Alma 62-Helaman 1
Here is the sacral state. They had “rebelled against their country and also their God.” You can’t rebel against the country in a sacral state [without rebelling against God]. This is a religious state, like Israel. You don’t divide the state from the church. (In Utah it may be different.) The war isn’t up yet. They are going to have a mopping up operation. Verse 3: “. . . Moroni took a small number of men . . . and gave Lehi and Teancum command over the remainder of his army.” He said, I’m leaving them in your trust. I’m going to go out and join Pahoran, and we’ll clean up here. “And [again] he did raise the standard of liberty in whatsoever place he did enter.” This is traditional; the standard attracts people. Notice it says, “And it came to pass that thousands did flock unto his standard.” The Egyptians used the same word for standard that they used for rallying place or great ceremonial center. The word is i3t. It’s usually written like this. As we find in the old pictures, it’s a mound with megalithic stones around it. The i3t is a sacred meeting place. This is the standard, and they would have the bird or one of the forty-two emblems of the tribes there on the standard. But the standard brings you to the meeting place, and it does here. It was the same thing in England. The king would raise his banner at Nottingham, and all the people would have to come. We find out in the sagas that when you received the heror, the war arrow of the king, you must come to his presence within three days or be banished for three years from the kingdom. This was a universal rule in the ancient world.
So thousands flocked to his standard. They were still observing these things. These things show remarkable uniformity, don’t they? We’ll find that right down to our own times they do. Verse 6: “. . . and uniting his forces with those of Pahoran they became exceedingly strong, even stronger than the men of Pachus.” Pachus is a very interesting name. It’s perfectly good Egyptian and means “he who is praised.” It means a person who is “praised, blessed or favored of God.” Mohammed means the same thing.
They went to the land of Zarahemla against the city and met the men of Pachus. “And behold, Pachus was slain and his men were taken prisoners, and Pahoran was restored to his judgment-seat.” And everything was as it was before. (There’s a very interesting poem. I must find it and read it to you someday. It’s very good.) Also the king-men were put in their place and “whosoever would not take up arms in the defence of their country, but would fight against it, were put to death.” They were still resorting to arms. It was not because of their political views they were put to death, but they were still resorting to arms. It was speedy execution. Moroni and Pahoran, having restored peace to the land of Zarahemla, were free to send an army of six thousand men and aid to Helaman. It’s interesting that the average army throughout ancient times and the Middle Ages for expeditions was between four and eight thousand men. You notice in the next verse another army of six thousand men. That’s the standard. The 101st Division only had seven thousand men in it. The average division has twenty-seven thousand. They had to cover the same front as the full division. “And he also caused that an army of six thousand men, with a sufficient quantity of food, should be sent to the armies of Lehi and Teancum.” So they were being supported everywhere. As I said, this can almost be called mopping up operations.
Verse 14: “. . . Moroni and Pahoran . . . took their march with a large body of men towards the land of Nephihah.” Remember, Nephihah was the one [Moroni] wanted to take and then was so disappointed. He was going to roll up the whole front. He got Nephihah, which was their strong point. Then Ammoron ran over it and wiped it out, and other cities along with it. So now they have to get back Nephihah. This is rather typical: As they were marching they ran into a large body of Lamanites. They had a fight and “slew many of them, and took their provisions and their weapons of war.” The rest of them gave in willingly. Notice, the war is over. Everybody is fed up with it. “. . . they caused them to enter into a covenant that they would no more take up their weapons of war against the Nephites [then they trusted them]. And when they had entered into this covenant they sent them to dwell with the people of Ammon,” who were the peaceful people. This pleased them very much. They were fed up; they didn’t want anymore of this. As we see in verse 27, “. . . many of the Lamanites that were prisoners were desirous to join the people of Ammon and become a free people [that’s the idea of being free; you’re not free if you are in arms all the time]. . . . they were in number about four thousand who had not been slain.” This is a nice touch. No hard feelings here. You can see the tension is off now. Nobody is out for blood or anything like that.
This happened [in World War II] too. I remember a very interesting incident down in southern Germany when we were moving down there toward Berchtesgaden. The 101st Division delivered it you might say. Before we got there, there was busy traffic at a road, and everything was jammed up with tanks, etc. And out directing the traffic were an American captain and a German major, working together in perfect harmony. They were from opposite sides, but it made no difference. The traffic had to be moved, and so they moved it. There was a jam factory a few miles from a place called Vergel where we were hiding out in the basement of a grain elevator. Our boys would get jam on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and the Germans would get jam on Mondays and Wednesdays. We agreed on that. There were no hard feelings there. What did we have against them, after all? It was the battle of the chieftains. We’ll get to that presently.
