My husband who is German sometimes doesn't understand why Americans are so patriotic. Germans are proud to be German but they are not as patriotic about their country as Americans are. Over the years I have tried to help him understand why this is and I think he gets it now.
This nation is a land consecrated by God to bless all who desire to worship Him freely to have a place to do so. As long as we remember Him and worship Him, He will protect this land. It is a land of refuge for the oppressed. It is a land of liberty and a land of freedom. It is a land of prosperity. It is a land that other nations have looked to for aid. This land was kept undiscovered from the rest of the world for quite a time as it was being reserved for a sacred purpose. This would be the land where the New Jerusalem would be built and where Christ would reign when he returns.
The Book of Mormon contains the records of the first people who came here seeking freedom and safety. Yes, way before the pilgrims. The Jaredite people (2200 B.C) and the Nephite people (600 B.C) who left Jerusalem and traveled across the ocean by faith, were led by God to this great land to preserve a record for our day containing instruction from the Lord to warn us and guide us in the days leading up to the Savior's return. When reflecting upon this, these scriptures comes to mind:
7 For as Joseph brought his father down into the land of Egypt, even so he died there; wherefore, the Lord brought a remnant of the seed of Joseph out of the land of Jerusalem, that he might be merciful unto the seed of Joseph that they should perish not, even as he was merciful unto the father of Joseph that he should perish not.
2 Nephi 1:8
8 Wherefore, the remnant of the house of Joseph shall be built upon this land; and it shall be a land of their inheritance; and they shall build up a holy city unto the Lord, like unto the Jerusalem of old; and they shall no more be confounded, until the end come when the earth shall pass away.
2 Nephi 10:10
10 But behold, this land, said God, shall be a land of thine inheritance, and the Gentiles shall be blessed upon the land.
2 Nephi 1:19
9 Wherefore, I, Lehi, have obtained a promise, that inasmuch as those whom the Lord God shall bring out of the land of Jerusalem shall keep his commandments, they shall prosper upon the face of this land; and they shall be kept from all other nations, that they may possess this land unto themselves. And if it so be that they shall keep his commandments they shall be blessed upon the face of this land, and there shall be none to molest them, nor to take away the land of their inheritance; and they shall dwell safely forever.
20 Behold, whosoever will maintain this title upon the land, let them come forth in the strength of the Lord, and enter into a covenant that they will maintain their rights, and their religion, that the Lord God may bless them.
15 And the brother of Jared repented of the evil which he had done, and did call upon the name of the Lord for his brethren who were with him. And the Lord said unto him: I will forgive thee and thy brethren of their sins; but thou shalt not sin any more, for ye shall remember that my Spirit will not always strive with man; wherefore, if ye will sin until ye are fully ripe ye shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord. And these are my thoughts upon the land which I shall give you for your inheritance; for it shall be a land choice above all other lands.
2 Nephi 10:12
12 And I will fortify this land against all other nations.
3 Nephi 24:12
12 And all nations shall call you blessed, for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of Hosts.
Ether 1:4343 And there will I bless thee and thy seed, and raise up unto me of thy seed, and of the seed of thy brother, and they who shall go with thee, a great nation. And there shall be none greater than the nation which I will raise up unto me of thy seed, upon all the face of the earth. And thus I will do unto thee because this long time ye have cried unto me.
This nation was founded upon principals of God. We have seen throughout history that those who have dwelled upon this land and perverted the word of God have faced and experienced destruction. God has promised us that if we serve Him, this land will be protected. If we break or promise, then He is not bound to keep His end of the deal. As we watch the slow demise of our country along with the demise of righteousness and all that was once considered good, true and sacred, it's tough to remain optimistic and often we feel beaten down, frustrated and hopeless.
After all, the prophets have promised and warned us:
Ether 2:12 12 Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ, who hath been manifested by the things which we have written.
