The Book of Mormon Warns America

Elder Ezra Taft Benson. The Book of Mormon Warns America. An address given to the Brigham Young University studeny body. May 21, 1968.

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Humbly and gratefully I stand before you. I am not here today to tickle your ears, to entertain you. The message I bring is a very serious one. It may not be popular with everyone, but it is the truth–and time is on the side of truth.

Because of the nature of the message , I have committed it to writing, and because our time is limited, I will proceed immediately to the subject, which is “The Book of Mormon Warns America.”

The Book of Mormon

The eighth Article of Faith of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reads as follows:

We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.

It is because of our belief in the Book of Mormon, along with the Bible, that we were nicknamed “Mormons.”

The Restoration of the Gospel

On a spring day in the year 1820, in the state of New York, a young boy by the name of Joseph Smith went into a grove of trees on his father’s farm to pray. He needed help. He wanted to join a church, but he was confused as to which one. Seeking an answer, he read one day these words from the Bible:

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (James 1: 5.)

This Joseph Smith did. In response to his prayer, our Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ appeared to him. Joseph was told to join none of the churches.

Joseph was to learn that Christ established the Church in former days when he was here on earth. Its members were called saints, but because of the wickedness of men, the prophets were taken away from the people and so revelation ceased, the scripture ended and the doctrines and creeds of uninspired men prevailed. As predicted in the scriptures, there was an apostasy.

But, as had also been predicted, the Lord was planning to restore his Church in these latter days, prior to his second coming, and like the former-day Church, his restored Church was to have apostles and prophets and have new revelation and added scripture. And so through Joseph Smith the Lord established The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

On the evening of September 21, 1823, an angel to the Prophet Joseph Smith. The angel’s name was Moroni. He was the last of a long line of ancient prophets of two great civilizations who lived here on the American continent centuries ago. The angel told Joseph Smith that a history of these early inhabitants of America was written on metallic plates and lay buried in a hill nearby.

These records covered a period of American history from time of the Tower of Babel until about 421 A. D. Part of these cumulative records engraved and handed down from generation to generation were abridged by Moroni’s father, Mormon. Moroni added some additional writings and then laid the records in the earth where they remained until he delivered them to Joseph Smith. Under the inspiration of God, Joseph Smith translated part of these records which is known today as the Book of Mormon.

Besides Joseph Smith, there were other witnesses who saw the angel and the plates and whose written testimony you will find printed in the front of each copy of the Book of Mormon.

As the Bible is a scriptural account of God’s dealings with his children in the Old World, so also is the Book of Mormon a scriptural account of God’ s dealings with his children in the Americas.

The Book of Mormon is a second witness along with the Bible that Jesus is the Christ. It testifies of Christ’s appearance to the American inhabitants shortly after his resurrection in Jerusalem. It makes plain many of the precious truths of the gospel.

The Prophet Joseph Smith said:

…the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book. (November 28, 1841. Joseph Fielding Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 194.)

The last chapter of the Book of Mormon contains the promise that if a person will read the book, he may then ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if the book is not true, and if he shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, God will manifest the truth of it unto him by the power of Holy Ghost. (Moroni 10:3-7.)

We invite all men to make this test.

America a Land of Promise

One of the great themes of the Book of Mormon is that America is a land of promise – a chosen land. Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from captivity, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ, … (Ether 2: 12.)

Two Great Civilizations Destroyed

The Book of Mormon records the rise and fall of two great civilizations. They fell because they failed to serve the God of the land, Jesus Christ. The American Indians are the descendants of that last great civilization.

Fortunately, under the inspiration of the Lord, many of the Book of Mormon prophets realized that the historical account which they were making of their people would eventually come forth in this day and age while our own great civilization was flourishing here in America.

These prophets were anxious to see that the tragedies that befell their ancient American civilizations would not happen to us. It would be well for us to seriously consider their warnings.

A Warning to America

They record that both of their great civilizations were destroyed through the insidious work of a murderous, secret conspiracy whose designs were to get power and gain and to overthrow the freedom of all lands. And then realizing that in our time we would be threatened with a similar conspiracy, the Book of Mormon warns as follows:

Wherefore … it is wisdom in God that these things should be shown unto you, that thereby ye may repent of your sins, and suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you, which are built up to get power and gain–and the work, yea, even work of destruction come upon you, yea, even the sword of the justice of the Eternal God shall fall upon you, to your overthrow and destruction if ye shall suffer these things to be.

Wherefore, the Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation, because of this secret combination which shall be among you; …

For it cometh to pass that whoso buildeth it up seeketh to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries; … for it is built up by the devil. (Ether 9:23-25.)

