Patriotism and Loyalty
The professed internationalist usually sneers at nationalism, at patriotism, at what we call Americanism. He bids us forswear our love of country in the name of the love of the world at large. We nationalists answer that he has begun at the wrong end; we say that as the world now is, it is only the man who ardently loves his country first who in actual practice can help any other country at all.
True Patriotism. The love of mankind is an exalted sentiment, and patriotism for home and country is worthy of a place in the bosoms of the greatest and best of mankind (President Brigham Young, 1863, JD-10:249)
Patriotism should be sought for and will be found in right living, not in high sounding phrases or words. True patriotism is part of the solemn obligation that belongs to the nation and to the individual and to the home. Our nations reputation should be guarded as sacredly as our familys good name. That reputation should be defended by every citizen, and our children shall be taught to defend their countrys honor under all circumstances.
A truly patriotic spirit in the individual begets a public interest and sympathy which should be commensurate with our nations greatness. To be a true citizen of a great country takes nothing from, but adds to, individual greatness. While a great and good people necessarily adds greatness and goodness to national life, the nations greatness reacts upon its citizens and adds honor to them, and insures their welfare and happiness.
Loyal citizens will probably be the last to complain of the faults and failures of our national administrators. They would rather conceal those evils which exist, and try to persuade themselves that they are only temporary [p. 197] and will in time be corrected. It is none the less a patriotic duty to guard our nation whenever and wherever we can against those changeable and revolutionary tendencies which are destructive of a nations weal and permanence.
Our nations welfare should always be a theme deeply rooted in our minds and exemplified in our individual lives and the desire for our nations good should be stronger than political party adherence. The nations welfare means the welfare of every one of its citizens.
To be a worthy and a prosperous nation, it must possess those qualities which belong to individual virtues. The attitude of our country toward other nations should always be honest and above suspicion, and every good citizen should be jealous of our nations reputation both at home and abroad.
National patriotism is, therefore, something more than mere expression of willingness to fight, if need be. (President Joseph F. Smith, 1912, JI-47:388)
National Pride. The elder Adams, in his inaugural address, gives national pride such a grand turn of justification, that every honest citizen must look back upon the infancy of the United States with an approving smile, and rejoice that patriotism in their rulers, virtue in the people, and prosperity in the Union once crowded the expectations of hope, unveiled the sophistry of the hypocrite, and silenced the folly of foes. Mr. Adams said, If national pride is ever justifiable or excusable, it is when it springs not from power or riches, grandeur or glory, but from conviction of national innocence, information, and benevolence. (Prophet Joseph Smith, 1844, DHC-6:200)
Patriotism A Sacred Trust To be able to say I am an American is to admit to the possession of a sacred trust. Some of you have been abroad; if so, you have undoubtedly experienced the joy of coming upon the-Stars and Stripes waving in the breeze, possibly on the mast of a ship in the harbor. It gave you a thrill to be able to say, That is my flag! . . .
There are some who would dissuade you from being true to the trust of real Americanism. I admonish you to guard this trust carefully; it is a sacred one. (President [p. 198] David O. McKay, 1954, 1-89:162)
Patriotism is more than flag-waving and fireworks. It is how we respond to public issues. If we ask only, Whats in this proposal for me?What do I get out of it?we are not patriotic and we are not good citizens. But if we ask, Is this right?is it good for the American people?would it preserve and strengthen our freedom?then we deserve to stand in the company of Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln.(2) Patriotism is trying always to give more to the Nation than we receive. It is selfless service. (Ezra Taft Benson, 1962, The Red Carpet, p. 96)
Allegiance to Constitution. God provided that in this land of liberty, our political allegiance shall run not to individuals, that is, to government officials, no matter how great or how small they may be. Under His plan our allegiance and the only allegiance we owe as citizens or denizens of the United States, runs to our inspired Constitution which God Himself set up. So runs the oath of office of those who participate in government. A certain loyalty we do owe to the office which a man holds, but even here we owe, just by reason of our citizenship, no loyalty to the man himself. In other countries it is to the individual that allegiance runs. This principle of allegiance to the Constitution is basic to our freedom. It is one of the great principles that distinguishes this land of liberty from other countries. (J. Reuben Clark, 1940, E-43:444)
A Duty to Speak Out. Justice, temperance, and truth are the fundamental doctrines of all good government; and if I see those doctrines threatened, is it not my duty to oppose their enemies? It seems to me that it is . . . .
