CLICK HERE to read Helaman 2.
This seems at first like a short, easy chapter. But it’s actually packed! Everything that happens in Helaman and leading into 3 Nephi, all this “Gadianton Robber” stuff changes everything. It changes the Book of Mormon, the history of the Nephites, and it all matters in our day. We are now living in latter days of the Latter-days, somewhere in the final chapters of Helaman. It is not that long until 3 Nephi.
Let’s look at the story of Helaman 2 first…
So after the three contenders for leader are all killed off by contention, the issue remains that the people still need a leader (verse 1). The people vote and choose Helaman (verse 2), and this made some people angry – the ones who had killed the last leader, which had led to their own leader being killed also (verse 3). In this way, they continued to rebel against God and their country.
These rebels were led by Kishkumen (the one who had killed the leader of the country) (verse 3), and he had Gadianton join him “to carry on the secret work of murder and of robbery” (verse 4). Gadianton used flattery to win the hearts of the rebels, even Kishkumen, promising that if the people would elect him then he would place them in positions of power and authority (verse 5). This is how Gadianton began to raise support against Helaman, and how the people plotted to destroy him (verse 5).
But one of Helaman’s people had disguised himself and obtained knowledge about these secret plans (verse 6). He connected to Kishkumen directly, getting the exact plans and even planning to go with Kishkumen to kill Helaman (verse 7). Helaman waited for the full story, to find out all the details, all the people involved, as well as the true intent of Kishkumen’s heart – which was to gain power through murder and robbery (verse 8). When Kishkumen had shared all his guilt, and been proud of it, Helaman’s servant allowed Kishkumen to proceed – to act – on his secret plans (verse 8).
This acting, this choosing, this following through was Kishkumen’s final decision that chose his own judgment – and consequences.
Helaman’s servant did not let Kishkumen kill Helaman, but “did stab Kishkumen even to the heart, that he fell dead without a groan. And he ran and told Helaman all the things which he had seen, and heard, and done” (verse 9). Helaman used the information to gather the group of murderers and robbers for judgment (verse 10).
But in the meantime, Gadianton noticed that Kishkumen had not returned, and so he led the robbers out of the land and into the wilderness, so they could not be found by Helaman’s men (verse 11).
As we will read later, these secret combinations started by “Gadianton’s robbers”, which were to seek after power by murder and robbery, ultimately led to “almost the entire destruction of the people of Nephi” (verse 13).
We could stop there, having a nice summary of a few short verses, and call it done.
But that would not be “study”, and it would not be “likening”.
And there is too much at risk not to see clearly.
We are in the days of Helaman, already, now.
This pattern of that time is evidenced to be playing out all around us, even now.
The prophets have said so.
In the October 2001 General Conference, President Hinckley said:
The Book of Mormon speaks of the Gadianton robbers, a vicious, oath-bound, and secret organization bent on evil and destruction. In their day they did all in their power, by whatever means available, to bring down the Church, to woo the people with sophistry, and to take control of the society.
The he likens this to us in our day:
We see the same thing in the present situation. We are people of peace. We are followers of the Christ who was and is the Prince of Peace. But there are times when we must stand up for right and decency, for freedom and civilization, just as Moroni rallied his people in his day to the defense of their wives, their children, and the cause of liberty (see Alma 48:10).
So to follow the pattern the prophet has set, we must look at the pattern the prophet pointed out.
To understand the pattern, we must liken it to ourselves (see 1 Nephi 19:23).
Specifically for our time, we know the Book of Mormon provides a pattern for preparing us for the second coming of Christ. Ezra Taft Benson said:
“. . . in the Book of Mormon we find a pattern for preparing for the Second Coming. A major portion of the book centers on the few decades just prior to Christ’s coming to America. By careful study of that time period we can determine why some were destroyed in the terrible judgments that preceded His coming and what brought others to stand at the temple in the land of Bountiful and thrust their hands into the wounds of His hands and feet.”
So as we liken it to ourselves, we know it is in the context of the Latter-days.
To start, we find the pattern of what actually happened in the story and being aware of how it applies in our society today:
The first example from back then was they used flattery to win over the people (Helaman 2:5).
NOW: We have leaders who run for office and say, “Vote for me, and we will make you healthy and wealthy and give you what you lobby (pay) for,” instead of vote for me, and I will fix our mistakes and work hard with you to make this a better place according to what is good for all of us – including caring for the poor, and including holding all of us accountable.
