Lessons on Freedom and Patriotism
Lesson No. Thirty
Confidence in the Future of Freedom
Keeping the commandments brings freedom and prosperity even in a wicked world - The promise of the Book of Mormon is that for those who keep the commandments this land "shall be a land of liberty unto them" but "if iniquity shall abound cursed shall be the land for their sakes, but unto the righteous it shall be blessed forever" (2 Nephi 1:7). Our Promised Land is a land of liberty and blessing to the righteous, and at the same time it is cursed for the wicked. Mormon explained how this is so:
“And we see that these promises have been verified to the people of Nephi; for it has been their quarrelings and their contentions, yea, their murderings, and their plunderings, their idolatry, their whoredoms, and their abominations, which were among themselves which brought upon them their wars and their destructions.
“And those who were faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord were delivered at all times, whilst thousands of their wicked brethren have been consigned to bondage or to perish by the sword, or to dwindle in unbelief, and mingle with the Lamanites (in our day the wicked).
“But behold there never was a happier time among the people of Nephi, since the days of Nephi, than in the days of Moroni” (Alma 50:21-23). This last verse is most remarkable considering the great difficulties and wickedness the Nephites experienced as described in Alma 43-50. This principle has a clear application today. Righteous people can be happy and blessed even when they live in a world of much wickedness.
The Church will stay on course and this nation will remain free - The Lord spoke of the future of his Church: "This is my church, and I will establish it; and nothing shall overthrow it, save it is the transgression of my people" (Mosiah 27:13). There are many people and forces that would, if they could, destroy our freedom. However, the continued faithfulness of the Church as a group is certain. The Church will not fall into apostasy. There may be individual apostasy, but if we stay in the main stream of the Church and follow the prophet we can face the future with confidence.
President Harold B. Lee testified about the future of our country: “Men may fail in this country, earth quakes may come seas may heave beyond their bounds, there may be great drought, disaster, and hardship, but this nation founded on principles laid down by men who God raised up, will never fail. This is the cradle of humanity, where life on this earth began in the Garden of Eden. This is the place of her New Jerusalem. This is the place that the Lord said is favored above all other nations in all the world. This is the place where the Savior will come to His temple. This is the favored land in all the world. Yes, I repeat, men may fail, but this nation won’t fail! I have faith in America; you and I must have faith in America, if we understand the teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are living in a day when we must pay heed to these challenges. I plead with you not to preach pessimism! Preach that this is the greatest country in all the world. This is the favored land. This is the land of our forefathers. It is the nation that will stand despite whatever trials or crises it may yet have to pass through” (Ye Are the Light of the World, pp. 350).
Our Church is the leaven which lifts the whole world - "The Book of Mormon makes it clear that we never will dominate by numbers. But we have the power of the priesthood.... “While it may be said … that we are but a handful in comparison with … the world, yet we may be compared with the leaven of which the Savior spoke, which will eventually leaven [or lift] the whole world" (Boyd K. Packer, Ensign, April 2010). Freedom was necessary for the Church to be restored, and it is necessary for the gospel to go to the whole world.
My testimony, in the words of Joseph Smith and applied to our day and circumstance, is : "You know, brethren, that a very large ship (our nation or the world) is benefited very much by a very small helm (our Church) in the time of a storm (the latter days), by being kept workways with the wind and the waves. Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed" (D&C 123:16-17). I know that if we do all we can to preserve our freedom then the Lord will do the rest.