Joseph Smith, the Constitution, and Individual Liberties

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The theological impact of Joseph Smith today is not even questioned. But what of his secular contributions? Was the Prophet important, like Jefferson, for his political insights? What were his constitutional ideals? How important are they now?

It is my intention in this essay to examine some possible sources of Joseph Smith’s views on the Constitution and the importance of individual liberties, his contrasting of ideal and worldly societies, and his strategies for obtaining protection for the rights and liberties of his people. He did not achieve his political goals during his lifetime, but subsequently the essence of his political objectives has been largely realized. Although Joseph Smith’s love of freedom and interest in social justice were no doubt rooted at least partly in his childhood training and his life’s experiences, I propose that scriptural sources were the taproot of his ideas and were central in the development of his constitutional writings.

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