their attention to affairs of the Church.
I, of course, also believe that the institutions of church and state should be separated, but I also do not agree that spiritual leaders cannot comment on basic issues which involve the very foundation of American liberty.
In fact, if this were true, we would have to throw away a substantial part of the Bible. Speaking out against immoral or unjust actions of political leaders has been the burden of prophets and disciples of God from time immemorial. It was for this very reason that many of them were persecuted. Some of them were stoned, some of them were burned, many were imprisoned. Nevertheless it was their God-given task, as watchmen on the towers, to speak up.
It is certainly no different today.
To Moses God said: “….proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.” (Lev. 25:10)
Why? For God knows full well that the gospel – His plan for the blessing of His children can prosper only in an atmosphere of freedom.
To modern men God has said: the Constitution “should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh.” (Doctrine and Covenants 101:77) …
At this particular moment in history the United States Constitution is definitely threatened and every citizen should know about it. The warning of this hour should resound through the corridors of every American institution….
Our Republic and Constitution are being destroyed while the enemies of freedom are being aided. How? In at least ten ways:
1. By diplomatic recognition and aid, trade and negotiations with the Communists.
2. By disarmament of our military defenses.
3. By destruction of our security laws and the promotion of atheism by decisions of the Supreme Court.
4. By loss of sovereignty and solvency to international commitments and membership in world organizations.
5. By undermining of local law enforcement agencies and Congressional investigation committees.
6. By usurpations by the Executive and the Judicial branches of our Federal Government.
7. By lawlessness in the name of civil rights.
8. By staggering national debt with inflation and the corruption of the currency.
9. By a multiplicity of executive orders and federal programs which greatly weaken local and state government.
10. By the sacrificing of American manhood by engaging in wars we apparently have no intention of winning.
Wherever possible, I have tried to speak out. It is for this very reason that certain people in Washington have bitterly criticized me. They don’t want people to hear the message. It embarrasses them. The things which are destroying the Constitution are the things they have been voting for. They are afraid of their political careers if these facts are pointed out. They therefore try to silence any who carry the message – anyone who will stand up and be counted. …
Now we should all be opposed to Socialistic-Communism, for it is our mortal and spiritual enemy – the greatest evil in the world today. But the reason many liberals don’t want the American people to form study groups to really understand and then fight Socialistic-Communism is that once the American people get the facts they will begin to realize that much of what these liberals advocate is actually helping the enemy.
The liberals hope you’ll believe them when they tell you how anti-Communist they are. But they become alarmed if you really inform yourself on the subject of Socialistic-Communism. For after you inform yourself you might begin to study the liberal voting record. And this study would show you how much the liberals are giving aid and comfort to the enemy and how much the liberals are actually leading America towards Socialism itself.
For Communism is just another form of socialism, as is fascism. So now you can see the picture. These liberals want you to know how much they are doing for you – with your tax money of course. But they don’t want you to realize that the path they are pursuing is socialistic, and that socialism is the same as communism in its ultimate effect on our liberties. When you point this out they want to shut you up – they accuse you of maligning them, of casting aspersions, of being political. No matter whether they label their bottle as liberalism, progressivism, or social reform – I know the contents of the bottle is poison to this Republic and I’m going to call it poison.
We do not need to question the motive of these liberals. They could be most sincere. But sincerity or supposed benevolence or even cleverness is not the question. The question is: “Are we going to save this country from the hands of the enemy and the deceived?” …
So from the very beginning of this Moscow campaign, to stop the anti-Communist movement in this country, it was an important part of the Communist strategy to get their liberal American friends to carry out an attack against patriotic organizations. Of course, the Communists have learned not to attack all patriotic groups at once. Their strategy is to focus on just one organization and make it so detestable and ugly in the public mind that they can hold it up as a sort of a tar baby and then use it to smear all other individuals or groups in the same category. …
I feel it is always good strategy to stand up for the right, even when it is unpopular. Perhaps I should say, ESPECIALLY when it is unpopular.
I had to make this same decision all over again when President David O. McKay received an invitation from former Congressman John Rousselot, asking that I be authorized to give a patriotic speech…. President McKay after careful consideration, told me I should make the talk and that I had his permission and blessing….
This talk was given to [nearly 6,000 people at two events]….
Both talks dealt with the preservation of the Constitution and the need to resist the Communist threat….