Ether 8:22 22 And whatsoever nation shall uphold such secret combinations, to get power and gain, until they shall spread over the nation, behold, they shall be destroyed; for the Lord will not suffer that the blood of his saints, which shall be shed by them, shall always cry unto him from the ground for vengeance upon them and yet he avenge them not.
However, I think we often forget that we know the ending to this story. Christ will return to this earth. A city will be prepared where the saints will gather and where Christ will personally reign. This land will not be destroyed, it was consecrated for a sacred purpose. We have reason to be full of hope, optimistic and excited! Not only have prophets of old testified this to us as they had seen our day, but modern day prophets who have lived among us have given us direct prophecy from the Lord. They have seen what is coming and have given us great reason to be hopeful:
PRESIDENT JOSEPH SMITH
We are fast approaching that moment prophesied by Joseph Smith when he said: ‘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 upon which the nation shall lean, and they shall bear the Constitution away from the very verge of destruction” (Church Historian’s Office, Salt Lake City, July 19, 1840) (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, 623 - 624).
Words of James Burgess: “In the month of May 1843, several miles east of Nauvoo, the Nauvoo Legion was on parade and review, at the close of which Joseph Smith made some remarks upon our condition as a people and upon our future prospects, contrasting our present condition with our past trials and persecutions by the hands of our enemies; also upon the Constitution and government of the United States, stating that the time would come when the Constitution and government would hang by a brittle thread and would be ready to fall into other hands, but this people, the Latter-day Saints, will step forth and save it. . . .I, James Burgess, was present and testify to the above” (The Words of Joseph Smith, 279).
PRESIDENT BRUCE R. McCONKIE
“It is our firm conviction as a people that the stars and stripes will be waving triumphantly in the breeze, as a symbol of the greatness and stability of the United States of America, when the Lord comes. This nation was established to be the Lord’s base of operations in this final gospel dispensation. From it the gospel is to go to every other nation and people. The greater its influence among the nations of the world, the more rapidly the gospel spreads. But the Lord has told us that all nations, the United States included, shall cease to be when he comes” (The Millennial Messiah, 491).
PRESIDENT EZRA TAFT BENSON
“The Lord told the Prophet Joseph Smith there would be an attempt to overthrow the country by destroying the Constitution. Joseph Smith predicted that the time would come when the Constitution would hang, as it were, by a thread, and at that time ‘this people will step forth and save it from the threatened destruction’ (Journal of Discourses, 7:15). It is my conviction that the elders of Israel, widely spread over the nation, will at that crucial time successfully rally the righteous of our country and provide the necessary balance of strength to save the institutions of constitutional government” (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, 618 - 619).
PRESIDENT HAROLD B LEE
"Men may fail in this country, earthquakes may come, seas may heave beyond their bounds, there may be great drought, disaster, and hardship, but this nation, founded on principles laid down by men whom God raised up, will never fail.
This is the cradle of humanity, where life on this earth began in the Garden of Eden. This is the place of the New Jerusalem. . . . This is the place where the Savior will come to His temple.
We are living in a time of great crisis. The Country is torn with scandal and with criticism, with faultfinding and condemnation. There are those who have downgraded the image of this nation as probably never before in the history of the country.
I plead with you not to preach pessimism. Preach that this is the greatest country in all the world. . . . It is the nation that will stand despite whatever trials or crises it may yet have to pass through.
We must be on the optimistic side. This is a great nation; this is a great country; this is the most favored of all lands. While it is true that there are dangers and difficulties that lie ahead of us, we must not assume that we are going to stand by and watch the country go to ruin. We should not be heard to predict ills and calamities for the nation. On the contrary, we should be providing optimistic support for the nation.
You must remember . . . that this church is one of the most powerful agencies for the progress of the world, and we should . . . all sound with one voice. We must tell the world how we feel about this land and this nation and should bear our testimonies about the great mission and destiny that it has.
