Today, it’s Independence Day in the United States of America. I associate it with parades, balloons, children laughing, family reunions, and a time to rejoice in our freedom. Freedom to worship God, according to the dictates of my own conscience. Freedom to speak of ideals, without fear of imprisonment. Representation to form our own laws, instead of having the laws dictated by a distant and unaccountable king. The rule of law — a republic, instead of rule by mob majority — a democracy.
As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, I endorse our beliefs regarding the role of government:
“We believe that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man; and that he holds men accountable for their acts in relation to them, both in making laws and administering them, for the good and safety of society. . . .
“We believe that all men are bound to sustain and uphold the respective governments in which they reside, while protected in their inherent and inalienable rights by the laws of such governments; and that sedition and rebellion are unbecoming every citizen thus protected, and should be punished accordingly; and that all governments have a right to enact such laws as in their own judgments are best calculated to secure the public interest; at the same time, however, holding sacred the freedom of conscience.
“We believe that every man should be honored in his station, rulers and magistrates as such, being placed for the protection of the innocent and the punishment of the guilty; and that to the laws all men show respect and deference, as without them peace and harmony would be supplanted by anarchy and terror; human laws being instituted for the express purpose of regulating our interests as individuals and nations, between man and man; and divine laws given of heaven, prescribing rules on spiritual concerns, for faith and worship, both to be answered by man to his Maker” (D&C 134:1, 5–6).