Note: Today, I am revisiting a previous topic in an effort to improve base knowledge on key principles to freedom.
To remember is to do something necessary or advisable, which brings honor to the past and freedom to the present. Remembering is the power to become aware that you are more than the singular person and many others have held a hand in making you, your personality, strengths, and weaknesses. A greeting card reads, “I am a strong person because a strong person raised me.” Remembering is also the power that propels the person from their starting point into a glorious future. Ralph Marston has the last word on remembering, “Remember why you started, remember where you are headed, think how great it will be to get there, and keep going.”
The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day Saints, revers as scripture “The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ,” in which the reader is encouraged to “Remember the captivity of your fathers” (Mosiah: 27:16; Alma: 5: 6; Alma 29:11-12; 36:2, 29). The captivity originally spoken of was physical captivity. Where a group of people had been militarily taken over by their enemies and were in physical bondage, slaves pressed into cruel service. But, as this theme evolves, the reader is encouraged to remember other types of captivity their fathers have been subjected to, as a means of more fully enjoying the freedoms and opportunities they possess, because of their father’s captivity and their father’s release from captivity through action.
To the person escaping Cuba as Castro came to power, the captivity of communism and the celebration of freedom in America is a tangible memory and powers many a child of Cuban heritage to act and appreciate their freedoms dearly-won through their father’s actions. The release from concentration camp captivity powered and motivates even to this day the children and communities where freedom now rings. The captivity of those in the USSR powers the minds and freedoms of those living in Russia. Problems still exist in all these communities, but the release from captivity is worth remembering. By remembering, honor is paid to those who suffered that captivity, by the growth and development of those present and into the future by actions made today.
Captivity comes in many shapes, by many names, and is visible only through the suffering of those held captive. Some captivity comes from external forces, including military conquest, law, religious beliefs, and more. Some captivity arrives through individual choices as consequences, including sex, food, drugs (legal and illegal), alcohol, TV, Social Media, or any excessive habit-forming action. Consider the captivity caused through debt. For example, our children’s children’s children’s children have not been formed yet, but they are already in captivity to the National and State Debt burdens carried right now! Is this fair to them? We get benefits, and they get captivity, all through government refusal to act responsibly; how are those retirement benefits?
During a conversation with several older adults, I asked a question about illiteracy’s captivity. I asked how many generations back in their families does it take to find an illiterate family member. One fortunate person claimed it was more than 8 generations, and another said three, a couple said four, but a very elderly person in the back said 1, his parents never learned to read or write in their own native language or English. This man is a Native American from a tribe in Northern Arizona; when I met him, he was in his late 80’s.
As a child of 8, he was separated from his tribe, family, and the reservation he knew, loaded onto a bus, and sent to Oklahoma for a “White Man’s” education. He spent 10-months of every year for the next 10-years going to school in Oklahoma. During that time, he never received a single letter from his parents. He was not allowed to speak his native language, and all native culture was forbidden. He credits this traumatic period of his life as the crucible for all the good that has come to him through education. His children and grandchildren all completed college, becoming engineers, lawyers, doctors, nurses, and more. He had two great-grandchildren just entering college, and his first great-great-grandchild was soon to be delivered. He told stories of his parents’ captivity to his children and grandchildren, and they are better people for remembering the captivity of their fathers.
On the topic of remembering his fathers’ captivity, specifically illiteracy, he remembers every day in gratitude, even though his parents’ thirst for learning meant he endured such harrowing experiences to go to school. His fathers’ captivity drove and motivated him to ensure his progeny would not suffer the same captivity. Who taught you to read? Who taught them? How has being taught to read released you from captivity of the mind, fear of the unknown, or superstition?
Another example is a similar question about our fathers’ captivity; how many generations back before your fathers never left a small land plot? Whose only views of the world were restricted to that single plot of land due to law, debt, religion, melatonin, or some other chain. One answered, his family had hated his grandfather for leaving a place of comfort in Scotland, for a rough life in America’s western states. Many of his family only ever saw the titles, the land, the benefits and wanted those things. The family desiring these things never saw the captivity, and the family remains broken and separate to this day. Captivity of appetite is still captivity.
