“The Lord God Hath Commanded That Men Should Not Murder”

Brant Gardner

It is not clear how this passage fits into Nephi’s narration. It recounts Yahweh’s basic laws, based upon the Decalogue. However, why would it come in the context of a discussion of priestcrafts? Nephi’s earlier reference to secret combinations may provide the answer. (See 2 Nephi 26:22 and accompanying commentary.) If Nephi’s (and Jacob’s in 2 Ne. 9:9) emphasis on secret combinations is a reaction to the culture of surrounding city-states, these may be descriptions of practices that Nephi sees as accompanying the particular priestcrafts that are part of those cultures. If we assume that “murder” may be related to the Mesoamerican practice of human sacrifice (as will recur throughout the text), Nephi may be directing his comments very specifically to real concerns of cultural influences that have and will come to bear on his people.

Second Witness: Analytical & Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 2