Sunday, July 6, 2008

I See… The Angel of Freedom

Everyone has hobbies. Some men play sports; some women sew quilts; some do both. My hobby is freedom. I like to read about it, think about it, talk about it, and even protect it from time to time. I am a disciple of freedom. When I engage in disagreements with friends or enemies at work, at home, or sometimes even at church, and we get to that impossible point in the process when we agree to disagree, my favorite phrase is “You have the right to be wrong- it is guaranteed in the constitution.” In all the years I’ve been using that line, I’ve had only one container of liquid thrown at me in response, and it was a plastic coffee cup in a paneled conference room.

When God needs something really important done, He does it in one of three ways- 1) He appears in person (think Joseph Smith looking for the right church to join); 2) instructs a prophet (think President Hinckley and hundreds of small temples); 3) sends an angel (think Gabriel visiting shepherds announcing the Savior’s birth).

Freedom is on that list of eternal principles that are really important to Heavenly Father. Hence, at one point of time in the development of the Nephite civilization, He sent an angel to warn the righteous an upcoming challenge to freedom.

After Alma the younger was kicked out of Ammonihah the first time, the Lord sent an angel to turn him around. “Return to the city of Ammonihah, and preach again unto the people of the city,” said the angel. Then he explained to Alma the horrific evil the Ammonihahites were planning to perpetrate: “For behold, they do study at this time that they may destroy the liberty of thy people, (for thus saith the Lord) which is contrary to the statutes, and judgments, and commandments which he has given unto his people.”

“Destroy the liberty of thy people.” The leaders of Ammonihah were planning the overthrow the free Nephite nation. God saw them trying to thwart one of the founding principles of the plan of salvation, and was offended. His answer was to send an angel to warn a prophet (Alma 8:14-16).

Alma heeded the angel’s warning, preached repentance, and in the process invited the judgments of God to visit them. Those plotting to destroy liberty were themselves destroyed, and the Nephite nation was saved.

I don’t know the name of this angel. All I know is that he was the same angel who initially taught Alma the commandments of God that freed him from the bonds of sin, then visited him again to share another message of freedom.

Hence, I will call him the angel of freedom. I hope he likes it.


  1. I still remember a testimony you gave about freedom back during our days in the Hampstead was a good one.

  2. It is true that Ammonihah was studying to destroy the freedom of the land, and it is even more instructive to note that the way they were doing this was by laying traps and snares to catch the holy ones of God.. in effect, trying to make what was good appear to be evil and make what was evil appear to be good.

    In that kind of political environment, real freedom (which is based on following the commandments) disappears really quickly.