There are times I am grateful I have no significant position in my church, that I might wonder about things without there being cause to suppose I speak for the church. Such is the case for what I am about to say. These are simply my own thoughts.
I have been wrong about many things. I only say, it is good to reflect on what the scriptures might mean. Sometimes we are right; sometimes we are wrong.
And sometimes we don't pretend to be right in the first place. Rather, we are just tossing something out as a possibility. Such is the case for what I am about to say.
I pick up the newspaper, and read on page three of how the sugar industry years and years ago suppressed evidence of sugar's role in causing heart disease. As the day rolls along, I think of how these were conspiring men, conspiring to withhold the truth and conspiring to sell a product at the expense of consumers.
I think of a reference in a book of scripture called the Doctrine & Covenants. I come home and, looking it up, read that, "evils and designs . . . do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days." That reference is found in Section 89, better known as the Word of Wisdom, and many have suggested the "conspiring men" could be the tobacco industry. They point to how the tobacco industry painted smoking as a good thing for many years, how they sold the product based on a falsehood.
I will only say, if conspiring men exist in these last days, they likely aren't all packed away into one small corner called the tobacco industry. They are in other places, as well. And, what the sugar industry did parallels what the tobacco industry did. So, considering sugar industry to be "conspiring men" seems fair, as well.
I will venture further, into an area I have almost blogged on in the past month, but haven't. I have sometimes wondered what the combinations are that are spoken of in the Book of Mormon. I do not know. I do know, though, that if there are combinations in this day, they must be among the things I have before me in the world about me.
I wonder about the sugar industry, the tobacco industry, and others. I wonder about how people combine into groups and conspire for their own causes. Oh, don't think it stops there, just with people combining just into industry groups and conspiring. No, I wonder about other times people combine into groups, and those groups do not pursue good causes. Sometimes, they combine just to spew hatred at each other.
And, I think about those who buy and sell influence in government, about deals being made behind closed doors. Secret combinations? I don't know. It might not at all be what the Book of Mormon refers to. These are secret meetings, though, and they do involve one person combining with another to make the arrangements. Just on that, they do fill the description of being secret combinations.
When you look at "secret combinations" from this perspective, seeing everything from the tobacco industry being a secret combination to a person paying off a legislator being a secret combination, we see that secret combinations are all around us. They are pervasive, scattered throughout our society. They are harmful. If an ancient prophet were to see our day, yes, he might well see it as being such a large and looming problem that he would want to warn against it.