Closely associated with the corruption of the Nephites' laws of government came a widespread penetration of the Gadianton robbers (a secret combination) into their society. One of the underlying themes of the Book of Mormon seems to be its warning to us about secret combinations. Truly, we are surrounded by many forms of organized crime and subversion: drug rings, terrorists, the various Mafias, and disease profiteers(1)--to name a few. However, referring to our day, Moroni spoke of a "secret combination"--singular--"which shall be among you...." (Ether 8:24.) This suggests that he saw a combination of such magnificent proportions as to dwarf all others because of its broad penetration and its effectiveness in advancing evil.
The motivation of this destructive and murderous combination, he said, would be "to get power and gain." (Ether 8:23.) Their aim would be "to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries." (8:25.) Apparently, this warning has now become reality. President Benson recently declared, "A secret combination that seeks to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries is increasing in its evil influence and control over America and the entire world."(2)
Anciently the Gadianton robbers eventually "overspread all the land of the Nephites." (Hel. 6:38) They too were driven by the desire to "get gain and glory of the world." (7:4.) To accomplish their aim they "usurped the power and authority of the land" by "filling the judgment seats"--the positions of governmental leadership. (7:4.) In the same context of nearly every discussion of secret combinations in the Book of Mormon can be found mentioned some principle of government. Government is obviously where the most power and gain can be achieved.(3)
Modern times are no exception. Means for gaining power exist that ancient tyrants could only dream of. Today, conquest of the whole world is a very real possibility for those cunning enough to pull it off. Communication networks for propaganda purposes are in place, advanced military equipment for enforcement are plentiful, computer capabilities for monitoring are more than ample, and apathy of people who are in a position to thwart such plans has been sufficient.
Modern prophets, especially Ezra Taft Benson and David O. McKay, have spoken out clearly, fervently, and frequently concerning this secret combination prophesied to come in our day.(4) They identified it as the Communist/Socialist conspiracy. They remarked that the greatest threat came from within our very own country. They warned that this subversive movement was deceiving even the very elect. They declared that the conflict we faced against this conspiracy was nothing more than a physical continuation of the war that was waged in the pre-existence: the same issues being at stake. They spoke of the need for an apathetic populous to become alerted to the dangers that faced them so that they might be instrumental in reversing the dangerous trends that would bring enslavement and destruction. Often, during the sixtees, when these warnings were most pronounced, Ezra Taft Benson would say, "We don't need a prophet--we have one--what we need is a listening ear." Unfortunately, it seems that most people did not listen.
The Book of Mormon, especially its history, clearly supports the position of these two great prophets of freedom. Perhaps this is one reason why President Benson now emphasizes the Book of Mormon as he does.
Helaman 6:38-40 concisely describes the effect that the Gadianton robbers had on the Nephites. Like a polished mirror, this brief summary sharply reflects our latter-day situation.(5) It states:
Perhaps the most startling aspect of this statement is the seduction of "the more part of the righteous." How could that have happened?
What the Communist/Socialist movement claims as its goal is a peaceful, united world in which all the needy are taken care of and there is no inequality. Everything they do, they do in the name of achieving these ends. These aims, of course, are good. They lie at the root of the gospel. They tend to touch man's conscience and reach into the deepest desires of his heart. Is it, perhaps, the means of achieving this aim that can be evil?
In the pre-existence, Satan offered salvation to everyone, as did Christ. Satan promised that no one would be lost, for he would impose his plan with force; man would have no agency. Underpinning his plan was the desire to get unsurpassed power and glory. The eternal plan of the Father, which Christ represented, would make salvation possible for all, but would require man to chose the ways of righteousness of his own free will. (Moses 4:1-3.)
This pre-earth division culminated in what we call the war in heaven. Significantly, in the same context that John speaks of this "war in heaven," he also told of the war that would be waged in the latter days against the saints of God. (Rev. 12:7,17.)
Reflecting Satan's plan, the Communist/Socialist movement promises that everyone will be taken care of, and it requires force to bring that about. What the key promotors of this system are actually after, though, is power and gain. The principles upon which the Constitution was framed, on the other hand, call for and allow men to chose a better world of their own free will. Recognizing the fact that some will fall, it beckons free men to repond appropriately to the plight of their fellow men.
Those who promote the Communist/Socialist line, in effect propose an alternative to God's wisdom.(6) They pit carnal knowledge against eternal truths. Could such presumptuous propagandists be among those who Christ labeled "false Christs." (JS-M 1:22; Matt. 24:24) They "set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world, but they seek not the welfare of Zion." (2 Ne. 26:29; Moses 4:1.)(7) Truly, these individuals seem to have been successful in deceiving some of the very elect, who are elect according to the covenant. (JS-M 1:22.) Might this self-savior egotism be the blasphemy against God that John, Isaiah, and Christ referred to in their prophecies of the latter days? (Rev. 13:6; Isa. 52:5; D&C 112:26.) Christ said that because of blasphemy by members of his church, the chastening destructions to sweep the world would begin upon his house. (D&C 112:25,26; 1 Pet. 4:17.)
Helaman 6:38 states that the righteous Nephites who had been lured away partook of the spoils of the Gadianton band. This phenomenon reflects the true nature of socialism--a fundamental tool of the Communist/Socialist conspiracy. Forced redistribution of wealth is nothing more than legalized plunder.(8) In the past few decades we have seen a burgeoning of socialistic programs in our nation that once reverenced individual responsibility. Today, we see nearly everyone, including the righteous, reaching their hands into the collectivistic pot. An even sadder commentary is that now even faithful latter-day Saints are involved in legislating socialistic programs.
