“Lachoneus the Governor of the Land”

George Reynolds, Janne M. Sjodahl

With words tending toward hostile action, yet couched in fulsome praise which he hoped would seduce the Chief Judge and subject that Nephite official to his will, Giddianhi, the leader of the Gadianton Robbers, wrote an epistle to Lachoneus, who, besides being Chief Judge was also the supreme Governor of all Nephite lands, demanding the surrender of his people.

With threatenings of destruction and other baleful penalties if surrender was not concluded, the nobler chieftain hoped to force the relinquishment of Nephite power into his own hands at an early date. The morrow month Giddianhi put as the limit of any delay yielding to his demand. He wanted to frighten Lachoneus in giving up to evil without a struggle. "It is so foolish and vain," he argued, "as to stand against so many brave men who are at my command, who do now at this time stand in their army, and do wait with great anxiety for the word-Go down upon the Nephites and destroy them." Many other afflictions he promised to impose upon the peace-loving Nephites, but none of them were sore enough to estrange the Nephites from the God in Whom they trusted. It is well to remember that throughout the ages, "None that put their trust in God were overcome." Lachoneus had learned that lesson; he thought of the words of the Psalmist which were engraved upon the Brass Plates of Laban: "Ye that love the Lord, trust in the Lord." "Trust in Him at all times, ye people, pour out your heart before Him." And he knew that the freedom offered his people by Giddianhi was not true liberty; that the reward of iniquity is serfdom. His feelings then were closely like those expressed in a prayer offered by the Jews of our day: "May our lives prove the strength of our own belief in the truths we proclaim. May our bearing toward our neighbors, our faithfulness in every sphere of duty, our compassion for the suffering, and our patience under trial, show that He Whose law we obey, is indeed the God of all men, that to serve Him is perfect freedom and to worship Him the soul's purest happiness." And as a final showing of devotion, he resolved to follow the Psalmist's advice: "Commit thy way unto the Lord," "He will not forsake you, nor leave you in your grief."

Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 7