How big a deal was this? Well, Dallin H. Oaks, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, recently pointed out, "After two centuries, every nation in the world except six have adopted written constitutions, and the U.S. Constitution was a model for all of them. No wonder modern revelation says that God established the U.S. Constitution and that it ‘should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles’ (D&C 101:77)” (“The Divinely Inspired Constitution,” Ensign, Feb. 1992, 68)
The same magazine, this month, asks, "Do Latter-day Saints believe the U.S. Constitution is a divinely inspired document? The Lord Himself answered that question when He declared, “I established the Constitution … by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose” (D&C 101:80). Since the time of the Prophet Joseph Smith, who called the U.S. Constitution “a heavenly banner” (in History of the Church, 3:304), latter-day prophets have said the Constitution is divinely inspired, declaring that America by divine design was prepared as the place for the Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ. The freedoms and protections enumerated in the Constitution—including freedom of speech, assembly, and religion—made the Restoration possible.
The Church respects the rule of law and constitutional government in every nation and expects Latter-day Saints to adhere to the law, to use their influence to promote and preserve their God-given rights, and “to make popular that which is sound and good, and unpopular that which is unsound” (Joseph Smith, in History of the Church, 5:286)."
Modern scripture also affirms "that law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me. Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land; And as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil." (D&C 98:5-7)
Another modern prophet, David O. McKay, declared "Next to being one in worshiping God, there is nothing in this world upon which this church should be more united than in upholding the Constitution of the United States! (1956, The Instructor, 91:34)
Considering the importance of this founding document, both for political and religious reasons, shouldn't we study, understand, and teach this to our children and others?
There is a booklet produced by the LDS church, with "Family Home Evening" lessons about the Constitution, see this post for more on that. It's out of print, but the post has a link to a pdf. It's a great place to start. For links to ideas, games, videos, and more, see below. There are lots; pick what will best help you and your family!
- America- the Dream Goes On (4 min.)
- Constitutional Principles- the difference between a republic and a democracy (and which are we?- 5 min.)
- The Bill of Rights rap song (free download)
- Schoolhouse Rock song on the Preamble (3 min. NOTE: they shortened the first line from “We the people of the United States, in order…” to “We the people, in order…” A second version, without the original cartoon illustration.
- Battle Hymn of the Republic/America the Beautiful (3 min., music, no pictures)
- A More Perfect Union, feature-length film, 1989. The Commission on the Bicentennial of the United States Constitution recognized this as “of exceptional merit”.
- Constitution class: 8 hours/ 43 parts
- Send a Constitution Day e-card
- http://www.constitutionfacts.com/us-constitution-kids/us-history-quiz/! Different level quizzes.
- Quiz on the Preamble (watch the Schoolhouse Rock link a couple times first!) -note that the definition they give here for "general welfare" is not what the Founders said.
- Crossword Puzzles
- Word Search
- Treasure Hunt - a list of questions, you look through the Constitution, Preamble, or Bill of Rights to check your answers.
- Photo of the original Constitution
- Ways to Celebrate Constitution Day- from the Bill of Rights Institute
- Teaching packet from NCCS (National Center for Constitutional Studies)
- Another Family Home Evening lesson based on the booklet
- Know Your Constitution by Bruce R. McConkie- 20 segments to this series, printed in 1945
- 101 Constitutional Questions to ask Candidates, W. Cleon Skousen
- Inspired Constitution, by Joseph L. Wirthlin, LDS General Conference Oct. 1939
- The Constitution, J. Reuben Clark, Conference April 1957.
- Ezra Taft Benson quotes on freedom, Constitution
- The Divinely Inspired Constitution, Dallin H. Oaks
- God's Hand in the Founding of America, L. Tom Perry
- The Constitution- a Glorious Standard, Ezra Taft Benson
- Restoring Morality and Religious Freedom, Quentin L. Cook, Sept. 2012 Ensign
Scriptures (links from a search on http://www.lds.org/scriptures/)
- constitutional law should be befriended, D&C 98:5–6
- the Lord caused Constitution to be established, D&C 101:77, 80
- prayer that Constitution be maintained, D&C 109:54
- Governments are instituted of God for the benefit of mankind, D&C 134:1–5
- Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, Matt. 22:21 (D&C 63:26).
- Be subject to the higher powers, Rom. 13:1
- Pray for kings and all in authority, 1 Tim. 2:1–2
- Be subject to principalities and powers and obey magistrates, Titus 3:1
- Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, 1 Pet. 2:13–14
- Jesus Christ shall be the ultimate governor of the earth, Rev. 11:15