Quotes

A selection of quotes from prophets, apostles, and other inspired men on the following topics:

Agency and Liberty

“It is a love of liberty which inspires my soul. Civil and religious liberty were diffused into my soul by my grandfathers.” (Willard Richards, Joseph Smith Diary. p. 299)

“By free government, we do not mean that a man has a right to steal, rob, etc. but free from bondage, taxation, and oppression–free in every thing if he conduct himself honestly and circumspectly with his neighbor—free in a Spiritual capacity.” (Willard Richards, Joseph Smith Diary. p. 191)

“Besides the preaching of the Gospel, we have another mission, namely, the perpetuation of the free agency of man and the maintenance of liberty, freedom, and the rights of man. There are certain principles that belong to humanity outside of the Constitution, outside of the laws, outside of all the enactments and plans of man, among which is the right to live; God gave us the right and not man; no government gave it to us, and no government has a right to take it away from us. We have a right to liberty—that was a right that God gave to all men; and if there has been oppression, fraud or tyranny in the earth, it has been the result of the wickedness and corruptions of men and has always been opposed to God and the principles of truth, righteousness, virtue, and all principles that are calculated to elevate mankind. The Declaration of Independence states that men are in possession of certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This belongs to us; it belongs to all humanity. I wish, and the worst wish I have for the United States, is, that they could have liberality enough to give to all men equal rights.” (Journal of Discourses 23:63)

“I believe in the Constitution of the United States. I believe in the principles which that instrument promulgates — the freedom of mankind to do right, to worship God according to the dictates of their own conscience, freedom to pursue their way in peace and to observe and maintain their rights, their freedom, their liberties, and justly recognize and equally preserve and defend their rights, freedom and liberty of their neighbors and of their fellow beings — and of all God’s creatures.” (Thrift and Economy p. 634-35)

“So fundamental in man’s eternal progress is his inherent right to choose, that the Lord would defend it even at the price of war. Without freedom of thought, freedom of choice, freedom of action within lawful bounds, man cannot progress.” (The Church and the Present War)

“I believe that God has endowed men with certain inalienable rights as set forth in the Declaration of Independence and that no legislature and no majority, however great, may morally limit or destroy these; that the sole function of government is to protect life, liberty, and property, and anything more than this is usurpation and oppression.” (Ezra Taft Benson, The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson (1988))

“There are several principles which undergird the significance of work in the Lord’s plan. First, as the covenant people we must be as self-sufficient as possible. We are to be free from dependence upon a dole or any program that might endanger our free agency. Second, we must work to support the families with which the Lord has blessed us.” (“Prepare for Honorable Employment,” Ensign. Nov. 1975)

“The Constitution under which we live, and which has not only blessed us but has become a model for other constitutions, is our God-inspired national safeguard ensuring freedom and liberty, justice and equality before the law.” (“The Times in Which We Live”, Ensign, Nov. 2001)

“Agency, or the power to choose, was ours as spirit children of our Creator before the world was. It is a gift from God, nearly as precious as life itself.” (“Addiction or Freedom,” General Conference Oct. 1988)

Inspired 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 thirsty and weary land. It is like a great tree under whose branches men from every clime can be shielded from the burning rays of the sun.” (Joseph Smith, Teachings, p. 147.)

“I want to say to every man, the Constitution of the United States, as formed by our fathers, was dictated, was revealed, was put into their hearts by the Almighty, who sits enthroned in the midst of the heavens; although unknown to them, it was dictated by the revelations of Jesus Christ, and I tell you in the name of Jesus Christ, it is as good as I could ask for.” (B. H. Roberts, Mormonism 27-28)

“There has been a tendency among some Latter-day Saints, even when the Constitution is mentioned, to say, ‘There he goes talking politics.’ I am not talking politics. I am quoting the words of the Lord.” (Rely Upon the Lord)

“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.” (Admonition and Blessing)

