The Book of Mormon and America

(M B, January 15, 2006.)

The Jaredite Nation

It was in ancient times more than 4000 years ago. The earth had been flooded. The people all had one language and they became a unified people, at least in a political sense. Through wickedness not fully revealed to us, the Lord in his wrath, confused their tongues and scattered the people across the face of the whole earth. This is where we learn of the first nation since Adam that began on the American continent.

After the people at the tower were smitten and scattered, Jared asked his brother to cry to the Lord that he would have mercy on them and not confuse their tongues. It seems that Jared through the exercise of his faith gained an inspired foresight when he asked his brother “And who knoweth but the Lord will carry us forth into a land which is choice above all the earth?” (Ether 1:38)

So Jared had hope and the Brother of Jared went and cried to the Lord. And we know that the Lord did hear the brother of Jared and had compassion on him and made promises to him that he would lead them to a land “which is choice above all the lands of the earth.” And he promised to make them a great nation.

After arriving on our continent, the people wanted a king. The brother of Jared prophesied: “Surely this thing leadeth into captivity.” But he granted to the people what they wanted (which is also a common theme throughout the scriptures).

The people prospered under the reign of righteous kings until Moroni, abridging this record many centuries later, came to the inception of the secret combination early in their civilization during a time of political strife, which was started for the purpose of gaining power and dominion over men.

I can only imagine that he paused at the terrible importance of that event in the Jaredite record; he, having witnessed first hand the desolation of this abomination which utterly destroyed his people. He gave a lengthy explanation and warning saying “And it came to pass that they formed a secret combination, even as they of old; which combination is most abominable and wicked above all, in the sight of God.”

Throughout the centuries in the Jaredite nation, these works of darkness grew, scheming and murdering to obtain the head of their government sometimes taking temporary setbacks, until the record states “ great had been the spreading of this wicked and secret society that it had corrupted the hearts of all the people.” (Ether 9:6) and as a result the work of spreading the gospel slowed as the people rejected the words of the prophets. (Ether 11:22)

We know that, that once great nation was utterly destroyed. Coriantumr only was left long enough to witness another people inherit the land.

The Nephite Nation

Similarly, Lehi's family was given the opportunity to come to this land which the Lord covenanted with him likewise, that they who inherit this land should worship God or be swept off.

The people of Nephi also desired a King and established Nephi to be their king despite Nephi's desires to the contrary. The Nephite civilization prospered under the reign of the Kings until they saw the devastation that one iniquitous king could cause—embodied in the tyrannical rule of King Noah.

To avoid this problem in the future, through King Mosiah, the Lord saw fit to grant the people a free government. Mosiah devised a system of laws and judges who would judge the people by the law.

The Nephites revered King Mosiah much in the same way we revere George Washington. Because of his beneficence the scriptures say that the Nephites “did wax strong in love towards Mosiah; yea, they did esteem him more than any other man…they did esteem him, yea, exceedingly, beyond measure.” (Mosiah 29:40)

Like King Mosiah, George Washington was also very beloved by the people, and is seen as the Father of our great nation. President Washington was the only US president voted into the office with 100% of the popular and electoral votes.

The system of government that Mosiah established sounded like a republic, having a set of fixed laws by which government power was defined, and it says they did their business by the voice of the people.

Under the reign of the judges, there was some political strife which was soon corrected, and the people were completely responsible to see that the law which the Lord gave Mosiah was maintained. It was the altering of this law which Mormon later tells us caused the people to be ripened for destruction.

Forty years after the establishment of this free government, those who would destroy it realized that it could not be done by a frontal attack as was tried by Amalickiah, so they resorted to subterfuge and deception to gain the power they desired. We know that Kishkumen—who conspired with Gadianton and others—murdered the chief judge, who was head of their government.

As Mormon came to this point in Nephite history, he paused to give us this far reaching warning. He said: “And behold in the end of this book ye shall see that this Gadianton did prove the overthrow, yea almost the entire destruction of the people of Nephi. Behold I do not mean the end of the book of Helaman, but I mean the end of the book of Nephi, from which I have taken all the account which I have written.”

