“It is our firm conviction as a people that the stars and stripes will be waving triumphantly in the breeze, as a symbol of the greatness and stability of the United States of America, when the Lord comes. This nation was established to be the Lord’s base of operations in this final gospel dispensation. From it the gospel is to go to every other nation and people. The greater its influence among the nations of the world, the more rapidly the gospel spreads. But the Lord has told us that all nations, the United States included, shall cease to be when he comes” (The Millennial Messiah, 491).
“We are fast approaching that moment prophesied by Joseph Smith when he said: ‘Even this nation will be on the very verge of crumbling to pieces and tumbling to the ground, and when the Constitution is upon the brink of ruin, this people will be the staff upon which the nation shall lean, and they shall bear the Constitution away from the very verge of destruction” (Church Historian’s Office, Salt Lake City, July 19, 1840) (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, 623 - 624).
Words of James Burgess: “In the month of May 1843, several miles east of Nauvoo, the Nauvoo Legion was on parade and review, at the close of which Joseph Smith made some remarks upon our condition as a people and upon our future prospects, contrasting our present condition with our past trials and persecutions by the hands of our enemies; also upon the Constitution and government of the United States, stating that the time would come when the Constitution and government would hang by a brittle thread and would be ready to fall into other hands, but this people, will step forth and save it. . . .I, James Burgess, was present and testify to the above” (The Words of Joseph Smith, 279).
EZRA TAFT BENSON
“The Lord told the Prophet Joseph Smith there would be an attempt to overthrow the country by destroying the Constitution. Joseph Smith predicted that the time would come when the Constitution would hang, as it were, by a thread, and at that time ‘this people will step forth and save it from the threatened destruction’ (Journal of Discourses, 7:15). It is my conviction that the elders of Israel, widely spread over the nation, will at that crucial time successfully rally the righteous of our country and provide the necessary balance of strength to save the institutions of constitutional government” (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, 618 - 619).
President Harold B. Lee (speaking in October 1973)
Men may fail in this country, earthquakes may come, seas may heave beyond their bounds, there may be great drought, disaster, and hardship, but this nation, founded on principles laid down by men whom God raised up, will never fail.
This is the cradle of humanity, where life on this earth began in the Garden of Eden. This is the place of the New Jerusalem. . . . This is the place where the Savior will come to His temple.
We are living in a time of great crisis. The Country is torn with scandal and with criticism, with faultfinding and condemnation. There are those who have downgraded the image of this nation as probably never before in the history of the country.
I plead with you not to preach pessimism. Preach that this is the greatest country in all the world. . . . It is the nation that will stand despite whatever trials or crises it may yet have to pass through.
We must be on the optimistic side. This is a great nation; this is a great country; this is the most favored of all lands. While it is true that there are dangers and difficulties that lie ahead of us, we must not assume that we are going to stand by and watch the country go to ruin. We should not be heard to predict ills and calamities for the nation. On the contrary, we should be providing optimistic support for the nation.
You must remember . . . that this church is one of the most powerful agencies for the progress of the world, and we should . . . all sound with one voice. We must tell the world how we feel about this land and this nation and should bear our testimonies about the great mission and destiny that it has.
If we do this, we will help turn the tide of this great country and lessen the influence of the pessimists. We must be careful that we do not say or do anything that will further weaken the country. It is the negative, pessimistic comments about the nation that do as much harm as anything to the country today. We who carry these sacred responsibilities must preach the gospel of peace, and peace can only come by overcoming the things of the world. Now, we must be the dynamic force that will help turn the tide of fear and pessimism.
(Excerpts from a talk given at Ricks College Devotional Assembly, “Have Faith in America,” October 26, 1973, and printed in two sources:Ye Are the Light of the World: Selected Sermons and Writings of Harold B. Lee, 340, 350-351, and The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, edited by Clyde J. Williams, 365-366.)