The Threat of Communism

Today, the international, criminal, communist conspiracy fits this Book of Mormon description perfectly, for there is a combination of gangsters who lust for power, who have liquidated some 70 million people, brought one-third of the world’s population under bondage, and who seek to overthrow the freedom of all nations. I have talked face to face to some of these godless leaders, on both sides of the Iron Curtain.

President David O. McKay, whom we sustain as a latter-day prophet and as President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has said:

The position of this Church on the subject of communism has never changed. We consider it the greatest satanical threat to peace, prosperity, and the spread of God’s work among men that exists on the face of the earth. (General Conference Address, Priesthood Session, April 9, 1966.)

And then as the Lord commands us in the Book of Mormon to awake to a sense of our awful situation, so President McKay commends and encourages those who are seeking to

… awaken a sleeping and apathetic people to the alarming conditions that are rapidly advancing about us. (Ibid. )

Then President McKay adds:

We wish all of our citizens throughout the land were participating in some type of organized self-education in order that they could better appreciate what is happening and know what they can do about it. (Ibid.)

Supreme Court Decisions

The Book of Mormon points out how these ancient conspirators were able to fill the judgment seats, usurp power, destroy justice, condemn the righteous, and let the guilty and the wicked go unpunished. Do you see any parallel between this and the present-day decisions of our Supreme Court?

President McKay has stated that the Supreme Court is leading this Christian nation down the road to atheism. I believe the court is also leading us down the road to anarchy and atheistic communism. Here is the net effect of a few of their decisions:

Communists can work in our defense plants.

U.S. v. Robel, U.S., 88 S. Ct. 419 (1967)

Communists can teach in our schools.

Slochower v. Board of Education of N,Y, 1350 U,S. 551(1956)

Sweezy v. New Hampshire, 354 U.S. 234 (1957)

Communists can hold offices in labor unions.

U.S. v. Brown, 381 U. S. 437 (1965)

Communists can run for public offices.

Yates, et ., v, U.S., 354 U.S. 298 (1957)

Communists can serve in the merchant marines.

Schneider v. Smith, U.S. , 88 S. Ct. 682 (1968)

Today by court edict a person is allowed to advocate and convince others of the duty and necessity to overthrow the 90vernment by force and violence. (A memorandum on Supreme Court Decisions by G. Edward Griffin, American Opinion, Belmont, Massachusetts.)

The Supreme Court justices would probably have been accused of treason if they had dealt in this manner with the Nazis during World War II. Yet how does one explain the court’s attitude towards the communist conspiracy which is a much greater threat than the Nazis ever were. Perhaps you can understand why the communists have held victory rallies to honor the Supreme Court and its decision.

I have not even covered the areas of how the court is hamstringing the police, destroying property rights, encouraging civil disobedience, undermining state sovereignty, and so forth.

Communism and Serious Charges

And now I come to a passage in the Book of Mormon which gives me great concern about the future of our country because of the way we are helping the communists. The passage reads as follows:

And whatsoever nation shall uphold such secret combinations I to get power and gain, until they shall spread over the nation, behold f they shall be destroyed; … (Ether 8:22.)

And so the crucial question is, “Has our nation upheld communism so that it could get power and gain?” The tragic answer is, “Yes.” And so, unless we as a people can soon stop and reverse the disastrous course we are taking I then our nation shall be destroyed. For the sad truth is that communism would be insignificant in our country and the world today were it not for the consistent and persistent help which it is continuing to receive from right within our own government.

I know these are serious charges. There is ample evidence.

American Opinion Magazine Articles

Returning a few days ago from a month in Europe and the Middle East, I found in my accumulated mail an advance copy of a courageous, hard­hitting, truthful magazine–a rare thing today–and one not carried by the liberal news agencies on our newsstands. On the title page, the fearless young managing editor, Scott Stanley, Jr., had this in his “Letter to the Readers” :

Dear Reader:

We write in the wake of burning and looting in 168 American cities, at a time when we are at war in Vietnam and our own government is sending raw materials to the arsenal of an enemy killing our soldiers in the field. We write in the midst of an economic crisis described by the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board as the most serious since the Depression year of 1931. And, as we write, a leading candidate for the Presidency of the United States has called for openly paying blackmail to the Communists, and for the resignation of J. Edgar Hoover, the anti­Communist Director of the F.B.I.

