A Quote by Stephen L. Richards on achievement, alienation, authors, certainty, constitution, daughters, divinity, eternity, exercise, fatherhood, fighting, gifts, god, good, history, independence, laws, liberty, men, nobility, principles, slavery, sons,

I have read and heard a good many statements by eminent writers and speakers to the effect that our liberty of which we are justly proud is an achievement, and not a gift. In the sense that it had to be worked for, fought for, and preserved with vigilance these statements are true. But let it never be forgotten that our concept of liberty is a gift. No human is the author of that concept. Many great men have so recognized it as did Thomas Jefferson when he wrote the Declaration of Independence and declared that "men are endowed with certain inalienable rights." Why are these rights inalienable? Because men did not create the right to liberty! In the exercise of his free agency he may surrender his privileges, and his property, and he may become the slave of others or of the state, but his free agency is as native to him as the air he breathes. It is part and parcel of his eternal constitution, and Jefferson was "righter than I think he himself knew" when he declared it an endowment which cannot be alienated. The message which we bear affirms that God is the Author of our inalienable liberty; that men, all men are of noble lineage, sons and daughters of the Eternal Father; and that liberty is their birthright. I thank God that . . . noble men were blessed with this lofty concept of man's inherent right to liberty and that they were prompted to incorporate these divine principles in the organic law and history of our favored land.

Stephen L. Richards (1879 - 1959)

Source: Ensign, November 1947.

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