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THINGS AS THEY ARE, WERE ARE TO COME
Living the Nephite Nightmare
(An Open Letter to all Latter-day Saints)
ANTHONY E. LARSON
) This monograph will further that approach by demonstrating that America has now crossed the final threshold . growing disdain for religion by public officials. A Harbinger For Our Time. I felt a book was needed which outlined and elaborated that thesis. This has been my thesis since the mid-1980s.THINGS AS THEY ARE. It was written over 20 years ago in response to then church president Ezra Taft Benson’s call to carefully and diligently re-examine the Book of Mormon. Following President Benson’s cue when he observed that we are the modern counterparts of the ancient Nephites. authenticating and validating that book and its thesis. Larson (An Open Letter to all Latter-day Saints) Trends in the United States since the early 1990’s reveal growing similarities between our society and the later stages of the Nephite civilization described in the Book of Mormon. They are remarkably alike. T he Book of Mormon is a prophecy for our time. when I wrote Parallel Histories: The Nephites and The Americans. I explored the thesis that our two cultures were more than superficially similar. the creation of laws that stray from the vision of the Constitution and growing class disparity. It didn’t end well for the Nephites. Several articles followed over the years. (See the four part series. It was my effort to comply with his earnest request. Because it was apparent that my fellow saints weren’t seeing the things that seemed obvious to me. in profound and meaningful ways. secrecy in government. These trends include the erosion of civil liberties. WERE AND ARE TO COME Living the Nephite Nightmare Copyright © 2009 Anthony E. updating.
Thus. judges. we move beyond the astonishing similarities identified in the original book’s presentation. We look beyond the Gadianton wars and equivalencies that allowed the accurate prediction that today’s terrorists would become our counterpart to the Nephite’s Gadianton robbers during the Clinton and Bush presidencies. the son of Helaman and their similarities to the Clinton presidency. The resemblance or similarities may be profoundly significant. that ye may . We move beyond the postwar economic boom that enriched both nations in their respective eras. We look beyond the ideological battles that characterized the campaign of the corrupt judges against Nephi.3 in our headlong rush to unknowingly duplicate Nephite history in our time. In this monograph. based in a largely industrialized and technology-oriented society. Their theater was restricted to a regional one. one caveat must be kept foremost in mind: While the two histories are similar. ours is national and international in scope. events in the two histories must be compared carefully—allowing that each will unfold in different ways. are fundamentally different from one another. Nephite and American. with many factors that were nonexistent in Nephite times. complete with its freedoms and justice. the next major parallel between our two cultures. We move beyond the resemblance of the last Lamanite/Nephite War to our Second World War. It is the failed internal struggle the Nephites fought to retain their representative form of government. We move beyond the identical moral and political corruption that ensued. yet they will display remarkable and significant similarities. Don’t expect an exact fit. Theirs was a simpler. Now we come to the crux of this monograph. Mosiah said it best: “Therefore. These differences are important to keep in mind. but the way events played out in Nephite times is unlikely to be identical to the way events play out in our time. displaying similar conditions and events. choose you by the voice of this people. agrarian-based society. When comparing the two cultures. The Nephite culture had been governed for generations by a representative form remarkably similar to our own. the two cultures. as we will do herein. ours is far more complex.
