“People of Akish Were Desirous for Gain”

Brant Gardner

Culture: The first problem with this description is the mention of money, which did not exist. Wealth certainly did—just not in the form of money. The mention of “money” is best seen as Joseph’s translation. In Mesoamerica, riches come both in trade and by adopting the worldly trappings of riches. The people desired such trappings, and Akish and his sons provided them by doing “all manner of iniquity.” In the Book of Mormon, this phrase usually means that they have abandoned Yahweh for pagan religion. In doing so, they parallel the same developmental pressures seen later among the Nephites. They wanted to emulate their Mesoamerican neighbors, accumulating and displaying wealth in similar ways.

Second Witness: Analytical & Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 6