By Kellene Bishop
Many of the wars and rumors of wars exist in the world as the result of the Jews and Muslims fighting to protect the locations which are sacred to them. The Mount of Olives, the Dome of the Rock, the Tomb of David, the Tomb of Rachel, and so on and so forth; all of these have merited untiring protection and defense by those who believe they are sacred.
While the violence ensues and the wars erupt from a spirit of sentryism is not ideal, the valiance and willingness to fight for that which is sacred should be something that we as Latter-Day Saints pay heed to.
The Promised Land by Arnold Friberg
This nation is indeed The Promised Land, and it is favored above all other lands upon this earth by God himself. The words ‘promised’, ‘choice’, and ‘favored’ should not be taken lightly when used by the Lord. Surely He is not insincere or unknowledgeable in the use of such descriptive words. Yet in a moment of somber honesty with ourselves, many of us have to admit that we rarely give any thought to the sacredness of this land and its accompanying freedom. Yes, for some our hearts are momentarily stirred when we view great historical monuments of our American history such as the Liberty Bell, or a copy of the original Declaration of Independence. Perhaps our hearts flutter a bit when we witness the grandeur and beauty of the works of His hand at Niagara Falls or The Grand Canyon. But do we really appreciate the truly sacred nature of this land? If so, what are we doing to protect it? What would we be willing to do to protect the sanctity and holiness of our own temples and the freedom to operate them appropriately?
Why is it that scores of prophets have been shown the history of this land and its significance? No other portion of the earth has been endowed with greater significance in His Plan than has this continent. Permit me to remind us just how sacred and choice this land is to the Lord.
Human life began on this continent. As such our father Adam and our mother Eve dwelt here and raised their children here and their children’s children. Such events began in a beautiful place known as the Garden of Eden right here in North America¹. This also means that God and His Son literally communicated with Adam and Eve on this very land.
Methuselah lived nine-hundred and sixty-nine years here. His grandson Noah, built the Ark on this land. The City of Enoch was built and then taken up from this land.²
One of the most magnificent civilizations ever was established here by the hand of the Lord and was greater than any contemporary kingdoms. This kingdom would even rival that of the Babylonian, Assyrian, Chinese and Egyptian civilizations.³ The Jaredites existed on this land from 2300 to 600 B.C. until they destroyed themselves.
Every single Book of Mormon prophet that we have come to know and love resided on this very soil. Christ our Lord appeared to the inhabitants of this land. (See 3 Nephi)
The First Vision c/o lds.org
God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared simultaneously in this land and conversed with a young man, Joseph Smith. (See The First Vision)
The Gospel of Jesus Christ was restored on the earth in this very land. (See Doctrine and Covenants)
The Priesthood keys were fully restored to worthy men on this continent. This sacred restoration was performed by the literal hands of John the Baptist, Peter, James and John and the great prophet Elijah.4
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is guided and directed daily by a prophet of God from this land to all the earth.
It is here that the Lord’s New Jerusalem will be established.5 “Zion will indeed arise and shine” on this land. A great temple will be built in the New Jerusalem unlike any other and will be built not only with the hands of those who are called to assist, but with the aid of the Lord himself and angels from beyond the veil.6 (President Wilford Woodruff)
It is to this very continent that the lost Tribes of Israel will be gathered and assist in building up His Kingdom here on the earth during the Millennial Reign.
It is upon this ground which we live that the Lord himself will officially take over and administer the governing powers for all the earth. Here He will administer His Pre-Millennial plan in the last days.
Equally as important is the fact that this land was blessed with the greatest level of freedom of any other in the world by the hand of the Lord and through much sacrifice and bloodshed. It was required that His plans could be carried out unencumbered and in accordance to the Plan of Salvation. Such freedom stands as a beacon of light and hope to dozens of nations who have attempted to emulate it.
Wow. Take a moment to breathe that all in. And to think that this is not all that has transpired or that will in the future. I am convinced that if any one of these events were believed to have taken place in Palestine that all of the surrounding physical areas would likewise be fiercely protected. Don’t you?
Dallin H. Oaks at General Conference c/o ldschurchnews.com
With such great blessings comes significant responsibilities. What good are these events of the past, present, and future if we do nothing to protect their significance, our ability to honor them, and our freedom to benefit from them by worshipping freely? Do we not realize that our regular involvement in protecting a perfect and unadulterated freedom of our nation is inseparable with our religious beliefs? (See Elder Dallin H. Oaks talk in the October, 2009 General Conference) Yet evil and its ugly stepsister, apathy, abound in our nation, even in the membership of the Church. We make far too many decisions based on what we THINK is the “here and now.” I am no exception to the masses who fail to humbly and prayerfully consider how our actions will aid or mitigate the work of the Lord on this nation. I too have been guilty of naively categorizing my life into areas of spiritual or political when in fact there are no such delineation. In fact, our political decisions are no less spiritual than will be the governmental reign of the Lord. Have we ever read anything by any prophet which would tell us otherwise? Have we ever read any passage of scripture that would tell us that we need not be diligent in our political actions every whit as much as those of our worship? Indeed, we cannot separate the two. Freedom is inseparable from the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Thus our passions and efforts to preserve freedom must be equally proliferated and prominent in our lives. Freedom was the crux of the war in heaven and it is still being fought on this land today.
Is it really any wonder that we seem to be losing so much of our freedom? The principle of Freedom is as much the soul of this country as the Spirit is to our justification to enter God’s presence.7 We are not ignorant of the devotion of our enemies as manifested in their daily prayers to the god which they worship. The powers of darkness clearly respond to such allegiance. What could we accomplish if we prayed as much for righteousness and freedom in this land as fervently as our enemies pray for evil?
May we better appreciate what we are protecting—our sacred lands, God’s plan of freedom, and a joyous future of our families—and may we act accordingly in our daily remembrance and devotions.
1 Cowley, Matthias, Wilford Woodruff, p. 481
2 Smith, J. F., The Progress of Man, p. 249
3 Ether 3:1
4 D&C 27:8-12
5 Ether 13:2-8
6 Cowley, Op. Cit., p. 505
7 Moses 6:60
|Copyright 2009 Kellene Bishop. All rights reserved. You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Kellene Bishop.