God's Hand in Our Nation's History
Patriotism in Decline…
STORY OF HOW I FELT ON THE 4TH. WHY?
· Problems at the borders, with the VA, with IRS etc;
· We have lack of faith in our political leaders (all groups & parties)
· Secular view of history (emphasizing the imperfections of the founding father):
Ezra Taft Benson said:
The real story of America is one which shows the hand of God in our nation’s beginning. Why is it that this view of our history is almost lost in classrooms in America? Why is it that one must turn to the writers of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to find this view implied or stated? The answer may, perhaps, be found in Abraham Lincoln’s proclamation:
“We have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined in the deceitfulness of our hearts that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.” [“A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America,” 30 March 1863]
3 Things we must remember about the Founding of the Nation
1. God was included
At the Constitutional Convention Benjamin Franklin said:
“[I] believe that without [God’s] aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel… I therefore make the move that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of heaven and its blessings on our deliberations be held in this assembly every morning before we proceed to business and that one or more of the clergy in this city be requested to officiate in that service.
2. Our Founding Fathers were men of God
Former Apostle Mark E. Petersen Wrote:
“In many respects [Washington] was like Moroni, the noted general of the Book of Mormon who . . . hoisted his banner of liberty. Washington was the personification of honesty… He had the true vision of one united nation of separate states with an inspired Constitution to give strength to the whole but with liberty assured to the several units.” [The Great Prologue (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Company, 1975), pp. 90–91]
And let us not forget what President Wilford Woodruff said of the founders collectively, and of Washington specifically:
“I am going to bear my testimony to this assembly…those men who laid the foundation of this American government . . . were the best spirits the God of heaven could find on the face of the earth. These were choice spirits, not wicked men. General Washington and all of the men that labored for the purpose were inspired of the Lord . . . . Everyone of those men that signed the Declaration of Independence with General Washington called upon me as an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ in the temple at St. George two consecutive nights and demanded at my hands that I should go forth and attend to the ordinances of the House of God for them…Would these spirits have called on me, as an elder in Israel, to perform this work if they had not been noble spirits before God. They would not.” [Conference Report, April 1898, pp. 89, 90]
3. This Continent is The Promised Land.
Regarding The Promised Land Jeffrey R. Holland wrote:
“The most sacred of places, then, will always be those locations which God has designated for holy and eternal purposes, locations where he is the “doer of the deed.” These places are revered forever by his faithful children wherever they may be.” (So what are some of these “holy and eternal purposes”?)
Sacred events that have and will transpire in this land:
· This was the place where Adam dwelt.
· This was the place where the Garden of Eden was located.
· It was here that Adam met with a body of great high priests at Adam-ondi-Ahman shortly before his death and gave them his final blessing.
· This was the place of three former civilizations: Adam’s, the Jaredites, and the Nephites.
· The Lord has also decreed that this land should be “the place of the New Jerusalem. which should come down out of heaven, . . . the holy sanctuary of the Lord” (Ether 13:3).
· This was the place for the establishment of the Constitution by the hands of wise men who were raised up for this very purpose. (D&C 101:80).
· This was also the place where our Heavenly Father and his Son, Jesus Christ, appeared to Joseph Smith inaugurating this great and last dispensation.
In 1976 Elder Holland spoke of the divine nature of these events when he said:
It is good that the historical celebration of the United States bicentennial allows us to focus on a land in which God has done so much of his work…the meaning of America, in its most theological sense, is something more than borders and boundaries, something above nativism and nationalism. It is an ideal, a thing of the spirit. Benjamin Franklin told his colleagues, “Our cause is the cause of all mankind,” and Patrick Henry spoke much more than he knew when he said America had “lighted a candle to all the world.” (Henry Steele Commager, “The Revolution as World Ideal,” Saturday Review, Dec. 13, 1975, pp. 13–18, 110.)
So does all this help us feel more patriotic? Perhaps or perhaps not