Can you name an emotion today that did not exist a hundred years ago? Or one that didn’t exist, say, two or three thousand years ago?
Impossible. While fresh ways to apply emotions pop up, there are no new emotions. Love, hate, anger, compassion, jealousy, kindness, revenge, caring, lust for power, and a variety of other desires have been with us since the fruit buffet in Eden. Adam and Eve had no more and no fewer emotions to choose from than we do.
Because emotions are timeless, so too must be the principles that control them. The Constitution of the United States of America, for example, demonstrates to the world how timeless principles can and should govern emotions and behaviors, in this case the historically dangerous desire for power. And because immutable principles are embedded in, and indeed are the warp and woof of, the Constitution, the clamor to adjust it to so-called different needs of a technologically advanced society – the “living” Constitution movement – is a farce.
From the 98th and 101st sections of the Doctrine and Covenants,[i] and the document itself, we learn that the Constitution …
Was established by God – “by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose….”
Was not written for Americans alone – it “belongs to all mankind…” and “for the rights and protection of all flesh….”
- Affirms natural God-given rights – “supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges…” and “[that] every man may act in doctrine and principle … according to the moral agency which I have given unto him….”
- Was the first step in the elimination of slavery – “I, the Lord God, make you free…” and “it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another. And for this purpose have I established the Constitution….”
- Affirms the people as sovereign – “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union…. ” and “that every man may be accountable for his own sins….”
- Establishes a limited government – self evident from the structure of the Constitution, but especially the enumerated powers clause and the Tenth Amendment affirming that non-enumerated powers remain with the states and the people.
- Is an ingenious formula for diffusing and controlling power through checks and balances – separation of power, division of power, and enumerated powers. Its principles are the antidote to abuse of power.
The brilliance of our inspired Constitution is that no longer were people to be subjects to a sovereign monarch under the clever but false concept of divine right of kings (invented to keep “lessers” in their supposed place, and a fancy way of taking the name of God in vain), but were to be sovereigns themselves – “We the People” granting government its just powers.
This great document was designed to prevent the misuse of power by tyrants, be they kings, czars, or officious overfed functionaries. Breaking away from the divine right of kings took a long time, and we can trace the influence of such philosophers as John Locke and Montesquieu on Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and other Founding Fathers. But the impetus to and guiding hand in its creation came from God, not from man.
In short, the Constitution is God’s way for societies to give their leaders sufficient power to accomplish worthwhile goals, but not so much that they become tyrants.
Yet look what is happening in America. What began as a sovereign people creating a fundamental document that in turn created government … has all but become a sovereign government that treats people as subjects and claims the power to redefine that fundamental document as it wishes.
Such upside-down thinking ignores nature. The child cannot define the parent. The Constitution is not what the Supreme Court says it is; the Constitution is what the Constitution says it is.
Whether we will remain free depends on whether we keep God’s commandments and honor the Constitution as written – no penumbras or emanations. It is a God-given work that Satan must destroy or his purposes fail. It’s that serious a battle.
As John Adams warned: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
[i] Specifically D&C 98:4-8 and D&C 101:77-80