As we finished studying the Book of Mormon in Institute in April, we read Moroni 9:18–20. Here, Mormon has written a letter to Moroni and is describing the wickedness of the people:
O the depravity of my people! They are without order and without mercy. Behold, I am but a man, and I have but the strength of a man, and I cannot any longer enforce my commands.
And they have become strong in their perversion; and they are alike brutal, sparing none, neither old nor young; and they delight in everything save that which is good; and the suffering of our women and our children upon all the face of this land doth exceed everything; yea, tongue cannot tell, neither can it be written.
And now, my son, I dwell no longer upon this horrible scene. Behold, thou knowest the wickedness of this people; thou knowest that they are without principle, and past feeling; and their wickedness doth exceed that of the Lamanites.
That line “past feeling” reminds us of what Nephi said to his brothers in 1 Nephi 17: 45:
Ye are swift to do iniquity but slow to remember the Lord your God. Ye have seen an angel, and he spake unto you; yea, ye have heard his voice from time to time; and he hath spoken unto you in a still small voice, but ye were past feeling, that ye could not feel his words; wherefore, he has spoken unto you like unto the voice of thunder, which did cause the earth to shake as if it were to divide asunder.
That phrase “past feeling” is great. You can look at it in so many ways. The student manual for the Book of Mormon institute course had a great quote about this from President Packer:
“The world grows increasingly noisy. Clothing and grooming and conduct are looser and sloppier and more disheveled. Raucous music, with obscene lyrics blasted through amplifiers while lights flash psychedelic colors, characterizes the drug culture. Variations of these things are gaining wide acceptance and influence over our youth. . . .
“This trend to more noise, more excitement, more contention, less restraint, less dignity, less formality is not coincidental nor innocent nor harmless.
“The first order issued by a commander mounting a military invasion is the jamming of the channels of communication of those he intends to conquer.
“Irreverence suits the purposes of the adversary by obstructing the delicate channels of revelation in both mind and spirit”
President Boyd K Packer in Conference Report, Oct. 1991, 28; or Ensign, Nov. 1991, 22
When I read that, it totally made me think of the Internet. The Internet is so distracting for people. There is definitely “less restraint” and “less dignity” in the way many people communicate with each other. It can definitely be a tool of Satan to distract us from better things. I found it interesting that the quote is from the fall of 1991, about 3 years before the Internet started to be accessible by vast numbers of people. I guess that is yet another reason why we need prophets, seers and revelators!