Philosophy Vs. Conspiracy… My Response

I see a lot of good articles come through from other Latter-day Saints on LDSFreemen.com. Some of these articles particularly create somewhat of a stir among our regular readers. I wanted to comment on a recent article by Jerry Salcido “Philosophy Vs. Conspiracy”, and also add my thoughts, and some others… I think the subject merits further debate…

I agree with one of the main conclusions of the article, that our focus should be on learning, understanding, living and teaching other, the principles of agency, freedom and liberty. I think we can all agree that is important.

What caused such a stir is the author’s seeming downplay of the importance of understanding the conspiracy, or Secret Combinations. You can read the article to come to your own conclusions, and please feel free to post your comments at the end of the article. Here are some of my thoughts on this issue:

Jerry made a point that “…conspiracy theories, and those who are fixated with such, tend to do more harm than good to the liberty movement, because they focus on conspiracy rather than philosophy.” While I believe this is true in some instances, I believe we must also recognize the danger of not undersanding the Secret Combinations, the danger of not understand Satan and his methods.

Ken Bowers (author of Hiding in Plain Sight and Beneath the Tide) commented:

“Anyone who thinks he or she can conquer evil without knowing his or her enemy is doomed to failure on a big scale… J. Edgar Hoover said, “In any struggle, it is essential to know both what you are fighting for and what you are fighting against. If knowledge of the former is lacking, the will to win will be absent. If knowledge of the latter is lacking, confusion and uncertainty will result.”

Elder James E. Faust said (Trying to Serve the Lord Without Offending the Devil AND The Great Imitator):

“It is not good practice to become intrigued by Satan and his mysteries. No good can come from getting too close to evil…

“However, Brigham Young said that it is important to “study . . . evil, and its consequences” (DBY, p. 257). Since Satan is the author of all evil in the world, it would therefore be essential to realize that he is the influence behind the opposition to the work of God. Alma stated the issue succinctly: “For I say unto you that whatsoever is good cometh from God, and whatsoever is evil cometh from the devil” (Alma 5:40).

“My principal reason for choosing this subject is to help young people by warning them, as Paul said, “lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices” (2 Corinthians 2:11). We hope that young people, unfamiliar with the sophistries of the world, can keep themselves free of Satan’s enticements and deceitful ways. “Shakespeare wrote, “The prince of darkness is a gentleman” (King Lear, act 3, sc. 4, line 143), and “the devil can cite Scripture for his purpose” (The Merchant of Venice, act 1, sc. 3, line 95). As the great deceiver, Lucifer has marvelous powers of deception. As Paul said to the Corinthians, “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14; see also 2 Ne. 9:9).

“The prince of darkness can be found everywhere.

“The First Presidency described Satan: “He is working under such perfect disguise that many do not recognize either him or his methods. There is no crime he would not commit, no debauchery he would not set up, no plague he would not send, no heart he would not break, no life he would not take, no soul he would not destroy. He comes as a thief in the night; he is a wolf in sheep’s clothing” (Messages of the First Presidency, comp. James R. Clark, 6 vols., Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965–75, 6:179)

A Commandment from the Lord to wake up. The Book of Mormon, Ether Chapter 8:24-25:

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; or 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 built it up.

For it cometh to pass that whoso buildeth it up seeketh to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries; and it bringeth to pass the destruction of all people, for it is built up by the devil, who is the father of all lies; even that same liar who beguiled our first parents, yea, even that same liar who hath caused man to commit murder from the beginning; who hath hardened the hearts of men that they have murdered the prophets, and stoned them, and cast them out from the beginning.

To clarify, when I state that we need to wake up to the conspiracy I don’t mean that we must know every little detail about this person and that organization, or theorize about who shot JFK, but we should understand Satan and his methods, understand what the Book of Mormon and the prophets have taught us and warned us about regarding the Satan and Secret Combinations, in order to avoid their traps and snares.

Some will argue that it’s important to first wake up to the conspiracy, others will argue that it’s important to first learn the principles of Liberty and the Constitution. I think the correct order is different for each person, but I don’t think we can ignore the importance of understanding both the Secret Combinations and the principles of Liberty. The danger lies in ignoring one or the other; in not understanding the bigger picture. If you become ineffective in your attempts to educate and wake others up, it’s time for a new strategy, let the spirit guide.

Our search for truth should not end there. Just as important (or more) is an understanding of the principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and seeking to build up the Kingdom of Zion, and seeking as much education as possible in all good things.