“Out of the depths of eternal truth was born the Constitution of the United States . . . It is my conviction that God inspired the indicting of that document, the Constitution becomes sacred scripture to me. It is the greatest political heritage ever bequeathed by fathers to their posterity. God grant that we may preserve it.” (Gratitude for our Heritage p. 910)

“It is a part of our “Mormon” theology that the Constitution of the United States was divinely inspired; that our Republic came into existence through wise men raised up for that very purpose. We believe it is the duty of the members of the Church to see that this Republic is not subverted either by any sudden or constant erosion of those principles which gave this Nation its birth.” (Letter to Ernest L. Wilkinson 2)

“We urge members of the Church and all Americans to begin now to reflect more intently on the meaning and importance of the Constitution, and of adherence to its principles, in giving strength not only to this country but to the entire family of nations…. There is a need to rededicate ourselves to the lofty principles and practices of our founding fathers.” (Spencer W. Kimball, Ensign, November 1973.)

“The Founding Fathers, though inspired they were, did not invent the priceless blessings of individual freedom and respect for the dignity of man; no, that priceless gift to mankind sprang from the God of heaven and not from government. Recognizing this truth, they forged the safeguards that would bind men’s lust for power to the Constitution. They recognized that freedom must be perpetually preserved to be enjoyed.” (Freedom and Free Enterprise)

Duty of Members

“We will cling to the Constitution of our country, and to the Government that reveres that sacred charter of freemen’s rights; and, if necessary, pour out our best blood for the defence of every good and righteous principle. If we do not do this [form a state government], we are living beneath those rights set forth in the Declaration of Independence, and the privileges granted to us in the Constitution of the United States which our fathers bought so dearly for us. Let us unfurl the stars and stripes—the flag of our country; let us sustain the Constitution that our fathers have bequeathed to us in letters of blood; and those who violate it will have to meet the crushing and damning penalties that will bury them in the mire of everlasting disgrace. If we sustain it, it will be sustained; otherwise it will not.” (Journal of Discourses 10:39-41)

“The day is not far distant when this nation will be shaken from center to circumference. And now, you may write it down, any of you, and I will prophesy it in the name of God…When the people shall have torn to shreds the Constitution of the United States the Elders of Israel will be found holding it up to the nations of the earth and proclaiming liberty.” (Journal of Discourses Vol. 21 p. 8)

“And as God lives the day will come that constitutional government and the rights of man will have to be maintained by the Latter-day Saints, and that at a time when there will be no other power upon this land that will be able to make headway against the tide of evil that will flood the country.” (Obedience to the Priesthood, etc. June 20, 1883)

“Certainly, it is not meet that we should bring politics into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but just as certainly, it is meet that every member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints take the doctrine of Christ into his politics, and that he evaluate every candidate and every platform under any and every political banner in the terms of the gospel of Jesus Christ. If there be any one who would destroy or weaken the Constitution of the United States, oppose him to the limit of your constitutional rights! Obversely, we should support candidates and foster platforms of whatever parties who will protect the sacred Constitution of the United States—that just document of government which was divinely inspired.” (Rely Upon the Lord)

I pray that certainly the Latter-day Saints at least shall do all in their power to preserve that kind of government, that kind of reliance in government upon providence which to this moment has assured us our blessings and which if we abandon, will bring us into ever increasing slavery” (Rely Upon the Lord)

“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)

No greater immediate responsibility rests upon the members of the Church, upon all citizens of this Republic, and of neighboring Republics, than to protect the freedom vouchsafed by the Constitution of the United States.” (The Improvement Era, May 1950 p. 378)

“Next to being one in worshipping God, there is nothing in the world upon which this Church should be more united than upholding and defending the Constitution of the United States.” (Statements on Communism and the Constitution of the United States)

“We have urged you, above all, to try 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 fathers. We have suggested also that you should support candidates who pledge their sincere fidelity to our liberty—a liberty which aims at the preservation of both personal and property rights.” (“Vote Your Convictions” A1)

We urge members of the Church and all Americans to begin now to reflect more intently on the meaning and importance of the Constitution, and of adherence to its principles, in giving strength not only to this country but to the entire family of nations…. There is a need to rededicate ourselves to the lofty principles and practices of our founding fathers.” (Spencer W. Kimball, Ensign, November 1973.)

