Do you have a friend or family member who is wrapped up in the protests? This article might be for you. The Book of Mormon spells out how mob mentality works and it’s the same crowd manipulation we see today. Let’s compare notes side by side from Wikipedia and the Book of Mormon. See if you notice any parallels?
“Herd mentality, mob mentality and pack mentality, also lesser known as gang mentality, describes how people can be influenced by their peers to adopt certain behaviors on a largely emotional, rather than rational, basis. When individuals are affected by mob mentality, they may make different decisions than they would have individually.”
Book of Mormon
6 And now, as the Amalekites were of a more wicked and murderous disposition than the Lamanites were, in and of themselves, therefore, Zerahemnah appointed chief captains over the Lamanites, and they were all Amalekites and Zoramites.
7 Now this he did that he might preserve their hatred towards the Nephites, that he might bring them into subjection to the accomplishment of his designs.
8 For behold, his designs were to stir up the Lamanites to anger against the Nephites; this he did that he might usurp [take over, commandeer, hijack] great power over them, and also that he might gain power over the Nephites by bringing them into bondage. (Alma 43:7-8)
Zerahemnah knew if he could get the Lamanites to be angry and emotional, he could control them and get them to attack. Likewise, when we become angry, we lose our grounding and our clarity to make better choices – often with substantial consequences.
The Original Author of the Mob Mentality
Ten years ago in General Conference, President Thomas S. Monson made a clear-cut statement about anger:
“To be angry is to yield to the influence of Satan. No one can make us angry. It is our choice. If we desire to have a proper spirit with us at all times, we must choose to refrain from becoming angry. I testify that such is possible.” (School Thy Feelings, O My Brother – October 2009)
He then quoted this scripture:
“There shall be no disputations among you. …
“For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.
“Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away.” (3 Nephi 11:28-30)
If you feel blaming, shouting, indignation, or being destructive are justified by someone’s story of victimhood (including your own) or a social cause – maybe take a deep breath and a couple steps back?
Courage and Perseverance – A Road Less Traveled:
It takes courage to temper our responses and impulses or to choose serenity and calm. It’s a departure from today’s culture to choose patience and persistence. Nonetheless, this is what builds the better woman or man over the long run.
Elder George A. Smith remembered some advice the Prophet Joseph Smith gave to him: “He told me I should never get discouraged, whatever difficulties might surround me. If I was sunk in the lowest pit of Nova Scotia and all the Rocky Mountains piled on top of me, I ought not to be discouraged [or self-identify as a victim] but hang on, exercise faith, and keep up good courage and I should come out on the top of the heap at last.”
The top of the heap is the best of the best. This promise is to everyone.
The Savior’s Proposition
The Savior’s invitations are noticeably opposite of anger’s addicted ranting:
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world [culture and society] giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled [agitated, distraught, vexed], neither let it be afraid [alarmed, disheartened, suspicious]. (John 14:27)
Following the Savior has always meant we would stand out from the philosophies of the crowd. Rather, we use our voice and the Light to push back against the wave of uglier sentiments and the enslavement of negativity.
And blessed are they who shall seek to bring forth my Zion at that day [our day], for they shall have the gift and the power of the Holy Ghost; and if they endure unto the end they shall be lifted up at the last day, and shall be saved in the everlasting kingdom of the Lamb; and whoso shall publish peace, yea, tidings of great joy, how beautiful upon the mountains shall they be. (1 Nephi 13:37)
Satan tutors us to pull apart and destruct. Yet, within each of us are divine qualities which yearn to construct (create and build up). Which habits and attitudes we favor determines where we end up – and they are kingdoms…even light years apart.
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