The key feature of human history, once we look past all the details of names and dates and temporal worries, is the matter of individual choice. Shall the individual be free to choose for himself how and where he lives? Shall he be able to select and mold and edit the details of his own life? Or shall these be imposed to greater or lesser degree by others who are supposedly more wise or learned or insightful, or in an earlier age, of a “better” lineage?
Some things, of course, cannot be changed: DNA, where and when we are born, the circumstances of surrounding society, the natural environment. But these are imposed by a higher than human power, one whose ultimate benevolence, justice, and mercy are matters of faith. They are our “lot in life.” And children by definition need the care of parents until they are mature enough to manage themselves. It’s everything else that is in question, and time and time again the answer by some is, “do what I say, or else.” To which many of us answer, “No”. (That is, incidentally, the second most important word in any language, the first being “love”, but that is a topic for another day.)
This is the underlying theme of my recent book, All Enlisted, A Mormon Missionary in Austria During the Vietnam Era, available at Amazon. Wars are about force; missionary work about free agency–in each case it is a matter of choice. Shall people be forced to obey or be free to govern themselves? Shall people be free to choose to obey God? God desires that we obey Him, but that obedience must be freely given. Since He is the Creator, our willing obedience is all we can give Him because everything else is already His.
It really is all about Liberty.
Give me liberty!
(and i’d like to avoid death too…)