Cruelty and Violence
Science and History
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3 Nephi 3
An invitation to join a secret society
Giddianhi, the leader of the Gadianton robbers, sends a letter to Lachoneus, the governor of the Nephites--The letter invites the Nephites to join their secret society or face complete destruction--The Nephites gather
at the land of Zarahemla to prepare for war.
|3:1 And now it came to pass that in the sixteenth year from the coming of
Christ, Lachoneus, the governor of the land, received an epistle from the leader and the governor of this band
of robbers; and these were the words which were written, saying: ||
(3:1-10) Unite with us and become acquainted with our secret works.|
The Nephite governor (Lachoneus) received a letter from the leader of the Gadianton robbers (Giddianhi), saying that
the Nephites have two choices: join their secret society or face complete destruction.
|3:2 Lachoneus, most noble and chief governor of the land, behold, I write this epistle unto you, and
do give unto you exceedingly great praise because of your firmness,
and also the firmness of your people, in maintaining that which ye suppose to be your right and liberty; yea, ye
do stand well, as if ye were supported by the hand of a god, in the defence of your liberty, and your property,
and your country, or that which ye do call so. ||
|3:3 And it seemeth a pity unto me, most noble Lachoneus, that ye should be so foolish and vain as to
suppose that ye can stand against so many brave men who are at my command, who do now at this time stand in their
arms, and do await with great anxiety for the word -- Go down upon the Nephites and destroy them. |
|3:4 And I, knowing of their unconquerable spirit, having proved them in the field of battle, and
knowing of their everlasting hatred towards you because of the many wrongs which ye have done unto them,
therefore if they should come down against you they would visit you with utter destruction. |
|3:5 Therefore I have written this epistle, sealing it with mine own hand, feeling for your welfare,
because of your firmness in that which ye believe to be right, and your noble spirit in the field of battle. |
|3:6 Therefore I write unto you, desiring that ye would yield up unto this my people, your cities,
your lands, and your possessions, rather than that they should visit you with the sword and that destruction
should come upon you. |
|3:7 Or in other words, yield yourselves up unto us, and unite with us and become acquainted with
our secret works, and become our brethren that ye may be like unto us -- not our slaves, but our brethren and
partners of all our substance. ||
(3:7) "Unite with us and become acquainted with our secret work."
|3:8 And behold, I swear unto you, if ye will do this, with an oath, ye shall not be destroyed;
but if ye will not do this, I swear unto you with an oath, that on the morrow month I will command that my
armies shall come down against you, and they shall not stay their hand and shall spare not, but shall slay
you, and shall let fall the sword upon you even until ye shall become extinct. |
|3:9 And behold, I am Giddianhi; and I am the governor of
this the secret society of Gadianton;
which society and the works thereof I know to be good; and they are of ancient date and they have been handed
down unto us. ||
(3:9) "The secret society of Gadianton"
|3:10 And I write this epistle unto you, Lachoneus, and I hope that ye will deliver up your lands
and your possessions, without the shedding of blood, that this my people may recover their rights and
government, who have dissented away from you because of your wickedness in retaining from them their rights
of government, and except ye do this, I will avenge their wrongs. I am Giddianhi. |
|3:11 And now it came to pass when Lachoneus received this epistle
was exceedingly astonished, because of the boldness of Giddianhi demanding the possession of the land of the Nephites, and also of threatening the people and
avenging the wrongs of those that had received no wrong, save it were they had wronged themselves by
dissenting away unto those wicked and abominable robbers. ||
(3:11-15) He was exceedingly astonished|
When Lachoneus received Giddianhi's letter, he was exceedingly astonished. He caused the Nephites and the white-skinned Lamanites to
repent and cry to the Lord. Then he wrote a proclamation telling them to come to one place, bringing all of their possession. There they would
prepare for an attack from the Gadianton robbers.
