34. “How Could You Have Forgotten Your God?”

“The Gadianton Robbers and Protracted War,” Ray C. Hillam, BYU Studies, Vol. 15, no. 2
The war between the Nephites, Lamanites, and the Gadianton Robbers included warfare ranging from political intrigue to open battle. This article “The Gadianton Robbers and Protracted War” not only gives a succinct overview of incidents and characters and discusses each of the events in Helaman 6-12. It delves into the tactics and motivations of the principle characters, as well as the consequences of their actions. He then ties the Book of Mormon events with modern-day terrorists, guerilla warriors, and unprincipled conspirators. These insights enable readers to find personal application amidst the clamorous descriptions of warfare.
Chart 133: “Chiasmus in Helaman 6:7-13,” Charting the Book of Mormon

Chart 146: “Nephite Cycles: Years 50-90 of the Reign of the Judges,” Charting the Book of Mormon
Helaman 6

“‘My People Are Willing’: The Mention of Aminadab in the Narrative Context of Helaman 5-6,” Matthew L. Bowen, in Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture
Aminadab, a Nephite by birth who later dissented to the Lamanites, played a crucial role in the mass conversion of three hundred Lamanites and eventually many others. The mention of Aminadab’s name in Helaman 5 and Mormon’s echoes of it elsewhere have covenant temple significance.

“Chiasmus in Mesoamerican Texts,” Allen J. Christenson, in Reexploring the Book of Mormon
An investigation into thirty-seven native Mayan texts, expanding the reach of chiasmic studies.

“Challenging Conventional View of Metal,” John L. Sorenson, in Pressing Forward with the Book of Mormon: The FARMS Updates of the 1990s
Renewed research on the use of metals in Mesoamerica has revealed a substantial body of data on the subject that can challenge the view of orthodox archaeologists that metals were not used in Mesoamerica until five hundred years after the scripture says the Nephites were destroyed.

“Hiding the Secret Plans,” John A. Tvedtnes, in Insights 22, no. 8
The story of Cain and Abel is paralleled by the account of the Gadianton robbers, who “concealed their secret plans in the earth” and later retrieved them.

“Notes on ‘Gadianton Masonry’,” Daniel C. Peterson, in Warfare in the Book of Mormon
This paper looks into the alleged presence of Freemasonry in the Book of Mormon.

“Secret Combinations Revisited,” Daniel C. Peterson, in Pressing Forward with the Book of Mormon: The FARMS Updates of the 1990s
​It has long been contended by critics of the Book of Mormon that its “Gadianton robbers” are merely nineteenth-century Freemasons, transparently disguised, as the Book uses the same phrase, “secret combination,” with which contemporary newspapers referred to the masons during the late 1820s. This paper revisits that theory, showing evidence which supports its ancient American use.

“Secret Covenant Teachings of Men and the Devil in Helaman Through 3 Nephi 8,” Victor L. Ludlow, in The Book of Mormon: Helaman Through 3 Nephi 8
There are 154 references to “covenant” in the Book of Mormon, with a small portion of them being secret covenants made between men and the devil.

“The Terrifying Book of Helaman,” Gerald Hansen, Jr., in The Book of Mormon: Helaman Through 3 Nephi 8
To read the book of Helaman primarily as a history is to miss the point. Mormon uses the history of the Nephites to warn us to avoid wickedness that could lead to our destruction.

“The Gadianton Robbers in Mormon’s Theological History: Their Structural Role and Plausible Identification,” Brant A. Gardner, in 2002 FAIR Conference
This article examines the role of secret combinations in the narratives of the Book of Mormon and their plausible identification with some historical event or group.

“‘Secret Combinations’,” David R. Benard, John W. Welch, and Daniel C. Peterson, in Reexploring the Book of Mormon
Benard examines the use of the term “secret combinations” throughout history.

Helaman 7

“The Marketplace,” Wallace E. Hunt, Jr., In Pressing Forward with the Book of Mormon: The FARMS Updates of the 1990s
In relating the story of the prophet Nephi’s praying on his tower after returning to his home in Zarahemla from the land northward, Mormon adds a seemingly immaterial description of the tower’s location when he places it “in the garden of Nephi, which was by the highway which led to the chief market” (Helaman 7:10). Significantly, this is the only place in the Book of Mormon where the word market appears.

“Nephi’s Garden and Chief Market,” John L. Sorenson, in Reexploring the Book of Mormon
Helaman 7:10 clearly states that Nephi had a “garden” and that it was near the highway that led to the “chief market” in the city of Zarahemla. Such ideas have seemed incompatible with what was known about ancient American life. Recent discoveries about Mesoamerican urban settlements, however, have now made these features seem highly reasonable.

“Was Helaman 7–8 An Allegorical Funeral Sermon?” John W. Welch, in Reexploring the Book of Mormon
Nephi’s lamentation on the tower might be seen as his way to attract attention so that he could deliver his powerful sermon on repentance and the impending coming of Christ. Other prophets also used dramatic actions to send a message to their people.

Helaman 8

“Moses’ Brazen Serpent as It Relates to Serpent Worship in Mesoamerica,” Wallace E. Hunt, Jr., Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, no. 2
The account of Moses’ brazen serpent as taught by the Nephite leaders presents parallels to the symbol and name of the Mesoamerican god, “Quetzalcoatl.” It further shows that the term flying, used in the Nephite but not in the biblical account of the fiery serpent, has parallels in the Old and New Worlds.

“Quetzalcoatl, the Maya Maize God, and Jesus Christ,” Diane E. Wirth, in Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 11, no. 1
In light of ancient sources and modern studies that have appeared in recent decades, some proposed links between Jesus Christ and Quetzalcoatl remain quite plausible while others are now questionable. This article examines and sets into a helpful context possible links that may derive from, or be related to, the Nephites’ knowledge of and teaching about the Savior.

“Serpent Symbols and Salvation in the Ancient Near East and the Book of Mormon,” Andrew C. Skinner, in Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 10, no. 2
The image of the serpent was tremendously significant in the ancient world. Societies and scriptures of the Near East simultaneously attributed two highly symbolic roles to serpents. This article explores whether or not the Book of Mormon fits the biblical and Near Eastern cultural environment regarding the dual nature of serpent symbolism.

“Savior, Satan, and Serpent: The Duality of a Symbol in the Scriptures,” Andrew C. Skinner, in The Disciple as Scholar: Essays on Scripture and the Ancient World in Honor of Richard Lloyd Anderson
This essay surveys the nonbiblical Mediterranean and Mesopotamian cultural evidence of serpent symbolism, reviews the scriptural usage of serpent symbolism (showing how it referred to both the Savior and Satan), and suggests something about the origin of this dual symbol.

Helaman 9

“The Case of an Unobserved Murder,” John W. Welch, in Reexploring the Book of Mormon
The trial of Seantum in Helaman 7-8 raises some interesting points of Nephite and Israelite law. This paper examines Seantum’s self-incriminating confession and how it was received in the Nephite justice system.