“Out Their Strongholds and Their Secret Places”

Brant Gardner

The Gadianton army begins its campaign by entering the deserted southern Nephite lands. Mormon describes their place of origin as “secret places,” a term consistent with his characterization of them as “robbers.” However, he also mentions “strongholds,” possibly suggesting that this army comes from multiple cities rather than just one. It would be consistent with my argument that the Gadiantons are a city-state devoted to the cult of war to read this passage as acknowledging that the Nephite territory is not their first attempt at conquest. (See commentary accompanying Helaman 11:24–31.)

Second Witness: Analytical & Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 5