Quotes on Freedom (Defending)
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.
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. — President Ezra Taft Benson, ” A Witness and a Warning” Ensign, November 1979, p. 31
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.
My brethren, we CAN do the job that must be done. We can, as a Priesthood, provide the balance of power to preserve our freedom and save this nation from bondage.
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. We are not just ordinary men. We bear the priesthood and authority of God. We understand the world and God’s divine purpose as no other men. — President Ezra Taft Benson, “Our Immediate Responsibility,” BYU, October 25, 1966
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. — President David O. McKay, Conference Report, April 1966, p. 109
I repeat that 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. — President David O. McKay, Conference Report, 1950, p. 37
Timely references and appropriate warnings have been given during this Conference on the danger and evils of war. There is another danger even more menacing than the threat of invasion of a foreign foe. It is the unpatriotic activities and underhanded scheming of disloyal groups and organizations within our own borders. This country is so situated geographically that there need be little fear of invasion by an outside enemy. Furthermore, the government knowing who and where the enemy is can make ample preparation to meet his attacks. But the secret, seditious scheming of an enemy within our own ranks, hypocritically professing loyalty to the government, and at the same time plotting against it, is more difficult to deal with. — President David O. McKay, Conference Report, October 1939, pp. 102-03
Unwise legislation, too often prompted by political expediency, is periodically being enacted that seductively undermines man’s right of free agency, robs him of his rightful liberties, and makes him but a cog in the crushing wheel of a regimentation which, if persisted in, will end in dictatorship. — President David O. McKay, Conference Report, April 1950
Let every loyal member of the Church look down with scorn upon any man or woman who would undermine [the] Constitution. — President David O. McKay, Church News, May 29, 1954
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. — President David O. McKay, Conference Report, October 1939
Satan is making war against . . . the very foundations upon which society, government, and religion rest . . . He plans to destroy freedom – economic, political, and religious, and to set up in place thereof the greatest, most widespread, and most complete tyranny that has ever oppressed men. He is working under such perfect disguise that many do not recognize either him or his methods. There is no crime he would not commit, no debauchery he would not set up, no plague he would not send, no heart he would not break, no life he would not take, no soul he would not destroy. He comes as a thief in the night; he is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Without their knowing it, the people are being urged down paths that lead only to destruction. . . . — President David O. McKay, Conference Report, October 1942, p. 13
“Every collectivist from Karl Marx to [the present leader] has agreed that faith in God must be destroyed before socialism can take over.
“Therefore, it was obvious that the problem of sabotaging America’s faith in America was the problem of transferring the people’s faith in God to faith in the State.
“That thing called morality in politics, business, and private contracts, had to be broken down.
“To an increasing extent the people have come to look upon morality as an old-fashioned superstition.
“Religion has for many church members become a safe way of dying rather than a good way of living.” (From “The Code of the People Is Replacing the Code of God,” by Fred G. Clark, Chairman of the American Economic Foundation, New York City, about 1942.)
. . . success of Communism depends largely upon the substitution of belief in God by belief in the supremacy of the state.— Quoted by President David O. McKay in General Conference, Oct. 1966; “A Divine Plan for Finding Security and Peace of Mind,” Improvement Era, December 1966, pp. 1092, 93
Preach that the responsibility of declaring this plan of life, this way of life, this plan of salvation, rests upon the entire membership of the Church, but most particularly upon those who have been ordained to the priesthood and who have been called as leaders and servants of the people.
These eternal verities are as applicable in the year 1966 as they were when Jesus first promulgated them, and they will remain fundamental and essential in man’s progress and happiness as long as life and being last.
. . . Our Heavenly Father is a kind and loving Heavenly Father who is as ready and eager today as ever to bless and to guide all his children who will sincerely seek him, and I bear you witness of that truth. — President David O. McKay in General Conference, Oct. 1966; “A Divine Plan for Finding Security and Peace of Mind,” Improvement Era, December 1966, p. 1093-94
The Prophet 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: “Wherefore, O ye Gentiles, it is wisdom in God that these things should be shown unto you, that thereby ye may repent of your sins, and suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you, which are built up to get power and gain – and the work, yea, even the work of destruction come upon you,
“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; . . .
“For it cometh to pass that whoso buildeth it up seeketh to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations and countries; and it bringeth to pass the destruction of all people, for it is built up by the devil, who is the father of all lies; . . .” (Ibid., 8:23-25. Italics added.)