“Good government which guarantees the maximum of freedom, liberty, and devolvement of the individual must be based upon sound principles. We must ever remember that ideas and principles are either sound or unsound in spite of those who hold them.” (Freedom and Free Enterprise)

“Help others see that the real issue is not over economic systems, it is the issue of freedom and limited or no freedom, the same issue that brought about this nation’s birth and independence.” (Freedom and Free Enterprise)

Free Markets and Economic Liberty

“The natural effort of every individual to better his own condition, when suffered to exert itself with freedom and security, is so powerful a principle, that it is alone, and without any assistance, not only capable of carrying on the society to wealth and prosperity, but of surmounting a hundred impertinent obstructions with which the folly of human laws too often encumbers its operations; though the effect of these obstructions is always more or less either to encroach upon its freedom, or to diminish its security.” (The Wealth of Nations, Vol. 2, Book 4, Chapt. 5, p. 126)

“The sum of good government shall leave citizens free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.”

“Agriculture, manufactures, commerce, and navigation, the four pillars of our prosperity, are the most thriving when left most free to individual enterprise.”

“Government is instituted to protect property of every sort; as well that which lies in the various rights of individuals, as that which the term particularly expresses. This being the end of government, that alone is a just government, which impartially secures to every man, whatever is his own . . . . That is not a just government, nor is property secure under it, where the property which a man has in his personal safety and personal liberty, is violated by arbitrary seizures of one class of citizens for the service of the rest.” (The Complete Madison, p. 267)

“Legal plunder may be exercised in an infinite multitude of ways. Hence come an infinite multitude of plans for organization; tariffs, protection, perquisites, gratuities, encouragements, progressive taxation, free public education, right to work, right to profit, right to wages, right to assistance, right to instruments of labor, gratuity of credit, etc., etc. And it is all these plans, taken as a whole, with what they have in common, legal plunder, that takes the name of socialism.” (The Law)

“I also spoke at length for the repeal of the ordinance of the city licensing merchants, hawkers, taverns, and ordinaries, desiring that this might be a free people, and enjoy equal rights and privileges, and the ordinances were repealed.” (History of the Church, Vol 6 p. 8)

“We shall recognize as an inherent right of other men the same right that we insist upon for ourselves in working and earning a livelihood for ourselves and our loved ones. Government should recognize this right of the individual and guarantee it to him. This is as far as government should go.” (CN-12/14/46)

“The fostering of full economic freedom lies at the base of our liberties. Only in perpetuating economic freedom can our social, political, and religious liberties be preserved . . . We must not let complacency blind our eyes to the real dangers threatening to destroy us.” (March 2, 1952)

“It is a great imposition, if indeed not a crime, for any government, any labor union, or any
other organization to deny a man the right to speak, to worship, and to work.” (Statements on Communism and the Constitution of the United States p. 17)

“A free market society recognizes private property as sacred because the individual is entitled to ownership of goods and property which he has earned; he is sovereign so far as human law is concerned over his own goods. He may retain possession of his goods; he may pass his wealth on to his family or to charitable causes. For one cannot give what one does not own.” (Freedom and Free Enterprise)

“When government, by either ownership or regulation, prevents the full freedom of action by sellers, this of course regulates and controls prices…Freedom from bureaucratic monopoly is essential to allow our free market to work properly. I hope we wake up to this serious lesson before our freedoms our lost altogether.” (Freedom and Free Enterprise)

“As Bastiat observed, and as history has proven, each class or special interest group competes with the others to throw the lever of governmental power in their favor, or at least to immunize itself against the effects of a previous thrust. Labor gets a minimum wage, so agriculture seeks a price support. Consumers demand price controls, and industry gets protective tariffs. In the end, no one is much further ahead, and everyone suffers the burdens of a gigantic bureaucracy and a loss of personal freedom. With each group out to get its share of the spoils, such governments historically have mushroomed into total welfare states. Once the process begins, once the principle of the protective function of government gives way to the aggressive or redistribute function, then forces are set in motion that drive the nation toward totalitarianism.” (The Proper Role of Government)

