Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

What Should We Do to Make a Stand for Christian Principles?

             Among other things, the Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ is the history of ancient inhabitants of the Americas. It contains the history of the Jaredites, the Nephites, and the Lamanites as well as another group known as the Mulekites who joined the Nephites. The Jaredites left the Middle East and came to the Americas at the time of the Tower of Babel. About 600 B.C., the other people came from the Middle East to America in two groups – the Mulekites and the family of Lehi – and later combined. Soon after the death of Lehi, his children divided into the Nephites and the Lamanites.

            By the year 72 B.C., the Lamanites and Nephites had fought many battles, and the chapters for this week’s Come, Follow Me lesson is about some of their wars. Amalickiah was a Nephite dissenter who joined the Lamanites and became their king by a series of lies and intrigue. Being the king of the Lamanites gave him power but not as much as he desired because he wanted to be the king over all the land.

As soon as Amalickiah had obtained the Lamanite kingdom, he began to stir up the Lamanites in anger against the Nephites. Before too long “he had hardened the hearts of the Lamanites and blinded their minds, and stirred them up to anger” (Alma 48:3). He was determined “to overpower the Nephites and to bring them into bondage” (Alma 48:4). He chose other dissenters from the Nephites as his chief captains because they were “the most acquainted with the strength of the Nephites” (Alma 48:5).

Meanwhile, Captain Moroni, the leader of the Nephites, had been “preparing the minds of the people to be faithful unto the Lord their God” (Alma 48:7). He strengthened the armies, erected small forts, and fortified the forts with banks of earth and walls of stones around them. The Nephites were “preparing to support their liberty, their lands, their wives, and their children, and their peace,” and their religious freedom that “they might maintain that which was called by their enemies the cause of the Christians” (Alma 48:10).

Besides having a righteous cause for their preparations for war, the Nephites were led by a righteous man. Captain Moroni was described as “a strong and a mighty man” with “perfect understanding” who “did not delight in bloodshed” but found his “joy in the liberty and the freedom of his country, and his brethren from bondage and slavery” (Alma 48:11). His “heart did swell with thanksgiving to his God, for the many privileges and blessings” given to his people, and “he was a man who did labor exceedingly for the welfare and safety of his people” (Alma 48:12). He “was firm in the faith of Christ,” and he had sworn “an oath to defend his people, his rights, and his country, and his religion, even to the loss of his blood” (Alma 48:13).

When Mormon compiled the Book of Mormon, he wrote the following about Captain Moroni: “… I say unto you, if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men” (Alma 48:17).

Captain Moroni was not the only righteous leader among the Nephites. “Helaman and his brethren were no less serviceable unto the people than was Moroni” (Alma 48:19). By following their righteous leaders, the Nephites were prepared for the attack of the Lamanites and were able to repel their enemies.

There are several principles in this story. The first principle is that we should choose righteous people as our leaders. The second principle is that we are more able to survive and even thrive during emergencies and disasters when we are prepared for them. The third principle is that we cannot all be in the spotlight as was Captain Moroni, but we can “be serviceable” to our fellow human beings just as Helaman and his brethren were. The fourth principle is that sometimes we must make a stand for our Christian principles.

            Sometimes true followers of Christ must make a stand just as Captain Moroni and his people did to defend “their liberty, their lands, their wives, and their children, and their peace” as well as “the cause of the Christians” (Alma 48:10). We are living at a time when there is a tide of wickedness sweeping the world. President Gordon B. Hinckley of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints taught that “there are times when we must stand up for right and decency, for freedom and civilization, just as Moroni rallied his people in his day to the defense of their wives, their children, and the cause of liberty (see Alma 48:10)” (Ensign, Nov. 2001, 72).

            We are living in the last days before the Savior Jesus Christ returns to earth to rule and reign for 1,000 years. The family has been under attack for many years and continues to be attacked. Now churches, particularly Christian churches, are being attacked, and Christians are being denied the right to worship together. One group of Christians recently met in a casino in Nevada to worship together, while another group in another state worshipped at Wal-Mart.

            Freedom of religion is the First Freedom because it is the most important. All other freedoms will fall like Dominoes if we lose this first one. It is time for all Christians to stand up and to stand together to protect the cause of Christians, which is really the cause of liberty.

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