Thursday, October 10, 2013
Planting the Standard
I can’t stand him! Every time I read the account of Amalickiah in The Book of Mormon, I get so irritated by him. He causes so many problems, and even thousands of deaths, due to his own pride. Because of his desire for power and authority over the people, he flatters and persuades many of them to follow him and to make him king. Dissenters, who refuse to follow the current system of judges, play right into Amalickiah’s plan. Now, when Moroni, the captain of the Nephite army, sees the people growing wicked and following this nasty man, he rallies them to repent and fight for their liberty. They probably don’t even see their liberty in danger, but Moroni does. Perhaps these verses are familiar to you: “And it came to pass that 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 fastened on his head-plate, and his breastplate, and his shields, and girded on his armor about his loins; 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 has always been the focal point of this story for me, but today, when I read it, something else stood out. He didn’t just proclaim these principles and reasons for fighting, He, “planted the standard of liberty among the Nephites” (v. 36). He “planted” the standard. That is an interesting verb to use. It is intentional, on purpose, an action with anticipation of growth. When I plant a seed, I expect it to grow and produce. I care for it. I remove weeds which threaten its progress. I give it light and water to nourish it so that it has the optimum growing environment. Moroni’s actions were intentional. He had the standard of liberty raised on every tower so it would be seen, and act as a reminder and encouragement for the people to fight against the threat. I’m sure Moroni wanted the standard planted more than just on the towers or on poles in the ground. I’m certain he wanted and prayed for the standards on his torn coat to be planted in the hearts of his people. But, it was up to the individuals and families to take the standard he presented, and plant it in their lives and hearts. It’s only then that they would fight with all their might. I think about these same standards, and other truths I am taught. Are they planted within me? Do I nourish them so they grow? Or, do I neglect them, thinking they are fine? Do I intentionally protect gospel truths so that religious liberty is maintained? Do I plant the standard of liberty in my children’s hearts, in my home? Moroni probably had no idea that thousands of years after his fight against Amalickiah’s tyranny, his actions would affect me; however, his “planting” of his standard has awakened in me a desire to more firmly plant my standards within my own heart.