Editor’s Note:  This is #13 in a series of excerpts from the book “The War in Heaven Continues: Satan’s Tactics to Destroy You, Christianity, the Family, the Constitution, and America” by Gary Lawrence. It represents the author’s views and not necessarily the views of this publication.

Next week:  Creeping Royalism and the King They’ve Been Waiting For

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Hooray for America.  The judicial branch wants to legislate, the legislative branch passes wish lists, unelected functionaries really run the country, and the executive thinks it’s all about him and wants to be a messiah.

My family and I once visited Beijing and did the usual tourist gig of filing past Mao Zedong’s embalmed body.  Guards cautioned us not to even whisper – reverence, silence, as if we were in the presence of deity, which, of course, they so thought.   As I watched the adoring faces of the pilgrims in line (some even wept), I could only think, “They’re worshipping the guy who killed 75 million people.”  I got the same impression from another deified stiff a few years later when I “narrowly looked upon” (love that Isaiah phrase) Lenin’s formaldehyde-buttressed remains in Red Square.

Top dog, vast power, adoration even after death.  How did they do it?  And what are the warning signs for us?

Because there are no humble villains, watch out for these types of would-be leaders:

* Those who promise rewards without effort

* Those who say all will be well if they are put in charge

* Those who promise to give followers power and authority over others 

* Those who puff up their audiences by saying they deserve better

* Those who can lie with eloquence and charm 

* Those who are prideful and brag about their abilities  

Satan especially tempts those who, as my good friend Glen Greener describes them, have a need to feel superior.  They are plentiful and easily manipulated.  It is not happenstance that in the Book of Mormon “lifted up” occurs in the context of pride 22 times, and “puffed up” another five times. 

“Now those who were in favor of kings were those of high birth, and they sought to be kings; and they were supported by those who sought power and authority over the people.”1 

A tyrant in embryo also will exaggerate differences between people.  He will fan prideful hate at the top and envious hate at the bottom to produce us-versus-them mentalities and class warfare.  To the upper ranks, lower classes are looked down on as ignorant hicks living in fly-over country who don’t even know how to use the Internet.  To the lower ranks, the rich are greedy and the powerful are uncaring snobs who do sneaky things when no one’s looking.

But above all, watch for narcissism, a sure sign of the difference between righteous and unrighteous leaders.  Constant references to self and excessive use of first-person pronouns are tell-tale signals. 

* Barack Obama, when he first ran for president, told David Plouffe, his campaign manager, “I think I could probably do every job on the campaign better than the people I’ll hire to do it.”2  

* To his campaign’s political director, Mr. Obama said, “I think I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters.  I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors.  And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.”3

* Before his 2004 speech to the Democratic National Convention:  “I’m LeBron, baby.  I can play on this level.  I got game.”4   

* Rarely passing up an opportunity to shine the light on himself, Mr. Obama couldn’t even resist injecting a personal reference into the Martin-Zimmerman shooting incident in 2013 when he said, “If I had a son he would look like Trayvon.”5  

President Obama’s it’s-all-about-me narcissism permeates every speech he gives.  In a July 2014 address in Austin, Texas, for example, he used a first-person singular pronoun – I, me, my, mine – 199 times in 40 minutes, or about once every 12 seconds.  By comparison, Abraham Lincoln (whose image Obama cloyingly seeks to hijack) did not even once refer to himself in the Gettysburg Address.6

Narcissism and the increasingly intrusive force of government together produce a cult of the personality and unthinking hero worship among the less perceptive, thrills up the leg and all that.  

Our Founders would not find this amusing.

* * *

Gary Lawrence is a public opinion pollster and author of “How Americans View Mormonism” and “Mormons Believe …What?!”.  He lives in Orange County, California, where he expects to be audited soon by the IRS.  He welcomes reader comments at [email protected] 

1 Alma 51:8

2 https://www.nationalreview.com/campaign-spot/296848/obama-i-can-do-every-job-better-those-i-hire-do-it 

3 Ibid

4 https://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2011/06/obama-biography-im-lebron-baby/ 

5 https://rethinkingnews.wordpress.com/tag/rome/ 

6 https://cnsnews.com/mrctv-blog/terence-p-jeffrey/i-me-my-obama-uses-first-person-singular-199-times-speech-vowing