Secret signs and combinations
The Lamanites become more righteous than the Nephites--The church has great joy while the people become exceedingly rich--There is
much preaching and many prophecies--Cezoram and his son are murdered and the people become exceedingly
wicked again--Satan stirs up the
hearts of Gadianton's robbers and murderers--Gadianton's band use secret signs, oaths, and covenants that are put into their hearts by
Satan--The Nephites dwindle in unbelief--The Spirit of the Lord pours out on the Lamanites--The Lamanites destroy Gadianton's robbers but
the Nephites join in their secret murders and combinations--The Nephites are in an awful state, ripe for destruction.
Version - Chapter 37: Nephi and Lehi in Prison
6:1 And it came to pass that when the *sixty and second year of the
reign of the judges had ended, all these things had happened and the Lamanites had become, the more part of them,
a righteous people, insomuch that their righteousness did exceed that of the Nephites because of their firmness
and their steadiness in the faith.
(6:1) Their righteousness did exceed that of the Nephites.|
In the last chapter, "the more part of the Lamanites" were converted by the preaching of Nephi and Lehi, with the help of a series of
stupendous displays by
God Almighty himself. Now this same "more part" has become even more righteous than the Nephites.
6:2 For behold, there were many of the Nephites who had become hardened
and impenitent and grossly wicked, insomuch that they did reject the word of God and all the preaching and prophesying
which did come among them.
(6:2) They did reject the word of God.|
While the Lamanites were becoming righteous, the Nephites were becoming "grossly wicked," so wicked, in fact, that they rejected
the word of God" (the Bible and Book of Mormon?) and "all the preaching and prophesying."
6:3 Nevertheless, the people of the church did have great joy because of the conversion of the Lamanites, yea, because of the church of God, which had been established among them. And they did fellowship
one with another and did rejoice one with another, and did have great joy.
(6:3-9) The people of the church did have great joy.|
Even though many of the Nephites were "grossly wicked" the church rejoiced because the Lamanites
converted. The Lamanites preached to the Nephites and
both groups "became exceedingly rich."
|6:4 And it came to pass that many of the Lamanites did come down into the land of Zarahemla, and did
declare unto the people of the Nephites the manner of their conversion, and did exhort them to faith and
|6:5 Yea, and many did preach with exceedingly great power and authority, unto the bringing down
many of them into the depths of humility, to be the humble followers of God and the Lamb.
6:6 And it came to pass that many of the Lamanites did go into the land northward; and also Nephi
and Lehi went into the land northward, to preach unto the people. And thus
ended the sixty and third year.
|6:7 And behold, there was peace in all the land, insomuch that the Nephites did go into whatsoever
part of the land they would, whether among the Nephites or the Lamanites.
|6:8 And it came to pass that the Lamanites did also go whithersoever they would, whether it were among
the Lamanites or among the Nephites; and thus they did have free intercourse one with another, to buy and to sell,
and to get gain, according to their desire.
|6:9 And it came to pass that they became exceedingly rich, both the Lamanites and the Nephites; and
they did have an exceeding plenty of gold, and of silver, and of all manner of precious metals, both in the land
south and in the land north.
|6:10 Now the land south was called Lehi and the land north was
called aMulek, which was after the son of Zedekiah; for the Lord did bring Mulek into the land north,
and Lehi into the land south.
(6:10-14) Curious workmen|
The southern land was called Lehi (after the guy who sailed from Israel to the New World in 600 BCE) and the northern land, Mulek
(after Zedekiah's only surviving son who sailed to the New World in 586 BCE). Both lands were rich due to the curious workmen who worked all kinds of ore.
They flourished exceedingly and waxed exceedingly strong, raising many fatlings and making all manner of cloth. There was much preaching and many
prophecies. A good time was had by all.
|6:11 And behold, there was all manner of gold in both these lands, and of silver, and of precious
ore of every kind; and there were also curious workmen, who did work all kinds of ore and did refine it; and thus
they did become rich.
|6:12 They did raise grain in abundance, both in the north and in the south; and they did flourish
exceedingly, both in the north and in the south. And they did multiply and wax exceedingly strong in the land.
