7 out of 10 Americans 'constitutionally illiterate'

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Col. Flagg
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7 out of 10 Americans 'constitutionally illiterate'

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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... untry.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
What's the Constitution? Don't bother asking 70% of Americans: Alarming number of U.S. citizens don't know basic facts about their own country

First Christina Aguilera forgot the words to the national anthem.

Now it has emerged that 70 per cent of Americans do not know what the Constitution is, and six per cent don't even know when Independence Day falls.

Newsweek recently gave 1,000 Americans the U.S. Citizenship test and found that their knowledge of the history and running of their own country was seriously lacking.

Stumped: In the U.S. citizenship test, only 38 per cent of Americans passed and some didn't know answers to basic questions like who is the vice president?

Although the majority passed, more than a third - 38 per cent - failed, and some of the basic questions surrounding citizenship were answered incorrectly.

The U.S. citizenship test is administered to all immigrants applying for citizenship. It is comprised of 100 questions across five categories - American government, systems of government, rights and responsibilities, American history and integrated civics.

Newsweek found that there were huge discrepancies in the kinds of civic knowledge Americans collectively possess.

A mark of 60 per cent was needed to pass.

The questions that Americans could not answer went from the more challenging - how many justices are in the Supreme Court? (63 per cent did not know) To the most basic - who is the Vice President of America? (29 per cent did not know)

An alarming number of Americans did not know basic information about the Constitution, namely that it was the supreme law of the land, that it was set up at the Constitutional Convention and that the first ten amendments are known as the Bill of Rights.
:ymblushing: :ymblushing: :ymblushing:

EmmaLee
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Re: 7 out of 10 Americans 'constitutionally illiterate'

Post by EmmaLee »

Very sad, but not too surprising. I'd be willing to bet the percentage of constitutionally illiterate members of Congress is even higher... :(

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Col. Flagg
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Re: 7 out of 10 Americans 'constitutionally illiterate'

Post by Col. Flagg »

Stella Solaris wrote:Very sad, but not too surprising. I'd be willing to bet the percentage of constitutionally illiterate members of Congress is even higher... :(
Possibly, but most of them have sold their souls for money, favors and/or to look the other way - if they are constitutionally literate, they're to the point now where they could care less about its existence.

EmmaLee
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Re: 7 out of 10 Americans 'constitutionally illiterate'

Post by EmmaLee »

Col. Flagg wrote:
Stella Solaris wrote:Very sad, but not too surprising. I'd be willing to bet the percentage of constitutionally illiterate members of Congress is even higher... :(
Possibly, but most of them have sold their souls for money, favors and/or to look the other way - if they are constitutionally literate, they're to the point now where they could care less about its existence.
Agreed. Not only care less about it, but actively work against it. X(

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Col. Flagg
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Re: 7 out of 10 Americans 'constitutionally illiterate'

Post by Col. Flagg »

Stella Solaris wrote:
Col. Flagg wrote:
Stella Solaris wrote:Very sad, but not too surprising. I'd be willing to bet the percentage of constitutionally illiterate members of Congress is even higher... :(
Possibly, but most of them have sold their souls for money, favors and/or to look the other way - if they are constitutionally literate, they're to the point now where they could care less about its existence.
Agreed. Not only care less about it, but actively work against it. X(
Yup. X(

lundbaek
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Re: 7 out of 10 Americans 'constitutionally illiterate'

Post by lundbaek »

And yet the U.S. Constitution is a principle of the Gospel, according to the Church publlication "Principles of the Gospel". In the book one reads: “The men who framed the Constitution were directed by the Spirit of the Lord in establishing the basic freedoms guaranteed the citizens of this country....Unless we members of the Church do all we can to preserve the freedoms we have, within the bounds of the laws of God, we will be held accountable.” ...“The Constitution was established through the inspiration of God to preserve the liberty of the people and to maintain his promise.” (Principles of the Gospel, Page 135-136, Page 146-147, Published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1991)

But as for official Church policy at this time, I believe it is a back burner issue or off the stove altogether. It remains up to us to prepare a "remnant" for the restoration of its principles to government, most likely after the "cleansing".

freedomforall
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Re: 7 out of 10 Americans 'constitutionally illiterate'

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I think a kazillion copies of http://www.nccsstore.com/Pocket-Constit ... ctinfo/PC/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; should be passed via home teachers and missionaries within the fifty states of the USA. They're inexpensive at bulk rates.

Once families get a copy of this they no longer have the excuse that they don't have a copy or that they don't know what's in the Constitution or Declaration of Independence, especially when they end up with two or three of these.

Members can then pass them around to friends and neighbors, etc. Then statistics could then read "four out of ten Americans....