Through the spreading of corruption the people were persuaded to alter their law. In Helaman it says: “And…they had altered and trampled under their feet the law of Mosiah, or that which the Lord commanded him to give unto the people; and they saw that their laws had become corrupted, and that they had become a wicked people....therefore they were ripening for destruction for the laws had become corrupted.” (Helaman 4:22, 5:2)

Here Mormon tells us that because the law was corrupted their nation was ripening for destruction. A French statesman in the early 1800’s, Frederic Bastiat, wrote an excellent treatise on government entitled The Law. He stated that the nature of law is to maintain justice. He said:

This is so much the case that, in the minds of the people, law and justice are one and the same thing. There is in all of us a strong disposition to believe that anything lawful is also legitimate…and many persons have erroneously held that things are “just” because the law makes them so. Thus, in order to make plunder appear just and sacred to many consciences, it is only necessary for the law to decree and sanction it. (p. 9)

Can we see how an altering of the law can cause also a change in perception of what justice is? And that by following that course reap destruction?

In a period of just over twenty years, this combination which began among the more wicked part of the people overspread the entire land of the Nephites until the scriptures state that “it had seduced the more part of the righteous until they had come down to believe in their works and partake of their spoils...” (Helaman 6:38)

How did this secret society seduce the righteous, or how did the righteous begin to “believe in their works and partake of their spoils”? In the May 1975 Ensign, President Ezra Taft Benson warned us of an outgrowth of these secret combinations. He said

Our families may be corrupted by worldly trends and teachings unless we know how to use the [Book of Mormon] to expose and combat the falsehoods [of] socialism… [And he continued:] And our nation will continue to degenerate unless we read and heed the words of the God of this land, Jesus Christ, and quit building up and upholding the secret combinations which the Book of Mormon tells us proved the downfall of both previous American civilizations.

He said we were doing it. He was speaking to members of the Church.

It is easy to see how otherwise righteous people are able to believe in and partake of the spoils of a system of government known as socialism—which is robbery—or plunder, which is foreign to the Constitution.

Conclusion to the Nephites and Jaredites

Of the downfall of these two American nations, President Hinckley stated last August:

The Book of Mormon narrative is a chronicle of nations long since gone. But in its descriptions of the problems of today's society, it is as current as the morning newspaper and much more definitive, inspired, and inspiring concerning the solutions of those problems.

I know of no other writing which sets forth with such clarity the tragic consequences to societies that follow courses contrary to the commandments of God. Its pages trace the stories of two distinct civilizations that flourished on the Western Hemisphere. Each began as a small nation, its people walking in the fear of the Lord. But with prosperity came growing evils. The people succumbed to the wiles of ambitious and scheming leaders who oppressed them with burdensome taxes, who lulled them with hollow promises, who countenanced and even encouraged loose and lascivious living. These evil schemers led the people into terrible wars that resulted in the death of millions and the final and total extinction of two great civilizations in two different eras.

Our Nation

We don't have a scriptural record of the advent of our nation, however there is much that attests to the righteousness of the people who were led.

Our fathers won the war and they became independent. And because they established limited government under the Constitution, they became free. Of this Constitution, the Lord declared in the Doctrine and Covenants “…whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil.” (D&C 98:7) Wilford Woodruff later saw the sprits of these men in the St. George temple. They came to him, and in a kind of rebuke, asked why nothing in the way of ordinance work had been done for them. They said:

We laid the foundation of the government you now enjoy, and we never apostatized from it, but we remained true to it and were faithful to God. (Wilford Woodruff JD, 19:229. September 16, 1877, Emphasis Added)

And we have been warned. Moroni said that we would received the Book of Mormon that we might not be destroyed if we would heed it—if we would learn from their mistakes. He said that “God that he hath made manifest unto you our imperfections, that ye may learn to be more wise than we have been.” (Mormon 9:31)

Unless we understand the Constitution we will be unable to know the threats to our liberty when we see them.

Way back in 1949 J. Reuben Clark warned us saying:

Reduced to its lowest terms, the great struggle which now rocks the whole earth more and more takes on the character of a struggle of the individual versus the state. . . . Do not think that all these usurpations, intimidations, and impositions are being done to us through inadvertency or mistake, the whole course is deliberately planned and carried out; its purpose is to destroy the Constitution and our Constitutional government....We have lost the conflict so far waged. But there is time to win the final victory, if we sense our danger, and fight. (J. Reuben Clark America Faces Freedom-Slavery Issue, Church News. September 25, 1949)

This is exactly what George Washington meant when he warned us: “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master.”

