It’s no secret that I’m a conservative Mormon. I wouldn’t say that I avoid the subjects of politics and religion however, I’m not always as forthcoming as I probably should be about either one. Let’s face facts, things of that nature often cause fights. And as much as I’ve always loved a good debate, I’ve come to realize that relationships matter more. So I tend to keep my opinions to myself. But sometimes something comes along that is important enough that it requires a line to be drawn in the sand. And those who love you, and maybe even those who don’t, need to know which side of that line you stand on. And honestly, they also need to know why.
The political climate in the United States is heated. As battles rage over gun control and other constitutional freedoms I’ve taken greater opportunity to reflect on the importance of maintaining personal liberty. My writer’s brain was formulating a brilliant piece about my religious convictions and our need for freedom. But then a couple of days ago I read an article that a few of my friends had linked to on facebook by a guy named Mike Jensen. It was one of the best articles I’ve ever read explaining our church’s beliefs in relation to politics . . . and this man is not even a Mormon, which makes the fact that he “gets it” that much more powerful. Read it. He said what I was going to say. So I’m leaving that part to him and taking this a different direction.
You can find the article at this link: http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/52591
Now that you’ve read it, I want you to think about that war in heaven; the war which most certainly happened and in which the entirety of the human family fought. I was there. You were there. We stood with our Father in Heaven, and we stood with our older brother, Jesus Christ. We fought with Them and for Them because deep within us we understood the importance of freedom and consequences.
I’ve spent a lot of time trying to visualize that final scene. I’ve tried to picture the look in the eyes of one-third of my brothers and sisters. ONE-THIRD! That’s a massive number if you do the math. Did they just not get it? Were they that afraid that they couldn’t make it back to God without being forced into it? Were they daunted by the responsibility of free agency? Did they just not believe deeply enough in the power of God? Or did they just not believe deeply enough in themselves and the rest of humanity? I don’t know the answer, but I envision hollowness and fear and a lack of understanding. I see defiance and pride.
Do you know what I see in God’s eyes? Sorrow over the children He was undoubtedly losing . . . not because He wanted to lose them, but because their choices required it. I believe that He wept over them. I believe that we wept over them.
I can understand that. Sometimes I weep over my own children. I’ve had a pretty rough week actually and have wept over them more than once.:) And that’s honestly what has gotten me thinking about the importance of our personal freedom.
I’m a mom. This role obviously comes with its own unique set of challenges. This week alone my battles have ranged from fighting a suddenly independent 10-month old to clashing with a newly defiant 7-year old. And sometimes while I’m in the middle of trying to force-feed my baby who thinks she can feed herself (even though she can’t) and clean baby food off of every surface upon which it was flung, this thought crosses my mind: Why can’t she just do what she’s told!? The same thought comes after my sixty-third time asking my son to get his homework out. Why can’t he just do what he’s told!? The thought creeps in when my three-year old refuses to clean her room or when my five-year old forgets to flush the toilet again. The thought comes when my kids hit and kick and scream and make a mess. Why can’t they just do what they’re told!? (I was going to put like 8,000 exclamation points on that one, but I thought it might be excessive.)
This week I’ve had to remind myself that the reason my children don’t always do what they’re told is because they have their agency just like I have mine. And it’s critical that each of us have it. Agency doesn’t eliminate consequences and as a parent a critical part of our job is creating the consequences for those put under our care. But nonetheless, it is still CRITICAL that our children have the opportunity to choose. It’s imperative that they retain the freedom and personal liberty for which they fought, right alongside of their earthly mother and father. I stood beside my sons and daughters and we fought for liberty together. That fact alone makes me wince over the question that repeatedly weasels its way into my thoughts.
It’s my job to teach, direct, and love. I’m responsible to provide consequences until they are old enough for life to naturally provide those for them. I’m not afforded the luxury of being afraid. I don’t get to force their hands. A Savior has been provided for them. I don’t have to panic and take their opportunity for utilizing that most precious gift away. I have to teach them correct principles and then let them make their way back to our Father in Heaven on their own. There’s probably nothing scarier for a parent, but we cannot allow that fear to overtake us.
Now, here we sit as a nation fighting that same battle again. It’s the battle I fight internally as I raise my children. It’s the battle we fought before we came to this Earth. We are continually fighting for personal liberty as Satan and his followers are continually urging us to abandon ship.
The most common arguments I hear in favor of gun control follow this same pattern. I see the same look in the eyes of those shouting for gun control (not that I’m saying those in favor of gun control are the devil’s followers . . . please don’t extend my comparison that far and become offended). I see fear. Fear that we can’t, as a nation, be trusted with our own liberties. They want the government to eliminate an opportunity for choice and an opportunity for natural consequences. Are they that afraid? Do they not trust the power of God enough? Do they not trust themselves or the rest of humanity enough? Is the responsibility of personal freedom that daunting? They are willing to trade their freedom for a perceived safety . . . just as one-third of the hosts of heaven were willing to trade their freedom for a perceived safety.
Don’t you see it? This battle is being repeatedly fought. God won the first time and He will continue to win again and again. Our personal liberty has to be maintained. It’s critical to God’s plan of happiness. You fought for it once. Our Founding Fathers fought for it. We have to fight for it now.
“Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples’ liberty’s teeth.
The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference—they deserve a place of honor with all that is good.” ~George Washington
“The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.
When people fear their government, there is tyranny. When government fears the people, there is liberty.” ~Thomas Jefferson
Think very carefully about which side of the fight for our God-given freedom you’re standing on. Think about it as an individual. Think about it as a parent. Think about it as a citizen of the United States of America. Think about it as a child of the Most High God.