An Unrighteous and Binding Oath

Church Educational System
Notice that Akish, in binding his supporters to be faithful to him in all that he desired, compelled them to swear unto him “by the God of heaven, and also by the heavens” (Ether 8:14). In this way Akish invested his evil work with a sort of moral sanctity. This oath is precisely what Satan demanded of Cain in making the original secret combination: “Swear unto me,” said Satan, “by thy throat, and if thou tell it thou shalt die; and swear thy brethren by their heads, and by the living God” (Moses 5:29).

“When the Jaredite Akish seeking to seize the throne, administered the oath to his supporters with fair promises, it was not by the devil but ‘by the God of heaven’ that they swore. (Ether 8:13–17.) But God did not approve, ‘for the Lord worketh not in secret combinations, even as they of old; which combination is most abominable and wicked above all in the sight of God. For the Lord worketh not in secret combinations, neither doth he will that man should shed blood, but in all things hath forbidden it from the beginning of man.’ (Ether 8:19.)”

(Hugh Nibley, Since Cumorah: The Book of Mormon in the Modern World, pp. 405–6).

Book of Mormon Student Manual (1996 Edition)