We all have our free agency and God holds us accountable for the way we use it in thought and deed. "Kindness, compassion, and love are powerful instruments in strengthening us to carry heavy burdens imposed without any fault of our own and to do what we know to be right." Elder Dallin H. Oaks
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“Wherefore every man did cleave unto that which was his own, with his hands, and would not borrow neither would he lend; and every man kept the hilt of his sword in his right hand, in the defence of his property and his own life and of his wives and children.”Ether 14:2
“And behold, I have sent a proclamation throughout this part of the land; and behold, they are flocking to us daily, to their arms, in the defence of their country and their freedom, and to avenge our wrongs.”Alma 61:6
At 19, studied law for 5 years starting under George Wythe.
At 23, started his own law practice.
At 25, was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses.
At 31, wrote the widely circulated “Summary View of the Rights of British America” and retired from his law practice.
At 32, was a Delegate to the Second Continental Congress.
At 33, wrote the Declaration of Independence.
At 33, took three years to revise Virginia’s legal code and wrote a Public Education bill and a statute for Religious Freedom.
At 36, was elected the second Governor of Virginia, succeeding Patrick Henry.
At 40, served in Congress for two years.
At 41, was the American minister to France, and negotiated commercial treaties with European nations along with Ben Franklin and John Adams.
At 46, served as the first Secretary of State under George Washington.
At 53, served as Vice President and was elected President of the American Philosophical Society.
At 55, drafted the Kentucky Resolutions, and became the active head of Republican Party.
At 57, was elected the third president of the United States.
At 60, obtained the Louisiana Purchase, doubling the nation’s size.
At 61, was elected to a second term as President.
At 65, retired to Monticello.
At 80, helped President Monroe shape the Monroe Doctrine.
At 81, almost single-handedly created the University of Virginia, and served as its first president.
At 83, died on the 50th anniversary of the Signing of the Declaration of Independence, along with John Adams.
Thomas Jefferson knew because he himself studied the previous failed attempts at government. He understood actual history, the nature of God, his laws and the nature of man. That happens to be way more than what most understand today.
Jefferson really knew his stuff.
A voice from the past to lead us in the future:
John F. Kennedy held a dinner in the White House for a group of the brightest minds in the nation at that time. He made this statement:
“This is perhaps the assembly of the most intelligence ever to gather at one time in the White House with the exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.”
“When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe.”
– Thomas Jefferson
“The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.”
– Thomas Jefferson
“It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.”
– Thomas Jefferson
“I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.”
– Thomas Jefferson
“My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.”
– Thomas Jefferson
“No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.”
– Thomas Jefferson
“The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.”
– Thomas Jefferson
“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”
– Thomas Jefferson
“To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”
– Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson said in 1802:
“I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.
If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property- until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.”
“We believe that religion is instituted of God; and that men are amenable to him, and to him only, for the exercise of it, unless their religious opinions prompt them to infringe upon the rights and liberties of others; but we do not believe that human law has a right to interfere in prescribing rules of worship to bind the consciences of men, nor dictate forms for public or private devotion; that the civil magistrate should restrain crime, but never control conscience; should punish guilt, but never suppress the freedom of the soul.”
“Because they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever”. 2 Nephi 2:26
Without the Atonement, there could be no freedom: “We proclaim the atonement wrought by Jesus Christ . . . is to all people; it is the message of deliverance from sin and its sorrow, the decree of liberty, the charter of freedom.” James E. Talmage
As with each of the other blessings of the Atonement, this one does not stand alone. It complements, supplements, and overlaps others.
In truth, the freest of all beings is God himself. “God could not make men like himself without making them free,” said David O. McKay.
It is a greater manifestation of divine power to make beings that can make themselves than to make beings that cannot, for the former are men and the latter are puppets, and puppets after all are only things.” Dr. Iverach, a Scottish philosopher.
GOD MAKES MEN FREE
Freedom is described as the power or agency to act for oneself. “The Lord god gave unto man that he should act for himself” (2 Nephi 2:16) (D&C 29:35) (Moses 4:3)
Man could never enjoy the full powers of agency without the intervention of God. Samuel told the people of Zarahemla, “Ye are free; ye are permitted to act for yourselves,” and then he added, “He [God] hath made your free” (Helaman 14:30). Under Christ ye are made free. “And there is no other head whereby ye can be made free” (Mosiah 5:8) The Savior taught that true freedom comes “if the Son . . . shall make your free” (John 8:36). Paul urged the saints of Galatia to retain their “liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free” (Galatians 5:1).
