Chapter 6
America—A Choice Land

No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than those of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency . . . .

George Washington, First Inaugural Address

      Ancient Prophet Foresees Americas Founding.      And it came to pass that I looked and beheld many waters [Atlantic Ocean] and they divided the Gentiles [Europe] from the seed of my brethren [Indians]. And it came to pass that the angel said unto me: Behold the wrath of God is upon the seed of thy brethren.

      And I looked and beheld a man among the Gentiles [Columbus,] who was separated from the seed of my brethren by the many waters; and I beheld the Spirit of God, that it came down and wrought upon the man; and he went forth upon the many waters, even unto the seed of my brethren, who were in the promised land [America].

      And it came to pass that I beheld the Spirit of God, that it wrought upon other Gentiles [Puritans and Pilgrims]; and they went forth out of captivity, upon the many waters.

      And it came to pass that I beheld many multitudes of the Gentiles upon the land of promise; and I beheld the wrath of God, that it was upon the seed of my brethren; and they were scattered before the Gentiles and were smitten.

      And I beheld the Spirit of the Lord, that it was upon the Gentiles, and they did prosper and obtain the land for their inheritance; and I beheld that they were white, and exceeding fair and beautiful, like unto my people before they were slain.

      And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld that the Gentiles who had gone forth out of captivity did humble themselves before the Lord; and the power of the Lord was with them.

      And I beheld that their mother Gentiles [England] were gathered together upon the waters, and upon the land also, to battle against them.

      And I beheld that the power of God was with them, and also that the wrath of God was upon all those that were gathered together against them to battle [Revolutionary War]. [p. 58]

      And I, Nephi, beheld that the Gentiles that had gone out of captivity were delivered by the power of God out of the hands of all other nations.

      And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld that they did prosper in the land. (Prophet Nephi, Book of Mormon, I Nephi 13:10-20)

      A Christian Nation. Before the Revolution it was so in accordance with law; since the Revolution it has remained so in fact. We, the people of the United States, guarantee full religious freedom to all within our jurisdiction, whether they be non-Christian or Pagan. But the nation itself is a Christian nation. Our standards and principles are Christian. Other creeds we protect, that all may be free. These facts must never be lost sight of.

      For us of the Church this fact cannot be challenged, for the Lord has declared in modern revelation:

Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ, who hath been manifested by the things which we have written. (Ether 2:12)

      The penalty of disobedience to these principles has been declared to be that the people shall “be swept off when the fulness of his wrath should come upon them,” and that “The fulness of his wrath cometh upon them when they are ripened in iniquity.” (Ether 2:8, 9)

      These principles have been repeatedly declared.

      Thus we of America can stand for no cause which would dethrone Christianity here and put in its place any other creed, whether non-Christian or Pagan; nor can we as Christians support a cause designed to set up non-Christian or Pagan states elsewhere in the world. Our duty, divinely imposed, is clear on this. (J. Reuben Clark, CR-10/39:10)

      The Spirit of America.      The prophet Joseph told us that he saw the day when even the Constitution of the united States would be torn and hang as by a thread. But, thank the Lord, the thread did not break. He saw the day when this people would be a balance of power to come to its defense. The Book of Mormon prophecies concerning the future of America have been referred to . . . wherein it is stated that this nation, though it becomes a mighty nation, still it can stand in security here only as it serves the God of this land. That conception was in the hearts of the men who founded America. [p. 59]

      I was recently looking over some of the utterances of our fathers who established these glorious institutions. One of the great statesmen of our land, Webster, said:

If we abide by the principles taught in the Bible, our country will go on prospering and to prosper, but if we or our posterity neglect its instructions and authority, no man can tell how suddenly catastrophe may overwhelm us and bury all our glory in profound obscurity.

      Washington in his farewell address said:

Let it simply be asked, ‘Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of justice?’ And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion.—Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure—reason and experience both forbid us to expect, that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.—

      When Benjamin Franklin, eighty years of age, stood before the Congress of the United States, trying to produce an instrument on which they could frame the Constitution, and they being about to abandon that effort, he made this appeal which won these men to God and to the accomplishment of the great purpose of establishing our Constitution:

In the beginning of the contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayers in this room for divine protection. Our prayers, sir, were heard; and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in this struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending Providence in our favor. To that kind Providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful Friend? Or do we imagine that we no longer need His assistance? 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? We have been assured, sir, in sacred writings, that except the Lord build the house they labor in vain that build it I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel.