And they did raise many flocks and herds, yea, many fatlings.
|6:13 Behold their women did toil and spin, and did make all manner of cloth, of fine-twined linen and
cloth of every kind, to clothe their nakedness. And thus the sixty and fourth year did pass away in peace.
|6:14 And in the sixty and fifth year they did also have great joy and peace, yea, much preaching and
many prophecies concerning that which was to come. And thus passed away the sixty and fifth year.
|6:15 And it came to pass that in the sixty and sixth year of the reign of the judges, behold, Cezoram
was murdered by an unknown hand as he sat upon the judgment-seat. And it came to pass that in the same year,
that his son, who had been appointed by the people in his stead, was also murdered. And thus ended the sixty
and sixth year. ||
(6;15-16) Exceedingly wicked again|
But then all hell broke loose. Cezoram was murdered while sitting on the
judgment-seat, and his son was murdered, too, after being duly elected
by the people, who had become, once again, "exceedingly wicked."
|6:16 And in the commencement of the sixty and seventh year
the people began to grow exceedingly wicked again.
|6:17 For behold, the Lord had blessed them so long with the riches of the world
that they had not been stirred up to anger, to wars, nor to bloodshed; therefore they began to set their hearts
upon their riches; yea, they began to seek to get gain that they might be lifted up one above another; therefore
they began to commit secret murders, and to rob and to plunder, that they might get gain.
|6:18 And now behold, those murderers and plunderers were a band who had been formed by Kishkumen and
Gadianton. And now it had come to pass that there were many, even among the Nephites, of Gadianton's band. But
behold, they were more numerous among the more wicked part of the Lamanites. And
they were called Gadianton's robbers and murderers.
(6:18-19) Gadianton's robbers and murderers|
The main source of all the wickedness was Gadianton's band of robbers and murderers. They were the ones who murdered Cezoram and his son while
he (they?) were sitting on the judgment-seat.
|6:19 And it was they who did murder the chief judge Cezoram, and his son, while in the
judgment-seat; and behold, they were not found.
|6:20 And now it came to pass that when the Lamanites found that there were robbers among them they
were exceedingly sorrowful; and they did use every means in their power to destroy them off the face of the
(6:20-21) Satan did stir up their hearts.|
The Lamanites were exceedingly sorrowful when they heard about the robbers, but most of the Nephites were okay with it because
Satan had stirred up their hearts.
|6:21 But behold, Satan did stir up the hearts of the more part of the Nephites, insomuch that they
did unite with those bands of robbers, and did enter into their covenants and their oaths, that they would
protect and preserve one another in whatsoever difficult circumstances they should be placed, that they should
not suffer for their murders, and their plunderings, and their stealings.
|6:22 And it came to pass that
they did have their signs, yea, their secret signs, and their secret
words; and this that they might distinguish a brother who had entered into the covenant, that whatsoever
wickedness his brother should do he should not be injured by his brother, nor by those who did belong to his
band, who had taken this covenant. ||
(6:22-24) They did have their signs.|
The band of robbers had a set of secret signs and words that they used to communicate to one another about their wicked deeds. They murdered, and plundered,
and committed whoredoms all over the place. They worked things out so that when a member of the band did something especially wicked or abominable,
they were tried by the laws of Gadianton and Kishkumen, and, thereby, went unpunished.
|6:23 And thus they might murder, and plunder, and steal, and commit whoredoms and all manner of
wickedness, contrary to the laws of their country and also the laws of their God.
|6:24 And whosoever of those who belonged to their band should reveal unto the world of their
wickedness and their abominations, should be tried, not according to the laws of their country, but
according to the laws of their wickedness, which had been given by Gadianton and Kishkumen.
|6:25 Now behold, it is these secret oaths and covenants which Alma commanded his son should not go
forth unto the world, lest they should be a means of bringing down the people unto destruction.
(6:25-30) They were put into the heart of Gadianton|
Now the secret oaths and covenants were put into Gadianton's heart by a very special being -- the same being who enticed Eve and Adam to eat the
forbidden fruit; the one that helped Cain keep his murder secret; the one who has plotted with Cain and his followers from that time forth; the one
who inspired the building of the Tower of Babel, and who inspired Jared to sail to the New World; the one who spread the works of darkness and
abomination over the face of the land and dragged people down to everlasting hell; the one who is the author of all sin; the one who carries out
works of darkness and secret murders, with plots and oaths and covenants and plans of awful wickedness. (Although
Helaman doesn't actually say so, I think he's talking about Satan here.)
|6:26 Now behold, those secret oaths and covenants did not come forth unto Gadianton from the records
which were delivered unto Helaman; but behold, they were put into the heart of Gadianton by that same being who
did entice our first parents to partake of the forbidden fruit --
|6:27 Yea, that same being who did plot with Cain, that if he would murder his brother Abel it should
not be known unto the world. And he did plot with Cain and his followers from that time forth.
