Thursday, July 18, 2013

Lay Not This Thing to Our Charge! - Gideon and the NSA

Gideon is a person of great character in the Book of Mormon and for whom I have a lot of respect.  His strengths are very much needed in our leaders today.  One such account of his strength of character and wisdom is recounted here.

King Limhi and his people are enslaved to the Lamanites and are burdened with paying taxes to them to the amount of 50% of all they have and earn (this is taking place around 145-123 B.C. somewhere in Central America).  The Lamanites have "agreed" (they are historically not a very honorable people up to this point in time) to not fight the people of Limhi if they continue to pay their taxes.  

However, one day they come up against the people of Limhi to fight them.  Due to the great leadership and preparation of King Limhi, he was prepared and likely suspected something like this could/would happen and was able to soundly defeat the Lamanites (even though much more numerous) and also capture the King who was wounded and found among the dead.  It is without a doubt that God had helped them with this battle, knowing of their softening hearts.  (The people had previously been called to repentance by a prophet named Abinadi who was sentenced to death by Limhi's father, Noah.  As a result of their wickedness, the Lord reprieved them and let the Lamanites enslave them, to the end of softening their hearts and turning them back to Him.)

The Lamanite king is brought before Limhi (showing much restraint by his men by them not killing him on the spot for the unwarranted attack).  Limhi questions him about the attack, and the following ensues (Mosiah 20:15-17, emphasis added):
15 And now the king said: I have broken the oath because thy people did carry away the daughters of my people; therefore, in my anger I did cause my people to come up to war against thy people. 
16 And now Limhi had heard nothing concerning this matter; therefore he said: I will search among my people and whosoever has done this thing shall perish. Therefore he caused a search to be made among his people. 
17 Now when Gideon had heard these things, he being the king’s captain, he went forth and said unto the king: I pray thee forbear, and do not search this people, and lay not this thing to their charge.
King Limhi, does not immediately see the wrong in searching his people, or jumping to the conclusion that his people are likely guilty.  He is a good man, but only at his best when he listens to wise counsel from righteous men like Gideon.  Gideon persuades the king to not unlawfully/unethically search his people or assume them guilty.

This sounds awfully similar to what is happening today with the NSA surveillance leaks.  It seems that President Obama has not heeded any wise counsel to "forbear, and do not search this people" and is wrong in allowing this surveillance to take place.  With all the technology and skills available in the 21st century, there are better means to securing our nation than by infiltrating every phone call, video chat, emailpostal letters, undersea cable, social media content and content of mobile devices, etc. and requiring us to go through such ridiculous rituals at airport security checks.  Don't fall into the fallacy of, "I don't care if I'm monitored, I have nothing to hide."  We are not all terrorists, or even potential terrorists.  The fact that we are assumed to be terrorists is preposterous.

The laws passed so hastily after 9/11 were not clearly thought through.  Laws of such magnitude should not not be allowed passage so soon after a traumatizing event.  A cool-down period is necessary for wisdom to prevail.  Hopefully enough people will care about what is going on to call on their representatives to revisit these laws, make necessary changes, and allow the American people to live in peace and not in fear.

4 comments:

Coach Ann said...

Well said!

www.robhaertel.com said...

Excellent points and example.

sherrie bebe said...

To follow up with the story of Gideon, he was right. It wasn't Limhi's people, but rather some men who had been kicked out previously and were also being sought by Limhi for various crimes. This whole story is wrought with people jumping to conclusions and making hasty assumptions, for good or for bad, that lead to war and death. Seeking understanding before making judgments and declaring war on otherwise innocent people would do more to protect the people. That's what king Limhi did when the lamanite king was captured instead of just killing him and bringing on more wrath from the Lamanite people. That's what Gideon did when Limhi was about to search his own people. They sought understanding first and saved countless numbers of lives and brought peace instead of war (albeit temporarily).

Vance, Jennie, Mylah, Katie said...

Great thoughts Lee!