America in the Cross-hairs
Al Qaeda is the Diseased Trigger-finger,
But the Aim is God’s

By Ralph Sheffield

Autumn, 2001–Wasn’t this the third time I received the same premonition as I passed the Pentagon again? “My wrath is kindled against this nation. Have I not granted them high freedom and prosperity?—but see, how they turn from me to embrace iniquity! Behold, this symbol of their might. [Pentagon] They shall suffer judgement here as I withdraw my arm of mercy from their vileness and unbelief.” I told my family about this foreboding later when we passed the Pentagon on our way to perform chamber music. “Yes!” said my daughter, “Look how someone could crash a plane into it!” Still, we could scarcely envision the sick and bloody barbarity that was to fulfill my revelation.

Days later, as the terrible events of 9/111 unfolded, I recalled the sobering prophecy I had received. Praying fervently to understand the tragic meaning of it all, I experienced one of the sacred entitlements to which Christians are privileged—crucial passages of scripture were emphatically “brought to my remembrance”2 with profound and poignant relevance to the atrocity that had occurred. First, as to the what of 9/11: “Behold, the judgments of God will overtake the wicked;3 and it is by the wicked that the wicked are punished.”4 Yes, Al Qaeda is the diseased trigger-finger, but the aim is God’s, for, according to divine decree, “[The nation that] sins against the greater light shall receive the greater condemnation.”5

America knows too much. She cannot “get away with” the ungodliness of other nations. She has been schooled and sustained from the beginning in the righteousness of “that Almighty Being, who rules over the universe.”6 It has been proclaimed with learning, love, and life’s-blood, from the days of John Winthrope to Jonathan Edwards to Joseph Smith to James Keller’s Christophers, and preached with power and spirit from Billy Sunday to Billy Graham. “What more can he say than to you he hath said?” asks a familiar hymn. Are we not without excuse? “He that repents not, from him shall be taken even the light which he has received; for my Spirit shall not always strive with man, saith the Lord of Hosts.”7  But his anger, though fierce,8 is not vicious, for he has said: “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”9

Second, as to why 9/11: “He hath sworn in his wrath that whoso should possess this land [the Americas] should serve him, the true and only God, or they should be swept off when they are ripened in iniquity…Behold, this is a choice land, and whatsoever nation shall possess it shall be free from bondage, and from all other nations under heaven, if they will but serve the God of the land, who is Jesus Christ…”10 Indeed, it was upon this very bedrock11 of faith in the actual God, that the brilliant, brave, devout Founders of this country laid its foundation—and they warned us unequivocally not to forget that fact: 1. “No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than those of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of Providential agency.” (President George Washington) 2. “The general principles upon which the Fathers achieved independence were the general principals of Christianity.” (President John Adams)  3. “Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath?” (President Thomas Jefferson) 4. “We’ve staked the whole future of American civilization not on the power of government…[but] upon the capacity of each and all of us…to govern ourselves according to the commandments of God. The future and success of America is not in this Constitution, but in the laws of God upon which this Constitution is founded.” (President James Madison) 5. “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ! For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.” (Patrick Henry)

The astounding prescience of these words lives on still, as people, the world over, struggle to come to America, risking, at times, their very lives! In stark contrast elsewhere, spiritual darkness builds brutal barriers of concrete, terror, and conspiracy to hold its own people captive! And though many have perished—at the Berlin Wall, Phnom Penh, Tiananmen Square, and the voting precincts of Iraq—thousands more continue to fight their way toward freedom. What drives them? What spirit impels their quest? It is the divine gift of conscience, that “true Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world”12—the sense of right and wrong.  This, our highest faculty—referred to by George Washington as “that spark of celestial fire”—thrives by exercise, as our other powers. Thus, “he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.”13 Truly, an informed, sensitive conscience towers above all other human potential—intellect, sentiment, personality, talent. By following its guidance prayerfully, honestly, wisely, diligently, courageously, humbly, virtuously, lovingly, patiently one progresses inevitably toward actual acquaintance and kinship with him who is “the Light of the world;”14 whereupon, the growing light within one’s self is strengthened by confluence with an even greater Light from above, the Holy Spirit, ever unfolding truth and guiding the lives of its adherents. This “advanced telecommunications medium”—to put transcendent truth in today’s terms—is what makes Christianity unique among all religions. Whether marked by an involuntary swallow of conviction or the actual occurrence of impossible events, or some other means, the Spirit’s witness is binding, and of record, and wholly reliable—unlike our mortal sight (that illusionists deceive by profession), or reason (that sophists beguile by craft), or sentiment (reliable more for its caprice and maintaining high divorce rates). True Christianity is true per se. Like the Appalachian Trail, it is real whether you’ve been there or not, whether you believe it or not, whether you like it or not. And its reality is unaffected by one’s personal bias, or the opposing prejudices, traditions, (even threats) of others, or the antipathy of those who care not whether it be true, but dread it for the rebuke they guiltily infer upon their own corrupt lifestyles.

