Tuesday, July 4, 2017

President David O. McKay on the principles of America's founding

President David O. McKay (1873-1970) was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 1906.  He served as a counselor in the First Presidency to Heber J. Grant and George Albert Smith beginning in 1945, then then as the president of the Church from 1951 to his death in 1970 at age 96.
"As we celebrate the birthday of the Declaration of Independence on July 4... let us catch the spirit of that morning and 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....
"After the Revolutionary War was over and nine years after the Declaration of Independence was signed, the Founding Fathers met in that same Old State Hall to frame the Constitution of the United States.
"The French historian, Francois Pierre Guillaume Guizot, while visiting in the United States, asked James Russell Lowell, 'How long will the American Republic endure?' Lowell’s answer was: 'As long as the ideas of the men who founded it continue dominant.'...
"Actuated by these two fundamental and eternal principles—the free agency of the individual and faith in an overruling Providence—those 56 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 downtrodden humanity the shackles of tyranny, and give hope, ambition, and freedom to the teeming millions throughout the world."
- David O. McKay, “The Founding of an American Republic” pp. 249–51
Click here to read the full article

In most of our holiday celebrations, packed with family fun, community celebrations, and many personal traditions, it's easy to forget the origins of the holiday and its significance. President McKay reminds us of the significance of July 4 and the principles of independence and agency represented by that day. He quotes Lowell to point out how critical it is for us to preserve the memory of those principles today in order to help preserve the integrity of the American Republic.

The foundational principles of agency and faith were profoundly present in the founding of the United States of America, and must be preserved today. The Constitution's principles must be protected and defended in order to "give hope, ambition, and freedom to the teeming millions throughout the world."

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2017)

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