Many Are Called But Few Are Chosen – Chapter 9
THE “VOICE FROM THE DUST” SPEAKS TO MODERN AMERICA ABOUT GOVERNMENT
It appears that one of the main purposes of the Lord in giving us the Book of Mormon was to warn us against destroying ourselves through the adoption of Satan’s form of government. Two mighty civilizations were destroyed on this land choice above all other lands and the cause of destruction was the same in each case—the corruption of government by wickedness.
Moroni, that servant of God through whom Joseph Smith received the Book of Mormon, was expressly commanded by the Lord to warn the Gentiles (us) against committing national suicide in this manner. Let us note his solemn warnings:
“And they (secret combinations) have caused the destruction of this people of whom I am now speaking, (Jaredites) and also the destruction of the people of Nephi… Wherefore, O ye Gentiles, it is wisdom in God that these things should be shown unto you, that thereby ye may repent of your sins, and suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you…Wherefore, the Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation,…Wherefore I, Moroni, am commanded to write these things.” (Ether 8:21–26)
President McKay has identified Communism as this secret combination of Satan which threatens our very existence today. (Statements on Communism and the Constitution of the United States, p. 5)
He has also said:
“The position of this Church on the subject of Communism has never changed. We consider it the greatest satanical threat to peace, prosperity, and the spread of God’s work among men that exists on the face of the earth.…We therefore commend and encourage every person and every group who is sincerely seeking to study Constitutional principles and awaken a sleeping and apathetic people to the alarming conditions that are rapidly advancing about us.” (Improvement Era, June 1966, p. 477)
The Lord, through Moroni, has commanded us to awaken. The Lord, through our living prophet, has indicated we are still asleep. Is it not time we listen to the Lord? Our destruction as a nation is certain unless we do:
“And whatsoever nation shall uphold such secret combinations, to get power and gain, until they shall spread over the nation, behold, they shall be destroyed.” (Ether 8:22)
Let us briefly examine the Nephite experience with a government subject to the voice of the people to see what lessons it might teach.
It is rare in the history of nations when the Lord gives a people the power to determine for themselves what civil laws they shall be subject to and who shall execute those laws. For over 500 years the Nephites lived under a monarchy and then about 125 years before Christ’s visit to them, He caused to be established among them a new type of government similar to the one He caused to be set up in the United States 180 years ago.
There appear to be some important differences between the Nephite government called the reign of the judges and our own, yet this they had in common: both were subject to control by the voice of the people.
When King Mosiah effected this change under the Lord’s direction, the Nephites were told, just as we have been told, that they would be held individually accountable for the actions of their government. The people seemed to sense their responsibility for the record says:
“Therefore they relinquished their desires for a king, and became exceedingly anxious that every man should have an equal chance throughout all the land; yea, and every man expressed a willingness to answer for his own sins.” (Mosiah 29:38)
The Nephites were told that if they abused this new freedom to control government, the Lord would punish them. They were instructed thus:
“Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right; therefore this shall ye observe and make it your law—to do your business by the voice of the people. And if the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon you; yea, then is the time he will visit you with great destruction even as he has hitherto visited this land.” (Mosiah 29:26–27)
Some 62 years after the reign of the judges was established, the Nephites had corrupted their government, and conditions were so bad that Nephi, a righteous prophet and the Chief Judge, resigned his position because he was weary of the people’s iniquity and wished to spend his full time calling them to repentance. The political situation is described by the record as follows:
“For as their laws and their governments were established by the voice of the people, and they who chose evil were more numerous than they who chose good, therefore they were ripening for destruction, for the laws had become corrupted.” (Helaman 5:2)
In the next chapter (6) of the record we are given to understand how this corruption took place. The Gadianton Band had arisen among the Nephites about twenty years prior to this and increased in size and influence until, at this time, even the righteous believed in its philosophy of government and accepted its practices. The record says:
“And it came to pass on the other hand, that the Nephites did build them (Gadianton Band) up and support them, beginning at the more wicked part of them, until they had overspread all the land of the Nephites, and had seduced the more part of the righteous until they had come down to believe in their works and partake of their spoils, and to join with them in their secret murders and combinations.” (Helaman 6:38)
Having corrupted everyone with their doctrines, this Gadianton Band did obtain the sole management of the government. (Helaman 6:39) Nephi, the prophet who had been in the land northward preaching, returned to the land of Zarahemla to find:
“…those Gadianton robbers filling the judgment-seats—having usurped the power and authority of the land; laying aside the commandments of God,…Condemning the righteous because of their righteousness; letting the guilty and the wicked go unpunished because of their money; and moreover to be held in office at the head of government, to rule and do according to their wills, that they might get gain and glory of the world, and, moreover, that they might the more easily commit adultery, and steal, and kill, and do according to their own wills…” (Helaman 7:4–5)
It may seem incredible that the righteous Nephites could have been seduced into accepting the doctrines and practices of a group which the Nephite prophets called robbers. How blind can people be? Before we judge them too harshly let us look at our own predicament.
