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.
For all its many spiritual benefits, the Book of Mormon is ultimately a historical record of two separate civilizations on the American continent. Tracing the rise and fall of the Nephite and Jaredite societies, the book exposes and emphasizes with clarity the cause of their demise.
Moroni, the last recordkeeper who in many ways summarized the book’s contents and teachings, wrote at length regarding the group responsible, labeling them as a “secret combination” of individuals seeking to “gain power, and to murder, and to plunder, and to lie, and to commit all manner of wickedness and whoredoms.” Such conspiring groups, Moroni wrote, were directly responsible for causing the destruction of both societies.
This book is not just for historical reference, of course—it is offered as a book of scripture, with application to our day. “The Book of Mormon narrative is a chronicle of nations long since gone,” said President Hinckley. “But in its descriptions of the problems of today’s society, it is as current as the morning newspaper and much more definitive, inspired, and inspiring concerning the solutions of those problems.” It is with this application in mind that Moroni, once having summarized the success of these secret combinations, begins to offer counsel:
Wherefore, O ye Gentiles, it is wisdom in God that these things should be shown unto you, that thereby ye may repent of your sins, and suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you, which are built up to get power and gain—and the work, yea, even the work of destruction come upon you, yea, even the sword of the justice of the Eternal God shall fall upon you, to your overthrow and destruction if ye shall suffer these things to be.
Wherefore, the Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation, because of this secret combination which shall be among you; or wo be unto it, because of the blood of them who have been slain; for they cry from the dust for vengeance upon it, and also upon those who built it up.
For it cometh to pass that whoso buildeth it up seeketh to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries; and it bringeth to pass the destruction of all people, for it is built up by the devil, who is the father of all lies; even that same liar who beguiled our first parents, yea, even that same liar who hath caused man to commit murder from the beginning; who hath hardened the hearts of men that they have murdered the prophets, and stoned them, and cast them out from the beginning.
According to Moroni, we are directly commanded by God to ensure that similar secret combinations do not overthrow our own society. If this is the case, then two questions arise which must be answered: 1) what kind of people participate in secret combinations, and 2) what do secret combinations do?
A common belief is that secret combinations are gang members, people in the mafia, or cave-dwelling terrorists half a world away. These, however, do not meet the basic criteria for those combining in the Book of Mormon to bring down society. The most basic benchmark, other than the obvious lust for power and riches, is to overthrow the government. This is achieved not by violent revolution or external attacks, but by internal infestation. It was precisely because these combinations were able to “obtain the sole management of the government” that they were successful in their efforts.
With this criteria in place, it becomes evident that gang members or terrorists do not apply. Those involved in secret combinations of this sort are far more difficult for many people to label as such, for they look like them. They speak the same language, wear the same attire, and like the wolf in sheep’s clothing, mask themselves so well that they remain largely undetected. President Hinckley observed how these people gained power in ancient days, offering the clue as to who in our day might be so classified:
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.
This leads into the answer for the second question regarding what secret combinations do. The answer to this question also holds the key regarding how we can discharge the divine obligation to “suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you.” By obtaining positions of political power, those in secret combinations are able to ensure that their like-minded cohorts “should not suffer for their murders, and their plunderings, and their stealings.” Secret combinations don’t take down the government by attacking it from the sidelines—they do it by gutting it from within.
Those involved in this effort work to circumvent “the laws of their country” to instead carry on their nefarious deeds “according to the laws of their wickedness.” They “let the guilty and the wicked go unpunished because of their money” and are “held in office at the head of government, to rule and do according to their wills.”
Of course, the infestation of secret combinations into the Nephite and Jaredite societies would not have been successful without the toleration and support of the people themselves. Thus we read that a propaganda campaign was carried out to “seduce the more part of the righteous until they had come down to believe in their works and partake of their spoils, and to join with them in their secret murders and combinations.”
In other words, the people welcomed with open arms, and elected to various offices of power, those individuals who enabled them in their wickedness and protected them in their evil desires. Not wishing to be governed by God’s law and be held accountable for their wickedness, they embraced a corrupt system that justified them in their deviant behavior and sanctioned their wickedness in law.
The parallels to draw from these patterns are numerous and compelling. Consider one of the most recent examples, the Operation Fast and Furious scandal. This government program entailed the sale and delivery of guns to Mexican gun traffickers and drug cartels, ostensibly to track them to ferret out the individuals engaged in the trafficking. These guns have been used in a number of murders, including that of a U.S. Border Patrol agent, Brian Terry.
Amidst the eruption about who knew what and when, those at the highest levels of government have resisted investigation and dug in their heels. They have likewise promoted their own “laws of wickedness,” mandating their subordinates to not divulge any damaging information to Congress or news agencies, effectively closing ranks around those who are responsible for providing the guns used in these murders.
The financial bailouts in recent years are also an excellent example of this satanic behavior, wherein those who are guilty “go unpunished.” The institutions responsible for assuming risky debt, deemed “too big to fail” by their cohorts in this combination, were given stolen property from taxpayers to stave off their demise and instead guarantee their success. Rather than facing the consequences of their poor decisions and evil actions, they were let off the hook by like-minded politicians who have obtained “the sole management of the government.”
Any similar situation where the (moral, constitutional) laws of the country are rejected and replaced with the laws of wickedness is an example of modern-day gadiantonism. This is seen with social welfare laws stealing property from some to give to others, domestic surveillance in direct violation of the fourth amendment, TSA checkpoints which do the same, free speech restrictions which suppress dissent, Federal Reserve loans where one’s savings is deflated to help bankers amass more wealth, and on and on.
Moroni’s emphasis of what secret combinations did to two previous societies was not meant as a mere historical curiosity, but a warning and pattern for a future time—our time. “It is wisdom in God that these things should be shown you,” he wrote, to “suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you, which are built up to get power and gain.”
Thus we are commanded by God that when (not if) we see them in power, “that [we] shall awake to a sense of [our] awful situation.” Recognition of evil is the first step in counteracting it; unfortunately, too many people fail to realize that past, prophetic warnings are openly being fulfilled in our day.
Moroni concludes his warning by noting that he was “commanded to write these things that evil may be done away.” It is up to us to do away with evil—including and especially the evil that has become entrenched within the government, substituting the laws of our country for the laws of wickedness.
Are you doing your part?