I spent a fair amount of time thinking about freedom this week. The idea that keeps rolling around in my head is this: God prepared this land for the restoration of His gospel and the consequent blessing of His children.
Our fathers came to the American continent in search of a place they could practice their religion without fear of persecution. The descendants of these faithful people acted to create a land set apart from the rule of kings, a land of liberty and freedom. The result was the United States of America – a country without a national religion, where men are free to worship according to the dictates of their own conscience. It was in this land, less than fifty years after the Declaration of Independence was first read, that a young boy knelt in prayer seeking to know how to obtain salvation. In answer to that prayer, the Father and the Son appeared, and opened the door for the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ in its fulness.
I submit to you that this land of liberty was perhaps the only soil upon which such majestic events could have transpired. The people of this land were full of faith. They believed in God and in His words as found in the Holy Bible. They were in a position, both culturally and politically, to allow for the formation of the restored church. Although believers were persecuted for living their newfound faith, they were granted the freedom to worship by the Constitution of the United States.
God knew this land was necessary for the restoration of His gospel; He prepared it thousands of years before the birth of Jesus Christ. I commend to you a study of Ether chapter 2 and 2 Nephi chapter 1 if you want to know how our Father feels about this land. I will share with you just a part of what He has said:
Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ, who hath been manifested by the things which we have written.
I thank my Father for preparing this land, and I thank those, over the last 230+ years, “who more than self their country loved” and gave their lives so that I might be free to worship God as a member of His Church.