Posts Tagged 'Morality'

Deuteronomy Chapter 23

The Lord instructed Moses to leave his people with a repetition of the law of Moses. These sermons contained commandments and instruction from the Lord, which, if followed, would have allowed the people to be holy and protected from the world. The sermons of Moses continued in this chapter with rules about who would be allowed to enter the congregation of the Lord.

1 He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord.
2 A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the Lord.
3 An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the Lord for ever:
4 Because they met you not with bread and with water in the way, when ye came forth out of Egypt; and because they hired against thee Balaam the son of Beor of Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse thee.
5 Nevertheless the Lord thy God would not hearken unto Balaam; but the Lord thy God turned the curse into a blessing unto thee, because the Lord thy God loved thee.
6 Thou shalt not seek their peace nor their prosperity all thy days for ever.

Those who were not well or whole (without blemish) physically, or a person born to an unwed mother and any of his family for ten generations, were not to enter the congregation of the Lord. Likewise, anyone with Ammonite or Moabite blood for ten generations, was not to enter either, because their ancestors had been a stumbling block to the Israelites as they journeyed to the promised land. Being able to attend the tabernacle and congregation, required a holiness or worthiness of the Lord’s standards. Likewise, in our day there is a standard set in order for anyone to enter the holy temples of the Lord. The standards are not the same, but the principle is. Only those who are worthy to enter and serve there, may do so. This standard applies, so that the temple will not be defiled, because it is the house of the Lord, where the Lord can be among us.

7 Thou shalt not abhor an Edomite; for he is thy brother: thou shalt not abhor an Egyptian; because thou wast a stranger in his land.
8 The children that are begotten of them shall enter into the congregation of the Lord in their third generation.

Those who were from Edom were not to be hated, because they were their family, the children of Esau. The family of Esau was the extended family to the Israelites, however, they were not of the covenant.
The Israelites were also not to hate the Egyptians, because Egypt had been there for the family of Jacob in a time of need and allowed them to live in their land. Anyone with Edomite or Egyptian blood, would be allowed into the congregation after three generations had passed. I am guessing that would mean being the grandchild of one having married into the Israelite nation, when they were only something like 1/8th Edomite or less.

9 When the host goeth forth against thine enemies, then keep thee from every wicked thing.

The Israelites are warned to avoid all wicked things, when they went out to fight their enemies. I am sure moments when they were at war would have been very tempting times.They would have been deep in the world, surrounded by a lot of alluring wickedness, and yet expected to not be of the world. It was a standard of the times, to take the spoils of war for yourself or your nation. I am sure that this also applied to the things they would choose to return home with, or would allow other nations to give to them for their victories and strength.

10 If there be among you any man, that is not clean by reason of uncleanness that chanceth him by night, then shall he go abroad out of the camp, he shall not come within the camp:
11 But it shall be, when evening cometh on, he shall wash himself with water: and when the sun is down, he shall come into the camp again.

In order to keep others from becoming unclean, those who were not considered to be clean were to remain out of the camp until they could wash and become clean. If they did this, more of the nation would be preserved.

12 Thou shalt have a place also without the camp, whither thou shalt go forth abroad:
13 And thou shalt have a paddle upon thy weapon; and it shall be, when thou wilt ease thyself abroad, thou shalt dig therewith, and shalt turn back and cover that which cometh from thee:
14 For the Lord thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee; therefore shall thy camp be holy: that he see no unclean thing in thee, and turn away from thee.

It was necessary that they had a way to keep the land clean from their own waste. They were told to go outside of the camp and use a paddle to cover their waste. The land in their camp, was to be a holier place, where the Lord could walk among them. This was part of the early laws of sanitation and something I am so glad we don’t have to deal with where I live today.

15 Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which is escaped from his master unto thee:
16 He shall dwell with thee, even among you, in that place which he shall choose in one of thy gates, where it liketh him best: thou shalt not oppress him.

If a servant came to them, after having escaped from his master, they were allow him to live with them, and not return him to his master. They were also to treat him with kindness. I am not sure if this only applied to those men of Israel, who entered servitude, but it teaches that the Lord felt they were not to be treated as lost property, but as people who deserved kindness.

17 There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel.
18 Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, into the house of the Lord thy God for any vow: for even both these are abomination unto the Lord thy God.

