Ezra Taft Benson

Ezra Taft
Benson
1899
1994

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Author Quotes

Not cheap politicians but statesmen are needed today. Not opportunists but men and women of principle must be demanded by the people. In this time of great stress and danger we must place [in office] only those dedicated to the preservation of our Constitution, our American Republic, and responsible freedom under God. “Oh, God, give us men with a mandate higher than the ballot box.”

Prayer in the hour of need is a great boon. From simple trials to our Gethsemanes, prayer can put us in touch with God, our greatest source of comfort and counsel.

The Founding Fathers understood the principle that “righteousness exalteth a nation”, and helped to bring about one of the greatest systems ever used to govern men. But unless we continue to seek righteousness and preserve the liberties entrusted to us, we shall lose the blessings of heaven. Thomas Jefferson said, “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” The price of freedom is also to live in accordance with the commandments of God. The early Founding Fathers thanked the Lord for His intervention in their behalf. They saw His hand in their victories in battle and believed strongly that He watched over them.

The tenth plank in Karl Marx's Manifesto for destroying our kind of civilization advocated the establishment of free education for all children in public schools. There were several reasons why Marx wanted government to run the schools.…one of them [was that] ‘It is capable of exact demonstration that if every party in the State has the right of excluding from public schools whatever he does not believe to be true, then he that believes most must give way to him that believes least, and then he that believes least must give way to him that believes absolutely nothing, no matter in how small a minority the atheists or agnostics may be.’ It is self-evident that on this scheme, if it is consistently and persistently carried out in all parts of the country, the United States system of national popular education will be the most efficient and widespread instrument for the propagation of atheism which the world has ever seen.

We are an overfed and undernourished nation digging an early grave with our teeth.

What are these fundamental principles which have allowed the United States to progress so rapidly and yet remain free? First, a written Constitution clearly defining the limits of government so that government will not become more powerful than the people.

Nothing is going to startle us more when we pass through the veil to the other side than to realize how well we know our Father and how familiar His face is to us.

Pride does not look up to God and care about what is right. It looks sideways to man and argues who is right. Pride is manifest in the spirit of contention. Was it not through pride that the devil became the devil? Christ wanted to serve. The devil wanted to rule. Christ wanted to bring men to where He was. The devil wanted to be above men. Christ removed self as the force in His perfect life. It was not my will, but thine be done (see Mark 14:36; Luke 22:42).

The Founding Fathers well understood human nature and its tendency to exercise unrighteous dominion when given authority. A Constitution was therefore designed to limit government to certain enumerated functions, beyond which was tyranny.

The United States Constitution has been in existence longer than any written constitution in history. It has been a blessing, not only to our land, but to the world as well. Many nations have wisely adopted concepts and provisions of our Constitution, just as was prophesied.

We are recipients of God's choicest blessings. We enjoy an abundance of material things beyond that enjoyed by any other nation in the history of the world; but unless we keep alive a realization that all these blessings come from God and are a part of our great spiritual heritage, they may crumble as ashes in our hands. "In nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things and obey not his commandments."

When obedience ceases to be an irritant and becomes a quest, in that movement God endows us with power.

Nothing will surprise us more than when we get to heaven and see the Father and realize how well we know Him and how familiar His face is to us.

Pride is characterized by "What do I want out of life?" rather than by "What would God have me do with my life?" It is self-will as opposed to God's will. It is the fear of man over the fear of God.

The Founding Fathers, I repeat, in order that their new experiment — establishment of a new nation of freemen — make sense, had to turn to religion and to the scriptures. They turned to the prophecies, the Decalogue, the Sermon on the Mount. Then when time came for the establishment of the Constitution, and when the time came for them to issue their Declaration of Independence, a sacred document issued in white heat on the anvil of defiance, they appealed to the Almighty. Both at the opening of that document and at its closing they spoke of eternal truths. They spoke of the fact that men are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. At the close they said: “With a firm reliance on Divine Providence we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”

The War that began in heaven is not yet over. The conflict continues on the battlefield of mortality. And one of Lucifer’s primary strategies has been to restrict our agency through the power of earthly governments... We must appreciate that we live in one of history’s most exceptional moments — in a nation and a time of unprecedented freedom. Freedom as we know it has been experienced by perhaps less than one percent of the human family.

We can choose to humble ourselves by confessing and forsaking our sins and being born of God.

When obedience ceases to be an irritant and becomes our quest, in that moment God will endow us with powerÂ… unseen power, without which no man can do his best.

Now, brethren, do not expect perfection in your choice of a mate. Do not be so particular that you overlook her most important qualities of having a strong testimony, living the principles of the gospel, loving home, wanting to be a mother in Zion, and supporting you in your priesthood responsibilities. Of course, she should be attractive to you... And one good yardstick as to whether a person might be the right one for you is this: in her presence, do you think your noblest thoughts, do you aspire to your finest deeds, do you wish you were better than you are?

Rights are either God-given as part of the divine plan, or they are granted by government as part of the political plan. If we accept the premise that human rights are granted by government, then we must be willing to accept the corollary that they can be denied by government.

The Founding Fathers, it is true, with superb genius welded together the safeguards of our freedom. It was necessary, however, for them to turn to the scriptures, to religion, to prayer, in order to have this great experiment make sense to them. And so our freedom is God-given. It ante-dates the Founding Fathers. It is my belief that ours is not just another nation, not just a member of a family of nations. It is a great and glorious nation with a divine mission and it has been brought into being under the inspiration of heaven. I thank God for the knowledge which I have regarding the prophetic history and the prophetic future of this land of America. It is my firm belief that the Constitution of the land was established by men whom the God of Heaven raised up unto that very purpose. It is my firm belief, also, that the God of Heaven guided the Founding Fathers in establishing it for His particular purposes. But God’s purpose is to build people of character, not physical monuments to their material accumulations. The founders of this republic had deeply spiritual beliefs. Their concept of man had a solidly religious foundation. They believed “it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another.” They believed that men were capable of self-government and that it was the job of government to protect freedom and foster private initiative.

The world today speaks a great deal about love, and it is sought by many. But the pure love of Christ differs greatly from what the world thinks of love. Charity never seeks selfish gratification. The pure love of Christ seeks only the eternal growth and joy of others.

We can choose to humble ourselves by conquering enmity toward our brothers and sisters.

When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives. Our love of the Lord will govern the claims for our affection, the demands on our time, the interests we pursue, and the order of our priorities.

Occasionally, we receive questions as to the propriety of Church members receiving government assistance instead of Church assistance. Let me restate what is a fundamental principle. Individuals, to the extent possible, should provide for their own needs. Where the individual is unable to care for himself, his family should assist. Where the family is not able to provide, the Church should render assistance, not the government.

Author Picture
First Name
Ezra Taft
Last Name
Benson
Birth Date
1899
Death Date
1994
Bio

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints