“Heber J. Grant,” in Latter-day Prophets and the United States Constitution, ed. by Donald Q. Cannon (Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1991), 92–99.
Born: 22 November 1856
Ordained an Apostle: 16 October 1882
President of the Twelve: 23 November 1916
President of the Church: 23 November 1918–14 May 1945
Died: 14 May 1945
Heber J. Grant served longer as President of the Church than any other Church President except Brigham Young. During this long term he consciously sought to develop strong ties with the U.S. Government. One of his counselors, J. Reuben Clark, Jr., had served in several State Department positions and as U.S. Ambassador to Mexico. Many of President Grant’s friends also had close connections with Washington, D.C. President Grant’s administration was an era of positive relationships with the Constitution and the government.
Main theme: The Constitution was inspired of God. Minor themes:
1. We should obey the laws of the land.
2. We honor and must uphold the Constitution.
7.1. As a boy I was taught to love the institutions of my country and the liberty guaranteed under it. I then looked forward hopefully to the time when I should be a man and should enjoy the rights and assume the responsibilities of manhood. Now that I am a man I want every right that my country gives to other men. (“Speech of Hon. H. J. Grant” 1)
7.2. That man Joseph Smith, when he stood as the prophet and the leader of the people, proclaimed that the Constitution of our country was inspired by God. I ask if intelligent people are going to believe that the Latter-day Saints, guided by a prophet who proclaimed that the Constitution of our country was inspired, are in rebellion against the political system of our country? I say that the statement is absolutely false. (JH [30 Apr 1889] 10)
7.3. Our declaration to all the world, through the Prophet Joseph Smith, that the men who wrote the Constitution of this country were inspired of the living God . . . give[s] the lie to all the liars who are perpetually saying that we are opposed to this country . . ..We believe absolutely in the inspiration of God to the men who framed our Constitution. (CR [Oct 1919] 33)
7.4. President Grant said he was grateful for the Constitution and declared that no Latter-day Saint could live up to the teachings of his religion without being a good American. Latter-day Saints should so live that the world may know how they regard the Constitution and laws of this country. (“Constitution Topic of Tabernacle Sermons” 8)
7.5. Next Sunday, September 17, being Constitution Day, designated and set apart for commemoration of the great document which is the organic law and foundation of our glorious Republic, we earnestly desire that bishops and presidents of stakes arrange to have the speakers of their respective services on that day address themselves to the Constitution, its history, meaning and importance. (JH [16 Sep 1922] 1)
7.6. Perhaps there is nothing of greater importance, next to our spiritual growth, than a determination on the part of the Latter-day Saints to observe the laws of our country . . ..
One of the Articles of our Faith [no. 12] declares that we believe in sustaining the law and supporting the rulers. (“President Heber J. Grant’s Conference Message” 677–78)
7.7. All Latter-day Saints believe absolutely that the Constitution of our Country was inspired of God, and that he used wise men, noble men, as instruments in his hands for establishing that Constitution, and when any law is enacted and becomes a constitutional law, no man who spends his money to help men break that law can truthfully say that he is a loyal citizen. (CR [Oct 1927] 5)
7.8. The “Mormons” have taught, from the days of the Prophet Joseph Smith, that the men who wrote the Constitution were raised up by God, and that it was adopted by inspired men. We believe in the inspiration of the living God, in the forming of our government. (“The Upholding of Constituted Law and Order” 509; from an address given at Salt Lake City, UT, 12 Feb 1928)
7.9. We are also told to obey constitutional law, and any man or woman in the Church of Christ that is breaking the prohibition law is also breaking the laws of God. (“The Upholding of Constituted Law and Order” 515; from an address given at Salt Lake City, UT, 12 Feb 1928)
7.10. The Latter-day Saints believe absolutely that the Constitution of our country was written by inspired men. We believe in upholding the laws of our country. We believe in being obedient to the laws. One of the Articles of our Faith [no. 12] says that it is our duty to do so. (CR [Oct 1928] 9)
7.11. The Latter-day Saints believe and have taught from the beginning that God raised up the men who wrote the Constitution of this country: that it was an inspired document, and that the Lord fought on the side of our revolutionary fathers. (JH [ 13 Apr 1930] 3–4)
7.12. Sustain the constitution of the United States. The Lord himself has said that he raised up the very men who prepared it to the end that it might be an example to all the world. Do you believe it? If you do then sustain it and don’t let your voice be among those that shall deride and break down the things that are so important for us. This is our Father’s work. We are his children, heirs to all blessings. (CR [Oct 1935] 122)
7.13. The Church does not interfere, and has no intention of trying to interfere, with the fullest and freest exercise of the political franchise of its members, under and within our Constitution which the Lord declared: “I established . . . by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose” [D&C 101:80], and which, as to the principles thereof, the Prophet, dedicating the Kirtland Temple, prayed should be “established forever” [D&C 109:54].
But Communism is not a political party nor a political plan under the Constitution; it is a system of government that is the opposite of our Constitutional government, and it would be necessary to destroy our government before Communism could be set up in the United States.
