Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

July 9, 2015
God inspired men who risked their lives for our freedoms

Somewhere in the midst of last week’s waving of flags, lighting of fireworks and grilling of burgers, our thoughts hopefully shifted toward those who risked their lives 239 years earlier.

I doubt the 56 delegates to the Second Continental Congress fully envisioned how their courageous act of signing the Declaration of Independence benefited our individual lives daily.

They committed an act of treason — punishable by death — by placing their signatures on that document.

Benjamin Franklin, who was 70 at the time and the eldest among the signing patriots, helped ease the tension with a twist of humor when he said, “We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.”

John Hancock, president of Continental Congress, penned his dominant signature front and center on July 4, 1776. The other signatures were added on various dates, the last being Matthew Thornton, from New Hampshire, who signed on Nov. 4, 1776.

In short, their actions absolved the 13 colonies “from all allegiance to the British Crown.” It changed the American rebellion that had been brewing since 1763 into a full-fledged revolution.

I am among those who firmly believe that God inspired those people to risk their lives so precious liberties,  we too often take for granted, would be engrained in our lives today.

Here are a handful of beliefs the signers had about God and religion:

“I believe that religion is the only solid base of morals and that morals are the only possible support of free governments. Therefore education should teach the precepts of religion and the duties of man towards God.” — Robert Morris, Pennsylvania

“Religion is of general and public concern, and on its support depend, in great measure, the peace and good order of government, the safety and happiness of the people.”  — Samuel Chase, Maryland

“I find that I agree fully with my good friend Patrick Henry when he said it cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians, not on religions, but on The Gospel of Jesus Christ.” — Edward Rutledge, South Carolina

“It is true, we are not disposed to differ much, at present, about religion; but when we are making a constitution, it is to be hoped, for ages and millions yet unborn, why not establish the free exercise of religion as a part of the national compact.” — Richard Henry Lee, Virginia

“The right to freedom being the gift of God Almighty, it is not in the power of man to alienate this gift and voluntarily become a slave … These may be best understood by reading and carefully studying the institutes of the great Law Giver and Head of the Christian Church, which are to be found clearly written and promulgated in the New Testament.” — Samuel Adams, Massachusetts

“I must own I have so much faith in the general government of the world by Providence that I can hardly conceive a transaction of such momentous importance to the welfare of millions now existing, and to exist in the posterity of a great nation, should be suffered to pass without being in some degree influenced, guided, and governed by that omnipotent, omnipresent, and beneficent Ruler.” — Benjamin Franklin, Pennsylvania

In the final sentence of the Declaration of Independence, the signers exclaimed, “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

Peace, love and all that Jazz.


Roberts previously served as an LDS bishop of the Tooele 6th Ward.

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