Notes for my writing

This blog is made up of notes on the gospel as found in the only true and living church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This includes notes that are either excerpts from or ideas for books I either have in draft or may yet write.

Friday, April 3, 2015

This land was redeemed by the shedding of blood

There is an interesting verse:

D&C 101:80 And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood.

The use of the word "redeemed" and the phrase "shedding of blood" have a plain sense meaning. But I think there is a little bit more going on here. The Lord has power over the nations. He preserved the Nephites until they were wicked, then allowed the Lamanites to destroy them. He threatened the Israelites with various other nations when they were wicked, but delivered them when they repented. He allowed Limhi's people and Alma's followers to come into bondage, but then delivered them both. He destroyed the people of Ammonihah in a single day.

I think what is going on here is partly that the Lord could have created a free country by any means he wanted. But he redeemed it by the shedding of blood.

In particular, he redeemed it when there were enough people of virtue that would lay down their lives for a free country. There is something in this that is akin to the atonement. They had to be people of virtue, for their sacrifice to weigh the same in his ears. They had to be people who sought to serve him, rather than those who hearkened to the world, for their sacrifice to mean the same thing to him. And they had to want the land to become free so badly that they would give their lives to bring that about.

And when enough men of virtue would laid down their lives to create a free country, the Lord was willing to hold it in the palm of his hand and deliver it against all odds. They bore testimony with their blood that they prized freedom. And with that testimony sealed with the blood of righteous men, the Lord could not withhold.

Thus mankind was redeemed from thousands of years of tyranny.

We live in a day when religious freedom is being dissolved before our eyes. If we let it disappear we may again find that the blood of the righteous will be shed before such freedom will return. The adversary wants nothing more than to squelch the true church.

Yes, no unhallowed hand can stop this work from progressing. Which is exactly the point. If those hands which are hallowed, which have been washed clean, assume that by apathy they can bring forth the kingdom of God, then yes, the work will stumble. It will not fall, but it has already happened before. The saints already went to Zion to redeem it, and their hallowed hands failed to live up to the task.

Yes, the kingdom of God will roll forth triumphant. But anyone living in Kirtland would have been astonished to learn that that prophecy would include being killed, raped, and driven from Missouri. Would have included their Nauvoo temple being burnt to the ground and their beloved Joseph martyred. Would have included the travails of the Martin Harris handcart company, and the suffering of all the saints crossing the plains. They would have been surprised to know that it would include trading the lush lands that surrounded them for a desert land that no one else wanted. A land that a famous american said he would pay $1000 for the first ear of corn that could be grown there, because he believed it to be impossible.

Prophecy does not change the fact that our actions have consequences. And if we will not turn as a group and take a firm grip our our religious freedoms we may well find that deprivations of the pioneers were not the last suffering the saints needed to endure before the Kingdom was brought forth triumphant.

We must not fail to grab our religious rights and clutch them as if we were carrying the brass plates back to Lehi through Jerusalem's streets, as if we were clutching the golden plates to protect them from the raging mob.

This is not a cause for polite speeches. The capital is burning, it's dome collapses inward, and we are fretting about being judgmental instead of rushing to fight the blaze!

We must stop pretending there is no God when we cast our votes and voice our beliefs. Our country cannot stand without God. We must not be afraid to invoke God, decency, and religious convictions of truth when we espouse, create, and pass our laws. If it is indeed in God we trust then we need to stop pretending in our legislation and political arguments that he is the last thing on our minds. If it is in God we trust, then we need to stop pretending that we don't even believe in him when it comes to politics, law, and government.

We must make ourselves heard. We are too busy playing at politeness while we stare into the serpents mouth.

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