“Kishkumen Sought to Destroy Helaman”

Brant Gardner

Despite Mormon’s obvious disdain for the Gadiantons, he presents a fairly neutral portrait of the band that began with Kishkumen and was a ready tool to the ambitious Gadianton’s hand. Mormon explains that Kishkumen’s band organized first out of convenience but, under the influence of a single leader, Gadianton, formalized itself. Gadianton was certainly an insider and, since he was skilled in “flattery,” was probably charismatic, since he could sway men with his words and presence. Though Mormon merely mentions Gadianton’s ambition, he may well have seen himself as a candidate because he also had clan credentials, a quality that Kishkumen seems to have lacked. Kishkumen apparently did not see himself as the chief judge but was willing to use his nefarious talents to benefit someone who would provide the power and wealth he desired. Gadianton became that candidate. Position and personality combined to make Gadianton supersede Kishkumen in Kishkumen’s own band.

Second Witness: Analytical & Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 5