Of course, … this talk brought an immediate outcry from some liberal elements in Washington. These voices said that I, as a Church official, had no business speaking [at a political event]. They said it was making me “controversial.” Patrick Henry and the Founding Fathers were also “controversial.” True patriots have ever been. Perhaps they did not realize that I had fulfilled this assignment with the full approval of President McKay…. The fight to save the Constitution is not near controversy, nor the fight against Communism. In fact, it is a war with the devil – Christ verses anti-Christ – and I am willing to fight it. It is a fight against the greatest evil in this world – a ruthless, powerful, godless conspiracy.
J Edgar Hoover has warned that the cold war is a real war and that the threat is increasing. I agree, and unfortunately we are losing the war.
I think it is time for every patriotic American to join with neighbors to study the Constitution and the Conspiracy. Subscribe to several good patriotic magazines…. Buy a few basic books, such as Masters Of Deceit and A Study Of Communism by J. Edgar Hoover; The Naked Communist by Cleon Skousen, recommended by President David O. McKay, in the General Conference of the Church, October 1959; You Can Trust The Communists by Dr. Fred Schwartz, and so on. [Editor’s note: These books are all available used at Amazon.com. More current publications include Awakening to Our Awful Situation, Jack Monnett; The End of America and Give me Liberty by Naomi Wolf; and Glenn Beck’s Common Sense.] And then prepare to do some independent thinking. And remember that the organized who have a plan and are dedicated, though they be few, will always defeat the many who are not organized and who lack plans and dedication. The communists know this and have proven it. Isn’t it about time that most Americans realize it too?
In conclusion may I say that one of our most serious problems is the inferiority complex which people feel when they are not informed and organized. They dare not make a decision on these vital issues. They let other people think for them. They stumble around in the middle of the road trying to avoid being “controversial” and get hit by traffic going both ways.
To the patriots I say this: Take the long eternal look. Stand up for freedom no matter what the cost.
It can help to save your soul – and maybe your country.
This is a choice land, choice above all others. Blessed by the Almighty, our forefathers have made and kept it so. It will continue to be a land of freedom and liberty as long as we are able to advance in the light of sound and enduring principles of right. To sacrifice such principles for momentary expediency – often selfishly motivated – is to endanger our noble heritage and is unworthy of this great American people.
With all my heart I love this great nation. … This is a nation with a great mission to perform for the benefit of liberty-loving people everywhere. It is my firm conviction that The Constitution of this land was established by men whom the God of heaven raised up unto that very purpose. This is part of my religious faith.
The days ahead are sobering and challenging, and will demand the faith, prayers and loyalty of every American. As the ancient apostle declared:
“The night is far spent, the day is at hand; let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.” (Romans 13:12)
May God give us the wisdom to recognize the dangers of complacency, the threat to our freedom and the strength to meet this danger courageously. …
In this mighty struggle each of you has a part. Every person on the earth today chose the right side during the war in heaven. Be on the right side now. Stand up and be counted. If you get discouraged remember the words of Edward Everett Hale when he said:
“I am only one, but I am one.
I can’t do everything, but I can do something.
What I can do, that I ought to do,
And what I ought to do,
By the grace of God, I shall do!”
And this is my prayer for you this day. May God bless all of you, each and every one….
(Ezra Taft Benson. Stand Up For Freedom. Assembly Hall at Temple Square, Feb 11, 1966. Given to The Utah Forum for the American Idea)
Not Commanded in All Things
Ezra Taft Benson
Address delivered on April 5, 1965, at the general conference of
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Utah.
In 1831 the Lord said this to his Church:
For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for be that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore be receiveth no reward.
Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;
For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward.
But he that does not anything until he is commanded, and receiveth a commandment with doubtful heart, and keepeth it with slothfulness, the same is damned. (D&C 58:26-29)
The purposes of the Lord - the great objectives - continue the same: the salvation and exaltation of his children.
Usually the Lord gives us the overall objectives to be accomplished and some guidelines to follow, but he expects us work out most of the details and methods. The methods and procedures are usually developed through study and prayer and by living so that we can obtain and follow the prompting of the Spirit. Less spiritually advanced people, such as those in the days of Moses, had to be commanded in many things. Today those spiritually alert look at the objectives, check the guidelines laid down by the Lord and his prophets, and then prayerfully act - without having to be commanded "in all things." This attitude prepares men for godhood.
The overall objective to be accomplished in missionary work, temple work, providing for the needy, and bringing up our children in righteousness has always been the same; only our methods to accomplish these objectives have varied. An faithful member in this dispensation, no matter when he lived, could have found righteous methods to have carried out these objectives without having to wait for the latest, specific Church-wide program.