I do not wish to be regarded as an agitator; I do not wish to be regarded as an extremist; but my brethren and sisters, if I see these things as I move about among the cities of this country, is it my duty to be silent, or is [p. 199] it my duty, as a professed teacher of righteousness, to call attention to them, in order that they may be corrected?(3) When men sell their votes by thousands, and ambitious men buy them in order that they may be magnified before the people; and attain to those places of trust where your very lives and liberties are at stake, as occurred in the last election in one of the greatest states of this republic, it seems to me that there is something to do; and if I see these forces which are making as surely for the disintegration of this government as they ever made for the disintegration of governments that have existed before it, I cannot restrain the feeling which I have that it is my duty to call attention to them, not to com plain, but in the hope that seeing them we may reform.(4) (Anthony W. Ivins, CR-4/15:113- 4)
If I speak plainly, and in condemnation lay bare reprehensible practices and aims of certain organizations, please do not think that I harbor ill-will or enmity in my heart towards other United States citizens whose views on political policies do not coincide with mine. But when acts and schemes are manifestly contrary to the revealed word of the Lord, we feel justified in warning people against them. We may be charitable and forbearing to the sinner, but must condemn the sin. (David O. McKay, CR-10/39:102)
Be Good Citizens. If we keep the commandments well be good citizens. Well exercise our right to vote. Well follow the counsel which the Lord has given in the revelations regarding our obligation to seek out honest men and wise men (D. & C. 98:8-10) who will stand for principle, men who will put principle ahead of political expediency. We will seek men of faith who believe the [p. 200] Constitution was inspired and that this nation has a spiritual foundation. (Ezra Taft Benson, CR-10/50:148)
Oppose Subversive Influences. Oh, let us oppose any subversive influence(5) that would deprive us of our individual freedom or make this government a dictator instead of a servant to the people. (President David O. McKay, CR-10/51:161)
To have citizenship in this great Republic should make every mans heart respond in loyalty and look with distrust and condemnation upon anybody who is the beneficiary of the freedom vouchsafed by the Constitution and who will undermine it or seek to destroy the liberty of the individual. Now is the time for us to keep our eyes open, for there are sinister men abroad who would destroy the liberties of our country.
Let us pray every day of our lives for the Lord to frustrate their sinister plansplans of Communists, who disbelieve in God, who deny the existence of God, who disbelieve in the freedom of the individual, who think he should be just a spoke in the wheel of the State! The State is established to protect the individual in his rights. (President David O. McKay, CN-12/12/53)
I have nothing but contempt in my heart for men who would disgrace that flag or would mar the standards of freedom and individual liberty. I wish they would go back to the country that is now crushing individual life and making prominent the state right and the dictatorship of the state, and make man a mere cog in the wheel of the state. (President David O. McKay, CN-9/5/53)
Join the Crusade for Freedom. Our coursethe course of all men who love their country or their Godis clear. It is to be as diligent in spreading the principles of right living, and in unmasking deception and demagoguery, as are the propagandists in the spread of their poisonous nostrums, and to be equally adept with these latter in getting their message accepted, and the public [p. 201] will established . . . .(6)
It is for us; it is for all the churches; it is for all good men everywhere to join in the crusade of teaching and persuading and regenerating the hearts of men, for the message is neither hidden, nor in heaven, nor beyond the sea that we need to fetch it. It is nigh at hand. It is in the commandments of God; in them is life for man and his seed forever. (Albert E. Bowen, CR-10/39:95)
No Duty to Sustain Lawbreakers. The law of the land, which all have no need to break, is that law which is the Constitutional law of the land, and that is as God himself has defined it. And whatsoever is more or less than this cometh of evil. Now it seems to me that this makes this matter so clear that it is not possible for any man who professes to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to make any mistake, or to be in doubt as to the course he should pursue Under the command of God in relation to the observance of the laws of the land . . . . . I have a right to interpret the law in this manner, and to form my own conclusions and express my opinions thereon, regardless of the opinions of other men.
