What do history's most notorious despots have in common with many of the flag-waving, patriotic politicians of our day? Both groups rise to power through the exploitation of fear, which has become a societal plague. There have been widespread casualties. We need an antidote. Feardom offers its readers a much-needed immunization.
I know of no other writing which sets forth with such clarity the tragic consequences to societies that follow courses contrary to the commandments of God. Its pages trace the stories of two distinct civilizations that flourished on the Western Hemisphere. Each began as a small nation, its people walking in the fear of the Lord. But with prosperity came growing evils. The people succumbed to the wiles of ambitious and scheming leaders who oppressed them with burdensome taxes, who lulled them with hollow promises, who countenanced and even encouraged loose and lascivious living. These evil schemers led the people into terrible wars that resulted in the death of millions and the final and total extinction of two great civilizations in two different eras.
So since the Book of Mormon is for our day, it would only be fitting to analyze President Hinckley’s assessment of it, and compare it to our current situation and circumstances.
Its pages trace the stories of two distinct civilizations that flourished on the Western Hemisphere.
The two civilizations referred to are the Nephites and Jaredites. It is also interesting to note the similarities between the formations of these two nations. Both did indeed flourish, as President Hinckley points out. Referring to the Jaredites, Moroni said:
And never could be a people more blessed than were they, and more prospered by the hand of the Lord. And they were in a land that was choice above all lands, for the Lord had spoken it. (Ether 10:28)
And of the Nephites, Mormon said:
And how blessed were they! For the Lord did bless them in all their doings… (4 Nephi 1:18)
Likewise, it is an undisputed fact that the United States of America enjoys great prosperity and power. I think it is obvious that the USA is also “flourish[ing] on the Western Hemisphere”.
Each began as a small nation, its people walking in the fear of the Lord.
Both the Nephites and Jaredites started out with a close-knite group of family and friends. Both were led by God to this land, and given their freedom on this continent.
Likewise, those who founded our modern nation were led by the Spirit to do so. Columbus, the Pilgrims, and the rest. Additionally, we are told by modern revelation that the founding fathers were raised up for the explicit purpose of drafting our insipired Constitution. So, America too began as a small nation, walking in the fear of the Lord. Since they were living during apostasy, each had a different conception of just who the Lord was, but there is no doubt that they were guided by Him to establish this nation.
But with prosperity came growing evils. The people succumbed to the wiles of ambitious and scheming leaders who oppressed them with burdensome taxes, who lulled them with hollow promises, who countenanced and even encouraged loose and lascivious living.
In the Book of Mormon, we see the pride cycle over and over again. The people are humble, and obey God. Then, they are blessed and prospered. With that prosperity, the people ultimately become proud, separate into classes and lift themselves up above their brothers and sisters. In repeated occurences, the people are brought to sin more quickly through the evil influence of their nation’s leaders. And through burdensome taxes, they were forced to support the desires and habits of their leaders.
I hope I don’t need to spell out the similarities of our day, for they are myriad. The legality of our income tax is widely disputed (see select quotes from Freedom to Fascism). There are a plenitude of other taxes we are forced to pay. Let’s not forget Social Security and Medicare, among others. Then we have the NEA trying to indoctrinate our kids, as well as state legislatures. Again, what happened to the Nephite and Jaredite nations is happening to our own.
These evil schemers led the people into terrible wars that resulted in the death of millions and the final and total extinction of two great civilizations in two different eras.
Being led into terrible wars.. Hmmm, yeah… That’s not happening today, right?