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U.S. Constitution a major influence for good, say the Samuelsons

Naming this year at Brigham Young University the "Year of the Constitution," President Cecil O. and Sister Sharon Samuelson welcomed students and the campus community at Tuesday's devotional.

The Samuelsons began by extending their best wishes for the upcoming semester while also recognizing the significant date of Sept. 11. "We will continue to celebrate and remember the many acts of sacrifice, heroism and service that were attached to the tragic events of the fateful day six years ago," said President Samuelson.

This year at BYU, all incoming freshmen have been asked to read Linda R. Monk's book, The Words We Live By. Noting this, as well as the politically-oriented forum speakers this semester, the Samuelsons chose to focus their remarks on the Constitution and its place in students' lives. "During our time together today we hope to reflect with you on the miracles, opportunities and achievements that have been made possible by the Constitution."

As Latter-day Saints, President Samuelson said, we regard the Constitution of the United States as an inspired document. The Constitution helps to maintain and protect the rights of this country's people and has served as a model for other written constitutions throughout the world.

"This inspired document has been a major influence for good in providing for the people in many lands an increased understanding of what we regard as God's gift," President Samuelson said. "We can appropriately hope and pray that the Constitution's influence for good will increase throughout the world as well as in the United States."

Sister Samuelson explained that because of the laws and freedoms ensured by the Constitution, the Restoration was able to take place in this country. She also reminded students that in the Book of Mormon, it states that this land is "consecrated unto him whom He [meaning the Lord] shall bring," (2 Ne. 1:7). "One of the remarkable blessings of this land for those who can be judged as righteous by the Lord," she said, "is that it will be a nation of liberty and freedom."

President Samuelson encouraged students to "read, study, and discuss" the Constitution. "Here at BYU and elsewhere, we should think and talk about the relationships of our dearly-held personal rights and freedoms, on the one hand, with the necessary public behaviors mandated by laws, customs and common courtesy on the other." The Constitution, he said, provides a basis for living together in an environment that is "highly respectful of both the individual and society."

Conveying their gratitude for and testimony of God's hand in the creation of the Constitution, the Samuelsons expressed their hope that students would "have a heightened understanding of the tremendous impact for good that the United States Constitution has in the lives of each us. Please take advantage of the unique opportunity we will all have this year to learn, understand and appreciate it more."

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Cecil O. and Sharon Samuelson
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