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Political Tuesday: Declaration of Belief: Preview (1949-50)

By: Ardis E. Parshall - July 31, 2012

Preview of Lessons for 1949-50

Elder G. Homer Durham

The social science lessons for 1949-509 are based on “The Declaration of Belief Regarding Governments and Laws in General,” section 134 of the Doctrine and Covenants. The lessons follow, naturally, the previous year’s study of “Latter-day Saint Political Thought.” Whereas the lessons of last year were, of necessity, somewhat abstract, the new series has the advantage of relating to concrete scriptural verses in the Declaration of Belief. Each is explained, together with its significance of the problems of current political life. The seven preceding lessons attempted to portray some aspects of Latter-day Saint thinking with respect to the nature of government, constitutionalism, and public affairs, including international relations. The Declaration of Belief is a specific statement of an official position taken by the Church, in August 1835, with regard to law and government. It is one of the most unusual sections of the Doctrine and Covenants. The first lesson attempts to tell how and why.

Each lesson will be accompanied by suggestions for class projects to the end that every member and class may arrive at a more complete understanding of what the various provisions of the Declaration signify. As the gospel is a way of life, and as modern life involves political processes at nearly every point, it is more important that all of us enlarge our understanding of the position of the Church in such matters. Students of the subject will be delighted to know, in advance, that the Declaration is a most liberal yet practical, simple but far-reaching, platform. The same general references and helps listed for last year’s study will again prove to be very beneficial and helpful. To come to a knowledge and appreciation of the position of the church with regard to governments and laws is no mean nor simple task.

The various statements issued by the leaders of the Church from Joseph Smith to the present day are most helpful in gaining this knowledge. Of course, the Doctrine and Covenants itself, with its useful cross-references and index, will be of constant assistance. Alert class leaders will also watch for illustrations and examples to be found in current Church and other literature. Society is most complex. Social science lessons dealing with important relationships of the Church in society require, and are worthy of sincere study and effort.

The titles of the seven lessons for 1949-50 and their accompanying objectives follow:

Lesson 1. “The Declaration of Belief Regarding Governments and Laws in General”

Objective: To study and appreciate the preamble of the Declaration of Belief.

Lesson 2. The Significance of “The Declaration of Belief” for Modern Government

Objective: To consider different types of government in the world today, and to appreciate the basic principles contained in the “Declaration of Belief” as the culmination of the experience of the race.

Lesson 3. Government Instituted for the Benefit of Man

Objective: To show that governments exist for the benefit of man when founded on the free exercise of conscience, right and control of property, and protection of life.

Lesson 4. Public Administration and Good Government

Objective: To point out the need for electing government officials who will uphold freedom.

Lesson 5. The Obligations of Citizenship and the Responsibility of the State

Objective: To show the responsibility of the State to enact proper laws and of the people to uphold them.

Lesson 6. The Conditions for Achieving the Kingdom of God

Objective: To show that civil and religious liberty must be maintained for the establishment of the Kingdom of God.

Lesson 7. Achieving the Kingdom of God

Objective: to demonstrate that the Kingdom of God will be achieved by preaching the gospel throughout the world.


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