“U.S. Members Urged to Participate in Bicentennial Celebrations,” Ensign, Apr. 1974, 71
The First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve have approved plans for the participation of the Church in nationwide observances for the United States’ Bicentennial in 1976.
A Church Bicentennial Committee, under the general chairmanship of Elder L. Tom Perry, Assistant to the Council of the Twelve, is currently planning ways and means by which Saints everywhere, particularly those in the United States, will be given opportunities to become involved in Bicentennial activities.
“It seems in keeping with the significance of the Bicentennial,” said Elder Perry, “that all members of our Church become more familiar with the history and background of this country and its Constitution, which have made possible the restoration of the Savior’s church in the latter days.
“It is important that members of the Church living in the United States become individually involved on a local basis, and in such a way as to build themselves, their country, and their church.”
Early American history, the framing of the Constitution, civic responsibilities, and the relationship of citizens to their governments will be woven into lesson materials for Church priesthood quorums and auxiliary organizations, Elder Perry said.
However, most of these lesson materials will be used only in the United States.
Elder Perry said that special contests related to the Bicentennial are being planned for members of the Church in stakes and missions in the United States. Both local and Churchwide competition will be held in categories such as short stories, poetry, novels, music, art, and photography.
Church congregations and individual members are also encouraged to participate in their state and community Bicentennial observances, as well as the Latter-day Saint-sponsored exhibits, parades, and open houses designed to inform nonmembers of the Church’s beliefs concerning America and its divinely inspired Constitution.
Elder Perry said that he has encouraged Church leaders throughout the country to begin planning activities such as dances, plays, musicals, festivals, sports events, speeches, exhibits, firesides, and other meetings to carry the Bicentennial theme.
“Many research projects and publications will be included in the Church’s observances,” he said. “We shall be cooperating with the Bicentennial Commissions of Utah and other states in the projects they will undertake. We also encourage research and the publication of books dealing with this special subject.
“Members of the Church have made many contributions to the building of America from her early days to the present time. Recognizing these things and honoring the Constitution should be part of our Bicentennial effort,” he said.
Elder Perry said that U.S. stake and mission coordinators of Bicentennial activities have been appointed, and they will cooperate with the general committee in Salt Lake City.