Our God-Given Freedom
The first words of the Declaration of Independence are remarkable.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
The people of the United States have received a great gift from God and from those who have sacrificed so much to preserve it. That gift is Freedom.
From the vision of Nephi, in the Book of Mormon, we read how God blessed our forefathers to establish a free nation.
And it came to pass that I looked and beheld many waters; and they divided the Gentiles from the seed of my brethren.
And it came to pass that the angel said unto me, Behold the wrath of God is upon the seed of thy brethren! And I looked and beheld a man among the Gentiles, who was separated from the seed of my brethren by the many waters; and I beheld the Spirit of God, that it came down and wrought upon the man; and he went forth upon the many waters, even unto the seed of my brethren, who were in the promised land.
And it came to pass that I beheld the Spirit of God, that it wrought upon other Gentiles; and they went forth out of captivity, upon the many waters.
And it came to pass that I beheld many multitudes of the Gentiles upon the land of promise; and I beheld the wrath of God that it was upon the seed of my brethren; and they were scattered before the Gentiles, and were smitten.
And I beheld the Spirit of the Lord, that it was upon the Gentiles; that they did prosper, and obtain the land for their inheritance; and I beheld that they were white, and exceeding fair and beautiful, like unto my people befre they were slain.
"And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld that the Gentiles who had gone forth out of captivity did humble themselves before the Lord, and the power of the Lord was with them; and I beheld that their mother Gentiles were gathered together upon the waters, and upon the land also, to battle against them; and I beheld that the power of God was with them; and I, Nephi, beheld that the Gentiles that had gone out of captivity were delivered by the power of God out of the hands of all other nations. And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld that they did prosper in the land. (1 Nephi 3:145–156)
Not only did God establish a free nation, but as we read in the Doctrine and Covenants, He also brought forth the Constitution by His power.
There is even now already in store a sufficient, yea, even abundance to redeem Zion, and establish her waste places, no more to be thrown down, were the churches, who call themselves after my name, willing to hearken to my voice.
And again I say unto you, Those who have been scattered by their enemies, it is my will that they should continue to importune for redress, and redemption, by the hands of those who are placed as rulers, and are in authority over you, according to the laws and constitution of the people which I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles, that every man may act in doctrine, and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto them, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment.
Therefore, it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another. And for this purpose have I established the constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood. (Doctrine and Covenants 98: 10c–h)
Truly God has blessed the people of this land, Joseph's Land, with a rich heritage of freedom. Yet, this freedom is not free. It requires vigilance in the principles of self-government and, at times, great sacrifice of self for country. However, for this country to remain free, its citizens must also heed the counsel of the prophet Moroni in the Book of Mormon.
And now we can behold the decrees of God concerning this land, that it is a land of promise, and whatsoever nation shall possess it, shall serve God, or they shall be swept off when the fullness of his wrath shall come upon them. And the fullness of his wrath cometh upon them when they are ripened in iniquity; for behold, this is a land which is choice above all other lands; wherefore he that doth possess it shall serve God, or shall be swept off; for it is the everlasting decree of God. And it is not until the fullness of iniquity among the children of the land, that they are swept off.
And this cometh unto you, 0 ye Gentiles, that ye may know the decrees of God, that ye may repent, and not continue in your iniquities until the fullness come, that ye may not bring down the fullness of the wrath of God upon you, as the inhabitants of the land have hitherto done.
Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it, shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ who hath been manifested by the things which we have written. (Ether 1:31–35)
May this great nation heed the words of Moroni and serve the God of this land that it might continue to "be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven."