The Doctrine of an Inspired Constitution Identifies the True Constitution
Which of the two Constitutions should Latter-day Saints uphold?
Do Latter-day Saints have any special help in determining whether the Framers' Constitution or the Supreme Court's Constitution is the true Constitution? They certainly have an unusual amount of authoritative information on the "Constitution." Is there anything in that information to show which is the real Constitution and which is the imposter?
The Doctrine and Covenants (D&C) speaks powerfully on the Constitution.
In D&C 101:80 the Lord says, "I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose."
The Kirtland Temple dedicatory prayer, which Joseph Smith said was given by revelation, includes a petition that the principles of "the Constitution of our land . . . be established forever." (Doctrine and Covenants 109:54)
In D&C 98:4-7 Latter-day Saints are admonished to befriend "that law which is the constitutional law of the land," and are warned in verse 7 that "whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil."
Latter-day Saints cannot comply with that admonition and warning without knowing what is the constitutional law of the land. Otherwise they may mistakenly labor diligently to destroy the Constitution under the false belief that they are doing the Lord's will.
Is the true Constitution the Constitution of the Supreme Court? Most judges and law professors would insist that it is.
Or is it the Constitution that was written by the Framers and ratified by the people some 200 years ago? Most recognized authorities regard people who believe that as shallow thinkers out of step with the times.
Basic gospel doctrine confirms the identity of the true Constitution.
The doctrine of an inspired Constitution provides the key to identify the true Constitution. [p. 34]
A fundamental principle of the gospel is freedom of choice. If an individual's choice is compelled by another, it would be unjust to reward him for a good action or punish him for an evil action. This is because the particular individual was only the agency through which another's choice was carried out. In effect he was the axe rather than the woodsman who wielded it.
This great principle that freedom is necessary for justice to be just is the viewpoint the Lord used to describe his freedom objective in establishing the Constitution. These verses in Doctrine and Covenants Section 101 contain the Lord's explanation of why he established the Constitution:
78. That every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment.
79. Therefore, it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another.
Understanding the Lord's freedom objective in establishing the Constitution furnishes the key to identifying the true Constitution. The Constitution that key fits is the Framers' Constitution.
The Framers' Constitution is remarkably different from other systems of government. Instead of its primary focus being on how to most effectively govern the people, it focuses primarily on how to most effectively preserve the people's freedom. This will be discussed in the next chapter.
Basic gospel doctrine also helps identify the impostor Constitution
The doctrine of an inspired Constitution is also helpful in understanding the other Constitution of the United States.
The gospel and history both teach that when the Lord establishes something good, Lucifer seeks to match it with a deceptive counterfeit that also promises good but delivers evil.
One reason Lucifer's programs sell so well is because his promises are so enticing. In fact he seems to make a point of out promising the Lord.
The Lord promises a great society primarily in the future, so Lucifer promises a great here and now society in this world. The Lord promises great blessings to those who repent and succeed in their probation, so Lucifer promises great blessings and success to everybody. [p. 35]
Lucifer's promises are so tempting that many people accept them without looking for the hook. The hook of course is loss of freedom.
The loss of freedom price is paid in advance. Then with the power that price gives him Lucifer seeks (or pretends to seek) to deliver on his promises by the use of compulsion.
When people discover that Lucifer's promises can't be achieved by compulsion, they also experience the bitter lesson of how terribly hard it is to recover freedom once it has been relinquished.
The nature of Lucifer's earthly program is brightly illuminated by comparison with his premortal offer to save all mankind by compelling them to act righteously. (Moses 4:1-4) President McKay's explanation of Lucifer's plan is most instructive.
Even in man's pre-existent state, Satan sought power to compel the human family to do his will by suggesting that the free agency of man be inoperative. If his plan had been accepted, human beings would have become mere puppets in the hands of a dictator, and the purpose of man's coming to earth would have been frustrated. (Prophets, Principles and National Survival, by Jerreld L. Newquist, p. 136)
A fundamental characteristic of the Supreme Court's Constitution is remarkably similar. It is a common denominator of the various expansions of federal power. That common denominator is the constantly increasing use of the compulsory power of the government to compel people to make choices government officials consider to be right, whether the people want to make those choices or not. This has resulted in many personal decisions that previously were a matter of voluntary good will now being made crimes subject to punishment for their violation.
Thus while the promises under the Supreme Court's Constitution sound desirable, the compulsion principle for achieving them is incompatible with the purpose the Lord gave for establishing the Constitution.
Applying the key of an inspired Constitution intended to preserve freedom of choice to test the authenticity of the Supreme Court's Constitution confirms that it is not the true Constitution established by the Lord.
The fact that the compulsion principle underlying the Supreme Court's Constitution is similar to Lucifer's plan should not be surprising. Since he is the "god of this world" (2 Corinthians 4:4), it is to be expected that the philosophy of the world would be built upon his principles. [p. 36]
Advancement of the gospel.
The Book of Mormon provides another confirmation that the true Constitution is that of the Framers and not that of the Supreme Court.
The establishment of the United States Constitution was a part of the Lord's plan for the eternal salvation of his children. That plan involved the restoration of the gospel through a new dispensation in this land in the latter days.
Part of the preparation for that restoration was the establishment of a free political system to prevent use of the compulsory power of the state to destroy the Lord's newly restored church.