They needed to win over the people in order to overthrow the government (Alma 51:5).
NOW: we have a democracy, and so to gain power initially, they must be voted into power, and then the changing of laws (to subtly transform government) can take place.
While buying time to gain power and develop the programs they would later implement, they went “underground”, hiding amongst the people (Helaman 1:12).
NOW: we call this “ground roots”, which sometimes is the voice of the people, and sometimes is an illusion of the voice of the people – like movements that unite people based on principles (or financed by) those who do the very things the people think they are fighting against.
Their primary purpose is to overthrow the free government of the people in exchange for a single person or select (elite) group ruling by power and wealth (see Alma 51).
NOW: We are already ruled by the elite upper class, both politically and socially, and our society (globally) is becoming more and more polarized – unless we do something to stop it (share! care for the poor!).
Next, they convinced the people by being “experts in many words” (Helaman 2:4).
NOW: This is the “sophistry” of which President Hinckley warned.
The Book of Mormon speaks of the Gadianton robbers, a vicious, oath-bound, and secret organization bent on evil and destruction. In their day they did all in their power, by whatever means available, to bring down the Church, to woo the people with sophistry, and to take control of the society. We see the same thing in the present situation.
Sophistry is a type of deception that is done through rhetoric, or fancy speeches. It comes from the Greek σόφισμα, sophisma, from σοφίζω, and is used as one who confers wisdom as in σοφιστής, sophistēs, meaning “wise-ist, one who does wisdom, one who makes a business out of wisdom”.
Note: when we have someone one who has betrayed their priesthood and “makes a business out of wisdom”, we call that priestcraft.
Sophistry uses verbal “sleight-of-hand and ambiguities of language in order to deceive”, and is “not concerned with truth and justice, but instead seeks power”. Their arguments appear logical, but actually is false, though the arguments are delivered in such a way that the people do not confront the falsehoods. These arguments often manipulate emotions, as well, making for entertaining and/or powerful speakers that become very popular – even though what they say is not truth.
Also, by definition, sophistry is always a community-wide response that changes how the very culture of society operates, and is not just an individual process. It is not just philosophy, but skilled public speakers that effect change in how the culture operates – and yet does so not for the benefit of community, but for their own power.
In history, it was originally a good skill that helped establish democracy by encouraging public debate, which helped voice public opinion and encourage community learning. However, sophistry was transformed from its original context as a voice-for-the-people into a voice-oppressing-the-people (without the people being aware of it, usually, at least at first).
Next, in response to these Gadianton robbers, the prophets point out that the subtle plans are not “accidental”, but studied out and pre-meditated for the sole purpose of removing the liberty of the people, even their freedom of worship (see Alma 8:17).
NOW: We are taught in the very same way at every General Conference, every Stake Conference, and ever Ward Conference. This what we are told, over and over again: to remain vigilant and active, so that we are not subtly led away without being aware. We are told to remain true to our covenants, and to do the small and simple things that keep us on that path. We are told to go to the Temple regularly and often, so that we can see clearly and know the difference between right and wrong, and thus choose well (right).
The prophets warn the people that they are losing their agency, freedom, and liberty by these subtle plans, and warn them that if they do not wake up and choose well then all the people will face the consequences (not just the bad guys who started it). The prophet calls for the people to repent and choose righteousness, and then to stand up for righteousness despite what persecutions and calamities will come (see Alma 10:17).
NOW: From the Family Proclamation:
We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.
Next, there were secret murders by the leaders, which led the people to follow by hardening their hearts against the Lord and plunder their neighbors rather than share with them (Helaman 6:15-17). This led the people also murder, either literally or also figuratively (by neglecting those they should be helping, caring for, and rescuing).
These secret combinations follow the pattern of Cain, who knew better and had made covenants with the Lord, but betrayed them – first by his sin of failing to live up to his covenants (not giving the offering for which the Lord had asked), and then by refusing chastisement for correction and training (and so also denying the atonement). This left him outside the protection of his covenant blessings, without access to the Spirit for guidance and conviction, and no way to return to the Lord except through repentance. Rather than repenting, he chose anger and lashed out at the one who had done right (see Genesis 4; Helaman 6:27; Moses 5:18-32).
Like Cain, because they have betrayed or denied their covenants, they have lost access to the priesthood. This is why their fancy speeches they make for money is priestcraft, and any covenants they make, including the signs and words that go with covenant-making, are false covenants made with Satan instead of God (Helaman 6:22).
NOW: There are new “normals” being established and accepted, and society is giving its permission. The rules are changing because the voice of the people is not stopping it, but allowing it. Rather than those outside the covenant receiving consequences from God that help them repent and return to Him, it is becoming true that those inside the covenant are instead persecuted by the people who have refused their chastisements from God – in this way they apply their false priesthoods and priestcraft, changing the rules and delivering the judgments they think they are avoiding (very much like what happened to Abinadi and how his prophecy came true – see Mosiah 17 and Alma 25).
Many, many people turned away from the Lord in pursuit of wealth and power, doing their own thing, making their own laws, and “worshiping” their own “stuff” and works (Helaman 6:31).
NOW: The entire world is in financial crisis because of not living within our means, doing whatever we want, going into debt, and neglecting the poor.
So many people turned away that instead of friendships holding each other accountable, people gave each other permission to do these bad things – even excusing them and changing the laws to make it more possible for people to do what they wanted (instead of following the laws of God)… and not just possible, but permissible (see Helaman 6:21).
NOW: In the Old Testament, David and Jonathon were the example for us in friendship, caring for each other despite impossible circumstances and holding each other accountable to what was good and right (covenant-keeping), like “iron sharpening iron” (Proverbs 27:17) so that the best friendships are built by mutual edification that leads to refining experiences with the Lord. Now it is difficult to find such friends, because people are confused and think they can stand out by blending in, people trade their inheritance (celestial-ness) for porridge (immediate gratification) (see Genesis 25:34), and think they can push the line by redefining where the line is – and so think are fine “playing with fire” because they haven’t “crossed the line”. We need each other, and part of becoming the People of Holiness, is caring for each other and holding each other accountable in edifying ways. That is what it means to establish Zion.
Next, this (the loss of accountability to God and the permission to do evil) became so widespread and so commonplace that even most of the “more righteous” (covenant-keepers) were led astray (Helaman 6:38).
NOW: When we redefine where the line is, we think we are keeping our covenants because we have not crossed the line – not understanding that the line has been moved, and we are, indeed, in enemy territory.
We teach it in seminary, with the green being covenant-keeping and the red is covenant-breaking. We know what is covenant keeping or not, no matter what people say about where the line is:
It is nice when the world agrees where the line is, but those days are passing. Gadianton robbers are pushing the line, changing where the line is, trying to deceive us into thinking we have not crossed the line – and thereby leading us into enemy territory.
As they do this, so many of the “more righteous” (covenant-keepers, or members of the church) were led astray that the influence of evil could not be stopped among them. These people were born into the covenant, but failed to keep their covenants, and so were overcome. Instead, it was the converts (the Lamanites) who responded to the preaching of the prophets and were able to stand up against this evil and stop it – by actively fighting against it (as opposed to the born-into-covenant Nephites who remained passive and just watched their own destruction unfold) (Helaman 6:37).
NOW: Whether we are converts or born into the covenant, our enduring depends on choosing the covenant. Elder Scott said that members and those who are converted are not the same thing:
Stated simply, true conversion is the fruit of faith, repentance, and consistent obedience. Faith comes by hearing the word of God and responding to it. You will receive from the Holy Ghost a confirming witness of things you accept on faith by willingly doing them. You will be led to repent of errors resulting from wrong things done or right things not done. As a consequence, your capacity to consistently obey will be strengthened. This cycle of faith, repentance, and consistent obedience will lead you to greater conversion with its attendant blessings. True conversion will strengthen your capacity to do what you know you should do, when you should do it, regardless of the circumstances.
He said (in 2008 General Conference):
Your happiness now and forever is conditioned on your degree of conversion and the transformation that it brings to your life.
The LDS website defines those who are truly converted as those who desire to do good, do not rebel against the Lord, share the gospel with others, and are filled with love. Morever, 4 Nephi 1:2,15-17 says that this is the ONLY way to stop the Gadianton robbers (and those patterned after them).
Also, notice that when the Gadianton robbers were successful in winning over the Nephite people, the Nephite people were destroyed by those same tactics. They were won over by flattery and pride, and they were destroyed by neglecting the poor and meek and followers of God (and so failed to keep their covenants to establish the church or follow the laws of their covenants) (see Helman 6:39).