THE FOUR COMPONENTS OF FREEDOM
How does God endow us with agency, and what part does the Atonement play in making us free? This is best understood by dissecting freedom into its four principal components, namely the need for an intelligent being, a knowledge of good and evil, the availability of choices, and the power to execute or carry out such choices.
The need for an intelligent being. Simply stated, there can be no freedom without a decision maker, an intelligent being. Man is a conscious, thinking entity, thus fulfilling the first requirement for freedom.
The need for a knowledge of good and evil. Man’s initial knowledge of good and evil was triggered at the time of the Fall. The Lord said, “Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil” (Genesis 3:22) Eve said, “Were it not for our transgression we … never should have known good and evil” (Moses 5:11) Absent that grant of knowledge, Adam and Eve would have been confined to a state of innocence. It was a vital link, but it was the beginning – the gateway to knowledge. The scriptures reveal that “the eyes of them both were opened” (Genesis 3:7). This was essential, but it was only the commencement, not the end of the road. With increased knowledge comes the opportunity for increased freedom. The Savior’s testimony to the scribes and Pharisees: “Know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). They retorted, “We . . . were never in bondage to any man” (John 8:33). How wrong they were. They had secular knowledge, but not the spiritual truth that makes man free. The essence of freedom is to know the Savior and obey his truths. As we do so, we become free from prejudice, falsehood, sin, contention, and every other injurious practice or evil nature known to man. The Fall opened the gate to the road of knowledge, but it was the Atonement that provided the vehicle to proceed through the Atonement where we are cleansed in the waters of baptism, making us eligible for the gift of the Holy Ghost. It is such a gift that “will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13). As we come to know the Savior and his truths we enlarge our capacity for freedom. This is so because knowledge is power; and power, in its consummate expression is godhood; and godhood is the quintessence of freedom.
The third element of freedom is the availability of choices. Only to the human being did the Creator say, “…thou mayest choose for thyself, for it is given unto thee . . .(Moses 3:17) Were it not for the Atonement, there would have been no choice between eternal life and eternal damnation. The Fall would have opened the gate to one road and one road only. The Atonement is the means of deliverance, the means of freeing our bodies from the grave and our spirits from hell, of offering another road, another choice, another option. The message is clear. We can accept the Atonement, a choice that leads to eternal life (the ultimate in freedom); or we can choose the way of the Evil One, a choice that leads to destruction, chains, and captivity (the ultimate in bondage). As we choose the Lord, he gives us more rope; as we choose Satan, he tightens the noose until we are in his grasp. “Ye are free to act for yourselves – - to choose the way of everlasting death or the way of eternal life” (2 Nephi 10:23). That freedom of choice comes through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
The one element yet lacking for a fullness of freedom is the power to execute or carry out the choices before us. We may have knowledge of good and evil; we may even have choices placed before us; but unless we have power to execute, the power to fulfill, then our freedom is but a façade. The issue is not choice. The issue is simply power – the power to see and hear and do without restraint. While God is certainly a proponent of earthly knowledge, he also wants us to know that powers of a higher source flow from the acquisition of spiritual truths. It is this spiritual power that parted the Red Sea. That caused the sun to “stand still,” rivers to change their course, and mountains to flee (Exodus 14:21-29; Joshua 10:12-14; Moses 7:13) This power is of such magnitude that it has penetrated and softened even the hearts of those who were known to be “a wild and a hardened and a ferocious people” (Alma 17:14) Both earthly and spiritual power (which ultimately are but one power) constitute the power of godhood, for gods “have all power” (D&C 132:20) With each new power acquired, we develop greater control not only of the elements but of our destiny. In this way, we become the driver, not the driven – - the cause rather than the effect. We act for ourselves rather than being “acted upon” (2 Nephi 2:26) ; and in this manner we become free. While knowledge is essential to the acquisition of power, there is yet another ingredient, often ignored, and sometimes even ridiculed, that is a prerequisite to receiving the “higher” powers – - those powers necessary to enjoy a fullness of freedom. It is obedience.
