Today's societal troubles are not unique, only situational to modern circumstances. As David McCullough recently reminded Utah legislators, "History is human ... behave in the roles you will be cast in."

McCullough left a resonating message. "History should touch the heart, move us," he said, concluding that "great necessities call out great virtues." A timely reminder as circus-tent politics and beauty pageant Christianity are leaving people unfilled.

America may currently be impregnable from military invasion but vulnerable to collapse from immorality and ignorance. "Enforced ignorance," McCullough declared. We have become "a nation of spectators ... and amusement," constantly looking for the next indulgence.

America — moments of honesty, daily doses of hypocrisy, halls of faith, neighborhoods of filth, homes of simplicity, stores shelved with junk, examples of moderation, the scourge of credit and consumption, communities of hard work, a nation of amusements, Christian roots, secular branches — a land of hope, yet hearts in despair.

From its inception, America has battled this dualistic spirit. There have been throughout our history varying degrees of philosophy and conflict. To name a few: North and South; slavery and abolition; Republican and Democrat; statesman and politician; family and alternative lifestyles; abortion and life; educators and iconoclasts; healthy intimacy and pornography.

Which America will prevail in the 21st century?

The dichotomy has become more contentious and dividing, based upon shallow and selfish rationale. We are losing the spirit of unity and fueling the spirit of disagreement and debate.

At one time objective reporting influenced conscious and kind communication. Today, talk show hosts exemplify rudeness and sarcasm.

Our Founding Fathers labeled their effort "the United States." "One Nation under God" must be under God. We must understand and comply with what Daniel taught Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar, "the heavens do rule" — not the uninspired philosophies and short-lived governments of men.

As we heed the standards of heaven, America will regain her spiritual grandeur.

Thomas Jefferson, through the Declaration of Independence, left the world with these references to deity: Nature's God, Creator, Supreme Judge and Providence. Such titles remind us of our divine parentage, our responsibility, our heavenly support.

I believe our present course has millions upon millions of Americans yearning for correction and a collective return to great virtues and venerable behavior.

Let us exemplify "America the Beautiful" by refining our actions and our hearts.

Let us plead: God mend our every flaw and confirm our souls in self-control, thy liberty in law.

Ryan Jenkins of Layton is a writer of religious curriculum.