There were not to make any Israelite man or woman, into a harlot or prostitute. These acts would have led to a great falling away of Israel, and needed to be avoided completely. Those who were in a life of prostitution and immorality, were also not to be brought to the house of the Lord for any vows or promises. I believe this was due to their unworthiness to make promises there.

19 Thou shalt not lend upon usury to thy brother; usury of money, usury of victuals, usury of any thing that is lent upon usury:
20 Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon usury; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon usury: that the Lord thy God may bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand to in the land whither thou goest to possess it.

They were not to demand unreasonable amounts of money or goods from their family and neighbors, as part of their payments or exchanges. No additional interests were to be gained from the trades and transactions between the Israelites. This law did not apply to how they dealt with strangers, but among the Israelites, they were to treat others with a kindness and give the things they sold or used, a proper value. Because they were not to bring others into unnecessary amounts of debt and bondage, this law would promote unity and bless the entire nation of Israel.

21 When thou shalt vow a vow unto the Lord thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it: for the Lord thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee.
22 But if thou shalt forbear to vow, it shall be no sin in thee.
23 That which is gone out of thy lips thou shalt keep and perform; even a freewill offering, according as thou hast vowed unto the Lord thy God, which thou hast promised with thy mouth.

It was better not to make a vow with the Lord, than to make a vow without the intent or follow-through to make the expected offerings. Likewise, in our day, it is better that one waits to make covenants with God, until they are truly ready to keep those covenants. Making covenants with God, is eternally binding. One should not take them lightly, or make them for a reason other then they are intended. This is why it is so important that covenants are made with an understanding of what they are and what will be expected of one who makes them.

24 When thou comest into thy neighbour’s vineyard, then thou mayest eat grapes thy fill at thine own pleasure; but thou shalt not put any in thy vessel.
25 When thou comest into the standing corn of thy neighbour, then thou mayest pluck the ears with thine hand; but thou shalt not move a sickle unto thy neighbour’s standing corn.

They were allowed to partake of the field of their neighbors, but not to gather and take them or move them out of the field.

Most of this chapter, seems to be a reminder to the Israelites of the little details of life that could either keep them a holy and worthy people, or cause them to be unworthy of the presence of the Lord. The world may be different in our day, but we are still expected to live the standard of the Lord for us. If we do so, we can be worthy of his spirit among us, and of being able to make covenants and promises in the holy temples on earth today. If we fail to live according to the Lord’s standards, and have no desire to hold to them, we should not attempt to make sacred promises with God, because they will lead to our eternal damnation when we face our own judgement. I am grateful for the gospel, which teaches me how to be worthy to make and keep covenants with God, because I cannot imagine life without the spirit of God, to help and comfort me.

Do We Recognize the Nobility of Motherhood?

As a woman in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), I am a member of one of the largest women’s organization in the world. This group is called the Relief Society. Several years ago, a declaration was written for the Relief Society and the posts in this series are an attempt to apply this declaration to my life more. In this attempt I will be breaking down the parts of it into questions that I would like to try to answer through study. To view other posts related to this declaration, go here: Relief Society Declaration.

We are beloved spirit daughters of God, and our lives have meaning, purpose, and direction. As a worldwide sisterhood, we are united in our devotion to Jesus Christ, our Savior and Exemplar. We are women of faith, virtue, vision, and charity who:
Increase our testimonies of Jesus Christ through prayer and scripture study.
Seek spiritual strength by following the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
Dedicate ourselves to strengthening marriages, families, and homes.
Find nobility in motherhood and joy in womanhood.

Motherhood is one of the greatest challenges and most amazing blessings of a woman’s life. I cannot say that I have often considered it something of nobility. When I think of nobility, I typically think of those who are born of a higher class, which seems like an odd association, but I do recognize that a woman who chooses to accept her divine calling from God, to bear and raise a child, has accepted a higher place on her eternal path. I believe that as women, one of our most important responsibilities is to be the be a part of that amazing creation process by having children. That is why it was one of the first commandments given to Eve in the Garden of Eden. In Genesis 1:28 we read, “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it . . .”. We continue today, to have the commandment to multiply and replenish the earth, as we are able. I recognize that all people are eternally of noble birth, because we are all children of God. However, I feel that if we selfishly choose to deny ourselves the blessings of becoming mothers in this life, we choose to forfeit some of our inheritance and perhaps give up a certain portion of the glorious title that would await us otherwise.

Another meaning of the word nobility, is being noble in our character and mind. Somehow, I think that this is more in the direction that this declaration is going. It is about having higher character, ideals, moral principles and conduct. It is also about having a more excellent quality. It is about living like the queen that we can become. In Doctrine and Covenants, when Christ’s church was reorganized upon the earth, a promise was given to those who would receive the fullness of the gospel (found in the scriptures). This promise is conditional upon our choice to live the principles of the gospel in faith and it says, “And those who receive it in faith, and work righteousness, shall receive a crown of eternal life” (D&C 20:14). Also, a promise was given to Emma Smith, which applies to all women. In Doctrine and Covenants section 25 we read the following:

13 Wherefore, lift up thy heart and rejoice, and cleave unto the covenants which thou hast made.
14 Continue in the spirit of meekness, and beware of pride. …
15 Keep my commandments continually, and a crown of righteousness thou shalt receive.

I believe that the crown received will be that of a queen, especially for those righteous and faithful women who recognize their eternal nobility in this life.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf gave a talk recently titled “Your Happily Ever After”. I love the message he shares, because it is a reminder of our noble birthright. He said the following:

We all search for happiness, and we all try to find our own “happily ever after.” The truth is, God knows how to get there! And He has created a map for you; He knows the way. He is your beloved Heavenly Father, who seeks your good, your happiness. He desires with all the love of a perfect and pure Father that you reach your supernal destination. The map is available to all. It gives explicit directions of what to do and where to go to everyone who is striving to come unto Christ and “stand as [a witness] of God at all times and in all things, and in all places.” All you have to do is trust your Heavenly Father. Trust Him enough to follow His plan. … Sisters, we love you. We pray for you. Be strong and of good courage. You are truly royal spirit daughters of Almighty God. You are princesses, destined to become queens. Your own wondrous story has already begun. Your “once upon a time” is now.

Motherhood is the thing that brings real growth in a woman. Before having children, we do not have anyone who looks to us every day for an example of how to live. Once a child enters our everyday lives, we have to be more aware of the things we say and do. Recognizing the nobility of motherhood, is evaluating our character, ideals, moral principles and conduct and making the effort to align them more with the way God would have us be, so that we can be the right kind of example that our children need. I love the verses in proverbs 3 which say the following:

5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

God understands what is best for us, as well as our children, with perfection. When we look at ourselves and see what kind of person we are being, the best way to align ourselves with God, is to trust in the Lord and allow Him to help us be the woman and mother he would have us be. Women have a duty and responsibility to guide our families in those things that will draw them closer to the Lord. We should be helping our families to find value in prayer and scripture study. We should be striving to live the righteous principles we teach. Sister Mary Ellen Smoot had the following to say:

Each of us has a vital role, even a sacred mission to perform as a daughter in Zion. … It is our destiny to rejoice as we fill the earth with greater kindness and gentleness, greater love and compassion, greater sympathy and empathy than have ever been known before. It is time to give ourselves to the Master and allow Him to lead us into fruitful fields where we can enrich a world filled with darkness and misery” (“Rejoice, Daughters of Zion,” Ensign, Nov. 1999, 94).

The nobility of motherhood is found and developed on the faithful path of righteousness.

President David O. McKay once said this:

[The] ability and willingness properly to rear children, the gift to love, and eagerness … to express it in soul development, make motherhood the noblest office or calling in the world. She who can paint a masterpiece or write a book that will influence millions deserves the admiration and the plaudits of mankind; but she who rears successfully a family of healthy, beautiful sons and daughters, whose influence will be felt through generations to come, … deserves the highest honor that man can give, and the choicest blessings of God (Gospel Ideals [1954], 453–54).

Motherhood can be a part of our lives even if we are unable to have children of our own. The calling belongs to all women if they would have it. I think without raising our own children, it is a lot more difficult to find this nobility because it takes a more considered effort to choose to have children as a part of your life. I have seen some truly amazing examples of women who have been unable to have children for some reason or another, and yet they have shown me the divine qualities of motherhood in their choice to nurture and lead the children that come into their lives by many other means, with gospel principles as their guide. Sister Smoot related a beautiful example from the life of President Joseph F. Smith:

President Joseph F. Smith was left an orphan at the early age of 13. He was later sent on a mission to the Hawaiian Islands. On the island of Molokai he contracted a severe fever and was seriously ill for three months. A wonderful Hawaiian sister took him into her home and tended him as lovingly as though he were her own son.