|3:12 Now behold, this Lachoneus, the governor, was a just man, and could not be frightened
by the demands and the threatenings of a robber; therefore he did not hearken to the epistle of Giddianhi,
the governor of the robbers, but he did cause that his people should cry unto the Lord for strength against
the time that the robbers should come down against them. |
|3:13 Yea, he sent a proclamation among all the people, that they should gather together their
women, and their children, their flocks and their herds, and all their substance, save it were their land,
unto one place. |
|3:14 And he caused that fortifications should be built round about them, and the strength
thereof should be exceedingly great. And he caused that armies, both of the Nephites
and of the Lamanites, or of all them who were numbered among the Nephites, should be placed as guards round
about to watch them, and to guard them from the robbers day and night. |
|3:15 Yea, he said unto them: As the Lord liveth, except ye repent of all your iniquities, and cry
unto the Lord, ye will in no wise be delivered out of the hands of those Gadianton robbers. |
|3:16 And so great and marvelous were the words and prophecies of Lachoneus that they did cause
fear to come upon all the people; and they did exert themselves in their might to do according to the words
of Lachoneus. ||
(3:16-19) The chiefest among all the chief captains|
The people were so impressed by Lachoneus's words and prophecies that fear came upon them, causing them to do whatever he said. Lachoneus appointed cheif captains over the armies, the
chiefest of the chief was Gidgiddoni. He was so chief, in fact, that he was also the chief judge. (Because had the spirit of revelation and prophecy.)
|3:17 It came to pass that Lachoneus did appoint chief captains over
all the armies of the Nephites, to command them at the time that the robbers should come down out of the
wilderness against them.
|3:18 Now the chiefest among all the chief captains and the great commander of the armies of the Nephites was appointed, and his name was Gidgiddoni.
|3:19 Now it was the custom among all the Nephites to appoint for their chief captains, (save it
were in their times of wickedness) some one that had the spirit of revelation and also prophecy; therefore,
this Gidgiddoni was a great prophet among them, as also was the chief judge. |
|3:20 Now the people said unto Gidgiddoni: Pray unto the Lord, and let us go up upon the mountains
and into the wilderness, that we may fall upon the robbers and destroy them in their own lands. ||
(3:20-21) He will deliver them into our hands|
The people asked Gidgiddoni to ask God if they could go attack the robbers on the mountains, but Gadgiddoni refused, saying that if they did that God would help the robbers slaughter them all. Instead, he said, they should
stay where they were and fight the robbers from there. That way God would help them kill them.
|3:21 But Gidgiddoni saith unto them: The Lord forbid; for if we should go up against them the Lord
would deliver us into their hands; therefore we will prepare ourselves in the center of our lands, and we will
gather all our armies together, and we will not go against them, but we will wait till they shall come against
us; therefore as the Lord liveth, if we do this he will deliver them into our hands.
|3:22 It came to pass in the seventeenth year, in the latter end of the year,
the proclamation of Lachoneus had gone forth throughout all the face of the land, and they had taken their
horses, and their chariots, and their cattle, and all their flocks, and their herds, and their grain, and all their
substance, and did march forth by thousands and by tens of thousands, until they had all gone forth to the
place which had been appointed that they should gather themselves together, to defend themselves against
their enemies. ||
(3:22) They had taken their horses, and their chariots.|
More talk of horses and chariots at a time and place in which neither existed.
|3:23 And the land which was appointed was the land of Zarahemla, and the land which was between
the land Zarahemla and the land Bountiful, yea, to the line which was between the land Bountiful and the
land Desolation. ||
(3:23-26) Between the land Bountiful and the land Desolation|
In case you were wondering, the place at which they gathered is the land of Zarahelma, which was between the land of Zarahelma and the land Bountiful, on the
line between the land Bountiful and the land Desolation. Look it up on Google Maps.
Many thousands of Nephites gathered in this land, and in the land southward. But not in the land northward because of the great curse.
The Nephites feared, repented, and asked God to help them kill the robbers. And since everyone was exceedingly sorrowful, Gidgiddoni had them make all kinds of weapons of war.
|3:24 And there were a great many thousand people who were called Nephites, who did gather themselves
together in this land. Now Lachoneus did cause that they should gather themselves together in the land southward,
because of the great curse which was upon the land northward.
|3:25 And they did fortify themselves against their enemies; and they did dwell in one land, and in
one body, and they did fear the words which had been spoken by Lachoneus, insomuch that they did repent of all
their sins; and they did put up their prayers unto the Lord their God, that he would deliver them in the time
that their enemies should come down against them to battle.
|3:26 And they were exceedingly sorrowful because of their
enemies. And Gidgiddoni did cause that they should make weapons of war of every kind, and they should be strong with
armor, and with shields, and with bucklers, after the manner of his instruction. |
And it came to pass (3:1, 11, 17, 22)
Exceedingly (3:2, 11, 14, 26)
Behold (3:2, 8, 9, 12)
- The Annotated Book of Mormon
- 3 Nephi 3