NOW: When we choose, we are choosing our consequences. We see this now, everywhere, and in every way: even culturally, politically, even financially.
Once they obtained control of the government, they put their own friends in offices. All of them were corrupt, doing whatever they wanted and changing the laws to meet their own needs. They sought power and wealth only, committing murder and stealing to get what they wanted, and adultery was accepted and commonplace (Helaman 7:4-5).
NOW: This is already “normal” in many governments or places of government.
It all happened very fast, “in the space of not many years” (Helaman 11:26).
NOW: There is nothing in any country on the planet right now that is the same politically or financially as it was a year ago.
Because the Nephites, as a people, had betrayed their covenants and allowed all of this to take place, and because they had refused to repent when the prophet warned them, the prophet had to take the next step of sealing the heavens. This created a famine that reminded the people of their dependence upon God, giving them another opportunity to repent (Helaman 11).
NOW: In the 1998 October General Conference, President Hinckley reminded us of a pattern (he was very clear that he was not necessarily prophesying) from the time of Joseph, about the dream and fulfillment of 7 years of plenty and 7 years of famine. Seven years later, in 2005 October General Conference, President Hinckley reminded us of this vision again, telling us to get our houses in order. It is popular on mormon blogs to point out that seven years since the 2005 talk will be 2012. It is also common to point out that in both the 1998 and 2005 talk, President Hinckley used the word “portant”.
The economy is a fragile thing. A stumble in the economy in Jakarta or Moscow can immediately affect the entire world. It can eventually reach down to each of us as individuals. There is a portent of stormy weather ahead to which we had better give heed.
How portentous are the words of revelation found in the 88th section of the Doctrine and Covenants concerning the calamities that should befall after the testimonies of the elders. The Lord says: “For after your testimony cometh the testimony of earthquakes, that shall cause groanings in the midst of her, and men shall fall upon the ground and shall not be able to stand. And also cometh the testimony of the voice of thunderings, and the voice of lightnings, and the voice of tempests, and the voice of the waves of the sea heaving themselves beyond their bounds. And all things shall be in commotion; and surely, men’s hearts shall fail them; for fear shall come upon all people” (D&C 88:89–91).
A “portent” is an omen, something that foreshadows a coming event, something that is prophetic and significant, something that is threatening and calamitous and about to occur (“soon” is implied).
President Hinckley expressly said in 1998 that he was not prophesying, but he did say his warning was “portent”. In 2005, he did not say he was not-prophesying, but again said the warning was portenous.
So it follows the pattern of all prophets, that first (1998) we are given a warning to repent and avoid the consequences. When we do not, we are given the prophecy (2005) that bondage is coming (2012), and cannot be avoided, but we still have time to repent so that the burden can be made lighter (houses in order, emergency preparedness).
This is not about the world stopping because the Mayan calendar stops (on Joseph Smith’s birthday, interestingly enough), and it is not about the Great Pyramid of Cheops running out of hallway history when its corridor calendar stops at the same time as the Mayan calendar. It’s not about the ancient Hindu calendar (started 12 years before the Mayan calendar, but matching it almost exactly) also ending in 2012. It is not about the Hopi prophecy that describes the unfolding experience of Native Americans, until the great Paharan, the pure white one of love, returns with his records that had taught the people, returns to plant seeds of wisdom and love in the people (and it has already begun, says the prophecy).
It is not about misinterpreting these signs or misunderstanding what we have been taught. It is not about fear and chaos, despite “wars and rumors of wars”, despite tsunamis and tornadoes and earthquakes. It is not about losing wealth in the economic crisis, or starving from food prices and blights.
It is about faith and obedience, peace and joy, and simply doing what the prophets say to do.
None of those prophesies or ancient calendars say anything about the “end of the world”.
Even if we take them very literally, even to the day and the time (there were 182 years between Alma restoring the church (a type of Joseph Smith) and the coming of Christ to the Temple at Bountiful; so if we look, literally, at the time, 182 years from the restoration of the church through Joseph Smith – that would land us right back in 2012 again), even then, in a literal sense, it is not about the destruction of the saints but rather they all point to a new beginning, a new cycle, a time of purging and renewal, a return.
That is nothing new to Christian doctrine or LDS theology. We anxiously await (as we continue to be anxiously engaged) the second coming, its precipitous events, and the millenium that will follow.
