Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Guardians of the Law

Yesterday I picked up my copy of the Clark Memorandum and read Judge Sheila McCleve's speech at last year's JRCLS Founders Day dinner, entitled "Guardians of the Law." You can read the full text here, and I highly recommend it. There are a very few choice moments that have defined to me why my Heavenly Father wanted me to be a lawyer. One involves the feelings I had when I decided to go to law school. Another came as my Constitutional Law professor spoke to us about the need for us as representatives of our faith to be able to articulate our position to the outside world. And yesterday, reading this speech became another. Here is a pertinent excerpt (excuse all the ellipses, I wanted to just paste the whole address, but settled for trying to keep all the key parts for me):

On that founding day President Romney addressed the question of the reason for the Law School. He didn't explicitly say the reason for the Law School. Instead, he talked about a few things that would prepare us to understand the reason. First, and I think most important, he began to outline gospel "verities," as he termed them. One, we are children of God. Two, this life is about more than mortality. . . Three, God's purposes for this life are our immortality and eternal life. Our Father in Heaven gives us the opportunity to choose to be with Him and helps us get there. Four, the only way back to our Father is through the gospel of Jesus Christ. Five, the Church is here to teach and administer to all the world--to all the world. Finally, six, we have been given the ability to choose our own destiny.

These six things in actuality explain the plan of salvation.

. . .

When he gave the dedicatory address and prayer two years later at the dedication of the Law School building, President Romney further explained what Heaven expects of us. He said, "And Father, help the lawyers trained in this law school to remember that they are to be the guardians of the law Isaiah spoke of three thousand years ago, when he said, 'Out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.'"

. . . 

What was the law Isaiah spoke of? . . . A partial fulfillment of the law going forth was the establishment of our constitutional form of government and its influence throughout the world.

. . . 

The purpose of the Constitution is, through the law, to allow us to choose our own destinies. That is the law that Isaiah spoke of. In other words, it is the law that enables and protects moral agency.

 I don't know to what extent or in what field I will eventually practice law, but I do know that my Father wanted me to understand the purpose and importance of the law, and gave me gifts to be able to articulate those purposes when the world is largely rejecting them. It is something I need to develop even now that I feel so far removed from the legal world.

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