The Gospel of Liberty
Is it Politics or is it Religion?
Some would like to argue that standing up and being bold about Freedom equates to engaging in politics. I would like to argue against that.
And I give unto you a commandment that you shall teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom… in all things that pertain unto the kingdom of God, that are expedient for you to understand… things which are at home, things which are abroad; the wars and the perplexities of the nations…knowledge also of countries and of kingdoms- That ye may be prepared in all things… I sent you out to testify and warn the people, and it becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor. Abide ye in the liberty wherewith ye are made free…
Ezra Taft Benson quoting President David O. McKay saying:
There should be no question in the mind of any true latter day saint as to what we shall preach… the gospel plan of salvation.” … Then President McKay lists the areas our preaching should cover and admonishes us to include in our preaching what governments should or should not do in the interests of the preservation of our freedom. Do we preach what governments should or should not do as a part of the gospel plan, as President McKay has urged or do we refuse to follow the Prophet by preaching a limited gospel plan of salvation? The fight for freedom cannot be divorced from the gospel – the plan of salvation. (Our Immediate Responsibility. BYU Devotional, October 25, 1966.)
President J. Reuben Clark also warned us of the importance of standing up for Freedom:
Do not think the members of the church shall escape. The Lord has assured us that the church will still be here when he comes again. But has the Lord assured us that we can avoid fighting for freedom and still escape unscathed both temporally and spiritually? We could not escape the eternal consequences of our pre-existent position on freedom. What makes us think we can escape it here?
I say to you with all the soberness I can, that we stand in danger of losing our liberties, and that once lost, only blood will bring them back; and once lost, we of this church will, in order to keep the church going forward, have more sacrifices to make and more persecutions to endure than we have yet known, heavy as our sacrifices and grievous as our persecutions have been. (J. Reuben Clark, Conference Report, April 1944, pp. 115-116; quoted in Newquist, op. cit., p. 89.)
Again Ezra Taft Benson stated:
I also do not agree that spiritual leaders cannot comment on basic issues which involve the very foundation of American liberty.
In fact, if this were true, we would have to throw away a substantial part of the Bible. Speaking out against immoral or unjust actions of political leaders has been the burden of prophets and disciples of God from time immemorial. It was for this very reason that many of them were persecuted. Some of them were stoned, some of them were burned, many were imprisoned. Nevertheless it was their God-given task, as watchmen on the towers, to speak up.
It is certainly no different today.
To Moses God said: “….proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.” (Lev. 25:10)
Why? For God knows full well that the gospel – His plan for the blessing of His children can prosper only in an atmosphere of freedom.
To modern men God has said: the Constitution “should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh.” (Doctrine and Covenants 101:77)
Is the Constitution being maintained or is it in jeopardy?
(Stand Up For Freedom. Assembly Hall at Temple Square, Feb 11, 1966. Given to The Utah Forum for the American Idea)
Fotrunately all hope is not lost:
This is still God’s world. The forces of evil, working through some mortals, have made a mess of a good part of it. But it is still God’s world. In due time, when each of us has had a chance to prove ourselves–including whether or not we are going to stand up for freedom–God will interject himself, and the final and eternal victory shall be for free agency. And then shall those complacent people on the sidelines, and those who took the wrong but temporarily popular course, lament their decisions. To the patriots I say this: Take that long eternal look. Stand up for freedom, no matter what the cost. Stand up and be counted. It can help to save your soul–and maybe your country.” (Teachings of Ezra T. Benson Chapter 5 P. 592)
What’s the moral of the story? We know that Satan has gained much dominion over the earth, and because we, those who stand up for Freedom, are still too few in numbers, we must bare it patiently. We must not give up. Each of us can take a stand for what is right. We all have our own unique talents and knowledge; the key is to ask the Lord what he would have us do, and do that.
If you get discouraged, remember the words of Edward Everett Hale, when he said:
I am only one, but I am one.
I can’t do everything, but I can do something.
What I can do, that I ought to do,
And what I ought to do,
By the grace of God, I shall do!