So Nephihah was the big thing. They pitched their tents near the city of Nephihah. Of course, the Lamanites didn’t come out again. This is the last time they pull a trick. Verse 20: “. . . Moroni went forth in the darkness of the night, and came upon the top of the wall to spy out in what part of the city the Lamanites did camp with their army.” They put grappling irons over the wall and got into the city. “. . . Moroni caused that his men should march forth and come upon the top of the wall, and let themselves down into that part of the city, yea, even on the west.” There’s always an unguarded spot. No matter how well you think you have a place defended, there’s always a weakest spot. There’s a weakest spot in everybody’s armor. There’s a weakest spot in any defense you want. It never fails; you can count on that. This is what happens here; there’s a spot that isn’t watched. That’s what the game of chess is about. [You think] I’ve guarded everything. Everything is taken care of; you can’t touch me. Suddenly, he’s got your king, just like that.
I was reading [the writings of] Arthur Clarke, the first man to discover the principle of radar in World War II. He wrote that if you had a million computers, and every computer made a million moves a second, how long would it take to play all possible games of checkers on a checker board? Just checkers, not chess, or three-dimensional chess. It would take three hundred billion, billion years to play all the games. It can be worked out very simply as factorial. You can see it comes out at that. I think I got the figures right. Anyway, it is very high. It would take lots and lots of time. Since the universe is only supposed to be ten or fifteen billion years old, three hundred billion times a billion years is quite a while to go on with a game. It would get boring by about that time, I think.
They found this [weak spot] on the west where the Lamanites hadn’t camped (you can’t be everywhere) and let them down by their strong cords, all within the walls of the city. When the Lamanites woke, they found the Nephites were inside the walls. They were only too happy to run away and get out of the walls. They fled by the pass and found themselves surrounded. [The Nephites] took a lot of prisoners; there was no great fighting here. These are the ones that said, please let us go off and join the Ammonites and we’ll be only too happy to do so. “. . . many of the Lamanites that were prisoners were desirous to join the people of Ammon and become a free people.” So the climate had certainly changed, and the word had spread that Moroni allowed them a way out. It was cheerfully granted to them according to their desires, verse 28 tells us. “Therefore, all the prisoners of the Lamanites did join the people of Ammon [wasn’t that nice? And these were the bad guys?], and did begin to labor exceedingly [they threw their hearts into it; this is the life; they appreciated what they were getting], tilling the ground, raising all manner of grain, and flocks and herds of every kind; and thus were the Nephites . . . relieved from all the prisoners of the Lamanites.” This is exactly what runs through the whole history of the ancient world in any country. The same thing goes on entirely. I have some cases to mention in a minute here. You’ll see this.
Verse 30: “. . . therefore Moroni went forth from the land of Nephihah to the land of Lehi.” When the Lamanites saw him, again they became frightened. The tide had turned, and their morale was shaken. “. . . Moroni and his army did pursue them from city to city [it’s a rout now], until they were met by Lehi and Teancum,” those two terrible commanders. Then they gave up—they’d had enough of it. They fled to the land of Moroni and gathered all in one body. This is what they do—the redoubt. You always fall back on a redoubt. That’s what Hitler did. All the plans for the last few months of the war were to fall back on one great redoubt, one great center, and make that their standing point. They would stand and make that [hold]. That was to be in the Austrian Alps at Berchtesgaden. The [Lamanites] gathered together all in one body. That’s the worst thing you can do, of course, but it’s all you can do. It’s psychological; they get together for support. We could see for months before that the German armies were all falling back to this one point, a big redoubt in the Austrian Alps. It didn’t work.
Verse 33: “Now Ammoron, the king of the Lamanites, was also with them.” The king in the center, like the battle of Flodden Field  where the Scots all gathered closer and closer around the king, until finally they died out as Walter Scott said, “a fierce but fading fire.” That’s called the “shield wall,” and it goes back to the old Norse practice. It was regular in every battle. It’s the same as the Asiatic principle. You must form a shield wall around the king; he must be the last to go. Many a battle ended with fierce combat around the shield wall, which they usually broke through. So the Lamanites were encircled. It was checkmate. The king was checked. He can’t be killed; he has to be checked.