I realize this is wishful thinking, but It would be a good start. I also know that one can find this document online, but a lot of people want a pretty, tangible item.

lundbaek
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Re: 7 out of 10 Americans 'constitutionally illiterate'

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Shortly before the 2008 elections, in which Arizonans voted on Prop 102 (similar to CA Prop 8) our ward had a combined PH/RS meeting at which we were admonished to study the issues and candidates and vote. A pile of those pocket constitutions were presented and placed on a table for the taking. Maybe only a 1/2 dozen were taken.

If you read President Benson's October 1987 General Conference talk "Our Divine Constitution ", note that he raises the question "'How then can we best befriend the Constitution in this critical hour and secure the blessings of liberty and ensure the protection and guidance of our Father in Heaven?'" Following that question President Benson spelled out 4 basic steps that need to be taken. Those 4 things are a formidable challenge, especially on top of everything else we are expected to do. Learning the principles of the Constitution in the tradition of the Founding Fathers, reading the Federalist Papers, getting involved is civic affairs, becoming accurately informed, making our influence felt; those things take time. Reminds me of that line "Put your shoulder to the wheel, put your nose to the grindstone, put your back to (I forget what), and try working in that position." It can be done. Relatively few members did any of those things even back when they were admonished to do so by a living Prophet. We hear such admonitions much less now, and they seem to be a lot more subtle. Right now it seems people like us, the JBS, the NCCS, the tea partiers, and a few other groups are running the ball, but that's it.

freedomforall
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Since the very foundation of the constitution is based upon people living by the use of their God given agency to exercize free enterprise, own property and grow in wealth (if desired), then, to apply tyranny, socialism, government control, etc. is to hamper those rights,

Can we venture to say that LDS who ignore gospel teachings in persuing, tolerating, endorsing or advocating having and allowing our freedoms and liberties be chipped away, don't really know the gospel? When we were in the pre-existence, we, everyone on earth agreed to God's plan. He didn't allow fence sitters, the rebellious, those who disagreed at any level and those thinking they would change things when they got here, to come here at all. So how is it that members now will not adhere to what they should know is true and do all they can to maintain what God gave them?

Being Democrat, Rebublican or anything else allows for no excuses for ignoring God's word. I'm reminded of the dream about the tree of life, the path, the iron rod and the mists of darkness. There are those who will start out on the path and because of precepts of men, lack of faith, shame and pride...many people will go astray and be lost in the mists of darkness and forbidden paths. Even the hearts and reigns of the "very elect" will be challenged and tried.

All members of the church should sustain and keep the commandments. This does not include trampling on the constitution.

I know there are members who get defensive and become angry and do name calling. Perhaps they should refamiliarize themselves with these scriptures:

1 Ne 16:2
And it came to pass that I said unto them that I knew that I had spoken hard things against the wicked, according to the truth; and the righteous have I justified, and testified that they should be lifted up at the last day; wherefore, the guilty taketh the truth to be hard, for it cutteth them to the very center.

John 3:20 (19–21)
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.


Prov. 15:10
Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: and he that hateth reproof shall die.

2 Ne. 1:26
And ye have murmured because he hath been plain unto you. Ye say that he hath used sharpness; ye say that he hath been angry with you; but behold, his sharpness was the sharpness of the power of the word of God, which was in him; and that which ye call anger was the truth, according to that which is in God, which he could not restrain, manifesting boldly concerning your iniquities.

2 Ne 9:40
O, my beloved brethren, give ear to my words. Remember the greatness of the Holy One of Israel. Do not say that I have spoken hard things against you; for if ye do, ye will revile against the truth; for I have spoken the words of your Maker. I know that the words of truth are hard against all uncleanness; but the righteous fear them not, for they love the truth and are not shaken.

They surely make me think long and hard.

lundbaek
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Re: 7 out of 10 Americans 'constitutionally illiterate'

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I am seriously beginning to wonder if LDSs living at this time are perhaps exempted from any responsibilities to work to maintain freedom and constitutional principles in government, other than to vote in elections. It seems to me that so many members hear and/or read nothing or next to nothing about these responsibilities. It seems very few bishops and stake presidents do or say anything to encourage addressing these subjects. These subjects are not addressed now in lesson plans. It has been suggested to me that discussing and promoting freedom and constitutional principles would serve as a distraction from the principles of the Gospel that are now being emphasized. So how can LDSs be held responsible for these things ?

