Monday, June 27, 2022

Destruction, Part 7: Murder and Gain

Wherefore, O ye gentiles, it is wisdom in God that these things should be shewn unto you, that thereby ye may repent of your sins and suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you — which are built up to get power and gain — and the work, yea, even the work of destruction come upon you, yea, even the sword of the justice of the eternal God shall fall upon you to your overthrow and destruction if ye shall suffer these things to be.

—Ether 3:18 RE

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 |Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8

When Christ came to the Nephites at Bountiful, he came to the surviving remnant of a destroyed nation. Indeed, so great had been the Nephite destruction that the people who came to Bountiful to keep the required feast “were marveling and wondering one with another, and were shewing one to another the great and marvelous change which had taken place” (3 Nephi 5:1 RE). These changes were to the city, the landscape, even the very geography as fire, tempest, earthquake, floods, and volcanic eruptions had wiped out the wicked. 

But this particular destruction didn’t start as it ended, with natural disasters and entire cities laid waste in a moment. No, after the many ups and downs of the “Nephite pride cycle” this final destruction was ushered in by degrees at the beginning, and by something far more mundane than a massive display of nature’s power. 

What destroyed the Nephites was an idea—nothing more, and nothing less. Those who accepted and acted on the idea ultimately caused the deaths of millions and the destruction of an entire nation. The pen is indeed mightier than the sword, and ideas are more powerful than armies. We’ll get to the idea in due course, but first, let’s consider some history.

Dogs and Vomit

To understand the roots of the destruction before Christ’s coming, we should start with the day Christ was born. As you may recall, the faithful awaited Samuel’s sign of a night without darkness, while the wicked set a deadline for the sign to be given, or else all believers would be murdered. The miraculous sign that followed caused a general repentance, and nearly all the Nephites were converted to the Lord; but it didn’t last. 

Within three years, 

...the people began to forget those signs and wonders which they had heard, and began to be less and less astonished at a sign or a wonder from Heaven, insomuch that they began to be hard in their hearts and blind in their minds…And thus did Satan get possession of the hearts of the people again, insomuch that he did blind their eyes and lead them away to believe that the doctrine of Christ was a foolish and a vain thing.” (3 Nephi 1:8 RE)

Not many years later, the Gaddianton robbers had convinced and converted so many of the Nephites and Lamanites that they felt sufficiently powerful to make a play for the entire Nephite nation. It was only the righteousness of the Nephite Chief Judge, Lachoneous, that saved the nation from utter destruction. He gathered the people into one defensive body and declared repentance:

Yea, he said unto them, As the Lord liveth, except ye repent of all your iniquities and cry unto the Lord, that they would in no wise be delivered out of the hands of those Gaddianton robbers. And so great and marvelous were the words and prophecies of Lachoneus that they did cause fear to come upon all the people; and they did exert themselves in their might to do according to the words of Lachoneus. (3 Nephi 2:4 RE)

So complete were the preparations and so thorough the repentance that the gathered Nephites met the Gaddianton robbers in the strength of the Lord, repelled them for several years, and ultimately defeated them. They then caused the gospel to be preached among the vanquished robbers, resulting in the complete conversion of all the land. Here’s a description of the repentant Nephites that re-established peace:

And now behold, there was not a living soul among all the people of the Nephites who did doubt in the least the words of all the holy prophets which had been spoken, for they knew that it must needs be that they must be fulfilled. And they knew it must be expedient that Christ had come, because of the many signs which had been given according to the words of the prophets. And because of the things which had come to pass already, they knew it must needs be that all things should come to pass according to that which had been spoken. Therefore, they did forsake all their sins, and their abominations, and their whoredoms, and did serve God with all diligence, day and night. (3 Nephi 2:14 RE)

The miraculously established peace among these repentant people didn’t quite last four years. Soon, “some were lifted up unto pride and boastings…the people began to be distinguished by ranks…there became a great unequality in all the land, insomuch that the church began to be broken up…” and ultimately:

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. And thus Satan did lead away the hearts of the people to do all manner of iniquity; therefore, they had not enjoyed peace but a few years. …they were in a state of awful wickedness. Now they did not sin ignorantly, for they knew the will of God concerning them, for it had been taught unto them; therefore, they did willfully rebel against God. (3 Nephi 3:3 RE)