Now it’s back to the personal element. There wouldn’t have been any of this if it hadn’t been for men like Ammoron. Teancum was a hot head, and “he was exceedingly angry with Ammoron [he took it as a personal grudge], insomuch that he considered that Ammoron, and Amalickiah his brother, had been the cause of this great and lasting war . . .” And they were, actually. If they hadn’t been there to get things organized [it wouldn’t have happened]. Remember, as Liddell Hart tells us, it comes back to individuals, after all. It came back to Hitler, after all. Until Hitler was eliminated in the Berlin bunker, the war would go on. “. . . Teancum in his anger did go forth into the camp of the Lamanites, and did let himself down over the walls of the city. And he went forth with a cord, from place to place, insomuch that he did find the king; and he did cast a javelin at him, which did pierce him near the heart.” But at the same time it cost him his life too. He awakened the servants, and they pursued Teancum and slew him. So now we’ve got checkmate. The war is pretty well over by now. But you have to get to the heart of the nest. Some sociologists have written that humans are like ants. The queen is the brain and the heart. As long as the queen is defended at the center, you have the ant hill. But as soon as she is eliminated, they become completely disoriented. They go and join the next queen they can find. Are we built like that? Apparently we are. It’s the ant heap.
Then Moroni marched forth and drove them out of the land. “. . . and they did flee, even that they did not return at that time against the Nephites.” So they were out now, and Moroni had won. Look at what has been going on at home. Are these the good guys? Verse 40: “And there had been murders, and contentions, and dissensions, and all manner of iniquity among the people of Nephi; nevertheless for the righteous’ sake . . . they were spared.” This is a basic principle of the Talmud. The Lord saves the wicked and everybody else. For the sake of the righteous, he lets the show go on because there might be some who will repent. We know the famous story in the Bible of Abraham pleading for Sodom and Gomorrah. Mr. Kaplan mentioned that yesterday. Abraham said, if there are fifty righteous will you spare it? Yes. Ten? Yes. This was sparing the wicked cities for the sake of the righteous people who are in them. He says that’s the only reason he is holding back his hand today, because there are enough righteous people to justify it. It’s a well known principle. “. . . because of the prayers of the righteous, they [the others] were spared.”
Here is a very interesting psychological note. Who is to blame for our circumstances? We use this for Vietnam [veterans] a lot. We say, “He’s wicked, he’s hardened, he’s insane because of the war.” But it works both ways, as it tells us here. You can see this a good deal. Verse 41: “But behold, because of the exceedingly great length of the war [you can hold on a lot, but it breaks you down] between the Nephites and the Lamanites many had become hardened [but notice] . . . and many were softened because of their afflictions [it had the opposite effect on others; they became softened, so don’t blame the circumstances for how you react], insomuch that they did humble themselves before God.” Those are the two ways you can react. You can become hardened, or you can become softened. Could you say they really won? They had been beaten so many times and suffered so much. That’s the trouble [with the United States]. We have always come in at the end of world wars, have only been in a short time, had great success, and been able to call the shots. So it’s had more of the hardening effect.
Verse 42: “. . . he returned to the city of Zarahemla; and also Helaman returned to the place of his inheritance; and there was once more peace established among the people of Nephi.” They have talked about victory celebrations before in the Book of Mormon, but there is no victory celebration mentioned here. This is very interesting. Here it tells us, “And Moroni yielded up the command of his armies into the hands of his son, whose name was Moronihah; and he retired to his own house that he might spend the remainder of his days in peace.” He could have been dictator. He was the national hero, of course. He could have been king. They had just had a king. The king-men had taken over the city and run things. The people were used to the idea of a king. The judges hadn’t been in forever. This is only forty years of judges, after [nearly] six hundred years in the country. They were perfectly willing to accept a king, but this 39-year-old hero was not a dictator. Remember, he said, “I seek not for power but to pull it down.” He didn’t like that, and he didn’t like the shedding of blood. So this is truth and not rhetoric when he says it. Moroni was a great man. And nobody loved to retire and put on his civilian clothes more than George Washington did. He was a civilian through and through.
Notice that peace was established among the people of Nephi, but it would only last seven years. Imagine that—how sad. The whole thing will break out again on a different level with lots of crime mixed up in it. This reads like the end of a novel. It tells us what happened to the characters and how they ended up. They lived happily ever after. This is the last we see of these. After that seven-year gap it’s going to be a new crowd that emerges.
Verse 44: “. . . it had become expedient that a regulation should be made again in the church.” The church had been considerably shaken up at this time. What had been going on back there? Remember, the king-men had been in control. Their crowd had been running everything. They had driven out Pahoran, the chief judge, and usurped the throne. Everything had been shaken up, which, of course, would include the church. The church had to be practically reorganized here from the ground up. Helaman and his brethren went forth to declare the word of God just like missionaries—from the field to the field. “. . . unto the convincing of many people of their wickedness [this is the point—to show them that what they had been doing was wrong], which did cause them to repent of their sins and to be baptized unto the Lord their God.” The people were repenting and being baptized all over again, convinced of their sins. It says in verse 46: “. . . they did establish again the church of God, throughout all the land.” They had to refound the church, practically from the ground up. This is what happens after the big shakeup. This happened in Europe where the church had been out of contact during the two world wars. In a very short time under their various leaders, they got strange doctrines and strange practices. There were terrible fights over who had authority. You might expect that; they had to straighten things up after the war.
