“It Is That Same Being Who Put It into the Hearts of the People to Build a Tower”

Brant Gardner

Narrative: Note how Mormon builds his case. The original inspiration for the Gadiantons lies with Satan himself. This earliest influence begins with the murder of Abel. The next event, however, is the building of the Tower of Babel. This same Satan influences the people to build “a tower sufficiently high that they might get to heaven.” Why does Mormon use this example?

Mormon makes a very interesting use of this example. The use of this example confirms the symbolic associations that Mormon is making with the Gadianton robbers. Not only does Satan lead people to build the tower, but “it was that same being who led on the people who came from that tower into this land.” This is a remarkable statement. The book of Ether will tell us that God led the Jaredites from the land of the tower, but Mormon tells us it was Satan – that same being who created the first murder. Does Mormon not know the story of the Jaredites? How could he get the stories mixed up?

Once again we must remember that Mormon is telling his story in a particular way, for a particular purpose. Mormon certainly knows the story of the Jaredites, and it his understanding of the whole story that he is using here. Mormon has a purpose in linking these secret combinations to the Jaredites. These combinations were first most prevalent among the Jaredites, and served as the impetus to their downfall. Therefore, those covenants are intimately linked with the Jaredites, and Mormon focuses on that connection. He has the Jaredites bring this covenant with them from the Old World, symbolically dragging Satan along with them.

The ultimate purpose in this exercise is to note that Satan inspired the Gadianton robbers in this time period, but Mormon’s purpose extends farther than that particular time period. Mormon sees the secret combinations as intimately and inextricably tied to the Jaredites, a concept to which he will return, but which he does not fail to emphasize at this juncture.

Multidimensional Commentary on the Book of Mormon