 

Communism and Socialism

“Law and Charity Are Not the Same” (The Law)

“When a portion of wealth is transferred from the person who owns it — without his consent and without compensation, and whether by force or by fraud — to anyone who does not own it, then I say that property is violated; that an act of plunder is committed.” (The Law)

“Legal plunder may be exercised in an infinite multitude of ways. Hence come an infinite multitude of plans for organization; tariffs, protection, perquisites, gratuities, encouragements, progressive taxation, free public education, right to work, right to profit, right to wages, right to assistance, right to instruments of labor, gratuity of credit, etc., etc. And it is all these plans, taken as a whole, with what they have in common, legal plunder, that takes the name of socialism.” (The Law)

“I attended a second lecture on Socialism, by Mr. Finch; and after he got through, I made a few remarks… I said I did not believe the doctrine.” (History of the Church)

“We may first observe that communism and socialism—which we shall hereafter group together and dub Statism—cannot live with Christianity, nor with any religion that postulates a Creator such as the Declaration of Independence recognizes. The slaves of Statism must know no power, no authority, no source of blessing, no God, but the State…”

“Our real enemies are communism and its running mate, socialism.”

“And never forget for one moment that communism and socialism are state slavery.”

 

“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. . . . [Communism] 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.” (Pathways to Happiness)

“Communism is antagonistic to the American way of life. Its avowed purpose is to destroy belief in God and free enterprise”

“Any form of government that destroys or undermines the free exercise of free agency is wrong.”

“There are some things of which I am sure, and that is that contrary to the belief and mistaken ideas of some people, the United Order will not be a socialistic or communistic setup…” (Stand Ye in Holy Places p. 280)

“Now, keep in mind with all the crowding in of the socialistic reform programs that are threatening the very foundation of the Church, we must never forget what the Lord said, “that
the church may stand independent above all other creatures beneath the celestial world” (D&C 78:14). Whenever we allow ourselves to become entangled and have to be subsidized from government sources—and we think that it’s the expedient way to do business in this day—or when we yield to such pressures, I warn you that government subsidies are not the Lord’s way;
and if we begin to accept, we are on our way to becoming subsidized politically as well as financially.” (The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, p. 314-315)

“We are not here to sit by complacently while our birthright of freedom is exchanged for a mess of socialist-communist pottage.” (Righteousness Exaltheth a Nation)

“I am unalterably opposed to Socialism, either in whole or in part, and regard it as an unconstitutional usurpation of power and a denial of the right of private property for government to own or operate the means of producing and distributing goods and services in competition with private enterprise, or to regiment owners in the legitimate use of private property.” (The Proper Role of Government)

“Utopian and communitarian schemes which eliminate property rights are not only unworkable, they deny to man his inherent desire to improve his station. They are therefore contrary to the pursuit of happiness.” (Freedom and Free Enterprise)

“Charity is not charity unless it is voluntary.” (Freedom and Free Enterprise)

“The United Order is implemented by the voluntary free-will actions of men, evidenced by a consecration of all their property to the Church of God. One time the Prophet Joseph Smith asked a question by the brethren about the inventories they were taking. His answer was to the effect, “You don’t need to be concerned about the inventories. Unless a man is willing to consecrate everything he has, he doesn’t come into the United Order.” (Documentary History of the Church, Vol. 7, pp. 412-13.) On the other hand, socialism is implemented by external force, the power of the state.” (Socialism and the United Order Compared)

“We here in the United States, in converting our government into a social welfare state, have ourselves adopted much of socialism. Specifically, we have to an alarming degree adopted the use of the power of the state in the control and distribution of the fruits of industry.” (Socialism and the United Order Compared)

“Socialism takes: United Order gives. That is the spirit of socialism: We’re going to take. The spirit of the United Order is: We’re going to give.” (Socialism and the United Order Compared)

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