      This was the spirit of the men who established America. May God keep that spirit burning forever in the hearts of the [p. 60] men who continue to lead it . . . . They announced their faith when they blazoned upon our coin the motto, “In God we trust.” They breathed it into their songs when they said:

Our fathers’ God to thee,
      Author of liberty,
      To thee we sing—
      Long may our land be bright
      With Freedom’s holy light,
      Protect us by thy might,
      Great God, our King:

      Other nations might boast of their kings, but the King of America, proclaimed by the patriotic fathers who founded it and established it, is the great God of heaven. This must continue to be the sentiment of the people of America if these glorious institutions shall be preserved, and in our hands is the sacred keeping of these great and glorious principles.(1) (Melvin J. Ballard, CR-10/28:108-9)

      America’s Destiny.      We must come to the task of decision that now [1944] faces us, with the purest motives. Avarice, greed, selfish ambition, the thirst for power and place and dominion, must all be thrust from our hearts. We must come with the loftiest patriotism, with a single allegiance, undivided, unshared, undefiled, for the Constitution under which we live—so in effect runs the oath of office of each of you who grace the Bar of this commonwealth. Our hearts and hands must be clean of all foreign isms and alien political cults. The Constitution and its free institutions must be our ensign. For America has a destiny—a destiny to conquer the world,—not by force of arms, not by purchase and favor, for these conquests wash away, but by high purpose, by unselfish effort, by uplifting achievement, by a course of Christian living; a conquest that shall leave every nation free to move out to its own destiny; a conquest that shall bring, through the workings of our own example, the blessings of freedom and liberty to every people, without restraint or imposition or compulsion from us; a conquest that shall weld the whole earth together in one great brotherhood in a reign of mutual patience, forbearance, and charity, in a reign of peace [p. 61] to which we shall lead all others by the persuasion of our own righteous example. (J. Reuben Clark, 2/24/44)

      America—The Lord’s Base of Operations.      To us, this is not just another nation, not just a member of the family of nations. This is a great and glorious nation with a divine mission and a prophetic history and future. It has been brought into being under the inspiration of heaven.

      . . . God has kept this great nation, as it were, in the hollow of his hand in preparation for its great mission.

      Yes, the Lord planned it all. Why? So America could serve as a beacon of liberty and in preparation for the opening of a new gospel dispensation—the last and greatest of all dispensations in preparation for the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. To achieve his purposes the Lord had to have a base of operations.

      . . . The establishment of this great Christian nation, with a spiritual foundation, was all in preparation for the restoration of the gospel, following the long night of apostasy.

      This then becomes the Lord’s base of operations in these latter days. And this base will not be shifted out of its place, the land of America. This nation will, in a measure at least, fulfill its mission even though it may face serious and troublesome days. The degree to which it achieves it full mission depends upon the righteousness of its people. God has, through his power, established a free people in this land as a means of helping to carry forward his purposes.

      Yes, it is here under a free government and a strong nation that protection was provided for his restored Church. Now, God will not permit his base of operations—America—to be destroyed. He has promised protection to this land if we will but serve the God of the land. He has also promised protection to the righteous even, if necessary, to send fire from heaven to destroy their enemies. (Ether 2:12, 1 Nephi 22:17)

      No, God’s base of operations will not be destroyed. But it may be weakened and made less effective. One of the first rules of war strategy—and we are at war with the adversary and his agents—is to protect the base of operations. This we must do if we are to build up the kingdom throughout the world and safeguard our God-given freedom.

      How will we protect this base of operations:

      We must protect this base of operations from every threat—from sin, from unrighteousness, immorality, from desecration of the Sabbath day, from lawlessness, from parental and juvenile delinquency. [p. 62]

      We must protect it from dirty movies, filthy advertising, from salacious and suggestive TV programs, magazines, and books.

      We must protect this base from idleness, subsidies, doles, and soft governmental paternalism which weakens initiative, discourages industry, destroys character, and demoralizes people.

      We must protect this base from complacency—from the dangerous feeling that all is well—from being lulled away into a false security. We must protect this American base from the brainwashing, increasingly administered to our youth in many educational institutions across the land, by some misinformed instructors and some wolves in sheep’s clothing. Their false indoctrination, often perpetrated behind the front of so-called aca demic freedom, is leaving behind many faithless students, social-ist-oriented, who are easy subjects for state tyranny.

