Tuesday, March 15, 2011

We Believe: Citizenship

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

We believe that governments are a central part of our life here on earth.  In the Doctrine and Covenants we read, "We believe that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man; and that he holds men accountable for their acts in relation to them, both in making laws and administering them, for the good and safety of society (D&C 134:1)."  Governments are established to provide order and a system where justice and mercy can be established.  Citizens are protected from chaos and anarchy because of governments in place; as long as, the leaders are intent on helping people and that the laws of the land are obeyed.

We believe that laws are how peace and order are maintained; were it not so, anarchy and chaos would prevail.  The Lord declared that He caused the Constitution to be established here in the United States of America (see D&C 101: 77, 80).  The Lord on another occasion said, "Let no man break the laws of the land, for he that keepeth the laws of God hath no need to break the laws of the land. Wherefore, be subject to the powers that be, until he reigns whose right it is to reign, and subdues all enemies under his feet (D&C 58: 21-22)."  As we honor and sustain the laws of the land, we are preparing ourselves to live the rest of God's laws, especially in preparation for when Christ is to rule.

We believe that along with all the principles of the gospel, patriotism and being a good citizen are necessary principles to teach to our children.  Elder Phineas Richards, an early member of the church, in 1849 said,

"Brethren and friends, we who have lived to three-score years, have beheld the government of the United States in its glory, and know that the outrageous cruelties we have suffered proceeded from a corrupted and degenerate administration, while the pure principles of our boasted Constitution remain unchanged… As we have inherited the spirit of liberty and the fire of patriotism from our fathers, so let them descend [unchanged] to our posterity.”

May we continue to be good citizens of our countries wherever in the world we may be.  Let the fire of patriotism never fail in our lives and let us continue to stoke the flame in the lives of others.

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