Sunday, January 24, 2016

"O be wise; what can I say more?" January 24, 2016

I have been reading the Book of Mormon again.  I just reread the account of Sherem.  Sherem rose as a leader among the Nephites.  I envision him as a powerful speaker, commanding in his presence.  I imagine that he told the people what they wanted to hear, and they accepted him in large numbers.  The account is found in Jacob 7.

"And he preached many things which were flattering unto the people; and this he did that he might overthrow the doctrine of Christ.
 And he labored diligently that he might lead away the hearts of the people, insomuch that he did lead away many hearts;
And he was learned, that he had a perfect knowledge of the language of the people; wherefore, he could use much flattery, and much power of speech, according to the power of the devil."
Sherem then asks for a sign, is struck down, and before he dies, he acknowledges that the things he had been saying were not true.
Just before the account of Sherem, Jacob says this "O be wise; what can I say more?"  Jacob was calling upon the people to be wise in who they would follow.  
How important is it that we be wise in choosing those we would follow?  We have many accounts in history in which the people were not wise.  
Many years ago, Elder Dixon had a friend who had come to the United States from Iran.  He told Elder Dixon about the experience he had when the takeover of the government took place.  There was unrest among the people about the reign of the Shah.  Demonstrations began to form in the streets on the weekends.  Many of those demonstrating were college students seeking change.  Each weekend the crowds grew until hundreds of thousands were assembling and chanting and calling for change.  Then, one day, some demonstrators joined them who carried signs supporting the Ayatollah.  Not long after, those demonstrators began to attend with guns and would shoot the guns into the air.  Elder Dixon's friend and many, many others, once the display of force took place, were too afraid to attend. The mood of the demonstrations changed and Elder Dixon's friend said that the reason the Ayatollah and his group took over is because the good people did nothing to prevent it.
I wonder if it was not similar when Hitler came into power.  The people were disenchanted, downtrodden perhaps.  He made promises that sounded great to them.  He played into their desire to be a great people.  He convinced them of their superiority to others.  He used tremendous displays of power.  Then, he systematically destroyed anyone who would oppose him.  Worse still, he targeted those he considered inferior and had them murdered.
One thing I find truly alarming is the position that compromise is a sign of weakness.  If that was so, we would not have a country today.  Our Union was established based on compromise and the sincere desire of good men to unite into something great.  The States' rights voices and the Federalists had to find common ground.  They did so, and created a tremendous land with promise and freedom.  People who are unwilling to compromise are listening to those voices who they believe will put them into, and allow them to stay in office.  They are not looking for the best for us and our country.
"O be wise; what can I say more?"

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