A Love Affair With Al Capone

al capone

TheDiscipleMD

“The story is told that one Sunday Calvin Coolidge, one time president of the United States and a man noted for few words, returned from church. His wife asked him what the preacher spoke about. He replied, “Sin.” “What did he say?” she asked.“He was against it,” was his reply. I think I could answer the question concerning gambling just that briefly. We are against it” (“Gambling”,GC, April 2005)

The above words were spoken by Gordon B. Hinckley in April of 2005, who was President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. At the time, only two states in the union had not legalized lotteries and gambling in its various forms. There is a reason our prophets have spoken out against it. We would be wise to follow their counsel. Forms of gambling usually do not travel alone. No, they usually have partners of ill repute close by, ready to enter into our lives if we open the door to a habit that has historically brought destruction and pain to the masses. There was a time when the government arrested shady characters who fleeced the desperate, poor, and the hopeless with their illegal “numbers game.” Often organized crime was behind the misery of it all. Today, the criminals have been set loose and local and state governments have found that holding a “stacked  hand” via the sponsorship of gambling can be very profitable. Never mind that those they prey on are the same desperate and poor individuals that made gangsters like Al Capone wealthy. Now that same desperation is lining the pockets of those who are in authority to administer the laws of the land.

There is much talk about the “good”that comes from the profits of such lotteries. This money is being used for education of our children, improving our roads and infrastructure, they say. Yet, the money that is supposedly improving our roads from state-sponsored gambling is really money that is being taken out of the mouths of poor children whose parents are desperate for the “big win”and a “quick path” to wealth and perceived happiness. It is contributing to the breakdown of the family unit. I have often spoken to those who tell me, rather joyfully, that they have just won a hundred dollars from their tickets. Yet, when I dig deeper, I find they have been playing the “numbers” for years and have wasted far more money on losing tickets than the one winner they so joyfully brag about.

It has never made sense, nor seems moral to me, that hundreds of millions of dollars are collected from thousands and thousands of hopeful, only to have millions given to a few, leaving the rest “losers.” More often than not, when I have read about the supposed “winners”, their lives have become a nightmare, as greed and envy has now invaded their circle of friends and family. I believe in the words of a prophet, when he said:

“The pursuit of a game of chance may seem like harmless fun. But there attaches to it an intensity that actually shows on the faces of those who are playing. And in all too many cases this practice, which appears innocent, can lead to an actual addiction.The Church has been and is now opposed to this practice. If you have never been involved in poker games or other forms of gambling, don’t start. If you are involved, then quit now while you can do so” (Gordon B. Hinckley)

We live in a time when many voices are not only condoning gambling and encouraging such behavior, but a full-blown love affair by government officials is in bloom with the Al Capone’s of the world! But are we getting “gamed?”

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