Now you find yourself at an age when you are expected to make your contribution to the leadership of your nation. I challenge you as a citizen to be the best of whatever you are. We currently find ourselves in a situation where we have experienced a period of unprecedented prosperity. It has caused us to become soft and spoiled. We have again reached the point where we demand much more than we are willing to give and have become self-centered and worldly. We turn to things of man rather than to things of God. We know the ultimate outcome of such a course. We know the suffering, bloodshed, sorrow, and despair which will follow if this direction is not changed. Of course, the immediate question that comes to mind when we examine our current state of affairs is why must we be knocked to our knees before we start on the road to recovery. The answer is obvious—the cycle can be reversed at any point. All that is needed is inspired leadership to give direction. Where can we expect to find that leadership today? One cannot stand in the position which I occupy at this present moment without knowing the answer to this question. Look around you. Have you ever seen a more inspiring sight? Do you realize that the person sitting next to you has the potential to become one of the best-trained leaders the world has ever known?
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 made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” If the Constitution is to have continuance, this American nation, and especially the Latter-day Saints, must be virtuous. . . Two great American Christian civilizations—the Jaredites and the Nephites—were 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. . . Are we abiding by these principles and teaching them to others? Could we defend the Constitution? . . As Jefferson said, “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free … it expects what never was and never will be”. 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, 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”.