Religious History Affirms that
Satan Has Always Tried to
If it be true that the central feature of Satans plan for man on earth is to utilize the power of government to destroy the agency of men, religious history should confirm this fact. The prophecies of Nephi and John regarding the devils church concerned the nations of the Gentiles from the days of Christ to the end of the world. Let us turn to the records of the Antediluvians, the Jaredites, and the Nephites for information concerning Satans organized activities among them. If our conclusion concerning his church among the Gentiles is correct, these other histories should furnish substantiating evidence.
Satans Organizations Among The Antediluvians
Virtually all references to Satans organizations among the antediluvians have been painstakingly removed from the Old Testament. Not one word regarding the secret combinations he formed during the days of the Patriarchal reign appears in the book of Genesis. Neither is there any record in the Bible of the devils appearance to Moses. However, the Lord made some of this deleted information available to us today by giving to Joseph Smith the revelation known as the Book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price. He told Moses he would do this very thing:
And in a day when the children of men shall esteem my words as naught and take many of them from the book which thou shalt write, behold, i will raise up another like unto thee; and they shall be had again among the children of menamong as many as shall believe. (Moses 1:41)
It is specifically mentioned in the Book of Moses that certain information regarding Satan had been removed. Following the account of Satans appearance to Moses, the Lord said:
And now of this thing Moses bore record; but because of wickedness it is not had among the children of men. (Moses 1:23)
It appears that Satan has gone to great trouble to prevent the world from obtaining a knowledge of him and his organizations. It will be recalled that Johns account of the Great and Abominable Church was badly mutilated by that very organization. Nonetheless, the Pearl of Great Price provides us with some information regarding evil organizations before the flood. Satans first secret combination was headed up by Cain and the record shows that his posterity continued to give it leadership down through at least five direct descendants. (Moses 5:41-5 1; Hela. 6:27) Lamech was number five in the lineage of Cain, and concerning him and the secret combinations we have this information:
For Lamech having entered into a covenant with Satan, after the manner of Cain, wherein he became Master Mahan, master of that great secret which was administered unto Cain by Satan; and Irad, the son of Enoch, having known their secret, began to reveal it unto the sons of Adam;
Wherefore Lamech, being angry, slew him, not like unto Cain, his brother Abel, for the sake of getting gain, but he slew him for the oaths sake.
For from the days of Cain, there was a secret combination, and their works were in the dark, and they knew every man his brother. (Moses 5:49-5 1)
Satans Organizations Among The Jaredites
Much more information has been given concerning Satans organizations among the Jaredites than among the antediluvians. It may well be that one of the primary reasons the Lord has given us their record is to provide us with one additional warning about secret combinations. Although the Book of Ether covers some 2,000 years of history, and concerns itself with what was apparently the greatest nation which was ever on the earth (Ether 1:43), it is only thirty-two pages long. But within those thirty-two pages (15 Chapters), secret combinations and secret societies are mentioned sixteen times. One of the vital messages contained within this severely abbreviated account of this great civilization appears to be: beware of Satans secret organizations,
Time and again, the historian Moroni tells of the formation of these secret societies. They invariably caused bloodshed and great wickedness. This was followed by calamity and destruction, after which the people would repent and the cycle would commence again. These secret combinations among the Jaredites were of the same nature and purpose as those established by Cain and Satan in the beginning. It appears that the Jaredites had a detailed account of their formation among the antediluvians. This fact is brought out in connection with the discussion of their first appearance in the Jaredite nation.
Jared, the son of the good king Omer, had rebelled against his father and taken over the reins of government, only to be deposed by force of arms. However, he had set his heart upon the kingdoms and glory of the world, and his daughter, seeing his sorrow and disappointment said to him:
Whereby hath my father so much sorrow? Hath he not read the record which our fathers brought across the great deep? Behold, is there not an account concerning them of old, that they by their secret plans did obtain kingdoms and great glory? (Ether 8:9)
Acting on this diabolical suggestion, Jared and a friend named Akish established a secret combination among his kinfolk and administered unto them an oath that whosoever would fail to support him and this wicked society would lose his head. These oaths, the record says, had been handed down from Cain:
And it came to pass that thus they did agree with Akish. And Akish did administer unto them the oaths which were given by them of old who also sought power, which had been handed down even from Cain, who was a murderer from the beginning. (Ether 8:15)
These secret combinations continued to wreak havoc in the Jaredite nation right down to the end and were the cause of its eventual total destruction:
And they [secret combinations] have caused the destruction of this people of whom i am now speaking, [the Jaredites] and also the destruction of the people of Nephi. (Ether 8:21)
Satans Organizations Among The Nephites
The Book of Mormon provides a wealth of detail concerning Satans organizations among the Nephites, however the principal name applied to their secret combinations was the Gadianton Robbers after the name of the individual who was instrumental in first establishing this evil society among his people. Nevertheless, the record assures us that Satan was the real head and that his organizations among the Nephites were the same kind as those which had destroyed both the Antediluvians and the Jaredites. This fact is set forth in this passage:
Now behold, those secret oaths and covenants did not come forth unto Gadianton from the records which were delivered unto Helaman; but behold, they were put into the heart of Gadianton by that same being who did entice our first parents to partake of the forbidden fruit Yea, that same being who did plot with Cain, that if he would murder his brother Abel it should not be known unto the world. And he did plot with Cain and his followers from that time forth.