. . . The Lord Almighty requires this people to observe the laws of the land, to be subject to the powers that be, so far as they abide by the fundamental principles of good government, but He will hold them responsible if they will pass unconstitutional measures and frame unjust and proscriptive laws . . . . If lawmakers have a mind to violate their oath, break their covenants and their faith with the people, and depart from the provisions of the Constitution, where is the law, human or [p. 202] divine, which binds me, as an individual, to outwardly and openly proclaim my acceptance of their acts? (Joseph F. Smith, 1882, JD-23:70-1)
I do not lift my voice against the great and glorious Government guaranteed to every citizen by our Constitution, but against those corrupt administrators who trample the Constitution and just laws under their feet.(7) (President Brigham Young, 1857, JD-5:232)
The Right to Vote. From my point of view the right to vote imposes on everyone who has this right the obligation to make a full, fair, and unprejudiced study of the issues involved in an election, and then support candidates who stand for the principles and measures that the voter sincerely and honestly believes will be for the best good of all the people and therefore for the best interests of the country as a whole. If selfishness, greed, unrighteous motives, and ignoble ambition shall dominate in our elections, the freedom that has been the pride and glory of Americans will vanishmany people will be practically enslaved, as is the case in Russia todayso historians predict. (Joseph F. Merrill, CR-10/49:36)
Pledging Votes. Every man and woman who has arrived at the years of political accountability and has the right to vote should never sell himself or herself or pledge himself or herself to vote for men regardless of who they may be, provided they are nominated by their party. Unless I am misinformed, men all over this state are pledging themselves in groups to vote for the nominations at their party conventions, without knowing who is to be nominated, thus selling their God-given right to stand up for honorable, true, virtuous men, men worthy of the franchise of the citizens of the United States of America . . . .
And any man or woman who signs an agreement to vote for whoever may be nominated, regardless of who the individual may be, is relinquishing his God-given right of the free exercise of conscience. (President Heber J. Grant, 1928, E-31:510,1) [p. 203]
Elect Constitutionalists. We find ourselves now immersed in a great political campaign in America for the purpose of selecting candidates for office in local, State and National positions. We urge you as citizens to participate in this great democratic process, in accordance with your honest political convictions.
However, above all else, strive to support good and conscientious candidates, of either party, who are aware of the great dangers inherent in Communism, and who are truly dedicated to the Constitution in the tradition of our Founding Fathers.(8) They should also pledge their sincere fealty to our way of libertya liberty which aims at the preservation of both personal and property rights.(9) Study the issues, analyze the candidates on these grounds, and then exercise your franchise as free men and women. Never be found guilty of exchanging your birthright for a mess of pottage! (President David O. McKay, CR-10/ 62:8)
Elect Good Men. When the wicked rule, the people mourn. Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil. (Revelation to Prophet Joseph Smith, 1833, D&C 93:9–10)
We believe that all governments necessarily require civil officers and magistrates to enforce the laws of the same; and that such as will administer the law in equity and justice should be sought for and upheld by the voice of the people if a republic, or the will of the sovereign. (1835, D&C 134:3) [p. 204]
All through the last political campaign they were saying, Why doesnt the Church tell us how we should vote? If the Church had done that, we would have a lot of Democrats or Republicans who would have wanted to apostatize. We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers and magistrates. We are told to obey the laws of God and we will have no need to break the laws of the land. When they would ask me who to vote for in the coming election, I would tell them to read Mosiah 29 [in Book of Mormon] and Section 134 of the Doctrine and Covenants, pray about that, and any Latter-day Saint could know who to vote for in any given election. It is just as simple as that. (Harold B. Lee, BYU, 4/19/61)
Non-Church Organizations. Members of the Church are strongly advised not to join any organization established for the benefit of any group which is antagonistic to the Church, which is oath-bound, or of such character as would cause members of the Church to lose interest in Church activities or interfere with the performance of their duties. This does not apply to any association that is free from the conditions mentioned and that is organized for the commercial or general welfare of its members. (General Handbook of Instructions, No. 19-1963, page 124)