It is a time when black Marxists call for burning down America, and make a good try at it, and every Presidential candidate – save one – recommends buying off those burning our cities with more of the federal subsidies which are enlarging the inflationary debt about to destroy our entire economy. It is a day in which men who have been chair­man of officially cited Communist Fronts sit even in the Cabinet of the President of the United States and protect the revolutionaries, promote Marxist schemes, and drive America’s back ever closer to the wall. (American Opinion Magazine I June, 1968.)

From his letter transmitting the June issue, I read the last paragraph:

The Constitution surely hangs by a thread. Without God’s help this Republic will fall as certain as it was with His help that it was born. (Ibid.)

From the lead article, which I recommend to all, entitled “Insurrection – Is America Sleeping Through a Civil War?,” I quote from the first page:

America has just endured the most widespread civil uprising in a hundred years – except for the Civil War, the largest in American history….

Arrests totaled well over twenty thousand. Washington, D. C. [and it would do us good if we could go through the streets of Washington, D. C. , now – down 14th Street two blocks from our Mormon chapel – 7th Street in the business section], reported more than a thousand fires set by arsonists. Baltimore between seven and eight hundred, Pittsburgh five hundred, two hundred in Chicago, and so on…

The federal government was itself effectively shut down on Friday afternoon, April fourth, as word of unchecked, marauding mobs ranging freely in the downtown…

All over the world, sophisticated people must have laughed at us uproariously, and a hundred million no doubt lost any faith they ever had in us…

The author, Dr. Susan L. M. Huck, concludes the 25-page article with these words:

Okay, let’s take the gloves off. This insurrection didn’t just happen. It was set-up – just as the assassination of Martin Luther King was a set-up. The Communists and their Black Power fanatics have been working to create just such a situation for years. They even told us what they were planning to do, again and again, as they did it.

This is only the beginning! And, this time the Administration used only seventy thousand troops to stop them. This time our politicians who have tied the hands of our police officers, have, by employing curfews enforced by federal soldiers, put only ten million or so good citizens under house arrest. This time the insurrectionists hit only 168 towns and cities; they killed only forty-three people; and, they set only three thousand or so major fires.

And remember, the Reds and their Black Power troops have promised us that this is only the beginning! Stokley has said that his forces plan to burn down America.

They’re sure going to try.

How do you stop it? It’s very simple. You stop Communist racial agitation; you arrest the leaders for conspiracy to commit murder, arson, and burglary, prove their guilt in a court of law, and lock them up; and, you free the hands of our police so they can prevent rioting and looting and arson by those citizens now convinced by the actions of our “Liberals” that theft, incendiarism, and assault will be tolerated.

Don’t kid yourself. The people who are behind all of this mean to have a civil war. We either stop them now or they will escalate this thing. (Ibid.)

The Law Breakers

Also on my desk as I returned from abroad was the new volume entitled The Law Breakers – America’ s Number One Domestic Problem, by the brilliant young editor of the Indianapolis News, Mr. Stanton Evans. I give you the opening paragraphs:

Americans in this second half of the twentieth century have been told, with some justice, that they never had it so good. By every material standard, ours is the richest society on earth. We have higher personal incomes, more consumer goods, less poverty, and more leisure than any other nation known to history. And our government has set about, through a variety of programs in every field of human effort, to supply deficiencies in the web of comfort.

Yet if in that sense we never had it so good, in another sense we never had it so bad. Or so scared. Precisely as we have achieved our present affluence, precisely as our government has proclaimed its readiness to spread the good things more widely still, the nation is clawed by nameless apprehensions. Richer than any other generation of Americans, we are also more frightened. Blessed with better food, finer clothes, and more expensive cars, we are also haunted by the fear that the enjoyment of these things might be taken from us by marauders who stalk our streets and attack our homes.

The paradox is of the sort suggested by the Pennsylvania Dutch saying, “The faster I run, the behinder I get.” The faster we multiply our material comforts, the greater seems the likelihood of losing them through hoodlum terror. The more our government suggests we are advancing toward utopia, the more we stumble backward toward the jungle. We are a people for whom anything seems possible – except to defend ourselves against primitive evils which the rudest of societies can control.

The people of the United States are fast losing one of their most precious rights – the simple right to move as they please, to      go to church meetings at night, to shop where and when they would like, to take walks near their homes.

A survey conducted by the Crime Commission found that “one-third of a representative sample of all Americans say it is unsafe to walk alone at night in their neighborhoods. Slightly more than one-third say they keep firearms in the house for protection against criminals. Twenty-eight per cent say they keep watchdogs for the same reason.” (Stanton M. Evans and Margaret Moore, The Law Breakers [New Rochelle, New York: Arlington House, 1968], p. 1.)

