In the Book of Mormon Gadianton robbers like terrorist groups today threatened the peace and safety of the Nehpite nation in Book of Mormon times. The people of Nephi killed there leader like America Killed Osama Bin Laden head of Al–Qaeda but once dead the leader of The Gadianton robbers selected a new leader just as Al-Qaeda has a new leader after the death of Bin Laden. Killing there leader did not eliminate the threat. Terrorist threats remain just as real today, just as the threat of the Gadianton robbers did not dissapear with the death of there leader.
Giddianhi. The leader of what we can call a terrorist group, the secret society of Gadiantan, wrote a letter to lachoneus, Governor of the lands of Nephi demanding surrender of the Nephite people. This can be found in 3rd Nephi chapter 3 of the Book of Mormon
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 that which ye suppose to be your right and bliberty; 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 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 adestroy them.
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.
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.
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.
7 Or in other words, yield yourselves up unto us, and unite with us and become acquainted with our asecret works, and become our brethren that ye may be like unto us—not our slaves, but our brethren and partners of all our substance.
8 And behold, I aswear 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.
9 And behold, I am aGiddianhi; and I am the governor of this the bsecret society of Gadianton; which society and the works thereof I know to be cgood; and they are of dancient date and they have been handed down unto us.
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 agovernment, 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.
So to summarized this passage of scripture we have Giddianhi who is the leader of a secret society of Gadianton. He tells the government of the Nephites that they must surrender to him or be slaughtered by his army as they claim to be the rightful governors of the people and that they must convert to there way of life or suffer the consequences. sound familiar.
We have seen and heard the threatening of terrorist groups and those that hold terrorist ideology in our news media, both mainstream and alternative which ever source you may follow. In the following chapter 4 of 3rd Nephi we read
14 And it came to pass that Giddianhi, who had stood and fought with boldness, was pursued as he fled; and being weary because of his much fighting he was overtaken and slain. And thus was the end of Giddianhi the robber.
The Nephites killed the leader of the Gadianton Robbers. Western governments have done the same thing to terrorist leaders around the world several times but as we see later in verses 16-17
16 And in the twenty and first year they did not come up to battle, but they came up on all sides to lay siege round about the people of Nephi; for they did suppose that if they should cut off the people of Nephi from their alands, and should hem them in on every side, and if they should cut them off from all their outward privileges, that they could cause them to yield themselves up according to their wishes.
Killing there leader did nothing to solve the problem at hand, but rather they simply selected a new leader like many terrorist groups and secret society’s do today and continue with the work of terrorizing the people they are at war with. so how then can we defend against those who would seek dominion and rule over us. we read
in vs 8-12 how they dealt with this.
8 And it came to pass that the armies of the Nephites, when they saw the appearance of the army of Giddianhi, had all fallen to the earth, and did lift their cries to the Lord their God, that he would spare them and deliver them out of the hands of their enemies.
9 And it came to pass that when the armies of Giddianhi saw this they began to shout with a loud voice, because of their joy, for they had supposed that the Nephites had fallen with fear because of the terror of their armies.
10 But in this thing they were disappointed, for the Nephites did not afear them; but they did fear their God and did supplicate him for bprotection; therefore, when the armies of Giddianhi did rush upon them they were prepared to meet them; yea, in the strength of the Lord they did receive them.
11 And the battle commenced in this the sixth month; and great and terrible was the battle thereof, yea, great and terrible was the aslaughter thereof, insomuch that there never was known so great a slaughter among all the people of Lehi since he left Jerusalem.
12 And notwithstanding the athreatenings and the oaths which Giddianhi had made, behold, the Nephites did beat them, insomuch that they did fall back from before them.
despite there faith in God they still had been attacked and were forced to defend themselves against such enemies, but because of there faith and there prayers they were able to defend themselves and repel there enemy. That did not last long as later they were sieged by the armies of Gadianton and there secret combinations. They were prepared however for the advances of there enemy. vs 18, in chapter 4 of 3rd Nephi says
18 But behold, this was an advantage to the Nephites; for it was impossible for the robbers to lay siege sufficiently long to have any effect upon the Nephites, because of their amuch bprovision which they had laid up in store.
There are a few things we can learn from this. We are and will be surrounded by ruthless enemies who wish to dominate, control and oppress us to impose there ideology and will on us. They would take our freedom to worship God from us and we must be prepared to defend our freedoms and rights of worship. The Nephites knew that the Gadianton robbers were coming and prepared to be seiged by them. They were prepared not just spiritually but for there physical needs as well. The Gadianton robbers of our day are not just foreign enemies and identifiable groups of people or nations. There are those in our own lands that would seek to do us harm. Doctrine and covenants 38: 28-30 says
28 And again, I say unto you that the enemy in the secret chambers seeketh your alives.
29 Ye hear of awars in far countries, and you say that there will soon be great wars in far countries, but ye know not the hearts of men in your own land.
30 I tell you these things because of your prayers; wherefore, atreasure up bwisdom in your bosoms, lest the wickedness of men reveal these things unto you by their wickedness, in a manner which shall speak in your ears with a voice louder than that which shall shake the earth; but if ye are prepared ye shall not fear.
We must also be prepared to defend our selves spiritually. The Nephites response to this threat was to first kneel and pray for safety that God would deliver them. They put there trust in God. God’s response was not to remove the threat but rather give them strength that they might be able to survive the coming onslaught of there enemy. There prayers were answered. Vs 30-33 of chapter 4 of 3rd Nephi says
30 And they did rejoice and cry again with one voice, saying: May the aGod of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, protect this people in righteousness, so long as they shall bcall on the name of their God for cprotection.
31 And it came to pass that they did break forth, all as one, in singing, and apraising their God for the great thing which he had done for them, in preserving them from falling into the hands of their enemies.
32 Yea, they did cry: Hosanna to the Most High God. And they did cry: Blessed be the name of the Lord God aAlmighty, the Most High God.
33 And their hearts were swollen with joy, unto the gushing out of many tears, because of the great goodness of God in delivering them out of the hands of their enemies; and they knew it was because of their repentance and their humility that they had been delivered from an everlasting destruction.
Gadianton robbers of our day come in many different styles and forms. From marketing and media, to peer pressure and changing social ideology. What is socially acceptable and the standards of our culture are rapidly changing and moving farther away from God. As a culture we face enemies from without in the form of terrorist organizations and opposing ideology and enemies from with in through changing standards and corrupt governments and the destruction of the morals of society that seek to destroy and hurt us.
God will preserve those who put there trust in him. We are surrounded by enemies on all sides and it is through faith in God that we can survive the trials and forces of evil that besiege us in these days. The threat of the enemy will not dissapear but we can be delivered from the enemies hand if we put our trust and faith in God.