“Gadianton Who Was Exceedingly Expert in Many Words, and Also in His Craft, to Carry on the Secret Work of Murder”

Bryan Richards
"Gadianton was a Nephite apostate; the founder and first leader of the robber bands that bore his name. He is first mentioned in connection with the attempt by Kishkumen to assassinate Helaman, the Chief Judge, 50 B.C. At that time Gadianton had organized his band and bound its members together with the most horrible and blasphemous oaths and covenants to stand by and protect each other in all their treasons, villainies, and crimes. These oaths and secret compacts had not been searched out of the old records by Gadianton, but that same being who had revealed them to Cain, the first murderer, had whispered them to him. Gadianton was a crafty, capable man, full of strategy and cunning; a flatterer and an expert in the use of many words; and at this time he desired to be elected Chief Judge of the Nephite Commonwealth. To this ambition his followers gave full consent, as he promised them that when elected, they should fill the offices of honor and profit which would be at his disposal." (Reynolds and Sjodahl, Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 5, pp. 203-4)

Hugh Nibley

"Now here comes an expert, this Gadianton. He was a pro. He was the new professional Capo. Verse 4: 'For there was one Gadianton, who was exceedingly expert in many words [he was a fast talker, and that's important-they always are, you'll notice], and also in his craft.' Now this was his craft, and he was polished in it. He was proud of it. He was efficient; he did a thorough job of bumping off. He would take a contract, and he was good at it, which was 'the secret work of murder' and he could crack a bank anytime. He was good at murder and robbery. And we have experts in that today. He was a professional. He was the leader of the band of Kishkumen.
"And he worked on them and said, look if you'll put me in charge of the whole operation I can take care of my boys. If they would place him in the judgment seat-that's all he wanted-'he would grant unto those who belonged to his band that they should be placed in power and authority among the people.' (v. 5) They'd have the high office." (Teachings From the Book of Mormon, Lecture 74, p. 204)