Into this dire circumstance the Lord sent prophets, “preaching and testifying boldly of the sins and iniquities of the people, and testifying unto them concerning the redemption which the Lord would make for his people, or in other words, the resurrection of Christ; and they did testify boldly of his death and sufferings.” (3 Nephi 3:4)

This preaching, as it always does, angered the wicked, who responded by killing the prophets and forming a secret combination:

And they did enter into a covenant one with another, yea, even into that covenant which was given by them of old, which covenant was given and administered by the Devil to combine against all righteousness. Therefore, they did combine against the people of the Lord and enter into a covenant to destroy them and to deliver those who were guilty of murder from the grasp of justice which was about to be administered according to the law. (3 Nephi 3:5)

And now we’ve arrived at the idea I said we would reach in due course. It was put most plainly in the beginning, by none other than the original murderer, Cain: 

And Cain says, Truly I am Mahon, the master of this great secret — that I may murder and get gain; wherefore, Cain was called Master Mahon. (Genesis 3:9 RE)

It’s easy to consider this idea dismissively, as if it were so obvious. Yeah, you can kill someone and steal their stuff. This may be true enough, but such is the domain of amateurs and petty criminals. Cain, under the guidance of Lucifer, had a much greater goal in mind than merely obtaining property through murder. Ultimately, it was about gaining control over human souls. Cain’s murder was an attempt to displace Abel from the birthright position so that Cain could follow Adam as head of the human family with dominion over the earth. 

Naturally, Cain’s plan failed, as the outcome he sought could only be obtained in righteousness, but it didn’t keep him from laying out his secret plans in ways to inspire mankind to murder for the next 6000 years. 

Now, back to the Nephites. Here’s what happened next:

And they did set at defiance the law and the rights of their country. And they did covenant one with another to destroy the governor and to establish a king over the land, that the land should no more be at liberty, but should be subject unto kings. Now behold, I will shew unto you that they did not establish a king over the land, but in this same year, yea, the thirtieth year, they did destroy upon the judgment seat, yea, did murder the chief judge of the land. And the people were divided one against another and they did separate one from another into tribes, every man according to his family, and his kindred, and friends; and thus they did destroy the government of the land. (3 Nephi 3:5-6 RE)

The wicked combination intended to overthrow the current government and establish a king by murdering the chief judge. What they didn’t bank on was that the government had already been so weakened, and the fabric of society so frayed through wickedness that the murder of the chief judge—rather than resulting in a new government—resulted in no government at all. The people broke up into tribes and banded together for survival. 

And all this iniquity had come upon the people because they did yield themselves unto the power of Satan. And the regulations of the government were destroyed because of the secret combination of the friends and the kindreds of those who murdered the prophets. And they did cause a great contention in the land…and thus six years had not passed away since the more part of the people had turned from their righteousness, like the dog to his vomit or like the sow to her wallowing in the mire. (3 Nephi 3:6 RE)

The Nephites remained in this general state of wickedness and societal destruction for the next three years until the natural disasters at Christ’s death overtook and annihilated the wicked. Regarding those who had destroyed the government by murdering the chief judge, the Lord said the following: 

And behold, that great city Jacob-ugath, 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. Therefore, I did cause them to be burned to destroy them from before my face, that the blood of the prophets and the saints should not come up unto me anymore against them. (3 Nephi 4:6 RE)

Chief Judges

In considering this particular round of Nephite destruction, it’s perhaps tempting to think the chief judge’s murder was a new idea, tried out by desperate revolutionaries in hopes of establishing a king. But this isn’t the case at all. Of the 12 named chief judges in the 90-plus-year history of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi, fully five of them were murdered in office—always by secret combinations, always for the purpose of getting gain, and twice causing governmental collapse. That’s nearly half, folks. Might there be a lesson there for us? 

Here’s what I take from it: Those who submit themselves to Satan ultimately lust for power and control over others. This power lust drives increasingly desperate actions against any who stand in the way of the ambitious, until the ultimate solution presents itself to their minds: Murder those who stand in your way, and you will gain what you seek. 

The history of humanity most certainly bears this out. Those seeking power, wealth, gratification of lust, and control of the institutions that could deliver all these things have bathed the world in blood nearly continually, ever since Cain first demonstrated the technique. 

