Convention of Statesmen


Land of Religious Freedom

I was privileged to travel to Island Park in Northern Idaho last Friday and spend the evening speaking to the leaders and youth of the Rigby 14th Ward in a beautiful cabin. The fire was lit, the sun was setting behind the Rockies and it was an amazing experience to share my knowledge and testimony of the Prophet of the Restoration, Joseph Smith, Jr.

How I came to love that man and prophet as I studied his life, times and history. Just to be thorough, I studied the cultural, religious, political and business histories of America as well, so that I could fully understand what molded Joseph Smith, Jr. into the man he became. When I testify of the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, through His prophet, Joseph Smith, Jr., truth courses through my veins and spirit.

On another website I write for, I wrote of The America I Love. I have been a fierce patriot of my country from as early as I can recall considering politics, history and the forming of this nation. As I grew older and became more knowledgeable my love for this nation grew. I took the admonition given the citizens of this land to vote for good, righteous men to heart.

Carved out of the harsh territory of the Americas, the United States of America became a symbol of freedom of religion and speech. Indeed, Elder Orson Pratt, an Apostle of the Lord under the tenure of the prophets Joseph Smith, Jr. and Brigham Young said:
"If He had sent the angel in the third century, or in the fourth, or in any of the centuries intervening, before religious liberty was established, the consequence would have been the shedding of the blood of apostles, prophets and saints again, and in order that they might not bring upon themselves this great condemnation the Lord saw that it was far better to postpone the sending of the angel, until He should prepare, among the political governments of the earth, a nation where the church could exist, and have a little degree of safety. And even our nation, the best nation on the earth, having the wisest laws, laws that are calculated, if put into execution, to protect all religious denominations, laws founded upon justice and principles of equity--even in our nation, it has been just as much as the Lord could do, without destroying the agency of man to get His Church once more established on the earth" (Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, 21:310-311).
Even this nation of religious freedom presented a great trial to the Lord and His people and still, despite the difficulties, His kingdom was once again restored to the earth. Had the Lord attempted this in the U.S.S.R., the death and persecution Elder Pratt speaks of would certainly have occurred, in much larger numbers than it did early America. How about Kaiser Wilhem or Hilter's Germany? Perhaps Alexander the Great or Genghis Kahn? Would the restoration of the gospel been easier under their leadership? No, there is no other nation on the face of God's earth, other than America, in which the kingdom of God could be established in its entirety once again.

For the patriots who fought the British and French for our freedom, I salute and thank you. For the Founding Fathers who sacrificed so much, I salute and thank you. For the pioneers who suffered all matters of persecution and tragedy in order to bring forth the Gospel of Jesus Christ into the world once again, I salute and thank you. For all patriots, soldiers and American citizens alike, who fight to keep America free, I salute and thank you.

I know, without question or doubt, the ancestors of Joseph Smith, Jr. were brought to America so that when he knelt in that Sacred Grove on that quiet spring morning in 1820, the Gospel of Jesus Christ could roll forth with the least number of obstacles, which were enormous, nonetheless.

I am so grateful for my ancestors who followed that same path to the new country. In the early 1500's they came, from every part of Europe, mostly the British Isles, all heritage coalescing in me today. How could I do less than my ancestors?
  • I testify of Jesus Christ as they did.
  • I testify of Joseph Smith, Jr. as the Prophet of the Restoration, as they did.
  • I defend this nation and this faith as they did.
  • I stand for freedom as they did.
  • I stand for the right to become the very best I can be, as Jesus Christ intended me to be.
Sometimes I'm popular, sometimes I'm not. There are places where being proud of America is passe. There are places where being a Latter-day Saint can still bring persecution, in fact, extreme persecution. Mitt Romney's run for the Presidency of the United States of America brought that fact into the brightest spotlight. But can I do less than my ancestors in standing for what I believe? No, I cannot.
Land of Religious Freedom Land of Religious Freedom Reviewed by Candace Salima on Thursday, May 08, 2008 Rating: 5