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.
photo credit: -roosevelt-
The historical record is permeated with events where conspiring individuals plotted together to obtain power, wealth, and glory. A secular analysis of world history would find numerous instances in which people banded together to orchestrate an unlawful and/or harmful action while hoping to escape notice and be free from the consequences. Whether a ragtag band of terrorists, appointed bureaucrats, kings, queens, or heads of military, those aspiring for the riches of this world have undoubtedly made their mark on history. Indeed, with the frequency of such actions taking place in all spheres of influence (global, national, and local), it becomes fairly obvious that a large portion of historical events have been affected by some sort of conspiracy.
The scriptural record is not without its own list of examples; one might argue that one of the purposes of scripture—especially the Book of Mormon—is to record such events and instruct the reader how to be free from the actions of conspiring men. The Bible is rife with examples, such as the following:
- Joseph’s brothers conspiring to kill him, and later deciding to sell him into Egypt. (Genesis 37:18-20)
- Judas conspiring w/ some of the Jews to kill Jesus. (Matthew 26:47-50)
- Absalom conspiring with rebels to overthrow the reign of his father David. (2 Samuel 15)
- Joash killing the prophet Zechariah, his servants then kill him, and then his son kills the servants. (2 Chronicles 24:21, 25-26, 2 Kings 12:20)
- David fornicating with Bathsheba, then sending her husband into battle to die. (2 Samuel 11)
- 40 Jews taking a secret oath, conspiring to kill Paul. (Acts 23:12-13)
The Book of Mormon documents several such events (and many others) as well:
- The daughter of Jared flirting with a man who forms a secret combination to kill her grandfather and install her father on the throne. (Ether 8:11-18)
- Ammonihah taking control of the Lamanite army, deceiving the commander, poisoning the commander, becoming the commander, having his servants kill the King, and then becoming the King. (Alma 46, 47)
- Gadianton Robbers obtaining the sole management of the government. (Helaman 6:38-39)
- The entire second half of the Book of Ether. (Ether 7-15)
- The murder of the chief judge and dissolution of the Nephite government. (3 Nephi 7:6, 9)
- Kishkumen’s assassination of Pahoran and subsequent (yet failed) assassination attempt of Helaman. (Helaman 2:8)
Sadly, the Saints mostly gloss over these verses and the lessons the editors who put them there wanted to teach us. Sunday school teachers are often masters at leaving out these conspiratorial nuggets and instead focusing on the happier, more realistic-sounding sections of scripture. But to deny this reality is to willfully place one’s self in continual subjection to similar forces in our own day. While oft repeated, the phrase “he who doesn’t learn from history is condemned to repeat it” is powerfully accurate and applicable to how we as individuals can react and respond to conspiring individuals in our own day. Prophets of old didn’t intertwine these stories into their record for no reason.
Regarding the scriptural application of conspiracies to our own day, this much is clear: they exist, are widespread, and we must consciously act to thwart their plans inasmuch as we are able to do so. Moroni tells us that God himself commands us to be aware of the reality of such conspiracies in our own time; to ignore or deny their existence is to passively support their efforts.
That conspiracy has taken place in the past is a truth no intelligent, honest person can deny. That conspiracy currently exists in the chambers of government, military compounds, business board rooms, marble halls of banking institutions, and other locations of influence is, however, a reality that few seem willing to entertain.