A Latter-day Saint View of Patriotism

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Knowing what I know about the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Days Saints, I believe that Latter Days Saints, especially those in the United States of America, should be the most patriotic people around.

We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law. Article of Faith 12

The Articles of Faith of the LDS church were written by Joseph Smith, Jr. as part of what is known as the Wentworth letter. He had been asked to briefly describe what  Latter-Day Saints believe. Allegiance to government and responsible citizenship made the list.

 

1 Nephi 13:12-19

The short story of the passage is that a prophet, early in the Book of Mormon (about 500-600 before the birth of Christ), is being shown the future of his people. The verses highlighted above talk about a man who is moved upon by the Holy Spirit to cross the great waters and find the land of the prophet’s people. The Lord would protect and establish the gentiles that would follow as a nation.

In other words, I believe (and I think many other LDS members do, too) that Heavenly Father planned the founding of the United States of America to be  a land of liberty — especially for the right of religious expression. He knew from the beginning that His pure gospel would be lost, and had a plan for returning it to the earth. The United States was part of that plan.

(As an aside, I know that verse 15 refers to the gentiles as being white and fair. I don’t know that I have ever read that as being about skin color. In other places in the scriptures, the references is to garments being made white in the blood of the Lamb. I have always taken it to mean they were follow the laws of the gospel as fully as their knowledge allowed. This would certainly apply to the pilgrims.)

 

Doctrine and Covenants 101:76-80

In short, this section of LDS scriptures states that the Lord established the Constitution of the United States of America to protect our freedom to use the agency (power to act for ourselves). Of course, the consequence of that is that we will stand before Him to be judged according to our own actions and desires — there will be no one else to blame.

 

Concluding Thoughts

To me, knowing that my Heavenly Father had a plan in establishing this country is very comforting. It is further evidence that He knows the end from the beginning. I don’t use that as an excuse for the blotches on this country’s record — imperfect people mess things up, sometime royally. Those events in history that have not been properly redressed should be in a responsible manner.

On a personal level, my beliefs mean that I take the right and responsibility of voting very seriously. I also take the privilege of being able to speak openly about my political and religious views seriously, and recognize the responsibility that providing my words and thoughts to other entails.

I believe that there is as much of a need for patriots today as there was when the United States was being born, and I do my best to be one of them.