In the early 17th century, the pilgrims set sail for America. They were tired of being persecuted for their religion year after year, so finally they made the courageous decision to take the dangerous voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. The trip to the distant land of America was not going to be an easy voyage. Few people had ever made it. There was a large chance of death. But they knew that God would be with them on the voyage. They knew that if they made it, they would be able to worship Him freely. They knew that their children would be able to worship freely. And that was worth it to them.
Because of the pilgrims’ sacrifice and the almighty hand of God, the beginning of the foundation of America was laid. This foundation continued to grow through the signing of the inspired Constitution of the United States of America on September 17, 1787.
During the Constitutional Convention of 1787, at age 81, Benjamin Franklin gave a plea for prayer. Said he, “I have lived, sir, a long time; and the longer I live the more convincing proofs I see of this truth – that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?” He then offered his plea that the convention begin with prayer every morning.
There is no doubt that this great nation rose not only with His aid, but because of His aid. Truly this nation was built through God. We are so blessed to have a constitution that has preserved our liberty for so long. But merely living in America is not enough. We need to be active in defending our rights and freedoms – including our lives, liberty and property. We need to be active in preserving our constitution.
Since this nation was formed through the hand of the Almighty, surely the only way that it can be preserved is also through Him.
In Leviticus 26, the Lord tells the Israelites, “If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; …I will give peace in the land.” (Leviticus 26:3, 6 KJV) He also lists many other blessings that they will receive if they obey Him. He then tells them that if they do not keep his commandments, they will lose those blessings and face the wrath of God. Since God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, we know that this still applies to us today.
The founding fathers were fully aware of this principle. Benjamin Franklin noted that “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom.” (The Writings of Benjamin Franklin, 10:297) Likewise, Samuel Adams said, “Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt. He therefore is the truest friend of the liberty of his country who tries most to promote its virtue.” (William V. Wells, The Life and Public Service of Samuel Adams 1:22)
The world today is becoming increasingly wicked. People are twisting history to make it look ugly and racist. They are taking God out of our history, schools, and public gatherings. They are undermining the importance of strong families. They are trying to take away our freedoms, especially our religious freedom. They are trying to destroy our constitution and its true meaning, and the list goes on.
When we look at everything that is going on, we may ask ourselves, “How can I help?” President Ezra Taft Benson, 13th President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and former U.S. secretary of agriculture, gave four helpful steps. First and foremost, we must be righteous. Second, we must learn the principles of the Constitution in the tradition of the Founding Fathers. Third, we must become involved in civic affairs to see that we are properly represented. Fourth, we must make our influence felt by our vote, our letters, our teaching, and our advice. (Our Divine Constitution, Oct. 1987)
Now, more than ever, we need to turn to God and His teachings. We need to learn about our nation’s true history. We need to read, understand, and defend our constitution. As President Benson put it, “We must become accurately informed and then let others know how we feel.”
President Ronald Reagan said, “Freedom is never more than one generation from extinction.” Let’s make sure that this generation is not the one to let our freedom go. Our forefathers sacrificed for centuries so that we might be free. If we lose our freedom now, it will take centuries more of sacrifice to get it back. We truly are blessed to live in America, and we should not take this blessing lightly. We have a responsibility to our future generations. Just as our forefathers created an environment of liberty for us, we need to make sure that we do our best to create an environment of liberty for our future generations.
Now is the time to start. If you aren’t religious, start on step one. If you don’t know much about the constitution, start on step two. Wherever we may be on the trail of life, we can all help promote the cause of freedom and righteousness.
The choice is yours. Will you defend our nation and its divine constitution, or wander aimlessly through life just hoping that someone else will have the courage to defend your liberty?