‘America is great because she is good’

July 2, 2011 in Featured Question of the Week, How do you explain 'America the Religious'?, Question of the Week by Bob McBride

As we prepare to celebrate July 4, studies show that the wealthier a country is, the less important religion is to that country. The ONE EXCEPTION is the United States of America.

Our question to you this week:


Drawing on your life, your work and your time here in Memphis, how do you explain America the Religious?

America, this glorious land, and Americans, its blessed inhabitants, are not here be chance but by divine design. Is it just a coincidence that we have the longest surviving constitution in the world or is it divine providence?

Several years before George Washington became this country’s first president he wrote:

“The foundation of our empire was not laid in the gloomy age of ignorance and superstition, but in an epoch when the rights of mankind were better understood and more clearly defined than at any former period. The researchers of the human mind after social happiness have been carried to a greater extent, the treasures of knowledge … are laid open for our use, and their collected wisdom may be happily applied in the establishment of our forms of government.” (Henry Steele Commager, “America and the Enlightenment,” in The Development of a Revolutionary Mentality, Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1972, p. 14.)

Clearly, Washington saw that greatness lied at the feet of America. It wasn’t just chance that America, and its founding fathers, came forth when they did. America was preserved by God as a choice land, above all others, for Him to further his work. The Constitution was divinely inspired in order for all men to be able to fully enjoy their God given rights and for God to carry out His work.

In 1833, The Lord revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith,

“And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose…” (Doctrine and Covenants 101:80)

America was founded on religious principles by those who sought to follow God. He has blessed this land and it has “became a choice land above all other lands, a chosen land of the Lord; wherefore the Lord would have that all men should serve him who dwell upon the face thereof.” (The Book of Mormon another Testament of Jesus Christ; Ether 13:2.)

America has been blessed with comparatively great wealth. It is because its people were humble, industrious and had great faith in their Creator. They exhibited their faith in the way they treated their neighbor, endured hardship, and worshipped their God. Its people have been greatly blessed because  have chosen to follow God, not in spite of following Him.

World history is replete with examples of civilizations who forget their God and in prideful shame, turn from him. Their hearts are centered on the riches of the world rather than on seeking after the Kingdom of God.

In 1831, only 55 years after the birth of our nation, the famous French historian Alexis de Tocqueville said:

“I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers, and it was not there; in her fertile fields and boundless prairies, and it was not there; in her rich mines and her vast world of commerce, and it was not there. Not until I went to the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.” (Jerreld L. Newquist, comp., Prophets, Principles and National Survival, Salt Lake City: Publishers Press, 1967, p. 60.)

May God continue to bless America as Americans hold sacred the principles and values upon which it was founded.