Lesson 31: The Law of the Land

Young Women Manual 2, (1993), 116–20


Each young woman will realize the importance of supporting the laws of her country.


  1. 1.

    Picture 15, International Traffic Control Signs, located at the back of the manual.

  2. 2.

    Optional: Obtain the chart of the twelfth article of faith (65012) from your meetinghouse library.

  3. 3.

    Make a copy for each young woman of the handout “Suggested Activities,” located at the end of the lesson.

  4. 4.

    Bring a copy of the standard works to display. Also bring pencils for the class members.

  5. 5.

    Bring your country’s flag or a picture of the flag to be displayed during the lesson.

  6. 6.

    Before teaching the lesson, learn the meaning of the various colors and symbols used in your country’s flag.

  7. 7.

    Assign young women to present any scriptures, stories, or quotations you wish.

Suggested Lesson Development

Civil Laws Can Provide Peace and Order within a Nation

Picture and discussion

Show the picture depicting various international traffic control signs. Discuss what they are used for, what they communicate, and why they are necessary.

  • What might happen in a large city during rush hour if the signal lights, traffic control devices, or officers were not functioning?

  • What other laws are necessary to maintain order and peace in a community and nation?

  • What might happen if there were no such laws?

Scripture discussion

Display a copy of the standard works.

  • What do these books have in common with a law book? (One contains religious law, the other civil law.) Explain that the Lord has counseled Church members concerning these two kinds of laws. Have a young woman read Doctrine and Covenants 58:21.

  • How will keeping the laws of God help us keep the laws of the land?

  • Why do we need organized government? Why can’t we get along individually?

Quotation and discussion

After the young women have responded, read the following quotation to help answer the question.

“The early pioneers found that a great deal of their time and energy was being spent defending themselves, their property, and their liberty. For man to prosper, he cannot afford to spend his time constantly guarding his family, his fields, and his property against attack and theft. When he joins together with his neighbors and hires a sheriff, government is born. The individual citizens delegate to the sheriff their unquestionable right to protect themselves. The sheriff now does for them only that which they had a right to do for themselves—nothing more. …

“In general terms, therefore, the proper role of government includes such defensive activities as maintaining national, military, and local police forces for protection against loss of life, loss of property, and loss of liberty at the hands of either foreign despots or domestic criminals” (Ezra Taft Benson, in Conference Report, Oct. 1968, pp. 18–19; or Improvement Era, Dec. 1968, pp. 51–52).

  • What are some other reasons why governments and laws are necessary?

Quotation and discussion

Doctrine and Covenants 134:1 states, “We believe that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man.”

President N. Eldon Tanner emphasized this idea in the following quotation:

“All the laws of God and the laws of nature and the laws of the land are made for the benefit of man, for his comfort, enjoyment, safety, and well-being; and it is up to the individual to learn these laws and to determine whether or not he will enjoy these benefits by obeying the law and by keeping the commandments. My whole purpose … is to show that laws exist for our benefit and that to be happy and successful we must obey the laws and regulations pertaining to our activities; and these laws will function either to our joy and well-being or to our detriment and sorrow, according to our actions” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1970, p. 62; or Improvement Era, June 1970, p. 31).

  • What are some specific laws that are made for our benefit, comfort, and safety?

God Holds His Children Accountable for Sustaining the Laws of Their Land

Scripture discussion

Have the young women read Doctrine and Covenants 134:1.

  • What does it mean to be accountable?

Optional poster

Refer to the twelfth article of faith. (Display the poster.)

  • How does one obey, honor, and sustain the law?

Case studies and discussion

Have the young women analyze the following situations and determine what they should do to obey, honor, and sustain the law in each case.

  1. 1.

    You are riding with some older teenagers. The driver is exceeding the speed limit or offers to let you drive the car even though you do not have a driver’s license.

  2. 2.

    A government official is addressing the student body of your school. A group of students who object to his presentation are disrupting the assembly by shouting and stomping their feet.

  3. 3.

    You are in a large department store. You notice one of your friends slipping a blouse under her coat.

  4. 4.

    A young man on the street hands you a brochure that criticizes the government of your country. You do not know if the criticism is valid.

Thought question

  • In your daily life, are you an example of one who obeys, honors, and sustains the laws of the land?

Love of Country Is Evidenced by a Young Woman’s Actions


“The Prophet Joseph Smith … said, ‘Patriotism should be sought for and will be found in right living.’ Isn’t that interesting? You can’t be really patriotic unless you’re righteous. No man can be a good Latter-day Saint and not be true to the best interests and welfare of his country” (Hartman Rector, Jr., “The Land Choice Above All,” in Speeches of the Year, 1974 [Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1975], p. 423).

  • What does it mean to be patriotic?

The following may help answer this question:

“Patriotism is more than flag-waving and fireworks. It is how we respond to public issues. If we ask only, ‘What’s in this proposal for me?—What do I get out of it?’—we are not patriotic and we are not good citizens. But if we ask, ‘Is this right?—is it good for the … people?—would it preserve and strengthen our freedom?’—then we deserve to stand in the company of [great patriots]. Patriotism is trying always to give more to the Nation than we receive. It is selfless service” (Ezra Taft Benson, The Red Carpet [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1962], p. 96).

Chalkboard discussion

  • What are some acts of patriotism that demonstrate that you love your country?

Record the responses on the chalkboard. Responses might include the following:

  1. 1.

    Singing your national anthem respectfully.

  2. 2.

    Showing reverence for the flag of your country.

  3. 3.

    Learning more of the heritage and history of your country.

  4. 4.

    Campaigning for political candidates whose views you support.

  5. 5.

    Participating in community service projects and other civic activities.

  6. 6.

    Obeying the laws of the land.

  7. 7.

    Respecting public officials and public property.

  8. 8.

    Respecting political opinions that differ from your own.

Flag discussion

Refer to the flag you have displayed.

  • What do the various colors represent?

  • What do the symbols, if any, represent?

  • Why are these things important to your country?

  • What can you do to promote the righteous values symbolized by the flag?

If your country has a pledge of allegiance, you may want to discuss its meaning with the young women.

Lesson Application


Hand out the lists of suggested activities that you have prepared. Read through the list with the young women, and have them add their own ideas. Suggest that they use this list as a guide to their future civic involvement. Have the young women select one of the suggested activities to do as a class. Be prepared to help them organize the activity so they will have a successful experience.