Tag Archives: agency

Do We Have the Freedom to Be Apathetic?

By Kellene Bishop

captain-moroni-art-title-of-liberty

Captain Moroni Title Of Liberty artist unknown

Today I wrote an article for Women of Caliber about sitting ducks and how they actually endanger the lives of those around them. In writing this article, I realized that Captain Moroni dealt with such individuals. He understood their danger to the safety of others, even those who were risking their lives and fighting for the freedom and well-being of their own country. He gave the “sitting ducks” an ultimatum—either fight for freedom or die.

To recap, as you may recall in Alma chapter 51, the Kingmen refused to take up arms against the attacking Lamanites. Verse 13 of Alma 51 specifically says they were “wroth” with the “people of liberty” and as such would not take up arms to defend their country. Moroni calls this action “stubbornness” (vs. 14) actually, not ignorance or a stance on ones’ own beliefs. The verse states that his soul filled with anger against them. The governor apparently agreed with this justified anger of Moroni and thus authorized him to compel any dissenters to defend the country’s freedom and liberty or to be put to death—yea, even to “level them to the earth.” (vs. 17) Why such a final reaction towards those who choose to do nothing? Verse 16 clearly identifies the apathy of the dissenters as “the cause of all their destruction.”

Certainly we don’t believe that Captain Moroni was some kind of a controlling tyrant. I believe that he clearly understood that liberty simply could not be had if not diligently fought for. If the valiant were to fight for freedom only to have it dwindle in their homes while they were away, then there would be no reason to fight for its existence as the flame of freedom would easily be squelched by those who viewed it as insignificant.

I wonder today how many of us really are just sitting ducks? How many of us put so much else above the type of freedom that this brave prophet fought for? He valued freedom above all else, realizing that all else was impossible to enjoy without it. There is no religious freedom without it. Without it we lose the marriages in our sacred temples. We lose the establishment of the Priesthood. We lose the freedom to share the Gospel with others. We lose the ability to raise our children in righteousness. And we even risk losing the liberty to declare our own beliefs.

Today we are not yet “compelled to hoist the title of liberty” however, those of us who ignore doing so will indeed be compelled to live in a manner which we do not enjoy. It’s simply a matter of consequences. So in answer to the question, do we really have the freedom to be apathetic? While it may seem that we have the freedom to do just about anything we want in today’s liberal climate, ultimately our Heavenly Father has shared with us that the freedom we may believe in now is merely a smoke screen that comes with delayed consequences. We must truly be diligent in fighting for liberty and freedom in all that we do or else settle for the inevitable outcome.

Fighting for freedom isn’t just about wielding a gun or a sword. It’s about the movies we pay to support, the politicians we elect, the businesses we patronize, the people we associate with, the media stories we believe in and circulate, and how and what we do with our abilities to defend our homes and families both spiritually and physically. I believe that our apathy today is indeed “the cause of all our destruction.”

Unfortunately, the enemy of liberty never takes a break. He is crafty, diligent, and unscrupulous. Can we afford to be any less diligent in our opposition of such a threat?

Copyright 2009 Kellene Bishop. All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Kellene Bishop.

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The War in Heaven—Last Quarter

As I’m sure you’re all aware, the war in heaven took place for one primary reason. Satan proposed that we not be endowed with the ability to choose. He desired that we be forced to do all that we were “supposed” to do.  Satan was not innocent in proposing this plan. He wasn’t scolded merely for having a ridiculous brain storm idea. He was fully knowledgeable that this proposal was contrary to God’s will and wisdom. 
 

“Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused the he should be cast down;” Moses 4:3 (emphasis added)

I can picture Satan trying to share with us all of the risks involved if we didn’t go with his plan. 

“What if you fail? It’s hard down there!

“Do you really want to have to go through all of that challenge and strife?”

“Do you really want to leave this beautifully perfect place merely to prove yourselves once again.”

“Aren’t things perfect enough for you now?”  and so on…  His weapon then, as it is now, was force, fear, and doubt.

