Heber J. Grant (1856-1945), seventh president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, declared: “Every Latter-day Saint believes that Abraham Lincoln was raised up and inspired of God, and that he reached the Presidency of the United States under the favor of our Heavenly Father. We honor Abraham Lincoln because we believe absolutely that God honored him and raised him to be the instrument in His hands of saving the Constitution and the Union.”
The extraordinary life and contribution of President Abraham Lincoln also played an unexpected supporting role in the turbulent development of the LDS Church. Lincoln’s success in preserving the Union and Constitution contributed to the development and preservation of all religions in America.
Lincoln believed that it was by divine design that he found himself at the helm of his nation, at its most critical hour of civil war – an awkward, self-educated backwoodsman who possessed a singularly remarkable humility and intellect — a man molded as by an unseen Hand into the most powerful and influential president ever to lead this country.
As president, Lincoln relied on the Judeo-Christian God of the Bible to a remarkable degree, and he repeatedly addressed the people of this nation with messages one would sooner attribute to a prophet than a politician.
[box]“Perhaps no American, save the prophets only, has put such implicit trust in God as did the Great Emancipator. Out of his personal experiences he testified he was as certain that God acts directly upon human affairs as he was of a fact apparent to the senses, such as that he was in the room where he was then speaking. He said: ‘I have had so many evidences of His direction, so many instances when I have been controlled by some other power than my own will, that I cannot doubt that this power comes from above. I frequently see my way clear to a decision when I am conscious that I have not sufficient facts upon which to found it. But I cannot recall one instance in which I have followed my own judgment founded upon such a decision, where the results were unsatisfactory; whereas, in almost every instance where I have yielded to the views of others I have had occasion to regret it.'”
John Wesley Hill[/box]
Lincoln had a consuming sense and conviction that God created this nation for some higher purpose and that the political events of this nation culminating in the mid-1800s had, for some time, been diverging from that destiny. He believed that this political and moral drift from the original intentions of the Founding Fathers had angered the “Living God” who authored its inception and that the Civil War was the Almighty’s judgment for the nation’s sins.
[box]“I recollect thinking then, boy even though I was, that there must have been something more than common that those men struggled for. I am exceedingly anxious that that thing which they struggled for; that something even more than national independence; that something that held great promise to all the people of the world to all time to come; I am exceedingly anxious that this Union, the Constitution, and the liberties of the people shall be perpetuated in accordance with the original idea for which the struggle was made, and I shall be most happy indeed if I shall be an humble instrument in the hands of the Almighty, and of this, his almost chosen people, for perpetuating the object of that great struggle.”
The foregoing is adapted from an article, “Abraham Lincoln’s Life is Meaningful to Mormons” in today’s Mormon Times. This interesting perspective on America’s 16th President was written by Ron Anderson, president of the Lincoln Leadership Society. To enjoy reading it in its entirety, click here.
In the following short video, artist Larry Winborg relates a memorable story that reveals much about the spirituality of Abraham Lincoln and the source of his assurance at a time of great national peril.
[box]“We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace…
“It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and pray for clemency and forgiveness.”
Abraham Lincoln – in declaring a Day of National Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer, Jan 4 1861[/box]