The government was restored too. They had to choose new judges to replace the old ones that had been put in by the king-men. Verse 47: “And their judges, and their chief judges were chosen. And the people of Nephi began to prosper again in the land [there was a real post-war boom]. And they began to grow exceedingly rich.” Next we come to one of the very favorite passages in the Book of Mormon. People like to quote this a lot to show that you can be rich without being oppressive or any of the things that rich people shouldn’t do, because they weren’t spoiled by being rich. “But notwithstanding their riches, or their strength, or their prosperity, they were not lifted up in the pride of their eyes; neither were they slow to remember the Lord their God; but they did humble themselves exceedingly before him.” The word humble is humilis which means “level with the earth.” They were level, and they were equal. They were rich as a people, but it wasn’t one above another. They were not divided into classes. This comes later, as we soon learn, but not now. That’s fine. We can begin to grow rich as a people, and we should. Brigham Young said, more than once, “I could make this people the richest people on earth.” And he could have. He was certainly our ablest economist, perhaps the best businessman in American history. The way he could manage things, he could build up a personal fortune like that. But he paid no attention to it. He said, “I would not walk across the street to make a business deal with anyone.” But he couldn’t help getting rich.
Anyway, they weren’t lifted up. You don’t have to be selfish. They were rich because they were humble and they were equal. But they had to work at it, and it’s only going to last four years. “And they did pray unto the Lord their God continually [you have to work at this sort of thing], insomuch that the Lord did bless them, according to his word, so that they did wax strong and prosper in the land.” So they had a post-war boom here.
Then this is the new generation. It’s no longer Helaman. It’s Shiblon, which is a good Arabic name. It means young lion. A very popular name in Israel is Ari, which means lion. He took possession of the sacred things, and he was a just man. Then the old order changed here. Moroni died at the age of forty-seven, just a few years after he retired. “And thus ended the thirty and sixth year of the reign of the judges.” He died of wounds possibly. He pushed himself too much, I’m afraid.
What’s the thing to do next? Colonizing, expanding, business, explode. Now they have to increase. They really expand. They are not going to just stay there and get rich and prosperous without spreading out in all directions seeking new lands, investments, etc. That’s what they do. Alma 63:4: “And it came to pass that in the thirty and seventh year of the reign of the judges, there was a large company of men . . . five thousand and four hundred men, with their wives and their children, departed out of the land of Zarahemla into the land which was northward.” They were settling new lands. Remember, our frontier has always been toward the west. Theirs was always toward the north and the east, but mostly pushing toward the north. We know where they landed on the south coast of Peru and came north. They have been moving north all along. [This group] goes as a company. Individuals have been going out. We read very often about groups that went out to explore, and some of them didn’t come back. They found strange things, etc. They have been moving around. “And it came to pass that Hagoth . . .” A very interesting name, you see. He has a Mycenaean name—you’d expect that. Remember, in Lehi’s day Israel was full of Greeks. The Egyptians were in occupation. Egyptian weights and measures and the Egyptian calendar was used. And the whole twenty-sixth dynasty was supported by Greek mercenaries. They occupied all the coast towns of Palestine in the time of Lehi. He was used to them, so you are going to get occasional Greek names in the Book of Mormon. He was an adventurous, curious man “and built him an exceedingly large ship, on the borders of the land Bountiful [we are always told that’s the far north on the seashore], by the land Desolation.” Notice that Bountiful and Desolation are together. There’s your coincidentia oppositorum.
Remember, before the war the priests would stand out before the army in the Battle Scroll, point to the enemy’s land and curse it as desolation, as ḥormah or ḥoreb. They would bless the land of Israel as the land of plenty, the blessed land, and the land Bountiful. So you have Bountiful and Desolation right together here. It was a desolate land; you can be sure of that.