Christ himself, speaking to the Nephites in the meridian of time, prophesied that a free political system would be established in this land for that very purpose. Here is what he said concerning the future of the Gentiles in this 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 from them unto a remnant of your seed, that the covenant of the Father may be fulfilled which he hath covenanted with his people, O house of Israel. (3 Nephi 21:4)
Under the Framers' Constitution the federal government has no right to interfere with the free exercise of religion. But the Supreme Court's Constitution includes a twisted anti God misinterpretation of the First Amendment.
Some may argue that separation of church and state requires the federal courts to exercise that authority. But under the First Amendment the Congress is expressly prohibited from interfering with religious practices and the Supreme Court itself has held that in areas in which Congress has no authority, neither do the federal courts.
Under the Framers' Constitution church and state questions are local matters to be worked out by the people of each state in the political arena, not compulsory requirements to be imposed on them by the federal courts.
This leads to another way the doctrine of an inspired Constitution indicates whether the Supreme Court's Constitution or the Framers' Constitution is the true Constitution Latter-day Saints are to befriend.
Clearly it is important to the Lord's work not only that this country have been a free country so that his gospel could be restored here, but also that it continue as a free country to facilitate its use as the Lord's base of operations from which his work would spread [p. 37] throughout the world. That result is far more likely under the Framers' Constitution than under the Supreme Court's Constitution.
Argument that all law is based on compulsory righteousness.
Some may argue that it is unfair to characterize compulsory righteousness as satanic. They may contend that in reality all law is based on compulsory righteousness.
It is true that all law involves compulsory righteousness. But that argument is fallacious because it misses the distinguishing point.
While law in its proper domain in a freedom system does contain an element of compulsory righteousness, that is not its purpose. The proper purpose of law in a freedom system is the preservation of freedom by prohibiting those actions that deprive others of their freedom or otherwise undermine the freedom system.
In such a situation some compulsory righteousness is an incidental consequence of laws designed to accomplish the greater objective of preserving freedom.
In contrast, under the Supreme Court's Constitution, laws are adopted, not with the objective of preserving freedom but with the objective of compelling actions those who make the laws deem righteous. Typically such laws not only ignore the question of preserving freedom and focus instead on desirability of the compelled righteousness, but they actually undermine the freedom system.
Such laws undermine freedom in two ways. One way is by constantly diminishing the scope of decisions and actions people can choose without compulsion. The second way such laws diminish freedom is by legitimizing the anti freedom concept that it is proper to use the compulsory power of the government to compel people to act in ways those who make the laws deem righteous even when such laws diminish rather than preserve freedom.
Offense is the best defense.
Another important aspect of the doctrine of an inspired Constitution is in connection with preserving constitutional freedom.
Latter-day Saints are strongly admonished to preserve freedom by opposing secret combinations. In fact in Ether 8:23 and 24 readers are commanded to awake to a sense of their awful situation because of a dreadful secret combination that will be among them. They are told that if they don't prevent murderous secret combinations from getting above them, the sword of the justice of the Eternal God will fall upon them to their overthrow and destruction.
If Latter-day Saints and other freedom loving Americans only defend against anti freedom conspiratorial activities they are bound to lose. They would be like a football team [p. 38] relying totally on defense and never taking the offensive. No matter how good their defense is, they will lose ground occasionally. Without an offense to regain that ground and move the ball forward the only question is how soon they lose rather than whether they win or lose.
The doctrine of an inspired Constitution and the responsibility placed on Latter-day Saints to befriend it lifts the freedom team out of the negative status of having only a defense and no offense. It does this by giving them the positive goal they need to take the offensive to strive for.
That goal is to stop focusing mainly on defending against the continuing destruction of the Framers' Constitution and to start aggressively taking the offensive to move the country back toward the goal of restoration of the Framers' Constitution and the freedom and prosperity system that are a part of such restoration.
Applying the doctrine of an inspired Constitution gives Latter-day Saints confidence in their ability to understand and apply the Framers' Constitution.
There is a strange irony concerning who is qualified to interpret and apply the Constitution.
On the one hand the scholars of the world unabashedly regard themselves as the experts and the only ones really qualified to understand the Constitution. Yet they are uniquely unqualified to do so because their philosophical orientation is to the philosophy of the world.
Since the Constitution is oriented to the gospel and not to the philosophy of the world, the experts constantly misinterpret it and seek to transform it into something else. This results from their inability to understand it because the underlying assumptions of the philosophy of the world are contrary to the gospel principles that are the foundation of the Constitution.
On the other hand most Latter-day Saints seem to feel unqualified to understand and apply the Constitution. Yet they are the ones uniquely qualified to do so because of their understanding of gospel principles and their experience in applying them in everyday life.
Since the Constitution is based on gospel principles, it fits easily and comfortably into what Latter-day Saints already understand and are accustomed to applying. Instead of it being incomprehensible to them (as it is to the scholars of the world because it is based on a world view contrary to their belief system), the Constitution is familiar territory to faithful Latter-day Saints.
In fact, applying the doctrine of an inspired Constitution not only identifies which Constitution Latter-day Saints are to uphold, but also gives them the key to understand and apply the Framers' Constitution. This will be the subject of the next chapter. [p. 39]