By Jason A. Kofoed
05 January 2014
From time to time I come across things in my daily study of the scriptures that I feel impressed to share here. This morning was one of those days.
When possible I spend part of my time in the scriptures and part of my time reviewing old LDS General Conference talks. One of the talks I read this morning was from October 1942 and was given by President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., who was serving as a counselor in the First Presidency at the time. As I learn more about these men who served in the earlier days of LDS Church history, I find that there were many who had a great love and passion for (as well as great testimonies of) the U.S. Constitution and were not afraid to stand before mighty congregations to testify of it. J. Reuben Clark was one of those great men.
As I read the following quotation from this talk given in October 1942 I had solidified within myself my strong belief and determination that I should always stand for what I believe is right regardless of what those around me are doing. This is my guideline in all aspects of my life, but in this particular context Brother Clark was talking about things political in nature. For me, nothing changes and I have gotten in some pretty heated exchanges with others who would disagree and seem to think that "politics" are an exception; "A vote for a third-party candidate is a vote for the other party", which usually translates to giving a vote to the Democratic (Donkey) candidate in the circle of acquaintances I normally find myself in. What they can't seem to understand is that regardless of how corrupt the voting process has become (a topic all of its own and which I will not even get into here) my "vote" is being recorded in the Heavens and I will stand accountable for it. I would much rather have to give an accounting as follows: "I feel I voted for the best person for that position", rather than trying to explain my logic and reasoning in voting for the "lesser of the two evils" or, worse yet, casting my vote because I was afraid that if I didn't, the other guy would win as a result. When you stop and think about that, it's a pretty pathetic plight. When you live according to principle and strive to be a man or woman of integrity you learn that it doesn't matter what the results are of an election. Rather, what matters is that you have voted according to your conscience regardless of who wins. When you couple this with the fact that our election processes are super-saturated with fraud, lies and deceit it really makes one who votes out fear look even more foolish. What have you gained if you've lost your integrity? It is this very thought process that has enabled the perpetuation of gross corruption in our political systems.
This is what President Clark had to say on the issue and even touches on what he believed when it comes to "tamper[ing] with the Constitution", which could very well include dangers of making changes via Constitutional Convention or "Con-Con" (and if you're not LDS, please understand that we take the counsel of our leaders past and present very seriously and believe them to be inspired of the Lord. Though much of what they say can be opinion, we still weigh their words carefully and seek for guidance from the Holy Spirit to help us to discern divine truths):
"I wish you to understand that when we begin to tamper with the Constitution we begin to tamper with the law of Zion which God Himself set up, and no one may trifle with the word of God with impunity."
"Now, I am not caring today, for myself, anything at all about a political party tag. So far as I am concerned, I want to know what the man stands for. I want to know if he believes in the Constitution; if he believes in its free institutions; if he believes in its liberties, its freedom. I want to know if he believes in the Bill of Rights. I want to know if he believes in the separation of sovereign power into the three great divisions: the Legislative, the Judicial, the Executive. I want to know if he believes in the mutual independence of these, the one from the other. When I find out these things, then I know who it is who should receive my support, and I care not what his party tag is, because, brethren, if we are to live as a Church, and progress, and have the right to worship as we are worshipping here today, we must have the great guarantees that are set up by our Constitution. There is no other way in which we can secure these guarantees. You may look at the systems all over the world where the principles of our Constitution are not controlling and in force, and you will find there dictatorship, tyranny, oppression, and, in the last analysts, slavery."
The whole talk can be found HERE.
Bearing in mind that this talk was given in 1942, one can gain a sense of the confidence that was still being held in the election processes back then. Now a days, not so much, but the principle is the same. Those who skew and corrupt elections whether they be local, state or on a federal level will be accountable for their own sins. Our duty is to do all we can to drive out the corruption to the best of our abilities and vote for those we feel are best for the positions. To me, it is as simple as that. The Constitution was inspired by God Himself, as was the Bill of Rights, and for anyone to think that any sort of future amendments (other than repealing all amendments from the Eleventh on) will force current anti-constitutionalists to suddenly support and uphold a "new and improved" constitution is deceiving themselves. What we have is sufficient and our efforts must be in preserving what we have, not changing it.