When we allow our government to go beyond it’s Constitutional mandate—as it severely has—we are at fault and we need to repent. Our laws have been altered by an unseen hand as President Clark told us. Our nation continues to degenerate under any party leadership, under any majority.

We have been promised the Church will go forward, but at what cost? President J. Reuben Clark said:

Brethren…I say unto you with all the soberness I can, 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, heavy as our sacrifices and grievous as our persecutions of the past have been. (J. Reuben Clark Conference Report, p 116. April 1944)

Now that was in the 40’s What about today? During the same time that the people of the world were celebrating the “collapse” of communism, this is what a prophet of God had to say:

I testify that wickedness is rapidly expanding in every segment of our society. 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. (Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign. November 1988)

Moroni, who said “Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing” gave us specific key warnings. He was writing only to us, he was—as he tells us—alone, his people destroyed. As he was finishing the translation of the Jaredite record, he saw fit to pause and give us these words of warning and instruction:

And it came to pass that they formed a secret combination, even as they of old; which combination is most abominable and wicked above all, in the sight of God.

And they have caused the destruction of this people of whom I am now speaking [the Jaredites], and also the destruction of the people of Nephi.

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 18-24)

And then he gave us a key by which to identify it. He said:

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… (Ether 8:25)

He warned us that this combination would seek world-wide power; world-wide dominion and subjugation; in other words, a tyrannical world-government.

It is my testimony that what Moroni said is true, that it is among us, and that we need to wake up; that we are faced with a conspiracy to separate us from our free government, a conspiracy which the popular fury of the American public almost awoke sufficiently to overthrow on at least two occasions.

There was another general conference talk by President Benson devoted to how the priesthood—like Gulliver—has been reduced to a sleeping giant. It detailed many lies that Satan uses to make us inert. The last lie being:

And now as to the last neutralizer that the devil uses most effectively—it is simply this: “Don't do anything in the fight for freedom until the Church sets up its own specific program to save the Constitution.” Maybe the Lord will never set up a specific church program for the purpose of saving the Constitution. Perhaps if he set one up at this time it might split the Church asunder, and perhaps he does not want that to happen yet for not all the wheat and tares are fully ripe. (Ezra Taft Benson, Conference Report, Afternoon Meeting, p. 125, April 1965)

Brothers and Sisters we are far from the form of government our founding fathers gave us and President Clark and other prophets have told us that this has been no mistake, but “the whole course is deliberately planned and carried out.”

The prophecy of Joseph Smith most often quoted by the prophets today reads:

“Even this nation will be on the very verge of crumbling to pieces and tumbling to the ground, and when the Constitution is upon the brink of ruin, this people will be the staff upon which the nation shall lean, and they shall bear the Constitution away from the very verge of destruction” (Joseph Smith as recorded by Martha Jane Knowlton Coray; ms. in Church Historian’s Office, Salt Lake City. July 19, 1840)

What a tremendous responsibility we have upon us, and a tremendous privilege.


In closing, I’d like to say, how often are we too afraid to look at the truth because it is negative. Or put acting on it off, or only looking at the “bright side” of things. Joseph Smith stated “Thy mind, O man! …must stretch as high as the utmost heavens, and search into and contemplate the darkest abyss

There are many who, seeing the danger, defeat themselves and declare that it is too late. Others refuse to see, and just know everything will work out. In his famous oration at St. John’s Church, Patrick Henry addressed the faulty arguments of both of these. Said he:

[I]t is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth…Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst and to provide for it. (Patrick Henry, 1775)

Much of what is contained in the scriptures is not pleasant, but if it was not important for us to understand, it would not have been given to us. When the Nephites found and translated the Jaredite record we read that this account caused “the people [of Nephi] mourn exceedingly, yea, they were filled with sorrow.” This record that they obtained was not uplifting but they did not shrink and ignore it. Mormon said “nevertheless it gave them much knowledge, in the which they did rejoice.”