And also it is that same being who put it into the hearts of the people to build a tower sufficiently high that they might get to heaven. And it was that same being who led on the people who came from that tower into this land; who spread the works of darkness and abominations over all the face of the land, until he dragged the people down to an entire destruction, and to an everlasting hell. (Hela. 6:26-28)
The Gadianton Band became a mortal threat to the Nephite nation three different times prior to the coming of Christ and at least once afterwards. Each time it prospered, it caused great wickedness, bloodshed, and suffering, and eventually caused the entire destruction of this people also. (Ether 8:21)
The Book Of Mormon Discloses That The Secret Combinations Always Sought Control Of Government
Let us examine the Book of Mormon for evidence that Satan seeks control of government through his secret combinations, thereby trying to establish his great and abominable church. While the pre-flood records are so brief that they disclose very little regarding this matter, the Book of Ether makes it clear that the secret societies among the Jaredites always sought to occupy the position of the supreme civil authority. The very first time the organization was established, it achieved this objective. The record says:
it came to pass that because of the secret combinations of Akish and his friends, behold, they did overthrow the kingdom of Omer.
And it came to pass that fared was anointed king over the people by the hand of wickedness... (Ether 9:1, 4)
Poetic justice overtook this wicked son who had dispossessed his father, for his son-in-law who had helped establish the secret society to place him on the throne, used that organization to murder him and take his place:
And it came to pass that Akish sought the life of his father-in-law; and he applied unto those whom he had sworn by the oath of the ancients, and they obtained the head of his father-in-law, as he sat upon his throne, giving audience to his people therefore fared was murdered upon his throne, and Akish reigned in his stead. (Ether 9:5-6)
A few generations later, we find another wicked son setting up a secret society to be used to wrest the throne from his father:
and Heth began to embrace the secret plans again of old, to destroy his father. And it came to pass that he did dethrone his father, for he slew him with his own sword; and he did reign in his stead (Ether 9:26-27)
At the time of the final destruction of the Jaredite nation, these secret combinations were still striving for political control:
Wherefore, it came to pass that in the first year that Ether dwelt in the cavity of a rock, there were many people who were slain by the sword of those secret combinations, fighting against Coriantumr that they might obtain the kingdom. (Ether 13:18)
The supreme object of the Gadianton Band among the Nephites was identicalthe control of government. There is no indication of the existence of these secret combinations among this people until after they had established a government subject to the voice of the people in the year 92 B.C. But only forty years thereafter, a dispute arose as to which of three brothers should be the governor, and such an organization was formed for the purpose of murdering the successful candidate. (Hela. 1:7-11) Upon the death of this first victim, Helaman was elected governor and this secret band immediately undertook to murder him and seize power. Its purposes and methods are clearly set forth in the following passage:
For there was one Gadianton, who was exceeding expert in many words, and also in his craft, to carry on the secret work of murder and robbery; therefore he became the leader of the band of Kishkumen.
