I should like to say a few words about America. I know that there are many here who come from other lands. I think I have been in all of the lands from which you come. I appreciate your people, their innate goodness, their art, their industry, their strength. I have marveled at the beauty of the earth, the wonder and magnificence of God’s creations, as I have seen them in every part of the world. No land is without its beauty, no people without their virtues, and I hope that you who come from elsewhere will pardon my saying a few words concerning my own native land, America. I know that she has problems. We have heard so much of them for so long. But surely this is a good land, a choice land, a chosen land. To me it is a miracle, a creation of the Almighty. It was born of travail. The Constitution under which we live is the keystone of our nation. It was inspired of God.
We have recently celebrated the bicentennial of the signing of the United States Constitution. That commemoration marked the beginning of a series of bicentennial anniversaries 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 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… and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles”. 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”
Founded on the truth of Christian principles, this nation has become the world’s greatest power. Whence have come our blessings of influence and success, and what assurance do we have that these blessings may be continued? Have they not come as a result of a humble and devout recognition of the overruling power of Almighty God in the establishment of this nation, and the willingness of the founding fathers to conform their actions to divine law? Our earliest American fathers came here with a common objective–freedom of worship and liberty of conscience. . . all came seeking God and the enjoyment of God-given, self-evident rights based on eternal principles. Familiar with the sacred scriptures, they believed that liberty is a gift of heaven. To them, man as a child of God, emphasized the sacredness of the individual and the interest of a kind Providence in the affairs of men and nations. They acknowledged their dependence upon God as they exhibited their humble faith in, and devotion to, Christian principles.
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”. 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”. 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”. 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.