I'm an early morning seminary teacher to 31 awesome juniors & seniors. Join us on our journey through the Book of Mormon.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Warnings From Mormon About Secret Stuff
I saw this movie back in the 70's with my dad. I started asking my class if they had ever seen this movie, and then stopped myself, thinking they were too young. (If they hadn't seen "Indiana Jones" movies, then they certainly hadn't seen "The Sting".) I was wrong; some of them had seen it. As I was deciding on how to teach about the signs people give to one another in a secret society, this movie came to mind.
Just as a side note, here is another example of a secret society shown on the big screen. They're everywhere, if you look for them, in dark places, where no light can be found. (God = light, Satan = dark) Part of the problem with the Nephites in the Book of Helaman was that they were so preoccupied with division within their nation that they were vulnerable to attack from the Lamanites and secret combinations from within.
In "The Sting", starring Paul Newman, Robert Redford and Robert Shaw, con artists target a wealthy man from New York. They create an elaborate, secret sting operation to get this man to trust them enough to bet his money on a false horse race. There is a group of them working together to pull this off, who will eventually get their share of worldly wealth for participating. Every layer of deceit and lying by these con men lures this man into a false sense of security. They communicate in public with a rub of the nose which is only known to those within their secret group of cons. The wealthy man's greed for money and power eats at him to participate in this transaction, which eventually ends up in his loss of his money.
In Helaman 1, Kishmumen, the murderer of Pahoran II, entered into a covenant with other supporters to overthrow the Nephite government for power and gain. They agree to keep all of their acts of evil unknown to the public, only communicating through signs. In verse 12 it reads: "Therefore, Kishkumen was not known among the people of Nephi, for he was in disguise at the time that he murdered Pahoran. And Kishkumen and his band, who had covenanted with him, did mingle themselves among the people, in a manner that they all could not be found; but as many as were found were condemned unto death." The Nephites worked to exterminate these secret bands, later led by Gadianton, but their secrecy kept them virtually undetectable.
Mormon makes it clear to us at the end of Helaman 2, that "...In the end of this book ye shall see that this Gadianton did prove the overthrow, yea, almost the entire destruction of the people of Nephi." Clearly, his message to us is to protect ourselves from the evil that surrounds us. Staying faithful in dark times is our mission. The Lord offers us a protection from the evil around us through the Spirit. Today's lesson helped us to open our eyes to the sly way that Satan creeps into/through our society. It is always easy to point out faults in others rather than ourselves. With that in mind, we have the Book of Mormon to reveal to us the weaknesses of the Nephites. We're meant to notice those weaknesses so we don't repeat them. Those weaknesses exist in us as well, and we would be well to take the warning of this prophet, Mormon.
We've only scratched the surface in the Book of Helaman in singling out how the Nephites mirror our society. More tomorrow..........
I serve as an early morning seminary teacher in the Murrieta, California Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
I'm happily married to Joe; we have 4 lovely daughters and an amazing son-in-law.