One hundred and fifty-five years ago, Orson Hyde spoke about Moroni and the destiny of America:
We are met, fellow-citizens, to celebrate one of the most important events that ever embellished the pages of political history–an event of which every American heart is proud to boast, in whatever land or country he perchance may roam–I mean the bold, manly, and daring act of our fathers in the Declaration of the Independence and Sovereignty of these United States,–an act worthy to be engraven in letters of living light upon the tablets of our memory, and to be transmitted to our children, with the sacred charge that they teach it to their children, and to their children’s children, till the “stripes and stars” float over every land, and are mirrored on the crest of every passing billow. They had not only the moral courage to sign the Declaration of our nation’s Independence, but hearts of iron and nerves of steel to defend it by force of arms against the fearful odds arrayed against them–the well-disciplined armies and mercenary allies of the foolish and tyrannical George the III., King of Great Britain.
The progressive spirit of the times, on the one hand, and the chains of cruelty and oppression, on the other, inspired the apostles of American freedom to raise the standard of liberty, and unfurl its banner to the world as a warning to oppressors, and as the star of hope to the oppressed. The very name of American causes a thrill of patriotic devotion to her best interests to quiver in the heart of every citizen of Utah, with a zeal and a pride for the welfare of our country that does honour to the memory of those departed heroes whose ashes are mingled in our soil, and made rich and dear to us by their own blood.
Remember Lexington, and Bunker Hill, and lastly Yorktown, with all the intermediate scenes as narrated in the history of the American Revolution! Remember the immortal Washington, chosen to lead our infant armies through the perils and hardships of an unequal contest, to the climax of victory and the pinnacle of fame! His name, embalmed in the never-dying sympathies of his grateful countrymen, will be heralded in the melody of song “while the earth bears a plant or the ocean rolls a wave.” While Columbia’s sons and daughters regret and mourn his exit hence in accents like the following—
“Cold is the heart where valour reigned,
Mute is the tongue that joy inspired,
Still is the arm that conquest gained,
And dim the eye that glory fired,”
they will comfort themselves and quiet the pangs of their bereaved hearts by chanting like this—
“Too mean for him in world like this;
He’s landed on the happy shore,
Where all the brave partake of bliss,
And heroes meet to part no more.”
In those early and perilous times, our men were few, and our resources limited. Poverty was among the most potent enemies we had to encounter; yet our arms were successful; and it may not be amiss to ask here, by whose power victory so often perched on our banner? It was by the agency of that same angel of God that appeared unto Joseph Smith, and revealed to him the history of the early inhabitants of this country, whose mounds, bones and remains of towns, cities and fortifications speak from the dust in the ears of the living with the voice of undeniable truth. This same angel presides over the destinies of America, and feels a lively interest in all our doings. He was in the camp of Washington; and, by an invisible hand, led on our fathers to conquest and victory; and all this to open and prepare the way for the Church and kingdom of God to be established on the western hemisphere, for the redemption of Israel and the salvation of the world.
This same angel was with Columbus, and gave him deep impressions, by dreams and by visions, respecting this New World. Trammelled by poverty and by an unpopular cause, yet his persevering and unyielding heart would not allow an obstacle in his way too great for him to overcome; and the angel of God helped him–was with him on the stormy deep, calmed and troubled elements, and guided his frail vessel to the desired haven. Under the guardianship of this same angel, or Prince of America, have the United States grown, increased, and flourished, like the sturdy oak by the rivers of water.
To what point have the American arms been directed since the Declaration of our National Independence, and proven unsuccessful? Not one!
The peculiar respect that high Heaven has for this country, on account of the promises made to the fathers, and on account of its being the land where the mustard seed of truth was planted and destined to grow in the last days, accounts for all this good fortune to our beloved America.1
At some point in the history of the United States:
. . . will the guardian angel of these United States fly to a remote distance from their borders, and the anger of the Almighty wax hot against them in causing them to drink from the cup of bitterness and division, and the very dregs, stirred up by the hands of foreign powers, in a manner more cruel and fierce than the enemies of the Saints in the day of their greatest distress and anguish. . . .
When Justice is satisfied, and the blood of martyrs atoned for, the guardian angel of America will return to his station, resume his charge, and restore the Constitution of our country to the respect and veneration of the people; for it was given by the inspiration of our God.2
It would appear that difficult times are still ahead. In 1840, Joseph Smith said “Even this Nation will be on the very verge of crumbling to pieces and tumbling to the ground and when the constitution is upon the brink of ruin this people will be the Staff upon which the Nation shall lean and they shall bear away the constitution away from the very verge of destruction.”3 From the quote above, it seems apparent that Moroni’s charge is inextricably linked to the future destiny of America and the restoration of the constitution.