Every modern day prophet from Joseph Smith to President McKay has condemned Communism and Socialism as satanic systems of plunder by government, and yet how many Latter-day Saints have come down to accept and believe in those very welfare state practices which the Communist Manifesto proposes to bring about socialism? How many believe in and accept the government bonus, the subsidy, the welfare check, the minimum wage, and the monopolistic protection which the police power gives them? Is it not obvious that we also have come down to believe in their works and partake of their spoils?
There is evidence that the Gadianton Robbers proposed exactly the same form of government as do the Communists today. The Nephite prophet, Mormon, saw fit to copy into the record an epistle written by Giddianhi, Governor of the Gadianton Band, to Lachoneus, Governor of the Nephites, in which are some very revealing statements. This letter is found in 3 Nephi, Chapter 3. Verse 7 thereof indicates that the Gadianton Band believed in communal ownership of property. In that verse Giddianhi says to Lachoneus:
“Or in other words, yield yourselves up unto us, and unite with us and become acquainted with our secret works, and become our brethren that ye may be like unto us—not our slaves, but our brethren and partners of all our substance.”
What could he have meant by the expression partners of all our substance except communal ownership of property?
Giddianhi also accuses the Nephites of robbing his people of their rights and government. (v. 10) This is the identical appeal which the Communists make to the laboring class today. They appeal to their selfishness and tell them they are exploited and robbed under the capitalistic system and are denied their rights of government. The Communists propose the establishment of what they call the dictatorship of proletariat whereunder the workers are supposed to own all the property and run the government. One can hardly imagine a greater deception than this but it is the appeal made nonetheless.
Giddianhi also speaks of the everlasting hatred (v. 4) of his people for the Nephites. V.I. Lenin, first Communist dictator in Russia and one of the chief theoreticians of Communism had this to say:
“We must hate. Hatred is the basis of Communism. Children must be taught to hate their parents if they are not Communists.”
Throughout Giddianhi’s epistle runs a threat to exterminate the Nephites if they do not Yield up unto this my people, your cities, your lands, and your possessions. (v. 6) How typical this is of the Communist leaders today who arrogantly proclaim to the capitalist world: We will bury you.
The underlying purposes of the Gadianton Band were described by Mormon thus:
“…it was the object of all those who belonged to his (Gadianton’s) band to murder, and to rob, and to gain power, (and this was their secret plan, and their combination)…” (Helaman 2:8)
But the power they sought and the opportunity to carry on their work of plunder and murder could be fully obtained only by taking over and controlling the agency of government. This was their unvarying goal. During an 82 year period they murdered the Chiefs of State of the Nephite nation five times and made one additional unsuccessful attempt.
In the one instance where they did succeed in taking over the reigns of government, it was through a combination of murder and seducing the people to partake of their spoils with them. The prophet Moroni thoroughly understood the nature of these secret combinations. In his warning to the Gentiles against them he says:
“For it cometh to pass that whoso buildeth it (secret combinations) up seeketh to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries…” (Ether 8:25)
Can anyone give a more accurate description than that of the Communist movement today? Its avowed purpose is to overthrow every non-communist government on earth and establish a worldwide dictatorship.
