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Candle in the Night

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

What will you do to Maintain YOUR Independence?

I hope you all had a fantastic Independence Day!  I know that our family had a great time as we visited with church friends and family throughout the day.  I will be making this post in two sections.  This first one got a little long, so I decided to split them up.  :)

We headed out at about 9:30 on our way to Odessa for our church's annual Independence Day Celebration and couldn't believe what we saw driving down Truman Road!  Check it out!

Brian and I have only attended this celebration for the past two years, and I'm so glad we decided to go again this year.  Before lunch, we have a skit and a short lecture.  This year's theme was Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.  I was very curious about how our church's history would fit in with patriotism and I was amazed at how it did.

The skit depicted Joseph Smith Jr., Sydney Rigdon, and a doctor who belonged to the church as they made their way from Illinois to Washington D.C. to fight for the cause of their people.  The saints who moved to Missouri had been persecuted greatly.  The Missouri governor had issued an order that authorized troops to chase out the saints or exterminate them.  Their homes had been ransacked, belongings stolen, people injured, and in the end, they were chased from their property and moved to Illinois.  These church leaders went before the president at the time, Martin Van Buren, to ask him to help restore to them what had been stolen from them.

Van Buren is reported as saying, "Your cause is just, but I can do nothing for you; if I take up for you, I shall lose the vote of Missouri."

After the skit, there was a short lecture where we heard the rest of the story and how it applies to us today.  This group of men (along with a few others) actually went to Washington more than once to plead for the cause of the saints.  They were rejected each time by men in positions of power who did not want to lose those positions or who were too prejudiced to try to help.

I have often wondered why Joseph Smith Jr. ran for president.  He was a busy man, prophet and president of the church, and already had many responsibilities.  I learned yesterday that when this election came up, they asked each man running if he would be willing to stand for the cause of the saints.  None would.  So Joseph ran.  He felt a duty to his country to provide someone who would defend the freedoms they had fought so hard to attain.

How does this apply to us?  I think that each one of us (whether you are a Restorationist, Mormon, Baptist, Catholic, or any other religion) can see the correlation.  There are freedoms being taken away today.  There are lives being lost.  There is persecution rampant.  And what do we as Christians do?  We hold silent protests.  We send in donations.  We might go to our state capitol and speak with our congressmen or senators.  We might even join a march on Washington.  But most of us do nothing.  Most of us are more comfortable sitting at home mourning the loss of morality in our country.  How many of us step up and say, "If no one with morals is going to run in this election, then I am!"  How many of us continually spend our time, money, and efforts fighting for a just cause.  I dare say too few.  I dare say more of us are saying, even if silently, "This cause is just, but I can do nothing; if I take it up, I will lose."  We don't worry about losing votes.  We worry about losing other things.  "I will lose my home, my family, my friends, my money, my reputation.  I will lose."

Yes.  You will lose.  But you know what?  If the cause is just, we are to fight for it and be willing to lose even our lives for it.  That is the definition of patriotism.

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