"Second, the Book of Mormon exposes the enemies of Christ. It confounds false doctrines and lays down contention. (See 2 Ne. 3:12.) It fortifies the humble followers of Christ against the evil designs, strategies, and doctrines of the devil in our day. The type of apostates in the Book of Mormon are similar to the type we have today. God, with his infinite foreknowledge, so molded the Book of Mormon that we might see the error and know how to combat false educational, political, religious, and philosophical concepts of our time....
"The situation in the world will continue to degenerate unless we read and heed the words of God and quit building up and upholding secret combinations, which the Book of Mormon tells us proved the downfall of ancient civilizations." (Ensign, Jan. 1988 ; emphasis added.)
Below are six statements by Ezra Taft Benson regarding a secret combination that is increasing its evil influence and control over America and the entire world. These warnings have come to us from God through Ezra Taft Benson. All six statements were made after his call in 1985 to be President of the Church. They cannot be safely ignored. Without an understanding of these prophetic warnings, we cannot correctly interpret national and world events.
In addition, Ezra Taft Benson's apostolic statements during the 42 years prior to his becoming President of the Church are also helpful as we seek to understand his counsel on this important subject. Remember, God does not call as Prophets men who teach false doctrine.
1. SECRET COMBINATIONS
1.1. Oct. 1986: "From the Book of Mormon we see the evils of secret combinations portrayed in graphic and chilling reality. . . .
"We should constantly ask ourselves, 'Why did the Lord inspire Mormon (or Moroni or Alma) to include that in his record? What lesson can I learn from that to help me live in this day and age?'" (Conference Report, Oct. 1986, Ensign, Nov. 1986, pp. 6-7; also The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 59.)
1.2. April 1989: "Secret combinations . . . are built up to get power, gain, and glory of the world. (See Hel. 7:5; Ether 8:9, 16, 22-23; Moses 5:31.) . . . Secret combinations brought down both the Jaredite and the Nephite civilizations and [have] been and will yet be the cause of the fall of many nations. (See Ether 8:18-25.)" (Conference Report, April. 1989, Ensign, May 1989, p. 6.)
1.3. Jan. 1988: "The situation in the world will continue to degenerate unless we read and heed the words of God and quit building up and upholding secret combinations, which the Book of Mormon tells us proved the downfall of ancient civilizations." ("The Book of Mormon Is the Word of God," Ensign, Jan. 1988, p. 5.)
1.4. April 1986: "Our nation will continue to degenerate unless we read and heed the words of the God of this land, Jesus Christ, and quit building up and upholding the secret combinations which the Book of Mormon tells us proved the downfall of both previous American civilizations." ("The Book of Mormon Is the Word of God," Regional Representatives' Seminar, Friday, April 4, 1986, pp. 3-4; as quoted in The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 61.)
1.5. Oct. 1988: "Wickedness is rapidly expanding in every segment of our society. (See D&C 1:14- 16; 84:49-53.) It is more highly organized, more cleverly disguised, and more powerfully promoted than ever before. Secret combinations lusting for power, gain, and glory are flourishing. A secret combination that seeks to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries is increasing its evil influence and control over America and the entire world. (See Ether 8:18-25.)" (Conference Report, Oct. 1988, Ensign, Nov. 1988, p. 87; italics added.)
1.6. April 1987: "Secret combinations flourished because, as Helaman tells us, the Gadianton robbers 'had seduced the more part of the righteous until they had come down to believe in their works and partake of their spoils' (Helaman 6:38)." (Conference Report, April 1987, Ensign, May 1987, p. 4; italics added.)
2. MORONI'S URGENT APPEAL
2.1. In a General Conference of the Church, Ezra Taft Benson said: "One of the most urgent, heart-stirring appeals made by Moroni as he closed the Book of Mormon was addressed to the gentile nations of the last days. He foresaw the rise of a great world-wide secret combination among the gentiles which 'seeketh to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries.' (Ether 8:25.)" (Conference Report, Oct. 1961, Improvement Era, Dec. 1961, p. 953; as quoted in God, Family, Country, p. 348.)
