(Helaman 1-2) If we aren't careful, the temptations of secret combinations can weaken and ultimately destroy our communities.
The Book of Mormon teaches that secret combinations engaged in crime present a serious challenge, not just to individuals and families but to entire civilizations. Among today’s secret combinations are gangs, drug cartels, and organized crime families. The secret combinations of our day function much like the Gadianton robbers of the Book of Mormon times. They have secret signs and code words. They participate in secret rites and initiation ceremonies. Among their purposes are to “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.”
If we are not careful, today’s secret combinations can obtain power and influence just as quickly and just as completely as they did in Book of Mormon times. Do you remember the pattern? The secret combinations began among the “more wicked part” of society, but eventually “seduced the more part of the righteous” until the whole society was polluted.
Today’s young people, just as those “of the rising generation” in the Book of Mormon times, are the most susceptible to the influence of gangs. Our young men and young women see it all around them. There is an entire subculture that celebrates contemporary gangs and their criminal conduct with music, clothing styles, language, attitudes, and behaviors. Many of you have watched as friends have embraced the style as something that was ‘fashionable’ and ‘cool,’ only to be dragged into the subculture because of their identification with gangs. We’ve all heard the tragic stories of unsuspecting wanna-bes who have been victimized by gangs simply because they were wearing the wrong color in the wrong neighborhood.”
--Elder M. Russell Ballard, Conference Report,
October 1997, p. 51-52.
Moses 5:31And Cain said: Truly I am Mahan, the master of this great asecret, that I may bmurder and get cgain.
Wherefore Cain was called Master dMahan, and he gloried in his wickedness.