Lachoneus received an Epistle from the Leaderof This Band of Robbers

Bryan Richards

Hugh Nibley

“A letter from the leader of the society to the governor of the Nephite land gives remarkable insight into their psychology. The chief who signs himself the governor of the Society (3 Nephi 3:9) begins by expressing warm admiration for the Nephite governor‘s firmness ’in maintaining that which ye suppose to be your right and liberty’ (3 Nephi 3:2), showing himself to be a fair-minded and sporting type. In the next verse he is very patronizing—every inch the ’big-shot.‘ ’And it seemeth a pity unto me, most noble Lachoneus, that ye should be so foolish and vain as to suppose that ye can stand against so many brave men who are at my command’ (3 Nephi 3:3). So, big hearted as he is, the chief proposes a deal, but not until he has first given a little sermon which burns with righteous indignation for the wrongs he and his people have suffered (3 Nephi 3:4). The deal is that Lachoneus, for whose genuine talent and courage the chief again expresses his sincere admiration, is to be taken into the Society, and in return for bringing with him all the property over which his authority extends, he is to be received on a 50-50 basis—’not our slaves, but our brethren and partners of all our substance’ (3 Nephi 3:6-7). It was all very high-minded and idealistic. The chief was speaking only in the name of virtue; he was simply giving the other side a break, ’feeling for your welfare,’ as he so nicely put it (3 Nephi 3:5). If the deal was refused, it would be curtains [‘mob talk’]; ‘ye shall become extinct’ (3 Nephi 3:8). All he is asking for, Giddianhi concludes, is ’that this my people may recover their rights and government, who have dissented away from you because of your wickedness in retaining from them their rights of government’ (3 Nephi 3:10; italics added). And let no one suppose that his followers did not sincerely believe that they were the righteous and offended ones, and their opponents just too wicked to live with.” (An Approach To The Book of Mormon, p. 391)