Even the alignment of the planets is something we can celebrate and enjoy, as we know that the planets testify there is a God (Alma 30:44):
But Alma said unto him: Thou hast had signs enough; will ye tempt your God? Will ye say, Show unto me a sign, when ye have the testimony of all these thy brethren, and also all the holy prophets? The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator.
So, if we consider all these things in the context of Gadianton robbers, a global financial crisis, and heeding the words of the prophets, what are we to do?
1. Get out of debt
2. Prepare your food storage and other necessities
3. Beware of Anger & Contention
4. Act and don’t be acted upon
5. Do what the Prophets, Apostles, and other Priesthood leaders counsel
6. Get married (that one’s for me)
7. Let the Holy Spirit guide (always)
8. Go (be) the Temple regularly and often
So while urgency may increase as we are in the latter days of the Latter-days, that really should have been our plan all along, which means we should be fairly experienced at preparing – if not also practice – and so have no reason to be afraid practically any more than spiritually.
In the 1931 General Conference, in response to the oncoming Great Depression (which had been warned about very similar to the way we have been warned by President Hinckley), President Irvin said this:
Just be calm and turn to the Lord. It is not the result of any occurrence of the immediate past. We have been gradually drifting toward it for years and years, and personally I have known that it would come, and I bore witness of it from this stand to the people a year ago. I applied it to my own affairs. I pleaded with the people to put their houses in order and get out of debt, for I knew this was coming, because God himself through his Only Begotten Son had declared it. There is nothing that men can do, nothing that we can do that will avert the fulfilment of those sayings, and it is not the design of our Father in heaven at all either. It is simply the result of our own lack of wisdom, of our own disposition to he selfish, of the accumulation of the wealth of the country in the hands of a few men which prevents its equal distribution among the masses. Now, my brethren and sisters, if the Church has anything to say to you it will come from them direct and not from the writings of other men. It will come to you in a manner that you will understand it. It will not be speculative. It will come to you philosophically, truthfully and governed by common sense.
We have seen calamities in the past, and we will see them in the future.
As always, they are reminders to turn to the Lord and follow the prophet.
For non-literalists who do not believe it is about an exact timeframe, and for those who insist nothing at all will happen in 2012 (what a boring year, if nothing happens, and such a lack of progress would be our own fault), we are still in the same pattern, only spiritually instead of temporally. Consider Matthew 4:4:
“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. “
Do you notice the “Man” is capitalized?
So this famine may be literal and severe (though according to the prophecy pattern, we still have time to lessen its damage if we repent and turn to the Lord – though we can no longer prevent it, as we have now officially chosen bondage), and/or it could be financially-focused (affecting all areas of life anyway) like the Great Depression warnings, and/or it could be spiritually focused, that because we (as a people) have chosen the Gadianton robber’s slippery words instead of keeping the words of our covenants, we will have a spiritual famine (withdrawal of His presence and/or blessings). That would lead even our country to the brink of disaster (constitution hanging by a thread, and all that), and could be alleviated only by us repenting and turning to the Lord. All of this could be the impending famine of Helaman 11, with its severity (as then) depending on whether or not (and to what degree) that we, as a people (and as a country) turn to the Lord – or not.
In the pattern of the Gadianton robbers, the famine is bad enough that people cannot survive without stealing and plundering. This caused wars, just so that people could find food by stealing it from other peoples (3 Nephi 4:5). This led to some justification, so that the people thought it was good and right because they were getting food (again trading inheritance for porridge). They were also (falsely) justified in what they did by saying that what they did was of ancient times, as if that added authority (see 3 Nephi 3:9).
NOW: Not all bad leaders are “evil”, we must remember. Some just do not know truth, and some start out okay but are led astray. Furthermore, despite their choices we are often the ones held responsible as well, for it is our duty to choose good leaders who are wise and will lead in truth, and it is our duty to do the work to see clearly. When we, as a people, are repentant and turned toward the Lord, we are able to see clearly – even noticing corruption and doing something about it. When we do nothing, it is because we are not looking toward the Savior. We cannot look to Him, really see Him and really understand the plan, and do nothing. We cannot.
We cannot simply blame our leaders and criticize them without making changes in our own lives.
Instead, we participating by well-informed voting, and then sustaining through prayer and awareness and advocating.
Even Alma, Jr., and Saul-Paul were converted despite bad behavior in the beginning.
But we cannot expect our leaders to honor their oaths if we do not honor our covenants.
