The Constitution as Scripture?
I've found a credible reference to the "hanging by a thread" statement we were wondering about earlier. Rex E. Lee, the Solicitor General under Regan, talked about it in a speech at BYU in the early 90s. I'll put the quote at the end of this post. Another interesting thing he mentions in this speech is the belief that some LDS people have that the Constitution is "inspired" and therefore on par with scripture- i.e. infallibe and eternal. Lee doesn't agree that it should be seen that way, but this leads me to another question- why does a large part of church members seem so optimistic about our country and the supposed virtues of the founding fathers and at the same time subscribe to this "hanging by a thread" notion? Along these lines, I also can't help but wonder if LDS members are too trusting of political authority, b/c we are so trusting of our religious authorities. The whole article is here.
"A final area of constitutional interest unique to Latter-day Saints finds its source in the well-known "hanging by a thread" statements by the Prophet Joseph Smith. Similar statements have been reiterated by no fewer than six of his successors, including the current prophet. In a forthcoming book to be published by the Religious Studies Center, Professor Donald Cannon lists over forty instances in which these seven presidents have either used the "thread" metaphor or something like it. But in none of those quotations cited by Professor Cannon has any Church leader ever been very specific as to the metaphor's meaning. "