Ether 8 and many other parts of the Book of Mormon warn against the great dangers of powerful secret combinations whose members gain great power and wealth and eventually cause terrible destruction. We are warned that secret societies caused the destruction of two great Book of Mormon nations, and that they will threaten us with destruction in our day, and that a secret combination will seek to overthrow the freedom of all nations (Ether 8:25). I’ve heard Latter-day Saints discuss the topic a few times, and frequently people conclude that all that talk in the Book of Mormon is there to warn us about the (yawn) Mafia. The Mafia? Sure, they have the oaths and secret allegiances that qualify them for a true secret combination according to Book of Mormon definitions, but do they have the clout and power to wield international influence in a way that should cause us to fear and tremble? Maybe you folks in New Jersey have got some trouble, but they are minor league players as far as I’m concerned.
Consider the details in the Book of Mormon about secret societies and the various roles they play as external and internal threats, coupled with their workings, their oaths, their strategies, the wars they create, their ways of gaining influence among lawyers, merchants, and political rulers, and so forth. Based on what we have learned in the past century about groups such as the Mafia, Al Qaeda, the groups behind the Mao Mao rebellion in Kenya, Communist revolutionaries and cells, and other organizations, it is now remarkably clear that the Book of Mormon is accurate and could not have been fabricated based on what little Joseph Smith could have known. Further, their description fits in well with Mesoamerican society, as Brant Gardner shows. (E.g., they require a society with a system of taxation to provide the profit engines for these groups, and taxation plus other features in the Book of Mormon fits in well with Mesoamerica but not with the Native Americans Joseph would have known about.) Yes, in terms of evidences for the Book of Mormon, that’s cool, but the real point is what we need to watch out for in our day. Does anybody think about this?
I know it’s a terribly controversial subject, with everybody in modern America being scared to death to talk about “conspiracies,” but shouldn’t we engage in discourse about secret societies and their dangers and influence in our day? And does it bother anybody that a tiny little secret society, Skull and Bones, has become tremendously powerful, with BOTH candidates for the US Presidency being members? CBS News just ran an article on Skull and Bones that might be interesting for some of you, I hope. Another controversial article at TheNewAmerican.com shows how these bipartisan Bonesmen responded when asked publicly about their affiliation. Shouldn’t we at least know what oaths they have made?
Perhaps our modern secret societies are just jovial fraternities based on good clean fun. And frankly, the Book of Mormon only presents one side of the story. I’m sure Gadianton did a lot for the economy and probably cared about kids and was just a fun-loving guy with a lot of close friends. If only that book weren’t so biased! And politically incorrect, to say the least.