A new Title of Liberty

It was a time of social and political upheaval. Some of the population claimed they were born with a certain characteristic that the rest of society either ignored or even disparaged. These individuals chose to let this particular characteristic define their identities and soon insisted that the rest of society acknowledge and even celebrate them for this identity.

Although it started at the fringes, this radical movement was propped up by social and political elites. Soon, the movement had grown in volume and popularity until it was inescapably loud. Those who dared to speak against it were labeled and attacked, accused that they were denying the natural rights of the individuals that were "born that way." Eventually, some individuals of good intent, dissatisfied with injustices in current society, began to support their agenda, too.

Religious leadership and lovers of freedom grew concerned as the support for this movement grew day by day. Although it initially asked for minor changes to political norms, the righteous could see the real intent. This ideology of unchecked pride would lead to an overthrow of liberty, freedom of speech, the destruction of marriages, the suffering of children, and calamities promised by the ancient and modern prophets. So, the righteous leadership responded, putting together a document in opposition to the morals and ideas put forth by this wicked movement.

The effect was dramatically divisive. Faithful members of the Lord's Church adopted it instantly. Freedom-loving people, both members and non-members, spoke out in defense of its principles. Even members who had supported this wicked ideology paused to reconsider their position. It galvanized support for righteousness and led the previously quiet majority to speak out as they never had before. This document became a rallying cry. Righteous Church members made sacred covenants to live its principles, promising to defend those principles with all their hearts, might, mind, and strength, even their own lives.

As this document spread to every corner of the known world, the wicked grew increasingly furious. Their side had near-unanimous support from the elite influencers, they dominated the conversation so much that they had assumed they were unstoppable. But as they saw more and more of the righteous break their silence and come out in favor of this inspired, revelatory document, they realized they didn't quite have the majority they hoped for. These wicked individuals grew incensed. How could their neighbors not accept them for how they were born? How could they deprive them of their natural rights? There was just no way to peacefully coexist with these religious zealots! The wicked drew further and further into their ideological bubbles. Eventually, they decided if they could not get popular support for their agenda, they would just have to win their "rights" through force.

The Title of Liberty and the Family Proclamation

This story took place in 72 BC. It is the story of the Nephite king-men and Moroni's Title of Liberty. But this ancient story is also playing out, with remarkable similarity, right now. It is the story of the new sexual revolution and The Family: a Proclamation to the World.

In both stories, there is strong political and social upheaval. There is the rise of a wicked ideology of "pride" among a generally religious people. There is support for this ideology, even among members of the Church. The wicked ideology gains the support of elites and becomes the dominant narrative, though it doesn't represent the majority opinion. The majority stay largely silent at first. An inspired document is put forward in defense of righteous principles. This document contains a heavy focus on marriage and the family. This document becomes a rallying point for the righteous and a source of shame and irritation for the wicked. It becomes a contentious dividing point for the people. The wicked eventually seek to implement their agenda through force when they cannot achieve it through democratic means.

Yes, the Book of Mormon was written for our day.

But where are the free-men?

Unlike the Nephites, our story is not yet written. We don't know how this particular "war chapter" of our history will end, though we know the prophesied long-term trajectory of the world. But I am extremely concerned by one major difference between 72 BC and 2022 AD: there seems to have been much more support for the Title of Liberty among ancient Church members than there is for the Proclamation today.

Right now it's Pride Day, I mean Week, I mean Month. As an active member of the Church, if I post a rainbow flag on social media, I will receive, almost without exception, only positive feedback. The media will call me brave. I'll get to be one of the "cool kids" who go on podcasts and share my "expansive view of the Restored Gospel" (meaning the Gospel without all the pesky sexual standards). The older folks might sigh in sadness, but most of the millennials and young men and women will think I'm awesome. No questions from the Bishop, no "are you sure?" when I get my Temple recommend, nothing.

