He rent his coat; and he took a piece thereof, and wrote upon it — In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children — and he fastened it upon the end of a pole…and he took the pole, which had on the end thereof his rent coat, (and he called it the title of liberty) and he bowed himself to the earth, and he prayed mightily unto his God for the blessings of liberty to rest upon his brethren, so long as there should a band of Christians remain to possess the land… (Alma 46:12–13)
This is a followup to my previous writing on the difference between Agency, Freedom and Liberty.
Moroni’s Title of Liberty is another example that illustrates the difference between Freedom and Liberty.
God, Religion, Freedom, Peace, Family – these things combined are labeled the Title of Liberty, for Liberty is only achieved by remembering and being good stewards in all of these areas.
In truth, Liberty comes as a result of following God’s plan and choosing righteousness.
Captain Moroni, saw that many of the people were being led astray and forgetting the Lord their God. They were falling into iniquity and complacency. Moroni recognized what it takes for a people to experience true Liberty and therefore he had this standard of Liberty hoisted upon every tower in the land as a reminder to the people.
The Foundation of Liberty:
- God – Moroni knew that God would support them so long as they were faithful unto him and to His commandments. He also turned to God for inspiration, even in battle.
- Religion – He recognized the importance of religion, that they might understand the words of God and worship Him.
- Freedom – Moroni enjoyed freedom from slavery and was willing to fight in defense of His faith, country and family.
- Peace – Moroni did not delight in bloodshed. He allowed the enemy every opportunity to enter into a covenant of peace and allowed them to depart with their lives. Even while knowing that the enemy would come back into his lands to attack, he refrained from pursuing the enemy in their own lands. Moroni never waged a preemptive or offensive war, only defensive.
- Family – He recognized the stewardship that men have for their wives and children and the sacred support which they owed to them.
In all of these things Moroni demonstrated his faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, and obtained the joy that comes from true Liberty.
And Moroni was a strong and a mighty man; he was a man of a perfect understanding; yea, a man that did not delight in bloodshed; a man whose soul did joy in the liberty and the freedom of his country, and his brethren from bondage and slavery; Yea, a man whose heart did swell with thanksgiving to his God, for the many privileges and blessings which he bestowed upon his people; a man who did labor exceedingly for the welfare and safety of his people. Yea, and he was a man who was firm in the faith of Christ, and he had sworn with an oath to defend his people, his rights, and his country, and his religion, even to the loss of his blood. …if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men. (Alma 48:11–13,17)
Again, note from the verses above that Captain Moroni “did joy in the liberty and the freedom of his country, and his brethren from bondage and slavery”. You’ll notice that the scriptures have a way of teaching us that aren’t always obvious at first. In worldly terms the words liberty and freedom are most often used synonymously, bondage and slavery as well, yet the scriptures make it clear that there is a difference. In the scriptures Freedom is usually used in the temporal/physical sense, whereas Liberty is more so a spiritual freedom. It is the same with the Book of Mormon uses of bondage and slavery/captivity, often used within the same verse, one being given a temporal context, and the other spiritual. Take note of such uses of words as you study the scriptures and I believe you will learn something new.