Many years later President Smith visited the islands as President of the Church. Charles Nibley tenderly described the experience:

“It was a beautiful sight to see the deep-seated love, the even tearful affection, that these people had for him. In the midst of it all I noticed a poor, old, blind woman, tottering under the weight of about ninety years, being led in. She had a few choice bananas in her hand. It was her all—her offering. She was calling, ‘Iosepa, Iosepa.’ Instantly, when he saw her, he ran to her and clasped her in his arms, hugged her, and kissed her, … patting her on the head saying, ‘Mama, Mama, my dear old Mama.’

“And with tears streaming down his cheeks he turned to me and said, ‘Charlie, she nursed me when I was a boy, sick and without anyone to care for me. She took me in and was a mother to me’” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith [1998], xvi, 192).

We can all extend our arms in love to others and give gifts of compassion and tenderness that can only flow from a woman’s heart.

Motherhood is for all women, because it is part of our spiritual design, and as such it should be one of the strong desires of our hearts. Psalms 37:4 teaches us, “Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” If a woman sincerely desires to fulfill her calling in motherhood, and lives in faith, I believe the Lord will someday bless her with that desire.

Sister Smoot also said the following:

I suggest that you … humbly ask the Lord what he would have you do and why you are uniquely suited to serve. Ask yourself questions like these: ‘What can I contribute?’ ‘Why was I chosen to be the mother of these children?’ … and so forth. We each have purpose and reason for being. Every sister has a thread to weave in the tapestry of time. Discover your thread and begin to weave (Relief Society, the Possible Dream [address delivered at the 1998 Brigham Young University women’s conference]).

Being a mother, whether to our own children or others, does not end when those children become adults and leave home. It is a calling that lasts through this life and into the next. Our eternal reward can be of nobility in motherhood if we truly have that desire in our mortal lives. I believe that righteous women, of both queenly character and heritage, were among the great ones before life on this earth began. In Abraham 3:22 we read, “Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones”. And I also believe that in the eternities we will find noble mothers standing beside great fathers doing the work of Gods. I am so glad to be a mother and to continually strive to live the life that God would have me live so that I can become the great and noble woman and mother that I am destined to be.

Mosiah, Chapter 29

What makes one form of government better than another?

The United States experienced a horrible tragedy on September 11, 2001.  I don’t think anyone who was old enough to know what was going on, will forget where they were or how they felt on that day.  I got into my car to drive to work when I heard the news that a plane had flown into one of the twin towers.  I went to work still, but spent the entire day watching the news in my office.  I watched the aftermath of both towers being hit, one plane hit the pentagon, and another plane had been brought down that was also hijacked.  I remember that on my drive home, the radio station played a montage of sound clips that had been recorded that day; people screaming, sounds of buildings crumblings, bits of news coverage about heroes, and a song about time that made me cry.  I did not know anyone personally, who had been in any of those terrible experiences, but you did not have to to feel the attack that had occurred to our nation.  On that day, and several to follow, the United States was the most united that I have ever known it to be.  People were so proud to be American.  It was an awful thing, but great courage, hope, love and patriotism came out of it.

Article of Faith 12 says, “We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.”  We, as citizens of the United States, are expected to follow the laws that are put forth and maintained by the President, congress, and the judiciary branch of the government.  We have a constitution, which explains what makes up these leaders and how they can use the powers given to them by the people.  We also have a bill of rights which is designed to protect the people from the tyranny that can come from those in power.  Our rights are what keep us the free country that God has promised to us.  We maintain these rights as long as we live by the laws that are in place, and as long as our rulers do not take them from us, either by the voice of the people or by their own choice.

