Dual Duties as Members and Citizens

It is a history and belief in the Church that goes back to Book of Mormon times--citizens of a community are responsible to do all they can to put who they believe are good, righteous leaders in positions of power. "We must not assume that since the Constitution embodies a 'divinely inspired' political system the machinery of checks and balances, separation of powers, and other constitutional limitations will automatically preserve political and moral freedom for the individual," a 1972 Ensign article stated. "The prophets have made clear that no constitution or set of laws, written or unwritten, can by themselves protect a nation from corrupt leaders. Brigham Young remarked, 'No matter how good a government is, unless it is administered by righteous men, an evil government will be made of it.'" Elder M. Russell Ballard reinforced the importance of Church members exercising their duty to vote in a media interview in October. "We teach our people that it's our duty to seek out and find good honest men and women of value, with values and virtue and honesty and integrity and encourage them to run for office and then to use their agency to vote for whomever they choose," Elder Ballard said. "The Church does not tell anyone how to use that agency, but as a principle we have an obligation as, as citizens of our countries wherever we happen to live, be it in the United States or in other countries, to do our part to find good honest people to lead us." While many recognize the responsibility of members to be involved in politics, the Church stated its concern with political and civic complacency. "The temptation is strong to allow civic participation to become so totally overshadowed by day-to-day concerns... it might be wise to remind ourselves that no constitution or set of protective laws is self-executing," an Ensign article stated. "Guarantees of political freedom maintain their force only if citizens are willing to exercise that freedom in their own behalf. If men and women of character fail to participate in the political decisions that shape their lives, others with more selfish motives will inevitably rush in to fill the void." During these next few months, and into the coming year, many recognize the importance of fulfilling our dual duties as members of the Church, and as citizens of the United States, will be vital to the future leadership of our country.
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