The pattern is SO strong, SO pervasive, SO commonly acted out on stages both public and private, that this idea explains nearly all murders committed among all humanity for the last 6000 years. 

And now I, Moroni, do not write the manner of their oaths and combinations, for it hath been made known unto me that they are had among all people; and they are had among the Lamanites. And they have caused the destruction of this people of whom I am now speaking, and also the destruction of the people of Nephi. 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; for the Lord will not suffer that the blood of his saints which shall be shed by them shall always cry unto him from the ground for vengeance upon them and yet he avengeth them not. (Ether 3:18 RE, emphasis mine)

Indeed if such plans are had among all people, they are certainly had in our nation and in our day. Given the prophecies already upon us, and those that will shortly be fulfilled, we should not be surprised to find we are the most murderous of any people ever to exist.

Whoa, there’s an assertion for you. 

Blood of the Innocents

As I write this, our nation is wracked with a massive upheaval threatening what’s left of our societal stability and rule of law. The Supreme Court of the United States just overturned a 50-year-old, poorly reasoned, tortuously applied ruling that an implied right to privacy constituted a right to abortion at will. Or in plainer terms, the Supreme Court ruled that abortion is an issue for the states to settle through legislation at the state level. There is not now, and never has been a Constitutional “right” to abortion.

This certainly doesn’t end the legacy of killing the unborn in our country, but it brings the current chapter to a close, after the deaths of some 63 million unborn children, almost universally for the “gain” of those sponsoring, choosing, and performing the killing. 

Rather than dwell on the horrific legacy of abortion in our nation, or the affront and offense it is to our Heavenly Parents, I’ll instead focus on the actions of those participating in this combination. The pending Supreme Court opinion was intentionally leaked in early May—a breach so egregious that it has never happened before in our nation’s history. Since that time, those in favor of killing the unborn have become increasingly angry, violent, and unwilling to be governed.  

After the leak, pregnancy centers were vandalized. Demonstrations were organized. Open threats were issued against those who would dare suggest the killings ought to stop, or even be regulated by the states. The coming ruling was mischaracterized in the most inflammatory language possible, outright lies were published and repeated about it, and politicians, governments, media organizations, celebrities, and corporations all sought to use any means possible to intimidate both the Supreme Court and the nation, perhaps hoping enough fear would cause the court to change the opinion before it was officially published. 

In response, the moon hid her face on the night of May 15-16, in the longest lunar eclipse of this century. The last blood moon of this duration took place 33 years ago, in 1989. Perhaps take notice of that 33-year span.

In the run-up to the release of the Court’s opinion, we witnessed the Summer Solstice with its zenith of maximum light, commencing the gradual loss of light now underway. A few days later, we saw the alignment of all 5 visible planets in a rare viewing event. Curiously, the best day for their viewing featured the waning crescent Moon between Venus and Mars (standing in for Earth in the planetary order.) The fact that the Moon was a waning crescent demonstrates before all the assembled planetary heavenly hosts that the Earth is losing light. The Moon’s testimony, in relation to events on the ground, is ominous. 

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That very day, the Supreme Court issued its unchanged opinion, striking down Roe v. Wade and though many celebrated this monumental decision, the far more vocal, angry, graphic, vulgar, loud, noticeable, media-promoted demonstrations were by the pro-killing crowd. There was no civil, reasoned discussion or debate of this matter. Why engage in an intellectual discussion of case law, legal precedent, federalism, states rights, biology, fetal development, women’s rights, religion, godliness, morality, or any of the myriad other important facets of this question, when you can instead paint a vulgar sign, smear your crotch with red paint, and scream obscenities at peaceful passers-by while you vandalize a church to show your disdain for life and law all while standing in a state that still allows abortion!? 

  • We witnessed national elected representatives calling the Supreme Court illegitimate, and openly calling for its dissolution and the destruction of our constitutional government.
  • We witnessed politicians stating they would simply refuse to obey laws with which they disagreed, including laws that limit killing the unborn. 
  • We witnessed vandalism, burning and bombing of churches, medical facilities, pregnancy care centers, and pro-life organizations, most concentrated in states where abortion is still allowed and promoted.
  • We witnessed open calls for a national split, civil war, or at least violence against any who believe in the sanctity of life. 
  • We witnessed ongoing personal threats and verbal attacks against the Supreme Court Justices, which included publishing their home addresses and organizing demonstrations at their homes (which is blatantly and directly against federal law, but was not prosecuted and is instead openly promoted by the current White House administration.)
  • We witnessed holders of high public office proclaiming from the steps of the Supreme Court that the Justices must suffer consequences for their rulings. 
  • In summary, we witnessed public calls for violence against the chief judges. The baby killers are now vocally promoting the assassination of various Justices, and even their families. 

