My Easter Message

John 8:31-36
31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
33 They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?
34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.
35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever.
36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

The ultimate purpose of Christ’s mission was to make us free through his sacrifice and resurrection. Free from sin and ultimately free from power and control of others. Through him, those in bonds (spiritual and temporal) may become free.

The U.S. Constitution was divinely established by Him to assist in fulfilling this purpose. Fourth President of the LDS church Wilford Woodruff said of those that framed the Constitution, they “were the best spirits the God of heaven could find on the face of the earth. They were choice spirits. . . .” (Wilford Woodruff, CR, April 1898, p. 89). Today we face a great challenge in defending these noble and moral men. There are those who would tear down Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, and others, calling them immoral and trying to expose some type of filth that they never engaged in. If they had, they would not have been selected for such a work. The false notion that so many of them were deists also propagates through our education system. A brilliant new book called “Walking in Darkness at Noon-Day | The Cunning Plan to Destroy the Agency of Man” by John C. Greene addresses some of these points. The book has a lengthy chapter on addressing the Deist issue and contains some fantastic information about our founders that I had never before seen. I encourage you to get a copy because you and your children won’t be getting this in public schools. It is an LDS oriented book, but this particular chapter (which is about 60 pages) contains so much good information on debunking the falsehoods that you may want to pick up a copy even if you’re not LDS.

Do we really value freedom? I wonder sometimes when I see the number of people who claim such, but only want it for themselves and not for others. The LDS church members in particular will someday have to account for what they did in the fight for freedom since they have a greater light and knowledge concerning the true nature of the fight. Our beliefs in a pre-mortal war in heaven that continues on earth today should serve as a clear warning of the nature of this conflict and yet far too many are willing to take the wrong side in the battle today. Clear warnings from prophets of God have served as preparation for this fight and yet they are dismissed by some as irrelevant or in the past as if that somehow erases the fact that those things were ever said.

We would never go to our neighbors and tell them when to fill their gas tank up, what to teach their children tonight, what time to turn their lights off, what occupation they should prepare for, etc… Yet far too many are willing to let government overstep the powers WE GAVE IT and tell people how to do these very things. If we can’t tell people how to do these things, we cannot allow government to do them. We delegated powers to the government so it cannot do something we cannot do.

In the beginning when Satan sought to destroy our agency (our gift from God to choose how to live), there was only a simple choice we had to make. Would we let others risk losing their eternal salvation by giving them their choice, or would we force everyone to make the right choices, destroy agency, and deny everyone the opportunity for personal growth through opposition? That same battle is raging today in the form of communism and socialism. Those who embrace those principles are in reality, listening to the wrong spirit and fighting the spirit of God. They would rather try and prevent a failure through force, than encourage success through true freedom.

I have shared this quote elsewhere but it is particularly relevant to this post. In the April 1965 General Conference of the LDS church, Elder Ezra Taft Benson, an apostle of God, quoted President David O. McKay, God’s mouthpiece and prophet on the earth at that time.

Hear his words: “No greater immediate responsibility rests upon members of the Church, upon all citizens of this Republic and of neighboring Republics than to protect the freedom vouchsafed by the Constitution of the United States.” (Cited in Jerreld L. Newquist, Prophets, Principles and National Survival [SLC: Publishers Press, 1964], p. 157.) As important as are all other principles of the gospel, it was the freedom issue which determined whether you received a body. To have been on the wrong side of the freedom issue during the war in heaven meant eternal damnation. How then can Latter-day Saints expect to be on the wrong side in this life and escape the eternal consequences? The war in heaven is raging on earth today. The issues are the same: “Shall men be compelled to do what others claim is for their best welfare” or will they heed the counsel of the prophet and preserve their freedom?

In the Book of Mormon, a letter from Pahoran, the ousted/exiled governor of the Nephites, to Captain Moroni, the general of the armies conducting a war and dealing with both external and internal threats, expresses the truth that the Spirit of God is the spirit of freedom.

Alma 61:15 Therefore, come unto me speedily with a few of your men, and leave the remainder in the charge of Lehi and Teancum; give unto them power to conduct the war in that part of the land, according to the Spirit of God, which is also the spirit of freedom which is in them.

It may not surprise anyone that my favorite song has always been “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Even as a young child I always loved patriotic holidays because sometimes we would sing that hymn. The lyrics are particularly poignant and this third verse is the summation of my Easter message.

“In the beauty of the lilies,
Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in his bosom
That transfigures you and me.
As he died to make men holy,
let us live to make men free,
While God is marching on.”
-Julia Ward Howe (modern lyrics differ from Julia’s original wording, most particularly in this verse is her phrase “let us die to make men free”)

I’ll close with a rendition of this song I found this which contains a touching gallery of images set to this wonderful song, as well as my testimony that God lives and is returning. It is our solemn obligation to demonstrate our faithfulness to God by defending the truth and freedom he has given us, both spiritually and temporally, according to our capacity and opportunities the Lord sets before us.

4 Responses to “My Easter Message”

  • Marjohna:

    So who is going to DO what about it when? Count me in. Every ward house in the church should be a school during the week.

  • Richard Nielsen:

    How can anyone read this message and not come away rededicated to preserving the liberties our Founding Fathers fought and struggled to institute in the new bastion of freedom, America, the United States of America; the greatest country ever to grace the world in all history. Long may the flag of the USA wave over a free America, which can only remain free through the dedication of like-minded individuals.

  • Buffy Snell:

    Very moving. Thank you for practicing what you preach!

  • Lyn Timboe:

    Beautifully stated. Thank you Oak for this thought-provoking article. I am headed to Des Book right now to purchase the J. Greene book.