The Prophet 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. — President Ezra Taft Benson, “Secret Combinations,” Conference Report, October 1961
“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.” — President Ezra Taft Benson, “Stand Up For Freedom,” Assembly Hall at Temple Square, Feb 11, 1966. Given to The Utah Forum for the American Idea
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 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. — President Marion G. Romney, First Presidency Message in the September 1979 Ensign, p. 5
No true Latter-day Saint can be a Communist or a Socialist because Communist principles run counter to the revealed word of God and to the Constitution of this land which was established by men whom the God of Heaven raised up unto that very purpose [D&C 101:80]. — Ezra Taft Benson “A Four-Fold Hope,” 11
“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.” — President McKay, General Conference, April 9, 1966 – The Improvement Era, June 1966
“The threats to religious freedom are among the things that concern us at this present time,” Elder Christofferson said. Noting that the Church has enjoyed a season, at least in North America, of acceptance of religious expression and activity, such acceptance is beginning to recede, he said.
“We see it, around the world,” Elder Christofferson said. “We’re a worldwide church; we’re not concerned only with what the situation might be in the United States, but of course in every country. But even here, there’s a diminished stature for the First Amendment, for the freedom of religion.”
Since the 1970s or so, the exalted status given to freedom of religion has been eroded by court decisions, said Elder Christofferson, whose professional background is in the law. “It used to have a very highly protected status in the law in this country; it no longer does,” he said, explaining that freedom of religion now must compete with lesser rights, such as employment anti-discrimination rules.
“We see it elsewhere,” he said. “We narrowly avoided in the United Kingdom just last year legislation that would have made it illegal to discriminate on religious standards for any kind of employment, including in our temples. We could not have made the temple recommend a prerequisite for someone to work in the temple, if you can imagine.”
In U.S. government some are beginning to use the phrase “freedom of worship” instead of “freedom of religion,” Elder Christofferson said.
“Freedom of worship is a much smaller concept,” he explained, saying it pertains to religious rites and ceremonies. “Religious freedom is so much broader than that. As you know this freedom is not simply worship, but the practice of religion in all of its aspects: to organize, to meet, to proselytize, the freedom of people to change their religion if they choose, all of those rights are increasingly under attack.
“And just the ability to speak, to have a part in the national debate on issues is under tremendous pressure by movements from groups who say any religiously based opinion or position is not legitimate, cannot be heard, cannot be received or considered in the public square.”
Nevertheless, Latter-day Saints ought to live with faith rather than fear, Elder Christofferson said, quoting the words of Brigham Young.
“The Lord has sent us to be strong, to honor Him, to do His work and to call upon Him,” he said. “And I guess if there’s any one thing that I have learned in these last three years serving in the Quorum of the Twelve, it is that He indeed does His work.”
It is a privilege, Elder Christofferson said, to be allowed by the Lord to assist in that work. In doing so, “our faith can be unbounded, and we really don’t need to fear,” he said. — “National Symposium, Sons of Utah Pioneers,” Church News, May 14, 2011, p. 4
What is the official position of the Church on communism? In 1936 the First Presidency made an official declaration on communism which has never been abrogated.
I was able to find the full text of this declaration and I want to quote just a small portion of it. “. . . Communism is not a political party nor a political plan under the Constitution; it is a system of government that is the opposite of our Constitutional government, and it would be necessary to destroy our government before Communism could be set up in the United States.
To our Church members we say: Communism is not the United Order, and bears only the most superficial resemblance thereto; Communism is based upon intolerance and force, the United Order upon love and freedom of conscience and action; Communism involves forceful despoliation and confiscation, the United Order voluntary consecration and sacrifice.
Communism being thus hostile to loyal American citizenship and incompatible with true Church membership, of necessity no loyal American citizen and no faithful Church member can be a Communist.
We call upon all Church members completely to eschew 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.” — President Benson quoting President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., Deseret News, July 3, 1936, pp. 1-2; Improvement Era, August 1936
Freedom of choice is an eternal principle that we have been taught to protect and nurture. But alone it is insufficient. Freedom can be a curse unless it is coupled with responsibility. — Dr. James O. Mason, BYU Today, “Health in the 90s, A New View,” September 1991
Those men who laid the foundation of this American government and signed the Declaration of Independence were the best spirits the God of heaven could find on the face of the earth. They were choice spirits . . . noble spirits before God. — President Wilford Woodruff, Conference Report, April 1898, p. 89
Among the immediate obligations and duties resting upon members of the Church today, and one of the most urgent and pressing for attention and action of all liberty-loving people, is the preservation of individual liberty. Freedom of choice is more to be treasured than any possession earth can give. — President David O. McKay, Conference Report, April 1950, p. 32
I say God speed everybody that is for freedom and equal rights! I am with you. Whom do we want to fill our public offices? We want the best men that we can find for governor, president and statesmen, and for every other office of trust and responsibility; and when we have obtained them, we will pray for them and give them our faith and influence to do the will of God and to preserve themselves and the people in truth and righteousness. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 13:274