Source: Joseph Smith Diary by Willard Richards
The Words of Joseph Smith: Page 229
Why I picked this Quote?
Like Joseph Smith, I love liberty, both religious freedom and civil liberty. A major tenet of the Mormon religion is agency, or in other words that God has given us the ability to choose and to act for ourselves. Mormons believe that God honors his children’s agency and will not force them to Heaven or Hell. Each person’s eternal destiny is determined by the choices he or she makes. If we choose to repent and follow the Savior, the Atonement of Jesus Christ makes it possible for us to be cleansed and return to live with God.
Joseph Smith had ancestors, such as the pilgrims on the Mayflower, that came to America seeking religious freedom. Joseph’s ancestors were from New England and lived during the American Revolution and were involved in many of the events leading up to the formation of the United States of America. Joseph’s maternal grandfather, Solomon Mack, served in the army during the American Revolution, something which he and his mother Lucy took great pride in. (see Joseph Smith’s New England Heritage)
Further context shows that Joseph loved liberty, not only for himself, but also for all his fellow beings. He, in fact, in this same speech, said he was “ready to die for a Presbyterian, a Baptist, or any other” to protect their religious and civil liberty.
Here are some scriptures, all brought forth from God by the hand of Joseph Smith, which further explain freedom, liberty, and agency as understood by Mormons:
- Man could not act for himself save it should be that he was enticed:2 Ne. 2:15–16;
- Men are free to choose liberty and eternal life or captivity and death:2 Ne. 2:27;
- Ye are free; ye are permitted to act for yourselves: Hel. 14:30;
- A third part of the hosts of heaven turned he away because of their agency:D&C 29:36;
- It must needs be that the devil should tempt men, or they could not be agents:D&C 29:39;
- Let every man choose for himself:D&C 37:4;
- Every man may act according to the moral agency which I have given unto him:D&C 101:78;
- Satan sought to destroy the agency of man:Moses 4:3;
- The Lord gave unto man his agency:Moses 7:32;