OBEDIENCE – A KEY TO FREEDOM
Some might contend that freedom comes when there are no laws or restraints. They contend that freedom in its purest form is the right to do anything, anytime, anywhere, without consequence. About twenty-five hundred years ago it was prophesied of those misguided souls who would teach, “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die; and it shall be well with us” (2 Nephi 28:7) Does it not seem ironic that such a philosophy is authored by the master slave himself? It was he who was cast out of heaven, who was deprived of a body, who will be bound a thousand years, and who will ultimately be banished to outer darkness. The freedom he promises is illusory; it is a mirage on the desert; it is the very condition that has always eluded his grasp. It was the same lie promulgated by Cain after he slew his brother Abel: “I am free” he said (Moses 5:33) In truth, he was never in more bondage. He was the servant, even the slave of sin.
How then does the Lord propose to make us free? The answer is obedience. Contrary to the belief of many, obedience is not the antithesis of freedom, but the foundation of it. There are two freedoms; the false where one is free to do what he likes, and the true where he is free to do what he ought. Commandments are no more restrictive to the spiritual man than street signs are to the motorist. Neither prohibits our progress; to the contrary, they enhance it by serving as guideposts or directional signs to help us find and reach our destination. “We are too inclined to think of law as something merely restrictive; the opposite of liberty. But that is a false conception. God does not contradict himself. He did not create man and then, as an afterthought, impose upon him a set of arbitrary, irritation, restrictive rules. He made man free – and then gave him the commandments to keep him free. We cannot break the Ten Commandments. We can only break ourselves against them – or else, by keeping them, rise through them to the fullness of freedom under God.” Cecil B. De Mille.
Freedom requires a knowledge of good and evil, the availability of choices, and the power to execute or carry them out. Each of these is enhanced by obedience to God’s will. As we obey God’s laws we receive increased knowledge of God’s plan, and with increased knowledge comes increased capacity for freedom. Obedience broadens the lost of our choices. It generates power; power comes by obedience. We gain power over the elements as we obey the laws of God. Obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel brings increased knowledge, a multiplicity of choices and an enhanced power to execute, all of which results in added freedom.
The difference between the righteous and the sinner, eternal life or death, happiness or misery, is to those who are exalted where there are no bounds or limits to their privileges.
And whatsoever nation shall uphold such secret combinations, to get power and gain, until they shall spread over the nation, behold, they shall be destroyed; for the Lord will not suffer that the blood of his saints, which shall be shed by them, shall always cry unto him from the ground for vengeance upon them and yet he avenge them not.
Wherefore, O ye Gentiles, it is wisdom in God that these things should be shown unto you, that thereby ye may repent of your sins, and suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you, which are built up to getpower and gain—and the work, yea, even the work of destruction come upon you, yea, even the sword of the justice of the Eternal God shall fall upon you, to your overthrow and destruction if ye shall suffer these things to be.
Wherefore, the Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation, because of this secret combination which shall be among you; or wo be unto it, because of the blood of them who have been slain; for they cry from the dust for vengeance upon it, and also upon those who built it up.
For it cometh to pass that whoso buildeth it up seeketh to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries; and it bringeth to pass the destruction of all people, for it is built up by the devil, who is the father of all lies; even that same liar whobeguiled our first parents, yea, even that same liar who hath caused man to commit murder from the beginning; who hathhardened the hearts of men that they have murdered the prophets, and stoned them, and cast them out from the beginning.
Wherefore, I, Moroni, am commanded to write these things that evil may be done away, and that the time may come that Satan may have no power upon the hearts of the children of men, but that they may be persuaded to do good continually, that they may come unto the fountain of all righteousness and be saved.
They like to refer to us as senior citizens, old fogies, geezers, and in some cases dinosaurs. Some of us are “Baby Boomers” getting ready to retire. Others have been retired for some time. We walk a little slower these days and our eyes and hearing are not what they once were. We have worked hard, raised our children, worshiped our God and grown old together. Yes, we are the ones some refer to as being over the hill, and that is probably true. But before writing us off completely, there are a few things that need to be taken into consideration.
