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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Book of Mormon Class ~ Helaman Chapter 2

Taught by Sue G.

The wicked who desire to gain power will make secret oaths to conspire against the righteous.

Helaman, the son of Helaman becomes chief judge in Zarahelmla following the assassination of Pacumen.  We meet up again with Kishkumen who joins with Gadianton who is an evil man.  Gadianton and Kishkumens lead the secret band of murderers and robbers known as the Gadianton Robbers.  They cause untold damage to the Nephite nation.  In fact, they seem to represent the exact opposite of good in everything they do.The Gadianton robbers are responsible for killing Pahorn II.  Kishkumen conspires to kill Helaman, but one of Helamans servants succeeds in killing Kishkumen.  The Gadianton Robbers flea into the wilderness and cannot be found.

Are there Modern-day secret combinations?  We have examples of groups that work wickedness and oppose righteousness, just as some did in the days of Book of Mormon.   Elder Russell Ballard said that gangs, drug cartels and organized crime families function today much like the secret combinations in the Book of Mormon.  These all have secret signs and code words, secret rites and secret initiation ceremonies, just as the secret combinations of old.  The Mafia, the fascists of Hitler, and the world wide communist movement have all come to power through violence and have conducted much of their business through secret plots and activities, yet we now see and even more apt modern equivalent in the rise of world wise terrorism.    Helaman 2:4

These secret and murderous groups do indeed tend to hide themselves in wait to attack with a furious and merciless force when the opportunity arises for them, sometimes just as the Gadianton robbers did. 

We also have those among us who hide in plain sight.  Elder Dallin H. Oaks said, "As we look about us, we see many who are practicing deception.  We hear of prominent officials who have lied about their secret acts.  We learn of honored sports heroes who have lied about using drugs to enhance their performance.  We see less well known persons engaging in evil acts in secret they would never do in public.  Perhaps they think no one will ever know,  but God always knows. 

The Gadianton robbers found they could hide just as easily in plain sight simply by dressing and acting like everyone else around them.  The members of the secret combinations were able to hide in plain sight because in the days of King Noah the people allowed them to.  One gospel scholar put it his way.  Secret Combinations use the "wolf in sheep's clothing" principle - they are disguised as regular even exemplary members of society.  For example, just as Satan can appear as an angel of  light, these evil groups can appear harmless and even virtuous on the surface.  If the Lords people are indistinguishable from the World in appearance and actions, they are in effect helping to camouflage those who are aligned with Satan.  This is just one more reason why we as members of the Church should not try to look or act too much like the world.

The same motives that drive Satan are the motives that drive Gadiantion, namely to have unrighteous power and control over people.  He "sought to destroy the agency of man" (Moses 4:3).  And just as Satan seeks to entice others to follow him by promising them power, glory and unrighteous dominion, so also Gadianton promised his followers the same.  To the greedy and selfish these are flattering promises. Helaman 2:5-7

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