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33 Responses to “Philosophy Vs. Conspiracy… My Response”

  1. talkgirl Says:

    I fight for liberty and am very interested in free-agency, but while attending a recent lecture by Monnett I was completely shocked by what I saw. People saying saints who don’t ‘believe’ in conspiracy theories weren’t upstanding church members, people expressing frutstration because no one listens to them- all the while debating who shot JFK (apparently a hypnotized citizen) and whether or not we see chemical trails behind planes.
    It was a joke. No one discussed our fragile liberty, our free-agency, or even more, our precious gospel. I felt like the crowd there was completely distracted and totally ‘missing the mark’.
    As someone who traveled to DC to march against the dangers of big government I found that experience to be a very spiritual time, surrounded by people who cared and fought and loved each other and this country. I can not say that about those I know who submerse themselves in conspiracies. That crowd at the Monnett discussion was not warm, loving, welcoming, or spiritual. I am sorry to say this, but that day I was sad for what this website has become…..people pushing conspiracies under the guise of the LDS church. That is a very dangerous path to take.

  2. Brian M. Says:

    Were you at the same Jack Monnett lecture I was at? Hmmm… that’s not what I experienced. I agree though, we shouldn’t look down upon people who don’t believe in conspiracy theories. And as I said, who shot JFK isn’t really that important.

    Liberty, agency and the gospel are the main focus of this website… I’m confused at why you would state “that day I was sad for what this website has become” ??? I don’t see how the comments of some attendees of a lecture have any relevance to what this website is? Judge the website for its content and those people for their comments, don’t get the two confused. please.

  3. Ramsam Says:

    Well, it is also a response to the article and the content- which I felt applied, in discussing Philosophy vs Conspiracy. I did reply to your e-mail, however. It is just that, in reply to the context of this post, I agree more with the article Salcido wrote, and also as a Latter Day Saint conservative I felt the Monnett lecture- and the crowd it attracted, didn’t fit that billing. That is all I am saying. No harm to you.

    talkgirl

  4. Linda Barclay Says:

    One of the things I learned while doing moot court in law school is that you do not understand your argument until you can make your opponent’s argument. This is analogous to the present conversation; you do not understand the strengths of the gospel until you understand, to some point, the opposite position.

  5. Mullenite Says:

    So, from start to finish, here is a rough trajectory of where I’ve been for the last few hours and what I’ve found interesting along the way. Since I’ve been out of the blog world for a while, I started with what would normally constitute a daily read,

    Will Wilkinson’s discussion of the “libertarian vice”, which eventually led to…

    Henry Farrell’s link to Naomi Klein’s unintentionally humorous Harper’s piece, which argues (according to her Wikipedia Bio) that “the Bush administration’s… clear plan for post-invasion Iraq […] was to build a fully unconstrained free market economy. ” Forgive me if I didn’t bother to read the Harper’s piece itself; I regard Klein as an historical curiousity, worth studying as a subject herself and not so much what she writes. This led to a polled list of the world’s “top 100 public intellectuals,” within which Klein’s presence at number 11 is not so surprising when you consider Chomsky is listed as number one.

    From this list to Habermas, to Heidegger, to Arendt, to Walter Benjamin, to Gershom Scholem, toJewish mysticism, and finally, to the contemporary celebrity cult of the Kabbalah Centre, run by the notorious Philip Berg and sons, and lampooned in a 4-part magazine exposé. Incidentally, this magazine led me on a slight detour to the top American competitive eater, the 100-pound Sonya Thomas.

    The academic study of cults and conspiracy theories has interested me for a while, primarily because, when traveling in political circles considered slightly out of the mainstream, you tend to run into cranks who embrace other minority viewpoints, not so much out of any reasoned deliberation, but preciselybecause those viewpoints are shared by only a small (and assumed priveledged) segment of the population. I’ve been reading Syracuse poly sci professor Michael Barkun’s book on the subject, A Culture of Conspiracy: Apocalyptic Visions in Contemporary America, in which he attempts to explain why groups as seemingly distant from each other as UFO believers, Christian millennialists, and right-wing conspiracy theorists have becomes linked, with many believers in each distinct conspiracy theory cross-pollinating with other conspiracy theorists outside their original domain. Barkun argues that stigmitized knowledge is often accepted as true by conspiracy theorists just by virtue of it being stigmatized. Stigmitized knowledge, as Barkun defines it, means “claims to truth that the claiments regard as verified despite the marginalization of those claims by the institutions that conventionally distinguish between knowledge and error – universities, communities of scientific researchers, and the like.” Barkus goes on to explain the various mechanisms by which this process occurs – put simply, conspiracy theories all rest, not only on the stigmatized knowledge claims themselves, but on the common and necessary belief that this knowledge became stigmatized for a reason, by a self-interested or otherwise nefarious organization or group of organizations in control of the orthodoxy.