But when I post a direct quote from President Nelson about the Proclamation, well here there be dragons. Instantly, a swarm of hornets rises up to let you know they oppose what you said to one degree or another:

  1. Someday we'll have a revelation and you'll realize how wrong this is.
  2. The Proclamation is not revelation/scripture/doctrine, so you shouldn't teach from it.
  3. It's messages like this that keep people away from Church. I look forward to when God has more enlightened servants to work with.
  4. I sustain the Prophets but they're fallible, and in this case, they're dead wrong.
  5. I accept what the Prophets say… for now. I fully expect you'll see them come around on this eventually, and when they do, I'll sustain that, too.
  6. It's more important to love than to teach. I get that he's the Prophet, but that is not loving and should not be said.

Is it any wonder that the faithful majority is so silent? I don't blame anyone for not wanting to look like the bad guy on Facebook. I know the Proclamation is true, so why share it? But here's the rub: many, many people are in the in-between camp. People who believe in the Prophets and Apostles but also hear non-stop every day that the Proclamation is not the eternal doctrinal standard it is. There were many of Amalickiah's followers who, when they saw the Title of Liberty and its vocal support among the people, became "doubtful concerning the justice of the cause in which they had undertaken."

That is not happening enough right now. We are losing many good people to wicked ideologies because true believers are not defending the Proclamation like they ought to.

Defending the Proclamation

Elder M. Russell Ballard's challenge to us hit home to me recently:

Today I call upon members of the Church and on committed parents, grandparents, and extended family members everywhere to hold fast to this great proclamation, to make it a banner not unlike General Moroni’s "title of liberty," and to commit ourselves to live by its precepts…

The world needs to know what the proclamation teaches… Brothers and sisters, as we hold up like a banner the proclamation to the world on the family and as we live and teach the gospel of Jesus Christ, we will fulfill the measure of our creation here on earth.

To that end, I'm starting something new. Every day in June, I am sharing one quote a day from general authorities and officers to celebrate the blessing of the Family Proclamation. While the rest of the world celebrates #pride month, I'm celebrating #ProcMonth. You can follow along on my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. I'll also paste each quote and its talk here. There need to be two sides to the narrative of this issue online. I invite you to join me in sharing your support for the Family Proclamation. Let's come "running together" like the Nephites to the Title of Liberty and make our voices heard.

June 1

from Prophets, Leadership, and Divine Law by Pres. Russell M. Nelson

June 2

from The Plan and the Proclamation by Pres. Dallin H. Oaks

June 3

from The Second Half of the Second Century of Brigham Young University by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

June 4

from Defenders of the Family Proclamation by Sis. Bonnie L. Oscarson

June 5

from Decisions for Eternity by Pres. Russell M. Nelson

June 6

from Let Our Voices Be Heard by Elder M. Russell Ballard

June 7

from Spiritual Whirlwinds by Elder Neil L. Andersen

June 8

from We Believe in Being Chaste by Elder David A. Bednar

June 9

from Why We Do Some of the Things We Do by Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley

June 10

from The Family by Pres. Henry B. Eyring

June 11

from A Banquet of Consequences by Elder Quentin L. Cook

June 12

from Approaching the Throne of God with Confidence by Elder Jörg Klebingat

June 13

from Defenders of the Family Proclamation by Sis. Bonnie L. Oscarson

June 14

from Why Marriage, Why Family by Elder D. Todd Christofferson

June 15

from Standing with the Leaders of the Church by Elder Ronald A. Rasband

June 16

from Deceive Me Not by Elder Gary E. Stevenson

June 17

from Your Divine Nature and Eternal Destiny by Elder Dale G. Renlund

June 18

from In Praise of Those Who Save by Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf

June 19

from The Family: A Proclamation to the World

June 20

from Divine Love in the Father's Plan by Pres. Dallin H. Oaks

June 21

from The Family: A Proclamation to the World

June 22

from The Family Is of God by Sis. Carole M. Stephens

June 23

from Defenders of the Family Proclamation by Sis. Bonnie L. Oscarson

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