Tonight I was able to go to a fundraising event that works directly with a personal cause of mine. A cause I have had since my life was changed by the movie "Amazing Grace."
I knew of slavery in my country's history. I vaguely knew it existed elsewhere. But I rarely thought beyond what I was taught in school and learned from fabulous movies like "Roots" and "Glory." I had no idea about people like Wilberforce who fought so hard against so much opposition in England. The awfulness of people owning other children of God was always sickening and appalling to me. Movies related to them obtaining their freedom as well as years later trying to receive their deserved equality (like "Remember the Titans") have always resonated with me. For I truly believe that God Made Men Equal.
I saw this movie on its opening night--after doing some research on the background of the song it was titled after. I saw it 3 more times in theaters--rare for me (and preordered my DVD copy as soon as it was listed). I took notes throughout the theater viewings. I started to tell everyone about this movie, for it had raised me to awareness, and I began to read more about Wilberforce's life and more about how the movie was made. I learned from a 14-year old boy's book that there was move slavery in our world today than there was back when many were fighting to abolish it. I was horrified that I did not realize such a terrible thing in our world, and that it even existed. I determined then and there that Abolishing Slavery would be one of my personal causes.
But how to go about it? How to raise awareness to others? I continued to read related articles if I came across them. But in all honesty, life was busy with finishing graduate school, and moving on in my career and social life. My cause stayed within because I was busy, and had no idea what to do to work at it.
So a few weeks ago, a friend invited me to a formal fundraiser. He knows I love to dress up and dance. And I love it when things like this can go to good causes. But when I saw that the money was going to Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.)--a group that is working to rescue children from sexual slavery--I immediately bought my ticket. This cause was exactly what I was wanting to help, and now I had a way to learn more about ways I can contribute. The leader of this group spoke to us, and showed us the trailer for the documentary that was made about their group.
I could see that so many in the room had no idea, and I was very grateful that their eyes were now being opened too. Once was blind, but now they were seeing. It's there. It is tragically, disgustingly real--and someone has to help. This is the worst possible thing any one could turn their back on and try to ignore because it is so awful. Many, many people did so in the 1700s and 1800s. Many are continuing to do so today. This cannot be.
God made men equal. And no one should be owned by anyone but their Lord and Savior who bought their souls with His blood. And even then, they are still free to accept or reject that Atonement made for them.
"Men... have become free forever, knowing good from evil: to act for themselves... they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil"2 Nephi 2:26-27
No one should be allowed to take away that freedom from any one. And if we know that it is being done, it is our responsibility to open our eyes, do something, and be the change.
This applies to those who are in physical slavery throughout the world. But it also applies to those who are spiritually bound. Who do not have the choice of the Gospel until we bring it to them. This. This is why we do missionary work and temple work. To bring those in spiritual bondage the choice of accepting the Savior and His Gospel. It requires work on our part, as well as theirs. Just as the other kind of slavery does.
Please do not turn your back on physical, mental, or spiritual bondage. It is real. Millions suffer from one or more. Please help where and how you can.