July 4, 1826 — Remembering Thomas Jefferson and John Adams

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  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    July 6, 2014 8:23 a.m.

    What gets me --

    Conservatives sheering Thomas Jefferson,
    The President who purchased the largest Land Grab in American History --

    i.e., On Credit, Largest National Debt [per capita], and higher Taxes...

    And don't even get me started on all the Scientific Research and Development Programs he started AND Funded....

    Cheer away....

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    July 6, 2014 7:00 a.m.

    @Light and Liberty – “for you to cherry pick a few quotes from Thomas Jefferson”

    Sorry if this is bursting your bubble, but don’t take my word for it – go read the source material and what these men truly thought. Our Founders were highly principled and very ethical men but they were not religious.

    Did you know Jefferson produced his own version the NT called the Life and Morals of Jesus? He essentially cut and pasted parts of the gospels to remove all the miracles and any reference to Jesus being a supernatural deity, including the resurrection. What we’re left with is one of the greatest moral teachers the world has ever known (a claim I happen to agree with).

    And for anyone who still thinks the Founders would have converted to the LDS faith en masse had they known about it, ask yourself – why would men who were skeptical of religion and often disdainful of Christianity convert to a religion that is basically Christianity plus some other ideas?

    PS – the whole of being an atheist is to NOT worship, but instead be guided by reason & truth.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    July 5, 2014 7:46 p.m.

    John Adams and Thomas Jefferson didn't think the same. Our founding fathers weren't monolithic in all of their views. And both stretched the powers of the Constitution. John Adams supported the Alien and Sedition Acts to subvert political protest. Jefferson was very troubled by Adams and what he saw were abuses of powers including Adams' famous midnight appointments. But then Jefferson even admitted that doing the Louisiana Purchase was problematic and probably beyond the powers of the Executive.

  • Light and Liberty St. George/Washington, UT
    July 5, 2014 7:29 p.m.

    Tyler: for you to cherry pick a few quotes from Thomas Jefferson, or any of the Founding Fathers, to promote the idea that they were akin to Aztec sun worshippers is a whopper of epic proportions. It is a mystery to me that athiest's still like to find something to worship, even if it isn't the real God of the universe. They search in vain to find some crumb from the table of great men like Jefferson to support a view that if not utterly false, is so far removed from the actuality that one has to wonder how a mind could come up with it! He believed in God! The thing that is somewhat surprising is that his views could be so enlightened considering the day. It is obvious that many in our day are still trying to understand his ideas, simple though they are! The Sermon on the Mount is simple as well, but look at what modern man has made of His teachings.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    July 5, 2014 5:47 p.m.

    @Mike Richards – “A Deist believes in the nature of God not the god of nature.”

    You’re confused about what Deism is. Deists believe in reason and observation and totally reject revelation and religious authority. Further they do not believe in miracles or scripture – doesn’t sound very LDS to me.

    Also since the Founders were fond of using the terms “God of Nature” or Nature’s God” in many of their writings, your statement on the face of it is wrong.

    To try and hijack what these men believed and equate their views with those of Joseph Smith is a complete fiction. Believe that the Founders, had they been born decades later, would have been Mormons if you like, but there is zero historical evidence for this view.

    If you are truly interested in understanding the religious foundations & views of our Founders you would be much better served by reading Spinoza.

  • LovelyDeseret Gilbert, AZ
    July 5, 2014 1:54 p.m.

    And even today we still have the battle that these two great men waged. It is still the Northerners vs. the Southerners New England vs. the South.

  • Light and Liberty St. George/Washington, UT
    July 5, 2014 12:17 p.m.

    LDS Liberal: if you are insinuating that Joseph Smith would condone abortion on demand, war, government control of Education, denial of religious liberty, Socialism, government control over your health care, government antipathy toward family life, unjust taxes, government provided contraception, mandating that men and women think and act the same, gay marriage, and the whole Democratic Platform, you need to study your religion a little more, including its leaders. Ezra Taft Benson would be a good place for you to start!

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    July 5, 2014 8:03 a.m.

    @ Lou Montana. Jeffrey R. Holland, April 2014 said, "Sadly enough, my young friends, it is a characteristic of our age that if people want any gods at all, they want them to be gods who do not demand much, comfortable gods, smooth gods who not only don’t rock the boat but don’t even row it, gods who pat us on the head, make us giggle, then tell us to run along and pick marigolds."
    I hope that answers your question.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    July 5, 2014 7:28 a.m.

    A Deist believes in the nature of God not the god of nature. There is a great difference between those two concepts. In 1776, according to Jesus Christ, as He explained to Joseph Smith, Christ accepted no religion on earth as having authority. It is not surprising that many of those Founding Fathers held a deep belief in God but not in organized religion.

    Adams and Jefferson were two great men. They, like all of us, had faults, but they believed that government served the people. They pledged their "all" to bring a Republic to the world where we could elect Representatives in the House, where the States would appoint Senator to represent the States, where the President executed the will of the people as legislated by Congress, and where direct taxation was prohibited. Amendments have changed part of that.

