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“Everything in the arsenal of the adversary will eventually be used.” —Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “All Hell is Moved,” Devotional given at Brigham Young University, November 8, 1977
Relevance of Contemporary Terrorism
Nephi and other prophets foresaw the challenges of these last days, among which is the bloodshed associated with terrorism. They recorded their visions and revelations in the compilation of scripture penned by prophets known as the Book of Mormon. David Brent Marsh of the Priesthood and Family Department for the Church explained that the Book of Mormon was preserved and brought forth in our day to help Saints with the challenges of this dispensation, stating that, “of the 239 chapters in the Book of Mormon, 174 (73 percent) deal with war, terrorism, murder, political conspiracies, secret combinations, threats, family collusions, and other hostilities.”
The last days are rife with violence. People all over the world witnessed terrorism increase in frequency and impact in recent decades, influencing many facets of life, from security procedures at airports to apprehensions about sending our children to school.
Latter-day Saints do not readily come to mind as a unit of people directly affected by contemporary terrorism, yet many have been deliberately targeted in attacks or have become the victims of indiscriminate targeting in broader terrorism campaigns. In fact, at one time in recent history, the Church was the most frequently targeted organization in anti-US attacks in Latin America. While attacks waxed in the late 1980s and early 1990s and waned in the following years, the Church remains a target. Saints have been victims of attacks not specifically targeting the Church, as well, with Saints perishing or suffering injuries in the Oklahoma City Bombing, the 9/11 attacks, and other events.
Terrorism has been the subject of scriptural prophecy, as well as counsel and warnings of modern-day prophets. While armed conflict still produces more fatalities than do acts of terrorism, the frequency of terrorist attacks in the world and perpetrators’ indiscriminate nature of targeting makes this a chief factor of concern among people, especially members of younger generations bombarded by terrorism in the media for most of their lives. Future generations will undoubtedly continue to confront the perpetual and ever-evolving threat of terrorism.
Brigham Young’s Prophecy on the Power of Satan in the Last Days
Satan’s power and influence in the world are often difficult to quantify, given gradual shifts in public policy on issues of morality, changing perceptions of polemic issues across generations, and evil practices adopted and accepted as norms as society grows more distant from God. Terrorism, however, differs from many of the shifting societal norms, as terrorism remains one aspect of opposition in the world most people still recognize as evil. Aspects of terrorism are quantifiable, revealing trends over time.
By nature, terrorism incites fear that can counteract the faith and hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Commenting on the opposition countering the spread of the Church, Elder Neal A. Maxwell, a member of the Quorum of the Seventy at the time, stated the following:
“President Brigham Young observed that it would be at the very time when the Church was reaching out to all the nations of the world, when it was prospering and growing, that there would be in proportion to the spread of the gospel a rise in the power of Satan.”
In other words, assigning variables to certain phrases in this prophecy, with an increase in missionary work and Church membership, there will be a proportional increase in evil. In the context of terrorism, one manifestation of Satan’s power in the world, comparing key indicators of the variables listed in Brigham Young’s prophecy reveals a proportional correlation.
Missionary work represents one of the most formidable tools combating Satan’s focus on the spiritual and eternal state of man, so correlations between degrees of evil and terrorism and missionary work seem practical. Missionaries are the front line of the Lord’s work, so as their ranks increase in size and spread to new countries, a logical reaction from Satan would be to increase his efforts to spread chaos and sow seeds of strife. In addition to Brigham Young’s prophecy concerning evil, supported by terrorism trends compared to Church statistics, many other General Authorities have spoken on the topic of terrorism and violent opposition.
The following was taken from the book War with the Remnant by Matthew Hughes, currently available at cedarfort.com. The opinions and views expressed herein belong solely to Matthew and do not necessarily represent the opinions or views of Cedar Fort, Inc.