They launched it into the west sea, so they are on the Pacific Coast here—by the narrow neck. Well, that’s misleading, because, as you know, at Panama the Panama Canal runs into the Atlantic on the west side and the Pacific on the east side. Remember, there’s that bend in the peninsula, and you enter the canal on the west side and go out on the east side in the Pacific. It’s turned around; people don’t realize that. It happens to be by the narrow neck, so we can’t say definitely this was the Pacific or this was the Atlantic. It turns back on itself for a short space right at the narrowest place. He was a real entrepreneur; you can see that, and also Corianton, the youngest son of Alma. Remember, Alma blessed his three sons, Helaman, Shiblon, and Corianton. He rebuked Corianton; he was a wild kid. Remember, he went over to the harlot in the land of Siron and played around. Alma had a secret liking for him, because he had been the same way himself. Here’s Corianton again living up to character. He’s a big time entrepreneur. When they settle these places up north, he decides to supply them in the manner that Sam Brannan and Brother Hammond supplied the people during the gold rush and got rich at that—not on the gold, but on supplying the fools that were hunting for it.
Verse 7: “And in the thirty and eighth year, this man built other ships.” The first ship came back with reports saying there were great times up there. They got more people to go with them and set out for the land northward. This boom was going on, and things were opening up in the far north. They went there, and they never heard of them anymore. This is this idea of race scattered everywhere. Don’t be too simple. They are going to mingle with all sorts of people. “And we suppose that they were drowned in the depths of the sea.” Well, they could have reached the islands. That’s what Heyerdahl showed. He left from Peru on the Kon Tiki [a primitive raft] and showed that you could cross there. It could have been done in those days. We know now from the legends of the people of the islands that they were capable of making these amazingly long sea voyages, navigating with almost perfect accuracy to a spot by the stars, the winds, and the currents. They knew things like that, so they could get along. These people disappeared, and they didn’t know where they went. Verse 9: “And it came to pass that in this year there were many people who went forth into the land northward. [They went by land; this was the frontier]. And thus ended the thirty and eighth year.”
In the next year Shiblon died also. Then Corianton was the next son, but he didn’t become [high priest] because he had gone away. He was in business. He had gone forth to the land northward in a ship to carry provisions to the people who had gone forth to that land. It’s like the story of Brother Hammond. He joined the Church in Hawaii. Then he came to San Francisco and was one of the first people to settle there. When the gold rush came, he soon discovered that he could make far more money by selling supplies in the gold fields of Sacramento than he could seeking gold himself. He and Sam Brannan entered into a partnership and got rich. Sam Brannan was the richest man in California.
But the Lord told [Hammond] to go [east] and join the Saints in the valley. Brigham Young wrote to him. He went to Mormon Island and set up and started to sell stuff there. He had a huge covered wagon which he loaded with all sorts of goods, which sold immediately because you couldn’t get anything there. He’d make a thousand dollars a day, and that was really something. The gold was very rich too at Mormon Island in the Sacramento River. He said he had a dream one night. The dream told him to get going and join with the Saints. He said, no, I can stay here and make a lot of money. Then think of all the good I can do for the Church. I’ll use it to bring the Saints here. The next night he had the same dream, and a great flood of hot lava and filthy water came rushing down the river. The people went on panning gold and paid no attention to it, and it swallowed them up. People were scrambling to escape, and he barely escaped. The third night was too much, so he sold out and came to Utah. He used to say, “Don’t ever get the idea that your duty is to get rich to help the Lord. The Lord has all the money he needs. He will take care of that. Don’t worry about that. You do what he tells you to do.” Of course, if he tells you to get rich, that’s a different thing. But we use that as one of the Articles of Faith here, which it isn’t. But Sam Brannan was the richest man in California, and he died a broken man. I think they made a film about that.
Verse 11: “Therefore it became expedient for Shiblon to confer those sacred things, before his death, upon the son of Helaman, who was called Helaman, being called after the name of his father. Now behold, all those engravings which were in the possession of Helaman were written and sent forth among the children of men throughout all the land.” There are two National Geographic magazines I should have brought along. One of them is the October 1989. For the first time now it appears very clear that the Mayans did keep extensive written records. They didn’t think so before. They thought they were just the symbols of kings, but it seems they had written records. Of course, not many books have survived. He gave them the sacred things, the tiponi. This is very interesting. They’re mentioned later; we’ll talk about them later. “Nevertheless, these things were to be kept sacred, and handed down from one generation to another.”
This is another type. You have the national treasures all the time. Wherever the Hopis travel, they have the tiponi. It’s a big box with the sacred objects in it—certain corn things and certain vessels. The Hebrews traveled with the Ark of the Covenant, which had the sacred things in it. It had the scroll of the law, the lulab, and various other sacred objects in it. And the Japanese have sacred objects that are handed down from the emperor to his son. They include a sword and a mirror. These are the sacred objects that are handed down from early times. People usually have them. I remember what they are [among the Hopis]. They have certain kachinas and corn emblems. They have something very much like what the Hebrews had, something like a sheaf of corn bent over and tied—very simple, very primitive sort of things in there that have been kept from the earliest times. These people had the sacred things too. We get them later when Mormon’s father hands them over to him.
