Recommended Book Review

Active LDS author Robert E. Hales (not to be confused with the member of the Quorum of the 12 named Robert D. Hales) wrote Secret Combinations Today: A Voice of Warning in 1996.   It is still in print.  I recently got a copy for Christmas.  I heartily recommend it to the Latter-day conservative crowd.

The book starts out with a doctrinal discussion on secret combinations in days of old. What are they? How did they develop? What scriptural patterns are associated with them? Brother Hales is spot-on (or at least very close) with the doctrinal discussion, in my opinion, where he quotes from various scriptures to support his points.

He then breaks down the rest of the book into a way to examine several different methods the adversary uses to attack, comparing the current with the ancient, using the pattern he cites.

First, he discusses attacks on the individual. Most of this discussion centers around immorality. He questions the legitimacy and wisdom of mass, public sexual education, for instance, as in public schools. He discusses pornography, safe sex, and homosexuality, among other topics, all from an LDS perspective.

The second area focuses on attacks on the family. Here he discusses domestic abuse as well as the conventional views on parenthood, both motherhood and fatherhood, in addition to modern-day obstacles to achieving the ideal situation. One of these obstacles is the financial burden, related to high taxes, on two parents trying to raise their children in an increasingly expensive world.  He goes back to this later.

The third area focuses on the United States as a “choice land,” and a land of liberty, and related threats.  He ties the country’s rejection of the Church in the 1830s and 1840s with many problems in the country (past and present; i.e. war, crime, corruption, etc.) and gives these as evidence of secret combinations among us.  He specifically cites terrorism, organized crime, and gangs, among others.

The fourth area focuses on money and the United States.  Here’s the really good stuff.  He discusses monetary policy, legal tender, and the idea of using commodity-backed currency vs. fiat money.  He also gives a good introductory background into the Federal Reserve, discussing its history and even including the Austrian Theory of the business cycle (albeit not in those explicit terms).

Embedded in this chapter is a discussion on taxation.  It’s a little like what Calvin Coolidge said.  He went to Church one Sunday.  Someone asked him what the subject of the sermon was.  “Sin,” he replied, to which the other asked what the preacher said.  The response: “He was against it.”  That basically sums up this section: Brother Hales is against the philosophy and logistics of a large and growing tax burden, citing Ezra Taft Benson on several instances.

The next area is the attack of communism on the Constitution.  He’s not specifically referring to the Cold War here.  It is more of a reference to the philosophical support of big government (and all of its baggage) domestically.  He discusses federalism and the fundamental role of government, among other topics.

The final chapter of warnings are about the movement towards a one-world government.  He cites banking, environmental concerns, and population control, among others, as evidences of this movement.

The last chapter is essentially a call to arms.  More scripture and doctrine is discussed with the intent of motivating righteous, concerned individuals to band together and oppose the secret combinations, and their attack on all aspects of our society.

While I may not agree with all the points provided, I nevertheless find this a very interesting and worthwhile book.  If you are like me and are scared away by super long books with tiny print, be of good cheer: this is under 200 pages long.  Brother Hales has done his research: he quotes extensively from sources spiritual and secular throughout.  It’s a very interesting and inspirational discussion of a topic near and dear to Latter-day conservatives, and important to us all.

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