As a people we are utterly opposed to all forms of organization that contemplate, even in secret places, anything that will effect unfavorably the government of the United States. We are opposed to all factions that look to disorganization or to the impairing in any manner of the form of government and the liberties that we enjoy under it as citizens of the Republic. Our constant effort is to keep our people from joining these organizations. (George Q. Cannon, 1894, DW-48:478)
I believe that it is a proper time to warn our people against the dangers that lie ahead, from associating themselves with any institution that does not make for the common good of humanity. I concur with my brethren that there are many institutions in the world that do make for the uplift and the advancement of mankind; I believe that many of our Fathers children who without the pale of the Church, are instrumental in carrying on [p. 205] his work. I cannot but think that he has let his Spirit rest upon good men, the world over, to advance the cause of Truth. It seems to me it must be so. We, I believe, should unite with and foster every good movement, every good cause, everything that tends to advance the interests of the gospel and of truth in the world.(10) (Stephen L Richards, CR-10/19:103-4)
Courageous Patriots. My heart is filled with gratitude as I witness an ever increasing group of Americans voluntarily joining together:
1. To combat more effectively the evil forces which now threaten our country, our lives, and our civilization.
2. To prevail upon our fellow citizens to start pulling out of the deepening morass of collectivism, and then climb up the mountain to higher levels of individual freedom and responsibility than man has ever achieved before.
3. To restore, with brighter lustre and deeper conviction, the faith-inspired morality, the spiritual sense of values, and the ennobling aspirations, on which our western civilization has been built. (A Brief Introduction to the John Birch Society, p. 8)
I rejoice as I see courageous American patriots stand shoulder to shoulder for less government, more responsibility and a better world. [Ibid.]
God grant, that in this blessed land, there will arise a righteous force of such mighty strength and such direction that neither the communist conspiracy nor any other agency of Satan can possibly withstand it. . . .(11) [p. 206]
Stand Up for Freedom No Matter What the Cost. There are some people who hesitate to get into this fight for freedom because its controversial, or theyre not sure if were going to win. These people have two blind spots.
First, they fail to realize that lifes decisions should be based on principlesnot on Gallup polls. There were men at Valley Forge who werent sure how the Revolution would end, but they were in a much better position to save their own souls and their country than those timid men whose major concern was deciding which side was going to win, or how to avoid controversy.
After all, the basic purpose of life is to prove our-selvesnot to be with the majority when its wrong. We must discharge responsibilities not only to our church, home and profession, but also to our country. Otherwise, we do not merit the full blessings of a kind Providence.
There are people tonight all over the world who in their own courageous and sometimes quiet way are working for freedom. In many cases we will never know until the next life all they sacrificed for liberty. These patriots are receiving heavens applause for the role they are playing, and in the long run that applause will be louder and longer than any they could receive in this world.
This leads me to the second blind spot of those who hesitate to get into the fight. And that is their failure to realize that we will win in the long run, and for keeps, and that they pass up great blessings by not getting into the battle now when the odds are against us and the rewards are greatest.
The only questions, before the final victory, are, first, What stand will each of us take in this struggle?; and second, How much tragedy can be avoided by doing something now? Time is on the side of truthand truth is eternal.(12) Those who are fighting against freedom may feel confident now, but they are short-sighted. [p. 207]
This is still Gods world. The forces of evil, working through some mortals, have made a mess of a good part of it. But, it is still Gods world. In due time when each of us has had a chance to prove ourselvesincluding whether or not we are going to stand up for freedomthen God will interject himself and the final and eternal victory shall be for free agency. And then shall those people on the sidelines, and those who took the wrong but temporarily popular course, lament their decisions.
To the patriots I say this: Take that long eternal look. Stand up for freedom, no matter what the cost. It can save your souland maybe your country. (Ezra Taft Benson, 9/23/63)
Be True to the Stars and Stripes. As we celebrate the birthday of the Declaration of Independence . . . let us . . . awaken appreciation for the blessings and privileges that are ours if we but remain loyal and true to the Constitution of the United States as established by our Founding Fathers . . . .
