“Behold I Am Giddianhi”

Alan C. Miner

Lachoneus, the governor of the land, gets an epistle from the leader of the Gadianton band. He begins the epistle, "And behold, I am Giddianhi: and I am the governor of this secret society of Gadianton" (3 Nephi 3:9). Hugh Nibley notes that this leader of the secret society has a good name. Giddianhi is a pure Egyptian name; in fact, if you're going to write it in Reformed Egyptian, you would have a very easy time of it, to write Giddianhi. All you'd have to do is write that [Nibley makes a mark on the board]--that's Giddianhi. "The Lord is my life" is what it means. [Hugh W. Nibley, Teachings of the Book of Mormon, Semester 3, p. 292]


Monte Nyman writes that in Moroni's abridgment of the book of Ether, which chronicles the history of the Jaredites, we find the daughter of Jared referring to "the record which our fathers brought across the great deep. Behold, is there not an account concerning them of old, that they by their secret plans did obtain kingdoms and great glory?" (Ether 8:9). This record does not seem to be the same as the 24 plates of gold translated into what Moroni called the book of Ether (see Ether 1:2), although the first part of Ether does speak of the creation and the time from Adam to the great tower (Ether 1:3). Since the Jaredites kept records on metallic plates, it is possible that the record that the daughter of Jared spoke of is still in existence and will come forth and be translated at some future date. It is even possible that Giddianhi, the leader of the Gadianton robbers, had in mind some version of that record when he said that his secret society had information "of ancient date" that had been "handed down unto us" (3 Nephi 3:9). [Monte S. Nyman, "Other Ancient American Records Yet to Come Forth," in Journal of Book of Mormon Studies , vol. 10, num. 1, 2001, p. 60] [See the commentary on Ether 8:9]

Note* The reader should note that the history of the Jaredites (the book of Ether) concerns a people that predated the Nephites. However, the book of Ether is placed chronologically after the history of the Nephites in the Book of Mormon. That is, during the translation process (one time through with no major editing), the prophet Joseph Smith would be translating this incident involving Giddianhi in the book of 3 Nephi before he ever got around to translating the book of Ether. Such subtle mention of secret societies and their records would be yet another set of textual correlations that would require more literary abilities than one could expect had Joseph Smith made all this up. [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes]

Step by Step Through the Book of Mormon: A Cultural Commentary