Lessons on Freedom and Patriotism
Lesson No. Five
Spiritual and Temporal Freedom
Freedom has two dimensions – temporal and spiritual –Spiritual freedom is the “disposition to do good continually” by making correct choices. As we live the gospel the Holy Ghost brings “a mighty change in our hearts.” We are born again and “made free.” (See Mosiah 5:2-8)
Temporal freedom is the opportunity to carry out our choices. Wicked men and repressive governments seek to limit both spiritual and temporal freedom.
Captain Moroni understood that complete freedom is both the opportunity to carry out our choices (temporal freedom) and the disposition to make correct choices (spiritual freedom). He fortified their cities, but more importantly he preserved the spiritual dimension of their freedom as he "prepared the minds of the people to be faithful unto the Lord their God." (Alma 48:7-11)
Both spiritual and temporal freedom is necessary to live the gospel fully, but spiritual freedom is the most important. Without a disposition to do good continually the natural man uses his temporal freedom to sin and follow the ways of the world, “then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction” (Alma 12:11).
Temporal freedom requires righteous leaders - "And the law also maketh you free. Nevertheless, when the wicked rule the people mourn. Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold" (D&C 98:8-10). "Note the qualities the Lord demands in those who are to represent us. They must be good, wise and honest. Some leaders may be honest and good but unwise in legislation they choose to support. Others may possess wisdom but be dishonest and unvirtuous. We must be concerted in our desires and efforts to see men and women represent us who possess all three of these qualities" (Benson, The Constitution a Heavenly Banner, p. 30).
Spiritual freedom comes through the atonement on the condition of repentance - "I, the Lord God, make you free, therefore ye are free indeed" (D&C 98:8). Spiritual freedom comes by the atonement on the condition of repentance. The Lord “hath power given unto him from the Father to redeem [his people] from their sins because of repentance" and "repentance bringeth them unto the power of the Redeemer, unto the salvation of their souls” (Helaman 5:11).
“Stand fast in this liberty wherewith ye have been made free” (Mosiah 23:13) – This verse or a close variation appears four times in the Book of Mormon and once in the New Testament. In Mosiah 23:13, Alma 61:21, and Galatians 5:1 it is a charge to keep the commandments so that through the atonement we can be free from sin. In Alma 58:40 and Alma 61:9, it is an affirmation that the commandments are being kept and therefore they are made free through the atonement.
My charge to my family - Stand fast in that liberty wherewith God has made us free; and be strict to remember the Lord your God from day to day; and keep his statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments continually; and be strong in your faith of the atonement.
And now, my beloved family, may the Lord our God, who has redeemed us and made us free, keep you continually in his presence and may he favor our family that we may have eternal life. (Paraphrasing Helaman on the faithfulness of his 2000 striplings, see Alma 58:40-41)