Thomas S. Monson
Quotes on Freedom, America, Constitution, Liberty, Etc…
As bearers of the priesthood, we have been placed on earth in troubled times. We live in a complex world with currents of conflict everywhere to be found. Political machinations ruin the stability of nations, despots grasp for power, and segments of society seem forever downtrodden, deprived of opportunity, and left with a feeling of failure.
We who have been ordained to the priesthood of God can make a difference. When we qualify for the help of the Lord, we can build boys, we can mend men, we can accomplish miracles in His holy service. Our opportunities are without limit.
“Ours is the task to be fitting examples. We are strengthened by the truth that the greatest force in the world today is the power of God as it works through man. If we are on the Lord’s errand, brethren, we are entitled to the Lord’s help. Never forget that truth. That divine help, of course, is predicated upon our worthiness. Each must ask: Are my hands clean? Is my heart pure? Am I a worthy servant of the Lord?
“In harmony with our belief that the U.S. Constitution is an inspired document and that America has a special mission,” President Monson said, “the Deseret News will defend and promote the principles of the Constitution and the great freedoms for which the nation stands; indeed, it will promote the free agency of all mankind. We view ourselves as being not just in the newspaper business but in the communication business. As technology or public preferences change, our methods of communication may change, but at all times ours shall be a voice for the principles of our owner, for the canons of responsible journalism and for all other righteous and compatible interests and causes.”
Speaking of “our personal pledge to duty, honor, country,” President Thomas S. Monson told some 19,000 people at a patriotic service here June 28 that those words were “our watchwords, whether in war or peace.”….Quoting Gen. Robert E. Lee of Civil War fame, President Monson said, ” ‘Duty is the sublimest word in our language. Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more; you should never wish to do less.’” He also quoted Harry Emerson Fosdick, a renowned Protestant minister and speaker, saying, “‘ Duty is never worthily performed until it is done by one who would gladly do more if he could.’”
Speaking of honor, President Monson explained, “Honor is akin to duty. It is an expression of our inner selves, a commitment to do that which is right. We remember the adage: ‘You can’t be right by doing wrong, and you can’t be wrong by doing right.’”
As he began his address, President Monson spoke of his love for the flag. He recalled returning from a recent assignment in England, Holland and Denmark and seeing beautiful flags at each house in his neighborhood in commemoration of Flag Day. “Gazing at the sight of Old Glory,” President Monson said, “took me back many years to those boyhood days of long ago.”
He then reminisced about boyhood experiences of being a member of the Junior Red Cross and of the Drum and Bugle Corps of his elementary school. While he could not play the bugle, he said he simply “loved marching and hearing the sound of those who could play while carrying the precious flag to the proper spot and lifting it to the top of the flagpole in reverent silence.”
While he was in junior high school, Pearl Harbor day changed his world and that of Americans everywhere, said President Monson. Toward the end of World War II, he served in the U.S. Navy and said he often waited “for the clear sound of the bugle playing Reveille as morning dawned, and the mournful sound of Taps in the evening indicating lights out. I confess that at such moments I felt a lump in my throat and the beginning of tears in my eyes.”
President Monson told of having gone to eastern Germany in August. He said he was reminded of tense scenes during his first visit 27 years earlier. “Back then, the flame of freedom had flickered and burned low,” he related. “A wall of shame sprang up, and a curtain of iron came down. Hope was all but snuffed out. Life . . . continued on in faith, nothing wavering. Patient waiting was required. An abiding trust in God marked the life of each Latter-day Saint.”
“When I made my initial visit beyond the wall, it was a time of fear on the part of our members as they struggled in the performance of their duties. I found the dullness of despair on the faces of many passersby but a bright and beautiful expression of love emanating from our members.”
President Monson said that he was touched by the members’ sincerity, and humbled by their poverty. “They had so little,” he said. “My heart filled with sorrow because they had no patriarch. They had no wards or stakes-just branches. They could not receive temple blessings-neither endowment nor sealing. No official visitor had come from Church headquarters in a long time. The members were forbidden to leave the country. Yet, they trusted in the Lord with all their hearts, and they leaned not to their own understanding. In all their ways they acknowledged Him, and He directed their paths. I stood at the pulpit, and with tear-filled eyes and a voice choked with emotion, I made a promise to the people: ‘If you will remain true and faithful to the commandments of God, every blessing any member of the Church enjoys in any other country will be yours.’ ”
President Monson said that the heavenly virtue of patience was required. “Little by little the promise was fulfilled,” he said. “First, patriarchs were ordained, then lesson manuals produced. Wards were formed and stakes created. Chapels and stake centers were begun, completed and dedicated. Then miracle of miracles, a holy temple of God was permitted, . . . Finally, after an absence of 50 years, approval was granted for full-time missionaries to enter the nation and for local youth to serve elsewhere in the world. Then, like the wall of Jericho, the Berlin Wall crumbled and freedom, with its attendant responsibilities, returned.”
The final part of the promise was fulfilled when President Monson and his wife, Frances, and Elder Dieter Uchtdorf and his wife, Harriet, went to Goerlitz, the very city where the promise was given 27 years earlier, and dedicated a beautiful meetinghouse there Aug. 27. The precious promise was thus fulfilled.
Still speaking of President Benson’s love of God, President Monson said, “I think we should not overlook the personal, spiritual side of Ezra Taft Benson. He has often said, ‘In this work, it is the spirit that counts.’ In Eastern Germany, when there was a wall and there was an absence of freedom, I have seen people of his generation come forward and ask that they be remembered to the man who saved their lives. Tears would flow from these elderly German saints as they would describe how the wheat came to their homes and to their lives, and spared them starvation. One little woman said, ‘I can remember President Benson standing as the wheat was being distributed and all of us ran our hands through that wonderful, precious life-preserving grain that he helped to develop and, more particularly, brought to our starving children.’”
President Thomas S. Monson, speaking at a musical tribute by some 700 teenagers at the Jefferson Memorial in Washington D.C. on Sept. 17, 1987, said: “I think it is the inspiration of Almighty God that at this particular time we have serving as president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints President Ezra Taft Benson, one of the greatest advocates of freedom, and one of those who loves most the Constitution of this land.”
His voice of warning over many years in the cause of freedom can be found in hundreds of his speeches and in his books, including The Red Carpet, The Title of Liberty, This Nation Shall Endure, and An Enemy Hath Done This. On the two-hundredth anniversary of the signing of the Constitution of the United States, President Thomas S. Monson reflected: “I think it is no small coincidence in fact, I think it is the inspiration of the Almighty God that at this particular time we have serving as president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Ezra Taft Benson, one of the greatest advocates of freedom, and one of those who loves most the Constitution.”
President Monson praised the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge for its work in teaching people about America’s history and instilling patriotism and pride in their hearts. “When we build, let us think that we build forever,” he said, quoting English essayist John Ruskin and referring to the foundation’s great work. “Let it not be for present use nor for present delight alone, but let it be such work that our descendants will thank us for it and will be led in their hearts to say, ‘This our fathers did for us.”
“When we safeguard (the heavenly virtue of freedom), when we honor it, when we protect it, we will walk with Washington, we will pray with patriots, and we shall have peace on earth, good will to men,” President Monson concluded.