On July 4, 1776, 56 men gathered to sign the Declaration of Independence. This was only the beginning of a significant and lasting legacy for America.
Both the Bible and the Book of Mormon prophecy of the great nation that America would become. America is often referred to as the promised land throughout the scriptures. 1 Nephi 2:20 states, “And inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper, and shall be led to a land of promise; yea, even a land which I have prepared for you; yea, a land which is choice above all other lands.”
God set this land aside to bring to pass the restoration of His Gospel. In a conference address on the divinity of the constitution, President Ezra Taft Benson said, “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…America, the land of liberty, was to be the Lord’s latter-day base of operations for His restored church.”
The brave men who founded this country were divinely appointed and inspired by God. Throughout the revolutionary war and America’s early years as a country, many miracles took place. These miracles prepared a way for the restoration of the gospel to take place just 54 years after the Declaration of Independence was signed.
President Wilford Woodruff declared that “those men who laid the foundation of this American government were the best spirits the God of heaven could find on the face of the earth. They were choice spirits … and were inspired of the Lord” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1898, p. 89).
Joseph Smith was born just 18 years after the signing of the United States Constitution. This document granted the religious freedoms needed for the restoration of the Gospel to take place. It is no coincidence that the first amendment of the Constitution established the freedom of religion in this country.
President Ezra Taft Benson stated, “Only in this foreordained land, under its God-inspired Constitution and the resulting environment of freedom, was it possible to have established the restored church. It is our responsibility to see that this freedom is perpetuated so that the Church may more easily flourish in the future.”
As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, we should show gratitude for the founding fathers, and all they did to establish a country that was prepared for the restoration of the Gospel. We know that God has a great plan for this country. Happy Birthday, America!