Where’s Captain Moroni When You Need Him?
This election cycle has brought out the worst in Americans. We all feel we have become more hateful, bitter, depressed, obnoxious, and even rude. Well, maybe not all, but a disproportionate number of us. Our society is fracturing. People don’t know what to believe nor who to follow. Our news media doesn’t report the all the facts, it seems; only the ones that sell. Or, when they do, those facts are twisted and bent and skewed to whichever ideology they’ve pledged themselves to. Many feel abandoned by the elected officials who will say anything to get elected, then summarily dismiss the will of the people post-election.
We, the electorate, are worn out. In this, the information age, we are inundated with facts. That tidal wave of data has only increased thanks to social media and the 24/7 news cycle. Our brains are full of words and videos and speeches, all of which present paradoxes and conflicts. Every blogger, every pundit, every “expert” has an opinion and is out to convince you it’s the only right one. No wonder we’re so weary.
When this is all over, we’ll return to our regular lives while our elected officials scheme and plot and plan, knowingly or not, the destruction of our republic. They’re ineptitude, deviousness, and/or demagoguery will ultimately result in loss of freedom, prosperity, and/or esteem for our great nation.
Once upon a time here in America, a prosperous society was threatened with a very similar problem. Their system of self-government by a panel of appointed judges was threatened by a group who desired to have a king and noblemen rule over the people. That group wanted to overthrow the laws that had been established by the voice of the constituents.
That civilization was saved when a young general hoisted what he called “The Title of Liberty.” It was an anthem, an urgent call to action, that stirred the people who may have been more or less aware of the dangers their society faced. This man, Captain Moroni, ripped his cloak and scrawled these words on it: “In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children.” With those words flying on a flag that he carried from town to town, Moroni inspired men to follow him and fight for the freedom of their land. He wanted to maintain the rights that the people had to vote, to worship, to bear arms to defend themselves and their families, and to maintain the sacred trust we owe to our loved ones.
This story is found in “The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ,” in the sub-book of Alma. To me, the point of this episode in ancient American history is to teach us that when the government begins to ignore the will of the people it governs, it’s time for the people to remind the government of its rightful place, which is to uphold the laws of the land, and protect the family, freedom, and religion. Not to replace or detract from, but to uphold. For a democratic society to thrive and prosper, its citizens must have the ability to choose their own path, as long as that path does not cause injury or loss to someone else or reduce another’s rights.
Why We Need a Moroni Now
Moroni was known as a man of integrity, who sought not for power, but to maintain the freedom of his people. He was a man of courage and action who inspired others to follow him in proclaiming and reclaiming their God-given rights to self-govern, worship, and live in peace and prosperity. His actions and leadership saved his country from being overrun by its enemies. He protected his people from the harmful effects of laziness, cowardice, and, ultimately, servitude. Moroni was convinced, and rightfully so, that if the people who wanted to replace the democratically elected government with a king and nobles succeeded in their quest, the whole nation would eventually be enslaved. Their loss of rights would lead to their being conquered by their enemies. Their enemies, as was common in ancient times, would turn the conquered people into their slaves, forcing them into a life of submission and misery.
In my humble estimation, the idea of having a Captain Moroni today is to have someone with the reputation as an upright and honest leader who wants only what is best for his fellow countrymen. Someone who has the moral fortitude to remind us as a nation of what’s at stake. That person would stand for the Judeo-Christian ideals upon which our country was founded. He or she would pledge him-or-herself to upholding our Constitution and rule of law. That person would seek to replace corrupt leaders with true leaders whose heart-felt aim is to guarantee the opportunities of freedom and prosperity are preserved for generations to come, not the sort of corrupted, greedy, and power-hungry political vermin who infest Washington, D.C., these days.
The idea of a modern-day Moroni is appealing to me because without a lightning-rod type leader like him to unite us, our country stands in jeopardy of falling apart as a nation divided. The partisan squabbling that passes these days as “doing the work of the people” is a pathetic silhouette of what our Founding Fathers had in mind. A large number of our current public officials do not represent a government that is “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” A twenty-first century Moroni would rejuvenate and refresh our outlook on government by holding those elected officials to a higher standard of conduct, much like the ancient Moroni did when he said, “ye ought to have stirred yourselves more diligently for the welfare and freedom of this people” and “I fear exceedingly that the judgements of God will come upon this people because of their exceeding slothfulness, yea, even the slothfulness of our government, and their exceeding great neglect toward their brethren” (Alma 60: 10 and 14).
It’s Time to Pray
To me and other like-minded Christians, the ills that have befallen our great nation have come as a result of forgetting God. Remember “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”? Despite those who revile against God and prayer and call for the separation of church and state, we need God in our lives, as individuals and as a nation. Our leaders need Him, too. As we have moved away from Him, our troubles have multiplied.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand the need to separate church and state. The goal there is not to eliminate God from the equation, it’s to avoid forcing a certain set of religious beliefs on the people. A church-run state didn’t work very well during the Dark Ages, remember? The first settlers in America (including the native Americans – see the Introduction to “The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ”) came to this continent in pursuit of the freedom to worship God the way they chose, not the way the Church of England dictated.
One of the tenants of my faith is: “We claim the right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may” (Article of Faith 11; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints). That seems as straight forward to me as you can get. I want to worship freely and will gladly allow you the same right, whether you choose to worship or not.
My point, again, is that people thrive when they are made free. We need a leader who will keep our freedoms alive and keep our hopes and faith in those freedoms bright and true. That deeply principled, altruistic leader has been absent this election cycle. Hopefully, he or she will arise and lead forth sometime before the next one. We need a Moroni-esque standard-bearer to shake things up and get us back to basics. Those basics would include a refocusing on our families, serving each other in our communities, watching out for those in need, and returning to honesty, respect, and fair play.
Idealistic, I know. But that’s what I want – a peaceful, prosperous America where all can find the fulfillment from a life of responsible freedom and enjoy the fruits of his/her labors. Am I asking for too much?
Tell me what you think. What do you want in a leader? What are your hopes and dreams for America?
1. For beautiful American Artwork and photography: http://www.winborg.com/
2. Artist renderings of Captain Moroni: http://www.bookofmormonbattles.com/Characters/MoroniCaptainBio.html
3. More about the story of Moroni: https://www.lds.org/scriptures/gs/moroni-captain?lang=eng
4. Interesting movie trailer about Moroni: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1JVeg6OfL3s