Monday, February 8, 2016

3 Nephi 3: The Robbers Resurface, Again

Despite the fact that the Nephites and Lamanites now go together like peanut butter and jelly, trouble brews on the horizon.  The Gadianton Robbers are still trying to do the whole Gadianton Robber thing by screwing up everybody's plans for peace and prosperity.

Secret (adjective):  see public
Giddianhi, the current ruler of everyone's favorite ancient American terrorist organization, decides to send a letter to Lachoneus, the current ruler of everyone's favorite ancient American temporarily desegregated community.  In it, he essentially tells Lachoneous that the only way his people can avoid annihilation is to assimilate into the culture and lifestyle of the Robbers.  But in verse 9, Giddianhi calls himself "the governor of this secret society."  And two verses before that, when explaining the conditions of surrender, he says that Lachoneus's constituents must "unite with us and become acquainted with our secret works."

What I want to know is why anyone—Giddianhi, Mormon, Joseph Smith, or God, for that matter—thought that the word secret belonged anywhere in a description of the Gadianton Robbers at the height of their power.  They're not a mysterious organization infiltrating the government to try and murder a chief judge anymore.  They're basically an unrecognized government of a rival nation.  The combined military efforts of the Nephites and the Lamanites have been unable to destroy or even defeat these guys.  Their numbers are staggering.  Their existence is common knowledge by virtue of being public enemy number one.

They're not the Illuminati.  They're not the Freemasons.  They're not even the Girl Scouts.  They're a well-known, ever-looming threat with their own territory and their own culture.

Neither their society nor their works are secret.  Why is anyone throwing that term around at this point?

Lachoneus is an Idiot
Upon receiving Giddianhi's threatening epistle, Lachoneus decides to take a firm stand against terrorism.
So he springs into action in a stunning example of leadership that comes way too late.  Here's what he instructs his people to do:
  • cry unto the Lord for strength against the inevitable attack of the Robbers
  • gather all the people and animals and supplies into one place
  • fortify the city
  • post round-the-clock guards
  • repent
Two of those things are religious decrees, which you'd think should come from the prophet instead of from a government official.  One of those things is pretty impractical—because if you're consolidating two entire societies into the smallest possible space, where are you going to grow your food and where are your flocks going to graze?  

And the other two are things that Lachoneus already should have been on top of long ago.  The Gadianton Robbers are not a new problem.  Especially after the recent wars, why isn't the government already trying to ensure the fortifications are up to snuff?  And why is the military not already keeping watch to make sure an invading army isn't approaching?  

Even better, in verse 17, Lachoneus has the brilliant idea to "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."  It's been at most one year since the last time the Gadianton Robbers attacked, during which time the previous chapter stated that "the sword of destruction did hang over them."  Why the hell didn't we have a leadership structure in the army before now?

After Pahoran, Lachoneus seems to be continuing an emerging pattern of the Nephites electing leaders who are utterly inept.

All the Right Reasons
So apparently the Nephites like to pick military leaders who have "the spirit of revelation and also prophecy," which is how a fellow named Gidgiddoni ascended to the position of chief captain.  Some of the people urged him to mount an attack on the Gadianton Robbers, but Gidgiddoni wouldn't listen (verse 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.
He doesn't say that it's wiser to conduct a defensive campaign.  He doesn't say that the Gadianton Robbers know the mountainous terrain better.  He doesn't say that the Nephites would be attacking uphill from a position of weakness.  He just says that, for unspecified reasons, God is going to make sure the Nephites lose.

Thanks, dude.  That's really helpful.

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