Okay, for most LDS writers, this is going to be a bit too cliche, but I have been revving up to write this column for a long time. I perhaps should even have the blase title of “What I learned from reading the Book of Mormon?” I am reffering to the challenge by our Prophet Gordon B. Hinkley to read the Book of Mormon before the end of 2005.
So despite its potential for a reduntant bloggernacle theme, I find that this may be the best time to address something that I find to be a common, but often unspoken theme in the Book of Mormon.
When people discuss themes of the Book of Mormon, they will always center their discussion around things that are spiritual. Common themes are often good vs. evil (a la the Nephites vs. the Lamanites) or pride vs. humility (a.k.a. the vicious cycle of wealth leads to pride which cause a fall which brings humility leading to repentance causing prosperity leading to wealth which caused pride, etc.). And while these and themes are important themes in the Book of Mormon, there is another theme that is often set aside.
The theme of Liberty vs. Captivity can have it roots in spirituality. And this theme is discussed in the sense that if you follow God’s will you will find liberty and if you don’t you will be held in captivity. And this too is a good theme.
However, when I talk of Liberty vs. Captivity, I perhaps mean it in a more political sense. And I do so with some hesitation. For I know that politics and religion are like oil and water to some people. They shouldn’t be mixed. I also know many a liberal whose political ideologies are rooted in the same Book of Mormon that I am now discussing. And I do have great respect for them, because I too at one point saw the world as they do. My liberal ideas were rooted in the teaching of Mosiah Chapter 4 (specifically verses 16-26) and Doctrine and Covenants 51 (specifically verse 9-12). And I still hold these principles to be true. However, there is one element that keeps me from being a liberal. Now where in the scriptures does it say that man should be forced to do these things. Government care for the poor is compulsory charity, and it is wrong. Freedom and Liberty is better.
But that is really a tangent to my discussion here. I really wish to discuss more indepth what is often referred to as the “war chapters” of Alma. These chapters start in roughly Chapter 43 and continue on through 3 Nephi Chapter 7. That’s roughly 43 chapters, or 107 pages. It would have to be that big of a chunk to really be a theme wouldn’t it? While my focus may be upon these chapters, this theme can be found in 1st and 2nd Nephi and the Book of Ether, as well as in other areas of the book.
For those unfamiliar with the Book of Mormon the “War Chapters” is really just a chronicle of the battle between good and evil. However, at one point good is also call the freemen and evil, which seldom goes by its real name, is called the kingmen. The kingmen were a group of elitist rich people who thought it only fair that their station in society be granted it due status. So, they sought to put.Amalickiah in as their King, hoping that he would grant them a high station in society after he was anointed such.
Captain Moroni (one of my personal heros) was the key figure in thwarting this cause, and he raised the Title of Liberty to rally the people behind him. This Title of Liberty read: “In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children” (see Alma 46:12-13). Moroni knew that his freedom was a gift from God, and that he should fight for it for his family, for is religion and for peace.
When we give up a little freedom to the elites hoping that it will do us and society good, we are only giving more power to the elites and removing our peace and liberty from our lives. I know that liberty is a gift from God, especially granted to this country as long as we live in righteousness. Liberty is worth fighting for, it is for our God, our religion and for our families.