Verse 14: “. . . there were some dissenters who had gone forth unto the Lamanites.” Notice, here we get this racial complication again. Lots of people had gone over to the Lamanites. And they did a silly thing. They stirred them up to anger against the Nephites. There were these hotheads still going. They were able to raise a numerous army against the people of Moronihah, but it didn’t work. They were driven back.
Now we come to the book of Helaman where really serious developments take place. After just seven years “there began to be a serious difficulty among the people of the Nephites.” We begin that way, with a serious difficulty. This history is never very happy, is it? No wonder people don’t like reading the Book of Mormon. There’s not much happy talk. Long wars ruin everything. The people are fed up with war, so now they take to organized crime instead. I suppose that explains it. The question is who should have the judgment seat. Pahoran had died. Now who would have the judgment seat? There were three sons of Pahoran named Pahoran, Paanchi, and Pacumeni. Paanchi is the one indisputable Egyptian name in the Book of Mormon. Nobody can ever dispute that, either that Joseph Smith could have invented it or that it could not be pure, 100% Egyptian, because Paanchi [Piankhi] was a very important person in Egyptian history, just before Lehi’s day. It means “Amon is my life.” And Pacumeni and Pahoran mean the person is a Syrian. That’s what an Egyptian would call a person from northern Palestine. These are familiar Egyptian names. These are not all of his sons; he had other sons. But they did form three divisions among the people. So they had an election, “. . . Pahoran was appointed [he was the oldest] by the voice of the people . . .” They went for him, and Pacumeni gave in. He conceded the election. But Paanchi would not concede the election.
There’s quite a story about Paanchi [in Egypt]. His son was Herihor. His father was Korihor. There’s another Book of Mormon name. Paanchi founded a dynasty. His father was a high priest. He wasn’t brave enough to take the Pharaoh’s title to himself, but he gave the Pharaoh’s title to his son, Paanchi. He became the first Pharaoh of that dynasty.
This Paanchi doesn’t concede. He was exceedingly wroth. He was going to use flattery again to get the people to rise up in rebellion against their brethren. So there was more civil war after only seven years. He was condemned to death for that. People didn’t want any of that. This was rebellion. But some people were angry and backed him up. They hired a professional hit man to get rid of Pahoran. Verse 9: “. . . they were angry, and behold, they sent forth one Kishkumen, even to the judgment-seat of Pahoran, and murdered Pahoran as he sat upon the judgment-seat.” We are told that he was very expert in this sort of thing. Then, having done this murder, “they all entered into a covenant [here’s another brotherhood, one of those negative brotherhoods], yea, swearing by their everlasting Maker [they are a religious brotherhood], that they would tell no man [they have their oath of secrecy] that Kishkumen had murdered Pahoran. Therefore, Kishkumen was not known among the people of Nephi for he was in disguise at the time he murdered Pahoran.” Kishkumen and his band covenanted together. They covenanted and swore by their Everlasting Maker. It was a solemn bond among themselves, and they were all crooks. Then they mingled themselves very respectably among the people. This is the way to get away with it. Great criminal enterprises are highly respected sometimes at various levels. You don’t know mingling in the streets in England if they are members of the IRA or members of the Hezbollah.
In Greece there are very eminent grave robbing families. Everybody knows they’re grave robbing families. They’ve agreed they never tell their secrets, but everybody knows who they are. This colonel I was talking about was in charge of the opening of a new aerospace center east of Athens at Tanagra. When they starting digging they discovered a grave with Tanagra figurines, which are extremely valuable. Immediately, they stopped the whole operation. There was a huge Tanagra cemetery that had been worked for generations by certain very dignified families. They invited us to dinner and discussed their enterprises. They were professional grave robbers. In Egypt it’s the same way. Some eminent families have been professional grave robbers for generations. It’s handed down from father to son. They showed them a very easy way of finding where the people were buried. They couldn’t figure out where these graves were. Why did we miss them? It’s the easiest thing in the world—just prod the ground with a rod, and where it goes down in soft ground there’s a grave. They are finding graves all over the place. But the fact is that we have all sorts of people walking around amongst us now, don’t we. Some make themselves known, like the “skin heads.”