For more than thirty years, the modern prophet Ezra Taft Benson echoed the ancient prophet Moroni's warning that "each gentile nation of the last days [must] purge itself of this gigantic criminal conspiracy which would seek to rule the world." (Ibid.)
2.2. Ezra Taft Benson said: "Moroni seemed greatly exercised lest in our day we might not be able to recognize the startling fact that the same secret societies which destroyed the Jaredites and decimated numerous kingdoms of both Nephites and Lamanites would be precisely the same form of criminal conspiracy which would rise up among the gentile nations in this day. . . .
"Moroni described how the secret combination would take over a country and then fight the work of God, persecute the righteous, and murder those who resisted. Moroni therefore proceeded to describe the workings of the ancient secret combinations so that modern man could recognize this great political conspiracy in the last days. (See Ether 8:23-25.)" (Conference Report, Oct. 1961, Improvement Era, Dec. 1961, p. 954; as quoted in God, Family, Country, p. 349.)
"Today the Christian constitutionalist mourns for his country. He sees the spiritual and political faith of his fathers betrayed by wolves in sheep's clothing. He sees the forces of evil increasing in strength and momentum under the leadership of Satan, the arch-enemy of freedom. He sees the wicked honored and the valiant abused. He senses that his own generation faces Gethsemanes and Valley Forges that may yet rival or surpass the trials of the early Apostles and the men of '76. And this gives him cause to reflect on the most basic of fundamentals—the reason for our existence. Once we understand that fundamental, the purpose for mortality, we may more easily chart a correct course in the perilous seas that are engulfing our nation." (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 397.)
2.3. In the April 1972 General Conference of the Church, President Benson stated: "Joseph Smith said that the Book of Mormon was the 'keystone of our religion' and the 'most correct' book on earth. (DHC, vol. 6, p. 56.) This most correct book on earth states that the downfall of two great American civilizations came as a result of secret conspiracies whose desire was to overthrow the freedom of the people. 'And they have caused the destruction of this people of whom I am now speaking,' says Moroni, 'and also the destruction of the people of Nephi.' (Ether 8:21.)
"Now undoubtedly Moroni could have pointed out many factors that led to the destruction of the people, but notice how he singled out the secret combinations, just as the Church today could point out many threats to peace, prosperity and the spread of God's work, but it has singled out as the greatest threat the Godless conspiracy. There is no conspiracy theory in the Book of Mormon—it is a conspiracy fact." (Conference Report, April 1972, Ensign, July 1972, p. 60; as quoted in God, Family, Country, pp. 321-322.)
2.4. Ether 8:22. President Benson emphasized over and over the ancient prophet Moroni's warning that "whatsoever nation shall uphold such secret combinations . . . until they shall spread over the nation, behold, they shall be destroyed." (See, for example, God, Family, Country, pp. 322 & 349; and An Enemy Hath Done This, pp. 331 & 333.)
2.5. According to Ezra Taft Benson, we are "building up and upholding" this great world-wide conspiracy; we have been "seduced . . . to believe its words," and it is "flourishing" and "increasing its evil influence and control over America and the entire world." (See section 1 above.)
3. DECEIVING THE VERY ELECT
3.1. 2 Timothy 3:13. Ezra Taft Benson said of this verse: "The Apostle Paul saw our day. He . . . warned that 'evil men and seducers would wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived' (2 Timothy 3:13)." (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 88; italics added.)
3.2. Mark 13:22. "For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect." (Italics added.)
Matthew 24:24. "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."
Ezra Taft Benson said of this verse: "There is a conspiracy of evil. The source of it all is Satan and his hosts. He has a great power over men to 'lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken' to the voice of the Lord (Moses 4:4). His evil influence may be manifest through governments; through false educational, political, economic, religious, and social philosophies; through secret societies and organizations; and through myriads of other forms. His power and influence are so great that, if possible, he would deceive the very elect (see Matthew 24:24)." (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 404.)
3.3. Helaman 6:38. The Modern Prophet Benson, quoting the Book of Mormon Prophet Helaman, has noted that secret combinations flourish because they are able to seduce "the more part of the righteous" to "believe in their works and partake of their spoils." (Conference Report, April 1987, Ensign, May 1987, p. 4.)