      “At what point, then, is the approach of danger to be expected?” Asked Abraham Lincoln, and answered, . . . “if it ever reaches us, it must spring up among us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher; as a nation of freeman, we must live through all time or die by suicide.” (Springfield, Ill., Jan. 27, 1837)

      The only threat to the liberty and independence of the American people from abroad is the threat of world communism spreading from its base in the Soviet Union. But the best authorities are confident that the Soviets will not provoke a major war. Their economy would not support it.

      Lenin said,

The soundest strategy in war is to postpone operations until the moral disintegration of the enemy renders the mortal blow possible and easy.

      Commenting on Lenin’s statement the Indianapolis Star adds:

Where then does the real danger lie? It lies with us—the American people . . . .

      To protect this base we must protect the soul of America—we must return to a love and respect for the basic spiritual concepts upon which this nation has been established. We must study the Constitution and the writings of the founding fathers.

      Yes, we must protect the Lord’s base of operations by moving away from unsound economic policies which encourage creeping socialism and its companion, insidious, atheistic communism. If we are to protect this important base, we must as a nation live within our means, balance our budgets, and pay our [p. 63] debts. We must establish sound monetary policies and take needed steps to compete in world markets.

      If we are to protect this American base, we must realize that all things, including information disseminated by our schools, churches, and government, should be judged according to the words of the prophets, especially the living prophet. This procedure coupled with the understanding which will come through the Spirit of the Lord, if we are living in compliance with the scriptures, is the only sure foundation and basis of judgment. Any other course of action leaves us muddled, despondent, wandering in shades of gray, easy targets for Satan. (Ezra Taft Benson, CR-4/62:103-6)

      America Needs a Return to Fundamentals.      Many thoughtful persons in these days are urging a return to the virtues and the way of life of former days. It is their contention that the worth-while things for which America stands are attributable in large measure to the concepts and stability of the founding fathers, and to the persistence of these concepts through the passing years.

      Some of these students and observers, and they are the ones who arrest my attention and most command my admiration, go so far as to assert, and I think with deep conviction, that it is not only necessary to return to the original principles and ways of work and living, but that we must also recapture the spirit, the faith, and the reverential devotion of our forebears if we are to sustain the drive that will make America achieve her high and glorious destiny. Some are far-seeing and penetrating enough to realize that the principles of liberty and equity and justice incorporated into the institutional make-up of our country were but the expression of the deep-seated personal convictions and concepts of God-ordained righteousness, purity of life and fair dealing which characterized many of the most influential and contributive groups in our history. There are some among these observers, but not all, who are frank enough to accord to religion a major part in the formulation and maintenance of the salutary principles which support American spirit and enterprise. Some plead for more religion, but many are vague as to the method by which our spiritual and moral values may be restored.

      I agree that a return to many fundamental principles and practices is essential. I am sure that it is an error to discard time-tested doctrines of procedure merely because they are old. I believe that the soundest growth and evolution come from building on solid and tested foundations. He is reckless who disregards the lessons of experience. [p. 64]

      The evidence is abundant to show that we have strayed far from many fundamental conceptions of right and good. (Stephen L Richards, CR-4/44:71)

      What’s Wrong With America?      This America is no ordinary country . . . . It was consecrated as a land of promise to the people of the Americas, to whom God gave these great promises:

It will be a land of liberty to its people. (2 Nephi 1:7)
      They shall never be brought down into captivity. (Idem.)
      And there shall be none to molest them. (Ibid., 1:9)
      It is a land of promise. (I Nephi 2:20)
      It shall be free from all nations under heaven.
      There shall be no enemies come into this land.
      It shall be free from bondage. (Ether 2:12)
      There shall be no kings upon the land. (2 Nephi 10:11)
      I will fortify this land against all other nations. (Ibid., 10:12)
      He that fighteth against Zion shall perish. (Ibid., 10:13)

      But these promises, glorious though they be, desirable as they are, can come only

. . . if they will but serve the God of this land who is Jesus Christ . . . (Ether 2:12)

      There is only one way. That infallible cure is simply righteousness, obedience, Godliness, honor and integrity. There is no other cure. Mountains of arms and ammunitions will not guarantee safety, for enemies can also build fortifications and mis siles and bomb shelters. If we would but believe the prophets! For they have warned that if the inhabitants of this land are ever brought down into captivity and enslaved, it shall be because of iniquity; for if iniquity shall abound cursed shall be the land. (See 2 Nephi 1:7)

      The prophet exclaims again with fervor:

And now we . . . behold the decrees of God concerning this land, that it is a land of promise: and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall serve God, or they shall be swept off when the fulness of his wrath cometh upon them when they are ripened in iniquity. (Ether 2:9) . . .

