Freedom ! (?)

That title is shorthand to asking what the freedom is that we want. Freedom from something or freedom for something?

Often we think that it is ideal to be totally independent of other people. Is that really so?

I submit that there has never been and never will be a society where you can do whatever you please without paying attention to anyone else. Us humans are social by our deepest nature, and are dependent on other people.

Furthermore, the most important factor in success and good living is the ability to co-operate.

Co-operation means that we discuss ideas frankly and honestly, and then keep our promises.

Remember the covenants we make:

“…as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light; Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death…” (Mosiah 18:8-10). [emphasis added]

Are we bearing one another’s burdens? Yes, there are many examples of real willingness to do so, and to help others survive when their ability to support themselves is gone (for example). But there are also many, who are vocally advocating a kind of social “Darwinism” that says that if you’re poor, it’s your fault; if you’re rich that’s because of your hard work.

(What about the honest farmer, whose crop is destroyed by a drought or a flood? Or the thrifty middle class everyman, who has economized and saved a nest egg, only to see his stock fund (which he invested in after getting the best available advice from stock analysts) practically leave him shirtless? They deserved that, so they don’t deserve our help?)

Are we like Hindu fatalists who think that helping a poor person is going against the will of God? Everything that happens is the will of God anyway, so why bother anything. Just go with the flow!

But only dead fish float downstream — the live ones swim upstream. (It’s glorious to see the salmon come!)

Freedom means that you have a choice. So as long as nobody is knocking down your door at 3 AM you do have at least some freedom. Use it or lose it, but use it wisely.

Remember we have that freedom, because we chose it. And the Savior’s Atonement means that we actually can freely choose life or death. Which will it be? We will only be exalted together.

Have you considered why the Church added a fourth ‘purpose’ to its mission statement? It means that one of the missions of the LDS Church is to care for the poor — not just poor LDS people, but to ameliorate suffering anywhere as long as we have something to give. And so far, the Church has walked the walk as much as talked the talk. Perhaps some bigger organizations have done more? So be it; we are “pleased but not satisfied” with our work. We must work harder to be “saviors on Mount Zion” in the last days — saving people’s lives as well as souls.

We can only be saved as fast as we save others — there’s your freedom to choose either co-operation or selfishness.

I found it difficult to categorize this post. Perhaps I’m coming out as a ‘liberal” here? Well, if I am, I am it with all my soul; however, I do not wish to take a political stand.

I have two basic rules:

  1. [I] claim the right to worship the Almighty God according to the dictates of my conscience, and [I] allow all people the same right, what and however they may worship. If this sounds familiar, it should, if you’re LDS.
  2. I am liberal in what I allow for others, and conservative in what I allow for myself.

Peace.

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Posted in Mormonism, Politics, Religion
12 comments on “Freedom ! (?)
  1. velska says:

    I wish to stress that I do not want to enter into a political argument. The problems people have can have different solutions, and I don’t pretend to know what they should be.

  2. Paul says:

    Velska,

    Thanks for your thoughtful post. Two things that ring true for me:

    1. “I am liberal in what I allow for others, and conservative in what I allow for myself.” — I’ve been working on a post on this very subject on my own blog for some time. You’ve given me some more to nibble on in that regard. (I agree with your view, by the way).

    2. “The problems people have can have different solutions, and I don’t pretend to know what they should be.” — aside from the strident political talk on both sides of the issue, I suspect there are more than just the two of us who share this view trying to sort out the role of charitable giving, government involvement, and other solutions.

    • Velska says:

      I think you’re quite right. It’s just that the wheel that squeaks the loudest tends to get oiled…

      The extremists are the loudest, it seems, right now? (Although the Tea Party idea is good; require some fiscal responsibility — if only they had started when the deficit spending started, but then it was their man…

  3. shematwater says:

    Velska

    Deficit spending started back in the 1930’s, when it was a Liberal in office. Actually, I think it started before that. But hey.

    I loved the post, and I loved that it didn’t get political. I was a little worried you were going to, but nice job.

    • velska says:

      I try to avoid politics. It’s enough that I write about religion, the other taboo subject. 😉

      I know about deficit spending. But the word “liberal” used to be one of the best things you could be described as…

    • shematwater says:

      As long as you are describing a persons character and not their political views “liberal” is still one of the best things you can be described as. However, I have yet to here of anyone that is Politically liberal and have it be a good thing.

  4. velska says:

    What, exactly, is politically liberal? I don’t want to talk party politics, but really, the way American “conservatives” label anyone they disagree with “liberal” is off the mark.

    Sorry for ranting.

    • shematwater says:

      I would label anyone who wants the government to give handouts as Politically liberal. Those people who believe that it is the job of the Government to provide everything for people who want it. Now, I am not going to get into it any further than this, as this would be disrespectful to the original post.
      Simply put, it is good for a person to choose to be liberal to his fellow man, but it is not good for the government to force such behavior.

    • velska says:

      Thank you for this. You state it well, and I agree with the core of what you say. OTOH, I do believe, that it is our duty to care even for the “undeserving” and give them an example of a Christ-like attitude.

  5. shematwater says:

    VELSKA

    I do agree it is our duty to care for the poor, though I may disagree on the “Undeserving” part. Paul does say that if a man doesn’t work he shouldn’t eat (2 Thess 3: 10). However, unless we know them to be undeserving we should treat them as though they were deserving.
    Having said this, it does not make it the governments duty, which is what separates personal liberallity from political liberallity.

    • velska says:

      I agree in a way: If someone wants to just take and take and take without ever giving (and makes no effort for himself), it makes a difference.

      But I just return to the words of King Benjamin. “You may say that this man has brought this misery upon himself…” — how about the man’s wife and children? Are they orphans or just as guilty as he is, if they can’t change his attitude?

      My questions are a bit theoretical, but still they speak to a principle. It seems to me a bit selfish and self-righteous to judge others by appearances. But as I said in the OP, Zion can not be built by force.

    • shematwater says:

      I understand what you are saying. However, if the husband is not working, could not the wife work? What of children who are old enough to do some work? I am not talking about factories.

      I remember the story of a family who wanted their bishop to give them food each week and then complained when he asked them to clean the lawns around the church once a week.

      What I really think people need to do is set up charities that give only to those willing to work. Take all the money donated and pay people in food and housing to help clean the streets, or the work community farms. In this way we can tell who is willing to work and who is just looking for a handout (even the disabled can usually do something to help).

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