October 11th, 2008

The Conspiracy Element of History

photo credit: -roosevelt-

The historical record is permeated with events where conspiring individuals plotted together to obtain power, wealth, and glory. A secular analysis of world history would find numerous instances in which people banded together to orchestrate an unlawful and/or harmful action while hoping to escape notice and be free from the consequences. Whether a ragtag band of terrorists, appointed bureaucrats, kings, queens, or heads of military, those aspiring for the riches of this world have undoubtedly made their mark on history. Indeed, with the frequency of such actions taking place in all spheres of influence (global, national, and local), it becomes fairly obvious that a large portion of historical events have been affected by some sort of conspiracy.

The scriptural record is not without its own list of examples; one might argue that one of the purposes of scripture—especially the Book of Mormon—is to record such events and instruct the reader how to be free from the actions of conspiring men. The Bible is rife with examples, such as the following:

  • Joseph’s brothers conspiring to kill him, and later deciding to sell him into Egypt. (Genesis 37:18-20)
  • Judas conspiring w/ some of the Jews to kill Jesus. (Matthew 26:47-50)
  • Absalom conspiring with rebels to overthrow the reign of his father David. (2 Samuel 15)
  • Joash killing the prophet Zechariah, his servants then kill him, and then his son kills the servants. (2 Chronicles 24:21, 25-26, 2 Kings 12:20)
  • David fornicating with Bathsheba, then sending her husband into battle to die. (2 Samuel 11)
  • 40 Jews taking a secret oath, conspiring to kill Paul. (Acts 23:12-13)

The Book of Mormon documents several such events (and many others) as well:

  • The daughter of Jared flirting with a man who forms a secret combination to kill her grandfather and install her father on the throne. (Ether 8:11-18)
  • Ammonihah taking control of the Lamanite army, deceiving the commander, poisoning the commander, becoming the commander, having his servants kill the King, and then becoming the King. (Alma 46, 47)
  • Gadianton Robbers obtaining the sole management of the government. (Helaman 6:38-39)
  • The entire second half of the Book of Ether. (Ether 7-15)
  • The murder of the chief judge and dissolution of the Nephite government. (3 Nephi 7:6, 9)
  • Kishkumen’s assassination of Pahoran and subsequent (yet failed) assassination attempt of Helaman. (Helaman 2:8)

Sadly, the Saints mostly gloss over these verses and the lessons the editors who put them there wanted to teach us. Sunday school teachers are often masters at leaving out these conspiratorial nuggets and instead focusing on the happier, more realistic-sounding sections of scripture. But to deny this reality is to willfully place one’s self in continual subjection to similar forces in our own day. While oft repeated, the phrase “he who doesn’t learn from history is condemned to repeat it” is powerfully accurate and applicable to how we as individuals can react and respond to conspiring individuals in our own day. Prophets of old didn’t intertwine these stories into their record for no reason.

Regarding the scriptural application of conspiracies to our own day, this much is clear: they exist, are widespread, and we must consciously act to thwart their plans inasmuch as we are able to do so. Moroni tells us that God himself commands us to be aware of the reality of such conspiracies in our own time; to ignore or deny their existence is to passively support their efforts.

That conspiracy has taken place in the past is a truth no intelligent, honest person can deny. That conspiracy currently exists in the chambers of government, military compounds, business board rooms, marble halls of banking institutions, and other locations of influence is, however, a reality that few seem willing to entertain.

8 Responses to “The Conspiracy Element of History”

  1. Mark N
    October 11, 2008 at 11:56 pm #

    The more popular conspiracy theories of the modern day usually (not that I’ve attempted any real, statistical measure!) seem to involve very large numbers of people. For example, the World Trade Center didn’t fall due to the weakening of the steel beams by the fires burning in the building, but because a number of people went into the buildings ahead of time and wired the buildings with explosive charges; the planes crashing into the buildings were just a ruse to cover up the explosive charges.

    The problem with conspiracy theories involving large groups is that it’s difficult to believe that everyone involved will take the secret of the conspiracy to their graves, and that no one will ever succumb to various pressures (financial, moral) to come clean and admit their involvement, no matter how small a part they might have played.

    I think all of the examples you have cited from the scriptures are “small” conspiracies that didn’t require large numbers of conspirators, and their coordinated actions took place within a fairly small time frame.

