“Secret Combinations”

K. Douglas Bassett

refer in this text to Hel. 1:11-12; Gospel Ideals, McKay, p. 306; Conference Report, Oct. 1961, pp. 70-72

“… traffickers in illegal drugs represent a modern-day example of the Gadianton robbers. The demand for these drugs must be cut off just as the Nephites cut off the food supply of the army of the robbers [3 Ne. 4:18, 20]… .
“Recent articles in Time (March 14, 1988) document the seriousness of the problems caused by drug traffickers. According to the article, among other things ‘70% of all local crimes (in Detroit) are drug related and 67% of a rising number of murders in Washington, D.C., are due to local drug wars.’ … Attorney General Edwin Meese said about the efforts by some countries in helping the U.S. stop the supply of drugs, ‘They are less than fully successful because of intimidation, bribery and corruption.’ And finally, Sterling Johnson, a special narcotics prosecutor in New York City, suggests, ‘Every American better just pray each night that we don’t lose [the war on drugs].’” (Terrence L. Szink, Studies in Scriptures, ed. by K. Jackson, 8:133,137)
“Among today’s secret combinations are gangs… . There are some simple things that we can do in our day to prevent others from drifting toward gangs and crime. We can avoid the temptation of being cliquish at school or at church. All of us can refrain from finding fault or alienating anyone by our words or actions. Nothing is more hurtful than to feel left out or made fun of. Therefore, we must never do anything that may drive others toward being accepted by a gang because they feel rejected by us… . Guard against spreading rumors or saying unkind things or allowing anything to occur that may hurt another. Make friends with your neighbors, watch out for each other, and help build a spirit of unity, peace, and love among them. These may seem like small things, but I assure you, … they … [will] be … effective in keeping people away from evil and crime… .” (M. Russell Ballard, Ensign, Nov. 1997, pp. 38-39)
“But the greatest handbook for freedom in this fight against evil is the Book of Mormon… . This most correct book on earth states that the downfall of two great American civilizations came as a result of secret conspiracies whose desire was to overthrow the freedom of the people. (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 as the greatest threat the Godless conspiracy. There is no conspiracy theory in the Book of Mormon—it is a conspiracy fact. This scripture [Ether 8:22] 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… . Moroni seemed greatly exercised lest in our day we might not be able to recognize the startling fact that the same secret societies which destroyed the Jaredites and decimated numerous kingdoms of both Nephites and Lamanites would be precisely the same form of criminal conspiracy which would rise up among the gentile nations in this day.” (Ezra Taft Benson, God, Family, Country, pp. 321-322)
“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 the falsehoods in socialism, organic evolution, rationalism, humanism, and so forth… . 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.” (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, pp. 60-61)

Latter-Day Commentary on the Book of Mormon