      Jesus Christ our Lord is under no obligation to save this world. The people have ignored him, disbelieved him, failed to follow him. They stand at his mercy which will be extended only if they repent. But to what extent have we repented? Another prophet said, “We call evil good, and good evil.” Men have rationalized themselves into thinking that they are “not so bad.” Are they fully ripe? Has the rot of age and flabbiness set in? Can they change? They see evil in their enemies, but none in [p. 65] themselves. Even in the true Church numerous of its people fail to attend their meetings, to tithe their incomes, to have their regular prayers, to keep all the commandments. We can transform but will we? It seems that we would rather tax ourselves into slavery than to pay our tithes; rather build protections and walls than drop to our knees with our families in solemn prayers night and morning.

      It seems that rather than fast and pray, we prefer to gorge ourselves at the banquet tables and drink cocktails. Instead of disciplining ourselves we yield to urges and carnal desires. Numerous billions we spend on liquor and tobacco. A Sabbath show or a game or a race replaces solemn worship. Numerous mothers prefer the added luxuries of two incomes to the satisfactions of seeing children grow up in the fear of God. Men golf and boat and hunt and fish rather than to solemnize the Sabbath. Old man rationalization is with us. Because we are not vicious enough to be confined in penitentiaries, we rationalize that we are pretty good people; that we are not doing so badly. The masses of the people are much like those who escaped destruction in the ancient days of this continent. The Lord said to them:

O all ye that are spared because ye were more righteous than they (the slain ones), will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you? (3 Nephi 9:13)

      The Great Wall of China with its 1,500 miles of unbreakable walls, with its twenty-five feet high impregnableness, with its innumerable watchman towers, was breached by the treachery of man.

      The Maginot Line in France, these forts thought to be so strong and impassable, were violated as though they were not there. Strength is not in concrete and reinforcing steel. Protection is not in walls nor mountains nor cliffs, yet foolish men still lean on “the arm of flesh.” . . .

      “Experience is a dear teacher but fools will learn by no other.” But we continue on in our godlessness. While the iron curtains rise and thicken, we eat, drink, and make merry. While armies are marshalled and march and drill and officers teach men how to kill, we continue to drink and carouse as usual. While bombs are detonated and tested, and fallout settles on the already sick world, we continue in idolatry and adultery. While corridors are threatened and concessions are made, we live riotously and divorce and marry in cycles like the seasons. While leaders quarrel, and editors write, and authorities analyze [p. 66] and prognosticate, we break the Sabbath as though no command had ever been given.

      While enemies filter into our nation to subvert us and intimidate us and soften us, we continue with our destructive thinking: “It can’t happen here.”

      Will we ever turn wholly to God? Fear envelopes the world which could be at ease and peace. In God is protection, safety, peace. He has said, “I will fight your battles.” But his commitment is on condition of our faithfulness . . . . God will fight our battles if we honor him and serve him with all our hearts, might, mind, and strength.

      This I know, for the Lord has so declared it through the age, and I know he lives and is all powerful.

      The cause is not lost. If race tracks were closed on the Sabbath, if gambling ceased, drinking eliminated, work and play confined to week days; if stores were closed and all people went to their sanctuaries truly to worship even as best they know; if taverns never opened, and transgressors all repented, and broken homes were mended, and children were trained in uprightness; if families all knelt in prayer night and morning, if tithes were paid and integrity and worship reigned in the lives of men, the era of total peace would be ushered in. Fear would vanish, and enemies would be subdued.

      “I will fight your battles,” says the Lord God Omnipotent. He never fails his promises.

      If we are of the masses who are casual, passive, irreligious, irreverent, unholy, immoral, ungodly, then we must “repent or suffer.”

