For many years, President Ezra Taft Benson was worried that patriotic Americans were effectively spinning their tires in their current methods of defending the Constitution and attempting to preserve freedom. He voiced concern that we are swinging at the branches by trying to solve all of this nations greatest problems individually, but actually making no lasting progress.
The Shotgun Approach
President Benson called this the “shotgun approach”, saying that we are metaphorically spraying pellets, hoping that some of them will stop these problems.
Abortions, outrageous taxation, out of control deficits, $20+ trillion of national debt, civil asset forfeiture, a failing public education system, rapid moral decay, a growing welfare state, threats against the right to bear arms, out of control illegal immigration, debilitating student loan debt, skyrocketing divorce rates, shrinking family sizes, militant atheism… Need I say more? This nation is crumbling in virtually every way imaginable.
The Task at Hand
The natural tendency is for us to rally our allies and resources and fight back against these issues as largely disconnected special interest groups.
This might have been effective 100 years ago. But at this point, the problem is simply too large for this method to work.
In an excellent talk called I Testify by President Ezra Taft Benson, he provides a vision of what we are up against.
I testify that wickedness is rapidly expanding in every segment of our society. (See D&C 1:14–16; D&C 84:49–53.) It is more highly organized, more cleverly disguised, and more powerfully promoted than ever before. Secret combinations lusting for power, gain, and glory are flourishing. A secret combination that seeks to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries is increasing its evil influence and control over America and the entire world.
(October General Conference, 1988)
President Benson warned that at this rate, patriots who are concerned about the trajectory our nation is headed would completely give up. He said the shotgun approach will 1) waste our resources, 2) exhaust our energy, and 3) discourage the people.
The Rifle Approach
Rather, President Benson recommended we use the “rifle approach” to heal America. He explained the process as follows:
- We must make long lists of the greatest problems facing America today, perhaps a list of the top 100 problems.
- Then we need to categorize the problems, grouping them based on similarities.
- Then we must evaluate entire categories of problems, asking ourselves, “What happened to the Constitution to allow these types of problems to exist?” It may be that principles of successful government were violated either by changing or ignoring constitutional standards.
- Prioritize the resulting list of constitutional violations to determine which clauses must be restored first, resulting in the greatest impact per ounce of energy.
- Develop a comprehensive plan to restore the political process itself, thus categorically eliminating the problems at their roots.
President Benson, and many other prophets, promised that America would be saved. This is how we must do it.