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.
The scriptures have 77 instances of the words “stir up”. There are synonyms that could be used to expand that number, but I find it interesting how many times these words are used, and in what different ways.
The “stirring up” method, I see, is employed both by men of God (and God himself) and those whose master is Satan.
Here are just a few examples of different reasons for “stirring up” in the scriptures:
- “…and they which belong to [the kingdom of the devil] must needs be stirred up unto repentance…” (2 Ne. 28:19)
- “…[the devil] rage in the hearts of the children of men, and stir them up to anger against that which is good.” (2 Ne. 28:20)
- “…let there be a famine in the land, to stir them up in remembrance of the Lord their God…” (Hel. 11:4)
- “…therefore, [the wicked judges] did stir up the people to riotings, and all manner of disturbances and wickedness…” (Alma 11:20)
- “…[the Nephite dissenters] did endeavor to stir up the Lamanites to war against the Nephites…” (Hel. 4:3)
- “…Satan doth stir up the hearts of the people to contention…” (D&C 10:63)
And perhaps the example I find most intriguing:
- And there was nothing save it was exceeding harshness, preaching and prophesying of wars, and contentions, and destructions, and continually reminding them of death, and the duration of eternity, and the judgments and the power of God, and all these things—stirring them up continually to keep them in the fear of the Lord. I say there was nothing short of these things, and exceedingly great plainness of speech, would keep them from going down speedily to destruction. (Enos 1:23)
Used as a method of persuasion, “stirring up” attempts to bring somebody to a certain action, whether that action be good (repentance, remembrance) or bad (anger, war, contention). Like many other things, Satan uses the same tactic for his own purposes.
Are we stirred up to anything by the mainstream media? Led to believe a certain way? Are we stirred up sufficiently by our Prophet? Or are we stirred up by celebrities, sitcoms, and late night TV shows?
The For the Strength of Youth pamphlet elaborates:
Our Heavenly Father has counseled us as Latter-day Saints to seek after “anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy” (Articles of Faith 1:13). Whatever you read, listen to, or watch makes an impression on you. Public entertainment and the media can provide you with much positive experience. They can uplift and inspire you, teach you good and moral principles, and bring you closer to the beauty this world offers. But they can also make what is wrong and evil look normal, exciting, and acceptable.
We, as “mere mortals”, are highly influenceable. We are a product of what we choose to surround ourselves with. Will you choose to surround yourself with that which stirreth you up to righteousness, or the opposite?