    For many believers, belief in the conspiracy theory is for the most part socially harmless, even when doing so entails susceptibility to an ever-widening conspiratorial worldview. After all, from the perspective of a non-believer, it may be a huge waste of time to listen to the Art Bell radio show or attend a UFO convention, but this is no more harmful than other wacky hobbies like stamp collecting and taxidermy. The problems arise when susceptibility to and cross-pollinization with increasingly stigmatized knowledge, such as anti-Semitism (belief in The Protocols of the Elders of Zion as a factual document and not a hoax is widely shared within conspiracy circles), anti-Hispanic sentiment (such as the belief that Mexicans are invading the U.S. in order to reconquer and seize control over the American Southwest), or the types of conspiracy beliefs shared by someone like Timothy McVeigh, leads to anti-social, actively harmful behavior.

    Even more dangerous and disturbing than these sorts of conspiratorial communities, however – which at least benefit from and are kept in balance by some level of intellectual competition with the outside, “orthodox” society – are cults, who also believe in stigmitized knowledge, but spread this knowledge in a much more insular and pervasive way.

    In increasing levels of scariness, we have organizations like Landmark Education, which, while not technically cults, employ many cult-like tactics, such as sleep deprivation/exhaustion combined with “hard-sell” marketing techniques. The purpose of the program (apart from whatever benefits claimed by its adherents), is to sell expensive, new-agey motivational speeches, with ever-increasing tuition rates the further up the “graduate” ladder you go, with high-pressure (and often peer pressure exploiting group psychology) encouragement to not only sign up for more and more advanced courses, but to encourage friends and family to do the same.

    Luckily, despite its widespread success from such humble beginnings, (Landmark’s founder was a used car-salesman, trainer of door-to-door salespeople, and all-around shady character), Landmark Education never entered into the realm of religious cults, though it’s founder was personal friends with Scientology’s founder L. Ron Hubbard at one point, only to be later excommunicated in a particularly nasty process known as “Fair Game.” At least Ayn Rand’s cult had that whole non-aggression thing going for them.

    Next are intermediate organizations like the aforementioned Kabbalah Centre and Church of Scientology that combine sleezy marketing techniques with preposterous religious doctrines. Both of these organizations market themselves specifically to celebrities, in a shrewd and largely successful attempt to both extract money from these celebrities in exchange for high status/spiritual reward and use these public-figure converts as free advertising to attract more members. While neither of these two organizations force their members into cocoon-like communes with little to no contact with the outside world as more notorious cults do, both do try to insulate their members from external criticism by encouraging members to seek out and surround themselves with like-minded friends and family – either through direct proselytizing or careful selection and avoidance.

    Finally, we have the less well-known (at least to people born within the last two decades) but most notorious and dangerous cults. I initially learned about the first of these religious cults, the Children of God (now called “The Family”), in an article in Rolling Stone about a year or so ago. A month or two after I read the RS article, I caught an episode of Law and Order that, apart from some superficial name changes and plot modifications, was clearly based on the murder-suicide incident of Ricky Rodriguez.

    Though the majority of the crimes committed by this cult were reported to have taken place in the 70’s and early 80’s, the notoriety of these crimes received increased media attention in January 2005, when Ricky Rodriguez, born into the cult and intended to be its future leader and messiah, stabbed to death his former nanny, Angela Smith, and subsequently killed himself. Smith had sexually abused Rodriguez as a child – pedophilia and incest were officially sanctioned and encouraged by the cult – though Rodriguez’s ultimate target was for the murder his own mother, who also sexually abused him.

    The Children of God cult tried to destroy all evidence of this sanction and encouragement of sexual abuse during the 1980’s, as it came under increasing legal pressure in many of the countries from which it operated, but scans of the official documents were preserved and can be seen at xFamily.org. The cult continues to exist to this day, and official apologetics (including both outright denials, and partial, qualified admissions) are available on its official website.

    The second deadly cult, Jonestown, is even more ourtrageous in the apologetics offered by some of its former members, academics and political sympathizers. I was born two years after the incident, and only vaguely and indirectly heard it referenced through various forms of pop culture. It wasn’t until I haphazardly came across this series of links today that I truly learned of the depravity of Jim Jones, his devoted followers, and the apologists who continue to this day to obfuscate what actually happened and try to pin this horror, through the use of absurd conspiracy theories, on the U.S. government, the C.I.A., or global capitalism itself. The horror includes not just the mass suicide/murders of 914 out of the 1,110 inhabitants of Jonestown, 276 of them children, but also the murder of U.S. Congressman Leo Ryan, a reporter from NBC, a cameraman from NBC, a newspaper photographer and one defector from the Peoples Temple.

  6. J T Says:

    I really liked your comments to Jerry Salcido’s article. Years ago I used to look at the word “Conspiracy” as more likely being an untruth but not any more. Through the years, because of reading and researching more, I find that “conspiracy theories” are many times the actual truth. Through learning about the “secret combinations” and what is happening and what they are doing, it opens our eyes and we learn to recognize their evil ways and then I think we have a responsibility to warn others that want to be educated. Truth and liberty go hand in hand and we must have a knowledge on what is going on today to help set us free so we know what we need to battle. Rather than do more harm to the liberty movement, those that seek truth which involves researching “conspiracy theories,” I feel are better armed to go into the battle for freedom and liberty. J

  7. Elizabeth Says:

    Just checking….who is the author of the original article at the top of this site then?
    I don’t know who I am talking to…Bob G. or someone else. Please clarify.
    Then I can respond better as I know Bob G. but have no clue if that is who I would be responding to. Thank you, I did leave my commentary at Jerry’s article site however.
    Elizabeth (more later)

  8. rcronk Says:

    I agree that it’s very important to understand how Satan operates. One of the ways he operates is by distraction and division.

    In the world of conspiracy theories, there is much unproven, and in my opinion, much to be distracted by. Socialism/Communism was (and I believe still is), according to church leaders a few decades ago, the single most Satanic force on the face of the earth. It destroys freedom and essentially enthrones an imperfect and potentially wicked present or future king (see Hitler, Mao, etc. with their crushed freedoms and their tens of millions slaughtered). We can see evidence of this in our current government and other governments who have tried it.

    We fix this “biggest problem” of ours at the voting booth and by educating ourselves and our neighbors about how socialism destroys freedom and ends up generally destroying countries who try it. We also fight it with righteousness and obedience. I see socialism quite clearly as being almost identical to Satan’s centrally planned forced righteousness (forced sharing, etc.) idea from the war in Heaven.

    If we’re too busy chasing down JFK, 9/11, Moon Landing anomalies, chemtrails, and other unprovable (and sometimes silly) theories, I believe we will end up being completely neutralized by Satan’s divide, distract, and conquer techniques! I have wasted many years chasing down those theories and do not intend to waste any more time on them.

    I have noticed over and over that chasing these theories can be a form of addiction as a person gets an elitist feeling of importance and “better than the sheeple” kinds of attitudes that I have seen over and over. People can really start to feel important and savior-like as they spread details about these theories that nobody else knows about in an effort to save the rest of us. They then become protective of and blinded to anything that might disprove their favorite theory from which they derive so much self worth. It saddens me to see this kind of behavior as I have studied it over the past 12 years or so.

    We can (and should) study Satan’s techniques without needing to accept every ridiculous theory that comes across our inbox (quoting scripture about secret combinations to “prove” that this particular theory must be true) and thereby become useless and distracted far away from the real battle (as I see it). As I said before, it’s difficult to stop chasing these theories because of their addictive nature but we must in order to get back on the real track and become opponents of Satan and his plans.

    That’s my 2¢.

  9. Geoff Pace Says:

    Please recite this to your following at each gathering:

    “Once to every man and nation, comes the moment to decide,
    In the strife of truth with falsehood, for the good or evil side;
    Some great cause, some great decision, offering each the bloom or blight,
    And the choice goes by forever, ’twixt that darkness and that light.

    Then to side with truth is noble, when we share her wretched crust,
    Ere her cause bring fame and profit, and ’tis prosperous to be just;
    Then it is the brave man chooses while the coward stands aside,
    Till the multitude make virtue of the faith they had denied.

    By the light of burning martyrs, Christ, Thy bleeding feet we track,
    Toiling up new Calv’ries ever with the cross that turns not back;
    New occasions teach new duties, time makes ancient good uncouth,
    They must upward still and onward, who would keep abreast of truth.

    Though the cause of evil prosper, yet the truth alone is strong;
    Though her portion be the scaffold, and upon the throne be wrong;
    Yet that scaffold sways the future, and behind the dim unknown,
    Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above His own.”

    —————————-

    James R. Lowell (1819-1891)
    Words: James R. Low­ell, in the Bos­ton Cour­i­er, De­cem­ber 11, 1845. Low­ell wrote these words as a po­em pro­test­ing Amer­i­ca’s war with Mex­i­co.

  10. Brian M. Says:

    Elizabeth,

    “Philosophy Vs. Conspiracy… My Response” was written by me.

  11. Bryan Kingsford Says:

    The problem I have with any kind of focus on conspiracies has 2 main elements, both of which are born out again and again by experience. One is that by focusing on darkness, that’s all you tend to see. People who focus on conspiracies tend to see them everywhere instead of assuming that maybe someone did something that is good or at least may have been well intended. To me it seems more Christian to give people the benefit of the doubt as to their motivations and to try to consider possible good motivations and good reasons for a particular action, even if we may disagree.

    The other element is related and that is the tendency to bare false witness about a person or organization. Many years ago I became interested in an organization that tended to focus on conspiracies. I realized after a good deal of reading and research that the proof never came. I also realized that the people who seemed attracted to this organization didn’t really care about the truth and were very quick to claim someone was part of the grand conspiracy without requiring evidence.

    I agree some understanding of Satan’s methods can be useful, including how he can get people to become immoral while thinking they are righteous. The best way to fight against evil is to fight for good.

  12. AJ Says:

    I don’t understand people who think there is no conspiracy, or that it isn’t important, etc. I have studied “conspiracy theory” for over 40 years and it isn’t a conpiracy theory, it is a conspiracy fact. There is plenty of good evidence available. This conspiracy will soon have control of the United States and will destroy everything we hold sacred. They are putting in place their scientific control grid police state and soon the very face of hell will be coming against you, your wife and children.

    In the Book of Mormon, Ether 8:24 the Lord gives us a commandment regarding secret combinations: “Wherefore, the Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation, because of this secret combination which shall be among you….” And verse 25 describes its purpose, “….whosoever buildeth it up seeketh to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries; and it bringeth to pass the destruction of all people….” And in verse 26 Moroni says that he is “commanded to write these things that evil may be done away…”

    “Joseph Smith said…that the time would come when the Constitution and the country would be in danger of an overthrow; and said he, ‘If the Constitution be saved at all, it will be by the Elders of this Church.’” (Journal of Discourses, vol 6, p.152)

    In 1988 the Prophet Ezra Taft Benson said in the fall 1988 General Conference address entitled, “I Testify,” that “A secret combination that seeks to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries is increasing its evil influence and control over America and the entire world.” (The Ensign, Nov 1988, p 87)

    The real key is to obey God and awake to the evil that is threatening us, and once we are awake, to awaken others, and then an awakened people can do the correct things to restore our Republic.

  13. ak Says:

    In response to your comments: I agree with you. History shows in battle that those who know their enemy can best develop strategies to defeat them. It seems one needs to possess strength in mind and spirit to discern learning about conspiracies in order to understand the enemy, from getting distracted by too narrow focus and detail to miss the purpose of seeking knowledge and understanding in order to “recognize” evil. Evil/satan comes packaged in many ways, right? Stay the course.

  14. Sophs Says:

    There are just so many conspiracy theories out there that we can lose focus on what we know is real and can do something about. I agree with AJ. I know that the conspiracy fact is real. I just have to be careful to not get distracted by other conspiracy theories. I don’t really care about UFO’s, JFK, Area 51, the moon landing, 911 truthing, etc.. They’re not going to have an effect on my life, my liberty, or my spirituality, so I stick to trying to understand the political machinations that are at work, are real, and are trying to affect me and my precious free agency. And perhaps it will come out eventually that some of those things were just a part of the conspiracy fact, but for now, I’ll focus on what I can know and what I can do.

  15. E Mack Says:

    I have a serious concern with any claim that “911 truthing” has nothing to do with their “life, liberty, or spirituality.” Whether or not you agree with those who want (and deserve, in my opinion) a serious investigation into the events that occurred on that dreadful day, the fact is that when thousands of innocent people are killed for whatever reason, it is a crime against all of humanity. I believe that it will definitely affect our spirituality, if nothing else, if we watch these things happen and do nothing about it. It sounds an awful lot like the phrase, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” I believe that God will hold us accountable if we choose not to do our part in fighting against the abominably cruel actions of others.

  16. Benjamin Says:

    The biggest thing which I see here is remembering that we need to have a righteous foundation maintained. I have found numerous times that there are all sorts of conspiracy theories that it’s all almost a smokescreen to me. But there are real policies that should be questioned, including the proposed use of full-body scanners, which I find a rediculous philosophy given that terrorists will just keep finding vulnerability point after vulnerability point until we honestly have thrown away loads of freedom, productivity in our own travel and commerce to combat this truly small threat of terrorism in comparison to the fact that the flu and other diseases, not to mention regular automobile accidents are a bigger threat on your life. A terrorist will just create a security breach in new places, even with the full body scan. Also, just to be reasonable, news press and politicians should be honest and actually explain that most of these terrorists are a bunch of jerks that happen to cause a little trouble every now and then, and not enough to warrant what they’ve been doing thus far militarily. There is something admittedly wrong with these two parties, and from the sound of what they have had to say about terrorism, they seem to be the real “terrorists” in some situations, given how much attention some of them give to terrorist acts.

  17. E F Booth Says:

    You are so right. In the minds of far too many, the only thing secret about “secret combinations” is their existence. They do exist; they are among us. Their author works to deny their existence. Their greatest weapon is ridicule of those who would expose them.

    In politics, nothing happens by accident.

    Keep up the good fight!

  18. Benjamin Says:

    E Mack, the real doing nothing involves skepticism, if not outright disagreement (constitutional, mind you) with the policies going on right now, that 9/11 is used to justify. The 9/11 attack is used as justification for loads of federal security measures, Two, potentially Three wars if you include Pakistan as a war, and potentially a death toll to the people in those countries that overall cannot be justified with what we suffered as a nation on 9/11/01. What’s worse is the rediculous cost that the government puts into supplying the fuel (petroleum), food, and materials for supporting tens of thousands of soldiers in these wars that are utterly disproportional to the losses or damage incurred. Whether you believe bin Laden and Co, or are a 9/11 truther, the conclusion should be the same that these wars are not justifiable and brutal beyond what is justified in a war of defense for this nation. This work isn’t being done in secret, its public policy being done in front of our very own faces. While there are secret works of darkness, there are acts in the public for which we should play an active, constitutional role in opposing, because while we may not see with absolution all the perpetrators, conceivably including some secret combinations’ work, we should be steadfast in opposing the acts of what is out in the open, which is doctrinally against a good society.

  19. Justin Francom Says:

    I have recently noticed a surge in resentment towards the “conspiracy nuts” in this referenced article and similar others written by people who consider themselves “fighting for liberty”. I have concluded that many people are frustrated in their efforts to make a difference. Whether they were doing something as simple as teaching the constitution to friends or as grand as running for office, when their efforts don’t meet their expectation they whine that “conspiracy theorists” are undermining their efforts.
    I know *many* well intended people, many quite young, who think they can save the world by getting a great education, earning an important leadership position, and using their power to enforce and uphold the constitution. That’s a great plan if the evils they see are from incompetence, but the problem is that a conspiracy does exist and it knows there are lots of well intentioned people who want to make a difference by working from “within the system”. To illustrate, if there was no conspiracy then the Utah GOP would be corruption free considering how many bright LDS young people enter into politics to make a difference, however those of us who has tried to “make a difference” in the Utah GOP know it will either slowly corrupt you, or lock you out.
    Whether it is the Utah GOP or any other organization, industry, or society, this pattern is pretty standard. There *is* conspiracy but If you are truly principled you will become accused of associating with extreme or fringe ideas and groups. Of course that isn’t the true reason you’re ineffective, you are marginalized because you wouldn’t bend on principle in the midst of a corrupt environment, but admitting so would make them look bad while labeling you a nut makes *you* look bad. So now you get discouraged and blame the conspiracy nuts, while admitting there is a conspiracy, but that you can’t fight it because they are giving “true” liberty fighters a bad name.
    It has generally been my experience that the real “conspiracy theorists” as opposed to the media pushed image of a guy wearing a tinfoil hat, are the MOST well educated in true principles. You can’t really even begin to understand the lies until you have a firm grasp of truth. On the other hand you can have a testimony that the Constitution is from God, believe in its principles and precepts, and follow after evil men as they work to destroy it. Knowing is different from Understanding. Understanding true principles is a two edged sword, when you really know *WHY* the Constitution was written and *HOW* it preserves liberty, then you can’t help but also understand *WHY* it needed to be written and *HOW* liberty is destroyed. If you don’t have the time or opportunity to understand, in that case the Book of Mormon will just flat out tell you how liberty is destroyed. Persecuting the people who understand this is how evil men cover their sins. Exposing these truths is the charge given by the Book of Mormon. Whose side are we really fighting for?

  20. E Mack Says:

    Benjamin, I couldn’t agree with you more. I don’t believe that the “war on terror” is justifiable, nor do I agree with the invasive (and rather scary) security measures being perpetrated on us all. I just wanted to express my concern with the attitude that 9/11 was in the past, and that finding out the truth of who were really responsible has no relevance to our “life, liberty, and spirituality.” I understand that some things are easier to deal with (i.e. the wrongdoings that are “out in the open”), but we must never forget that the blood of the innocent “cries out to the Lord, because of secret combinations and the works of darkness.” (Mormon 8:27). We can’t give up in trying to find at least some measure of justice for what happened.

  21. john erickson Says:

    I do not worry about conspiracy theories, which I will call the endless supply of rumors, they are a ploy to get us to look beyond the mark. Conspiracy facts on the other hand are found through a comprehensive study of history. I believe that if the founders were here today, By listening to our media, political, banking and business leaders, they would instantly know the extent of the conspiracy that we face and by whom it is being pushed. The founders understood history. History does not change, so it does not matter which history you look at.

  22. E Mack Says:

    I just found a scripture that sums up what I was trying to say:

    Alma 60: 10
    And now, my beloved brethren—for ye ought to be beloved; yea, and ye ought to have stirred yourselves more diligently for the welfare and the freedom of this people; but behold, ye have neglected them insomuch that the blood of thousands shall come upon your heads for vengeance; yea, for known unto God were all their cries, and all their sufferings—

  23. Charity Says:

    I agree that there are conspiracies, and the Lord has told us that we will awaken to them in the BOM. And the reason for our awakening? It is to repent. The real question is how do we repent? What are we forsaking? And what are we replacing it with?

    I agree with the Founders, that it takes an educated populace in order to protect liberty. I believe if the people have the knowledge, they will choose it. The Lord said that His people perish due to a lack of knowledge. We are to know both good and evil, but to seek for the good.

    I think that sharing the gospel is a good way to start educating people, they will see that it is a war that we are in, and have been since the beginning, it makes it easier for them to discern what is truth and what is error. Not to mention it provides the solutions.

    I awoke because I became aware of things that have been going on for almost a century, and I realized that things had progressed much more then I realized. I got really discouraged at first, but later I discovered that we are here for a purpose, and we are not sent here to fail.

  24. scott Says:

    Freedom is the first principle of eternity. Our God is the principle defender of freedom and we placed our trust in him to ultimately do what he promised He could do–protect our freedom from all enemies. It is our duty to study and learn about freedom and it is wisdom to head the warnings contained in scripture that describe the entities in our day that want to destroy our freedom. These scriptures warn us about modern day conspiracies bent on the destruction of individual freedom , but what good is a warning if we are not listening. Anyone who prayerful studies and searches will be led to understand the truth in precisely the way that leads them to perform their role in defending freedom.

  25. aharon smith Says:

    What an interesting thread. I have learned much. While I have been known to watch Alex jones and I did see the Zeitgeist video, I try to stay away from conspiracy theories because like mentioned here, I find myself forming some sort of addiction to them from the sensational feelings I get speculating on them. Its like a darkness sorrounds me and I catch myself being enticed by it. I dunno, its hard to explain. It ends up with feelings of hopelessness and despair and mistrust towards anything going on.

    However, when I study the principles of freedom and study books like 5000 year leap and bios of the founders, I get a feeling of clarity and peace as well as empowerment that I too can have the character traits that those men had.

    I try to focus on those and I think that the best way to inspire our neighbors and our nation with a love of liberty is to focus on the principles. While it is important to know the truth and I am sure there are conspiring groups in our nation working to undermine freedom, I fear that if we focus too much on the darkness, that we can destroy the very freedom we are trying to protect, as what happened in the French Revolution blood bath, the red scare of senator McCarthy era, and what happened with Timothy McVeigh.

    Showing our neighbors the soundness of free principles is the key to waking them up and wanting them to vote in people who will really emit change. The argument against socailism should be based on the principle the government cannot produce like a business, but only distribute and if we undermine our producers, then there is less pie for all and also emphasize the importance of taking care of the poor and needy from private sectors of society.

    Anyways, I don’t want to keep rambling on, but i , along with the help of David Pangrec wrote a blog on the subject. Feel free to check it out. Sorry, I am responding from my phone so it is hard for me to get you the exact link, but you can go to ShopInnovent.com/blog and scroll down to the article entitled “Why Conspiracy Theories are Destroying the Freedom Movement”

    Thanks all for your comments.

  26. Mike Leavitt Says:

    I am brand new to this site and this is my first offering. First of all, what a GREAT site!! There seems to be a lot of really great thinkers here and I hope I can contribute an idea or two.

    I have a pretty simple point. (Although, I hope not simplistic.) It is that although the word “conspiracy” is such a charged word it is clear from both observations and the scriptures that there certainly IS a conspiracy authored by Satan to destroy man’s souls. Just like the communists in Soviet Russia, Satan has his own brand of “useful idiots” who have (normally unwittingly) joined into his Kabal and Satan uses different tactics for these “idiots.” For example, in America, probably the best tool is greed. As proof, check this out:

    http://www.thinkbigworksmall.com/mypage/player/tbws/23088/1162189

    In the big picture, this video is not a huge deal, but anyone who watched the video would agree that there is a conspiracy involved, and it is a conspiracy to further Satan’s plan, even in a smallish way.

    Other “useful idiots might” be motivated by power or 72 virgins, or whatever, the point is somehow all these little (or big) conspiracies work together to undermine God’s Plan for each of us.

  27. Eric Checketts Says:

    Very well written article. I am just grateful that every day, I seem to meet more people who are concerned about the cause of freedom. May we all be blessed to see true freedom restored, some day in this mortal life!

  28. Zack Says:

    what about conspiracy’s like these..
    -death panels
    -the birthers
    -blaming liberals for the economy
    -blaming government on the housing crash
    -Claiming Obama is a muslim extremist
    -telling people this country is center-right

    hmmmmm. now those are some conspiracy’s that you should really look into espically since none of them are even close to being true.

  29. Mitch van Biljon Says:

    In my view we should simply analyze the activities in DC as that is where our greatest threat to our freedom will arise. When leaving south africa in 1996 I warned the south african people that communism was not dead and I was ridiculed by many for that view. There are too many in the US who are not able to define let alone identify communism and socialism.

    I probably over simplify the issue but the Constitution is of God and communism is of satan. If we understand the war in heaven then we should understand the battle here on earth and tthe role that the communists in DC ar eplaying to destroy this nation .

    The federal reserve is the financial arm of the secret bodies that seek the overthrow of our Constitutional form of government.

  30. Angela DiGiovanni Says:

    Great article, Brian. I’ve struggled with credibility when discussing so called conspiracy theories. I finally decided that I’d rather promote true and eternal principles rather than come off as a ‘conspiracy nut’. I agree that both sides are important and that whatever ‘gets people in the door’ is all good. I love to study both, but have found to be better equipped knowing the truth, as it helps me recognize the counterfeit.

  31. John Redelfs Says:

    On a gospel discussion email list that I have run since November 1993, a member told me that I should not focus on politics or my “gospel hobby” of freedom and the Constitution. Instead I should focus on teaching the gospel. I sent him this from Ezra Taft Benson:

    “There is no excuse that can compensate for the loss of liberty. Satan is anxious to neutralize the inspired counsel of the prophet and hence keep the priesthood off balance, ineffective, and inert in the fight for freedom. He does this through diverse means, including the use of perverse reasoning.

    “For example, he will argue, “There is no need to get involved in the fight for freedom-all you need to do is live the gospel.” Of course this is a contradiction, because we cannot fully live the gospel and not be involved in the fight for freedom.

    “We would not say to someone, “There is no need to be baptized-all you need to do is live the gospel.” That would be ridiculous because baptism is a part of the gospel. How would you have reacted if during the War in Heaven someone had said to you, “Look, just do what is right; there is no need to get involved in the fight for free agency.” It is obvious what the devil is trying to do, but it is sad to see many of us fall for his destructive line.”

  32. Lundbæk Says:

    That was a good response, John. I am finding that the commandment in the D&C to awake to a sense of our awful situation and suffer not that the murderous combinations get above us is not enough to awaken but a very few who are already awakened to some extent. Even President Packer’s words about awakening to our awful situation in the article in the August Ensign (Pg 23) are taken by many as a warning only against conspiracies to destroy our religious belief and faith.

  33. Cory Says:

    More details at:

    Plagiarism of the Devil’s Secret Society lifted from: The Book of Mormon

    http://d1.scribdassets.com/ScribdViewer.swf?document_id=49567641&access_key=key-jo591sb9nd55zgvxemb&page=1&viewMode=list

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