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LDSNZ
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Re: 7 out of 10 Americans 'constitutionally illiterate'

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lundbaek wrote:I am seriously beginning to wonder if LDSs living at this time are perhaps exempted from any responsibilities to work to maintain freedom and constitutional principles in government, other than to vote in elections. It seems to me that so many members hear and/or read nothing or next to nothing about these responsibilities. It seems very few bishops and stake presidents do or say anything to encourage addressing these subjects. These subjects are not addressed now in lesson plans. It has been suggested to me that discussing and promoting freedom and constitutional principles would serve as a distraction from the principles of the Gospel that are now being emphasized. So how can LDSs be held responsible for these things ?
Is it the blind leading the blind?

Are the elect of god been deceived?

Or are they just too complacent? As Aussie oi would say: "she'll be right mate" (i.e) in terms of the attitude.

I know how you feel Lundbaek, things are very much similar here. The big difference tho is our country doesn't have a constitution.

I think us Lds NZers need to get our act together & look at importing the US Constitution, perhaps with amendments? I've often wondered why Pres Benson spoke of it during a General conference, knowing that his words would go to a global audience. I guess that's how important the constitution really is. To weld us brethren together for a united & righteous cause. In fact it's the only legal & political document that I know of that's actually referenced in the scriptures.

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lundbaek wrote:I am seriously beginning to wonder if LDSs living at this time are perhaps exempted from any responsibilities to work to maintain freedom and constitutional principles in government, other than to vote in elections. It seems to me that so many members hear and/or read nothing or next to nothing about these responsibilities. It seems very few bishops and stake presidents do or say anything to encourage addressing these subjects. These subjects are not addressed now in lesson plans. It has been suggested to me that discussing and promoting freedom and constitutional principles would serve as a distraction from the principles of the Gospel that are now being emphasized. So how can LDSs be held responsible for these things ?
Good question. To answer it one might bring to mind that every member of the church should have had or now has a Book of Mormon. Every member that has studied or at least read it "knows" that corrupt government has existed before and there were righteous people who abhored it. They just didn't have titles like Democrat or Rublican. I think they were either "freeman" or "kingmen" at one point, at the time of Moroni, anyway.
If today's members would open their minds and hearts, they would "see and recognize" the evil and corruption in government. And if they were seeking righteousness they all would feel like what Moroni did. A political standing is in no way an excuse for tolerating evil in any form. Wrong is still wrong, evil is still evil. God says He "cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance," nor should we when seeing eye to eye with God. Secondly, in the D&C, again, we are told to "befriend" the constitution...and anyone that doesn't is against God's laws; they are not truly "hungering and thirsting after righteousness." And these are the terms we have to abide by for those wanting to receive the Celestial Kingdom. I'm sad that there will be many Mormons that will get the lesser kingdoms because they just don't see the bigger picture.

In short, we are responsible because upon reading the scripures...we know better.

Bro. Joseph B Wirthlin said in a 1991 GC:
The second period of peace followed the ministry of the resurrected Jesus among the Nephites. They abolished the works of evil and obtained the fruit of the Spirit. Quoting from the Book of Mormon: “The disciples of Jesus had formed a church of Christ. … And as many as did come unto them, and did truly repent of their sins, were baptized in the name of Jesus; and they did also receive the Holy Ghost.” (4 Ne. 1:1.) Consequently, “there were no contentions and disputations among them” (4 Ne. 1:2) “because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people. And there were no envyings, nor strifes, nor tumults, nor whoredoms, nor lyings, nor murders, nor any manner of lasciviousness.” (4 Ne. 1:15–16.) “They were in one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God.” (4 Ne. 1:17.) “And every man did deal justly one with another.” (4 Ne. 1:2.) “And surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God.” (4 Ne. 1:16.)

Notice that the scriptures say "no contentions and disputations." Just what is it to be called in the church when Dems and Rebubs are arguing and taking sides about all the issues at hand that are evil? Is this being virtueous?

In D&C 141:45 we also read: "let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly." What does this mean? ...conformity to a standard of right.

In the Bible, 2 Peter 1:5 we read: And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge.

This, I believe, is why we have and will be held responsible.

freedomforall
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Re: 7 out of 10 Americans 'constitutionally illiterate'

Post by freedomforall »

What is the ratio now?

samizdat
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Re: 7 out of 10 Americans 'constitutionally illiterate'

Post by samizdat »

Read the last six verses of Jeremiah 5 and tell me that America isn't in this phase with its leaders.

lundbaek
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Re: 7 out of 10 Americans 'constitutionally illiterate'

Post by lundbaek »

Latter-day Saints are the only people that I know of to whom the Lord has given a divine commandment to honour the Constitution, or in other words study, uphold, and abide by the principles of the Constitution.