In school we studied English, history, math, and science which enabled us to lead America into the technological age. Most of us remember what outhouses were; many of us with firsthand experience. We remember the days of telephone party-lines, 25 cent gasoline, and milk and ice being delivered to our homes. For those of you who don’t know what an icebox is, today they are electric and referred to as refrigerators. A few even remember when cars were started with a crank. Yes, we lived those days.
We are probably considered old fashioned and outdated by many. But there are a few things you need to remember before completely writing us off. We won World War II, fought in Korea and Viet Nam. We can quote The Pledge of Allegiance, and know where to place our hand while doing so. We wore the uniform of our country with pride and lost many friends on the battlefield. We didn’t fight for the Socialist States of America; we fought for the “Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.” We wore different uniforms but carried the same flag. We know the words to the Star Spangled Banner, America, and America the Beautiful by heart, and you may even see some tears running down our cheeks as we sing. We have lived what many of you have only read in history books and we feel no obligation to apologize to anyone for America except to the Native American Indians whose history was erased. They were referred to as savages and their works and sacred mounds were also destroyed by the Smithsonian so that they could legally justify taking their lands away without purchase. They were here before Columbus and Hopewell evidences of their civilization shows they had culture, worship, creative works and smelting of precious metals and ores plus astronomically aligned earthworks. They were a highly intelligent people with writings in Hebrew, righteous and knowledgeable who lived the Mosaic laws. Unlike their reputation with which we were left to remember them today, they will rise again.
Yes, we are old and slow these days but rest assured, we have at least one good fight left in us. We have loved this country, fought for it, and died for it, and now we are going to save it. It is our country and nobody is going to take it away from us. We took oaths to defend America against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and that is an oath we plan to keep. There are those who want to destroy this land we love but, like our founders, there is no way we are going to remain silent.
We have tasted socialism and have seen evil face to face, and have found you don’t like it after all. You make a lot of noise, but most are all too interested in their careers or “Climbing the Social Ladder” to be involved in such mundane things as patriotism and voting. Many of those who fell for the “Great Lie” in 2008 are now having buyer’s remorse. With all the education we gave you, you didn’t have sense enough to see through the lies and instead drank the ‘Kool-Aid.’ We are now paying the price and complaining about it. No jobs, lost mortgages, higher taxes, and less freedom.
This is what was voted for and this is what you got. We entrusted you with the Torch of Liberty and you traded it for a paycheck and a fancy house.
Well, don’t worry youngsters, the Grey-Haired Brigade is here, and in 2012 we are going to take back our nation. We may drive a little slower than you would like but we get where we’re going, and in 2012 we’re going to the polls by the millions.
This land does not belong to the man in the White House nor to the politicians. It belongs to “We the People” and “We the People” plan to reclaim our land and our freedom. We hope this time you will do a better job of preserving it and passing it along to our grandchildren.
So the next time you have the chance to say the Pledge of Allegiance, Stand up, put your hand over your heart, honor our country, and thank God for the old geezers of the “Grey-Haired Brigade.”
We Gray-Haired Geezers all over this once great county are coming together again.
Can you feel the ground shaking? It’s not an earthquake, it is a STAMPEDE.
As we celebrate our freedoms and liberties that we so much enjoy today, lets be sure to give thanks to those who protect us and put their lives on the line; especially those who have given them up so that our nation may continue to be able a sweet land land of liberty.
It you think it’s hot, think about what our military have to go through. Are you willing to take the heat and the bullet? Freedom is never free. Since the beginning of time, the opposite forces of liberty try to take them away from us. It is something worth fighting for.
To all of our troops and those who serve this blessed country of ours, we salute you and pledge our allegiance to this nation for which we stand!
I’ve been working with my friends to celebrate our freedoms and liberty of this great nation and preparing for a wonderful finale to our multiple week of patriotic events leading up to the 4th of July. As a member of the board of trustees of America’s Freedom Foundation we produce many patriotic events and as citizens we spend time remembering how blessed we are as a nation when we turn our hearts to God and give thanks for those who gave their lives in defense of our freedoms!
This nation of America is a “promised land”and will be blessed as long as we remember those sacred covenants andpromises that were made to God by our forefathers. Covenants are two way promises and we cannot expect our God to continue to bless our nation if we forget to keep His commandments and to love one another in order to receive His blessings.