You cannot reason with a hardened people, indifferent to justice and humanity, to liberty and freedom of religion. Evil is real and it isn’t localized in portions of Iraq and Syria. Radical Islamic Terrorists have taken their propaganda into other regions and are promising to infiltrate southern Europe and America. Reports confirm they are already on the move and Italy is on high alert. The Beachhead murders in Libya talked of their position “south of Rome” and how they “will conquer Rome, by Allah’s permission, the promise of our Prophet, peace be upon him.”
Interesting how their logic supposes brutal murder of peaceful God fearing individuals brings peace to their prophet and honor to their God. Yet, they seem to have no shortage of recruits. I was taken back last night when someone reported that ISIS and their followers produce about 90,000 messages a day on social media.
Speaking of messages, the Book of Mormon has an account of severe war that lasted over a decade (approximately 73 B.C to 60 B.C.). It details how dissenters and wicked men seek to conquer a people given to Christianity, liberty, good government, and freedom of religion. Most importantly it details how righteous leaders inspired the God-fearing people of humanity to prepare themselves against their enemies, defend themselves against their enemies, and destroy their enemies who sought most violently to “destroy the foundation of liberty which God had granted unto them.”
The account details how one wicked man (Amalickiah) led a rebellion which sought to destroy the foundation of liberty and the people of God. The account also details how a faction living among the people of liberty joined with Amalickiah’s movement to help them conquer. These dissidents (radicals) from within were called “kingmen.” They came from the elitist, self-proclaimed noble crowd who wanted to alter time tested civil laws which favored liberty and protected religious rights.
I believe a reading of this account, which is about 44 pages (the Book of Mormon is 531 pages), yields several principles as we consider how to prepare ourselves, defend ourselves, and perhaps destroy war driven terrorists. I suggest, even reading it as a non-believer, that the principles can help reset the foundation of liberty in so many broken American hearts and minds. Abraham Lincoln, as author Timothy Ballard has recently pointed out, gave the teachings of the Book of Mormon some thought as he faced terror and war.
Right in the middle of his conversion, while Willie was dying, while the Christian nurse was teaching, while he was passing through what he called his ‘process of crystallization,’ Lincoln had a copy of the Book of Mormon, which he himself had requested from the Library of Congress. Having kept it for nearly eight months, Lincoln finally returned it to the Library a mere seven days after issuing his first draft of the Emancipation Proclamation to his cabinet. (The Lincoln Hypothesis)
Consider a few principles from the Book of Mormon that may help us in our own days of war and contention (taken and adapted from LDS curriculum available online):
One wicked man can provoke much wickedness (we ought to be alarmed at the man who calls himself Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi). Conversely, one righteous man can bring to pass much righteousness. (The account in the Book of Mormon speaks of a Captain Moroni who rallied the people to a noble defense of God, family, religion, and liberty).
It is our duty to defend our families, our religion, our freedom, and the moral agency of others when barbarity threatens it.
There is an adversarial spirit (yes there is a Satan) trying to destroy us and entice us by degrees to lower our standards. Constant division and contention destroy peace.
If we follow righteous leaders and the servants of God we will be fortified against our enemies.
If we stand firm for what is right we can prevent evil influences (ideologies and physical movements) from gaining power over us. When we unite in righteousness with others, we are stronger in our battles against evil. Our righteous prayers can have a positive effect on our communities.
Faithfulness to God brings happiness, even amid turmoil. If we trust the Lord and obey Him with exactness, He will support us in our battles. If we turn to God in times of difficulty, we can receive divine assurance that can strengthen our faith and give us hope.
There is a polarization throughout the world. We see people promoting bondage, dependency, heavy government intrusion, restriction on freedom of religion. We also see people perpetuating fraud and deceit and people who make threats and use scare tactics. Some are more subtle, using flattering words and making shallow promises. The whole nature of these types of people reflects a thirst for power, a promotion of whoredoms and idolatry, and an untiring effort to justify wickedness. Often times they work by swearing secret oaths one with another.
On the other hand, there are those who promote liberty, independence, and the proper role of government. There are people who are honest in deeds and in words. There are no threats and scare tactics. They use plain and simple language, instead of flattery. The whole nature of these people reflects gratitude, genuineness and humility. They recognize that iniquity is the first enemy and seek to pull down pride in themselves—before others. They resist wickedness, and consider the wellbeing of other people. They unite, sometimes by covenant, to plant the standard of liberty in the hearts of others. “They renounce war and proclaim peace,” yet know it is their duty to defend their families, their religions, their freedoms, and the moral agency of man when barbarity threatens it.
There is a surge of terror and barbarity in the world. The Book of Mormon has remarkable principles to help us as we confront evil in our day.
You can read of the account of terror and war here.