“The way a book is read — which is to say, the qualities a reader brings to a book — can have as much to do with its worth as anything the author puts into it…. Anyone who can read can learn how to read deeply and thus live more fully.”
~Norman Cousins

Writing is where we truly learn. Join the Journey.

I read from my scriptures (book), but you can find scripture reference here.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Gadianton Robbers : that same being Helaman 6

Helaman 6

I think of a pirate when I think of a Gadianton Robber. What do you think of as you read this chapter. I chose to read it again. It is a rich chapter filled with so much more than I gleaned from it the first read. President Gordan B. Hinckley (President and Prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) said this about Gadianton Robbers and secrete societies shortly after the 9-11 terrorist attacks.
We of this Church know something of such groups. The Book of Mormon speaks of the Gadianton robbers, a vicious, oath-bound, and secret organization bent on evil and destruction. In their day they did all in their power, by whatever means available, to bring down the Church, to woo the people with sophistry, and to take control of the society. We see the same thing in the present situation.

As a mother, I am aware that Robbers exist more to than just rob you of your possessions. As I read these verses again, I realized that anything or anyone that sets about to rob you of anything precious to you, could be considered a robber. When they become conniving, insidious, and secretive in their plotting, then I would consider them Gadianton Robbers.

When my grandmother was growing up, the robbers she worried about came were the kind that came into your home to steal your possessions. As the power of media grew, the power to steal away the hearts of children became a real possibility. Radio introduced the possibility of marketing to the masses. No longer would advertisement companies rely on billboard advertising, or word of mouth, a radio could captivate the imagination of anyone who would listen.

Soon came the stereo, then the television, and now we have recorders, computers, internet, gaming systems, ipods, etc. There are countless ways that "that same being" can find his way in the hearts of our children. Obviously its not the device that poses the threat, but the voices that are allowed to entertain our time via the devices.

What I found interesting in these verses is that the Nephites (who had known wealth and prosperity) began to turn away from the word of God while the Lamanites began a campaign to eradicate the robbers within their community.

But today's robbers are not found in media? ARe they? That same being who does not want us to remember who we are, where we came from, or how to get back will do anything to stop us.

Within the past 15-20 years our nation has been invaded. Not by a physical presence but by a much more insidious villan. A villian that will work on the physche of our children's minds while they "play" and "learn" and "prepare the way for our next generation".

I have a unique perspective on this phenomenon because I have raised children from the 80's - the present time. When my oldest children were born, VHF did not exist. If you wanted to watch television you had to plan your entire day around the show or movie you wanted to watch. I remember getting all of my school clothes and work set out on a Sunday evening so that I could sit and watch one hour of Disney.

By the time my 5th child was born in 1990, VHF was common enough that you could watch any video on demand. A real blessing. Right? Only if you knew the tricks of discipline that came with the technology. Most families are oblivious to the rules that should attend the technology of today. So overwhelmed and intimidated by it that we allow it to rule our time, our minds, our entertainment, and our senses. This may be something that is manageable for adults, but children rarely can handle the overstimulation.

How is Satan using this technology to rob us of our children?
Teenagers sit across the room from their family members "texting" one another and unwilling to speak to one another because of their fascination with their phones. Children who plug in are unable to "turn off" when it comes time for sleep.

The real danger is not just in what the content of the games, and the messages are, the real danger comes in always being "plugged in", to the point where their nervous system does not know, has not learned how, or has never been trained to know peace and calm.

Today's post will look again at verse 6 from the point of view of how industry, business, technology of today has sought to rob us of our peace, our purity of thought, our choices, and our morality codes.

Words and Phrases

Vs 1 become hardened - from a gaming point of view, those who spend their recreation hours playing war games, learn that to be hardened is the only way to survive. If they show remorse, they lose their games, their virtual lives, and their ability to control the virtual environment.

vs 1 they did reject the word of God - I have known and spoken to many youth who are lost somewhere in the realms of their virtual world where violence is the only resource to problem solving, and where Goodness does not survive or dominate a gaming codes. In games like
The Sims where you are taught about life through living a virtual world, you quickly learn that to have any "excitement" in your "game" you must introduce the robber, the immoral character, etc. and here you find that these "virtual character" rarely face "real" punishment because you can always reboot.

vs 3 they did fellowship one with another - Gaming is one of those activities that does not include the word fellowship in its discussions. It is a type of activity that robs your ability to socialize with other human beings because you never have to deal with real human beings. When you fellowship.. .you speak, you respond, you encourage, you compliment, you reach out to those in need, you anticipate the needs of those whom you call friends. This is never part of a virtual world... Why.. because "that same being" wants to degrade us to the point of intellect. If he can take the social fellow-shiping from our lives, if he can make us believe that we exist solely on an intellectual virtual level, then we don't need human beings. If we don't need human beings in our life, then who are we? Furthermore, when in a virtual game did you ever hear of people rejoicing and having great joy?
These games do not exist to bring joy or rejoicing, they exist to teach us how to "get gain", to teach us how to destroy not only our opponent, but our own sense of self in relation to the real world around us.

