“Felled to the Earth”

Brant Gardner

Mormon records a specific formula pronounced in conjunction with felling the tree. Not only does it symbolize the fall of an enemy, but it specifically symbolizes and invokes the curse on “all who shall seek to slay [the Nephites] because of power and secret combinations.” (See the discussion of simile curses accompanying Mosiah 12:3.) I read this passage as reflecting the sentiments, not of the Nephites in general who had so recently accepted Gadianton rulers, but of the faithful believers who saw the Gadiantons as a particularly dangerous threat to them as a people.

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