and which were given them by the hand of the Lord. ruling class within the Nephite nation decided that they wanted to set aside government by the voice of the people and replace it with a monarchy.4 be judged according to the laws which have been given you by our fathers. therefore this shall ye observe and make it your law — to do your business by the voice of the people. 14. 26. They don’t need to.” (Ibid.” (3 Nephi 6:10. though no one is trying to set up a monarchy. The will of the people is no longer of any concern to them. Progressivism (the newspeak term coined to replace the pejorative moniker. 6: 12.” (Ibid. and also many lawyers. … thus there became a great inequality in all the land.) Immediately. who have no desire to relinquish power.) Social equality dissolved. the wealthy.” (Mosiah 29: 25. “… and some were lifted up unto pride and boastings because of their exceedingly great riches. The time came. according to their riches … for there were many merchants in the land. The governing class has seen to it that our presidents will be “elected” from their ranks simply because a man of the people has no chance in the corrupt system set up by our politicians in the last half-century. A ruling class of elites. that the land should no more be at liberty but should be subject unto kings. . They have set rules that make it nearly impossible to unseat them. naturally. which are correct.) Mosiah’s observation later proved prophetic in the days of Third Nephi: it is nearly always a minority that wants to venture away from correct principles of governance. which would be indebted. 11. yea. has infiltrated our two-party system. but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right. to those of their elite status: “And they did set at defiance the law and the rights of their country … and to establish a king over the land.) Something strikingly similar seems to be happening before our very eyes today. and many officers. “Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right. when wealth led to pride and a division of Nephite society into classes. “And the people began to be distinguished by ranks. as it always does. 6:30. even unto great persecutions.
mainstream Americans. their personal behavior is often just the opposite. in spite of the fact that the founding fathers made just the opposite affirmation. Presidential associates and appointees. Today’s ideologues obviously seek to constrain religion in any way possible. While politicians give flowery lip service to individual rights. They espouse the philosophy that God should have nothing to do with government. insisting that the people not allow it to have any part in the operation of their government.) Many in our day have made the same decision.” The net effect of this initiative among the Nephite cultural elite was clearly manifest.5 “Liberal”) has come to dominate Washington. “And they did set at defiance the law and the rights of their country … that the land should no more be at liberty …” (Ibid. high priests and lawyers] did enter into a covenant one with another … to combine against all righteousness. In effect. all those who were lawyers were angry with those who testified of these things. They make every effort to marginalize and demean people of faith. for example.” (Ibid. those with this secular bent seek to divorce this nation from its religious or sectarian roots. “… to combine against all righteousness. . those who govern and their media minions angrily derided. and they who had been high priests and lawyers. So it was in Nephite times when “those who were angered were chiefly the chief judges. Religion has become the enemy of the Progressives in our day. yea. politicians (“lawyers” and “priests” in Nephite times) and government officials (“officers” in Nephite times) — should make decisions for us. with its doctrine that the “experts” from the elite social strata — such as corporate heads (“merchants” in Nephite times).” (Ibid. “And they [the angry chief judges. 6: 21. populated by ordinary. 6: 28. denounced and dismissed them as dangerously misguided malcontents. When recent protests. that there should be an impregnable firewall between government and religion so that governance cannot be informed by any religious creed or hegemony.) Third Nephi records how it transpired in his day.) Something appallingly similar seems to be afoot in our nation today. public service and moral rectitude. 6: 30. erupted around this country in order to make their voices heard.
None seem trustworthy any longer. No Nephite king was enthroned.” (Ibid.” (3 Nephi 7: 7.) However. in the form of the Gadianton robbers. Will this be our fate? “And the people were divided one against another. 7: 5. or like the sow to her wallowing in the mire. But “the regulations of the government were destroyed. every man according to his family and his kindred and friends. “And thus six years had not passed away since the more part of the people had turned from their righteousness. where the ammunition is words and the casualties are truth and justice. Unemployment is rising. perhaps. including the legislators themselves in some cases. This bodes well for the outcome of our similar state of affairs. and they did separate one from another into tribes.” (3 Nephi 7: 8. Our economy is staggering. . is that the chief judges. We’ve done an about-face almost as quickly as did our Nephite cousins. some even openly condemn America and its traditional values. to our allies and to our enemies. There is an unprecedented rush to pass questionable legislation. like the dog to his vomit. there was no warfare: “… there were no wars as yet among them. without due deliberation and consideration.) Contention is the order of the day in Washington. They united to defeat terrorism. Hypocrisy seems rampant in both political parties. what we have certainly feels like a war. But the net effect of the struggle utterly demolished their government. high priests and lawyers in Nephite times failed in their endeavor.6 are found to hold opinions that are blatantly contrary to constitutional principals and morality.) Yet.) Numerous pundits have commented on how quickly we have turned from our constitutional roots in recent years. Our leaders are sending conflicting messages to us. and it threatens to do so to ours as well. and thus they did destroy the government of the land. Our government seems to be descending into chaos amid an extraordinary level of acrimony and controversy. in their time. The good news for us.” (3 Nephi 7: 2. seems to know what provisions legislation contains or what it will cost. No one. … and they did cause great contention in the land. Our condition bears ominous similarities to that of the Nephites. a contest of wills for power and supremacy.