After Mosiah had given Alma the records (discussed in my last post), he wanted to know what the people thought he should do about the kingdom.    “And it came to pass that the voice of the people came, saying: We are desirous that Aaron thy son should be our king and our ruler (v. 2).”  However, none of his sons were willing to be the king, but chose to be missionaries instead.  Mosiah told the people, “Behold, O ye my people, or my brethren, for I esteem you as such, I desire that ye should consider the cause which ye are called to consider—for ye are desirous to have a king (v. 5).  Now I declare unto you that he to whom the kingdom doth rightly belong has declined, and will not take upon him the kingdom (v. 6).  And now if there should be another appointed in his stead, behold I fear there would rise contentions among you. And who knoweth but what my son, to whom the kingdom doth belong, should turn to be angry and draw away a part of this people after him, which would cause wars and contentions among you, which would be the cause of shedding much blood and perverting the way of the Lord, yea, and destroy the souls of many people (v. 7).  Now I say unto you let us be wise and consider these things, for we have no right to destroy my son, neither should we have any right to destroy another if he should be appointed in his stead (v. 8 ).  And if my son should turn again to his pride and vain things he would recall the things which he had said, and claim his right to the kingdom, which would cause him and also this people to commit much sin (v. 9).”  Mosiah had fear for the future of his people, if they would appoint another king who was not the rightful heir to the kingdom.

“Therefore I will be your king the remainder of my days; nevertheless, let us appoint judges, to judge this people according to our law; and we will newly arrange the affairs of this people, for we will appoint wise men to be judges, that will judge this people according to the commandments of God (v. 11).”  Mosiah proposed that the people be led by righteous judges instead of a king.  Mosiah tells the advantage there is to having judges who are men of God.  “Now it is better that a man should be judged of God than of man, for the judgments of God are always just, but the judgments of man are not always just (v. 12).”  We are not perfect, and therefore our ways can be swayed by the temptations of Satan.  If we are swayed, our judgements are also swayed, but God will not ever change and so his judgements are always just.  “Therefore, if it were possible that you could have just men to be your kings, who would establish the laws of God, and judge this people according to his commandments, yea, if ye could have men for your kings who would do even as my father Benjamin did for this people—I say unto you, if this could always be the case then it would be expedient that ye should always have kings to rule over you (v. 13).”  If a king is as righteous as King Benjamin, than it is good to have him as a king.

“And even I myself have labored with all the power and faculties which I have possessed, to teach you the commandments of God, and to establish peace throughout the land, that there should be no wars nor contentions, no stealing, nor plundering, nor murdering, nor any manner of iniquity (v. 14); And whosoever has committed iniquity, him have I punished according to the crime which he has committed, according to the law which has been given to us by our fathers (v. 15).”  It takes a lot of work and a strong will to lead the people righteously.

“Now I say unto you, that because all men are not just it is not expedient that ye should have a king or kings to rule over you (v. 16).  For behold, how much iniquity doth one wicked king cause to be committed, yea, and what great destruction (v. 17)!  Yea, remember king Noah, his wickedness and his abominations, and also the wickedness and abominations of his people. Behold what great destruction did come upon them; and also because of their iniquities they were brought into bondage (v. 18 ).”  If a king is not as righteous as King Benjamin, he can use his power to do evil things and lead his people to do the same.

Behold, O ye my people, or my brethren, for I esteem you as such, I desire that ye should consider the cause which ye are called to aconsider—for ye are desirous to have a king.
6 Now I declare unto you that he to whom the kingdom doth rightly belong has declined, and will not take upon him the kingdom.
7 And now if there should be another appointed in his stead, behold I fear there would rise acontentions among you. And who knoweth but what my son, to whom the kingdom doth belong, should turn to be angry and bdraw away a part of this people after him, which would cause wars and contentions among you, which would be the cause of shedding much blood and perverting the way of the Lord, yea, and destroy the souls of many people.
8 Now I say unto you let us be wise and consider these things, for we have no right to destroy my son, neither should we have any right to destroy another if he should be appointed in his stead.
9 And if my son should turn again to his pride and vain things he would recall the things which he had said, and claim his right to the kingdom, which would cause him and also this people to commit much sin.

