My Come, Follow Me studies for this week took me to Ether 6-11. As you may know, Ether 1-5 tell about Jared and his brother who lived at the time of the Tower of Babel. They, their families, their friends, and their friends’ families were blessed and did not have their language confounded. The Lord led them to the seashore and instructed them how to build barges to carry them to a land that “is choice above all the lands of the earth” (Ether 1:42). They arrived in the Americas 344 days after they set off in their barges, “commending themselves unto the Lord their God” (Ether 6:4).
This group and their descendants are known as the Jaredites and lived in the Americas for approximately 1500 years. They were destroyed off the face of the earth because of wickedness, just as the Nephites were destroyed by wickedness. The Nephites discovered the ruins of the Jaredites hundreds of years after their destruction. Among the ruins, the Nephites found a mysterious record kept on “gold plates” and “filled with engravings” (Mosiah 8:9). The record was taken to King Limhi who sensed that this record was important: “Doubtless a great mystery is contained within these plates” (Mosiah 8:19). King Limhi could not translate the record, but he kept it secure.
When King Limhi and his people joined the people of King Mosiah, King Limhi gave the record to King Mosiah. Sometime before receiving the record, King Mosiah received the instruments prepared to translate the record – the Urim and Thummin, and he translated the record. Mormon was an ancient American prophet, and he compiled the Nephite records that became the Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ. Mormon commented, “it is expedient that all people should know the things which are written in this account” (Mosiah 28:19). It was Mormon’s son, Moroni, who added his summary of the record kept by Ether to the record kept by Mormon.
After telling of the Jaredites’ journey to the promised land, Moroni summarized the reigns of numerous generations of kings. While doing so, he contrasted the time periods where the Jaredites were righteous to those times of wickedness and conflict. He recognized that there were many similarities between the Jaredites and the Nephites. Moroni described the pride cycle that he saw in both the Jaredites and Nephites – prosperity, pride, wickedness, difficulties, humility, blessings, righteous, and back to prosperity. Then he wrote to the inhabitants of America in the latter-days and outlined the grave dangers that we would be in if we allowed pride and secret combinations to gain control of our society.
Moroni wrote his words of warning to us: “it is wisdom in God that these things should be shown unto you” (Ether 8:23). He wanted us to learn from the failures and the successes of the Jaredites, so that “evil may be done away, and … the time may come that Satan may have no power upon the hearts of the children of men” (Ether 8:26).
The Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ was translated by the Prophet Joseph Smith and presented to the world in 1830. Since that time, missionaries have traveled the world teaching the truths of the Book of Mormon and inviting all mankind to come unto Jesus Christ. In recent years, members have joined the missionaries in “flooding the earth” with the Book of Mormon.
The Book of Mormon has been translated in its entirety into at least 97 languages with parts of the book translated into at least 20 more languages. As of October 2020, approximately 192 million copies of part or all the Book of Mormon have been published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Since there are something like 7 billion people living on the earth, there are many people who have not read Moroni’s warning.
The-Elder Ezra Taft Benson called the Book of Mormon “the greatest handbook for freedom in this fight against evil” to begin his discussion of Moroni’s warning.
This leads me to the second great civic standard for the Saints. For in addition to our inspired Constitution, we have the scriptures. Joseph Smith said that the Book of Mormon was the “keystone of our religion” and the “most correct” book on earth (DHC, vol. 6, p. 56.) This most correct book on earth states that the downfall of two great American civilizations came because of secret conspiracies whose desire was to overthrow the freedom of the people. “And they have caused the destruction of this people of whom I am now speaking,” says Moroni, “and also the destruction of the people of Nephi.” (Ether 8:21.)
Now undoubtedly Moroni could have pointed out many factors that led to the destruction of the people but notice how he singled out the secret combinations, just as the Church today could point out many threats to peace, prosperity, and the spread of God’s work, but it has singled out the greatest threat as the godless conspiracy. There is no conspiracy theory in the Book of Mormon – it is a conspiracy fact.
Then Moroni speaks to us in this day and says, “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 8:14.)
The Book of Mormon further warns that “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.)
This scripture should alert us to what is ahead unless we repent, because there is no question but that as people of the free world, we are increasingly upholding many of the evils of the adversary today. By court edict godless conspirators can run for government office, teach in our schools, hold office in labor unions, work in our defense plants, serve in our merchant marines, etc. As a nation, we are helping to underwrite many evil revolutionaries in our country.
Now we are assured that the Church will remain on the earth until the Lord comes again – but at what price? The Saints in the early days were assured that Zion would be established in Jackson County, but look at what their unfaithfulness cost them in bloodshed and delay.
President Clark warned us that “we stand in danger of losing our liberties, and that once lost, only blood will bring them back; and once lost, we of this church will, in order to keep the Church going forward, have more sacrifices to make and more persecutions to endure than we have yet known….” (CR, April 1944, p. 116.) And he stated that if the conspiracy “comes here it will probably come in its full vigor and there will be a lot of vacant places among those who guide and direct, not only this government, but also this Church of ours.” (CR, April 1952.) (“Civic Standards for the Faithful Saints,” Ensign, July 1972, pp. 60-66)
Then-Elder Benson gave his warning in 1972, nearly 50 years ago. Like the Nephites, Americans have beaten back the godless conspiracy on numerous occasions. However, supporters of the conspiracy are now in our governments at all levels. Something happened in the November 2020 presidential election that has Republicans claiming election fraud – enough to overthrow the election. Could this be our last chance to beat back the godless conspiracy. If secret combination(s) caused the problems with this election and get away with fraud, they will come back at the next election even stronger. All of us should be praying that any fraud is discovered, and the perpetrators brought to justice. This is no time to be lukewarm. You are either part of the problem, or you are part of the solution. We should pray as if our lives depended on the resolution of this problem because they may.