Sometimes the Lord hopefully waits on his children to act on their own, and when they do not, they lose the greater prize, and the Lord will either drop the entire matter and let them suffer the consequences or else he will have to spell it out in greater detail. Usually, I fear, the more he has to spell it out, the smaller is our reward.
Often, because of circumstances, the Lord, through revelation to his prophets or through inspired programs designed by faithful members which later become adopted on a Church-wide basis, will give to all the membership a righteous means to help accomplish the objective; for instance, any member of the Church a century ago who studied Church doctrine would have known that he had the prime responsibility to see that his children had spiritualized family recreation and were taught in the home lessons in character building and gospel principles. But some did not do it.
Then, in 1915 President Joseph F. Smith introduced, Church-wide, "the weekly home evening program" with promised blessings to all who faithfully adopted it. Many refused and lost the promised blessings. (At the October Conference, 1947, I referred to that promise in a talk on the family home evening.) Today we have the home evening manual and other helps. Yet some still refuse to bring up their children in righteousness.
But there are some today who complain that the home evening manual should have been issued years ago. If this is true, then the Lord will hold his servants accountable; but no one can say that from the inception of the Church up to the present day the Lord through his Spirit to the individual members and through his spokesmen, the prophets, has not given us the objectives and plenty of guidelines and counsel. The fact that some of us have not done much about it even when it is spelled out in detail is not the Lord's fault.
For years we have been counseled to have on hand a year's supply of food. Yet there are some today who will not start storing until the Church comes out with a detailed monthly home storage program. Now suppose that never happens. We still cannot say we have not been told.
Should the Lord decide at this time to cleanse the Church -and the need for that cleansing seems to be increasing - a famine in this land of one year's duration could wipe out a large percentage of slothful members, including some ward and stake officers. Yet we cannot say we have not been warned.
Another warning: You and I sustain one man on this earth as God's mouthpiece - President David O. McKay one of the greatest seers who has ever walked this earth. We do not need a prophet - we have one -what we desperately need is a listening ear.
Should it be of concern to us when the mouthpiece of the Lord keeps constantly and consistently raising his voice of warning about the loss of our freedom as he has over the years? There are two unrighteous ways to deal with his prophetic words of warning: you can fight them or you can ignore them. Either course will bring you disaster in the long run.
Hear his words:
"No greater immediate responsibility rests upon members of the Church, upon all citizens of this Republic and of neighboring Republics than to protect the freedom vouchsafed by the Constitution of the United States." (P.P.N.S., p. 157)
As important as are all other principles of the gospel, it was the freedom issue which determined whether you received a body. To have been on the wrong side of the freedom issue during the war in heaven meant eternal damnation. How then can Latter-day Saints expect to be on the wrong side in this life and escape the eternal consequences? The war in heaven is raging on earth today. The issues are the same: Shall men be compelled to do what others claim is for their best welfare or will they heed the counsel of the prophet and preserve their freedom?
Satan argued that men given their freedom would not choose correctly; therefore he would compel them to do right and save us all. Today Satan argues that men given their freedom do not choose wisely; therefore a so-called brilliant, benevolent few must establish the welfare government and force us into a greater socialistic society. We are assured of being led into the promised land as long as we let them put a golden ring in our nose. In the end we lose our freedom and the promised land also. No matter what you call it - communism, socialism, or the welfare state - our freedom is sacrificed. We believe the gospel is the greatest thing in the world; why then do we not force people to join the Church if they are not smart enough to see it on their own? Because this is Satan's way, not the Lord's plan. The Lord uses persuasion and love.
Hear again the words of God's mouthpiece:
Today two mighty forces are battling for the supremacy of the world. The destiny of mankind is in the balance. It is a question of God and liberty, or atheism and slavery . . .
Those forces are known and have been designated by different terms throughout the ages. "In the beginning" they were known as Satan on the one hand, and Christ on the other.
In Joshua's time they were called "gods of the Amorites," on one, and "the Lord" on the other. . . . In these days, they are called "domination by the state," on one hand, "personal liberty," on the other hand; communism on one, free agency on the other. (P.P.N.S., pp. 215-216)
Now the Lord knew that before the gospel could flourish there must first be an atmosphere of freedom. This is why he first established the Constitution of this land through gentiles whom he raised up before he restored the gospel. In how many communist countries today are we doing missionary work, building chapels, etc.? And yet practically every one of those countries have been pushed into communism and kept under communism with the great assistance of evil forces which have and are operating within our own country and neighboring lands. Yes, were it not for the tragic policies of governments - including our own - tens of millions of people murdered and hundreds of millions enslaved since World War II would be alive and free today to receive the restored gospel.
