Sunday, June 5, 2016

Mosiah 29:38-39 -- On Responsibility and Freedom

"Therefore they relinquished their desires for a king, and became exceedingly anxious that every man should have an equal chance throughout all the land; yea, and every man expressed a willingness to answer for his own sins.
Therefore, it came to pass that they assembled themselves together in bodies throughout the land, to cast in their voices concerning who should be their judges, to judge them according to the law which had been given them; and they were exceedingly rejoiced because of the liberty which had been granted unto them."
Mosiah 29:38-39

This is in the middle of an interesting chain of events in which the Nephite King, Mosiah, convinces the people that they should switch to a different government.  He explains before this how much harm a wicked king can do, and proposes a new government where the people get to vote on judges who would judge the people according to the commandments of God (verse 11).  So, the commandments are at least part of the law that they are referring to here.

To me, the idea of having God's laws be the basis of your regular judicial government is an interesting theocracy/democracy mix.  It probably wouldn't work in our modern world the way it is now, but it worked for this group because they all agreed on what the Gospel said, and they had a single scriptural standard.  I also like the idea that any King would willingly relinquish power like that.  I love that he was a righteous man, and that he was listening to God, and thinking about what would be best for the long-term happiness of the people.

I like how the idea of liberty and answering for their own sins caused so much joy for these people.  When we have less choice, we have less responsibility, because freedom and responsibility go hand in hand.  Freedom can sometimes be scary, because we increase our potential for failure.  But we also massively increase our potential for joy, and good, and learning.  Today, maybe we can examine our responsibilities and freedoms, and take this opportunity to give thanks and rejoice that we have so much power to make the world better and to do good.

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