This nurturing dispensation of light and truth into the mind and heart15 (the seat of one’s character), combined with the ongoing factual ingress of divine intelligence from Holy Scripture (the actual, inspired, Judeo-Christian scriptures—not man-made or purported tomes, which, though well-intentioned, will not empower) together produce changes and improvements in one’s attitudes, abilities, conduct and associations so unprecedented and meritorious that only the term “regeneration” can describe it. Naturally, these significant improvements in an individual’s life, when combined with those of other like individuals, become societal improvements, whereby, the nation itself, ascending through ever larger communities (families, towns, states, regions) emerges stronger than it could otherwise be—morally, politically, economically, militarily—all because it is spiritually stronger. This results in a highly advanced civil and ethical disposition within the populace, described by Lord Moulton as “obedience to the unenforceable,” whereby the citizenry voluntarily conduct their lives with honor, decency, and sacrifice beyond that which government could compel by force. Thus, the warranty of Christ—“If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”16—is literally fulfilled, as the people gain freedom, first individually, from the inward tyranny of evil and error, then nationally, from the outward tyranny of hostile and corrupt nations. This is the reason that only Christian forces (at the Battle of Tours/Poitiers, for example) were able to repel the fanatical hordes bent on taking over the world by bloody onslaught of terror and rapine, incited by ideologues whose ideas were to inflame more than inform, urging envy above achievement, hatred above happiness, death above discernment, blinded to the fact that murderers are monsters not martyrs, that pillagers are predators not prophets, that truth teaches, “Do what is right for everyone’s life,” not “Do what I want or everyone dies,” that forced religion is false religion—skulking in dismal caves of loathing, jealousy, and rage, thinking the answer to all life’s problems is kill–kill–kill.

And again, only the Allied (Christian) nations were able to vanquish the brutal juggernaut of Axis Powers that created such unspeakable horrors as the Nazi death camps, the Nanjing Massacre, and Yakuza Sex-Slavery. Faced with the danger of opposing so enormous an evil, President Franklin Roosevelt, in 1941, wrote an open letter “as Commander-in-Chief” addressed “to all who serve in the Armed Forces of the United States” commending “the reading of the Bible” as a “fountain of strength,” and that “men of many faiths and backgrounds have found in the Sacred Book words of wisdom, counsel, and inspiration.” Later that year, a day after the Pearl Harbor attack, Roosevelt appealed to the entire nation to turn to the Bible. [Now, of course, not everyone in a Christian nation is Christian, and not all those who claim to be Christian are really so. And true, the Soviet Union, which later became an “ally” (after we aided its resistance to Nazi invaders), was atually persecuting its Christians. (And this abuse of Christians, to which leftist mentality seems addicted like cheap rum, has trickled-down to our day as “political correctness.”) Nevertheless, the Soviets still benefitted spiritually from a centuries-old reservoir of moral conscientiousness that Christianity historically engenders. Indeed, the truth of the old saying, “If you would civilize a man, begin with his grandmother,” was shown during pivotal Cold War events, when Khrushchev decided to end the Cuban missile crisis (virtually ending his own career), sensing he would be answerable for the loss of innumerable lives; and Brezhnev, later, during nuclear arms reduction talks, evinced the same abiding moral sway of earlier Christian influences, conceding that “God will never forgive us if we fail”—thus halting the terrible specter of World War III in its tracks.  And yes, Germany and Italy had a tradition of Christianity, but their fascist dictators showed how brutally determined they were to crush the Christian resistance—as the tragic deaths of Bohnhoffer, Jaegerstaetter, Edith Stein, and others attest.]

Hence, the “big picture” is clear and inescapable—that nothing has lifted and benefitted human welfare as true Christianity has done. Yes, there have been flaws and faults in individuals and institutions, especially the worst—where un-Christian deeds have been cloaked by perpetrators under the guise of religion (most notoriously in the Dark Ages, where Christ’s religion was displaced by cruel and depraved religiosity). But, struggling through the cleansing gauntlet of reformation and counter-reformation to its enlightenment, expansion, and humanitarian eras, the contributions of genuine Christian civilization to the welfare of mankind are almost beyond reckoning—in law, government, diplomacy, science, economics, invention, medicine, mathematics, psychology, social sciences, literature, philosophy, art, music, architecture, education, business, communication, transportation, humanitarian organizations, etc. Yet, over-arching, undergirding, endowing all of these, is the incalculable achievement of human freedom!

