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: the billyllama
Modern technology has drastically reduced the perceived size of the world, bringing far-away geopolitical events to our doorstep through new mediums of communication. Information that used to take weeks to propagate down to the average family now takes seconds; facilitated by the internet, the world really has grown smaller.
With the wonders of the world at our fingertips, our attention and interests naturally radiate outwards. Here we find application on a geopolitical level, then, to the Lord’s admonition that we not fret about motes in others’ eyes before first removing the beam in our own.
Offering us His counsel in further simplicity and directness, the Lord later pointed out man’s propensity to primarily look at external situations in the following words:
Ye hear of wars in far countries, and you say that there will soon be great wars in far countries, but ye know not the hearts of men in your own land. (Doctrine and Covenants 38:29)
The world is in turmoil, and tyrants abound; our main concern, though, should be the inward vessel where we can properly effect change and influence things for good. To prioritize foreign affairs above domestic ones shows an imbalance that the Lord would have us correct, for to ignore or minimize the evils in our own midst is to become the hypocrites the Lord warned us about.
I am sure that this revelation, brothers and sisters, pertains to this day and to this time. While our attention is attracted to foreign countries where there have been wars and where there are still wars, there are within the very borders of this great republic those who would change our form of government and who would force upon us the same type of government that Lucifer advocated in the councils of heaven. (Joseph L. Wirthlin, October 1946 General Conference)
Before that, Elder Heber C. Kimball spoke on this subject as well:
Unto us it is the “last days,” in which, the Lord says by His Prophets, when you hear of war, and rumors of war, it will not be long before you have it in your own land. Now are we as a people preparing and qualifying ourselves for that day, lest it overtake us as a thief in the night? It certainly will if we do not wake up from our slumber. (Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses, 2:156)
In the preceding verse the Lord prefaces his observation with a warning that “the enemy in the secret chambers seeketh [our] lives.” We learn in these scriptures that Christ’s admonition to look inward is not relegated only to interpersonal relationships, but also to global politics and policy. If we want to understand a reality unhampered by ignorance and hypocrisy, it is imperative that we make the effort to first analyze our own principles, politicians, and actions.