President Dallin H. Oaks: ‘Defending Our Divinely Inspired Constitution’

Of the First Presidency

Notable quotes:

“We should trust in the Lord and be positive about this nation’s future.”
“Independent actions will sometimes require voters to support candidates or political parties or platforms whose other positions they cannot approve.”
“We teach correct principles and leave our members to choose how to prioritize and apply those principles on the issues presented from time to time.”

Summary points:

  • The United States Constitution is of special concern to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because of its importance in the restoration of the gospel. Although Church members believe that the Constitution was divinely inspired, “when exercised by imperfect mortals their intended effects have not always been achieved.”
  • Because of the many threats that undermine the Constitution’s inspired principles, Latter-day Saints have a responsibility to uphold and defend the U.S. Constitution by praying for the Lord to guide and bless all nations and leaders.
  • Latter-day Saints must also learn and advocate the principles of the Constitution. “We should seek out and support wise and good persons who will support those principles in their public actions (Doctrine and Covenants 98:10). We should be knowledgeable citizens who are active in making our influence felt in civic affairs.”

Talk summary:

The United States Constitution contains at least five divinely inspired principles.

First, the source of government power is the people. “The Constitution established a constitutional democratic republic, where the people exercise their power through their elected representatives.”

Second is the division of delegated power between the nation and its subsidiary states.

Third is the separation of powers, or the delegation of “independent executive, legislative and judicial powers so these three branches could exercise checks upon one another.”

Fourth is the cluster of guarantees of individual rights and specific limits on government authority in the Bill of Rights.

Fifth is “the vital purpose of the entire Constitution. We are to be governed by law and not by individuals, and our loyalty is to the Constitution and its principles and processes, not to any officeholder.”

Because of the many threats that undermine the principles of the Constitution, Latter-day Saints have a unique responsibility to uphold and defend the U.S. Constitution by praying for the Lord to guide and bless all nations and their leaders.  

Members of the Church must also learn and advocate the principles of the Constitution by seeking out wise and good persons and be knowledgeable citizens.

“No party, platform or individual candidate can satisfy all personal preferences. Each citizen must therefore decide which issues are most important to him or her at any particular time. Then, members should seek inspiration on how to exercise their influence according to their individual priorities. This process will not be easy.”

In the news:

About the speaker:

  • President Dallin H. Oaks was called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 1984.
  • President Oaks was a law clerk to Chief Justice Earl Warren at the U.S. Supreme Court and later served as a Utah Supreme Court justice until his call to apostleship in 1984.
  • President Oaks and his late wife, June Dixon Oaks, are the parents of six children. She died July 21, 1998. On August 25, 2000, he married Kristen M. McMain in the Salt Lake Temple.

Recently on social:

  • On March 15, President Oaks taught how to increase personal faith in Jesus Christ on his social media pages.
  • In a post Jan. 14, President Oaks shared the book that he created with his wife, Sister Kristen Oaks, which is a compilation of accounts from their extended families and ancestry.
  • In an Oct. 29 social media post, President Eyring invited his followers to share blessings that they’ve seen from using the correct name of the Lord’s church.