The establishment of the United States Constitution was a historic and essential step in preparing for the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Constitution made possible the United States of America, with the personal and religious freedoms necessary for the Lord’s work in these latter days. It is from this country that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, as the stone cut out of the mountain without hands, is rolling forward to fill the whole earth. This miraculous latter-day work could not have begun, nor could it have continued, without the establishment of the Constitution of the United States.

Throughout the Church’s History, leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have frequently taught that the United States Constitution was divinely inspired. They have consistently expressed respect for the founding of the United States and the adoption of the Constitution.


In a December 1833 revelation to Joseph Smith, the Lord, described the divine inspiration of the Constitution:

According to the laws and constitution of the people, which I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles . . . And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood.

While incarcerated in Liberty, Missouri, in 1839, Joseph Smith acknowledged in a letter to the Church that even as the Latter-day Saints were denied their constitutional rights, he still celebrated that Constitution:

Also hence we say that the constitution of the unitid States is a glorious standard it is founded in the wisdom of God. it is a heavenly banner it is to all those who are privilaged with the sweats of its liberty like the cooling shades and refreshing watters of a greate rock in a thirsty and a weary land it is like a greate tree under whose branches men from evry clime can be shielded from the burning rays of an inclemant sun.

While living in Nauvoo, Illinois, Joseph Smith described the Constitution as a divinely inspired document that would be saved. Joseph and other Church leaders voiced criticism of political leaders who they felt were disregarding the Constitution’s protection of individual liberties by leading, or at least condoning, the persecution of the Latter-day Saints. In this context, Joseph and other Church leaders called for revisions to the Constitution, including allowing the Bill of Rights to apply to the individual states and increasing the power of the federal government to protect religious minority groups.

Then the Enemy shall come as a thief in the night and scatter the servants abroad when the seed of these 12 Olive trees are scattered abroad they will wake up the Nations of the whole earth 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 up[on] which they shall lean and they shall bear the constitution away from the very verge of destruction.

The aspirations and expectations of a virtuous people, environed with so wise, so liberal, so deep, so broad, and so high a charter of equal rights, as appears in said Constitution, ought to be treated by those to whom the administration of the laws are intrusted, with as much sanctity, as the prayers of the saints are treated in heaven….


In the Utah Territory, President Brigham Young often clashed with federal authorities and publicly spoke of the theocratic government prophesied to replace earthly governments at the time of the second coming of Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, he made it clear that, despite the view of earthly governments as probationary, he and the Latter-day Saints upheld the United States Constitution:

It is alleged and reiterated that we do not love the institutions of our country. I say, and have said for many years, that the Constitution and laws of the United States combine the best form of Government in force upon the earth.

President John Taylor made most of his public comments on the Constitution in the context of federal prosecution of Saints practicing plural marriage. He insisted on the divine inspiration of the Constitution and Latter-day Saint adherence as part of his defense of plural marriage. He portrayed federal prosecution as opposed to the Constitution, arguing that the federal government could not regulate marriage in Utah Territory as plural marriage was a religious rite.

Have we been opposed to the United States? No! no! no! We never have and we are at the defiance of all men to prove anything of the kind. There are falsehoods set afoot by low, degraded, unprincipled men. We believe that the Constitution of the United States was given by inspiration of God. And why? Because it is one of those instruments which proclaims liberty throughout the land, and to all the inhabitants thereof.

At the end of the 1880s, legislators continued to advocate against the Latter-day Saints over the practice of plural marriage and rumors that the portions of the endowment ordinance were in conflict with the laws of the United States. On one instance, when critics of the Church were seeking to disenfranchise Church members, President Wilford Woodruff responded with a statement to the Associated Press in which he reaffirmed the Saints’ loyalty to the United States Constitution:

There is absolutely nothing in the Mormon’s religion inconsistent with the most patriotic devotion to the government of the United States. Revelation and the commandments of the church require that the Constitution and the laws of the land be upheld. It is also part of our belief that the time will come when the country will be distracted and general lawlessness prevail. Then the Mormon people will step forward and take an active part in rescuing the nation from ruin.


The period between 1890 and 1930 was an era of transition for the Church. As Latter-day Saints became better integrated in American society, the invocation of the Constitution by Church leaders was less in the vein of preserving the rights of Church members and the existence of the Church, and more focused on preserving American freedoms domestically and extending them abroad.

For instance, Church leaders defended the Constitution amid social and political revolutions around the world that they believed threatened the free exercise of religion in the early twentieth century. During the Mexican Revolution, President Joseph F. Smith taught:

Our people from Mexico are suffering from the effects of that same spirit [of anarchy]. We do not want any more of it, and we cannot afford to yield to that spirit or contribute to it in the least degree. We should stand with a front like flint against every spirit or species of contempt or disrespect for the Constitution of our country and the constitutional laws of our land.