As you know, it wasn’t enough for us to simply “boo and hiss” him into a silent submission.  His proposal was so vile, so evil, that we had to be much more aggressive than that to fight his plan. We had to engage in an all out war.  Even though we had double the army fighting against him in his desire, he still did not back down.  And even though he clearly knows “how the story ends” he still will not back down.  And so the very same war continues here on earth.

Ironically, Satan’s proposal plays a significant reason as to why things are so very difficult for us here on earth. I’m sure that things were much more blissful in the pre-mortal existence, but clearly there was a very significant component to our eternal progression missing.  This component was so critical that our Savior, Jesus Christ, was willing to suffer incomprehensibly just so that we could have it… and that critical component was the experience of exercising Agency.  (I dare not call it “free” Agency, lest I forget the heavy price that was paid for it.)


Understanding that the ability to choose is the only way in which we have any semblance of any Agency TO exercise, is a step in the right direction towards understanding why the U.S. Constitution required the guiding hand of the Lord. He not only provided it for us, as he did the 10 Commandments to Moses, but He even went so far as to hand-pick the men who would draft this “heavenly banner”, hand-pick the land upon which it would be instituted, and even selected the men who would fight for it’s full ratification against all odds.    


You see, one of Lucifer’s primary strategies is to “restrict our agency through the power of earthly governments.” (David O. McKay, “The Constitution, A Heavenly Banner”)  He doesn’t need to necessarily tempt us with pornography, drugs, adultery, or other bold-face sins. He needs only to corrupt our government with evil men who will destroy our ability to choose and use that God-given agency. Then, as he lulls a perfectly free people into apathy, busy-ness, and naïveté, we will wake to find that our freedoms have disappeared from us all together. 


“And he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them CAPTIVE at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice.” Moses 4:4


“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.”  –Thomas Jefferson


The only reason why a government was ever created in this land is to ensure that such rights would not be infringed upon.  And to this end, the government was created by the people, to serve the people and to protect their unalienable rights from the likes of Lucifer who would aim to destroy these rights. 


If you can look at every proposed bill, every government action in this light, you will see things more clearly. Ask yourself, does this proposed bill or process infringe on the ability of freedom or the right to choose?  If it does, then it is not of God nor His plan. 

 


Obviously, our Heavenly Father teaches us agency as much as He does consequences of those choices.  While we are free to choose our behavior, we are not free to choose the consequences.  No governmental ruling or shell game will ever change that.  A government of any kind can establish a rule to thwart a choice here on earth, but it will not be binding in the eternities. 


The Constitution was created in an effort to ensure that we can make eternal decisions today.  We experience freedom in many aspects of our lives which enable us to choose an to be sealed in the temple for all eternity, raising our children in righteousness, growing our own crops that we may be healthy and prepared for emergencies, and to provide service to our fellowman with a full purpose of heart.  What is alarming however is that every single one of those freedoms that I just mentioned are threatened by the actions of men who are not guided by God.  For example, our ability to be sealed in the temple is threatened with the proposals of gay marriage. Our ability to raise our children in righteousness is threatened with proposals which would require unrighteous topics to be taught in our schools. Our ability to grow our own food in our own way and to store up such food is threatened already by certain Executive Orders which have already been made and by bills which are presently before our Congress, and yes, even our ability to serve in righteousness is threatened by two issue which have received overwhelming support by our politicians in D.C.  If I had an entire day I could not begin to share with you all that has already been put into place to deprive us of our inherent, divine rights.  But perhaps it is not for me to do for you. Perhaps there is more value in you using the eternal gift of Agency as your own guide as you review what’s going on in the world around you and discerning by the Spirit whether a freedom is enhanced or lost.  I for one did not fight in a war in heaven only to lose here on earth–especially when the ending has already been determined for us.  That’s like betting on a horse that you know is going to lose, or buying a car that you know is going to break down. I intend to continue the fight with just as much faith and action now as I did then. I hope that you’ll join me.

What’s so special about the U.S. Constitution to the LDS faith?

constitution

No other government on the face of the earth has created a document which is designed to protect the free agency of mankind more than the U.S. Constitution.

The war in heaven occurred based on one particular issue, the ability to use agency freely.

