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Taken from the best-selling book, 100 Signs of the Times by David Ridges.
One of the signs of the times is that secret combinations and secret works of darkness, which devastated the Nephites, will permeate various nations and societies in the last days. Examples of secret combinations and the evil purposes of their adherents, found in the Book of Mormon, include (bold added for emphasis):
And when the servant of Helaman had known all the heart of Kishkumen, and how that it was his object to murder, and also that it was the object of all those who belonged to his band to murder, and to rob, and to gain power, (and this was their secret plan, and their combination) the servant of Helaman said unto Kishkumen: Let us go forth unto the judgment-seat.
21 But behold, Satan did stir up the hearts of the more part of the Nephites, insomuch that they did unite with those bands of robbers, and did enter into their covenants and their oaths, that they would protect and preserve one another in whatsoever difficult circumstances they should be placed, that they should not suffer for their murders, and their plunderings, and their stealings.
22 And it came to pass that they did have their signs, yea, their secret signs, and their secret words; and this that they might distinguish a brother who had entered into the covenant, that whatsoever wickedness his brother should do he should not be injured by his brother, nor by those who did belong to his band, who had taken this covenant.
23 And thus they might murder, and plunder, and steal, and commit whoredoms and all manner of wickedness, contrary to the laws of their country and also the laws of their God.
In the Book of Mormon, we read of what happened when the majority of the Nephites began supporting wicked leaders, many of whom were involved in these secret combinations. No doubt, we are seeing similar workings among many governments in the world today, as prophesied (bold added for emphasis):
38 And it came to pass on the other hand, that the Nephites did build them up and support them, beginning at the more wicked part of them, until they had overspread all the land of the Nephites, and had seduced the more part of the righteous until they had come down to believe in their works and partake of their spoils, and to join with them in their secret murders and combinations.
In a powerful testimony, President Ezra Taft Benson warned of secret combinations and works of evil in our day. He also testified that the power of God will strengthen the righteous and that they will ultimately come off triumphant. In the October 1988 general conference of the Church, he said (bold added for emphasis):
I testify that wickedness is rapidly expanding in every segment of our society. (See D&C 1:14–16; D&C 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.)
I testify that the church and kingdom of God is increasing in strength. Its numbers are growing, as is the faithfulness of its faithful members. It has never been better organized or equipped to perform its divine mission.
I testify that as the forces of evil increase under Lucifer’s leadership and as the forces of good increase under the leadership of Jesus Christ, there will be growing battles between the two until the final confrontation. As the issues become clearer and more obvious, all mankind will eventually be required to align themselves either for the kingdom of God or for the kingdom of the devil. As these conflicts rage, either secretly or openly, the righteous will be tested. God’s wrath will soon shake the nations of the earth and will be poured out on the wicked without measure. (See JS—H 1:45; D&C 1:9.) But God will provide strength for the righteous and the means of escape; and eventually and finally truth will triumph (See 1 Ne. 22:15–23). (“I Testify,” Ensign, Nov. 1988, 86–87)
The horror and reality of secret combinations in our day stared him directly in the face. Such contracts had a track record of complete success. Invoking the help of the Lord and soliciting the prayers of his friends, he “disappeared” for several weeks.
When he finally returned, the contract had been cancelled and he was once again free to live a normal life with his family and serve openly in his Church calling and work responsibilities.
Marvelous and encouraging signs of the times are all around us too. Nephi saw our day and assured us that the power of God will be wonderfully manifest in the lives of faithful members of the Church in the dispensation of the fulness of times (bold added for emphasis):
12 And it came to pass that I beheld the church of the Lamb of God, and its numbers were few, because of the wickedness and abominations of the whore who sat upon many waters; nevertheless, I beheld that the church of the Lamb, who were the saints of God, were also upon all the face of the earth; and their dominions upon the face of the earth were small, because of the wickedness of the great whore whom I saw.
13 And it came to pass that I beheld that the great mother of abominations did gather together multitudes upon the face of all the earth, among all the nations of the Gentiles, to fight against the Lamb of God.
14 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld the power of the Lamb of God, that it descended upon the saints of the church of the Lamb, and upon the covenant people of the Lord, who were scattered upon all the face of the earth; and they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory.
To read more about the Signs of the Times, go check out David Ridges best-selling book, 100 Signs of the Times currently on sale at cedarfort.com!
** The following was taken from 100 Signs of the Times. The opinions and views expressed herein belong solely to David Ridges and do not necessarily represent the opinions or views of Cedar Fort, Inc.