There is something in Human nature that rebels against dominance and compulsion. In our day, we witnessed one the greatest uprisings against just such dictatorship that the world has ever known. I refer to those loyal Hungarians who rose up against the tyranny of oppression! I do not suppose there has ever been such an uprisingnot since the Declaration of Independence at any rateof a people. They used their bare hands; and children, youths, and adults rose up against tyranny and wonuntil the Communist gangsters turned on them and killed them by the hundreds, and hundreds of others were shipped off to Siberia. This is in your time and mine! Do we realize it? . . .
That is the kind of treatment the spirit of man rebels against; that is why we had the Declaration of Independence; that is why we had the Constitution of the United States drawn up by men who were inspired; and that is why we have the Bill of Rights, granting protection to each individual. The government was established to protect the individual; the individual is not a part of the State, nor should he be used as part of the State. The government is set up to protect him in his rights. [p. 208]
What other fundamental prompted .these men when they framed the ConstitutionThe greatest instrument, said one man, ever written by the hands of man? I name it as Faith in God, next to free agency, or correlative with free agency . . . .
Actuated by these two fundamental and eternal prin-ciplesthe free agency of the individual, and faith in an overruling Providencethose fifty-six men who signed the Declaration of Independence, those who drew up the Constitution of the United States nine years later, gave to the world a concept of government which, if applied, will strike from the arms of down-trodden humanity the shackles of tyranny, and give hope, ambition, and freedom to the teeming millions throughout the world.
All Americans should be on guard against the scheming of those who would take from us the freedom so dearly bought. Edward F. Hutton gives us this warning:
Why then do we have many more of Gods blessings? One impelling reason I think lies in the simple fact that we believed in the rights of man and have lived under a government of laws as distinguished from a government of men. We have enjoyed the safeguards of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, whose word, until recently, we believed was immutable and inalienable . . . .
Till twenty years ago, the Bill of Rights, generator of the genius of America, was taken for granted. For two decades now it has been under attack . . . by those who assert, though without proof, that they can improve upon our system of government. The plan seems to be to impose upon the people political control of the daily activities. Under Communism you lose your liberties immediately and perhaps your life. Under Socialism, you lose your liberties a little more slowly but just as surely.
Today the Bill of Rights is in jeopardy. If it could speak, I believe it would have this to say: . . . Dont take me for granted . . . . I . . . will be slain unless you, the plain people of America, organize to defend me . . . . My existence depends on how vigilantly you watch those who administer your government. Put every law proposed in Washington into the crucible of my ten commandments. Your question must always be: Not what does a law give me, but what does it take away from me? . . . Let us unite our voice in defense of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. (Taken from the Pathfinder Magazine, June 27, 1951)
(President David O. McKay, 1964, Statements on Communism and the Constitution of the United States. p. 31-9)
1. Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the President or any other public official save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country.
In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truthwhether about the President or anyone elsesave in the rare cases where this would make known to the enemy information of military value which would otherwise be unknown to him. (Theodore Roosevelt)
2. Our history is replete with the names of patriots who paid the supreme sacrifice in winning and protecting our priceless heritage. These were men of actionmen whose extraordinary deeds bespoke their belief in a Nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the equality of all men. Today, perhaps as never before, America has need for doers of extraordinary deeds, men and women with the moral strength and courage of our forefathers. The smoldering embers of patriotism should be fanned into a flaming spirit of loyalty so that the whole worm will know Americans will stand, fight, and die for the dignity of man. (J. Edgar Hoover, 7/1/62)
3. Novelty is not the only source of zeal. Why should not a Maccabaeus and his brethren arise to assert the honor of the ancient law and to defend the temple of their forefathers with as ardent a spirit as can inspire any innovator to destroy the monuments of the piety and the glory of ancient ages? It is not a hazarded assertion, it is a great truth, that, when once things are gone out of their ordinary course, it is by acts out of the ordinary course they can alone be reestablished. (Edmund Burke, Works 5:125)
4. Truth must be repeated again and again because error is constantly being preached round about us. And not only by isolated individuals, but by the majority! In the newspapers and encyclopedias, in the schools and universities, everywhere error is dominant, safely and comfortably ensconced in public opinion, which is on its side. (Goethe, 1749-1832, quoted in The Freeman, July, 1958)
5. A prodigious campaign of political subversion, clandestinely directed by a nationwide apparatus of Communist agents, menaces the entire security system of the United States. The essence of this campaign is the perversion of our democratic processes of government. If it continues unabated it promises the Kremlin a degree of success that never could have been achieved by the classic means of force and violence. (House of Representatives, Communist Political Subversion, p. 1)
6. Today, as never before, America has need for men and women who possess the moral strength and courage of our forefathersmodern.day patriots, with pride in our country and faith in freedom, unafraid to declare to anyone in the world, I believe in liberty. I believe in justice. I will fight, if need be, to defend the dignity of man.