If we do this, we will help turn the tide of this great country and lessen the influence of the pessimists. We must be careful that we do not say or do anything that will further weaken the country. It is the negative, pessimistic comments about the nation that do as much harm as anything to the country today. We who carry these sacred responsibilities must preach the gospel of peace, and peace can only come by overcoming the things of the world. Now, we must be the dynamic force that will help turn the tide of fear and pessimism."
(Excerpts from a talk given at Ricks College Devotional Assembly, “Have Faith in America,” October 26, 1973, and printed in two sources: Ye Are the Light of the World: Selected Sermons and Writings of Harold B. Lee, 340, 350-351, and The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, edited by Clyde J. Williams, 365-366.)Finally a reminder from the prophet Nephi:
2 Nephi 27:3
3 And all the nations that fight against Zion, and that distress her, shall be as a dream of a night vision; yea, it shall be unto them, even as unto a hungry man which dreameth, and behold he eateth but he awaketh and his soul is empty; or like unto a thirsty man which dreameth, and behold he drinketh but he awaketh and behold he is faint, and his soul hath appetite; yea, even so shall the multitude of all the nations be that fight against Mount Zion.
My own patriarchal blessing speaks of why I was born in this great land of America and how it will bless my life. I read it often and feel the truth of the words burn within my soul. I know that what the prophets have testified to us is true. They warned us because they love us. They were commanded to tell us these things so that we might be prepared and strengthen our faith.
As you see things happen all around you this year and in years to come, and you worry for the future of this country, remember that we have been told that this land will be not be the United States of America when the Savior returns. It will be a new land, a cleansed land.
The popular conservative American constitutionalist and author Cleon Skousen states in his book The Cleansing of America (I highly recommend this book)
"What will happen to the United States of America?
We are told that just as soon as the people adopt God's law, they will be known as 'The Kingdom of God'
Of course the original United States of America will always be remembered with affection and respect as the first free people in modern times, but in view of all the circumstances listed above, it no longer would be appropriate to speak of the United States as anything but a chapter in history.
Notice how appropriate it will be to speak of the new order of things as THE KINGDOM OF GOD. In this new, expansive name, there is no reference to any geographical area, nor will there be any implication of a chauvinistic nature suggesting either racial superiority or regional pride. On the other hand, the royal banner or title of liberty waving over the world under the insignia of the Kingdom of God will be like the Ensign spoken of by Isaiah that announces a new righteous dominion that eventual ly will spread over the entire earth.
The flag of the United States has become the symbol of liberty throughout the world. Tens of thousands gave their lives in an attempt to preserve the principles for which it stood. Because of what the original thirteen states accomplished and what the flag came to represent to the whole world, it will have acquired an eternal life.
Therefore here is what Brigham Young stated on July 8, 1855; 'When the day comes in which the Kingdom of God will bear rule, the flag of the United States will proudly flutter unsullied on the flag staff of liberty and equal rights, without a spot to sully it's fair surface; the glorious flag our fathers have bequeathed to us then will be unfurled to the breeze by those who have power to hoist it aloft and defend it's sanctity.'" (Skousen, Cleon - The Cleansing of America p. 39-40)
Good people of all faiths will unite with the saints of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in defending the constitution. They will prepare for the Savior's return. The Kingdom of God will be built and will be a kingdom of righteous people. People of MANY religions who together desire to live in peace and righteousness will unite. Christ will reign personally and it will be a wonderful time of peace and happiness!
With this knowledge we can go forward with faith that all will be well. We can trust in God that he will not abandon His children. Continue to defend the principles of God. Prepare your family. Serve and love others. Repent of all sin. Free yourself of debt and have an adequate food storage supply and you will not have anything to fear. There is a light at the end of the dark tunnel.
Next weekend we have the opportunity to hear a living prophet and apostles of the Lord speak. They will give us wise counsel and instruction. Click here to learn how to listen to this live broadcast.
I know that God lives. He loves us and He wants us to be happy and return to live with Him again. He has given us the tools to be able to do so. Scriptures, a living prophet, and so much more. I know that if we listen to and heed the words of His leaders we will be greatly blessed. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ - amen.