I saw this photo on FB and it got me thinking about the nations who have suffered bondage and captivity in this land, namely Natives and Blacks…
1. They suffered at the hands of people who might have claimed Christ as their God, but their service of Him was totally false. He did not sanction anything cruel they did in His name, and bondage of nations resulted.
2. This slavery happened on this soil, and though it seems long and slow and discouraging, it is due to what this country is that we can gain strength and can change it.
Through the freedom established in this country, Christianity has been allowed to continue its wandering route (apostasy, enlightenment, reformation, restoration) to return to the pure principles Jesus established during His ministry. And with all the flaws this government and country and an embarrassing number of its leaders carry, The System is still set up to have us fight those ills.
Yes, it’s a hard fight. Yes, it takes sweat and stress and work. YES, IT IS UNFAIR.
But civilizations change when we are allowed to work for change, and here, maybe not everyone, but enough of us have the freedom to work. We have hope for the changes we want because this is America.
I see that hope when I see kneeling. I don’t want to see disrespect.
(this photo is cropped)
By Keith Allison from Hanover, MD, USA - Oakland Raiders National Anthem Kneeling,
CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=62735933
I want to see the freedom of expression permitted by this country. I see a prayer to this country for change. When I see standing for the flag again, I don’t want to see disrespect for others’ desire for change. I see the freedom of expression permitted by this country. I see a statement of confidence that because this country is already great, it can and will achieve change.
So we are a land of diverse religions and cultures. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that the light of Christ (acknowledged or not) is what beats at the heart of each one. We can recognize this when our principles are the same: to love, to serve, to lift one another.
And so, when I read this US flag colored statement that comes from the Book of Mormon, I read that modern bondage and captivity based on race, class, identity will be eradicated as we grow in our service to principles of love, service, mercy, forgiveness, mourning with those who mourn, peacemaking and more.
We believe the Book of Mormon is a record of not one nation, but multiple ancient American nations, who were Christian. Where are they now? Gone y’all. Destroyed. By their own pride and WAR. They called themselves Christians (or in their language, Nephites) to the bitter end. And yet, they are the ones who are no longer here. God warned them again and again to look at their relations with His Lamanite nation (non-Christians) to serve as a gauge for Nephite righteousness.
While the Nephite Christians were truly serving the cause of God (the cause of love, humility, and humanity), they were able to defend themselves against non-Christian Lamanite (oppression, murder, tyranny) attack.
There was even an incredible era when Nephite Christian LOVE introduced a nation of non-Christian Lamanites to know God too, and He held nothing back in blessing their faith and service to Him with miracles.
But when both the Lamanite and Nephite Christians got caught up in their own style of oppression, classism and tyranny, God did not support them anymore.
In ancient America, pride manifested as a narrow-minded obsession with “more territory proves worthiness”.
In ancient Israel, pride manifested as a narrow-minded obsession with “more law proves worthiness”.
You know what else the Book of Mormon says?
1 And verily, verily, I say unto you that I have aother sheep, which are not of this land, neither of the land of Jerusalem, neither in any parts of that land round about whither I have been to minister.
2 For they of whom I speak are they who have not as yet heard my voice; neither have I at any time manifested myself unto them.
3 But I have received a acommandment of the Father that I shall go unto them, and that they shall bhear my voice, and shall be numbered among my sheep, that there may be one fold and one shepherd; therefore I go to show myself unto them.
Mormon’s words: this is a choice land
Christ’s words: my sheep not of this land
I look at these two excerpts together, and I see the 'choiceness' of this land, this geographic area we today call the USA, is no way proof that the people who own it are in any way a supreme people of God. God has sanctioned this land to be a place where the inhabitants will reap the consequences of our own choices. Blacks, Natives, and other minorities do not suffer on this continent because of their ancestors' choices. They suffer because of what the nation at large chooses.
And they are sick of it. And because this is modern day America, they get to speak.
ALL THE NATIONS WHO ARE HERE ARE HERE TO SPEAK. And as the Gentile Christians of this nation learn how to truly serve the Jesus Christ of the scriptures -- old new and restored -- we will witness the continual rise of all nations in this land. Not through Christian force. Not through Christian pride. Especially not through Christian anger.
Because as yet another scripture tells us, without Christian charity, this choice land “is nothing.” 1 Cor 13:2