The Border Crisis, the Downside of Compassion, and Insights from The Book of Mormon
by Jeff Lindsay
thousands of unaccompanied minors streaming across the increasingly
porous borders of the United States, there is an obvious need for
compassion for these children. But compassion comes in many forms and
some of them can be destructive.
for example, the compassionate U.S. law that motivates families and
governments from afar to send children here without their parents and
loving relatives to care for them.
parents and governments in Central American nations seemed to
understand this law better than our lawmakers did and have exploited
it mightily, sending thousands here knowing that they would be
granted asylum and receive the many benefits of being a U.S.
compassion, unfortunately, is motivating parents to abandon their
children. Perhaps it's time for the tougher compassionate that stops
the incentives to abandon kids?
Obviously, we must be
compassionate when we encounter a child in need. But what happens
when that one child at your door becomes 10 children, then 100, then
100,000? The standard compassionate approach in this country is to
say that all should be taken in and welcomed — by someone else,
with someone else's money.
don't have an easy answer for how to deal with the immediate crisis,
except to say that we must also address and repair some of the root
issues behind the problem.
There are other downsides to our
unbounded border compassion to worry about. Although parents
abandoning children is deplorable, I can sympathize with local
governments that may wish to abandon gang members. Sadly, young
are among those who are being welcomed to the U.S., allegedly with no
obvious effort to separate out the gangsters.
I worry that the non-gangsters coming here without roots and without
parents will be more vulnerable to the lure of violent gangs.
are still other issues. You might not have noticed, but there are a
lot of people in this world that hate America. And not all of them
are in Hollywood. Some are in foreign countries that would love to
have a chance to come here and create a little havoc.
a world of violence and terrorism, there are good reasons to have
tightly controlled borders. An open border where anyone can get in by
just walking across the border, or even coming in a scheduled bus, is
a security risk with severe potential consequences.
of which party the new immigrants are going to support in future
elections, our elected officials need to put our local security as a
top priority. Instead of spending billions or trillions to police the
world and invade other nations, how about if we get back to
protecting our own?
can be done. Bring our troops home. Put some of them on the border.
Border security is possible.
The vast majority of the
unaccompanied minors coming here are being
with no serious effort to get them back to their families and
communities. They will probably spend their lives here. May they be
productive, peaceful lives.
we are told, may become the next Steve Jobs and spend their time
making and marketing overpriced products that will strengthen the
economy and make the world better.
— but out of fairness to the many other potential Steve Jobs
from places like Norway, China, and India who have been waiting for
years to get through our ridiculously difficult legal immigration
process, perhaps we need to expand our compassion enough to treat
everyone a little more equally and ask folks to get in line (while
speeding up the legal line).
casually allowing entry to those who wish to bring violence to our
streets will make life a lot more difficult for everyone seeking to
build, to create, or to just raise families in peace. Let's bless the
world with generous legal immigration opportunities for those who
wish to love and build up our nation, and protect our borders for the
security of all of us.
Yes, show compassion to the children
who come here, but make reuniting them with their parents and
communities a top priority. There should be no incentives for child
abandonment. The law that does that should be swiftly fixed.
the risk of questionable speculation, I think that the growing threat
of gang violence in our cities, amplified by a surge in illegal
immigration and loopholes of American compassion, might add
plausibility to a puzzling prophecy in the Book of Mormon in 3 Nephi
And I say unto you, that if the Gentiles do not repent after the
blessing which they shall receive, after they have scattered my
Then shall ye, who are a remnant of the house of Jacob, go forth
among them; and ye shall be in the midst of them who shall be many;
and ye shall be among them as a lion among the beasts of the forest,
and as a young lion among the flocks of sheep, who, if he goeth
through both treadeth down and teareth in pieces, and none can
Also see 3 Nephi 21:
And my people who are a remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles,
yea, in the midst of them as a lion among the beasts of the forest,
as a young lion among the flocks of sheep, who, if he go through both
treadeth down and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver.
Their hand shall be lifted up upon their adversaries, and all their
enemies shall be cut off.
Yea, wo be unto the Gentiles except they repent; for it shall come to
pass in that day, saith the Father, that I will cut off thy horses
out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots;
And I will cut off the cities of thy land, and throw down all thy
reading of the statements of Christ in 3 Nephi 20 and 21 is that the
descendants of some of the original peoples in the Americas (who,
yes, are descended from Jacob, even if the percentage of Hebraic
ancestry is very small due to an abundance of Asiatic DNA also
present) will be a source of great trouble for some American cities,
though many of them will also be converted and help build up the
kingdom of God and be part of the New Jerusalem to come.
really not sure what to make of the prophecies and there are many
ways they could be fulfilled, but it's interesting to see that what
once sounded like a remote and improbable event could be
realistically fulfilled in light of ongoing events.
is a genuine threat looming from the weapons being accumulated by
gangs and from their swelling ranks. Drug-related violence from gangs
is destroying too many communities south of the border (or rather,
south of the line formerly known as "the border"), and I
don't think U.S. cities have even begun to see how devastating that
Of course, the ultimate answer to most problems is
not in law and armies, but in the gospel. Whatever policies our
nation adopts, let us love those who are in our midst, documented or
not, and give those who wish the opportunity to receive the blessings
of the gospel.
so doing, may families be strengthened and may children be kept with
their parents wherever possible. Meanwhile, may our Gentile cities
take a cue from 3 Nephi 20 and 21 and recognize the real lesson
there: repent and follow Jesus Christ.
it comes to real compassion and immigration, the Book of Mormon
may also be relevant in another way. The story of the
Anti-Nephi-Lehites, the Lamanites who were persecuted with genocidal
zeal by their brethren after their conversion to the gospel, provides
a meaningful example of compassionate treatment of genuine refugees.
were given a land of their own in Nephite territory, the land of
Jershon, as a place of inheritance (interestingly, Jershon is an
example of yet another Hebrew word play in the Book of Mormon,
since it is closely related to the Hebrew word for inheritance).
weren't made wards of the State, but were given rich opportunity to
provide for themselves and were given the protection of Nephite
armies. It was a genuine sacrifice for the Nephites, but also a
remarkably wise investment in a people that would bless the Nephites
richly in years to come.
may many other lessons in the Book of Mormon worth considering
as we deal with the difficult social and political issues of our day.
May we increasingly rely on its divine and increasingly relevant
messages for us.
Jeff Lindsay has been defending the Church on the Internet since 1994, when he launched his
LDSFAQ website under JeffLindsay.com. He has also long been blogging about LDS matters on
the blog Mormanity (mormanity.blogspot.com). Jeff is a longtime resident of Appleton,
Wisconsin, who recently moved to Shanghai, China, with his wife, Kendra.
He works for an Asian corporation as head of intellectual property. Jeff and Kendra are the parents of 4 boys, 3 married and the the youngest on a mission.
He is a former innovation and IP consultant, a former professor, and former Corporate Patent
Strategist and Senior Research Fellow for a multinational corporation.
Jeff Lindsay, Cheryl Perkins and Mukund Karanjikar are authors of the book Conquering
Innovation Fatigue (John Wiley & Sons, 2009).
Jeff has a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Brigham Young University and is a registered US
patent agent. He has more than 100 granted US patents and is author of numerous publications.
Jeff's hobbies include photography, amateur magic, writing, and Mandarin Chinese.