Monday, June 22, 2009

Title of Liberty

As you can tell by my last few blog postings, I’m feeling very patriotic with the 4th of July less than a two weeks away. I love celebrating our country. I love the parades, picnics, and fireworks. I love that I was born in a free land and taught to appreciate all that I have. I hope and pray we can hang on to the freedoms our founding fathers fought so hard to put in place. The troubles we are experiencing now, reminds me of the story in the Book of Mormon about Chief Captain Moroni.

You might remember the story of the title of liberty. Moroni had defeated the Lamanites and peace reigned in the land, but not for long. The people became materialistic and proud and had allowed themselves to be led away from what they knew was right by the flatteries of Amalickiah, an unrighteous man who wanted to be king. “Yea, we see that Amalickiah because he was a man of cunning device and a man of many flattering words, that he led away the hearts of many people to do wickedly; yea, and to seek to destroy the church of God, and to destroy the foundation of liberty which God had granted unto them, or which blessing God had sent upon the face of the land for the righteous’ sake…” (Book of Mormon, Alma 46:10). When Moroni saw how easily his people had been led away he rent his coat and wrote upon it “…In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children…” (Alma 46:12). He then fastened the rent piece of his coat on a pole and prayed that the cause of Christians and the freedom of the land might be favored. Shortly thereafter he walked among the people asking that whoever wanted to maintain their freedoms to follow. The people rushed to support him.

How does this story apply to us? I hope we will always have our priorities in order and remember how important our freedom is not only to us, but our children. Have we taught our children the importance of freedom? I hope so. I can’t help but think of the stripling warriors and how their parents taught them the importance of religion, faith and country. In a spring posting on my blog I wrote about stripling warrior character traits and patriotism was one I focused on. “Now they never had fought yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives…” (Alma 56:47).

I love the stories of Moroni, Helaman and the stripling warriors so much that in my book, The Forgotten Warrior, I included a scene where Sydney─a sixteen-year-old girl with a black belt in karate who had been sent back in time─spoke with Tarik─one of the stripling warriors─about the title of liberty. This scene is told through Sydney’s eyes.

…Tarik nodded, and I could tell by the smile that tugged at the corners of his mouth that he was a little impressed.
I continued, “He prayed that liberty would rest on his brethren. He said, ‘Surely God shall not suffer that we, who are despised because we take upon us the name of Christ, shall be trodden down and destroyed until we bring it upon us by our own transgressions. Or something like that.”
Terik scratched his brow, and I thought I saw the flicker of admiration in his eyes again. He asked, “And what did the title of liberty have written upon it?”
“Oh, that’s easy.” Then suddenly my memory failed. “Uh…I know this…I do.” I stared at the ground as if the words were written there. Nervously, I glanced up at Tarik. He was patiently waiting. And then the words came to my mind with the full impact of their meaning. With conviction in my voice, I said, “In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives and our children.”
“Maybe…” he paused, his eyebrows raised. “Maybe you are not a spy. Are you a believer?”
“I am, “ I replied…

Copyright © Kathi Oram Peterson

I hope─if a time ever arises─that we, too, can stand up and say I am a believer.

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