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Thus runs the ancient record: "And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld that the Gentiles who had gone forth out of captivity, did humble themselves before the Lord; and the power of the Lord was with them; And I beheld that their mother Gentiles were gathered together upon the waters, and upon the land also, to battle against them. And I beheld that the power of God was with them, and also that the wrath of God was upon all those that were gathered together against them to battle. And I, Nephi, beheld that the Gentiles that had gone out of captivity, were delivered by the power of God out of the hands of all other nations." (1 Nephi 13:16-19).
In the economy of God, America, which is veritably the land of Zion, was aforetime consecrated as the home of a free and independent nation. It is the divinely assured inheritance of the "House of Israel"; and people of all nationalities who will abide by the laws of righteousness, which embody the principles of true liberty, may become by adoption members of the House of Israel. For a wise purpose this promised land, the American continent, was long kept from the knowledge of men; and the hand of the Lord has been potent in directing its discovery and in the establishment of the nation of promise and destiny thereon. Nephite prophets reiterated this solemn assurance, and proclaimed as the will and purpose of God that the government of the land should be a government of the people and not the tyranny of kings.
Lehi was explicit in avowal of the Lord's purpose in consecrating America as the home of free men, on conditions of righteousness: "Wherefore I, Lehi, prophesy according to the workings of the Spirit which is in me, that there shall none come into this land, save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord. Wherefore, this land is consecrated unto
him whom he shall bring. And if it so be that they shall serve him according to the commandments which he hath given, it shall be a land of liberty unto them; wherefore, they shall never be brought down into captivity; if so, it shall be because of iniquity; for if iniquity shall abound, cursed shall be the land for their sakes; but unto the righteous it shall be blessed for ever. And behold, it is wisdom that this land should be kept as yet from the knowledge of other nations; for behold, many nations would overrun the land, that there would be no place for an inheritance." (2 Nephi 1:6-8).
DEMOCRACY OF AMERICAN ORIGIN
The Founding of an Ancient Republic
EMOCRACY is indigenous to America.
One of the earliest recorded experiments of representative government by the people was undertaken on the Western Continent; and it was a success.
These statements are not made with reference to the establishment of the United States of America as a free and independent nation, but to events that antedated by nearly a century the birth of Christ.
At that time North America was inhabited by two great peoples, the Nephites and the Lamanites, each named after an early leader, and both originally of one family stock. Except for brief periods of comparative peace the two nations lived in a state of hostility due to Lamanite aggression.
The Nephites were progressive, cultured, and of peaceful
desires, while the Lamanites became degenerate, darkskinned and barbarous. Eventually the Nephite nation was destroyed by its savage foes; the Lamanites persisted and are represented today by their direct descendants, the American Indians.
For five centuries prior to the events now under consideration each nation had been governed by a succession of kings. The Lamanite rulers exercised autocratic sway and relied upon physical force for their power. Some of the Nephite monarchs were almost as bad, though many were notably considerate and just.
The last of the Nephite sovereigns was Mosiah; he died 91 B. C. after a righteous reign of thirty-three years. King in name, he called his people brethren and counted himself their trusted and presiding servant.
A short time before his death Mosiah called for an expression from his people as to whom they desired to succeed him on the throne. There was a united answer; the people wanted the king's son, to whom it was said "the kingdom doth rightly belong." But Aaron, the people's choice, declined the crown, as did his brothers in turn; for all these sons of Mosiah were devoted to the preaching of the Gospel and esteemed the labors of the ministry above the royal estate.
Mosiah seized the opportunity occasioned by the people's loyalty and unity to awaken them to the fact that the powers of government were inherent within themselves, and to urge them to exercise their sovereign rights and assume the privileges and responsibilities of self-rule. He recommended that they abolish the monarchy and establish a Republic according to "the voice of the people."
In a stirring proclamation he set forth the potential dangers of kingly rule and admonished the nation to guard
its liberty as a sacred possession, and to delegate the governing power to officers of its own choosing, whom he called judges, who should be elected by popular vote, and who could be impeached if charged with iniquitous exercise of power and be removed if found unworthy. King Mosiah summarized in a masterly way the fundamentals of true democracy. After reciting the wrongs the people had suffered under monarchical oppression, he continued in this wise:
"Therefore choose you by the voice of this people, judges, that ye may be judged according to the laws which have been given you by our fathers, which are correct, and which were given them by the hand of the Lord.
"Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right; therefore this shall ye observe, and make your law to do your business by the voice of the people. "And if the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon you, yea, then is the time he will visit you with great destruction even as he has hitherto visited this land.
"And now if ye have judges, and they do not judge you according to the law which has been given, ye can cause that they may be judged of a higher judge.
"If your higher judges do not judge righteous judgments, ye shall cause that a small number of your lower judges should be gathered together, and they shall judge your higher judges, according to the voice of the people.
"And I command you to do these things in the fear of the Lord: and I command you to do these things, and that ye have no king.
"And now I desire that this inequality should be no more in this land, especially among this my people; but I desire that this land be a land of liberty, and every man may enjoy his rights and privileges alike." (Book of Mormon, Mosiah 29.)
The affairs of government were to be the concern of the whole commonwealth; for, as the king proclaimed with convincing plainness, "the burden should come upon all the people, that every man might bear his part." It is gratifying to know that the Nephites adopted the proposition, straightway set about creating election districts, and at the appointed time chose by vote the first elective rulers of the new Republic.
From American soil, which of all was first to be prepared for the cultivation of representative government by the people, the seed of democracy shall be carried to every other land, until all men are free, in accordance with Divine intent.
PERPETUITY OF AMERICAN NATION
Assured by Prophecy
S late as but a few months prior to that fateful date
A -August 1, 1914-when the war storm burst in
Europe, some of the world's great ones, eminent in scholarship and leaders of thought, aggressively proclaimed their belief that a great war was impossible. They held that the affairs of nations were so intimately related, the interests common to humanity so closely knit, as to safeguard the