Pacumeni was appointed chief governor over the people. Eight years after the last war, the Lamanites take advantage of this disruption. Then there’s another war. These secret societies become very important in the Book of Mormon. I talked last time about the White Company. It was mostly English but included others; the leaders were English. It operated in France because of the disagreements between the kings of France and England as to who could claim which territories. The White Company was organized to go and snatch everything they could, and the king would pay them off. The White Company was enlisted by du Guesolin, the great hero of the French. He went to the aid of Henry the Bastard, who wanted to become king of Spain instead of his brother who was Pedro [Peter] the Cruel. He was a notoriously cruel king. The other side was supported by John the Bad of Navarre. These were the kind of people involved—King John the Bad, Pedro the Cruel, etc.
Although he was very unpopular and his brother was very popular, Pedro the Cruel was supported on his throne by Edward the Black Prince, the son of Edward III. The Black Prince was the one who left no trail but a trail of blood. He would hire himself out to anybody. He took his forces and they had a terrific battle between du Guesolin and the Black Prince. At the age of sixteen the Black Prince had performed sensationally, and he became the hero of Europe, except on the other side. The question was who was to be the hero of Europe. It was purely between these two men and their companies. What on earth would bring Edward down into Spain fighting for Pedro the Cruel? Money. He was offered 250,000 gold crowns if he would do it. Not only that, but all the land and cities he could grab for himself on the side that didn’t belong to the king. This was the kind of deal it was. Of course, Pedro didn’t pay him a penny; he was a crook anyway. But he did it for money. And what was du Guesolin. He was just hiring himself out. He would have hired himself to the other side. There was the White Company on the other side. Some of you as kids may have read Conan Doyle’s famous novel The White Company, one of the best boys’ books ever written about the company that went down into Spain at that time. These companies would hire themselves out, and they were all over the place. They were not only characteristic of that century, but in every century you find them like that.
What happens when they go so far? They plunder and clean up everything, and life becomes impossible for the poor peasants. They have to supply everything. They have no rights or anything like that, so they revolt. Just after this in the 1370s, the peasants started revolts under a certain Jacques and became the Jacquerie. It spread all over. They organized into roving bands. They were dislanded peasants. They didn’t have any lands, homes, or anything else. Everything had been burned out, so they would organize themselves into desperate bands and go around plundering and robbing whatever they could. The reply to that was that finally the lords joined together. They were always fighting each other, but they wiped out the Jacquerie. That took a bit of doing. Then they started fighting among themselves again. Then there was another Jacquerie. Well, this is routine; this goes on. At the same time in the north, Stralsund was being besieged by Queen Margaret. She wanted to be queen of everything. She was queen of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden all at the same time. In the 1370s was the siege of Stralsund, which was the most important German town belonging to the Hanseatic League. It was relieved during the siege by the Victual Brethren. They formed themselves into a solemn brotherhood to deliver food to the town during the siege. So they called themselves the Victual Brethren and had solemn oaths, etc. After the war was over they were out of work, but they continued. They organized themselves then under the banner “Friends of God, but Enemies to All Men,” and they raided everything on the sea. They made the Baltic unsafe. But there was one person who made it even more unsafe. We talked about the two thousand young boys all in their teens. At the mouth of the Vistula there was a huge castle right in the sand. It stood on stone pylons, and it had a trap door underneath where you would go in with a boat. It was run by Palnatoki who was twelve years old. He was the terror of the Baltic. He would go down and destroy anything. He had a sacred brotherhood, the Jomsburg. They swore sacred vows and were just like the Teutonic Knights on the shore just opposite them. There were these sacred bands going around to plunder everybody else under the name of holy deliverance. They were out for themselves. Little Palnatoki was only twelve years old and had everybody scared to death. So it goes.
Why do they call them sacred brotherhoods? It’s very obvious. To keep from plundering each other. They had to trust each other. You have to trust somebody. You remember the Pardoner’s Tale from Chaucer about the three crooks. The point is they couldn’t trust each other, and they all kill each other. Two of them gang together and say, “We’ll put him out of the picture; then we’ll share it between ourselves.” Immediately, who’s going to get it all? You have to trust somebody if you are going to operate at all, so they would form these sacred oaths, take these vows, and have all this secret stuff so they could trust each other and wouldn’t plunder each other. Well, this goes back much earlier, of course, to the assassins, the Old Man of the Mountain, and terror in the time of the Crusades in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. Our word assassin comes from Hashishim. An assassin is somebody who is hopped up on hashish, which is hemp. Anyway, you get yourself hopped up and then you go out and commit these murders under the effect of drugs. They were all young kids the Old Man of the Mountain had. He terrorized all the Middle East and started terrorizing Europe. He could get anything he wanted. Well, there’s the Medell’n [drug cartel] and the Mafia today. This is the way we do things. This happens with assassins. They’re a brotherhood; they’re families.
