“Constitutional Responsibility Encouraged by First Presidency as Elder L. Tom Perry Appointed Chairman of Bicentennial Committee,” Ensign, Nov. 1973, 90
Elder L. Tom Perry, Assistant to the Council of the Twelve, has been appointed general chairman of a committee to initiate and correlate Church activities and observances in connection with the bicentennial of the United States in 1976.
Elder Perry’s appointment was announced by the First Presidency on the 186th anniversary of the signing of the United States Constitution in 1787 in Philadelphia.
In an accompanying statement to Elder Perry’s appointment, the First Presidency said:
“On this, the 186th anniversary of the signing of the divinely inspired Constitution of the United States, we are pleased to announce the appointment of a general committee to initiate and correlate Church activities and observances in connection with the bicentennial in 1976 of the birth of our nation.
“We urge members of the Church and all Americans to begin now to reflect more intently on the meaning and importance of the Constitution, and of adherence to its principles, in giving strength not only to this country but to the entire family of nations.
“In these challenging days, when there are so many influences which would divert us, there is a need to rededicate ourselves to the lofty principles and practices of our founding fathers. While we must never permit an erosion of the freedoms the Constitution guarantees, we cannot let permissiveness replace responsibility.
“The late President J. Reuben Clark, an eminent scholar in Constitutional law and for many years a member of the First Presidency, said 33 years ago:
‘It [the Constitution] gave us, for perhaps the first time in all history, a republic with the three basic divisions of government—the legislative, executive, and judicial—mutually, and completely independent the one from the other, under which it is not possible for any branch of government legally to set up a system by which that branch can first conceive what it wants to do, then make the law ordering its doing, and then, itself, judge its own enforcement of its own law, a system that has always brought extortion, oppression, intimidation, tyranny, despotism—a system that every dictator has employed and must employ.’
“There must be a dedication to observing and honoring the law of the land. To remain strong, we must cherish chastity and fidelity, love of work, personal integrity, and the desire to serve our fellow men. We must always remember that God rules in the affairs of men, and that he is truly the Heavenly Father of all mankind. We are all brothers and sisters.
“No priority should come before responsible parenthood. No unit needs continual strengthening more than the family.
“Under the blessings of liberty secured by the Constitution, we must continue to pursue excellence and progress, but we must recognize that to move forward we must ever hold fast to those moral laws of the Lord which do not change.
“On this anniversary day we invite men and women everywhere to join us in the inspired prayer of a modern prophet: ‘Have mercy, O Lord, upon all the nations of the earth; have mercy on the rulers of our land; may those principles, which were so honorably and nobly defended, namely, the Constitution of our land, by our fathers, be established forever.’” (D&C 109:54.)