    Too many have twisted those concepts until they are opposite of what America stands for. It's good for the Deseret News to remind us that our twisted notions are incorrect and that we need to realign ourselves with the fundamental principles.

  • LOU Montana Pueblo, CO
    July 4, 2014 6:46 p.m.

    No where does it say "Who's GOD we should follow!

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    July 4, 2014 4:58 p.m.

    @Mountanman – “Thomas Jefferson believed that our liberties came from GOD”

    Technically true, however Jefferson (like many of the Founders) was a Deist. For a Deist God is essentially the equivalent of Nature as they do not believe in anything acting outside the laws of nature and they certainly don’t believe in anthropomorphic deities.

    For all practical purposes (i.e., effects in the natural world) Deists are basically Atheists. The following quotes from Jefferson should make this abundantly clear.

    "Religions are all alike, founded upon fables and myths."

    "I do not find in Christianity one redeeming feature."

    "The Christian god is cruel, vindictive, capricious, and unjust."

    Pretty clear that what Jefferson meant by “our creator” is wholly different than the God of Abraham.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    July 4, 2014 2:34 p.m.

    This is a pretty good piece imo. I admire both men but see neither as Republicans or Liberals in the current sense. Both would be disgusted with the level of centralization now in place. Some quotes from the two men about the Constitution and the Declaration of Inependence would be apt today and would produce clearly the dichotomy between those days and these.

    All men were created equal and all have a right, among other things, to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. George III was a real sweetheart, in the opinion of some, compared to latter-day dictators. Maybe we could discuss that taking Jefferson's criticisms of the third George with current political practice where possible, perhaps writing an ennumeration of the "train of abuses" of the latter in the style of the former.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    July 4, 2014 11:43 a.m.

    @ Hutterite. Thomas Jefferson believed that our liberties came from GOD, not government as he wrote in the declaration of independence! Strange that you would interpret that as a "wall of separation". Further, Jefferson believed God was the author and definer of morality and all morality comes from God, not government!

  • Clarissa Layton, UT
    July 4, 2014 11:28 a.m.

    John Adams and his wife, Abigail, are my heroes. If you read the article and understood it, you would know that politics change with the times. The Republican party wasn't a party until 1854, and President Lincoln was the first Republican president. Over time, it appears that liberals and conservatives flipped in their beliefs. It is obvious to me that it is ridiculous that President Reagan and many others mentioned would have been modern day Democrats. It also appears that you dislike the LDS religion. I see no reason for your negative comments. Utah was the first or second state to allow women to vote. The federal government made them stop. I could refute other items on your list, but I'll run out of space. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were amazing men. I've been to John Adams two homes. I felt something very special there. God Bless AMERCA!

  • birder Salt Lake City, UT
    July 4, 2014 11:26 a.m.

    @ LDSLiberal
    If you are referring to the LDS presence in Ohio, it is Kirtland, not Kirkland.

  • gmlewis Houston, TX
    July 4, 2014 10:36 a.m.

    It is not unusual for a news source to quote other news sources. In this case, Deseret News quoted extensively from The History Channel and PBS. If there was a spin to this article, it was a spin that arose from the original sources. Since neither PBS nor the History Channel are charged with a Conservative bias, then the author of the article is just doing his job.

  • Fitz Murray, UT
    July 4, 2014 10:35 a.m.

    If I may offer a different insight to the part in this editorial regarding the celebration of our independence. This editorial insinuates that this was the last of the celebrations for the next 50 years. That is not correct. The celebrations of our independence started on July 4th, 1776, but after that date, and for the next 50 years, independence celebrations were held on July 2nd, some on the 3rd and some on the 4th. Celebrations may not have been on the same date for the first 50 years, but our independence has been continuously celebrated. On the 50th anniversary of independence there was an agreement to have July 4th as the official celebration day. And so it continues on July 4th. Thanks John and Tom.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    July 4, 2014 10:12 a.m.

    Thank you, Deseret News. On Independence Day, we should remember those who made it possible. You've reminded us that people believed in this nation and that they tried to explain their differences.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    July 4, 2014 9:30 a.m.

    Jefferson was very insightful. He saw the dangers of a mix of religion and politics and assured his constituents that this nation would ever have a wall of separation between church and state. Build that wall, Mr. Jefferson.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    July 4, 2014 8:16 a.m.

    Nice SPIN by the Deseret News staff...

    Making everything sound like REPUBLICANS and insignificant small Government was the Key to success of America's founding...

    FYI -- Labels mean nothing, for nearly 180 years, Republicans were the party of LIBERALS.

    Jefferson, Franklin, Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, etc. -- all LIBERALS.
    [Truth be told -- even Ronald Reagan would be run out as a Liberal RINO today].

    BTW -- In Pre-Civil War America -- and the failed Banks in Kirkland, and Gov. Lilburn Boggs Extermination Order given in Missouri and President Van Buren not being able to help the Constitutional rights of the Saints over the States of Missouri or Illinois -- Joseph Smith ran for President of the United States on a platform of America needing a stronger Central Government and Government controlled Bank, freeing the Master's Property - Slaves, progressive immigration, Women having right to Vote, unorthodox marriages, reimbursement to the Indians, and other Liberal ideologies.