Noah, Nephi, and Today

I really wasn’t sure what to write about today.  I have had a few ideas but couldn’t decide.  Then as I read from the Book of Mormon during our family devotional time this evening, I knew what I had to write about.  But before I offer my insights from the Book of Mormon, please take a moment to watch this video.

For some more information and insights into the video, check out Kathryn Skagg’s blog.

After watching that video, I was impressed by what our family read during our devotional.  We read Helaman 7.  The verses the particularly struck me were verses 4-6.  I will copy them here:

4 And seeing the people in a state of such awful wickedness, and those Gadianton robbers filling the judgment-seats—having usurped the power and authority of the land; laying aside the commandments of God, and not in the least aright before him; doing no justice unto the children of men;

5 Condemning the righteous because of their righteousness; letting the guilty and the wicked go unpunished because of their money; and moreover to be held in office at the head of government, to rule and do according to their wills, that they might get gain and glory of the world, and, moreover, that they might the more easily commit adultery, and steal, and kill, and do according to their own wills—

6 Now this great iniquity had come upon the Nephites, in the space of not many years;

As my wife was reading these verses I was struck with how well this describes today. Let’s look at it more closely.

And those Gadianton robbers filling the judgment-seats—having usurped the power and authority of the land. I think it is very obvious that many of our leaders in this world are corrupt. We have judges who legislate from the bench.  And many of our leaders feel they are above the law, because they are the law.  One example might be Senator Craig who found himself in trouble for soliciting in a public bathroom.

Laying aside the commandments of God, and not in the least aright before him. We currently have a system that believes that a moral basis for law is unethical.  They no longer want to look to the Bible (or any other religious texts) for information on how we might govern should govern ourselves, because then we are imposing our will on others.  They are forgetting that it isn’t my will.  It is God’s will.

Doing no justice unto the children of men. There are so many ways that this is happening today.  Starting with the stimulus package of President Obama which will place a terrible financial burden on our children and ending with abortion, our children are hurting sorely for justice.

Condemning the righteous because of their righteousness. Again there are countless examples of this today.  In a very public way this is seen by those who are against gay marriage.  They are publicly and viciously condemned.  To a more individual front, where people proudly display a sticker in their truck window that says “SINNER.”  Our society truly calls good evil and evil good.

Letting the guilty and the wicked go unpunished because of their money. I don’t think you need to go much further than Hollywood or even Washington D.C. to find examples of evil getting off without punishment because they have a little money.  I will site O. J. Simpson as one example, and leave you to come up with more.

Letting the guilty and the wicked . . . [hold] office at the head of government, to rule and do according to their wills, that they might get gain and glory of the world, and, moreover, that they might the more easily commit adultery, and steal, and kill, and do according to their own wills. As I discussed this with my wife, she mentioned President Clinton.  I thought of the recent acts of the Governor of South Carolina, Mark Sanford.  Theft is also rampant amongst many of our nations leaders.

And last, but certainly not least, actually probably quite the opposite.  So, last and perhaps the most important point: Now this great iniquity had come upon the Nephites, in the space of not many years. Nephi wrote this in approximately 26 B.C.  This was roughly 50 years after the height of the Nephite nation in Ancient America.  After Mosiah had established a society ruled by judges and the voice of the people, instead the dictatorial rule of previous kings.

Let’s compare this to American history.  Roughly 50 years ago, life was good in America.  Freedom was strong, we had struggled through several battles, just like the Nephites, but everything seemed like Ozzie and Harriet.

Then the “60’s revolution” took place.  The 60’s was a rebellion against the morality of their parents.  It was a time of throwing of the shackles of religion and tradition.  Now we see ourselves fighting for freedom from an oppressive government just like the ancient Nephites.

History has repeated itself in the past; the Nephite were like the time of Noah.  History is repeating itself; we are like the Nephites.  I don’t wish to be an apocolitic person.  It really isn’t in my nature.  But the signs of the times are now.  We must do as the video above suggests; we must prepare.  We must prepare both spiritually and temporally.  I am more convinced of that today than I ever have been.

2 comments

  1. There is no question that there was a major cultural shift in the 60s-70s. However, it is somewhat naive to assert that the kinds of governmental corruption discussed here were any less prevalent in the years prior to that shift than they are today.

    Philandering politicians were a dime a dozen back in the first half of the 20th Century. But their personal lives were much less public. Nobody batted an eye at the adulterous FDR or JFK, but the average American didn’t know much about it. This is even true for those looking back at these men in an historical sense.

    What is now perhaps more common than before the cultural revolution is that people wear their sins in public; some proudly so. Back in the ‘good old days’ people kept their sins under the covers. What is not now tolerated, however, are those that claim to support traditional cultural mores while privately acting opposite of such.

    In some ways, this is better. You can now see people’s intentions and actions more openly. This generates more information about the consequences of choices and helps guide one’s choice making.

    In the scripture section you cite, Nephi was in a special position. Having previously been the Chief Judge (during a period of upheaval and war), he knew well the inner workings of government. He had left the position “because they who chose evil were more numerous than they who chose good” (Hel. 5:2). Perhaps this means he was voted out or forced out by opposition parties.

    He went on a mission out of the country for a few years. After he returned he saw how much the government had changed during his absence. Again, his perspective was particularly useful because he knew what government used to look like from the inside. It couldn’t have been all good, but now it was so much worse — blatantly so. At least from someone that was able to see and understand the government’s inner workings. Many around him didn’t seem to sense what was going on.

    As I study American history, I see a continual stream of the same kinds of governmental corruption that we see today, including tyranny, mismanagement, payoffs, and even judicial activism. Every age has seemed to be worse than the previous one, but perhaps it would be more correct that each age is only worse in some ways and yet better in others.

    I think that this kind of continuum is supposed to be the way it’s going to work until the Second Coming. While there will be catastrophic events in some places over a period of time, in many places people will be thinking everything is just normal. Life will be going on as normal until the day overtakes them “as a thief in the night.”

    1. I didn’t mean to imply that this kind of corruption hasn’t been around before. In fact even in Book of Mormon history such corruption has been continual. I didn’t intend on implying that the 60’s was the beginning of all troubles in America. I simply wished to point to it as the beginning of our modern change (similar to Nephi’s experience).

      And Michael Medved in his new book titled Ten Big Lies About America, would completely agree with you on your thoughts that things are probably getting better. However, I have to take exception to this. I just doesn’t feel right to me. Things are getting worse, and it is getting scarier and scarier the more that I think about it. And now is the time to prepare.

      Thanks for adding further insight into my study of this subject. Nephi’s involvement in government does play an important role in his thought process. I was originally going to liken Nephi to Glenn Beck, however you have helped me to see that I might have been mistaken. However, I do see some interesting parallels between the two.

So, What do you think?