The liberty principle for today is a question about Christianity in America. The nation was founded on Christian principles with freedom of religion as the first “right” listed in the Bill of Rights. However, attendance at church is declining and fewer Americans are describing themselves as religious.
New York Times columnist and author Ross Douthat says, “We’re a no longer deeply Christian country that is not yet post-Christian and is still heavily influenced by Christianity.” I find this statement to be sad and frightening at the same time.
I have read the Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ, and I believe it to be a true record of ancient Americans. It contains a record of three separate groups of people who came to the American continents. The main history is about the Nephites and Lamanites, descendants of a prophet named Lehi who took his family and left Jerusalem 600 years before the birth of Jesus Christ.
The second history is about a group of people known as the people of Zarahemla or the Mulekites. They also left Jerusalem about 600 B.C. Mulek was the oldest son of Zedekiah, the last king of Judah before the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem. Mulek was protected by a group of supporters, and they found their way to America. They took no records with them and had lost their language when they were discovered by the Nephites. They joined the Nephites and became one people with them.
The third history is about a group of people known as the Jaredites. Jared and his brother lived at the time of the Tower of Babel. They asked God to not confound their language or the language of their friends. God blessed them and did not confound their language. He also led them to America.
The Jaredites warred among themselves until their entire civilization was destroyed. The last surviving Jaredite was discovered by the Mulekites, and he lived with them for nine months before his death. Hundreds of years later, the Nephites and the Lamanites warred among themselves until the Nephites were destroyed. The Lamanites are some of the ancestors of the Native Americans today.
The reason that the Jaredites and Nephites were destroyed is that they rejected Jesus Christ. Before Lehi left Jerusalem, the Lord promised that He would take Lehi and his family to a land of promise. Lehi later shared the following information with his family.
Wherefore, I, Lehi, have obtained a promise, that inasmuch as those whom the Lord God shall bring out of the land of Jerusalem shall keep his commandments, they shall prosper upon the face of this land; and they shall be kept from all other nations, that they may possess this land unto themselves. And if it so be that they shall keep his commandments they shall be blessed upon the face of this land, and there shall be none to molest them, nor to take away the land of their inheritance; and they shall dwell safely forever.
But behold, when the time cometh that they shall dwindle in unbelief, after they have received so great blessings from the hand of the Lord – having a knowledge of the creation of the earth, and all men, knowing the great and marvelous works of the Lord from the creation of the world; having power given them to do all things by faith; having all the commandments from the beginning, and having been brought by his infinite goodness into this precious land of promise – behold, I say, if the day shall come that they will reject the Holy One of Israel, the true Messiah, their Redeemer and their God, behold, the judgments of him that is just shall rest upon them (Book of Mormon – Another Witness of Jesus Christ, 2 Nephi 1:9-10).
I believe that the Nephites and the Jaredites were destroyed because they rejected the gospel of Jesus Christ. By doing so, they rejected the God of this land, even Jesus Christ. America is a promised land for the righteous followers of Jesus Christ. The Lord has promised to prosper those who live in the promised land as long as we keep His commandments, but we have no promise otherwise (see Doctrine and Covenants 82:10).
This is the reason why I am saddened and frightened to hear the United States described as a nation that is losing its faith in Jesus Christ. I do not believe that the United States will be destroyed. However, I would not be surprised to see great tribulation come to this land because of dwindling of faith in Jesus Christ.