To remember is to do something that is necessary or advisable which brings honor to the past and freedom to the present. Remembering is the power of becoming aware that you are more than the singular person and many others have held a hand in making you, your personality, your strengths, and your 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 release from captivity.
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 to act. 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, but the freedom from captivity is worth remembering, and by remembering, honor is paid to those who suffered that captivity, by the growth and development of those present and in the future.
Captivity comes in many shapes, by many names, and is visible only through the suffering of those held captive. For example, during a conversation with several older adults, I asked a question about the captivity of illiteracy and asked how many generations back in their families does it take to find an illiterate family member. One very lucky person it was more than 8 generations, 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, his family, and the reservation he knew, loaded onto a bus, and sent to Oklahoma for education. He spent 10-months of every year for the next 10-years, going to school in Oklahoma. During which time he never received a single letter from his parents. 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 successfully 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.
On the topic of remembering the captivity of his fathers, their illiteracy, he remembers every day in gratitude, even though his parents’ thirst for learning meant he endured such harrowing experiences to go to school. The captivity of his fathers, drove and motivated him to ensure his progeny would not suffer the same captivity.
Another example, similar question about the captivity of their fathers, how many generations back before your fathers never left a small plot of land, whose only views of the world were restricted to that single plot of land. One answered, his grandfather had been hated by his family for leaving a place of comfort in Scotland, for a rough life in the western states of America. 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.
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 the same life and ways of his fathers, 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.
I see the welfare state in America that strips pride and accomplishment and replaces it with appetite suppression, and I see millions in captivity. A captivity that breeds wasted and blasted lives, people who have potential dying under government handouts, forever stuck in subsistence living and not knowing how to escape the captivity of their choices. Where for the work requirement for welfare that same person would know and understand different lessons and potentially choose a different path; thus, discovering that through work captivity is broken.
I see the captivity of thought, children raised in homes as rigidly controlled as Nazi Propaganda, controlled by the captivity of hate and choices of parents, 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 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 includes, 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 by recommit to not passing along that captivity to our children or communities.
The Old Testament carries a similar theme to remembering the captivity of our fathers, when the children of Israel 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 aid the reader in understanding the importance of remembering the captivity of our fathers. 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 the indignation of our fathers in ages past?
Consider the frozen feet and fingers of Valley Forge; what was a little frost bite 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 consider 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 comfortable and not feel gratitude for their sacrifices, the cold they suffer, the wounds, the physical and mental strain?
Remembering is an action, a thought process with impetus power to drive commitment and action in an individual. Let us not forget the captivity of our fathers 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 2020 – M. Dave Salisbury
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