The Title of Liberty
During the month of July, the U.S. celebrated their independence and the right to govern themselves. The right to be governed by elected officials, both locally and nationally has worked for 239 years and has been the model for other countries that have changed from a monarchy style of government to a republic. In 1976 when the colonies declared their independence from Great Britain, this republic style of government was not new to America. About 100 B.C. there was another group of people that lived here in America called the Nephites who ended 500 years of living under a monarchy style of government and changed to a government where the people elected their leaders.
Mosiah, the last Nephite king was the one who proposed the change in their style of government. With the people’s consent he helped establish the laws that they would live by. These laws were based on God’s commandments and were established by the voice of the people. Mosiah said that as long as the majority of the people chose to keep God’s commandments and the laws that they agreed upon that they would be a free people. He also warned them that if the time came that the majority of the people chose iniquity, that they would be visited with destruction (Mosiah 29:26-27).
For 25 years the people under this new government prospered, but then came an important test. There were a certain number of the local elected officials that sought for more power. There was one man who wanted to be made a king over all the land and he promised the others that sought for power that if they helped him become the king he would give them the power they wanted and they would rule with him.
Captain Moroni, the commander over all the Nephite armies, did not want this small group of individuals to the freedoms they enjoyed. He knew if this man would be made their king, he would destroy their church and other freedoms they loved. The scriptures account said Moroni rent his coat and fastened it to a pole, he called it the title of liberty. The account said:
And it came to pass that he rent his coat; and he took apiece thereof, and wrote upon it—In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children—and he fastened it upon the end of a pole.
And he fastened on his head-plate, and his breast plate, and his shields, and girded on his armor about his loins; and he took the pole, which had on the end thereof his rent coat, (and he called it the title of liberty) and he bowed himself to the earth, and he prayed mightily unto his God for the blessings of liberty to rest upon his brethren, so long as there should a band of Christians remain to possess the land—
Behold, whosoever will maintain this title upon the land, let them come forth in the strength of the Lord, and enter into a covenant that they will maintain their rights, and their religion, that the Lord God may bless them.
And it came to pass that when Moroni had proclaimed these words, behold, the people came running together with their armor girded about their loins, rending their garments in token, or as a covenant, that they would not forsake the Lord their God; or, in other words, if they should transgress the commandments of God, or fall into transgression, and be ashamed to take upon them the name of Christ, the Lord should rend them even as they had rent their garments. (Alma 46:12-13, 20-21)
|Captain Moroni and the Title of Liberty|
The majority of the people responded to Moroni’s call to action and their government was preserved, those who sought to destroy the government and their freedoms were defeated.
We are living in a similar situation today, where some of our most sacred freedoms are being threatened by a minority of individuals that seek the destruction of the basis upon which our government was established. Our form of government can only survive if we are willing to keep God’s commandments. The founding fathers of our country understood that this new republic would succeed only as long as we remained a righteous people. John Adams, the second president of this new country said:
[I]t is religion and morality alone which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free constitution is pure virtue.
[W]e have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. . . . Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. (WallBuilders.com)
Benjamin Franklin had this to say when those who had gathered at the constitutional convention to develop how our new country would be governed could not agree on the balance of the states rights vs the federal powers:
I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth, that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings, that "except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that build it." I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without His concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better, than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing governments by human wisdom and leave it to chance, war and conquest.
I therefore beg leave to move that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the clergy of this city be requested to officiate in that service. (WallBuilders.com)
When Franklin left the building after the constitution was finally finished, Mrs. Powel of Philadelphia asked “Well, Doctor, what have we got?” Franklin replied: “a republic, if you can keep it.”
How long we keep this republic will depend on how the majority of it’s citizens respond to the current attempts to weaken the constitution upon which our nation was founded. Just as the people at the time of Captain Moroni, we need to raise our titles of liberty in defense of “
Your comments and questions are welcome.