3 Nephi Chapter 3 Critique
Setting: Giddianhi, the
Gadianton leader, demands that Lachoneus and the Nephites surrender
themselves and their lands—Lachoneus appoints Gidgiddoni as chief
captain of the armies—The Nephites assemble in Zarahemla and Bountiful
to defend themselves. About A.D. 16–18.
Verse 1: And now it came to
pass that in the sixteenth year from the coming of Christ, Lachoneus,
the governor of the land, received an epistle from the leader and the
governor of this band of robbers; and these were the words which were
Note: Pre-Columbian natives did not have governors as rulers.
Classic period rule was centred on the concept of the "divine king",
who acted as a mediator between mortals and the supernatural realm.
Kingship was patrilineal, and power would normally pass to the eldest
son. A prospective king was also expected to be a successful war
leader. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Verses 2-10: 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 maintaining that
which ye suppose to be your right and liberty; 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. 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 destroy them. 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. 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. 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. Or in other
words, yield yourselves up unto us, and unite with us and become
acquainted with our secret works, and become our brethren that ye may
be like unto us—not our slaves, but our brethren and partners of all
our substance. And behold, I swear 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. And behold, I am
Giddianhi; and I am the governor of this the secret society of
Gadianton; which society and the works thereof I know to be good; and
they are of ancient date and they have been handed down unto us. 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 government, 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.
Note: Pre-Columbian writing systems did not existed in South America.
Since the Inca Empire lacked a written language, the empire's main form
of communication and recording came from quipus, ceramics and spoken
Quechua, the language the Incas imposed upon the peoples within the
empire. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Verses 11-12: And now it came
to pass when Lachoneus received this epistle he was exceedingly
astonished, because of the boldness of Giddianhi demanding the
possession of the land of the Nephites, and also of threatening the
people and avenging the wrongs of those that had received no wrong,
save it were they had wronged themselves by dissenting away unto those
wicked and abominable robbers. Now behold, this Lachoneus, the
governor, was a just man, and could not be frightened by the demands
and the threatenings of a robber; therefore he did not hearken to the
epistle of Giddianhi, the governor of the robbers, but he did cause
that his people should cry unto the Lord for strength against the time
that the robbers should come down against them.
Note: Pre-Columbian natives were polytheistic pagans.
Viracocha was one of the most important deities in the Inca pantheon
and seen as the creator of all things, or the substance from which all
things are created, and intimately associated with the sea. Viracocha
created the universe, sun, moon, and stars, time (by commanding the sun
to move over the sky) and civilization itself. Viracocha was worshipped
as god of the sun and of storms. He was represented as wearing the sun
for a crown, with thunderbolts in his hands, and tears descending from
his eyes as rain. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Verses 13-16: Yea, he sent a
proclamation among all the people, that they should gather together
their women, and their children, their flocks and their herds, and all
their substance, save it were their land, unto one place. And he caused
that fortifications should be built round about them, and the strength
thereof should be exceedingly great. And he caused that armies, both of
the Nephites and of the Lamanites, or of all them who were numbered
among the Nephites, should be placed as guards round about to watch
them, and to guard them from the robbers day and night. Yea, he said
unto them: As the Lord liveth, except ye repent of all your iniquities,
and cry unto the Lord, ye will in nowise be delivered out of the hands
of those Gadianton robbers. And so great and marvelous were the words
and prophecies of Lachoneus that they did cause fear to come upon all
the people; and they did exert themselves in their might to do
according to the words of Lachoneus.
Note: Pre-Columbian prophecies were based on calendars.
In the 260-day cycle 20 day names pairs with 13 day numbers, totalling
a cycle of 260 days. This cycle was used for divination purposes to
foretell lucky and unlucky days. The date of birth was also used to
give names to both humans and gods in many Mesoamerican cultures; some
cultures used only the calendar name whereas others combined it with a
given name. Each day sign was presided over by a god and many had
associations with specific natural phenomena. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Verses 17-19: And it came to
pass that Lachoneus did 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. Now the chiefest among all the
chief captains and the great commander of all the armies of the
Nephites was appointed, and his name was Gidgiddoni. Now it was the
custom among all the Nephites to appoint for their chief captains,
(save it were in their times of wickedness) some one that had the
spirit of revelation and also prophecy; therefore, this Gidgiddoni was
a great prophet among them, as also was the chief judge.