There have been many great leaders throughout the world’s history.  Some who have had to help save the righteous children of God from rulers who were not righteous and who had caused them to be in bondage.  Moses led the children of Israel through the Red Sea on dry land.  Brigham Young led the pioneers from Nauvoo to the Salt Lake Valley.  “And they did wax strong in love towards Mosiah; yea, they did esteem him more than any other man; for they did not look upon him as a tyrant who was seeking for gain, yea, for that lucre which doth corrupt the soul; for he had not exacted riches of them, neither had he delighted in the shedding of blood; but he had established peace in the land, and he had granted unto his people that they should be delivered from all manner of bondage; therefore they did esteem him, yea, exceedingly, beyond measure (v. 40).”  Moses, Brigham Young and Mosiah were great leaders because they were never selfishly trying to get gain for themselves.  They did not want any of their people to die in order to give them more riches or land, but rather they were peaceful people who wanted to protect their people and keep them free from others as well as from the bondage of Satan.  In D&C 121:41-46 we find traits that make a good leader (either in the Church, or the world in general), “power or influence … maintained by … persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned (v. 41) … kindness, and pure knowledge … without hypocrisy, and without guile (v. 42) … Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost … showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved (v. 43) … faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death (v. 44) … bowels  … full of charity towards all men … household of faith … virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly … confidence wax strong in the presence of God … doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul (v. 45) … Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy … unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth … an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means (v. 46) …”.  This a lot for the people of Mosiah to expect from just one man, and that is why he proposed that several men judge in righteousness instead.

Will we ever have a king again?

There are several different types of government; Monarchy (king or queen), Anarchy (none), Theocracy (by the church), Democracy (by the people), Republic (elected offices representing the people) and a Dictatorship (Dictator).  The United States is a republic.  Some would say it is a democracy, but the people do not have total control of the government, they trust those who are elected to do their will.  We have a democratic process here, but we are a republic.

According to Mosiah, a righteous king would be necessary to rule if possible (v. 13).  In Revelation 17:14 we read, “These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.”  The greatest king for the people, would be Christ.  During the Millennium, Christ will reign personally upon the earth.  Article of Faith 10 reads, “We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.”

The manual quotes from The Doctrine and Covenants Commentary about what type of government will exist when Christ reigns.  “In the Church of Christ where the government is that of the Kingdom of Heaven, neither autocracy nor democracy obtains, but government by Common Consent.  That is to say, the initiative in all that pertains to the government of the Church rests with the Head of the Church, even our Lord Jesus Christ, and He exercises this sovereign function through his authorized servants, upon whom He has bestowed the Holy Priesthood; but it is the privilege of the people to accept, or reject, His laws and ordinances, for God has given every individual free agency.  Obedience must be voluntary.  The government of the Church has been called a Theodemocracy.  It is the form of government that will be general during the Millennium.”

“By the voice of the people”

When we are deciding on an issue as a family, it is important for everyone to have a say for it to be a fair decision.  On issues that are opened up to the whole family, meaning those that are not strictly made between mother and father, everyone’s vote should be weighted the same.  (Their may be exceptions, such as on day’s of celebration for one person.)  If someone chooses not to voice their opinion, than they may by stuck doing something that does not make them happy.  If we can come to a decision together, it will hopefully make most, if not all happy, because we want our family to be content.

When we have a national election (or even a state/local election), the average is less than half that actually vote.  Sometimes people don’t vote, because they don’t know what the issues are.  Some don’t vote because of the weather.  Some don’t vote because they don’t know their is an election.  Some don’t vote because it is too much of a hassle to take time from their lives. No matter what the reason, they are giving up their right and responsibility to elect righteous leaders.  In order for those who are righteous and religious to run for office, they must first be taught the importance of having good righteous political leaders as a child.  It all starts in the home.  If our leaders to not live up to our expectations, than those who choose not to have a say may only blame themselves for allowing it to go without a true voice of the people.

“And if the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon you; yea, then is the time he will visit you with great destruction even as he has hitherto visited this land (v. 27).”  If most people choose evil (or allow evil to be chosen), then the judgment of God is upon all the people.

Their are four governmental principles that guided the reign of the judges (discussed in an Ensign article, “Six Nephite Judges: A Study in Integrity” from September 1977).  In this chapter of Mosiah we read, “Therefore, choose you by the voice of this people, judges, that ye may be judged according to the laws which have been given you by our fathers, which are correct, and which were given them by the hand of the Lord (v. 25).”  First, the law rules in society, not force, authority, or personality.  Second, the voice of the people determines the procedures of the law to support and preserve their freedom.  Third, the people recognize that the correct principles of law were given to man by God, through prophets.  “Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right; therefore this shall ye observe and make it your law—to do your business by the voice of the people (v. 26).”  And forth, (also see verse 27 above) the people must be committed to “the necessity for a spiritual foundation of that law in society.”