This seduction happens by deception. And the greatest deceptions were not among the Nephites, but are among us today. Ezra Taft Benson said: "We are going through . . . the greatest propaganda campaign of all time. We cannot believe all we read." (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 302; see also p. 90.)
3.4. Ezra Taft Benson said: "It is from within the Church that the greatest hindrance comes. And so, it seems, it has been. Now the question arises, will we stick with the kingdom and can we avoid being deceived? Certainly this is an important question, for the Lord has said that in the last days the 'devil will rage in the hearts of men' (2 Nephi 28:20), and if it were possible he 'shall deceive the very elect' (see Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:22)." (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, pp. 406-407.)
4. WE MUST AWAKE
4.1. Ezra Taft Benson said: "If you use the scriptures as a guide, you know what the Book of Mormon has to say regarding murderous conspiracies in the last day and how we are to awake to our awful situation today (see Ether 8:18-25). I find certain elements in the Church do not like to read the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants so much—they have too much to say about freedom." (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 81; see also p. 42.)
Ezra Taft Benson continues: "The Book of Mormon warns us that when we see these murderous conspiracies in our midst, we should awaken to our awful situation (see Ether 8:24). Now, why should we awaken if the Lord is going to take care of us anyway? Let us suppose that it is too late to save freedom. It is still accounted unto us for righteousness' sake to stand up and fight. Some Book of Mormon prophets knew of the final desolate end of their nations, but they still fought on, and they saved some souls, including their own, by so doing. For, after all, the purpose of life is to prove ourselves, and the final victory will be for freedom." (Ibid., p. 660.)
4.2. Ezra Taft Benson warned: "Our complacency as a nation is shocking—yes, almost unbelievable! We are a prosperous nation. Our people have high-paying jobs. Our incomes are high. Our standard of living is at an unprecedented level. We do not like to be disturbed as we enjoy our comfortable complacency. We live in the soft present and feel the future is secure. We do not worry about history. We seem oblivious to the causes of the rise and fall of nations. We are blind to the hard fact that nations usually sow the seeds of their own destruction while enjoying unprecedented prosperity.
"I say to you with all the fervor of my soul: We are sowing the seeds of our own destruction in America and much of the free world today. It is my sober warning to you today that if the trends of the past continue, we will lose that which is as priceless as life itself—our freedom, our liberty, our right to act as free men. It can happen here. It is happening here. . . .
"The sad and shocking story of what has happened in America in recent years must be told. Our people must have the facts. There is safety in an informed public. There is real danger in a complacent, uninformed citizenry. This is our real danger today. Yes, the truth must be told even at the risk of destroying, in large measure, the influence of men who are widely respected and loved by the American people. The stakes are high. Freedom and survival is the issue." (Ibid., p. 582.)
4.3. "The fight for freedom is God's fight. . . . When a man stands for freedom he stands with God. And as long as he stands for freedom he stands with God. And were he to stand alone he would still stand with God—the best company and the greatest power in or out of this world. Any man will be eternally vindicated and rewarded for his stand for freedom." (Ibid., p. 656.)
This blog post brings together a number of statements by Ezra Taft Benson about an international conspiracy that seeks to overthrow freedom in all countries and rule the world. These warnings have caused embarrassment among some members of the Church and have received limited attention in Church curriculum materials. Some Church members go so far as to belittle the idea of a conspiracy to take over the world. Those who would mock the words of a Prophet should carefully consider the Lord's warning: "Fools mock, but they shall mourn." (Ether 12:26.)
Ezra Taft Benson is one of sixteen latter-day Prophets. To the extent that a person rejects what is taught by a Prophet, to that extent he or she rejects that Prophet. Only when so instructed by the living Prophet, may we safely discard the unpleasant or difficult counsel of earlier Prophets.
As we study the teachings of Ezra Taft Benson in our Sunday meetings, let us ask ourselves: Are we merely paying lip service to the memory of a former Church President or do we actually believe what this Prophet of God taught about the Book of Mormon and how it exposes the enemies of Christ?