The sole purpose of a government establishment in this nation is to enforce the existence of freedoms so that we may indeed use our agency.  Without a government properly established to protect our unalienable rights to choose, we would become nothing more than the third of the hosts of heaven who elected the alternative plan.  Our “lives, liberty and our possession of property” is what is most critically tied to our exercise of freedom.  Any government that would uphold our freedoms must be willing to uphold the freedoms in all 3 of these aspects.

If our property is forced to be taken from us and allocated to someone else, where is our choice for charity?  If we do not control property, which God has bestowed upon us, then we have nothing to govern here on earth and thus nothing to exert our freedom of choice upon. If we are forced as to what to believe, then we have no agency over what we do and say.  In order for there truly to be opposition in all things, both sides of an opposition must be effectively accessible. This does not occur if freedom of choice does not exist. 

However, given that a government is given a great deal of power, although bestowed such by a free people, there is still the tendency to abuse such power.  (See D&C 121:39) This is why the U.S. Constitution is so important not only to our nation, but to rest of the world and to our eternal lives.

The U.S. Constitution was much more than a brave act of a few men centuries ago.  It was an act that the Lord had a great hand in orchestrating. We are told that the Lord himself raised up these men for that particular time to create such a document, that the generations to follow may have true freedom to live His Gospel.  (See D&C 101:80)

Today we have the Constitution as a measure by which we can see for ourselves if an act of government is just or unjust.  What are we given such a measure for if we are not to proactively hold our government accountable in such a manner as to ensure that the Constitution is upheld as the benchmark of all government actions?

This land today would easily be at the mercy of a monarchy or a communistic ruler if it were not for the blood and sacrifice of our forefathers.  It would not foster the freedom to act that we now enjoy today. It’s ironic however, that the very freedoms the Constitution protects are the very ones we hesitate to use on our own behalf in order to ensure that this nation remains as the Lord would desire. 

Ezra Taft Benson is one of many prophets who reverences the U.S. Constitution. 

Let us understand, the freedom to choose is not a right bestowed upon us by a government. It is bestowed upon us eternally by a loving Heavenly Father.  He has only given us more ability to choose by providing us with this nation and has inspired the Constitution to come forth that our freedoms may not be held in bondage by any of the hosts of heaven who would fight for Satan’s plan.  However, when all is said and done, the Constitution amounts to nothing more than a piece of paper if our lives are not focused on protecting the freedoms that “heavenly banner” reinforce for us.  Just as the Book of Mormon fails to benefit our lives without our focus of it, so too does the U.S. Constitution become meaningless without our brave stands to hold it high.

There are countless injustices which have been performed by the hands of our government which threaten to usurp the wisdom of the U.S. Constitution.  These wrongs can only be righted if we are willing to raise our modern-day Titles of Liberty in the form of letters, e-mails, faxes, editorials, and every other conceivable proactive acts which will hold the government accountable to this inspired document.  Not having an understanding of the Constitution so that you are able to defend it, recognize its truths, and recognize when it’s been violated is just as much a transgression as other deadly sins of omission such as church and temple attendance, scripture reading, personal and family prayers, etc.  Sins of omission are not the lesser sins. In fact they tend to have the greater impact on the execution of sins of commission. 

As we read the Book of Mormon over and over again, and we see the same story unfold numerous times, do we not wonder why we were given these particular accounts to read? 

Why, in spite of the Jaredites being on this land so much longer than the Nephites, do we have so much more Nephite history than the Jaredites?  Could it be because the Nephite government better represented our own today—that of self-governing?  Why are these scenarios of government overthrow brought to our attention again and again?  If you read them from the perspective of how the government’s violation of the law of the land was the undoing of the prosperity of the people (both spiritually and materially) then perhaps you can appreciate just how important this aspect is to our salvation as well.  (See 3 Nephi chapters 1-7)

We have the truth of the Gospel. We have covenanted to build up His kingdom here on the earth.  We must be proponents of freedom in everything we do and not embrace one iota of socialism.  The Constitution in this land makes that possible as it allows us to follow eternal truths.  We must fully support both the Gospel, and the armor which helps protect the Gospel in order to bring the Gospel unto all. 

Copyright 2009 Kellene Bishop. All rights reserved.
You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Kellene Bishop.