These ideas are fleeting in our nation currently.  A greater number of the people in America are choosing to deny that their is a God, or that God has a place in our government.  They don’t believe that our laws should be based upon good morals, but upon the concept of equality to all.  Our freedoms are not a right that we may always have.  They are earned by our morality.  The voice of the people in our nation, should keep our leaders responsible for what they do, just as it did for the judges in the Book of Mormon.  We have a system in place that is designed to keep our leaders from overstepping their bounds.  If the system is used as originally designed then it works.  The system is, a president who can veto laws if they do not seem right and can present laws to congress, congress who rights the laws based on the support of the people, and the judiciary branch who upholds those laws.  Their is a problem is beginning in our system today.  The judiciary has begun to create laws in addition to enforcing them, congress has begun to create laws which force people to do things their way rather than allowing the people to have a say, and the President is using his power of “personality” in both the judiciary and congress, to make things go his way.

“And now if ye have judges, and they do not judge you according to the law which has been given, ye can cause that they may be judged of a higher judge (v. 28).  If your higher judges do not judge righteous judgments, ye shall cause that a small number of your lower judges should be gathered together, and they shall judge your higher judges, according to the voice of the people (v. 29).”  This was the form of checks and balances that they used with the judges.  As long as the majority were righteous, their would not be a misuse of their power.  That is the most important piece of the entire system, righteousness.  When we loose it, we loose the balance and Satan gains a stronger hold over the people, through the leaders.

I agree wholly with what Mosiah tells his people in verse 32, “… I desire that this land be a land of liberty, and every man may enjoy his rights and privileges alike, so long as the Lord sees fit that we may live and inherit the land, yea, even as long as any of our posterity remains upon the face of the land.”  I want all the people in America to feel that this is a land of liberty.  I know that the only way for the people to feel this way, is if they come to Christ and are willing to live a moral lifestyle.  Otherwise, we are split, and some feel freedoms where others do not.  I pray that the side that feels that they have freedoms continues to be the side who are trying to live the gospel.

Mosiah’s words convinced the people.  “Therefore they relinquished their desires for a king, and became exceedingly anxious that every man should have an equal chance throughout all the land; yea, and every man expressed a willingness to answer for his own sins (v. 38).  Therefore, it came to pass that they assembled themselves together in bodies throughout the land, to cast in their voices concerning who should be their judges, to judge them according to the law which had been given them; and they were exceedingly rejoiced because of the liberty which had been granted unto them (v. 39).”  We need to have the same desire to use the liberty that has been given to us, so that we can choose more righteous leaders.

Qualities of a great leader

Their have been some pretty wicked rulers in the history of the world.  Some that delight in shedding blood.  Some who are greedy and always want more.  Some who oppress those who want to live righteously.  Their have also been some pretty righteous leader like King Benjamin in the Book of Mormon.  Their are clear differences between the two.

“And they did wax strong in love towards Mosiah; yea, they did esteem him more than any other man; for they did not look upon him as a tyrant who was seeking for gain, yea, for that lucre which doth corrupt the soul; for he had not exacted riches of them, neither had he delighted in the shedding of blood; but he had established peace in the land, and he had granted unto his people that they should be delivered from all manner of bondage; therefore they did esteem him, yea, exceedingly, beyond measure (v. 40).  And it came to pass that they did appoint judges to rule over them, or to judge them according to the law; and this they did throughout all the land (v. 41).  And it came to pass that Alma was appointed to be the first chief judge, he being also the high priest, his father having conferred the office upon him, and having given him the charge concerning all the affairs of the church (v. 42).  And now it came to pass that Alma did walk in the ways of the Lord, and he did keep his commandments, and he did judge righteous judgments; and there was continual peace through the land (v. 43).”  Mosiah was one of those good leaders and the people loved him for it.  Alma became the first chief judge, because he was trusted by the people and because his father had trained him well.  He was righteous and kept the commandments, which helped to bring peace to the people.

Alma (the elder) and Mosiah (the elder) both died and the judges began to reign in Zarahemla over the Nephites.


About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
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