Most professional historians, imbued with the prevailing secularism and humanistic approach, see little, if any, of the hand of God in the unfolding of historical events. As the writing of history involves people in the present reflecting on the past, it is apparent that historians will see only that which they have “eyes to see,” and hear only what they have “ears to hear.” (se Mark 8:18)

Window of Faith: Latter-day Saint Perspectives on World History.

Ezra Taft Benson:

History teaches that when individuals have given up looking after their own economic needs and transferred a large share of that responsibility to the government, both they and the government have failed. At least twenty great civilizations have disappeared. The pattern is shockingly similar. All, before their collapse, showed a decline in spiritual values, in moral stamina, and in the freedom and responsibility of their citizens. They showed such symptoms as deficit spending, excessive taxation, bloated bureaucracy, government paternalism, and generally a rather elaborate set of supports, controls, and regulations, affecting prices, wages, production, and consumption.

Conference Report, April 1957, pp. 53-57. Pay Thy Debt, and Live.

Marion G. Romney:

For six thousand years civilizations have risen, flourished, declined, and passed away pursuant to the same cycle of events. Civilizations rise as their people comply with the laws upon which prosperity, success, and happiness depend. These laws God revealed in the beginning and, through His prophets, He has repeated them in every dispensation since. Civilizations have flourished as long as these laws are obeyed. Civilizations decline to the extent such laws are disobeyed. Civilizations pass away when these laws are completely disregarded. Beginning in the days of Adam, and in every gospel dispensation since, the Lord has warned the inhabitants of the earth that their continued violation of the laws of righteousness, which He has revealed, would bring on their destruction. All history, sacred and profane, testifies to the accuracy of this prediction.

General Conference, Oct. 1977. The Tragic Cycle.

Ezra Taft Benson:

The history of nations shows that the cycle of the body politic slowly but surely undergoes change. It progresses from bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual faith to courage, from courage to freedom, from freedom to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to fear, from fear to dependency, from dependency to bondage. Every nation yearns for liberty, but too frequently its own self-indulgence precludes the possibility of freedom.

This Nation Shall Endure, p. 68.

J. Reuben Clark Jr.:

We are constantly urged to adopt policies supposedly new and untried and discovered by our intellectual pseudo giants who either do not know their history or are deliberately misrepresenting it. The first Roman Code ever framed in the history of Rome – the Theodosian Code of 438 A.D. – contained provisions, as summarized by scholars, including such “ ‘modern’ problems as price fixing, black markets, excessive taxation, socialized medicine, conscription of labor, anti-Semitism, inflation, corruption in government bureau, the relation between church and state. Students of modern social and economic legislation, state controls, and the development of the ‘welfare state’ will find that many modern concepts and practices derive from the patterns outlined in the Code.

LDS Church News, April 9, 1960.

Lawrence Reed

Why did Rome decline and fall? In my belief, Rome fell because of a fundamental change in ideas on the part of the Roman people—ideas which relate primarily to personal responsibility and the source of personal income. In the early days of greatness, Romans regarded themselves as their chief source of income. By that I mean each individual looked to himself – what he could acquire voluntarily in the marketplace – as the source of his livelihood. Rome’s decline began when the people discovered another source of income: the political process – the State. When Romans abandoned self-responsibility and self-reliance, and began to vote themselves benefits, to use government to rob Peter and pay Paul, to put their hands into other people’s pockets, to envy and covet the productive and their wealth, their fate was sealed. As Dr. Howard E. Kershner puts it, “When a selfgoverning people confer upon their government the power to take from some and give to others, the process will not stop until the last bone of the last taxpayer is picked bare.” The legalized plunder of the Roman Welfare State was undoubtedly sanctioned by people who wished to do good. But as Henry David Thoreau wrote, “If I knew for certain that a man was coming to my house to do me good, I would run for my life.” Another person coined the phrase, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Nothing but evil can come from a society bent upon coercion, the confiscation of property, and the degradation of the productive.

The Fall of Rome and Modern Parallels. FEE (Foundation of Economic Education).

J. Reuben Clark Jr.:

Both history and prophecy—and I may add, common sense—bear witness to the fact that no civilization can long endure which follows the course charted by bemused manipulators and now being implemented as government welfare programs all around the world .. Babylon shall be destroyed, and great shall be the fall thereof. (See D&C 1:16) .. But do not be discouraged. Zion will not go down with her, because Zion shall be built on the principles of love of God and fellowman, work, and earnest labor, as God has directed.

Conference Report, Apr. 1976, pp. 164–66, 169.

Thomas S. Monson:

We forget how the Greeks and Romans prevailed magnificently in a barbaric world and how that triumph ended—how a slackness and softness finally overcame them to their ruin. In the end, more than they wanted freedom, they wanted security and a comfortable life and they lost all—comfort and security and freedom.

Conference Report, Apr. 1967, p. 57.

Marion G. Romney:

As our modern societies follow the course which led to the fall of Rome and other civilizations which succumbed to the deceptive lure of the welfare state and socialism, I think it not inappropriate for me to emphasize again the Lord’s plan for the temporal salvation of His mortal children .. We must be careful not to adopt the commonly accepted practice of expecting the government or anyone other than ourselves to supply us with the necessities of life. The practice of coveting and receiving unearned benefits has now become so fixed in our society that even men of great wealth, and possessing the means to produce more wealth, are expecting the government to guarantee them a profit. Elections often turn on what the candidates promise to do for voters from government funds. This practice, if universally accepted and implemented in any society, will make slaves of its citizens .. Let us work for what we need. Let us be self-reliant and independent. Salvation can be obtained on no other principle. Salvation is an individual matter, and we must work out our own salvation, in temporal as well as in spiritual things.

General Conference, Oct. 1976. In Mine Own Way.

M. Russell Ballard:

There are great lessons to be learned from the past, and you ought to learn them so that you don’t exhaust your spiritual strength repeating past mistakes and bad choices. You don’t have to be a Latter-day Saint—you don’t even have to be religious – to see the repeating pattern of history in the lives of God’s children as recorded in the Old Testament. Time and again we see the cycle of righteousness followed by wickedness. Similarly, the Book of Mormon records that ancient civilizations of this continent followed exactly the same pattern: righteousness followed by prosperity, followed by material comforts, followed by greed, followed by pride, followed by wickedness and a collapse of morality until the people brought calamities upon themselves sufficient to stir them up to humility, repentance, and change.

General Conference, April 2009. Learning the Lessons of the Past..