|6:28 And also it is that same being who put it into the hearts of the people to build a tower
sufficiently high that they might get to heaven. And it was that same being who led on the people who came
from that tower into this land; who spread the works of darkness and abominations over all the face of the
land, until he dragged the people down to an entire destruction, and to an everlasting hell.
|6:29 Yea, it is that same being who put it into the heart of Gadianton to still carry on the work
of darkness, and of secret murder; and he has brought it forth from the beginning of man even down to this
|6:30 And behold, it is he who is the author of all sin. And behold, he doth carry on his works
of darkness and secret murder, and doth hand down their plots, and their oaths, and their covenants, and
their plans of awful wickedness, from generation to generation according as he can get hold upon the hearts
of the children of men.
|6:31 And now behold, he had got great hold upon the hearts of the Nephites; yea, insomuch that
they had become exceedingly wicked; yea, the more part of them had turned out of the way of righteousness,
and did trample under their feet the commandments of God, and did turn unto their own ways, and did build up
unto themselves idols of their gold and their silver.
(6:31-36) The Nephites did begin to dwindle in unbelief.|
In the next few years, the Nephites (the more part of them, anyway) became exceedingly wicked, dwindling in unbelief, while growing in
wickedness and abominations. At the same time, the Lamanites began to grow exceedingly in the knowledge of God. So the Spirit of the Lord began
to withdraw from the Nephites, while pouring itself all over the Lamanites.
|6:32 And it came to pass that all these iniquities did come unto them in the space of not many
years, insomuch that a more part of it had come unto them in the sixty and seventh year of the reign of
the judges over the people of Nephi.
|6:33 And they did grow in their iniquities in the sixty and eighth year also
|6:34 And thus we see that the Nephites did begin to
dwindle in unbelief, and grow in wickedness and
abominations, while the Lamanites began to grow exceedingly in the knowledge of their God; yea, they did begin
to keep his statutes and commandments, and to walk in truth and uprightness before him.
|6:35 And thus we see that the Spirit of the Lord began to withdraw from the Nephites, because of the
wickedness and the hardness of their hearts.
|6:36 And thus we see that the Lord began to pour out his Spirit upon the Lamanites, because of
their easiness and willingness to believe in his words.
|6:37 And it came to pass that the Lamanites did hunt the band of robbers of Gadianton; and they
did preach the word of God among the more wicked part of them, insomuch that this band of robbers was utterly
destroyed from among the Lamanites.
(6:37-41) Secret murders and combinations.|
The Lamanites hunted down and utterly destroyed the band of Gadianton's robbers, while the Nephites supported them and joined in their secret
murders and combinations. And so Gadianton's band took complete control of the Nephite government, trampling the poor and the meek and the humble
followers of God. It was a god-awful mess, ripe for destruction.
|6:38 And it came to pass on the other hand, that the Nephites did build them up and support
them, beginning at the more wicked part of them, until they had overspread all the land of the Nephites,
and had seduced the more part of the righteous until they had come down to believe in their works and partake
of their spoils, and to join with them in their secret murders and combinations.
|6:39 And thus they did obtain the sole management of the government, insomuch that they did trample
under their feet and smite and rend and turn their backs upon the poor and the meek, and the humble followers of
|6:40 And thus we see that they were in an awful state, and ripening for an everlasting
|6:41 And it came to pass that thus ended the sixty and eighth year of the reign of the judges
over the people of Nephi. ||
* 29 BCE according the the LDS Book of Mormon footnote
And it came to pass [6:1, 4, 6, 8, 9, 15(2), 18, 20, 22, 32, 37, 38, 41]
exceedingly (6:5, 9, 12, 26, 20, 31, 34)
Behold [6:2, 7, 11, 13(2), 15, 17, 18(2), 19, 21, 25, 26(2), 30(2), 31]
Dwindling in unbelief (6:34)
10a According to the Book of Mormon, there were three migrations from Israel to the New World:
- Lehi and his family in 600 BCE (1 Nephi 18).
- The Jaredites at the time of the Tower of Babel (Ether 6).
- And the Mulekites, who were led by Mulek, the son of Zedekiah (Omni 1:15-16).
(The Bible, however, says
that all of Zedekiah's sons were killed. See 2 Kings 25:7.)