A Woman's Place is in the Sewing Room
While describing the abundance and prosperity among the Nephites, this chapter makes a point to specifically mention women (verse 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.But that's it. That's all they did. They made clothes.
In verse 15, poor old Cezoram, the Chief Judge, is murdered "by an unknown hand" while he's sitting on the actual judgment seat, much in the way Pahoran was murdered.
This is the third assassination of a Chief Judge in less than thirty years. And let's not forget a very notable close call when Kishkumen tried to kill Helaman. At what point do the Nephites wise up and get some kind of secret service detail going? Clearly they won't always have that one random servant around to stab would-be assassins in the heart.
The Power of Secrets
As the Gadianton Robbers grow in power and influence, they develop "secret oaths and covenants," whatever that means. It sounds like they're halfway between a modern-day cult and a group of dirty Gotham City cops. But what's interesting is this callback to Alma 37 (verse 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.Of course, then the chapter explains (with unnecessary dramatic repetition) that the Gadianton Robbers got these oaths and covenants straight from the devil himself, which makes Alma's words of doom all the more pointless.
It's also worth pointing out that this is insanely paranoid. Why do oaths and covenants have that kind of power? How can they be so irresistible to the people that, if made public, everyone would become ensorcelled by their allure and eventually the society would be utterly destroyed? Alma was so terrified by this possibility that he urged his son to only tell the people what their enemies did, and to teach them to abhor those things...but to never divulge "all their signs and their wonders." (Alma 37:27)
No. That's just bad. And it's something that's reflected by the modern church.
How do today's apostles handle ex-Mormons and anti-Mormons? By telling the church what these people do and teaching them to abhor those things...but never divulging the why. Without explaining honest reasons people fight against the church, the context is lost. All people hear is that ex-Mormons are bad and they do bad things, but without understanding the causes of that behavior, all the church membership is hearing is an interpretation of reality—which is not necessarily truth.
If you don't try to understand your enemy, how can you be sure that your enemy's motives aren't valid? How can you be sure that you're right and he's wrong? How can you expect to find truth if you're only getting an interpretation and not hearing any solid fact or opposing testimony?