Lessons on Freedom and Patriotism
Lesson No. Four
Freedom is Not Free
The message of the war chapters –Alma 45-62 – Considering that almost ten percent of the Book of Mormon is contained in what is referred to as the war chapters we understand why President Benson said: "From the Book of Mormon we learn how disciples of Christ live in times of war" (A Witness and A Warning, p. 21). Certainly we live in time of continuous war.
These chapters help us understand the price of freedom is preparation and sacrifice.
Freedom requires temporal and spiritual preparation – Those who would destroy our freedom make extensive preparations to do so. We must be equally prepared to defend our freedom. Alma 46 introduces us to Amalickiah, "one very wicked man" who sought "to destroy the church of God, and to destroy the foundation of liberty" (Vs 9-10). In contrast Moroni raised the title of liberty and rallied the people to its defense. (Vs 11-27)
One year later: "Now it came to pass that while Amalickiah had thus been obtaining power by fraud and deceit, Moroni, on the other hand, had been preparing the minds of the people to be faithful unto the Lord their God. Yea, [Moroni] had been strengthening the armies of the Nephites, and erecting small forts, or places of resort….And thus he was preparing to support their liberty, their lands, their wives, and their children, and their peace, and that they might live unto the Lord their God, and that they might maintain that which was called by their enemies the cause of Christians” (48:7, 8, 10).
The entire purpose of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is spiritual preparation. The Church also emphasizes the importance of temporal preparation through its extensive welfare program, and its emphasis on Provident Living.
Freedom requires obedience and sacrifice – Moroni was willing to sacrifice. He "had sworn with an oath to defend his people, his rights, and his country, and his religion, even to the loss of his blood” (48:13). These are also the things that we must be willing to sacrifice for.
Moroni was obedient. His heart gloried in “doing good, in preserving his people, yea, in keeping the commandments of God, yea, and resisting iniquity” (Alma 48:16). The sacrifice the Lord requires is obedience. The Lord has said to us: "And ye shall offer unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit" (3 Nephi 9:20). It is in this way we are made free. (See Mosiah 5:2-8)
Testimony – Ultimately, freedom is not free because it required the sacrifice of the Son of God. “Wherefore, the Lord God gave unto man that he should act for himself” (2 Nephi 2:16). Agency is a gift from our Father, and our agency to act for ourselves is guaranteed to us through the atonement of Christ. (See 2 Nephi 2:26)
Furthermore, the Father gave his Son for our salvation: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). The gift of agency and the gift of eternal life was paid for by the atonement of Christ.
The atonement assures that “men are free according to the flesh…And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men….And now I would that ye should look to the great Mediator, and hearken unto his great commandments; and be faithful unto his words, and choose eternal life, according to the will of his Holy Spirit” (2 Nephi 2:27-28).