I didn’t bring my Pearl of Great Price, but that round thing, the Hypocephalus (the name is on it) belonged to Sheshonk. The Sheshonqides founded the twenty-second dynasty, and that’s not an Egyptian name. They were the Meshwesh, the great chiefs of the Ma. This is the principle. We can put it this way. We don’t have to go into this all today, but it’s lots of fun. Every great emperor and king is a descendant of a bandit. I don’t know any exception. There may be, but I’ve never found any yet who isn’t descended from a bandit who was just this same way. The great Meshwesh came in. At this time Egypt was being invaded, and they would form dynasties by the Meshwesh, the Tehemmu, and the Temeru. All these tribes were from the west and the south. They would invade the Nile Valley and demand tribute for their armies to go away. This one was hired by a great prince in Heracleopolis whose grandfather had been [a bandit]. This man was the son of Nimrod, and his name was Sheshonk. He made himself indispensable. The agreement usually was with these: You defend the land, and we’ll give you land. They were given lands and estates, and they would take to farming with their serfs whom they had captured in their various raids. They became very prosperous farmers, with the understanding that they were to come to the great lord’s aid in time of war. Well, very soon they built up their own strength. They didn’t have to come to anybody’s aid. The Meshwesh—”the great chief of Ma,” as they called him—was ruling in Heracleopolis. Then his [son] married the daughter of the high priest of Thebes. By the fifth generation the twenty-second dynasty was founded by the Sheshonqides. It’s very interesting that we have the name Tubaloth [verse 16] here from that dynasty. There were five Sheshonks. This was the way they did it. The tribes would take over, and then they would become pharaohs. But the pharaohs before them had done that. Out of the thirty dynasties in Egypt maybe one or two of them were native Egyptian, but I doubt it. They were all Asiatics or from the west. Then came the people of the sea, relatives of ours. The peoples of the sea came in 1200. There were the Siculi from Sicily, the Sardenu from Sardinia, the Palaštu who settled down in Palestine. There were the Achaeans, the Greek-speaking people of Homer. The Philistines spoke Greek too, a language very closely related to our own. But they were all raiding people. They came as raiders, and they settled down. They took what they could. If they couldn’t take it, they would make a deal and be settled down and join the king’s own army and add to it—it’s your chess game, etc. Well, this was in Egypt. In Asia it was even more active that way. To keep from plundering each other they formed the sacred brotherhoods. That’s all that has been going on in the world. People have been plundering each other and settling down. Where’s your civilization? The old kingdom of Egypt is the only case where we find what might be called a real civilization. The rest of them were just taking over. It’s amazing. We forget about the other brotherhoods. If it wasn’t for inspiration and intervention from on high, nothing would ever happen except this sort of thing.
I cut this out of the paper this morning to give an example of what’s going on in the world now. He goes down the list of things here [to show] the capacity for meanness. “I ask if there is no one in Iran, Syria, and Lebanon whose heart and mind does not lead them to say, ‘An end to this holding of hostages,’ but I see that the West Bank and other outrages against the kin of the hostage takers deadens the hearts and minds on both sides. . . . I thought of the searing violence that people resort to . . . . The assassins of the drug cartels in Colombia have just murdered two television journalists in Bogota, continuing their reign of terror against all who oppose the leaders of this multi-billion drug trade.”
See, it’s loot and rivalry and buildup. It will soon build up a legitimate government. They think they are legitimate. This is what has been happening all along. “Over the past weekend five more people were killed in the District of Columbia, a total of 369 homicides in the nation’s beautiful capital.” The homicides in England over a year would be somewhere around 100, but not 369 so far this year in one city, and that in the capital which should be the model of order, decorum, and control. This sort of thing goes on. So we still need the Book of Mormon. “Then I thought of a state-imposed inhumanity, murder, and hostages taken as I watched 70,000 black South Africans rally around 77-year-old Wallace ______ and others who were held hostage by the South African government for twenty-six years until they were freed last week.” Nelson Mandella and others. Then he goes, “The Nazis massacred hundreds in a Mideastern city in 1942.” We think of the Holocaust, Malai [massacre in Vietnam], Jamestown, the Philadelphia-Mississippi murders, and Idi Amin in Uganda. We’re doing the same sort of thing today. It’s not getting better; it’s getting worse. So I’m afraid we need the Book of Mormon after all. But are we going to take it to heart?
We got this far with these various things. But this is the process they were following. Notice, these people are quite mobile. They form themselves into governments. Religion is the one thing that holds them together, but it is very fragile and brittle and breaks apart. There is always trouble arising within the people themselves. Then this Coriantumr leads to trouble. I thought we would get them out of war for good into good, wholesome, everyday crime. We haven’t done it yet, so we’ll have to take up here next time.