Lessons on Freedom and Patriotism
Lessons No. Seventeen
Secret Combinations Seek to Overthrow Freedom
The Book of Mormon forewarns us about secret combinations - In Ether 8 we learn:
- Secret combinations are "most abominable and wicked above all in the sight of God" (Vs 18)
- Secret societies are found among all people, both modern and ancient. (Vs 18, 20)
- Secret combinations caused of the destruction of both the Nephites and the Jaredites. (Vs 21)
- Secret combinations seek power or gain or both. (Vs 22, see also Helaman 6:38)
- “Whatsoever nation shall uphold such secret combinations...shall be destroyed” (Vs 22)
- We are warned so that "ye may repent" and "awake to your awful situation" (Vs 23-24)
- They "seek to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries” (Vs 25)
- Satan is the source of all secret combinations. (Vs 25, see also Helaman 6:26-30)
- Moroni was commanded to warn us so we could repent "and be saved" (Vs 26)
Modern conspiracies try to overthrow both our temporal or spiritual freedom. They include:
- Organized crime/gangs who are strong enough to threaten the existence of major nations
- Government corruption - Bribes are common in many large and small nations worldwide
- White collar and financial crime effects people at all levels of society worldwide
- Purveyors of pornography - This scourge hides in the dark and harms many people. It gives "the devil power to captivate" his victims "to bring them down to hell" (2 Nephi 2:29).
- Promoters of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco - the Lord warns us against these "conspiring men in the last days" (D&C 89:4). These problems caused by these products are epidemic.
Godless conspiracies - President Benson warned us against what he termed godless conspiracies. He referred specifically to communism (Ensign, July 1972 Civic Standards for the Faithful Saints). Now the threat posed by godless conspiracies is stronger and more subtle. They come in the form of secularists, agnostics and atheists. President Boyd K. Packer said: "Atheists and agnostics make nonbelief their religion and today organize in unprecedented ways to attack faith and belief. They are now organized, and they pursue political power. You will be hearing much about them and from them" (Ensign, August 2010, Finding Ourselves in Lehi's Dream).
Elder Oaks in a landmark sermon entitled Religious Freedom given at BYU-Idaho, 13 Oct 2009 identified the two greatest threats to religious freedom in the United States today:
Secularists, agnostics, and atheists - First is "the ever growing, relentless attack on the Christian religion by forces who reject the existence or authority of God....Atheism's threat rises as it proponents grow in numbers and aggressiveness. 'By some counts,' an article in The Economist declares, 'there are at least 55 [million] declared non-believers in the world - enough to make the fourth-biggest religion.'"
Same-gender marriage movement - "A second threat to religious freedom is from those who perceive it to be in conflict with the newly alleged 'civil right' of same-gender couples to enjoy the privileges of marriage." The Supreme Court has now legalized same-sex marriage. In response the First Presidency reaffirmed that same-sex marriage is a serious sin. Some members disregard this council and chose to be “politically correct” when they should be more concerned about being “morally correct.”
Testimony – Moroni concludes his prophesy about secret combinations in the latter days with the promise that the evil caused by these secret conspiracies will be removed, that righteousness will prevail, and that the Lord's people will be blessed with eternal life: "Wherefore, I, Moroni, am commanded to write these things that evil may be done away, and that the time may come that Satan may have no power upon the hearts of the children of men, but that they may be persuaded to do good continually, that they may come unto the fountain of all righteousness and be saved" (Ether 8:26).