  2. J&HP
    October 12, 2008 at 1:28 pm #

    Thanks, Connor, good reminder. And as you know, God has warned us of “evil designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days” (D&C 89:4).

    I agree with Mark that conspiring men probably come usually in smaller groups. For instance, I don’t think it was a huge group of people that led to the fall of the WTC but a small group of conspiring men led by Osama Bin Laden.

    The main problem with conspiracy theories, which I think are usually wrong, is that it’s too hard to tell who is actually conspiring to do what until they do it, and even then, it’s sometimes impossible to know for sure. I think we need to be careful not to assume the worst in people, but rather, we should assume the best. People are conspiring all the time, but if we worry too much about them, we won’t enjoy life. Let’s be aware of them but not let their actions dictate our happiness or lack thereof.

  3. Curtis
    October 12, 2008 at 2:25 pm #

    The book of Helaman teaches us that conspiracies can envelope an entire society: Helaman 6:

    38 And it came to pass on the other hand, that the Nephites did build them up and support them, beginning at the more wicked part of them, until they had overspread all the land of the Nephites, and had seduced the more part of the righteous until they had come down to believe in their works and partake of their spoils, and to join with them in their secret murders and combinations.

    On the other hand, the members of this society could be turned to do better things merely by the preaching of the word: Helaman 6:

    37 And it came to pass that the Lamanites did hunt the band of robbers of Gadianton; and they did preach the word of God among the more wicked part of them, insomuch that this band of robbers was utterly destroyed from among the Lamanites.

    The secret combination here was a way of life for an entire society, until they were all card-holding members of the Gadianton society. I think that in most instances they were the general populace were unwitting accomplices to the very wicked men who were in power and thus the preaching of the word was able to convert them over to righteousness.

    In our day, I think we have a similar situation to what we read about in the book of Helaman. In general, secret combinations and priestcrafts are the same thing. That is, they seek the praise of the world, wealth and power at the expense of life.

    In my studies I’ve seen numerous examples of this subtle type of conspiracy or secret combination among us. In the 90s there was the Multi-lateral Agreement on Investment, or the MAI. This was a secret trade agreement that was championed by the Clinton administration and very secretively planned and nurtured by the rich and powerful, and presented as “free trade” (by the way, there’s nothing free at all about the way we trade as a nation these days). With the MAI, a corporation would have had the ability to sue a nation for the expropriation of potential income due to a law enforced (or even a law in its formative stages that hadn’t become a law yet) upon a corporation that would hurt its bottom line.

    Thus, laws like minimum wage laws, environmental protection laws etc. would be out the window. A similar effect, but on a smaller scale, was seen with NAFTA. There was an additive to gasoline called MMT, that Canada had outlawed since it was found to be harmful to human’s health. MMT was also outlawed in the USA, but since the producer of MMT, the Ethyl Corporation, was US based, they only went after Canada. They sued Canada for 251 million dollars. Canada chose to settle with an apology to the Ethyl Corporation, 13 million dollars and to drop its ban on MMT.

    You see here, how this “free trade” agreement severely affected Canada’s sovereignity and actually threatens freedom and democracy in this hemisphere. The MAI would have been NAFTA on steroids. It would have been a race to the bottom and there would have been no more role for the democratic lawmaking process. Even consideration of legislation that would hamper the profitability of corporation would have resulted in a lawsuit. These suits in NAFTA are judged by a tribunal of unelected judges.

    The MAI was killed in its formative stages because the public got wind of it and entire cities in the USA declared themselves MAI-free zones. However, the same people continue to push for disguised versions of the same old MAI.

    We learn in Ether of a secret combination in the last days which will seek to overthrow the freedom of all nations: Ether 8:

    24 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; or wo be unto it, because of the blood of them who have been slain; for they cry from the dust for vengeance upon it, and also upon those who built it up.
    25 For it cometh to pass that whoso buildeth it up seeketh to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries; and it bringeth to pass the destruction of all people, for it is built up by the devil, who is the father of all lies; even that same liar who beguiled our first parents, yea, even that same liar who hath caused man to commit murder from the beginning; who hath hardened the hearts of men that they have murdered the prophets, and stoned them, and cast them out from the beginning.