Since Communism, established, would destroy our American Constitutional government, to support Communism is treasonable to our free institutions, and no patriotic American citizen may become either a Communist or supporter of Communism. . . .
Furthermore, it is charged by universal report, which is not successfully contradicted or disproved, that Communism undertakes to control, if not indeed to proscribe the religious life of the people living within its jurisdiction, and that it even reaches its hand into the sanctity of the family circle itself, disrupting the normal relationship of parent and child, all in a manner unknown and unsanctioned under the Constitutional guarantees under which we in America live. Such interference would be contrary to the fundamental precepts of the Gospel and to the teachings and order of the Church.
Communism being thus hostile to loyal American citizenship and incompatible with true Church membership, of necessity no loyal American citizen and no faithful Church member can be a Communist.
We call upon all Church members completely to eschew Communism. The safety of our divinely inspired Constitutional government and the welfare of our Church imperatively demand that Communism shall have no place in America. (“Warning to Church Members” 488)
7.14. From my childhood days I have understood that we believe absolutely that the Constitution of our country was an inspired instrument, and that God directed those who created it and those who defended the independence of this nation. In other words, that He fought with Washington and others in the Revolutionary War. (CR [Oct 1936] 6)
7.15. Every Latter-day Saint believes that Abraham Lincoln was raised up and inspired of God, and that he reached the Presidency of the United States under the favor of our Heavenly Father. . . .
The following quotation from Lincoln with respect to the observance of law is . . . worth repeating often:
“Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the revolution never to violate, in the least particular, the laws of the country, and never to tolerate their violation by others. As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and laws let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor. Let every man remember that to violate the law is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the charter of his own and his children’s liberty. Let reverence for the law be breathed by every American mother to the lisping babe that prattles on her lap. Let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges. Let it be written in primers, in spelling books, and almanacs. Let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. In short, let it become the Political Religion of the Nation.” . . .
From my childhood days I have understood that we believe absolutely that the Constitution of our country is an inspired instrument, and that God directed those who created it and those who defended the independence of this nation. Concerning this matter it is my frequent pleasure to quote the statement by Joseph Smith, regarding the Constitution:
“The Constitution of the United States is a glorious standard; it is founded in the wisdom of God. It is a heavenly banner; it is, to all those who are privileged with the sweets of liberty, like the cooling shades and refreshing waters of a great rock in a weary and thirsty land. It is like a great tree under whose branches men from every clime can be shielded from the burning rays of the sun” [TPJS 147].
And such the Constitution of the United States must be to every faithful Latter-day Saint who lives under its protection.
We honor the man that God honors. We honor Abraham Lincoln because we believe absolutely that God honored him and raised him up to be the instrument in His hands of saving the Constitution and the Union. (“Lincoln and Law” 73, 127)
7.16. The Constitutional Convention met and out from it came our God-inspired Constitution—”the most wonderful work,” said Gladstone, “ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man.”
The Lord Himself has declared as to this great document of human liberty, “I established the Constitution of this land by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose,” and He added, referring to the war it cost to gain us our liberties: “and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood.” (D&C 101:80.) . . .
Thus we had set up, under the guidance of God Himself, a government that made of this land the kind of land Lehi and Jacob had foreseen and prophesied—”a land of liberty.” (MFP 6:105)
7.17. We again warn our people in America of the constantly increasing threat against our inspired Constitution and our free institutions set up under it. The same political tenets and philosophies that have brought war and terror in other parts of the world are at work amongst us in America. The proponents thereof are seeking to undermine our own form of government and to set up instead one of the forms of dictatorships now flourishing in other lands. . . .
. . . Communism and all other similar isms bear no relationship whatever to the United Order. They are merely the clumsy counterfeits which Satan always devises of the gospel plan. . . . Latter-day Saints cannot be true to their faith and lend aid, encouragement, or sympathy to any of these false philosophies. They will prove snares to their feet (Grant and McKay 273, 343)
7.18. Every faithful Latter-day Saint believes that the Constitution of the United States was inspired of God, and that this choice land and this nation have been preserved until now in the principles of liberty under the protection of God. . . . These principles are fundamental to our belief, fundamental to our protection. And in the providences of the Lord, the safeguards which have been incorporated into the basic structure of this nation are, if we preserve them, the guarantee of all men who dwell here against abuses, tyrannies, and usurpations. From my childhood days I have understood that we believe absolutely that the Constitution of our country is an inspired instrument, and that God directed those who created it and those who defended the independence of this nation. . . . And such the Constitution of the United States must be to every faithful Latter-day Saint who lives under its protection. That the Lord may help him to think straight, and to pursue a straight course regardless of personal advantage, factional interest, or political persuasion, should be the daily prayer of every Latter-day Saint. I counsel you, I urge you, I plead with you, never, so far as you have voice or influence, permit any departure from the principles of government on which this nation was founded, or any disregard of the freedoms which, by the inspiration of God our Father, were written into the Constitution of the United States. (“Admonition and Blessing” 694–95)