“Oaths Which Had Been Handed Down Even from Cain Who Was a Murderer from the Beginning”

Alan C. Miner

Cain's actions typify the road to spiritual destruction in that eventually "Cain was shut out from the presence of the Lord" (Moses 5:41). Cain was called a son of Perdition ("from this time forth . . . thou shalt be called Perdition"--Moses 5:24) which implies he had once held high priesthood power and also knew the gospel plan yet rejected them. Because of the scriptural parallels, can we put the leaders of these secret societies in the Book of Mormon story in the same class as Cain--that is, were they also sons of Perdition?

For secret combinations to be linked with Cain (see Ether 8:15 and Helaman 6:27), does this imply that secret combinations worked so well because the leaders held (or had held) high political and priesthood power despite covenanting to destroy that power? The apparent leader of the secret band among the Nephites was called "Kishkumen" (see Helaman 1:9-12; 2-11) Kish was a Jaredite king (see Ether 10:17-18). Kishkumen plotted with Gadianton to put him upon the judgment-seat (see Helaman 2:3-5). Did these secret society leaders come from the high ranks of church and state? King Omer "was a friend to Akish" (Ether 8:11). Does this imply that Akish held power, either priesthood or political or both? [Alan C. Miner, Personal Notes]

Ether 8:15 Oaths . . . which had been handed down even from Cain, who was a murderer from the beginning ([Illustration]): Cain's Path to Spiritual Destruction. [Handout, David Ridges]

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