    It has long been these powerful corporations that have led to the murders of millions of people in our own generation. These corporations lobby congress in the US so they can make money. They lobbied congress in the 1950s for example, and got our government to overthrow the democratically elected and popular government of Guatemala. The military government which got our support after that killed thousands of its own people, to the tune of an estimated 200,000 people killed… all so that the United Fruit Company could make its profits.

    This is just a small example, but these are what constitute the greatest threats to world peace and the spread of the gospel and freedom in our time. This loose association of the rich and powerful who have us in their pockets, believing in their plans and partaking of their spoils. They have power over governments and have the militaries of the world at their disposal, including the greatest military the world has ever known, the USA armed forces.

    Hopefully, our glossing over this very important concept taught in the scriptures will not blind us to the great danger we are in. Truly we need to awaken to a sense of the awfulness of our situation and rid ourselves of these abominations: Ether 8:

    22 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; for the Lord will not suffer that the blood of his saints, which shall be shed by them, shall always cry unto him from the ground for vengeance upon them and yet he avenge them not.
    23 Wherefore, O ye Gentiles, 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 the 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.

  4. Kelly W.
    October 12, 2008 at 4:59 pm #

    Back in the year 1830, if one were to look in the English dictionary of that time and look up COMBINATION, you would find one of the common definitions to be CONSPIRACY. Thus it is fair to substitute the words Secret Combinations with Secret Conspiracies.

    Many of the prophets (Alma, Mormon, Moroni) have warned us that these Secret Conspiracies will be among us in the Latter-days, and we are warned to be aware of them not let them gain power over us.

    These Secret Conspiracies are very prevalent among us today, but many deny this could be possible. They rationalize the warnings of the prophets by saying such conspiracies are only done on a small scale, and really pose no danger.

    Yet, if one were to look back in history, one would find many examples of conspiracies that all have the end goal of destroying the liberty and freedoms of people. I believe this to be a key when we try to identify secret conspiracies in today’s world. Destroying the freedoms and liberties of the people and trying to gain power and control over the people are a theme of the Gadianton Robbers in the B of M. If a secret conspiracy’s end goal is to obtain power and control over the rights of the people, it is definitely one of those conspiracies that Mormon and Moroni warned us about.

    The Gadiantons’ goal was to obtain sole management over the government. They were prevelant enough to have elected judges over the government who were Gadiantons. This proved to be the downfall of the reign of the judges which was set up by Mosiah.

    Conspiracies such as the ones which eventually destroyed the Jaredite Nation and the Nephite Nation are similar to the ones we will witness in the Latter-days, because Mormon told us so.

    To believe that such conspiracies are simply the result of a few people of small consequence scheming together is folly. To think that large conspiracies do not exist because conspiracies cannot stay secret because of the large number of people involved is to deny the history of Secret Combinations in the B of M and in other places in history.

    May I remind any reading this to consider the Northwoods Documents, which are available to study online through a simple Google search. These documents show a plan drawn up by the Joint Chiefs of Staff back in 1963 by the Joint Chief Lyle Lemnitzer, and signed by all the other Joint Chiefs. The plan was presented to JFK, who wouldn’t let the military carry out this secret Northwoods conspiracy. The plan was to unfold as follows to create a pretext to militarily invade Cuba:

    A military plane was to be painted to look like a commercial passenger plane. The plane was to be flown remotely (with no passengers onboard) over Cuban airspace. When the plane was over Cuban airspace, there was to be a false radio transmission come from the plane that it had been shot down and the blame was to be from Cuba. There was to be a false passenger list, and there were even supposed to be mock funerals. All this was supposed to create in the minds of the general populace of USA the will to go to war against Cuba.

    Now that is a conspiracy that is now public, but if such a conspiracy were to happen now as it was presented to JFK in 1963, we would all be claiming that no government or military would ever stage a false-flag attempt involving a commercial plane crashing and having false passenger lists and mock funerals simply to be a pretext to invade a sovereign country.

    Instead, we would probably say that to stage such a conspiracy involving the painting of a military plane to resemble a commercial flight and then piloting it remotely and crashing it would require too many people, and we instead would rather believe a conspiracy that says a small number of Saudi hijackers were commanded by a guy in a cave in Afghanistan to take boxcutters and foil the world’s largest and most secure installations to bring down three skyscrapers with two planes.