Reflecting on all the above helps us understand why Jefferson said, “the reason that Christianity is the best friend of Government is because Christianity is the only religion that changes the heart.” Thus, it is an understatement to say that America needs Christianity more than Christianity needs America. And this is why “gripe factions”—the Madalyn Murrays, Barry Lynns, Michael Newdows, especially ACLU, in their presumptuous efforts to de-Christianize the very country whose religious ethic safeguards them— should be seen, in their true light, as “kicking jackasses” trying to knock down the village water-tower—being too ill-tempered to walk around it, obtuse to the disaster they would bring upon themselves and everyone else. It appears we now have more to fear from ACLU (and their ilk) than Al Qaeda, for the latter can only fell towers we may rebuild as we hunt rabid jackals down; but the former seek to destroy the very “tower of strength,” even that “Mighty Fortress”17 from which our Country has received protection beyond our perception,18 and without which we shall become virtually defenseless. And, should our children survive the deadly days our evil may evoke, they may be privileged no more to read, in the tongue of Shakespeare and Frost, from those sacred Testaments their fathers read: “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty,”19 but may be forced to read, in the tongue of whore-hugging tyrants, from a red-bound book of platitudes: “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.” But jackass “wisdom” always fails, being blind at heart. No, it is tyranny that grows out of the barrel of a gun—and dies at the barrel of some other gun. Yes, it is even as Christ said—those who live by the sword, die by the sword. But he also enjoins, as does history itself, that at certain critical junctures when tides of evil swell, then “he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.”20 Thus, free men must live with the sword—knowing when to take it up, and when to put it down—or freedom will die by the sword of tyranny. What an eternal difference between two small words: with and by, for their underlying concepts are infinitely determining, yet divergent as Heaven and Hell, for through them, freedom—and nations live or perish!

Finally, a sad and most alarming matter: I have received another warning! It has come in wake of the incredible moral imbecility of termagant “judges” [Who appointed them??] in Massachusetts and New York City, who, as self-annointed legislators, are blatantly trying to pervert the sacred institution of marriage. (This is not the only, but one of the most dangerous of our country’s growing venalities.) I attempted to warn Federal authorities, based on my stark experience of 9/11, but was disregarded, rather deviously, by representatives of the FBI, when I stated that the warning came from God. Therefore, I address you, my fellow citizens, gravely, in the name of God:  Because of the apostasy of this people from Him whose power and blessing established this American nation and has preserved it unto this day of growing abominations, you shall, for your rivers of filthiness, receive rivers of death, above and below, even in the still-grieving cities of lucre and law. Please consider the warning of a prophet to his people, who were faltering in their righteousness and reverence, even as America today: “…heavy destruction awaiteth this people, and it surely cometh unto this people, and nothing can save this people save it be repentance and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ…”21 His words went unheeded, and his people were decimated. I urge you, regardless of your religious persuasion, to ask of God, in the name of Christ, worthily, and in sincere faith, if this warning is not true. Thus, God will confirm it to you by the power of his Spirit; wherefore, it shall be incumbent to join in the rescue of the land, with the brave, prayerful, and savvy exertions of the good people who are standing true, whose current champion, President Bush, though worthy, must nevermore tempt the very devil with "bring-it-on" brashness, nor speak of “the mighty United States” without trembling under the Almighty hand that made it so—and, excepting our deep and permanent repentance, shall make it not so!

Remember, that God, who is just, has warned: “I the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance.”22 But he is also merciful: “For behold, the Lord hath said: I will not succor my people in the day of their transgression; but I will hedge up their ways that they prosper not; and their doings shall be as a stumbling block before them. And again he saith: If my people shall sow filthiness they shall reap the east wind, which bringeth immediate destruction. And now, behold, the promise of the Lord is fulfilled, and ye are smitten and afflicted. But if ye will turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart, and put your trust in him, and serve him with all diligence of mind, if ye do this, he will, according to his own will and pleasure, deliver you.”23

In the throb of momentary success, let us remember that mortal life is a school, not a sauna, as Ben Franklin’s “Poor Richard” reminds us—the wise take pains and receive pleasure, while fools take pleasure and receive pain. If we are “wise in the days of our probation,”24 we will seek to “endure to the end,” not to “endlessly indulge,” that fulness of joy will be our eternal heritage  at the coming, inexorable day of Judgement. Thus, it is our faith and our conduct that secure for us a priceless relationship with the genius and goodness of God, and with life, and our own, and others’ lasting happiness and well-being.

God bless you, and our beloved country, and all people of good will.


1. I received no specific intimation about the 9/11 disasters of New York and Pennsylvania, perhaps because it was difficult enough to reach my attention even close-by (D.C. area), especially through the imbroglio of one's normal preoccupations, responsibilities, and typical human "denseness."
2.   John 14:26
3.  Should anyone hold a sanctimonious view of the victims of 9/11 as under some uniquely personal retribution, and not as tragic heralds of a divine national censure upon our moral standing—consider Christ’s words regarding the victims of another tower collapse: "And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." (Luke 13:2-5)
4.   Mormon 4:5
5.   Doctrine & Covenants 82:3
6.   George Washington (Inaugural Address, 1789)
7.   Doctrine & Covenants 1: 33
8.   Jeremiah 49:37 / Mosiah 12:1  
9.   Rev. 3: 19
10. Ether 2:12 
11. "…and that Rock was Christ." (I  Corinthians10:4) 
12.  John 1:9 
13.  Doctrine & Covenants 50: 24
14.  John 8:12
15.  Philippians 4:7 / Doctrine & Covenants 8:2
16.  John 8:31-32
17.  Hymn by Martin Luther / J.S. Bach
18.  Doctrine & Covenants 101:77, 80
19.  2 Corinthians 3:17
20.  Luke 22:36
21.  Heleman 13:6
22.  Doctrine & Covenants 1: 31
23.  Mosiah 7:29-33
24.  Mormon 9:28

© Copyright 2005 by Ralph Sheffield (See Welcome Page for permissions.)