Andrew Sullivan points to a very interesting statement from Ezra Taft Benson when he was president of the Mormon church, which makes it official church doctrine. I often joke about the Christian nation crowd believing that the Constitution was delivered to George Washington by Jesus himself while Washington was praying at Mt. Sinai, but it turns out the Mormons actually believe something very close to that:
Our Father in Heaven planned the coming forth of the Founding Fathers and their form of government as the necessary great prologue leading to the restoration of the gospel. Recall what our Savior Jesus Christ said nearly two thousand years ago when He visited this promised land: “For it is wisdom in the Father that they should be established in this land, and be set up as a free people by the power of the Father, that these things might come forth” (3 Ne. 21:4). America, the land of liberty, was to be the Lord’s latter-day base of operations for His restored church…. For behold, this is a land which is choice above all other lands; wherefore he that doth possess it shall serve God or shall be swept off; for it is the everlasting decree of God. And it is not until the fulness of iniquity among the children of the land, that they are swept off…
I reverence the Constitution of the United States as a sacred document. To me its words are akin to the revelations of God, for God has placed His stamp of approval upon it. I testify that the God of heaven sent some of His choicest spirits to lay the foundation of this government, and He has now sent other choice spirits to help preserve it.
We, the blessed beneficiaries of the Constitution, face difficult days in America, “a land which is choice above all other lands” (Ether 2:10).
I especially love the part about God sending “some of His choicest spirits.” Apparently some of the spirits he might have sent wouldn’t have been nearly as effective as the ones he actually sent. Is there some sort of divine ranking system for spirits, like an AP poll? Sullivan also links to a page about the spirits of the Founding Fathers themselves appearing to a previous LDS president:
The spirits of the dead gathered around me, wanting to know why we did not redeem them. Said they, “You have had the use of the Endowment House for a number of years, and yet nothing has ever been done for us. We laid the foundation of the government you now enjoy, and we never apostatized from it, but we remained true to it and were faithful to God.” These were the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and they waited on me for two days and two nights. I thought it very singular, that notwithstanding so much work had been done, and yet nothing had been done for them … I straightway went into the baptismal font and called upon brother McCallister [sic] to baptize me for the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and fifty other eminent men, making one hundred in all, including John Wesley, Columbus, and others…
This is starting to sound a lot like the Unification Church’s document called A Cloud of Witnesses, wherein they claim that the dead founders of all the world’s religions, along with nearly every great leader in history, met in the “spirit world” to declare that the Rev. Moon was the true savior of mankind. It’s one of the most insane things ever written, but this is just as crazy.
Sullivan also notes that George Washington, Ben Franklin and many others were posthumously made high priests of Mormonism, which is equally loony. He writes:
In some ways, Mormonism is the perfect form of Christianity for Christianist nationalist politics. It is the only form of Christianity that believes Jesus visited America; that the Garden of Eden was somewhere in Missouri; and the only one that, as a theological proposition, sees the US Constitution as an integral part of the divine order, and one that Jesus personally foresaw in his appearances in America two millennia ago, and blessed.
That’s a good point.