“A Covenant Given and Administered by the Devil”

Brant Gardner

The seeds of rebellion are now blossoming into revolt. The secret combination does what it has always done. It threatens the government and with it the religion. A clear item on its agenda is establishing a king. Mormon understands that a monarchy represents the destruction of the Nephite political way. Establishing a king would destroy Mosiah’s reforms. Rejecting Mosiah means rejecting his laws and the gospel he preached. There would be no more Nephites.

Text: There is no chapter break at this point in the 1830 edition. This division is particularly unfortunate because it leaves the impression that this secret combination will establish its desired king. What unfolds is a much sadder story. The story of the destruction of the Nephite polity should flow from this explanation; and in Mormon’s chapter, it would have. The chapter break, introduced here in the 1879 edition, effaces this continuity.

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