In effect. allows us to sort out the truth. Will we. live the Nephite nightmare? This viewpoint. . support the present movement away from constitutional principles where “the voice of the people” governs. provided by an analysis of Nephite history. subsequent events have moved rapidly to undermine our culture and our government. short years. At the same time. Mormon meant us to clearly see our time in this highly polished Nephite mirror. this discourse will strike a chord of recognition in those who truly embrace the Book of Mormon and the Restored Gospel. While the terrorist attack on the World Trade Towers immediately brought us together as a nation. The media.7 Then. the very cornerstone of our religion. Like the Nephites. and they will want to do something about it. it will be so now. It provides a certain compass we can use to steer a course through the present and coming chaos. He or she would have to deny the God given rights that Nephite prophets declared were vested in the people. the politicians and the pundits cannot misguide those of us who take the Book of Mormon as our guide. to see through the subterfuge. I am well aware that my position will infuriate some Latter-day Saints. we have gone from united to divided in a few. It was so with those who sought to undermine freedom and agency in Nephite times. So be it. too. Those who are so angered thereby betray their perfidy. They will see the remarkable similarities that mark the two histories. Surely.’ as Peter put it. It is the “more sure word of prophecy. He or she would have to first dismiss the Book of Mormon as irrelevant to our time. they would have to ignore the Book of Mormon. in good conscience. confusion and contradiction that dominate our present political discourse. our nation will suffer a fate equally grievous to that of the Nephites. Given this perspective. in a handful of years. speaking with one voice. It seems apparent that if we continue on our present course. they tore their nation apart from within. no LDS politician who truly believes the Book of Mormon to be the word of God can. Surely the inclusion of this tragic saga in the Nephite narrative was meant to warn us that we would suffer a similar outcome in our day.
It is time to declare our allegiance—either to God. has been set at naught by our indolence. who patiently carved their crucial message on precious plates of gold. We have the ignominious misfortune of watching the government of our nation self-destruct before our very eyes. What happens next is too terrible to contemplate. has predicted our fate. O Israel. agency and freedom or to watch our great nation follow those that have preceded us onto the scrapheap of failed nations down through history. read 3 Nephi. Read it. . your concept of the sanctity of agency requires that you get involved — “anxiously engaged” is the Lord’s terminology. If you care to know the details of what awaits us just around the corner. as a believing Mormon. The time for mincing words is far past. Of that I am certain. You must make that determination for yourself. meant to warn us of our national folly.8 So. But what I cannot tell you is ‘what’ you should do. And don’t think it couldn’t happen to us. First. you may ask. All I can add is to suggest you follow the counsel of President Spencer W. every prophet since the beginning of time. including the Savior himself. let alone rush to save our Constitution. “What can I do?” The answer is both easy and hard. while we scarcely lift a finger to oppose it. chapter 8. The diligence of those ancient prophets. the determination of a modern prophet to publish their revelation to the world at all odds and the repeated efforts of recent church leaders counseling us to re-read the Book of Mormon. just as did the Nephites. We failed to take note of a vital part of that sacred witness. O Zion. That sacred document has too long hung by a thread while we dally. As a result. saying that the Church is under condemnation for failure to do so. Judgement is now at our doorstep. the forces of evil and darkness are rapidly moving to grind it under the unforgiving foot of oppression and tyranny. and weep. Kimball: “Do it … now!” We Latter-day Saints have not heeded the lessons chiseled in the Nephite record.
blogspot.com/ Your questions or comments are welcome: anthonyelarson@gmail. newsletters and published books exploring this material in depth: http://www.mormonprophecy.com/ For online classes.9 For more essays from this series: http://mormonprophecy.com . videos.
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