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Re: 7 out of 10 Americans 'constitutionally illiterate'

Post by InfoWarrior82 »

I think it's kind of funny that many republicans are all talking about the constitution now AFTER the elections. "Oh, NOW it's an issue we can get behind!"

lundbaek
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Re: 7 out of 10 Americans 'constitutionally illiterate'

Post by lundbaek »

I note the relatively small number of forum members who seem to show interest in the significance of the US Constitution.

samizdat
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Re: 7 out of 10 Americans 'constitutionally illiterate'

Post by samizdat »

The Constitution means a lot to me. I live in Mexico but was born in the USA. One of the books I have is Just and Holy Principles, LDS readings on America and the Constitution, given to me in BYU's American Heritage class when the son of Elder Holland that is now UVU president was my teacher. He taught me a lot and woke me up a little.

Now living outside the USA I have woken up a lot, and see how American leaders have abandoned Constitutional principles.

ktg
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Re: 7 out of 10 Americans 'constitutionally illiterate'

Post by ktg »

I think assuming that 3 out of 10 Americans are constitutionally literate is being very generous.

freedomforall
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lundbaek wrote:I note the relatively small number of forum members who seem to show interest in the significance of the US Constitution.
I think I have some insight with regard to this lack of loyalty to befriending the Constitution as brought out.

Here are some words from A Glorious Standard For All Mankind, spoken by various church leaders. I think these words hit the nail right squarely on the head. What do the readers of this post see as the common denominator here?

Brigham Young
[The Constitution] is the best earthly Government that ever was framed by man, and the true and righteous are alone worthy of it. It cannot long be administered by wicked hands. (August 31, 1862, Journal of Discourses, 9:368)

Ezra Taft Benson
Every true Latter-day Saint throughout the world loves the USA. The Constitution of this land is part of every Latter-day Saint’s religious faith.

David O. McKay
No Latter-day Saint can be true to his country, true to his Church, true to his God, who will violate the laws which relate to the moral welfare and the spiritual advancement of mankind. The Latter-day Saints should uphold the law everywhere. And it is time that all of us—the leaders of this country, the politicians, the statesmen, the leaders in civic affairs in the state and in the cities, as well as parents and private citizens should so speak of and so uphold the constitutional law of the land that there will everywhere be a renewal of respect for it and a revival of the virtues of honor, honesty, and integrity. (August 1952, Improvement Era)

True Americans should have nothing to do with secret combinations and groups antagonistic to the Constitutional law of the land.

J. Reuben Clark
No true Latter-day Saint can or will do other than reverence the Constitution; each will do all in his power to save it from pollution or destruction. (April 1941, General Conference)

Harold B. Lee
[Latter-day Saints] devoutly believe that if [the Constitution] should be in danger of being overthrown, their lives, if need be, are to be offered in defense of its principles. (April 13, 1941, “True Patriotism—An Expression of Faith”)

Joseph Fielding Smith
It has been predicted that the time will come when [the Constitution] will be threatened with destruction, and when that time comes the true Latter-day Saints will rally to its support. (1936, The Progress of Man, 299)

The statement has been made that the Prophet said the time would come when this Constitution would hang as by a thread, and this is true…. Now I tell you it is time the people of the United States were waking up with the understanding that if they don’t save the Constitution from the dangers that threaten it, we will have a change of government. (April 1950, General Conference)

Oliver B. Huntington
Every true Latter-day Saint is anxious to be able to vote and thus give their voice for Constitutional rights and republican principles, for the support of the Gospel and Kingdom of God....

lundbaek
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Re: 7 out of 10 Americans 'constitutionally illiterate'

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Then how do we account for stake presidents not willing to host firesides and other activities that will help members understand the basic principles of the US Constitution, and the responsibility of Latter-day Saints to honour and abide by its principles ?

freedomforall
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lundbaek wrote:Then how do we account for stake presidents not willing to host firesides and other activities that will help members understand the basic principles of the US Constitution, and the responsibility of Latter-day Saints to honour and abide by its principles ?
We have to become one of the TRUE Latter-day Saints and speak out. We have to be the proverbial thorn in the side of our leaders (you, Lunbaek, have already demonstrated this by content in your posts telling us so). What could be useful is to take a list like the one I just presented and give one to each of our Stake leaders and Bishoprics. How can they reject words from previous prophets? What they gonna do...excommunicate us for following counsel? For befriending the Constitution as admonished in scripture? For rallying as told to do?

We have to keep in mind that not every person in a leadership position is a TRUE Latter-day Saint. Some only have their mind wrapped around their immediate hour to hour needs and demands. To some, the word Constitution may not even be in the vocabulary.

