This lesson from the 1933 manual for priesthood meeting discussions for Aaronic Priesthood Teachers throughout the Church appears to be a talk given by a young boy, but the speaker and occasion are not identified. I’m reproducing every word of that lesson here – there is no explanation or direction that you are not seeing.
November – First Week
(a) Activity Period: (About 15 minutes.) Prayer. – Roll call. – Consider ways of getting attendance of absent members. – Report of assignments performed. – Assignments for ensuing week. – Social and fraternal activities. – Instructions by members of bishopric.
(b) Lesson Period: (15 to 30 minutes.) Report of number who have read lesson.
What is Government? What is called a government is a set of rules and laws fixed up by leading men to regulate public matters, and to protect good people from those who would rob and destroy them to get money or revenge if such rascals were allowed to do as they pleased. That is only half the answer, however. Laws and rules would be useless without strong and honest men to administer the laws and see that the rules were obeyed.
Monarchies. Father says there are two kinds of government – one where a king or an emperor rules, and the other where the people choose out one man or a dozen men to govern the country. He says that kings get on their thrones because they are sons or relatives of other kings, not because they are any smarter or better than the men over whom they rule. that is called monarchy, and most of the countries of Europe, Asia and Africa are governed that way. But even over there the people are getting tired of that form of government.
Republics. The other form of government is called a republic and our country has that form of government. It is where the men all get together and talk over what kind of laws they had better make and what men they had better elect to be presidents, mayors, commissioners, senators and all that. The more people there are the more officers are needed. But the more people learn to govern themselves the fewer officers are needed. Of course if the United States was a little bit of a country like Switzerland, we wouldn’t need many officers. But we’ve got many states in our Union, most of them bigger than Switzerland.
Police. We need policemen to keep things safe and orderly on the streets and to protect our homes. They are like soldiers who go out to protect all the women and children, the old men and the property of the country, which is or may be threatened by some other nation. Then we need commissions and legislators to look after the city waterworks, the parks and resorts, the roads and bridges, and all the asylums and county hospitals and voting places and all the business of the city and the state.
Government Authority. Father says a lot of times these legislators, or commissioners, can’t agree on some certain law or policy and then it needs a mayor or a governor or a president of the whole nation to decide the point. He says that’s the way it was when the Southern States wanted to keep on buying and owning slaves, and they wanted to have each state decide that question of slavery, as well as to what tariff should be charged when goods were brought into the country or sent out from our country to other nations, and all such like matters. They claimed each state should be independent of all other states around it, only joining together in case of war being threatened from some European nation. They called their plan a Confederation of States. While the Northern States claimed that such questions as slavery, tariff, coining money, etc., etc., were national questions, and that all the states must agree about such important issues. The congressmen quarreled about it for years. Then it was that Abraham Lincoln rose up and told the fighting congressmen that war was declared, and it was so. I guess we needed a president right there and then. he had the decision in his hands.
The Constitution. Father says that the Constitution of our country was inspired by God. It seems as if it must be so, for it’s founded on the relations of the family. We boys can quarrel among ourselves a great deal, as brothers sometimes do, but when father comes out and decides the question, that settles it, and father is a wise man. Mother says that is why she likes the Republican form of government, for the good of the whole family is of more importance than that of any one of its parts or persons. Individual desires must be sacrificed when the interest of the whole family is at stake. She says presidents and mayors are, or should be, the wisest and best men in the city and the nation. She says she married father because he was the best and wisest man she knew; and he needs to be so, because he always decides the most important questions in the family and she likes to know that he is wiser than she is or any one of her sons and daughters. Boys must protect their mothers and sisters. That’s their first duty.
Political Parties. Father says there must be two parties in any Republican form of government or else it would soon become a monarchy. He says mother and the children should have opinions as to what is best to be done in the home, and they have the right to express those opinions. But when mother elected him, of her own free will and choice as president or mayor, or the head, of the household, it is his right and duty to make decisions when there may be a difference of opinion.
I love my family and I love my country, because both are given of God. And it is a pleasure to obey the rules and laws of my Church, my family and my country. I do this of my own free will.
1. Why do people need a government?
2. What is a government?
3. What is a law?
4. What happens to us when we break physical or natural laws?
5. Is a good king better to live under than a confused, quarreling republic?
6. What are some of the dangers of a monarchy?
7. What are some of the benefits of a republic?
8. How is heaven regulated?
9. To what extent is there order there?
10. Try to figure out how many governing officers there are in your state, county and city.
11. If people generally observed the laws, how would that affect the number of officers needed? Also, how would it affect our taxes?
12. What is Congress?
13. Why does the President of the United States decide matters and enforce the laws?
14. What is the Constitution?
15. Who prepared it?
16. Do other governments have constitutions?
17. Do women vote in all countries?
18. On what important principle should all good government be based?
Assign lesson for following meeting.