Murder to Get Gain

In short, those most interested in murdering to get gain have done the math, considered the makeup of the court, realize the impact of a single changed vote, and are now calling for the murder of a chief judge. At least one assassin set out with the intent and means to do just that, before ultimately being apprehended and charged. This ought to come as a gut kick to anyone who believes the warnings in the Book of Mormon. It certainly did to me. The death of one chief judge is as likely to upend our government and society as it was to upend the Nephite nation. And we know how that turned out.

What I found most shocking was not that abortion supporters are calling for the murder of a Supreme Court Justice, but rather that they are being so public about it. Guys, it’s supposed to be a secret combination—remember? What, haven’t you read the book?

A recent poll by the leftist Southern Poverty Law Center found broad support for political violence, most particularly among younger people. Take a look at their findings, below:

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As you can see, the under-50 demographic of both major political parties expresses impressive levels of support for political assassinations, with nearly half of respondents among some demographics in favor. Such poll numbers ought to have Lucifer positively giddy with excitement. Hell, he’s polling even better than the president. 

All sarcasm aside, it’s clear we’re in deep trouble. Though overturning Roe v. Wade was certainly a positive step, it was taken by the same court that widely refused to consider the rights of those who object to forced experimental vaccination on religious grounds. Far from being the harbinger of a better future for society, it appears that the true legacy of the decision may ultimately have little to do with halting abortion, and far more to do with creating greater division, violence and destruction in what’s left of our nation. 

The pre-crucifixion Nephite nation, in a whiplash-inducing swing went from full conversion and righteousness to vile wickedness, loss of government, tribalism and ripeness for destruction in two years. Three years after that, the wicked were all wiped out. 

And it all fell apart with a single idea: murder to get gain. Sadly, that idea is now more popular than ever.

178 Years Ago

Having examined the ancient pattern established by Lucifer as a secret combination, its fundamental tenet of murder to get gain, and its modern application as the train careens wildly down the mountain toward the curve in the tracks, we should not fail to notice the pattern of murder among the religious. Just as killing political opponents often appears to the wicked as a solution to their problems and the path to gaining what they seek, so also it has always appeared to religious authorities as the path to freedom, power, control and wealth. 

True prophets have ever been threatened, abused, and killed for doing nothing other than teaching the truth. Because truth threatens the false institutions and power structures that have accumulated wealth and power, truth tellers become targets of the ambitious, the proud, the lustful, and the fearful. This played out 178 years ago today in an upper-floor room of a jailhouse in Carthage, Illinois, where two prophets sent by God to speak truth were murdered by a secret combination that lied about the deaths and gained a legacy of power, control, unbridled lust, and untold wealth built on the blood of the dead witnesses. 

Enough truth remained after the Smith brothers were gone to maintain a flicker in a darkening world. The Book of Mormon is a light that will not, indeed cannot, be extinguished, and together with the other revelations that came through Joseph and Hyrum Smith, truth gained a foothold in this fallen place. Their deaths were not in vain and will remain so as long as believers seek to rise up and know the God that manifested himself through these two witnesses. 

They trod the path that we must now follow. They laid the foundation upon which we must now build. Although the institution they left behind was immediately hijacked and corrupted by the very combination that conspired to kill them, enough of the truths they taught endured and caught the attention of others who would carry the work forward. The God of Heaven has now made a bonafide offer to continue what they started, rescue us from destruction and gather us to safety and peace. We are invited to know him as the Smith brothers did. Lucifer’s murderous combinations have reigned far too long with blood and horror on this earth.

I began this post by stating that when Christ came to the Nephites at Bountiful, he came to the surviving remnant of a destroyed nation. In the next and final installment we will consider the Lord’s promises, the current remnant, the destroyed nation, and how to be present when the Lord comes. The Book of Mormon is, after all, more prophecy than history.

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 woe 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 build it up.

—Ether 3:18 RE