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Topic: Bill of Rights, Matches 6 quotes.



2. A written bill of rights. This second great fundamental came by amendment, but I think Americans all look upon the Bill of Rights as part of the inspired work of the founding fathers. The idea of a bill of rights was not new. Once again, the inspiration was in the brilliant, practical implementation of preexisting principles. Almost six hundred years earlier, King John had subscribed the Magna Charta, which contained a written guarantee of some rights for certain of his subjects. The English Parliament had guaranteed individual rights against royal power in the English Bill of Rights of 1689. Even more recently, some of the charters used in the establishment of the American colonies had written guarantees of liberties and privileges, with which the delegates were familiar.

I have always felt that the United States Constitution’s closest approach to scriptural stature is in the phrasing of our Bill of Rights. Without the free exercise of religion, America could not have served as the host nation for the restoration of the gospel, which began just three decades after the Bill of Rights was ratified. I also see scriptural stature in the concept and wording of the freedoms of speech and press, the right to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures, the requirements that there must be probable cause for an arrest and that accused persons must have a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury, and the guarantee that a person will not be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. President Ezra Taft Benson has said, “Reason, necessity, tradition, and religious conviction all lead me to accept the divine origin of these rights.“10

The Declaration of Independence had posited these truths to be “self-evident,” that all men “are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights,” and that governments are instituted “to secure these Rights.” This inspired Constitution was established to provide a practical guarantee of these God-given rights (see D&C 101:77), and the language implementing that godly objective is scriptural to me.

10. Ezra Taft Benson, The Constitution, a Heavenly Banner, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1986, p. 6.

Source: Elder Dallin H. Oaks
The Divinely Inspired Constitution
From an address given 5 July 1987, at the Freedom Festival.

Topics: Bill of Rights; US Constitution



Alexander Hamilton and others gave three reasons why the Bill of Rights was not necessary. First: the Constitution is a declaration of rights from beginning to end; nearly three hundred rights are pinpointed in the document itself. Second: under our limited form of government, with only twenty specific, enumerated powers granted to the federal government, there is absolutely no authority included to regulate or invade a citizen’s freedom of religion, freedom of press, freedom of assembly, or freedom of petition. Third: there was a danger in making a list of individual rights, because under the law any right accidentally left off of the list might be presumed to be forfeited.

In spite of all this, however, the people insisted on a Bill of Rights. They feared from the bitter experiences of the past that the courts or government executives might somehow twist the meaning of certain words of the Constitution so as to deprive them of their rights, precisely as King George and his officers had done.

That is why George Mason, a leading patriot from Virginia, declared that he would rather have his right hand chopped off than to sign the Constitution without a Bill of Rights. It was on December 15, 1791, that the Bill of Rights was ratified, marking the first ten amendments to the Constitution.

Source: Elder L. Tom Perry
Address given 23 June 1991 at the Freedom Festival at Provo, UT.

Topics: Bill of Rights



The constitutional provisions relating to government and religion were not intended to control the religious rights of people. Rather, they were intended to expand them and eliminate the fear of government intrusion. These provisions were meant to separate religion and government so that religion would be independent. The experiences of Roger Williams and other reformers provided our constitutional fathers with important facts to help them deal with the potential risks of a state religion corrupted by politics. Consequently, they drafted an article in the Bill of Rights to guarantee religious freedom from government as opposed to government freedom from religion.

In fact, the framers of the Constitution probably assumed that religious freedom would establish religion as a watchdog over government, and believed that free churches would inevitably stand and speak against immoral or corrupt legislation. To do so, all churches not only have the right to speak out on public moral issues but they also have the solemn obligation to do so. Religion represents society’s conscience, and must speak out when govern ment chooses a course that is contrary to the laws of God. To remove the influence of religion from public policy simply because some are uncomfortable with any degree of moral restraint is like the passenger on a sinking ship who removes his life jacket because it is restrictive and uncomfortable.

We live in a day of political and social unrest. People are beginning to understand that more money and new government programs do not solve the problems of disintegrating morality in our homes and communities. People in the land have a feeling that things are not right. Voters everywhere are looking for a great leader to come along and straighten everything out.

Source: Elder M. Russell Ballard
Address given 5 July 1992 at the Freedom Festival at Provo, UT.

Topics: Bill of Rights; Freedom, Loss of



I have been preaching against Communism for twenty years. I still warn you against it, and I tell you that we are drifting toward it more rapidly than some of us understand, and I tell you that when Communism comes, the ownership of the things which are necessary to feed your families is going to be taken away from us. I tell you freedom of speech will go, freedom of the press will go, and freedom of religion will go.

Source: President J. Reuben Clark, Jr.
General Conference, October 1941

Topics: Bill of Rights; Communism



One of the great fundamentals advocated by the founders of this American nation was that of frugal administration of government affairs. Never before in the history of the world has there been such an extravagant expenditure of the people’s money.

Someone made reference to four or five freedoms. We have had more than four or five freedoms, for I think of at least the sixth one—the right under the Constitution of the United States for every man to work how, when, or where he will—and that right has disappeared. It is gone and now lies in the hands of a group who rule the laboring class of the United States.

I point out these few facts to you in substantiation of the point that as a people and a government we are on the high road of apostasy from that inspired Bill of Rights bequeathed to us by the founders of this great republic.

Source: Elder Joseph L. Wirthlin
General Conference, October 1941

Topics: Bill of Rights; Free Agency; Rights



We should at all times be willing to sustain the great Bill of Rights in our own country, to sustain and uphold the laws here. I firmly believe that Brigham Young was a prophet of Almighty God. I think that he spoke under the inspiration of the Lord’s Spirit. I want to read to you an excerpt from one of his sermons, wherein he laid upon the shoulders of the Priesthood of this Church some very definite responsibilities relative to the fundamental law of our country. He said:

I expect to see the day when the Elders of Israel will protect and sustain civil and religious liberty, and every constitutional right bequeathed to us by our fathers.

He said these rights would go out in connection with the Gospel for the salvation of all nations, and added:

I shall see this whether I live or whether I die. I do not lift up my voice against the great and glorious government guaranteed to every citizen by our Constitution, but against those administrators who trample the Constitution and just laws under their feet.

We see from this prophecy, uttered by a prophet of God that there will yet devolve upon the Priesthood of this Church the responsibility of protecting the rights and the Constitution of our great country.

Source: Elder Joseph L. Wirthlin
General Conference, October 1938

Topics: America, Future; Bill of Rights

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