There is not time for a full outline of this treacherous development.

Communist Penetration of Government

We have mentioned briefly the help which the communists have received from our Supreme Court. Suffice it to say that they have penetrated every major segment of our society, as J. Edgar Hoover has testified – the news media, the schools, the churches, the unions, etc. But their greatest desire and most successful drive has come from their effective penetration of government.

They knew the power, prestige, influence, and finances that would be theirs once they got the machinery of the United States government headed in their direction. And they were right. For let the government of the United States stop helping communism and communists all over the world, and in a short period of time the conspiracy would be in retreat and in due time would collapse.

But we extend the advantage of diplomatic recognition to their puppets when they come to power. We send them billions in foreign aid. We’ve trained their pilots. We ship them wheat. Through cultural and other exchanges, their spies come to America. We supply them know-how. We extend them credit. We buy their goods. Their propaganda goes through our mails at our expense. We’ve helped them in their conquests through secret agreements. Our government does all it can to keep the anti-communists from coming to power in any country.

And once we’ve helped the communists to take over a nation such as China and Cuba, we do all in our power to keep the anti-communists from freeing their land. We even negotiate with these butchers and sign treaties with these criminals who have no respect for treaties. Said President McKay:

I would not deal with a nation which treats another as Russia has treated America. It is a condition which cannot be permitted to exist. (Church News [weekly section of Deseret News], August 6, 1952.)

But it does exist and every day brings in new evidence of the increasing help which our government extends the communists.

A Few Traitors

The vast majority of American citizens and federal employees are loyal to our Republic. But there are a few traitors whose numbers are growing and who are in key positions to influence and help shape government policy. In fact it is becoming increasingly apparent that appointment to high government office today is not hampered by one’s pas t affiliations with communist fronts or one’s ability to follow the communist line. You don’t need to look further than the President’s Cabinet and recent appointments to the Supreme Court to find ample evidence of this fact. (See: “The Unelected,” by Gary Allen, American Opinion, June 1968, p. 81.) Parrot the communist line and you can expect to be glamorized by the liberal news media and pushed to the front. But take a strong anti­communist position and you can expect to be passed over, smeared, and silenced. And this has happened and is happening to too many great and distinguished Americans to be accidental.

Communist Tactics

Now mind you, the communists could not do this all by themselves. They knew that communism would also have to be built by non-communist hands. And so, as in the past, they use, to suit their purpose, the misguided idealist, the political opportunists, the dupes and fellow travelers, and the ignorant and apathetic Americans.

Nor does the communist always deal in totally black instrumentalities – especially when he is trying to come to power. He must deceive. He must produce counterfeits. He must be willing at times to take one step backward – especially when it pacifies people about his past advances and makes it easier for him to take his next two steps forward.

He knows that some of his greatest successes have come with programs which have been sold to the American public as ways to fight the communists but which in reality had the net effect of promoting communism. This has been true of our foreign aid program. Designed, supposedly, to help nations, its overall effect has been to keep socialist governments in business, enhance the communists, discourage free enterprise and demoralize the anti-communists.

Win in Vietnam

Another illustration is the war in Vietnam. We are supposed to be fighting the communists in Vietnam, yet we are helping them everywhere else. Why do we trade with communist countries and supply them the means with which to kill our sons? Why do we build plants for them? We ship them machinery, metals, chemicals, rubber, airborne equipment and many other things for their war machine. In return we get back coffins – hundreds of them per week.

We cancelled a $17 million debt which the Polish communist government owed us on the very day a Polish ship pulled into Haiphong harbor with war materials to kill our men. On one side of Stettin harbor in Poland they unload the wheat we send them and on the other side of the harbor they load their ships with equipment to kill our men in Vietnam.

Why not let our men win in Vietnam? Why handcuff them? In war there is no substitute for victory. We have been pouring tens of billions of dollars into defense for years. Is it possible that we cannot win a war against a third-rate country of 17 million people, smaller than the state of Missouri? Honest and competent military men in whom I have great confidence have stated that we could win the war in six weeks or less.

TRAIN Committees

What can you do, you ask? Listen to the conclusion of a shocking article which every American should read by Wallis W. Wook, Coordinator for TRAIN Committees (TRAIN takes its name from To Restore American Independence Now):

What can one person do? You can try to match the determination of Lieutenant Colonel Wilbur Outlaw of North Carolina. He is a twenty-five-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force. His oldest son, Bill, is now a helicopter pilot in South Vietnam, and in the past nine months has been shot down once and strafed several times. In a recent letter to his family from Vietnam, he urged: “Tell those fools back home that there is a war going on over here and they’d better start doing something about it, either by Signing those petitions or by getting the powers that be (which is probably impossible) to start fighting a war instead of playing Mickey Mouse games. I feel sure that everyone else over here is as tired as I am of being shot at and knowing they can’t do anything about it most of the time.”