vs 15 was murdered - gaming is all about murder and mayhem. Even in the games that chose to depict a virtual world, the reality is that without murder and chaos the game ceases to hold the interest of its players. No interest. no sales, no profits. murder is a great business. especially when its all virtual and no one gets hurt. ...
I have an example of a young man I know who parents allowed him so spend untold number of hours on computer and video games. I taught this boy daily. He often spoke of dark thoughts, and his response to difficulties was anger and lashing out both physically and verbally. He was a product of his own thoughts, thoughts that were being "programmed" by the games he was playing. He was fascinated with knives, weapons, and murder because he spent most of his "off" time virtually with these things.

vs 17 riches of the world - What are the riches of the world that we all so eagerly seek? In today's world, its a newer, faster computer for gaming, for Internet interplay, or to help us attain the newest songs, videos or ideas. Why do we feel we cannot live without a plethora of entertainment at our feet? We are not born to be entertained, we are born to work for our living.

vs 17 they had not been stirred up to anger- they had been placated by their riches. Riches have a way of doing that... slowing leading us away from all that is important. Slowing convincing us of their worth over that of eternal values. I loved Gollum of the "Lord of the Rings" series because his character does a good job of epitomizing our own inability to control what we allow ourselves to become "our precious". What is my precious "ring"? in our life? What controls what your destiny? If all you think of during the day is how you are going to beat the next level, or when you can get your next computer fix, then you might have a problem with your "precious". What do we use to "quiet" our children? so that we won't have to sit with them, remove our selves from whatever else holds our attention? Do our riches have something to do with our we are not stirred up to anger? Are we not angry because we get everything we want and nothing that we need?
vs 17 lifted up one above another - When all we do is compete in games against another, we tend to lift ourselves above one another. WE tend to forget how to console, empathy, or sympathy for those who may not play the game so well. I believe in competition, just real competition where the battles wounds leave real scars that can be used to recall real pain. Or real games bring real memories that others share as a group and not to the extent where you "lift one above another."
vs 17 that they might get gain
this is the real motivation behind all contention and wickedness. When we begin to forget that others in this life matter, and others are more important than winning a game, or being lifted up above another, then we lose greatly. If all we ever did in this life was to seek to "get gain" then our entire life would be in vain. We would be no better than the animals that live to kill.

21, that they should not suffer for their murders, and their plunderings, and theirbstealings- weather real or virtual, when someone creates a power structure that helps you escape punishment, then you are learning that power rules. Our son used to play these games. His goal was to win at all costs. If he couldn't win the fair way, he always knew he could win by downloading the cheat codes? Why would someone put a game on the Internet and then give you cheat codes so that you didn't have follow the rules?
Many would say this is not real, its just a game. I say that the games we play dictate the behavior we learn.
vs 22 Secret signs, words - that they might teach one another the codes of a secret life away from the real world that demands justice and truth in a real way.
vs 24 according to the laws of wickedness - they change the rules because they don't like the rules. When you come across something that is too hard, just change the rules. then you can have whatever you want.
That is the real essence of what is going on here. having whatever you want, never taking responsibility for what is right vs what you want.
vs 25 bringing down the people to destruction - I have seen many a family, teenager, college student become so engrossed in the secret world of virtual game play, that they lose their sense of identity, their jobs, their education and one Korean man lost his life.
vs 27 that same being ... Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Tower of Babel,works of destruction,
vs 30 the author of all sin - If God is not there, then who seeks to replace him? who plots, gives oaths and covenants to destroy, to get gain,
vs 30 Why? to get hold upon the hearts of the children of men.
vs 30can get hold upon the hearts of the children of men- What ways have been used to get hold of the hearts of men? media, tobacco, music, literature, society, corporations, dress,
What combats these institutions? Family.
vs 31 unto their own way- they all started out doing it their way, refusing discipline, instruction, refusing obedience, seeking the riches that draw us away from our God
vs 31 idols of their gold and silver - idols are anything that take the place of worshiping God. Today there are many technological idols.
vs 37 did hunt the band of Gadianton Robbers- how do we today hunt something that is so pervasive and difficult to see? The gadianton robbers of today do not have bodies of flesh an blood but rather are in our mind where "that same being" wants them to be. How do we hunt something so interpersonal and intimate to those who know them? How do we put a stop to the ideas, things, and games that would "get hold of our hearts"? We replace them with God's word.

vs 36.. we do as the Lamanites and have
an easiness and willingness to believe in God's words.

1 comment:

  1. Another timely blog, well thought out.
    Love Dad


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