Sunday, July 3, 2011

1 Nephi 13

16 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.
17 And I beheld that their mother Gentiles were gathered together upon the waters, and upon the land also, to battle against them.
18 And I beheld that the power of God was with them, and also that the wrath of God was upon all those that were gathered together against them to battle.
19 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.
35 For, behold saith the Lamb: I will manifest myself unto they seed, that they shall write many things which I shall minister unto them, which shall be plain and precious; and after thy seed shall be destroyed, and dwindle in unbelief, and also the seed of thy brethren, behold, these things shall be hid up, to come forth unto the Gentiles, by the gift and power of the Lamb.
40 And the angel spake unto me, saying: These last records, which thou hast seen among the Gentiles, shall establish the truth of the first, which are of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, and shall make known the plain and precious things which have been taken away from them; and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world; and that all men must come unto him, or they cannot be saved.

I'm sitting here in my room listening to the people camped out all along University Avenue for the Fourth of July parade tomorrow. I've been reflecting on the American Revolution a great deal lately, not just because it's my favorite thing to study and not even because of all the celebrating that I hear going on outside. In my major, I have the privilege of studying our nation's history in great depth and it has been moving and inspiring to me to read the words of many of the great men and women who have sacrificed so much so that we can have what we have today. The Founding Fathers were inspired men. Just as the scriptures say, "the power of the Lord was with them" and they were able to accomplish the seemingly impossible task of bringing colonists from thirteen very different colonies together to defeat the most powerful nation in the world at that time. Because of the determination and diligence of those men and women during the Revolutionary War, we truly live in a "land of promise," a land full of great abundance and beauty.
But even more important than the acquisition of beautiful and productive land was the establishment of an American ideology. I think a speech given in the movie Gettysburg by Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain expresses it best: "No man should bow, no man born to royalty. Here we judge you by what you do, not by who your father was. Here you can be something. Here is the place to build a home. But it's not the land. There's always more land. It's the idea that we all have value, you and me." America was established to honor the value of the individual, to give its citizens the freedoms they believed God would want them to have. Because of this, we have freedom of religion, freedom of speech, etc. It was this freedom established in the United States that allowed for one of the most important events in the world to occur: the restoration of the gospel. Without freedom of religion, the religious revivals that prompted Joseph Smith to ask what church to join would never have existed and we would not have the Church and the doctrines taught there in our lives today. The American Revolution was an absolutely vital step in bringing about God's plan for His children.

I liked a quote I heard today that stated that Satan knows how destructive a weak America would be to God's plan and to the building up of God's kingdom. As Americans, we have a responsibility to build this nation up to its greatest potential, to never lose sight of what is truly important, and to honor the sacrifices of those that have come before us by staying true to our core principles and values. In the midst of all the fireworks, barbecues, and celebrations this Fourth of July, remember the real significance of the holiday and give thanks for all the freedoms we enjoy that so many others do not.


Omi said...

You always put things so well. You are a great writer, Celia. Maybe you should think about a masters degree in journalism, or something to do with writing.

The Christensens said...

Hardly gibberish, baby. Amen.

Tyler and Brigitte Brown said...

What Mom and Dad said. :)

I've always loved that speech from Gettysburg too. One of my absolute favorite parts of the movie.