Therefore he did flatter them, and also Kishkumen, that if they would place him in the judgment-seat he would grant unto those who belonged to his band that they should be placed in power and authority among the people; therefore Kishkumen sought to destroy Helaman. (Hela. 2:4-5)
Due to some effective counter-espionage work by one of Helamans servants, Kishkumen was killed while making an attempt on Helamans life, and this put an end to the immediate threat to gain control. However, about twenty-five years thereafter, because of increasing wickedness, this band had grown to large proportions and in a single year, they murdered the chief judge whose name was Cezoram, and then his son who succeeded him. By means of these two assassinations, they were able to get their own candidate in office. The record says: And thus they did obtain the sole management of the government… (Hela. 6:3 9) Of course the Lord will not suffer that such abominations shall reign on this land, and therefore He sent a famine which caused the people to perish by the thousands, thus bringing repentance and a cleansing of their government. (Hela. 11:10-17)
Approximately thirty years later the Gadianton Band again assumed such a size that it became a mortal threat to the Nephite government. The leader of the robbers, Giddianhi, feeling that his forces were sufficiently strong to capture control of the entire Nephite nation, wrote an epistle to Lachoneus, governor of the Nephites, in which he demanded that the latter should:
yield up unto this my people your cities, your lands, and your possessions, rather than that they should visit you with the sword and that destruction should come upon you. (3 Nephi 3:6)
His main purpose in making this threat was the seizure of political power because everything else would naturally follow as a result thereof. This purpose is disclosed in another part of his epistle which reads:
And I write this epistle unto you, Lachoneus, and I hope that ye will deliver up your lands and your possessions, without the shedding of blood, that this my people may recover their rights and government, who have dissented away from you because of your wickedness in retaining from them their rights of government… (3 Nephi 3:10)
When Lachoneus refused this demand, an eight or nine year war ensued which caused the greatest slaughter which had occurred among the children of Lehi to that time. However, the Gadianton Band was eventually defeated, disbanded, and its leader executed. It was only about nine years thereafter that another secret combination was formed for the purpose of seizing political power. The record says of this new group:
And they did set at defiance the law and the rights of their country; and they did covenant one with another to destroy the governor, and to establish a king over the land, that the land should no more be at liberty but should be subject unto kings. (3 Nephi 6:30)
The combination failed again to control the entire Nephite nation. Although they once more murdered the governor, they were not sufficiently strong to install their own man in his place; therefore, they formed a separate government with a man named Jacob at its head. The more numerous part of the Nephite nation broke up into tribes. King Jacob led his people northward where they established a kingdom of their own, hoping to become numerous enough to return and take complete control. Jacob told his followers that in their separate location they would
there build up unto themselves a kingdom, until they were joined by dissenters, (for he flattered them that there would be many dissenters) and they become sufficiently strong to contend with the tribes of the people;… (3 Nephi 7:12)
Before they were able to make a complete political conquest, Christ obliterated them and their city with fire. His comments concerning their destruction indicates that He regards the destruction of government by these Satan-led combinations as being above all the wickedness of the whole earth:
And behold, that great city Jacobugath,…have I caused to be burned with fire because of their sins and their wickedness, which was above all the wickedness of the whole earth, because of their secret murders and combinations; for it was they that did destroy the peace of my people and the government of the land; therefore I did cause them to be burned…(3 Nephi 9:9)
Moroni confirms the fact that these secret combinations of Satan which eternally seek to prostitute government are the ultimate in wickedness:
And it came to pass that they formed a secret combination, even as they of old; which combination is most abominable and wicked above all in the sight of God (Ether 8:18)
Are The Secret Combinations And The Church Of The Devil One And The Same Organization?
While Nephi prophesied that in these latter days there would be secret combinations, even as in times of old, according to the combinations of the devil, neither he nor the other prophets appear to have explicitly identified them as the church of the devil. Nevertheless, the question naturally arises as to whether they are one and the same organization. Let us observe some of their similarities. Satan is said to be the founder and head of both. (1 Nephi 13:6; Ether 8:25) They are both described by the prophets as being the ultimate in wickedness. (3 Nephi 9:9; Ether 8:18; 1 Nephi 13:5) They are both the source of abominations. (Hela. 7:25; 1 Nephi 14:9)
This evidence suggests that the two organizations are the same, but there is one additional consideration which is even more convincing. Nephi prophesied that during these latter days, Satans Great and Abominable Church would spread over the earth and have dominion among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people. He saw it become a terrible threat to the members of the Church of the Lamb in that it gathered multitudes from among all the nations of the Gentiles to make war against them.
At this point, he was commanded to stop recording what he saw, but John the Revelator finishes the story and states that this whore of all the earth became drunken with the blood of the saints. (Rev. 17:6) However, Moroni states that the secret combinations will be responsible for the murder of the saints among the Gentiles. After noting that,
the Lord will not suffer that the blood of his saints, which shall be shed by them shall always cry unto him from the ground for vengeance upon them and yet he avenge them not. (Ether 8:22)
He goes on to say:
Wherefore, O ye Gentiles, it is wisdom in God that these things should be shown unto you, that thereby ye may repent of your sins, and suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you, which are built up to get power and gain…
Wherefore, the Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation, because of this secret combination which shall be among you; or woe be unto it, because of the blood of them who have been slain; for they cry from the dust for vengeance upon it, and also upon those who built it up. (Ether 8:23-24)
It seems most unlikely that Nephi and Moroni would attribute the murder of the prophets to two separate organizations. Moroni also says that the secret combinations would seek world-wide dominion just as the devils church is predicted to do:
For it cometh to pass that whoso buildeth it up [secret combinations] seeketh to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries; . . (Ether 8:25)
From all of this evidence it would seem safe to conclude that since the secret combinations are always seeking to obtain control of government, and since the devils church is completely-corrupted government, the secret combinations are the devils church in embryo until they achieve their purpose. Thereafter, there is no distinction between them.