Archive for March, 2009

Dissent Continued: The M.O.

March 27, 2009

by Steven Montgomery

In my previous article I wrote about how the Secret Combinations in the Book of Mormon justified their wars with the Nephites and of capturing control of Nephite government by appealing to the wrongful Lamanite tradition that it was Nephi who had usurped their “right to the government,” and that they, the Secret Combinations, were simply trying to restore that right. I then compared this “right to the government” appeal to the claims of modern day Marxism which also seeks, according to them, to restore this right to them, so that they can then implement their perfect, classless Communist utopia. This article will examine deeper some of the aims, methods, tactics, and strategies–the modus operandi–if you will of the Secret Combinations in the Book of Mormon and attempt to draw parallels to our modern day society.

I’ve extrapolated the following verses from scripture, in sequential order, which deal in some way with how the Secret Combinations operated in the Book of Mormon:

Alma 8:17; 10:27; 30:6-53; 43:29,45; 46:4-7, 10; 47:4,8,18,24,30,35; 48:1,7; 51:2,5-8, 13; 62:9-10 61:4;

Helaman 1:7-12; 2:1-14; 3:23; 4:22; 6:17-41; 7:4-5, 25; 8:1-4,7; 10:6,11; 11:10,26

3 Nephi 1:27; 2:11-12, 17-19; 3:1-26; 6:21-30; 7:1-2; 9:9

4 Nephi 42

Mormon 8:27

Ether 8:9-26; 9:5-6

A great benefit of understanding can be gained by studying the above verses, either sequentially as I have listed them, or topically, or for an examination of literary structure or patterns, parallels, etc., or in various other study methods. What should not be overlooked in these various study methods is to simply study and examine how Secret Combinations operated among the Nephite and Jaredite civilizations. Let me share with you two insights I’ve gained by studying in this manner.

At the end of King Mosiah’s reign, the reign of the Judges was established. An integral part of this newly arranged state of affairs among the Nephites was the firm establishment of law, known as the “laws of Mosiah” (see Mosiah 29). Although the laws were in his name, Mosiah had been given the laws by God himself, who had commanded him to set them up among the people (see Helaman 4:22).

It is important to understand that by thus setting up God’s laws, the greatest amount of freedom would prevail among the people. For a detailed examination why see here.

The first insight therefore is that the “laws of Mosiah,” which were the basic building blocks of Nephite civilization, became a major focus of attack by the Secret Combinations. For instance, Alma was told by an “angel of the Lord” that there were those who sought to “destroy the liberty” of his people “contrary to “to the statutes, and judgments, and commandments” of Mosiah’s laws” (see Alma 8:14-17) and Amalickiah, a leader of the “dissenters” (see my previous article here) sought to destroy the “foundation of liberty” which was the laws that “God had granted unto them” (see Alma 46:10).

To accomplish this aim of destroying the law, the Secret Combinations sought to change “a few particular points of the law” so that a Kingship might be restablished “over the land” (see Alma 51:2,5) and that they sought to set at “defiance the law and the rights of their country” so that  “that the land should no more be at liberty but should be subject unto kings” (see 3 Nephi 6:30).

The second major insight is that the “dissenters,” Gadianton Robbers, or Secret Combinations, always sought control of the government for themselves. Mormon goes to great lengths, for instance, to convince us that these Secret Combinations sought:

  • to overthrow Nephite government and “establish a kingdom unto themselves (Alma 43:29)
  • power and authority among the people (Helaman 2:5)
  • power and authority over the people (Alma 51:8)
  • to gain power (Helaman 2:8)
  • to fill the judgment seats (Helaman 7:4)
  • to obtain the sole management of the government (Helaman 6:39)
  • to be held in office at the head of government (Helaman 7:5)
  • to establish a king over the land  (3 Nephi 6:30)

Later Mormon’s son Moroni explains that it was these secret combinations among the Nephites and Jaredites which led to the destruction of both of these civilizations.  And then Moroni warns us of a similar secret combination exisiting in the last days which would seek power and to overthrow the “freedom of all lands, nations, and countries” (see Ether 8:23-25).

Modern Prophets and Apostles have also warned us. Elder Bruce R. McConkie took special pains in his book, The Millenial Messiah, to note that the secret combination which Moroni was so adamant in warning us about was “one particular secret combination” which was a worldwide conspiracy–and so not merely a gang, the Mafia, or some other criminally focused secret combination. It would be “entrenched in many nations” and it would seek “dominion over all nations” (Bruce R. McConkie, The Millenial Messiah, p. 65-66). President Ezra Taft Benson testified that this particular secret combination would be “highly organized,” “cleverly disguised,” and “powerfully promoted” and that it was seeking to increase its “evil influence and control over America and the entire world” (President Ezra Taft Benson, General Conference, October 1988).

To sum up then, the secret combinations in the Book of Mormon develeloped a two prong attack:

  1. Overthrowing or corrupting the law
  2. seeking to gain total control of the government

Since Moroni saw our day (Mormon 8:34-35), maybe we should take serious the advice given by President Ezra Taft Benson as we study the Book of Mormon. That is to “constantly ask ourselves” as we study the Book of Mormon, “Why did the Lord inspire Mormon (or Moroni, or Alma) to include that in his record?” (Ezra Taft Benson, CR, October 1986, Ensign, November 1986, pgs. 6-7) Maybe its just possible that we might be part of that group which will bring the constitution (the law) back from the “brink of destruction” and “verge of destruction” as well as be the “staff upon which this nation shall lean” (Ezra Taft Benson, The Constitution: A Heavenly Banner, Deseret Book, 1986, p. 27-28).

Next Article: Exposing the Enemies of Christ: An examination of Alma 30.