Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Home of the Brave

As Independence Day nears and the recent story I heard on Sunday, I got to thinking about real freedom and bravery. We live in the land of the free and home of the brave, with so many examples of that exact phrase. 
The pilgrims originally came to the colonies for religious freedom. It was the first reason for the USA to be established. Let's talk about what real freedom and agency means. Its not the absence of rules but the freedom to be held accountable for your OWN actions, not having to live as some ruler dictates. Freedom is not free, however, and there has to be rules to KEEP freedom for all. Agency is the gift and privilege from God to choose for ourselves. We are free to choose liberty and eternal life. We, however, are not free to choose the consequences of our choices. We were put here to make the conscious decision to choose to follow the true path to freedom our Heavenly Father laid out for us, or we choose to bind ourselves and choose unhappiness.
Here is a quote from lds.org "We do not believe in a deterministic God—that is, one who determines in advance the eventual fate of His children. Rather, we believe in a God who has perfect foreknowledge of the choices His children will make. He may use this foreknowledge to guide us or even to warn us, but He does not use it to preempt our agency. He allows us to become what we truly desire to become."

Conditions Required for Agency

Elder Bruce R. McConkie (1915–85) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught that agency requires four conditions:
  1. 1. 
    Laws ordained by an omnipotent power must exist, laws we can either obey or disobey.
  2. 2. 
    There must be opposites—good and evil, right and wrong.
  3. 3. 
    We must have knowledge of good and evil; we must know the difference between the opposites.
  4. 4. 
    We must possess an unfettered power of choice. 2
Freedom is the ability to have self- reliance, and our choices will either make us free or bound. We should learn from our history. The only time we will have true peace and freedom is when we choose to follow the path laid out for us. 

Bravery: I heard the most amazing story from the people themselves on Sunday. A man overcame his sexual addiction by seeking help. He had been subjected to pornography at the young age of 9 and it developed since then. He married and thought it would stop after marriage, but it didn't. He had multiple affairs and hurt his family. He was excommunicated, but decided he needed to become who God wanted and he knew he needed to become. He went to someone in the church to help him (a specialist) and did what he needed to to get re-baptized. Although, the biggest example of bravery was his wife. She stuck by him and forgave him, even after ALL that!! Its such an amazing story of bravery of overcoming and the bravery of forgiveness. It got me thinking of what true bravery is.
-Giving up what you want right now for what matters most.
-Our soldiers and their families
-Standing up for what is morally right even when its not popular, or when people call you a "hater" for it. 
-Speaking the truth despite threats and hate
-Caring more about what God thinks than man
-Choosing the harder path based on faith instead of the easier path where the world calls you
-Believing in faith instead of so called "evidence"
-Facing death for your family and beliefs.
-Facing your weaknesses
-Facing illness with optimism and joy (like my wonderful Gammie did before she passed away)

It is time to be free and to stand for what is good and what is true. Have a wonderful Independence Day! I have lots of blogging to do about my travels and move and all these changes this year @_@ It has been a year of faith and changes. I hope that I continue to be brave and live by faith.