Thursday, September 11, 2008

For the love of power - Ether 9: 1-7

1 AND now I, Moroni, proceed with my record. Therefore, behold, it came to pass that because of the secret combinations of Akish and his friends, behold, they did overthrow the kingdom of Omer.
2 Nevertheless, the Lord was merciful unto Omer, and also to his sons and to his daughters who did not seek his destruction.
3 And the Lord warned Omer in a dream that he should depart out of the land; wherefore Omer departed out of the land with his family, and traveled many days, and came over and passed by the hill of Shim, and came over by the place where the Nephites were destroyed, and from thence eastward, and came to a place which was called Ablom, by the seashore, and there he pitched his tent, and also his sons and his daughters, and all his household, save it were Jared and his family.
4 And it came to pass that Jared was anointed king over the people, by the hand of wickedness; and he gave unto Akish his daughter to wife.
5 And it came to pass that Akish sought the life of his father-in-law; and he applied unto those whom he had sworn by the oath of the ancients, and they obtained the head of his father-in-law, as he sat upon his throne, giving audience to his people.

(Book of Mormon | Ether 9:1 - 5)

The Lord warns Omer to leave the land. I find it interesting that the Lord warns Omer to leave the land rather than to defend himself against his son Jared. From the preceding and succeeding verses I suspect that might have more to do with the wickedness of the people than anything to do with Omer.

Jared, Omer’s son, is anointed king over the people. He had promised Akish his daughter’s hand in marriage if he got rid of Omer so that Jared could become king. This was done at the behest of his daughter, who was clearly manipulative and also greedy for power.

I find it surprising that Jared was na├»ve enough to believe that his daughter wouldn’t do exactly to him, what she had already proposed to do to her grandfather, i.e. kill the person higher than you on the social food chain so you can have their position.

Anyway, Jared’s son-in-law kills him while he is sitting on his throne.

6 For so great had been the spreading of this wicked and secret society that it had corrupted the hearts of all the people; therefore Jared was murdered upon his throne, and Akish reigned in his stead.
7 And it came to pass that Akish began to be jealous of his son, therefore he shut him up in prison, and kept him upon little or no food until he had suffered death.

(Book of Mormon | Ether 9:6 - 7)

Akish assumed the kingdom through deceit and murder. It is not surprising that he would suspect that his own children might do to him, what he and his wife did to his father-in-law. After all, that is the example that he set for them. Accordingly, since he knew that children were capable of murdering their parents to gain power, he had his own locked up in prison and given little or no food until he died.

So what did Akish accomplish exactly? He is now the king, but he has good reason not to trust anyone. So he lives his life exercising authority over the people but having to sleep with one eye open for fear of who is trying to take him out. It doesn’t seem like much of a life to me.

What do you think? What price are you willing to pay for to acquire wealth, power prestige? Not that I’m saying that there is anything wrong with any of these things individually. I’m trying to get ahead in life just like anyone else. What boundaries do you set for yourself, so that as you strive to get ahead in life, you still maintain your ethics and honor before the Lord?

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