Note: Pre-Columbian prophets were polytheistic pagans.
Like other Pre-Hispanic Mesoamerican priesthoods, the early Maya
priesthood consisted of a hierarchy of professional priests serving as
intermediaries between the population and the deities. Their basic
skill was the art of reading and writing. The priesthood as a whole was
the keeper of knowledge concerning the deities and their cult,
including calendrics, astrology, divination, and prophecy. Wikipedia
Verses 20-21: Now the people
said unto Gidgiddoni: Pray unto the Lord, and let us go up upon the
mountains and into the wilderness, that we may fall upon the robbers
and destroy them in their own lands. 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.
Note: Pre-Columbian natives were polytheistic pagans.
The life-cycle of the maize, for instance, lies at the heart of Maya
belief, but the role of the Maya maize god transcends the sphere of
agriculture to embrace basic aspects of civilized life in general (such
as writing). Deities have all sorts of social functions, related to
such human activities as agriculture, midwifery, trade, and warfare.
Moreover, they can be the patrons of large kin-based or ethnic segments
of society, as shown by the four deities presiding over the four wards
of Itzamkanac. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Verse 22: And it came to pass
in the seventeenth year, in the latter end of the year, the
proclamation of Lachoneus had gone forth throughout all the face of the
land, and they had taken their horses, and their chariots, and their
cattle, and all their flocks, and their herds, and their grain, and all
their substance, and did march forth by thousands and by tens of
thousands, until they had all gone forth to the place which had been
appointed that they should gather themselves together, to defend
themselves against their enemies.
Note: Horses did not exist in Pre-Columbian America at this time.
The horse had been extinct in the Western Hemisphere for approximately
10,000 years prior to the arrival of Spanish Conquistadors in the early
16th century. Consequently, the Indigenous peoples of the Americas had
no warfare technologies that could overcome the considerable advantage
provided by European horses and gunpowder weapons. In particular this
resulted in the conquest of the Aztec and Inca empires. Wikipedia
Verses 23-24: And the land
which was appointed was the land of Zarahemla, and the land which was
between the land Zarahemla and the land Bountiful, yea, to the line
which was between the land Bountiful and the land Desolation. And there
were a great many thousand people who were called Nephites, who did
gather themselves together in this land. Now Lachoneus did cause that
they should gather themselves together in the land southward, because
of the great curse which was upon the land northward.
Note: Solomon Spalding did not know the geography of South America.
The Amazon River in South America is the largest river by discharge of
water in the world, and the second in length. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Verse 25: And they did fortify
themselves against their enemies; and they did dwell in one land, and
in one body, and they did fear the words which had been spoken by
Lachoneus, insomuch that they did repent of all their sins; and they
did put up their prayers unto the Lord their God, that he would deliver
them in the time that their enemies should come down against them to
Note: Pre-Columbian natives were polytheistic pagans.
The Great Goddess of Teotihuacan (or Teotihuacan Spider Woman) is a
proposed goddess of the pre-Columbian Teotihuacan civilization (ca. 100
BCE - 700 CE), in what is now Mexico. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Verse 26: And they were
exceedingly sorrowful because of their enemies. And Gidgiddoni did
cause that they should make weapons of war of every kind, and they
should be strong with armor, and with shields, and with bucklers, after
the manner of his instruction.
Note: Metal armor and bucklers did not exist in Pre-Columbian America.
Maya warriors wore body armour in the form of quilted cotton that had
been soaked in salt water to toughen it; the resulting armour compared
favourably to the steel armour worn by the Spanish when they conquered
the region. Warriors bore wooden or animal hide shields decorated with
feathers and animal skins. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Note: Solomon Spalding was clueless about Pre-Columbian cultures.
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