Editor’s Note: This is Constitution month, a time to remember who we are and how we came to have our remarkable founding principles. We will be running several articles on the Constitution, written by those who love this document.

A critical issue faces our nation today: Is the Constitution of our country divinely inspired and thus worthy of our vigorous defense, or instead, is it a secular document in need of drastic overhaul to comply with current societal trends?  This raises the preliminary question, “Did the Founding Fathers coincidentally and conveniently appear on the scene at the same time, or were they raised up by God to establish a nation and Constitution inspired by Him?”

Undoubtedly, our Founding Fathers had imperfections, as do all men, but nonetheless, they were chosen instruments in God’s hands. God had the eternal perspective to see beyond their weaknesses, and instead, capitalize on their integrity and incredible strengths. He could see the masterpiece behind the few flawed strokes. God, himself addressed this subject: “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” (D&C 101:80; emphasis added).

In 1877 the Founding Fathers appeared to Wilford Woodruff in the St. George Temple and declared that they had laid the foundation of this government and “remained true to it and were faithful to God.” They then requested that their temple work be done, and it was.

Some years later in a general conference of the Church, President Wilford Woodruff declared:“I am going to bear my testimony …  that those men who laid the foundation of this American government and signed the Declaration of Independence were the best spirits the God of heaven could find on the face of the earth. They were choice spirits, not wicked men. General Washington and all the men that labored for the purpose were inspired of the Lord.”

Historians also understood there was something unique and special about these Founding Fathers. Barbara Tuchman, one such historian, noted: “It would be invaluable if we could know what produced this burst of talent from a base of only two and a half million inhabitants.”

But we do know what produced this burst of talent. It was not a series of random births or genetic aberrations.  Rather, it was pursuant to God’s master plan for America. The Bible tells us that “[God] hath determined the times before appointed [meaning when we would come to the earth] and the bounds of their habitation [meaning where we would be born]” (Acts 17:26). In other words, God directed when and where the Founding Fathers would be born.

God sent these men forth at a specified time and place to fulfill their divinely appointed mission. And what was that mission? It was to form a government that would establish our God-given rights, including freedom of speech and religion, so we would become a nation under God, not a nation without God.

The Declaration of Independence sets forth our God-given rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  But in and of itself this Declaration was not sufficient. We needed a document that would not just define these rights but also protect them—hence the Constitution.

In the dedicatory prayer of the Kirtland Temple, the Prophet Joseph Smith made this plea regarding the Constitution: “May those principles which were so honorably and nobly defended, namely, the Constitution of our land, by our fathers, be established forever” (Doctrine and Covenants 109:54; emphasis added). Note the wording—the Constitution was not to be dismantled or reconstituted but to be established forever. No wonder the Lord declared: “I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land” (Doctrine and Covenants 98:6). And what does a friend do? Support and sustain.

Joseph Smith loved the Constitution. He said, “The Constitution of the United States  is a glorious standard; it is founded on the wisdom of God. It is a heavenly banner.” On another occasion he said: “I am the greatest advocate of the Constitution of the United States there is on the earth.” President George Albert Smith added: “The Constitution of the United States of America is just as much from my Heavenly Father as the Ten Commandments.” No wonder President David O. McKay instructed members of the Church: “Next to being one in worshipping God, there is nothing in this world, upon which the Church should be more united then in upholding and defending the Constitution of the United States.” President Ezra Taft Benson likewise bore testimony of its divine nature: “I reverence the Constitution of the United States as a sacred document. To me the words are akin to the revelations of God, for God has placed His stamp of approval on the Constitution of the land.”  Is there any doubt about how God’s prophets felt and do feel about the Constitution?

Lincoln was so enamored with the Constitution that he wrote: “Let [the Constitution] be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation.”

William Gladstone, a former British Prime Minister observed, “The American Constitution is, so far as I can see, the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man.” Alexis de Tocqueville, one of the foremost authorities on America’s Constitution and its underlying history noted: “The Constitution of the United States is the most perfect Federal Constitution that ever existed.”  James Madison, known as the Father of the Constitution, recognized, however, that it was not the work of man alone: “It is impossible for the man of pious reflection not to perceive in it a finger of that Almighty hand which has been so frequently and signally extended to our relief in the critical stages of the revolution.”  George Washington, while speaking of the Constitution, said that its adoption “will demonstrate as visibly the finger of Providence, as any possible event in the course of human affairs can ever designate it.”

While the Founding Fathers studied ideas from other national charters and profound philosophical thinkers, the Constitution was not just a patchwork of ideas from such charters and scholars. James Madison spoke of the uniqueness of this document in the entirety of history: “[The Founding Fathers] reared the fabrics of government which have no model on the face of the globe.”  Alexis de Tocqueville was in full accord: “No great democratic republic has hitherto existed in the world. … The United States affords the first example of the kind.”

If unwilling to acknowledge the Founding Fathers’ inspired and timely contribution to our democratic republic one must wonder, “Do the critics believe our liberties came about by chance, or alternatively, that they were originated by evil men?” If so, how do they reconcile such a position with the unerring logic of the Savior, who said, “A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit” (Matthew 7:18).  It seems somewhat hypocritical to partake of and enjoy the good fruits of liberty on one hand—freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly and to peacefully protest—while on the other hand criticizing the very tree that produced such fruit—namely, the Founding Fathers.

Some might argue that even without our Founding Fathers, our democratic republic would have eventually evolved, and therefore they did nothing special. But history would not be kind to such a proposition. At the time of our Founders’ noble experiment, there was nothing like it in the world. For centuries, even millennia of recorded history, there was no comparable republic that had the breadth of liberties, separation of powers, and enduring stability of what they created. Greece and Rome certainly had elements of democracy but not nearly the extent of liberties proposed by the Constitution. The world was and had been filled with kings and queens, tyrants and dictators, Caesars and aristocracies, but what nation was truly governed by “we the people” at the time of the Founding Fathers? None. Absolutely none.

Despite the overwhelming evidence that the Constitution is an inspired document, Joseph Smith prophesied that it would one day “hang by a brittle thread.”  This language or similar language was substantiated by Brigham Young, John Taylor, and Jedediah M. Grant. In addition, Eliza R. Snow recorded: “I heard [Joseph Smith] say that the time would come when this nation would so far depart from its original purity, its glory and its love for freedom, and it protection of civil rights and religious rights that the Constitution of our country would hang as it were by a thread. He said also that this people … would rise up and save the Constitution and bear it off triumphantly.”

President Ezra Taft Benson spoke of this specific prophecy and how the Constitution would be saved in the last days: “It will be saved by the citizens of this nation who love and cherish freedom. It will be saved by … men and women who will subscribe to and abide the principles of the Constitution.” Hopefully this includes reference to you and me. And hopefully, we will do all within our power to befriend, uphold, and sustain our inspired Constitution.