Lehi taught his sons that they were free to make choices—including choices which would reduce that freedom. He urged them to choose liberty, not captivity (2 Nephi 2:26-29).
About five years after King Mosiah abolished the monarchy and established a government “by the voice of the people” (Mosiah 29:26), a man named Amlici tried to convince the people to give up their new freedoms. He wanted not only to be king, but also to destroy the church (Alma 2:2-4). He was exactly the kind of leader Mosiah had warned the people against: selfish, scheming, and disrespectful of the rights of those he led (Mosiah 29:17-18, 21-23).
Amlici was persuasive, and a large number of people supported him in his endeavor to restore the monarchy and destroy the church. Therefore, the people who opposed him and wanted to retain their liberty had to speak up.
Mormon tells us that they “assembled themselves together throughout all the land, every man according to his mind, whether it were for or against Amlici” (Alma 2:5). Ultimately, freedom prevailed, but not without significant effort on the part of many people.
They didn’t all speak from a common script. They weren’t just reciting talking points that had been given to them. Instead, everyone who engaged in this process spoke “according to his [or her] mind.” And they didn’t all agree on everything. Mormon tells us that Amlici’s influence was “alarming to the people of the church” but also to many others who were not persuaded by him (Alma 2:3).
Elder Robert D. Hales gave us the following call to action:
As disciples of Jesus Christ we have a responsibility to work together with like-minded believers, to raise our voices for what is right. While members should never claim or even imply that they are speaking for the Church, we are all invited, in our capacity as citizens, to share our personal witness with conviction and love—“every man [and woman] according to his [or her own] mind…”
(“Preserving Agency, Protecting Religious Freedom,” General Conference, April 2015)
Elder Hales listed three things we can do to defend our freedoms:
- “Become informed”
- “Join with others who share our commitment to religious freedom.”
- Live according to our beliefs.
Today, I be grateful for the freedoms I enjoy. I will remember the people who have raised their voices and made great personal sacrifice to establish and to defend those liberties. I will recommit to make my voice heard within my circles of influence, to share my convictions, and to collaborate with like-minded people to preserve those freedoms.