Saturday, December 19, 2009

Alma 48

Amalickiah is an amazingly clear example of a demagogue. The early 20th century American social critic and humorist H. L. Mencken, defined a demagogue as "one who will preach doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots." Amalickiah used propaganda and demagoguery to sway the Lamanites:

  1 And now it came to pass that, as soon as aAmalickiah had obtained the kingdom he began to binspire the hearts of the Lamanites against the people of Nephi; yea, he did appoint men to speak unto the Lamanites from their ctowers, against the Nephites.

 The Book of Mormon was written for our day. I believe these stories of political intrigue, corruption, secret combinations, etc., are meant as warnings to us. We should be extremely wary of any effort by political leaders or pundits to preach and inspire fear or hatred of others. Our commission is to take the gospel message to all the world. There are enemies of our nation, but we should constantly look to take the truth to the nations of the earth and not hope for their destruction.

The Nephites loved their enemies.

  21 But, as I have said, in the alatter end of the nineteenth year, yea, notwithstanding their peace amongst themselves, they were compelled reluctantly to contend with their brethren, the Lamanites.
  22 Yea, and in fine, their wars never did cease for the space of many years with the Lamanites, notwithstanding their much reluctance.
  23 Now, they were asorry to take up arms against the Lamanites, because they did not delight in the shedding of blood; yea, and this was not all—they were bsorry to be the means of sending so many of their brethren out of this world into an eternal world, cunprepared to meet their God.
  24 Nevertheless, they could not suffer to lay down their lives, that their awives and their children should be bmassacred by the barbarous ccruelty of those who were once their brethren, yea, and had ddissented from their church, and had left them and had gone to destroy them by joining the Lamanites.
  25 Yea, they could not bear that their brethren should rejoice over the blood of the Nephites, so long as there were any who should keep the commandments of God, for the promise of the Lord was, if they should keep his commandments they should aprosper in the land. 
So, we should defend ourselves, our freedom, and our families, but we should also love everyone, keep the commandments of God, and reluctantly take up arms.

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