And that is part of the pattern of the Gadianton Robbers: it all started with members who fell away, who did not keep their covenants, who left the church to attack it. These were not people who did not know better, or people who were innocent by ignorance. These were people who knew, who had knowledge (knowledge = mysteries = ordinances). That’s how they were able to give powerful, wordy speeches to win over the people, because they knew so much. They had to have the truth first, before they could twist it into falsehoods and deception and subtle oppression. Heber C. Kimball said:
“. . . it is the wickedness that will rise up in the Church that will cause us trouble. It is now as it was in the days of Jesus and the Prophets. We read in the Book of Mormon that the Gadianton robbers came down from the mountains–they robbed, plundered, and in many instances slew the Saints. I can tell you, brethren and sisters, that we have similar characters in these mountains, who are making pretty rapid progress in preparing to destroy this people. This I know to my sorrow.”
It is what destroyed the Jaredites (these Gadianton Robbers were descendants of them, actually), and it is what destroyed the Nephites, and they will try to woo us away from the Church also, in the same ways.
In response to this understanding, Mormon said (see Ether 8):
Wherefore, the Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation, because of this secret combination which shall be among you… For it cometh to pass that whoso buildeth it up seeketh to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries; and it bringeth to pass the destruction of all people, for it is built up by the devil, who is the father of all lies; even that same liar who beguiled our first parents, yea, even that same liar who hath caused man to commit murder from the beginning; who hath hardened the hearts of men that they have murdered the prophets, and stoned them, and cast them out from the beginning. Wherefore, I, Moroni, am commanded to write these things that evil may be done away, and that the time may come that Satan may have no power upon the hearts of the children of men, but that they may be persuaded to do good continually, that they may come unto the fountain of all righteousness and be saved.
And so in 3 Nephi 16, when the Savior appeared in the Temple at Bountiful 182 years after the gospel was restored through Alma, the Savior said these words to the people:
And thus commandeth the Father that I should say unto you: At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, and shall be lifted up in the pride of their hearts above all nations, and above all the people of the whole earth, and shall be filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits, and of mischiefs, and all manner of hypocrisy, and murders, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, and of secret abominations; and if they shall do all those things, and shall reject the fulness of my gospel, behold, saith the Father, I will bring the fulness of my gospel from among them. . . But if the Gentiles will repent and return unto me, saith the Father, behold they shall be numbered among my people, O house of Israel. And I will not suffer my people, who are of the house of Israel, to go through among them, and tread them down, saith the Father. But if they will not turn unto me, and hearken unto my voice, I will suffer them, yea, I will suffer my people, O house of Israel, that they shall go through among them, and shall tread them down, and they shall be as salt that hath lost its savor, which is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of my people, O house of Israel.
Finally, the last piece of the pattern of Gadianton Robbers is that because the bad guys have so removed themselves from the church, the only way to fight them (temporally) is with military. When they are eventually conquered, they are killed for their crimes. Not only are they killed, but consistently in the Book of Mormon, these criminal-leaders are also so disposed of that the people cannot be led astry by celebrating the death by location or shrine or memorial (see 3 Nephi 4:28-29).
NOW: The last few years have witnessed significant political upheaval, so much that could not have been expected or described ahead of time. We have seen in these revolts where the leader is not only killed, but killed by hanging (“between heaven and earth, for neither will receive this wicked person”, according to Nibley) or killed in secret locations or on borders between countries, and/or the body disposed of in such a way as to be sure that the people cannot memorialize the deceased or build shrines to them.
The Gadianton Robbers do, eventually, succeed in taking over the government – if only for a short time (3 Nephi 7:9-10). They elect a “king” that leads this “league of tribes” (league of nations), but none of them escape the consequences of what they have done. The Savior does not allow his prophets to be murdered and the people oppressed and worship to be taken away, and do nothing about it. There was a great burning, to purge the land and the people and restore a period of peace (3 Nephi 9:9).
We are, NOW, in the final chapters of Helaman and entering 3 Nephi.
He is soon to come, and soon to purge, and soon to establish His government.
It is a joyful thing, not a fearful thing, for it is the proof of our faith and the fulfilling of long-awaited promises. We sing of it in “Joy to the World”, the well-known song about the Second Coming (it is not a song about the birth of the Savior, even though we usually sing it at Christmas):
Joy to the World, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, And Heaven and nature sing.
Joy to the World, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, Repeat the sounding joy.
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.
He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.