What was the captivity the grandfather escaped from if he had land, titles, money, servants, etc.; freedom to grow, change, and become. As long as his family stuck to his fathers’ same life and ways, they would have a comfortable physical life. Herein lay the captivity, and this gentleman tells his story as a caution about researching family history. I have always held this story, not as a caution but as a parable regarding individual choices. Born into freedom and plenty, but requiring ceaseless toil, members of this gentleman’s family preferred captivity and luxury to hard work and accomplishment. Meaning that by weaponizing history, choices are made, and captivity can be lusted for, and the consequence is a lost family.
I see the welfare state in America that strips pride and accomplishment and replaces it with appetite suppression, and I see millions in captivity to the government dole. Captivity that breeds wasted and blasted lives, people who have potential are dying under government handouts, forever stuck in subsistence living and not knowing how to escape their choices’ captivity. Where but for the work requirement for welfare assistance, that same person would know and understand different lessons and potentially choose a different path; thus, discovering that captivity is broken through work.
I see the captivity of thought, children raised in homes as rigidly controlled as Nazi Propaganda mills, controlled by the captivity of their parents’ hate and choices, and becoming leeches and vermin to America’s health. Consider upon the state of these children and weep for their lost innocence and America’s future. These are the children in the streets since May 2020 throwing bricks, lighting fires, attacking helpless victims, and causing such tremendous violence upon the American Soul. Look upon these children in mental captivity and remember, “But for the grace of God go I” (John Bradford).
Other types of captivity our fathers suffered and our children are suffering include mental/physical/sexual abuse, drugs and alcohol, criminal activity, gangs, single-parenthood, the loss of the nuclear family, technology, and so much more. Why should a person remember the captivity of their fathers? Because by remembering, we recommit to not passing along that captivity to our children or communities.
Recently, I was part of a discussion on technology; I mentioned captivity and technology and was mercilessly attacked for suggesting that technology is a form of captivity. Thus, I put it to you, dear reader, is technology a form of captivity or not? Are video games addicting and represent a form of captivity or not? Are the needs for technology a type of captivity leading to large debts, broken families, and changes in how people think and act?
The Old Testament carries a similar theme to remembering our fathers’ captivity when Israel’s children were commanded to remember the Passover. Yom HaShoah (יום השואה) and in English as Holocaust Remembrance Day, or Holocaust Day, is another holiday set apart for remembering the captivity of our fathers and recommitting to freedom from oppression. Buddhism has Bodhi Day, upon which the full day is set apart for remembrance and meditation. Catholics have All Souls’ Day as a day for remembering the past, honoring the lives of loved ones lost, and recommitting to a brighter future.
These holidays are mentioned, and more exist, to help the reader understand the importance of remembering our fathers’ captivity. America’s fathers have fought much and bled much, suffering incredible injuries, all to make the future better. Can we, the recipients of these sacrifices to shed captivity, do less and lose this great Republic, without suffering our fathers’ indignation in the future?
Consider the frozen feet and fingers of Valley Forge; what was a little frostbite when compared with the glorious vision of freedom to the soldiers on duty there? Consider the bloody battles of the Civil War, the fear, the anger, the soul-shattering pounding of the guns. Both sides considered themselves correct, both sides wanted a vision of freedom, but only one side could win, and in winning bring complete freedom to all the people of America. Consider the soldiers, sailors, airman, and marines in Afghanistan, South Korea, Africa, and every other place America sends her military might, can we sit at home comfortably and not feel gratitude for their sacrifices, the heat, and cold they suffer, the wounds, the physical and mental strain?
Remembering is an action, a thought process with the impetus power to drive an individual’s commitment and effort. Let us not forget our fathers’ captivity and by remembering act in a method that will secure liberty, justice, and freedom for our children’s children. America is in danger of being lost; this great Republic, blessed with a Constitutional form of government, is in danger. I, for one, refuse to sit idly by and lose this precious country. I implore you to remember the captivity of your fathers and join me in voting intelligently, join me in throwing off the shackles which threaten to bind us down in captivity to communist and socialist styles of governance. Join me in taking back America!
© Copyright 2021 – M. Dave Salisbury
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