A Destroyed Nation

A few weeks ago I was reading in the Book of Mormon how the Nephite nation was destroyed. I had remembered that the Chief Judge (highest office in the nation) had been murdered, but here’s the thing–that had happened before and the nation hadn’t fallen apart because of it.

There are 3 accounts of a Chief Judge being murdered recorded in the Book of Mormon, and all of them are attributed to a “band of robbers” who become known as the Gadiantons. The first murder is the beginning of this group.

For about 50 years this band grows and becomes an increasing threat to the Nephites, both externally as a force that must be fought though force of arms, but also internally, as a network of people that infiltrate the government at all levels. Notably, in the second murder of the Chief Judge, both the murderer and the victim are identified as belonging to the Gadiantons.

Despite the fact that the second Chief Judge to be murdered is actually a member of this evil band of robbers and usurpers, this does not destroy the Nephite nation. To me that is pretty astounding, and a testament to the stability of their government.

3 Nephi 7:1-2 explains briefly how the nation was destroyed. The Chief Judge is murdered. But again, that has happened before and the nation was able to continue. What was different this time is found in the second verse:

“And the people were divided one against another; and they did separate one from another into tribes”

3 Nephi 7:2 https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/scriptures/bofm/3-ne/7.2?lang=eng#2?lang=eng

We are approaching a contentious U.S. election, and both sides claim that the other won’t concede defeat. I find very little evidence of that, but I am concerned that over time we are continually getting to a point where each side truly believes that the other is evil–the “other side” is essentially this group of Gadiantons, seeking to destroy others for their own profit, and possibly for their own twisted pleasure in seeing others suffer.

The trouble is that there are good reasons why someone would choose to vote for Biden. There are also good reasons to vote for Trump. There are reasons to vote against both. I’m concerned that people are increasingly convinced that an entire half of the nation (of course it’s the “other” half) is a combination of exceptionally evil and exceptionally ignorant people.

The United States are very fortunate to have a surprisingly stable government. One that was designed with multiple layers of checks and balances such that an evil individual or even a group of individuals can only do so much (yes, that is being worn away, but it’s not nearly gone yet). However, when the people of our nation become so divided that everyone is convinced that the “other” is simply evil; that is when we are in danger of losing our nation.

Again, I don’t think we’re actually at that point yet. I am concerned that we are getting a little closer with each election. I myself and others take a little extra time to appreciate that everyone has different opinions, everyone has the right to express those opinions, and everyone gets to vote, and who they vote for does not make them an evil person.

Let’s be a little less “divided one against another”

General Conference Oct 2020

This weekend was General Conference. With all that was going on in the world/country right now I wanted to take a moment to jot down a few thoughts and highlights that jumped out at me:

  • Faithfulness is not foolishness or fanaticism
  • We often extoll but rarely emulate the Savior (are we too comfortable to pick up a heavy cross?)
  • You are good enough and loved, but not complete
  • We need to see each other deeply and be seen deeply
  • We can be a force to lift and bless the world
  • The US founding documents were inspired by God, even though written by imperfect men.
  • Excellent talk about temple recommends from Elder Rasband
  • We need to be more concerned about our duties than our rights
  • Amazing and balanced commentary on the current civil unrest by Elder Oaks. There are injustices that need to be resolved. Protesting is a good thing. Rioting is not.
  • Lots of talks discussed the evils of racism and prejudice
  • Lots of emphasis on preparation: spiritual, physical, emotional
  • We are all “us”, and we are all “them”
  • Our best days are ahead of us, not behind us
  • The US and other countries are at a critical crossroads; pray for your country and its leaders
  • Carest thou not that we perish? Jesus is in our boat
  • As we learn to control our thoughts, the power of the Spirit will be greater in our lives
  • Angels on this side of the veil–good hearted people who are willing to bless and help others (God is always looking for someone who is willing to help)
  • As faith in Jesus diminishes across the world, we need to be more willing to speak of Him.
  • Are we willing to let God prevail in our lives?
  • Search the scriptures and see what promises God has promised to Covenant Isreal
  • Bear your burdens with steady faith and help others to bear theirs
  • We can acknowledge afflictions yet still recognize that we have been highly favored of the Lord
  • Wake up and do something more than dream of your mansion above
  • You became a physician to heal people, not to judge them
  • As we repent and do justly, we come to love mercy
  • God expects us to address our public and personal issues. We must work and pray and wait–exercise diligence and patience
  • The Gospel is comforting; not comfortable
  • No spiritual blessing will be withheld from the righteous