As Bill’s father told me: “I spent twenty-five years trying to defend my country; now I’m going to spend the rest of my life trying to save it.”

What can you do? You can help protect the lives of your fellow Americans -the 500,000 super-patriots fighting Communism in Vietnam. You can get to work with TRAIN, or on your own, to help stop this treasonous aid and trade with the enemy – and, insist on the removal of the restrictions on our military. If not? Well, if not, mister, go back to sleep. But don’t call yourself an American. (American Opinion, May 1968, p. 14.)

A Personal Letter

What can you do? Hear the pleading warning and counsel of a Mormon elder, an air force captain, in the following letter:

APO San Francisco
26 March 1968

Elder Ezra Taft Benson
of the Council of the Twelve

Dear Sir:

I am an Air Force Captain serving in ______, Republic of Viet Nam. I have a wife and three young sons living in ______ whom I love very deeply and for whom I want to secure the freedom that I have thus far enjoyed. In discussions with members and non-members alike who are caught up in this war, I’ve found a unifying fear concerning the destiny of our country, a fear which I feel confident that you and many Church leaders share. Since this is an election year, and a very crucial year for the future of our nation, I’d like to do more than I am presently doing to further the cause of freedom.

I’ve attached a letter which I’ve prepared intending to express thoughts which our elders must employ with their own [members] if we’re to survive the present challenge to our nation. Certainly I’d like to go into greater detail with them about the communist threat… but what I’ve written may be useful.

As a member of the Armed forces I cannot actively participate in the political destiny of my country; but as an elder in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I am obligated to watch over the Church and to do what I can to protect the liberty that God has given us. Therefore, I write the accompanying letter, hoping that it might have some use in convincing the priesthood of their pressing obligation to the cause of freedom.

Then he signed his name, and attached this letter, which is addressed to the priesthood of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

Dear Brethren:

We in Viet Nam, who are struggling and dying that men and women, you and your loved ones, might maintain the free agency which thousands before us have died to protect, are deeply concerned with the state of our beloved nation…

The news that comes to us from home is disheartening. While we endeavor to assist in securing freedom for a weak and tottering nation, but a nation filled with people desirous of freedom, the greatest nation of all, our homeland, now overflowing with selfish and materialistic millions, is staggering clumsily but steadily toward the clutches of self-imposed slavery. How sincerely we cry to our countrymen in words similar to those of our Master who cried “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem,… how often I would have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.” (Matthew 23:37-38.)

Dear Brethren, we stand upon the very threshold of calamity…

Brethren, truly our freedom hangs by a thread, and if we wish to keep it then we, the elders of Israel, must now step forward to preserve it.

I am a soldier. I am doing what I can to help. You are free and educated citizens capable of guiding our country’s destiny. How can you do it? Your local political organizations need your support and your participation. Your newspapers need your opinions. Your representatives in your state and national legislatures need your continuing support, interest, and advice… We know only too well the consequences if we fail to meet the challenge before us. It is time to act, to be doers and not hearers only. We plead with you from this the dark side of the earth. Put your shoulders to the wheel and push with your might…

Oppose Communist Aggression

Are there advantages to the communists of our being involved in a long no-win war? Can it eventually be converted into World War III? Can it be used to create bitterness, confusion, and a breakdown in American morale? Can it be used as an excuse to institute greater socialistic controls over the people – to weaken our economy? Can it be used to get the American people to accept peace on almost any terms?

If we really mean to oppose communist aggression, why did we pick distant Vietnam instead of Cuba? We had the Monroe Doctrine before there ever was a U.N. or a SEATO. If our government leaders are really opposed to communism, why don’t they start cleaning them out at home?

Why do they allow the Office of Economic Opportunity to be the means of providing finances and programs for the communist revolutionaries and their allies who plan to ravage and burn down America?

Yes, communism is tightening its strangle hold on America and the world because of the help it is receiving increasingly from right within our own government. Americans are destroying America.

And so I return to the grave warning of the inspired Book of Mormon:

And whatsoever nation shall uphold such secret combinations, to get power and gain, until they shall spread over the nation, behold they shall be destroyed; … (Ether 8: 22.)

God grant that we may repent, prayerfully study the Book of Mormon, follow the prophet, do our homework, and wake up in time to reverse the tragic course we are following, I humbly pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

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