Another way is to do as President David O McKay said:

Church members are at perfect liberty to act according to their own consciences in the matter of safeguarding our way of life. They are, of course, encouraged to honor the highest standards of the gospel and to work to preserve their own freedoms. They are free to participate in non-church meetings that are held to warn people of the threat of Communism or any other theory or principle that will deprive us of our free agency or individual liberties vouchsafed by the Constitution of the United States….
We therefore commend and encourage every person and every group who is sincerely seeking to study Constitutional principles and awaken a sleeping and apathetic people to the alarming conditions that are rapidly advancing about us.
(April 1966, General Conference “Statement Concerning the Position of the Church on Communism”)

It would be like missionary work, we find a few interested people and then by word of mouth more and more meetings could occur in and around our own neighborhoods. People reading this post can follow President McKay's counsel, no problem, right?

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LDSNZ
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lundbaek wrote:I note the relatively small number of forum members who seem to show interest in the significance of the US Constitution.
1. :-s
samizdat wrote:The Constitution means a lot to me.
2. Me 3 :D

3. Even tho I wasn't born there & have no connection to the U.S except via my ancestor Hagoth (as well as his forbearers Nephi & father Lehi) who came here in approx 55 B.C.

4. But my affinity in a spiritual context to the U.S & it's MIGHTY CONSTITUTION is unbreakable.
samizdat wrote:I live in Mexico but was born in the USA. One of the books I have is Just and Holy Principles, LDS readings on America and the Constitution, given to me in BYU's American Heritage class when the son of Elder Holland that is now UVU president was my teacher. He taught me a lot and woke me up a little.
5. Kool B-)
samizdat wrote:Now living outside the USA I have woken up a lot, and see how American leaders have abandoned Constitutional principles.
6. Good on you :)
ktg wrote:I think assuming that 3 out of 10 Americans are constitutionally literate is being very generous.
7. Have a happy sabbath day people :)

8. Great stuff freedom fighter :)
lundbaek wrote:Then how do we account for stake presidents not willing to host firesides and other activities that will help members understand the basic principles of the US Constitution, and the responsibility of Latter-day Saints to honour and abide by its principles ?
9. Me thinks maybe:

a. they're adhering to the church policy guidelines which prohibit politically orientated meetings been held on church property.

b. & that such firesides & other related activities concerning the constitution are deemed by them as such (9a above).

Or;

10. Perhaps they're not as zealously faithful to the constitution as they ought to be?

11. If that be the case? Does that mean the Lord has allowed tares to be called to positions of high authority in his sacred church?

12. Bearing in mind it has happened in the past (eg) Judas Iscariot!

13. Am sure others (lds's from the past) can also be added to the tares list.

freedomforall
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Re: 7 out of 10 Americans 'constitutionally illiterate'

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LDSNZ wrote:a. they're adhering to the church policy guidelines which prohibit politically orientated meetings been held on church property.
What LDS's do not understand is that we can discuss issues that affect the constitution and our rights. We do not talk about political party because just being in a political party does not fix the problem. LDS's are supposed to separate party from Constitution degradation and loss of freedoms.

When I lived is Riverside CA we would talk about a variety of issues that affected us as citizens during our Priesthood time. The Bishop and his councilors sat in those discussions many times. We just didn't bring up party, because party don't mean a thing. It is that the Constitution is as important to us as is scripture, both requiring righteousness to sustain and uphold.

Most LDS's avoid talking about important issues because they don't want to get involved. These are the people we're supposed to awaken.
Try this, ask around and see just how many members know the true meaning of separation of church and state. It certainly doesn't mean we don't talk about political issues in church.

The Real Meaning Of The Separation Of Church And State
I support the doctrine of separation of church and state as traditionally interpreted to prohibit the establishment of an official national religion. But I am opposed to the doctrine of separation of church and state as currently interpreted to divorce government from any formal recognition of God. The current trend strikes a potentially fatal blow at the concept of the divine origin of our rights, and unlocks the door for an easy entry of future tyranny. If Americans should ever come to believe that their rights and freedoms are instituted among men by politicians and bureaucrats, then they will no longer carry the proud inheritance of their forefathers, but will grovel before their masters seeking favors and dispensations - a throwback to the Feudal System of the Dark Ages. We must ever keep in mind the inspired words of Thomas Jefferson, as found in the Declaration of Independence:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." (P.P.N. S., p.519)
Since God created man with certain unalienable rights, and man, in turn, created government to help secure and safeguard those rights, it follows that man is superior to the creature which he created. Man is superior to government and should remain master over it, not the other way around. Even the non-believer can appreciate the logic of this relationship.

This concept is so simple...a Caveman could...well...you know.

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