Church leaders similarly spoke of protecting the Constitution amid the outbreak of World War I. In 1918, President Charles W. Penrose of the First Presidency declared:

There is a power in Europe which seeks to overspread the world and bring the whole earth under bondage. But the principles embodied in the Constitution of our country are at variance with this, and it is part of our mission as children of the Lord, as saviors on Mount Zion, to carry the spirit of good government, to establish peace on righteous principles, to extend freedom to all mankind, freedom to the full extent of human rights, preservative also of the rights of others.

Domestically, some Church leaders believed that the increased power of the United States federal government from New Deal legislation in the 1930s might undermine the Constitution, endanger individual liberties, and make Americans “slaves” of the state. In 1935, President J. Reuben Clark said:

A proper understanding of the Constitution of the United States makes clear that, under it, there is no room in America for a dictatorship. There are those in subordinate positions in government, there are those among us, citizens of this country, who are looking forward to some sort of overturning which would make opportunity for the establishment of some other sort of government than that provided by our Constitution. It is my faith and belief that these overtures, these revolutionists, are but few, but they are attacking the citadel of our liberties, they are attacking the guarantee of the freedom of our worship, and the Latter-day Saints cannot be numbered among them.

Church leaders also defended the Constitution amid the rise of totalitarianism during World War II. In 1943, Elder George F. Richards of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said:

We are living in perilous times. Many of the Latter-day Saints are troubled in their minds, have great anxiety because of the war and because their loved ones—husbands, brothers, and sons—must of necessity engage in the war, many of whose lives have been lost and others are in jeopardy and in danger. We regard the cause as a just one. This country was given to us of the Lord. The constitution and laws of the country were given to us of the Lord. Our liberty and our freedom came from the Lord, and, where it is necessary, we must fight to maintain that freedom, and liberty, and peace.


In response to social and political changes in the United States and abroad following World War II, a new American conservatism emerged that focused on the “original intent” of the framers of the Constitution in a way that emphasized the text of the Constitution as sacred, whereas previous generations had emphasized the “living” nature of the document and how it could be adapted to the needs of living generations. Within the Church, President Ezra Taft Benson was one of the leading voices in this new conservative movement, frequently speaking on the dangers of communism and the sacredness of the Constitution. In 1986, he delivered a devotional address at Brigham Young University in which he said:

I reverence the Constitution of the United States as a sacred document. To me its words are akin to the revelations of God, for God has placed his stamp of approval on the Constitution of this land. I testify that the God of heaven sent some of his choicest spirits to lay the foundation of this government, and he has sent other choice spirits—even you who hear my words this day—to preserve it. We, the blessed beneficiaries, face difficult days in this beloved land, “a land which is choice above all other lands” (Ether 2:10). It may also cost us blood before we are through. It is my conviction, however, that when the Lord comes, the Stars and Stripes will be floating on the breeze over this people. May it be so, and may God give us the faith and the courage exhibited by those patriots who pledged their lives and fortunes that we might be free.

Just recently, President Dallin H. Oaks spoke about the United States Constitution in the April 2021 General Conference. Like his predecessors in Church leadership, he defended the divine inspiration behind the Constitution. Additionally, he specified our duty to uphold and protect it. As Latter-day Saints, may we have the faith and courage to heed his inspired words and teachings:

“The United States Constitution is unique because God revealed that He “established” it “for the rights and protection of all flesh”  . That is why this constitution is of special concern for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints throughout the world…”

“Our belief in divine inspiration gives Latter-day Saints a unique responsibility to uphold and defend the United States Constitution and principles of constitutionalism wherever we live. We should trust in the Lord and be positive about this nation’s future.

What else are faithful Latter-day Saints to do? We must pray for the Lord to guide and bless all nations and their leaders. This is part of our article of faith…”

“There are other duties that are part of upholding the inspired Constitution. We should learn and advocate the inspired principles of the Constitution. We should seek out and support wise and good persons who will support those principles in their public actions. We should be knowledgeable citizens who are active in making our influence felt in civic affairs.

In the United States and in other democracies, political influence is exercised by running for office (which we encourage), by voting, by financial support, by membership and service in political parties, and by ongoing communications to officials, parties, and candidates. To function well, a democracy needs all of these, but a conscientious citizen does not need to provide all of them…”

“I testify of the divinely inspired Constitution of the United States and pray that we who recognize the Divine Being who inspired it will always uphold and defend its great principles.”