‘Mormon Land’: A ‘divinely inspired’ Constitution — where such talk began and why it matters now

Amid the Jan. 6 hearings, a religious scholar discusses why early Latter-day Saints put so much faith in the nation’s founding document and how their views — from Joseph Smith to Ezra Taft Benson to Dallin H. Oaks — have evolved.

(Doug Mills | The New York Times) Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., swears in Rusty Bowers, Arizona House speaker; Brad Raffensperger, Georgia secretary of state; and Gabe Sterling, Georgia deputy secretary of state, as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol continues to reveal its findings of a yearlong investigation, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, June 21, 2022.

Rusty Bowers, a Latter-day Saint who serves as speaker of the Arizona House, recently captured the attention of the nation when he testified before the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 siege of the U.S. Capitol.

The Republican officeholder steadfastly and sometimes emotionally told lawmakers of the intense pressure he received from Donald Trump and his allies to appoint alternate electors in a bid to overturn the lawful results of the 2020 presidential election.

Bowers refused. Why? One reason he cited was his faith’s teaching that the U.S. Constitution is “divinely inspired” and that he was determined to uphold his oath to remain true to its principles.

Where and when did this belief in the nation’s founding document begin? And what are the implications when current constitutional questions arise?

Matthew Bowman, Howard W. Hunter Chair of Mormon Studies at Claremont Graduate University and author of “The Mormon People: The Making of an American Faith” and “Christian: The Politics of a Word in America,” explores those questions and more on this week’s show.

Listen here.

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