The Constitution and the Great Fundamentals

The assertion that the Constitution of the United States is an inspired document made so frequently by Mormon writers and speakers is rarely probed for its full meaning; generally, they are content to deal with the question rhetorically rather than analytically. The most important exception to this rule, at least among Church leaders, was J. Reuben Clark, Jr.

President Clark is set apart from most Mormon commentators on the Constitution by three distinctive characteristics. The first is the eloquence of his exposition and defense of the Constitution as a political document. As has been said elsewhere, what sets him apart from other Mormon commentators on the Constitution is not primarily his views but “the felicity with which he expressed them, the intensity with which he held them and the persistence with which he repeated them.” Secondly, President Clark’s writings, lectures, and sermons on the Constitution contain, when taken as a whole, a careful, precise, and full statement of the historical, philosophical, and scriptural basis of his convictions. Lastly, President Clark brought to his consideration of the American Constitution a deep sense of history. In his view, “the Constitution was born, not only of the wisdom and experience of the generation that wrought it, but also out of the wisdom of the long generations that had gone before and which had been transmitted to them through tradition and the pages of history.”

Published in BYU Studies Quarterly 13:3
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