      Of course, a one-sided disarmament could be madness if worldliness and materialism continued, but a serious turn of the masses could forestall all military conquests, all tragedies of conflict. God is all powerful. (Spencer W. Kimball, CR-10/61:30-34)

      Our Real Trouble.      Unfortunately, many who support the cause of the dignity of man in public do not support it in their private lives. That’s the real trouble with our nation. We are trying desperately to sell the peoples of the world our concepts of liberty, of equity, and justice in our way of life. We know these principles are right and conform to divine law, but we are using poor ways in teaching them to others. I saw it recently in South America. We try to tell in our broadcasts (expensive broadcasts, too; the people of this state could afford to pay something to keep some of them off the air)—we try to tell about the excellence of American life, our marvelous industries, [p. 67] our great agriculture, our beautiful homes, our education, and our free government. And while we are telling them these things, spending enormous sums to promote the good neighbor policy, our Hollywood picture shows are depicting on the screens in South America lurid scenes of marital infidelity, broken homes, licentiousness, gangsterism, revolting crime in all its forms, immodest, extravagance, and obscene jokes. For everyone who hears the expensive broadcast of the Department of State, there are a hundred or a thousand who see the pictures. And then, too, the press play up sensational stories of crime and degradation in North America, sometimes with premeditated design to prejudice their peoples against us. (Stephen L Richards, CN-5/30/48)

      Sabotage of American Code of God.      The deep concern of every loyal citizen regarding this threatened loss of our freedom has been well expressed by a Mr. Fred G. Clark, Chairman of the American Economic Foundation, wherein he expresses the fear that the code of the people is replacing the code of God. Here are his own words. I shall tell you when I end the quotation:

The American giant towers over the world in its physical strength, greater than that of all the rest of the nations put together.

But something is wrong with America.

At this high moment of history when the task of the world leadership has been thrust upon us, we stand confused, reluctant, hesitant, and ineffectual.

We are no longer certain what we stand for, and this, I believe, is because we have forgotten the circumstances surrounding the birth of our nation . . .

For decades it has been popular in America [or the cynical intellectuals to sneer and scoff at what we call the traditions of Americanism.(2)

The instruments of this sabotage were words and thoughts u plausible half- truths, sly appeals to that spark of larceny that lurks in every human heart, subtle suggestions of an atheistic nature, and the careful nurturing of a patronizing attitude toward everything America has held to be fine and sacred.

The people who planted these words and thoughts may have been either stupid or vicious, fools or foreign agents, smart-alecs, or smart organizers.

What they were does not now matter: The thing that does matter is to counteract what they have done.

Everybody in every position of leadership has to get into this act because the damage has affected every phase of our life. [p. 68]

The places in which this sabotage occurred were the schools, the churches, the communist-dominated labor halls, the lecture platforms,” the motion pictures, the stage, the pages of our newspapers and magazines, and the radio. Every means of communication has been utilized against us . . .

The man (or nation) who has a plan—a way of life u in which he believes, has mental security.

To destroy this security, one must destroy that man’s faith in his plan.

Reliance on a code of life which, if held in common with one’s fellow men, brings peace of mind, develops the abilities of the group . . .

The degree to which the American code of life has been weakened can best be demonstrated by simply calling attention to the degree to which the foundation of that code has been weakened.

Many people become self-conscious when discussing this foundation: I am not one of those people.

That foundation (and of this there cannot be the slightest shadow of a doubt) is made up of the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule.

Within this moral code, we have a complete way of life.

Acceptance of these precepts takes care of every phase of human life—spiritual, political, social, and economic . . .

America was a nation of people who had faith in their political and economic systems because they had faith in God and had built those systems around the teachings of God.

Every collectivist from Karl Marx to Stalin 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.

      I commend his entire speech, from which I have taken these extracts. (President David O. McKay, CR-4/52:14)

1.       “I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers, and it was not there; in her fertile fields and boundless prairies, and it was not there; in her rich mines and her vast world commerce, and it was not there. Not until I went to the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.” (Alexis de Tocque ville, 1835, Democracy in America)

2.       “Today, patriotism seems to be out of style. Those who express their love of country are often looked upon as paranoiac patriots or right-wing extremists . . . .
      “We can only pray that this undesirable trend which is evidenced among students in all too many of our colleges and universities can be reversed before it is too late.” (J. Edgar Hoover, Address, 11/24/64) [p. 69]

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