Too often in recent years, patriotic symbols have been shunted aside. Our national heroes have been maligned, our history distorted. Has it become a disgrace to pledge allegiance to our flagor to sign a loyalty oath, or pay tribute to our national anthem? Is it shameful to encourage our children to memorize the stirring words of the men of 76? Is it becoming opprobrious to state In God we trust when proclaiming our love of country?
What we desperately need today is patriotism founded on a real understanding of the American ideala dedicated belief in our principles of freedom and a determination to perpetuate American heritage . . . . There must be in America a rebirth of the spirit of Valley Forge. (J. Edgar Hoover, 2/22/62)
7. What country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? (Thomas Jefferson, Works 2:318)
8. I have been in public life for some time, and I learned to say, a long time ago, that I was all through looking for ideal candidates for office. They dont exist, and we have to make the best of what we have, for it is only in that way that we are able to make any progress. Get candidates that are just as near the ideal as possible. That is what we always want; and after you have done what you can in the way of selecting a candidate, do what you can to support the principles which that candidate represents. For, after all, if we are to promote good government, if we are to promote good principles, it must be by the support of those men and women who represent those principles. (Calvin Coolidge, His Ideals of Citizenship, p. 238-9)
9. We cannot defeat communism with socialism, nor with secularism, nor with pacifism, nor with appeasement or accommodation. We can only defeat communism with true Americanism . . . . . Every strong nation in history has lived by an ideal and has died when its ideals were dissipated. We can be destroyed only by our own gullibility. If we are ready, we shall be neither dead nor Red. It is what a nation has in its heart, rather than what it has in its hand, that makes it strong. The nation which honors God is protected and strengthened by Him. (J. Edgar Hoover, 10/9/62)
10. The Christian forces opposing Communism must be organized and disciplined. Organization is no substitute for life but it provides the engine within which the gasoline of conviction, consecration and courage may move the mountain of lethargy, self- indulgence and ignorance which provide the inflammable debris through which the Communist fire is consuming the earth. The organization must be dedicated to truth, not unity. It must be an organization of like-minded, clearsighted, self-renouncing, Bible- believing Christians who can channel their corporate energies to definite goals . . . .
The passion of conviction and faith must be the fuel for the furnace. Organization, like fire, is a good servant but a bad master. Such an organization of consecrated Christians must be built and fired by the Spirit of God in this tremendous battle. (Fred Schwarz, The Christian Answer to Communism, p. 26)
11. Thinking people can no longer accept as valid, or even sincere, the old objections that anti-Communist organizations pursue methods that are un-American or unfair; that they establish guilt only by association; that innocent people are implicated by them upon hearsay evidence and etc. These same objections, with monotonous repetition, have been directed against every effective anti-Communist organization, committee, or group which has combated Communism since 1925 . . . .
The record is very clear that the Liberal Front would not approve any effective attacks upon Communists, regardless of the methods and procedures employed. (Martin Dies, American Opinion, Feb., 1964, p. 63)
12. The real advantage which truth has consists in this, that when an opinion is true, it may be extinguished once, twice, or many times, but in the course of ages there will generally be found persons to rediscover it, until some one of its reappearances falls on a time when from favourable circumstances it escapes persecution until it has made such head as to withstand all subsequent attempts to suppress it. (John Stuart Mill, On Liberty II) [p. 209]