President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., put it clearly and courageously when he said:
Reduced to its lowest terms, the great struggle which now rocks the whole earth more and more takes on the character of a struggle of the individual versus the state. . . .
This gigantic world-wide struggle, more and more takes on the form of a war to the death. We shall do well and wisely so to face and so to enter it. And we must all take part. Indeed, we all are taking part in that struggle, whether we will or not. Upon its final issue, liberty lives or dies. . . . The plain and simple issue now facing us in America is freedom or slavery. . . . We have largely lost the conflict so far waged. But there is time to win the final victory, if we sense our danger, and fight. (P.P.N.S., pp. 318, 327-328)
Now where do we stand in this struggle, and what are we doing about it?
The devil knows that if the elders of Israel should ever wake up, they could step forth and help preserve freedom and extend the gospel. Therefore the devil has concentrated, and to a large extent successfully, in neutralizing much of the priesthood. He has reduced them to sleeping giants. His arguments are clever. Here are a few samples:
First: "We really haven't received much instruction about freedom,'' the devil says. This is a lie, for we have been warned time and time again. No prophet of the Lord has ever issued more solemn warning than President David O. McKay. Last conference I spoke of a book embodying much of the prophets, warnings on freedom, from Joseph Smith to David O. McKay, which I commend to you. It is entitled Prophets, Principles, and National Survival.
Second: "You're too involved in other Church work," says the devil. But freedom is a weighty matter of the law; the lesser principles of the gospel you should keep but not leave this one undone. We may have to balance and manage our time better. Your other Church work will be limited once you lose your freedom, as our saints have found out in Czechoslovakia, Poland, and many other nations.
Third: "You want to be loved by everyone," says the devil, "and this freedom battle is so controversial you might be accused of engaging in politics." Of course the government has penetrated so much of our lives that one can hardly speak for freedom without being accused of being political. Some might even call the war in heaven a political struggle -certainly it was controversial. Yet the valiant entered it wit Michael. Those who support only the popular principles of the gospel have their reward. And those who want to lead the quiet, retiring life but still expect to do their full duty can't have it both ways.
Said Elder John A. Widtsoe:
The troubles of the world may largely be laid at the door of those who are neither hot nor cold; who always follow the line of least resistance; whose timid hearts flutter at taking sides for truth. As in the great Council in the heaven, so in the Church of Christ on earth, there can be no neutrality. (P.P.N.S., p. 440)
Fourth: "Wait until it becomes popular to do," says the devil, "or, at least until everybody in the Church agrees on what should be done." But this fight for freedom might never become popular in our day. And if you wait until everybody agrees in this Church, you will be waiting through the second coming of the Lord. Would you have hesitated to follow the inspired counsel of the Prophet Joseph Smith simply because some weak men disagreed with him? God's living mouthpiece has spoken to us - are we for him or against him? In spite of the Prophet's opposition to increased federal aid and compulsory unionism, some Church members still champion these freedom-destroying programs. Where do you stand?
Fifth: "It might hurt your business or your family," says the devil, "and besides why not let the gentiles save the country? They aren't as busy as you are." Well, there were many businessmen who went along with Hitler because it supposedly helped their business. They lost everything. Many of us are here today because our forefathers loved truth enough that they fought at Valley Forge or crossed the plains in spite of the price it cost them or their families. We had better take our small pain now than our greater loss later. There were souls who wished afterwards that they had stood and fought with Washington and the founding fathers, but they waited too long - they passed up eternal glory. There has never been a greater time than now to stand up against entrenched evil. And while the gentiles established the Constitution, we have a divine mandate to preserve it. But unfortunately, today in this freedom struggle many gentiles are showing greater wisdom in their generation than the children of light.
Sixth: "Don't worry," says the devil, "the Lord will protect you, and besides, the world is so corrupt and heading toward destruction at such a pace that you can't stop it, so why try." Well, to begin with, the Lord will not protect us unless we do our part. This devilish tactic of persuading people not to get concerned because the Lord will protect them no matter what they do is exposed by the Book of Mormon. Referring to the devil, it says, "And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, and they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well - and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell." (2 Nephi 28:21)
I like that word "carefully." In other words, don't shake them, you might awake them. But the Book of Mormon warns us that when we should see these murderous conspiracies in our midst that we should awake to our awful situation. Now why should we awake if the Lord is going to take care of us anyway? Now let us suppose that it is too late to save freedom. It is still accounted unto us for righteousness' sake to stand up and fight. Some Book of Mormon prophets knew of the final', desolate end of their nations, but they still fought on, and they saved some souls including their own by so doing. For, after all, the purpose of life is to prove ourselves and the final victory will be for freedom.
