I heard a report this morning that terrorist attacks around the world increased 44% from the previous year. Most recently—and vividly—is the account coming out of Jerusalem where two men took knives, meat cleavers, axes, and guns and unmercifully attacked those privately worshiping in a synagogue.
What leads individuals to this kind of behavior?
Marion G. Romney confronted the reality of evil and the scriptural based topic head on. He said: “A corollary to the pernicious falsehood that God is dead is the equally pernicious doctrine that there is no devil. Satan himself is the father of both of these lies. To believe them is to surrender to him. Such surrender has always led, is leading now, and will continue to lead men to destruction….The reality of the existence of both God and the devil is conclusively established by the scriptures and by human experience…. Satan is irrevocably committed to countering and overcoming the influence of the Spirit of Christ upon men. He is the representative, promoter, and advocate of [an] opposition in all things.”
I don’t care to bring Satan attention, but I think many can agree the world is struggling in the distinction between good and evil; light and darkness; truth and error; God and Satan. When we minimize the adversary’s reality we accentuate his power. This allows contention, hatred, and fear to take center stage. He is the father of all these emotions. And such emotions and other unruly passions are more and more evident. We have brutal murders, broken families, and civic lawlessness rampant in America. Satan is a great promoter in getting people to respond and react out of ignorance and out of a lack of self-control.
“He that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil,” the Savior said. “And he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another” (see 3 Nephi 11). The Book of Mormon describes a people who were given to division and contention. It describes the fall of a nation and the atrocious behaviors and bloodshed associated when a people become “much disturbed” and allow “Satan [to] stir them up to do iniquity continually.”
Americans have enjoyed many days of blessings and prosperity, but there seems to be ominous clouds of trouble ahead. I am an optimistic individual, but there seems to be several indicators that a severe storm is upon us. Collectively as a nation we are choosing to be indifferent toward God and religion. We are indifferent to our divine heritage and our divine potential. We have become in large measure unresponsive to the dictates of Heavenly Father’s divine laws. Instead we support practices and behaviors that divide and destroy individuals and communities at large. Past generations have forfeited the blessings of heaven through disobedience; and some of those generations experienced severe judgments.
During the Constitutional Convention George Mason was appalled at the compromises made with the pro-slavery delegates. In no way was Mason indifferent. To those who insisted slavery be perpetuated he said: “They bring the judgment of heaven on a country. As nations cannot be rewarded or punished in the next world, they must be in this. By an inevitable chain of causes and effects, Providence punishes national sins by national calamities.” History has proven Mason right. Lincoln had to lead a broken nation through a dreadful calamity who initially refused to repent of slavery.
The spirit of contention is prevalent, people are disturbed in many instances, while yet others are easily stirred up to do that which is not right. These are dark clouds.
Solution: America needs to repent of its pride and enmity.