J. Edgar Hoover, director of the F.B.I., and one of the best informed men on Communism, has said this:
“The communist is thinking in terms of now, in your lifetime. Remember that within four decades communism, as a state power, has spread through roughly 40 percent of the earth’s surface. Some years ago communists were complaining that their ‘fatherland,’ Soviet Russia, was encircled, a communist island in a ‘capitalist’ sea. Today the situation is changed. The world communist movement is on the march, into Germany, the Balkans, the Middle East, stretching across the plains of Asia into China, Korea, and Indochina. Communists have never hesitated to shed blood if this would best serve their purposes. Moreover, in noncommunist countries thousands of Party members are working for Moscow. Communists firmly believe they are destined to conquer the world.” (J. Edgar Hoover, Masters of Deceit, p. 4 Henry Holt & Co., Inc. 1958)
The deadly parallel between the purposes and methods of the Secret Combinations of old and the Communist conspiracy of today is plain for all to see. It is interesting to observe that the Communists even use the word combination to describe their activities. Note the following passage taken from the book, Witness, authored by the late ex-communist, Whittaker Chambers:
“One story…sheds light on the more menacing operations of the underground. It was the story of how the Russians obtained data about the Chrystie tank. This tank, developed by the American inventor, Walter Chrystie, was of great interest to the Russians. They set on foot an elaborate ‘combination’ (as Communists call it) to secure its plans.” (Whittaker Chambers, Witness, p. 319. Random House, 1952)
When the Secret Combination among the Nephites finally succeeded in capturing control of their government, civil strife broke out and threatened to destroy the nation by bloodshed. (Helaman 11:2–4) The prophet Nephi pled with the Lord to send a famine to humble the people rather than permitting them to destroy each other by the sword. This was done. Thousands died of starvation. The people were brought to a realization of their wickedness and swept the Gadianton Band from their government. The Lord turned away His wrath and sent rain upon the earth.
It was but a short space of time, however, before many of the people reverted to wickedness. The Gadianton Band formed again. This time, however, it appears that the righteous people refused to be seduced into perverting their government with welfare state practices. Their recent experience was too fresh upon their minds. There occurred a great division among the people, the Gadianton Robbers forming one group, the more righteous Nephites and Lamanites banding together in another. A terrible battle ensued between these opponents which produced the greatest slaughter ever known among the children of Lehi since he left Jerusalem. (3 Nephi 4:11) The Nephite-Lamanite armies conquered and once again this terrible conspiracy was crushed.
After another brief period of righteousness, the people again became wicked. For the third time the Robbers became a threat to the continued existence of orderly government. In this third instance, the Gadianton Band did succeed in destroying organized government by murdering the chief judge. The people, unable to reconstitute a supreme government, formed themselves into tribes.
The Robbers failed in this bid to take over the Nephite government because they were inferior in numbers to the tribes who:
“…notwithstanding they were not a righteous people, yet they were united in the hatred of those who had entered into a covenant to destroy the government.” (3 Ne. 7:11)
The Robbers left the main body of the Nephites and went into the land northward. They hoped to gather strength enough to return and conquer.
It was at this point in Nephite history that Christ visited them. All the wicked were destroyed in that terrible cataclysm of fire and the upheavals of nature. Christ had an especially severe judgement which He inflicted upon this criminal group of conspirators who had destroyed the Nephite government. He describes their fate in 3 Ne. 9:9:
“And behold, that great city Jacobugath, which was inhabited by the people of King Jacob, have I caused to be burned with fire because of their sins and their wickedness, which was above all the wickedness of the whole earth, because of their secret murders and combinations; for it was they that did destroy the peace of my people and the government of the land.”
Thus ended the first Nephite experience with a government by the voice of the people.
