Please see the disclaimer.

Assumed Audience: Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who are curious about history, civilizations, and/or Zion.

Epistemic Status: Extremely confident in the priciples. The more general or high level things are, the more confident I am. I become less confident as things become more detailed.

Chapter 5: “Molech, the Abomination” 1

“Do you know how the immune system works?” Eli asked as they walked.

“Of course,” grunted Josiah. “And I’m not ignorant.”

“Show me. Name all of the threats a society faces.”

Josiah grinned. “That’s easy. Invaders.”

Eli raised an eyebrow. “That’s it?”

Josiah said, a little more slowly, “Yes. What else could there be?”

“There’s absolutely nothing else that could destroy a society?”

“Of course not…” Josiah’s voice trailed off as indecision took hold.

“Why do you say that and nothing else?”

“Isn’t that the only way societies fell in history?”

Eli chuckled. “I thought that history was all lies.”

The young man started rubbing his fingers. “Er, well, maybe not.”

“So you would say that Tsarist Russia and the USSR were the same societies?”

Josiah regained some confidence. “Of course!”

“Okay, then what makes a society?”

“People.”

“Nothing else?”

Josiah thought some more. “Uh, maybe government?”

“Didn’t the government change between the two?” Eli asked.

Josiah just jittered.

“Society,” Eli said, “is people and the social contract they have with each other. Is that a fair definition? It includes government, but also some implicit things like expectations and culture.”

“I think I can accept that,” Josiah mulled.

“Well, Tsarist Russia didn’t fall by invaders, so obviously, that’s not the only danger to societies, right?”

“Uh, sure.”

“So what are some others?”

Josiah clammed up. His cheeks were feeling that ignorance, and he didn’t want to show it.

“Since a society is made up of two things, people and a social contract, anything that threatens one or both of those things is a threat. Would you agree with that?”

“Uh, sure,” Josiah mumbled.

“You’re right that invaders are a threat; they could destroy both,” Eli said. “But there are plenty more that could threaten either.

“One of the things that threatens the social contract is dishonesty.”

“But how?!” Josiah exclaimed. “Lies don’t do anything.”

“Yes, they do,” Eli said. “In the hypothetical example I gave you earlier, where your boss did not say that being late would mean you would pay a penalty, the lie could have caused you to be late when you otherwise would not have.

“As a real example, when the COVID-19 pandemic swept the United States soon before its destruction at the hands of the antichrist, the lies of its politicians and leading health ’experts’ caused people to stop believing them. This weakened the social contract because different people thought others were deliberately making the pandemic worse, while others thought that the social contract was under attack because of the targeting of freedoms.”

Eli rubbed his neck. “The problem with lies is how they change how people act. With the full and pure truth, people can make better decisions, but without it, they cannot.

“And bad decisions lead to worse outcomes.”

“Why do I care about bad outcomes for others?”

“That’s a topic for another time,” Eli said. “The topic right now is threats to society and how to protect against them.”

Josiah glowered. “Fine.”

Eli ignored his attitude. “So as you see, even small things like lies can be real threats to society. And society must have a way of protecting itself, like the immune system protects the body.

“And like the body, the protection is to kill or eject the elements that threaten it.”

Eli pushed open the door to the research center. “Of course, we can’t eject lies, per se, but we can eject the source of the lies, the person that told them. And that’s exactly what we do.”

“But it’s cruel!” Josiah’s voice raised.

“Why?”

“Because you’re kicking them out of society!”

“There are societies outside of Zion,” Eli said. “They can be a part of those.”

“Still…”

“Never mind,” Eli interrupted. “Like it or not, that’s what we do. And as much as you like to criticize Zion, we are still the most peaceful and richest society in history. We must be doing something right, and I would argue that it is exactly this process of destroying threats at their sources.”

“I’m really not sure I believe that,” Josiah said.

Eli sighed. “Okay, I guess I have to teach you why you should care about bad outcomes for others.”

He sat down on a bench outside the research center.

“A philosopher once wrote a treatise on society and game theory. He quoted a poem that compared the flaws of society to the abomination of Molech, the ‘god’ that the Israelites would sacrifice their children to when they were wicked.

“In essence, flaws in society, both in the people and in the social contract, caused people to behave in suboptimal ways in order to maximize their own benefit.”

“Like game theory,” Josiah said.

“Yes, exactly.” Eli smiled a little. “I take it game theory interests you because you think it will make you more clever than others.”

Josiah puffed up. “Oh, but I am.”

“We’ll see.” Eli said sadly. “Anyway, this philosopher gives a hypothetical example of fish farms on a lake. They can all run filters to clean the lake, and increase the output of the lake. They all agree to do so, except one or two people.

“And because those two people don’t run filters, that lowers the profits for everyone else, so to get them back, they turn off their filters until everyone is worse off.”

“Well, they should just kick them out!” Josiah exclaimed. “Easy solution.”

“Under what authority?” Eli demanded.

Josiah opened his mouth, hesitated, and shut it again.

Eli patted his shoulder. “Your solution is actually correct, but the biggest flaw in most societies is that there is no way to do that.

“That flaw is that the society has no immune system, no way to eject or kill all elements that threaten it. Sure, they usually have ways to remove the most egregarious, but not all of them.”

Eli raised a finger. “But! Zion does not have that flaw. We can remove any threat. So in the hypothetical example, those fish farmers could just come to me and ask that the bad apple be ejected or forced to run a filter instead of being forced into a race to the bottom.

“In fact, this applies to anything where someone’s actions might have external cost.”

“That sounds cruel,” Josiah argued. “And it sounds like it violates their rights.”

“What is more cruel: allowing one person to slowly destroy many, or preserving the many while destroying one person?” Eli countered. “Zion has no place for Molech, whether the idol or the gaming of the system.

“Even more importantly, the Lord demands that we do this in D&C 97:25-26:

Nevertheless, Zion shall escape if she observe to do all things whatsoever I have commanded her.

But if she observe not to do whatsoever I have commanded her, I will visit her according to all her works, with sore affliction, with pestilence, with plague, with sword, with vengeance, with devouring fire.

“In other words, If we don’t do this, God Himself will destroy Zion.

“And that is why we will banish the director and the accountant.”