8 Thus we see how quick the children of men do forget the Lord their God, yea, how quick to do iniquity, and to be led away by the evil one.
Why do we forget so easily? The Nephites had just been delivered from their enemies and had expressed gratitude for their success. How could some of them so easily begin to follow a man who would take away the very freedom they had just fought to preserve? It may seem unfathomable, but we see examples of this phenomenon all the time, even in our own lives. We make resolutions which we do not fulfill. We set long-range goals and then make daily decisions which do not lead us toward those goals. We need to remind ourselves of the things that matter most.
Captain Moroni understood that and was determined to help the Nephites remember. One way he did that was by connecting their abstract goals and values to a tangible symbol: the title of liberty. By raising this symbol in their cities, encouraging the people to rip their own clothing as a public statement of support, and recounting the experience of Joseph’s coat, he connected their abstract commitment to a tangible reality which was easier for them to remember and be loyal to. No wonder we have ordinances such as baptism or the sacrament. By connecting our deepest commitments to physical experiences and actions, we resist the entropy and forgetfulness which come so easily to us.