But many of the prophecies referring to America's preservation are conditional. That is, if we do our duty we can be preserved, and if not, then we shall be destroyed. This means that a good deal of the responsibility lies with the Priesthood of this Church as to what happens to America and as to how much tragedy can be avoided if we do act now.
Seven: And now as the last neutralizer that the devil uses most effectively - it is simply this: "Don't do anything in the fight for freedom until the Church sets up its own specific program to save the Constitution." This brings us right back to the scripture I opened with today - to those slothful servants who will not do anything until they are "compelled in all things." Maybe the Lord will never set up a specific Church program for the purpose of saving the Constitution. Perhaps if he set up one at this time it might split the Church asunder, and perhaps he does not want that to happen yet, for not all the wheat and tares are fully ripe.
(Eight: "Communism is dead" says the devil"---Editor)
The Prophet Joseph Smith declared it will be the elders of Israel who will step forward to help save the Constitution, not the Church. And have we elders been warned? Yes, we have. And besides, if the Church should ever inaugurate a program, who do you think would be in the forefront to get it moving? It would not be those who were sitting on the sidelines prior to that time or those who were appeasing the enemy. It would be those choice spirits who, not waiting to be "commanded in all things," used their own free will, the counsel of the prophets, and the Spirit of the Lord as guidelines and who entered the battle "in a good cause" and brought to pass much righteousness in freedom's cause.
Years ago Elder Joseph F. Merrill of the Council of the Twelve encouraged the members of the Church to join right-to-work leagues and President Heber J. Grant concurred. For our day President David O. McKay has called communism the greatest threat to the Church, and it is certainly the greatest mortal threat this country has ever faced. What are you doing to fight it?
Brethren, if we had done our homework and were faithful, we could step forward at this time and help save this country. The fact that most of us are unprepared to do it is an indictment we will have to bear. The longer we wait, the heavier the chains, the deeper the blood, the more the persecution, and the less we can carry out our God-given mandate and world-wide mission. The war in heaven is raging on earth today. Are you being neutralized in the battle?
Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness; For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. . . . (D&C 58:27-28)*******
Ezra Taft Benson and MLK
Posted by Jason Brown on January 19, 2009
It is a strange legacy that we inherit from a Church leader who denounced the Civil Rights Movement. Can somebody please post some quotes to cheer me up?
“LOGAN, UTAH-Former Agriculture Secretary Ezra Taft Benson charged Friday night that the civil-rights movement in the South had been ‘formatted almost entirely by the Communists.’ Elder Benson, a member of the Council of the Twelve of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said in a public meeting here that the whole civil-rights movement was ‘phony.’” (Deseret News, Dec. 14, 1963)
“The Communist program for revolution in America has been in progress for many years and is far advanced. While it can be thwarted in a fairly short period of time merely by sufficient exposure, the evil effects of what has already been accomplished cannot be removed overnight. The animosities, the hatred, the extension of government control into our daily lives–all this will take time to repair. The already-inflicted wounds will be slow to heal. First of all, we must not place blame on the Negroes. They are merely the unfortunate group that has been selected by professional Communist agitators to be used as the primary source of cannon fodder. Not one in a thousand Americans–black or white–really understands the full implications of today’s civil-rights agitation. The planning, direction, and leadership come from the Communists, and most of those are white men who fully intend to destroy America by spilling Negro blood, rather than their own.
Next, we must not participate in any so-called ‘blacklash’ activity which might tend to further intensify inter-racial friction. Anti-Negro vigilante action, or mob action, of any kind fits perfectly into the Communist plan. This is one of the best ways to force the decent Negro into cooperating with militant Negro groups. The Communists are just as anxious to spearhead such anti-Negro actions as they are to organize demonstrations that are calculated to irritate white people.
We must insist that duly authorized legislative investigating committess launch an even more exhaustive study and expose the degree to which secret Communists have penetrated into the civil rights movement. The same needs to be done with militant anti-Negro groups. This is an effective way for the American people of both races to find out who are the false leaders among them” (Ezra Taft Benson, General Conference Report, Oct. 1967).*******