27 March 2016

Field-book for Our Times - Liberty and The Book of Mormon

In my continuation of verse-by-verse scripture study, I have been reading about the rise of Amalickiah and Captain Moroni's response to it. If these names or things don't mean anything to you, I would suggest that you read a bit of a tome called "The Book of Mormon" (forget the trashy, tawdry, and cynical play by the same name - the book is better) which I have dubbed "the Field-book for Our Times".  Hopefully, after reading this, you will see one reason why I call it so.

Amalickiah wanted to be king of the Nephite nation. The Nephites were founded on this kooky idea that God had granted people their liberty and their government was formed to support this. The Book of Mormon's editor, a man named Mormon (it's his book), goes so far as to reveal Amalickiah's methods.  He promised lower government officials positions of expanded power under his kingship in return for their support. In a word, Amalickiah employed "flattery" to win supporters to his cause. The national church of the Nephites was firmly opposed to having a king and supported personal liberty, so Amalickiah used his flattering words to turn people against the church as well.

This situation caught the attention of a man named Moroni, the chief captain of the Nephite armies and a recent war hero. Moroni had fought to retain Nephite liberty that had recently been threatened by the neighboring kingdom of the Lamanites, who wanted to enslave them.  Moroni was "angry" that these defended liberties of his people were being subverted from the inside by Amalickiah and his conspirators. He chose to tear up his coat, write on it, and use it as a flag to stir the hearts of his countrymen to reject the idea of a king.  The coat-flag said this: "In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children."  Moroni called it "the Title of Liberty" and spoke on liberty himself, rallying supporters to the cause of religious and personal liberty and the defense of that liberty. He put on his war armor and those who took up his call to arms did the same. Amalickiah took stock of his position, figured he didn't have the needed support, took his most loyal supporters, and ran away.  Although he caused much havoc and pain in the years ahead, that is another part of the Book of Mormon.

A good field-book gives you the tools you need to face certain circumstances.  The Book of Mormon, as the field-book to our times, lets us know what to do about the circumstances that we are in right now.

America has become a strange thing - a country that gives its President near-kingly powers in four-year terms, a mockery of a democratic republic.  Recent presidents have boldly spoken of their power to rule without Congress via executive order and found few willing to really oppose them. Elections have become full-scale ideological gang-wars between conspiratorial parties bent on using "flattery" and fear to galvanize voters against their political enemies and raise up their own flavor of a president-king.

I have not heard our present presidential candidates utter the word "liberty" with any conviction, if they mention it at all. They crow very hard with what they will do with the kingly powers of the American imperial presidency! They echo the fear and hatred of our "easily-flattered" citizens through a bull-horn and win primaries.  The presidential kingship will likely be won by the loudest, nastiest, most "flattering" person on the field, not anyone who would defend our liberty.

What would the Book of Mormon suggest?  Raise the "Title of Liberty" afresh! Raise the call to arms in behalf of religious and family-based liberty!  Captain Moroni would shed light on the evils of kingly people and seek to bring them down.  At this time of Easter, when Jesus liberated us from the consequences of death and sin, we should all read Alma 46 of our field-books again and not be taken in by the "flattering words".