August 15, 2018

As anyone who has read the Book of Mormon knows, at the end of King Mosiah’s reign the Nephites changed their political system from monarchy to an elected judgeship. Many critics of the Book of Mormon have suggested that Joseph Smith was just reflecting the ideology of his time and place, but the account in the Book of Mormon is subtly different from typical American views of democracy. Consider Mosiah 29:38:

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.

“Freedom” is supposedly one of our American values, but we don’t usually think of it in terms of “a willingness to answer for [our] own sins.” Many people seem to view real freedom as being able to do what they want without experiencing any negative consequences, but the Book of Mormon is correct in equating freedom with accepting responsibility. If people are truly free, they will make mistakes and own up to them.