“Book of Mormon: Critique of Giddianhi’s Letter to Lachoneus”
3 Nephi 3 contains Giddianhi’s letter to Lachoneus. (Gaddianhi is the leader of the Gadianton robbers; Lachoneus is the leader of the Nephites and those who joined them.) This will be a critique of that letter.
3 Nephi 3:1 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 written, saying:
3 Nephi 3:2 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 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.
grego: flattery, flattery, flattery!
“That which ye *suppose* to be…”
“*as if* ye were supported by the hand of a god”
“or that which ye do call so”
–all phrases to both flatter yet cause questioning/ confusion
3 Nephi 3:3 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 destroy them.
3 Nephi 3:4 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.
grego: Ah, wonderful Giddianhi has *feelings* of pity when he sees his foolish and vain enemies decide not to do as he wishes they would.
“Brave men”, “proved… in the the field of battle”: yeah, right! More like, pillagers, robbers, guerillas—who made a living bullying out-numbered, caught-off-guard, defenseless, spread-out civilian families…
“Unconquerable”: yeah, when you fight like that, of course…
3 Nephi 3:5 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.
grego: Ah, the first part of “bad cop, good cop”! “I feel for you, I know you’re basically a good guy”…
3 Nephi 3:6 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.
3 Nephi 3:7 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.
grego: Giddianhi has a good double bind here: “*Either* yield *or* get destroyed”. A or B, which one? We’ll see that Lachoneus chooses C.
And here is the “good cop’s” request: “Just give it all up! We won’t give you problems. All will be ok. Even though we did kill your families and relatives and friends… Even though we are living off of their stuff… Even though we will take at least half of all your stuff… Even though after we take over government we will have no way to have food or live…” Yeah, “partners of all our substance”… All that means is, you can still have some of your stuff… I mean, after everyone’s a robber, who else gets robbed??
Here’s a funny part: Nothwithstanding my men’s “everlasting hatred towards you because of the many wrongs which ye have done unto them” (v. 3), you can still “unite with us… and become our brethren… and [full] partners”!! That makes sense, eh?
3 Nephi 3:8 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.
grego: “I promise… no, really. “I promise you won’t be destroyed”—even though there’s no way to live/ survive after all your stuff is gone! I promise when we all start to starve, we’ll take turns dying off…
“[Next] month?” Frankly, that’s a decent amount of time to prepare… Very bad mistake. He should have given two weeks at the absolute most, then dropped leaflets about the proposal all over the villages.
“[We’ll kill you]”—which is what they had been doing all along, and nothing more than what the Nephites were expecting…
3 Nephi 3:9 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.
grego: Either ancient or brand new, that’s the way the marketing goes…
“I know they are good because they let me be a ruler over others, and I don’t have to work for my living—I just have to let others do all the work, then kill them and steal their stuff. How is this *not* good? What, robbing, raping, ravaging, killing innocent people, including children, isn’t that bad, come on…”
3 Nephi 3:10 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 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.
grego: I hope we won’t have to die, so just give up and let us win, ok?!
And once more, from The Ultimate Rebel Leader’s Handbook: “I am the good man, avenging the wrongs that have been done to these poor people because you wicked rulers took away their rights.”
All in all, a very poor offer. I mean, what was in it for the Nephites? It’s clear that Giddianhi should have had a marketing counselor…