Following the visit of Christ, the Nephites lived in peace and righteousness for almost 200 years. When they became wicked, however, we find this same criminal conspiracy among them. (4 Ne. 42) The record is sketchy during this period. We are told that the Robbers were at the bargaining table when a great division of the land was made between the Nephites and the Lamanites. (Mormon 2:28) As noted heretofore, Secret Combinations were the cause of the eventual and final destruction of the Nephites as well as of the nation of Jaredites.
The Bible is, for the most part, a history of God’s dealings with man in the old world, whereas the Book of Mormon was written by prophets in the Americas and its messages are directed primarily to those who inhabit this land. One lesson, in particular, which must be learned by those who come here is this: We must serve God or be destroyed.
The Book of Mormon prophets repeat this unalterable decree of God many times. The histories of those two great civilizations who rose and fell here provide instructive examples of the enforcement of this decree. The first people to arrive here after the Lord had cleansed the earth with water were the Jaredites. The warning issued to them through their first leader is as follows:
“And he (God) had sworn in his wrath unto the brother of Jared, that whoso should possess this land of promise, from that time henceforth and forever, should serve him, the true and only God, or they should be swept off when the fullness of his wrath should come upon them.” (Ether 2:8)
The Jaredite nation occupied this chosen land for approximately two thousand years before they became fully ripe in iniquity and were swept off. About the time of their destruction, the Lord brought another group, the Nephites, here and through their first prophet, Lehi, warned them:
“Wherefore, this land is consecrated unto him whom he (God) shall bring. And if it so be that they shall serve him according to the commandments which he hath given, it shall be a land of liberty unto them; wherefore, they shall never be brought down into captivity; if so, it shall be because of iniquity; for if iniquity shall abound cursed shall be the land for their sakes, but unto the righteous it shall be blessed forever.” (2 Nephi 1:7)
Not long after the Nephites arrived, the Lord placed in their hands the record of the Jaredites, and brought to their attention the ruins of that civilization so that they might have before them an object lesson. The Nephite prophets reminded their people of the destruction of the Jaredite nation from time to time. In spite of their knowledge that secret combinations had caused it, the Nephites allowed these same organizations to arise among them, and this was the cause of their eventual destruction.
We, the Gentiles, constitute a third group who have been favored to occupy this chosen land. To those of us living under the Constitution established by the Lord, it has proved to be a choice land almost beyond belief. With approximately six percent of the world’s population, we are reputed to have over one half of the world’s wealth. Our great blessings will be followed by equally great cursings if we, as a nation, turn from God. The book of Mormon is very explicit about this:
“And this cometh unto you, O ye Gentiles, that ye may know the decrees of God—that ye may repent, and not continue in your iniquities until the fullness come, that ye may not bring down the fullness of the wrath of God upon you as the inhabitants of the land have hitherto done.” (Ether 2:11)
Let us consider in connection with the above scripture an admonition given in our day regarding our failure to heed the lessons of the Book of Mormon. The Lord has placed the entire Church under condemnation and told us we would remain there until we hearken to the commandments in that book:
And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received-which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation. And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all. And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say but to do according to that which I have written. (D&C 84:54–57)
In the two verses which follow the above statement, the Lord tells us that if we corrupt His holy land, a judgment and a scourge will be poured out upon us:
“That they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father’s kingdom; otherwise there remaineth a scourge and judgement to be poured our upon the children of Zion. For shall the children of the kingdom pollute my holy land? Verily, I say unto you, Nay.” (D&C 84:58–59)
That we are in the process of polluting this land is plain for all to see. Nowhere is it more apparent than in our laws and our governments. The corruption of the principles of the Constitution by the adoption of the welfare state practices advocated by the Communists has been pointed out herein. Our living prophet in his recent statement concerning the position of the Church on Communism has warned us. He speaks of the alarming conditions that are rapidly advancing about us. Those cannot be misinterpreted by anyone willing to listen.
The Lord’s admonition to us through Moroni is equally plain:
“Wherefore, the Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation, because of this secret combination which shall be among you.” (Ether 8:24)
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Many Are Called But Few Are Chosen Chapters: