Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Secret Combinations, Part 4

            The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday concerns secret combinations and how they work to destroy individuals, communities, and nations. With all the intrigue in government circles today, I find myself thinking more and more about secret combinations; I decided to do some research on them.  I found enough information to divide it into several parts.  See Part 1,  Part 2,   and Part 3.    

Prophets and Apostles in our day are sounding the warning about secret combinations in our midst and counseling us to follow the path of righteousness.

                In a devotional address at Brigham Young University on January 16, 2007, President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, made the following statement.   The full text can be found here.  
                “We live in a time of war, that spiritual war that will never end.  Moroni warned us that the secret combinations begun by Gadianton `are had among all people….
                “`Wherefore, O ye Gentiles [and the term Gentile in that place in the Book of Mormon refers to us in our generation], 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, because of this secret combination which shall be among you’ (Ether 8:20, 23-24).”  (Italics in scriptures added.)

                David Brent Marsh of the Priesthood Department made the following statement in his article entitled “How Disciples of Christ Live in Times of War and Violence.”  “We live in a time of widespread war and violence.  News sources report incidents of these awful events every day.  The Lord’s prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, said, `We have come to the earth in troubled times.’  He affirms what President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910-2008) said:  `We live in a season when fierce men do terrible and despicable things.  We live in a season of war.’
                “While sobering, this should not be surprising.  The scriptures teach that in the last days Satan will `make war’ (Revelation 12:17) with the faithful and that `peace shall be taken from the earth’ (D&C 1:35).
                “God foresaw our day and called the Prophet Joseph Smith to bring forth the Book of Mormon to help us (see D&C 1:17, 29; 45:26).  Of the 239 chapters in the Book of Mormon, 174 (73 percent) deal with war, terrorism, murder, political conspiracies, secret combinations, threats, family collusions, and other hostilities.”

                President Ezra Taft Benson made numerous statements about secret combinations being amongst us today.  “I testify that wickedness is rapidly expanding in every segment of our society.  (See D&C 1:14-16; D&C 84:49-53.)  It is more highly organized, more cleverly disguised, and more powerfully promoted than ever before.   Secret combinations lusting for power, gain, and glory are flourishing.  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.  (See Ether 8:18-25.) ….
                “I testify that as the forces of evil increase under Lucifer’s leadership and as the forces of good increase under the leadership of Jesus Christ, there will be growing battles between the two until the final confrontation.  As the issues become clearer and more obvious, all mankind will eventually be required to align themselves either for the kingdom of God or for the kingdom of the devil.  As these conflicts rage, either secretly or openly, the righteous will be tested.  God’s wrath will soon shake the nations of the earth and will be poured out on the wicked without measure.  (See JS-H 1:45; D&C 1:9.)  But God will provide strength for the righteous and the means of escape; and eventually and finally truth will triumph.  (See 1 Ne. 22:15-23.)”

                In his powerful message entitled “Beware of Pride,”  President Benson said, “Pride results in secret combinations which are built up to get power, gain, and glory of the world.  (See Hel. 7:5; Ether 8:9, 16, 22-23; Moses 5:31.)  This fruit of the sin of pride, namely secret combinations, brought down both the Jaredite and the Nephite civilizations and has been and will yet be the cause of the fall of many nations.  (See Ether 8:18-25.)”

                President Benson spoke about the Book of Mormon  and said, “The Book of Mormon was written for us today.  God is the author of the book.  It is a record of a fallen people, compiled by inspired men for our blessing.  Those people never had the book – it was meant for us….
                “Now, we have not been using the Book of Mormon as we should.  Our homes are not as strong unless we are using it to bring our children to Christ.  Our Families may be corrupted by worldly trends and teachings unless we know how to use the book to expose and combat falsehoods in socialism, rationalism, etc.  Our missionaries are not as effective unless they are `hissing forth’ with it.  Social, ethical, cultural, or educational converts will not survive under the heat of the day unless their taproots go down to the fullness of the gospel which the Book of Mormon contains.  Our Church classes are not as spirit-filled unless we hold it up as a standard.  The situation in the world will continue to degenerate unless we read and heed the words of God and quit building up and upholding secret combinations, which the Book of Mormon tells us proved the downfall of ancient civilizations.”

                In a another address about why the Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion,  President Benson said, “From the Book of Mormon we learn how disciples of Christ live in times of war.  From the Book of Mormon we see the evils of secret combinations portrayed in graphic and chilling reality.  In the Book of Mormon we find lessons for dealing with persecution and apostasy.  We learn much about how to do missionary work.  And more than anywhere else, we see in the Book of Mormon the dangers of materialism and setting our hearts on the things of the world.  Can anyone doubt that this book was meant for us and that in it we find great power, great comfort, and great protection?”

                While speaking about the Nephites prior to the coming of Jesus Christ to the American continents,   President Benson said, “Recently I have been reading again the marvelous account in the Book of Mormon of the visit of the resurrected Savior to the American continent.  As Easter approaches, I have been deeply impressed with the beauty and power of this scriptural account in 3 Nephi, and with its great value for our time and our generation.
                “The record of the Nephite history just prior to the Savior’s visit reveals many parallels to our own day as we anticipate the Savior’s second coming.  The Nephite civilization had reached great heights.  They were prosperous and industrious.  They had built many cities with great highways connecting them.  They engaged in shipping and trade.  They built temples and palaces.
                “But, as so often happens, the people rejected the Lord.  Pride became commonplace.  Dishonesty and immorality were widespread.  Secret combinations flourished because, as Helaman tells us, the Gadiaton robbers `had seduced the more part of the righteous until they had come down to believe in their works and partake of their spoils’ (Hel. 6:38).  `The people began to be distinguished by ranks, according to their riches and their chances for learning’ (3 Ne. 6:12).  And `Satan had great power, unto the stirring up of the people to do all manner of iniquity, and to the puffing them up with pride, tempting them to seek for power, and authority, and riches, and the vain things of the world,’ even as today (3 Ne. 6:15).”

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