Ezra Taft Benson BYU Devotional on Our Responsibility to Preserve Freedom and Agency
Excerpt from “Our Immediate Responsibility“. BYU Devotional, October 25, 1966.
“No greater immediate responsibility rests upon the members of the church, upon all citizens of this republic and of neighboring republics than to protect the freedom vouchsafed by the Constitution of the United States.” (The Instructor, August, 1953)
In the days of the Prophet Noah, men had no greater immediate responsibility than to repent and board the Ark. Now in our day, the day of the Prophet David O. McKay, he has said that we have no greater immediate responsibility than to protect the freedom vouchsafed by the Constitution of the United States.
At the last general conference of the church (October 1966), President McKay, in his opening address, said,
“Efforts are being made to deprive man of his free agency — to steal from the individual his liberty…. There has been an alarming increase in the abandoning of the ideals that constitute the foundation of the Constitution of the United States.”
Toward the close of his talk, our Prophet, quoting Paul’s letter to Timothy regarding the preaching of the word, said,
“There should be no question in the mind of any true latter day saint as to what we shall preach… the gospel plan of salvation.”
Then President McKay lists the areas our preaching should cover and admonishes us to include in our preaching what governments should or should not do in the interests of the preservation of our freedom.
Do we preach what governments should or should not do as a part of the gospel plan, as President McKay has urged or do we refuse to follow the Prophet by preaching a limited gospel plan of salvation? The fight for freedom cannot be divorced from the gospel — the plan of salvation.
We sing that we are thankful to “God for a Prophet to guide us in these latter days.” By commandment of the Lord we assemble in general conference twice a year to get that guidance from the Lord’s representative. Do we realize that in the last five years prior to October Conference, the Prophet has key noted three of these conferences with an opening discourse on freedom and given nine other addresses in the conferences that touched on freedom?
Do we see any patter here? Can we name any other gospel theme that has received as much emphases from the man who holds the keys as has the theme of freedom?
We do not need a prophet — we have one. What we need is a listening ear, a humble heart, and a soul that is pure enough to follow his inspired guidance.