Monday, 16 February 2009

Comfort From the Lord

I've been feeling a little discouraged today. Not quite sure why. However, the scriptures always seem to buoy me up.

I was reading earlier about the Sons of Mosiah and their mission to the Lamanites. It was a great undertaking and they felt it, even to the point of considering going back to Zarahemla. Yet they did not. We read the following in Alma 26:27

27 Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success.

In their moment of distress, the Lord strengthened them and gave them the courage to go forward in their great cause.

In contemplating the mission of Ammon and his brethren, I cannot help but think of the current state of affairs in the United States. In Alma 17:14-15, we read a description of the Lamanites at that time:

"14 ... they had undertaken to preach the word of God to a wild and a hardened and a ferocious people; a people who delighted in murdering the Nephites, and robbing and plundering them; and their hearts were set upon riches, or upon gold and silver, and precious stones; yet they sought to obtain these things by murdering and plundering, that they might not labor for them with their own hands.

15 Thus they were a very indolent people, many of whom did worship idols, and the curse of God had fallen upon them because of the of their fathers; notwithstanding the promises of the Lord were extended unto them on the conditions of repentance."

Sadly, this description, describes a great many in our current society. Many Americans have become so hardened that are more than willing to kill innocent children all in the name of "choice." Too many people care more about riches and the praise of the world than they do about their fellow man. Far too many are willing to murder and steal to get riches rather than work to get them on their own. Socialism is becoming more entrenched as the people become more and more indolent and look to the government to do for them what they should be doing for themselves. Looking at the situation, without having the perspective of the gospel, one could easily get discouraged.

What a wonderful gift it is to have the Gospel. To know that despite the challenging situation we face, with God's help, there is still hope for turning things around. Like the task facing the sons of Mosiah, the undertaking to return America to the principles of freedom as originally given by our founding fathers is daunting. Yet as members of the church, we have that responsibility on our shoulders.

Elder L. Tom Perry, in a wonderful talk given in 1976 entitled God's Hand in the Founding of America, states the following:

“Our commitment to America has been testified to by many, but I will point out to you special witnesses who have indicated our responsibilities to this land.

“First from Brigham Young, second president of the Church: ‘Will the Constitution be destroyed? No: it will be held inviolate by this people; and, as Joseph Smith said, ‘The time will come when the destiny of this nation will hang upon a single thread. At that critical juncture, this people will step forth and save it from the threatened destruction.’ It will be so.’ (Journal of Discourses, 7:15.)

“Now another witness, John Taylor, third president of the Church: ‘When the people shall have torn to shreds the Constitution of the United States, the elders of Israel will be found holding it up to the nations of the earth, and proclaiming liberty and equal rights to all men, and extending the hand of fellowship to the oppressed of all nations.’ (The Gospel Kingdom, Deseret Book Co., 1943, p. 219.) This is part of the program.

“A final witness is from George Q. Cannon, former member of the First Presidency, who said that ‘the day will come when the Constitution and free government under it will be sustained and preserved by this people.’” (JD, 23:104).

“Now, I declare to you that if we are not in the beginning stages of the fulfillment of this prophecy, we are at least in the stages where we are preparing for its fulfillment.”

The question we have to ask ourselves then, as members of the Church, is whether or not we are willing to stand up and fulfill our responsibilities? Will we be numbered with those of whom these Prophets and Apostles prophesied? Or will we sit idly by and hope someone else will fulfill our responsibilities for us? The task is daunting. Yet the Lord tells us that we should be "anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness," (see D&C 58:27). The task may seem overwhelming at times, yet in those times we can turn to the Lord for comfort, even as Ammon and his brethren.

I feel compelled to work in this cause--to raise my voice in a clarion call and invite all who will maintain the cause of freedom in our country to stand up and take action. I cannot sit idly by and do nothing, lest in doing so I allow someone else to do the work I should be doing myself and thereby become part of the problem, rather than part of the solution.

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