|Cain and Abel by Pietro Novelli (1603–1647)|
The phrases secret combination or secret combinations appear 20 times in the standard works, mostly in the Book of Mormon. A secret combination is a pact between two or more parties to commit criminal acts, usually violent, under a cloak of secrecy—often involving secret societies and the exchange of oaths and signs—for gain, power, and the glory of this world.
Probably the first secret combination was made between Satan and Cain who slew his brother Abel in order to obtain his flocks. The annihilation of the Jaredite and Nephite peoples who once lived on the American continents were precipitated and accelerated by secret combinations, as Moroni explains:
And it came to pass that they formed a secret combination, even as they of old; which combination is most abominable and wicked above all, in the sight of God; for the Lord worketh not in secret combinations, neither doth he will that man should shed blood, but in all things hath forbidden it, from the beginning of man. And now I, Moroni, do not write the manner of their oaths and combinations, for it hath been made known unto me that they are had among all people, and they are had among the Lamanites. And they have caused the destruction of this people of whom I am now speaking, and also the destruction of the people of Nephi. And whatsoever nation shall uphold such secret combinations, to get power and gain, until they shall spread over the nation, behold, they shall be destroyed; for the Lord will not suffer that the blood of his saints, which shall be shed by them, shall always cry unto him from the ground for vengeance upon them and yet he avenge them not. (Ether 8:18–22; emphasis added)
In 1833, the Lord explained that He gave the Word of Wisdom “in consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days” (D&C 89:4). This also suggests the possible presence of secret combinations. Let me explain.
In the revelation known as section 89 of the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord counsels us against using such addictive substances as alcohol and tobacco. It seems that the modern businesses that purvey these and other addictive and harmful substances have likely been cooked up by “conspiring men” for gain, under the protection of local and national laws. I am assured that such businesses will cease to exist when Christ reigns supreme over this earth again.
I am not much on conspiracy theories and I don’t wish to delve into or postulate on them, but I constantly see evidence of coalitions of evil intent which the scriptures describe as secret combinations. I fear they will become so widespread that they will prove the near overthrow or near entire destruction of families, corporations, governments, societies, even civilization itself, before the Lord comes again. But they will not succeed.