    So, my point is that all the talk of conspiracies being irrevelant is simply rationalization. We somehow seem to think that what Moroni prophecied to us as he saw us in vision can’t be true. I would suggest that everyone stop and open their minds and see if the Northwoods Documents aren’t really what happened to us on the day of 9/11.

    If such IS the case, and I testify it was, then one must stop to realize that the conspiracy of 9/11, whether the official story of 19 Saudi hijackers or of thermite placed in the three towers, really extends far beyond the events of that day. They extend to the eventual overthrow of freedom and liberty of people, headed by forces and powers with the satanic desire to have power and control over more than just the government of the USA.

    Even IF one gives credit to the story of 19 Saudi hijackers to justify the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, one must also admit that the administration used this pretext to their advantage to install freedom-inhibiting policies like those found in the PATRIOT Act and the Military Commissions Act, and to justify torture, rendition and illegal wiretapping and suspension of Habeas Corpus and suspension of the Geneva Conventions, and I believe the list could go on.

    Even IF the official story of two planes destroying three skyscrapers is true, one must admit that this has led to the diminishing of our freedoms and liberties, just like the Gadiantons wanted to do in their day.

  5. vontrapp
    October 12, 2008 at 5:38 pm #

    Who says there has to be a lot of people involved in a 9/11 conspiracy? I’ve heard many a theory, explosive charges, preplaced thermite, etc. Some are more theatrical, some more outlandish, some more commonplace. My point is you can’t take a particular conspiracy theory, call it lunacy, and conclude there was no conspiracy. How many people would it take to place explosive? How many to place thermite? How many people does it take to allocate all actionable air force halfway across the country?

    I don’t know what happened, I don’t know who was involved. That’s why they’re called ‘secret’ combinations, and any would be defector, coming forth with conscience, would most certainly be quickly disposed of as per their oaths. So to say that a conspiracy couldn’t exist because someone must betray it is somewhat of a misnomer. If a conspiracy does exist, you can bet your buttons they are good at being conspiratory. Fear of death trumps any financial incentives, and sadly enough, often times trumps morality and conscience.

    Conspiracies are happening all the time. To be aware of them and ‘not worry too much about them’ is dangerous, indeed. For to him who is given the greater light, is also given the greater responsibility. It would almost be better for you to hide your head in the sand than to become aware of such things and not worry. We can still enjoy our lives while doing all we can to turn the tides of conspiracy. We can vote out shady politicians without forgoing any true happiness. We can research and vote for those who would uphold law above all else. There are countless things we can do, and personally striving for our freedoms will only make them all the more cherished and enjoyable. So yes, worry (or maybe not so much worry as care) about the conspiracies, the ones you are aware of and the ones left in the dark, and do something about it.

  6. Clumpy
    October 12, 2008 at 6:52 pm #

    I think the worst thing we do is to assume that the conspiracy is on the other side of the political spectrum, while ignoring the fact that self-serving Benedicts thrive everywhere, both inside and outside of the public eye.

    A conspiracy occurs whenever a group of individuals attempt to enrich themselves at the expense of the greater good. Every time a corporation hides data or attempts to run from the consequences of an environmental disaster, successfully uses political influence to write law and erode civil liberties, or engages in deceptive advertising, they are acting conspiratorially.

    Every time a military, private or law enforcement authority allows somebody to escape from their own criminal or immoral behavior because of internal loyalties, it’s a conspiracy. Every time a government exploits an incident to crush freedom or draw attention to external enemies or red herring issues while eroding the system from within, it’s a conspiracy. Every time individuals in the media pretend that these things aren’t happening, while harping on the usual tired party rhetoric we are always hearing, it’s a conspiracy. Gadianton was far less subtle and elegant, more brutish and less dangerous by comparison. Assassinating a leader? Bah! Try corrupting the leadership and system from within by distorting good intentions and fostering self-deception.

  7. Marc
    October 16, 2008 at 2:49 pm #

    Connor, it was Amalikiah that rose to power by poisoning the lamanite general and then killing the king.

    Great observations here though. As usual, spot on!

  8. John C.
    October 17, 2008 at 5:52 pm #

    I suppose that there could be a vast cabal attempting to control the world as we speak, but I have a hard time laying it at the feet of the usual suspects.

    That said, who do you suspect? I think it is just as important to lay out the people you intend in this as to make the innuendo.

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