Apparently, because socialism does not seem all that bad anymore--its motives appear benevolent--the righteous have been turning more and more to the government to feed the hungry, cloth the naked, help the poor, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted. However, what our nation is doing in the name of taking care of the needy, is actually creating an increased number of people dependent upon the government. The forced philanthropy which governmental programs provide will never suffice for the true charity of voluntary assistance.(9) Ironically, can we not therefore say that our society, like the Nephites', actually "turn[s] their backs upon the poor..."? (Hel. 6:39.)
Not only did the Nephites participate in the Gadianton band's plunder, but they "did build them up and support them...." (Hel. 6:38.) The same has been true in our day. Ironically, while being a fortress for freedom,(10) our nation has helped the globalists' cause, both at home and abroad. At home, our citizens finance the burden of increased socialism, champion the leftist rhetoric, patronize the various socialistic governmental programs, and elect liberal leaders. Abroad, our nation has built up and supported Communism around the world. Ezra Taft Benson has said, "Rather than impede communism our policies in their total effect have apparently helped promote it."(11) Our foreign policy has included such things as high-level diplomatic exchanges and granting favorable trading status to Communist regimes. It has also allowed the transfer of exorbitant amounts of equipment, technology, and credit(12) to oppressive governments.(13) In some cases, such as China and Nicaragua in the past and South Africa today, our nation has actually played (and is playing) a significant role in pushing countries into Communism in the first place.
To date, as many as 150 million individuals have been killed by Communists. That slaughter continues up to the present day.(14) Inasmuch as our nation has helped prop up these secret combinations "of murder and...darkness," how much responsibility do members of our country bear for this blood that has been spilt? (2 Ne. 26:22.) How much of this bloodshed will be found spotting the garments of neglegent members of the Church who were supposed to be a light unto the world and the saviors of men? (D&C 103:9.)
The Nephite record states that anciently, even the more part of the righteous were seduced "to join with [the Gadianton robbers] in their secret murders...." (Hel. 6:38.) Considering what has taken place in our day, we can see better why the mirroring Nephites "were in an a.awful state, and ripening for an everlasting b.destruction." (Hel. 6:40.)
In Moroni's warning about a secret combination to come in our day, he exclaimed, "...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 build it up." (Ether 8:24.) Because of this combination, Moroni said that we too would be in an "a.awful situation" and that "the sword of the justice of the Eternal God [would] fall upon [us], to [our] overthrow and b.destruction if [we would] suffer these things to be." (8:23,24.)
1. Doctrine and Covenants 89:4 speaks of conspiring men who make profit at the expense of people's health.
2. Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, Nov. 1988, p. 87.
3. A well documented, up-to-date treatise on this subject may be found in The Shadows of Power by James Perloff. (Western Islands, Appleton, Wisconsin, 1988.)
4. Ezra Taft Benson and David O. McKay's warnings were most pronounced during the 60's. During this time Elder Benson gave 15 General Conference addresses and President McKay, over a dozen on freedom, free enterprise, fiscal responsibility, the Constitution, and agency. They invariably tied these topics into showing the evils of socialism and communism. (Sheri Dew, Ezra Taft Benson: A Biography, Deseret Book, 1987, pp. 366,367.)
5. In a General Conference address Ezra Taft Benson discussed the striking similarities between the aims and tactics of the Communist/Socialist conspiracy and the secret combinaitons of the Book of Mormon such as the Gadianton robbers. (CR, Oct. 1961, pp. 71,72.)
6. Whittaker Chambers, one of the early strategists involved in subverting our country (who ended up abandoning this affiliation), called Communism "the great alternative faith of mankind." He said, "The Communist vision is the vision of Man without God." (Whittaker Chambers, Witness, p. 9.)
7. Marion G. Rommey said, "Communism is Satan's counterfeit for the gospel plan, and...it is an avowed enemy of the God of the land. Communism is the greatest anti-Christ power in the world today and therefore the greatest menace not only to our peace but to our preservation as a free people." (Sept. 1979.)
8. Frederic Bastiat presents an in-depth treatise on the subject of legal plunder in The Law, Irving-on-Hudson, New York, 1987, pp. 20-28. See also Ezra Taft Benson, Improvement Era, Dec. 1968, p. 52.
9. Ezra Taft Benson, Teachings, p. 263.
10. Our Constitutional form of government and the citizens who revere what our nation represents stand directly in the path of these globalists' plans. Therefore, from the earliest stages, subversion of the United States has been a primary focus of their plans. (Ezra Taft Benson, CR, Sept. 1961, p. 73.)
11. CR, Oct. 5, 1962, p. 15.
12. Congressman Toby Roth said, "Billions of dollars in loans at terms that American borrowers can only dream of are being provided to the Soviet government and, in turn, are being used to help finance Soviet aggression and adventurism around the world." ("Look Who's Funding Moscow," The Constitution, May/June, 1988, p. 6.)
13. In 1982, explaining one reason why our nation was spending so much for our own military, Senator William Armstrong of Colorado said, "In the last ten years alone, the United States and other Western nations have sold to the Soviet Union and its satellites more than fifty billion dollars worth of technical equipment the communists could not produce themselves. In addition, the Soviets have been able to purchase entire factories, designed and built by Western engineers and financed in large part by American and European banks."
14. For example, recently the Marxist government in Kenya killed an estimated 50,000 civilians over a 19 month period. The apparent bias in our media was evidenced by the fact that this incredible casualty count was buried in an obscure article on page eleven of the Denver Post. ("Report: Somali Troops Killing Civilians," Jan. 18, 1990, p. 11-A.)
"Would God that ALL the Lord's People Were PROPHETS"