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.
This past Sunday in Sacrament Meeting, the High Councilor gave an excellent talk on the law of chastity. As part of the talk he related an experience he had as a teenager attending an AC/DC concert in Salt Lake City.
The crowd was very large, hundreds and hundreds of pumped-up teenagers and miscreants ready to rock. They waited in anticipation for the doors to open, ready to pounce and run to get a good spot on the floor, as close to the stage as possible. People began to push and shove, inching their way forward bit by bit.
And then the doors opened.
The rush of people seemed as if a vacuum had been created inside the building, drawing people from outside the doors at an accelerated pace, sucking them through the bottleneck of the double door. The push from behind was so forceful, and the number of people so high, that an interesting thing happened: people couldn’t move.
Those in the crowd literally lost the ability to move where they wished. There was not even room to raise your arms. Instead, with your arms at your side, you were pushed up amongst smelly strangers and forced in the direction of the crowd. Your free agency went out the window. Screaming for the crowd to stop was futile. You shouted for help, but nobody heard you because everybody was screaming.
And then a girl somehow tripped, falling to the ground. Eager to get their prime location on the floor, people walked right over her. You wanted to help, but you couldn’t bend down or stop the forward motion. Dozens of people walked on top of the helpless girl, who, sobbing, had curled up into the fetal position on the ground, waiting for the ordeal to pass.
You wanted to help, but you couldn’t. You trampled her under your feet as well.
Now, in context of that intriguing story, I invite you to read the following verse with perhaps some new perspective:
For the things which some men esteem to be of great worth, both to the body and soul, others set at naught and trample under their feet. Yea, even the very God of Israel do men trample under their feet; I say, trample under their feet but I would speak in other words—they set him at naught, and hearken not to the voice of his counsels. (1 Nephi 19:7)
How many times have we become trapped in a crowd that leads us to trample God under our feet? While voluntarily placing ourselves in such situations, we eventually lose our free agency and trample right over our God. Only through continual repentance can we remain able to act and not be acted upon, allowing us to retain our God-given agency and do as we wish.