What Mormons Can Do When Faced With a Gadianton Government

Conspiracies Can Overthrow Free Governments

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Who was Gadianton?

Gadianton was the leader of a band of robbers and murderers in Book of Mormon times. This band figures strongly in many of the stories that dominate the book.

Based on secret oaths, secret agreements and secrecy in all their operations, the band outlived Gadianton himself and the label applies to any conspiracy that functions essentially the same way as the original Book of Mormon band.

The Book of Mormon makes clear that Gadianton type bands resulted in the downfall of several early civilizations on the American continents, including the Jaredites and the Nephites. It is also clear that Gadianton type bands have existed in all times, not just in Book of Mormon times.

What is a Gadianton Government?

The phrase, Gadianton government, is not used in the Book of Mormon. However, it is used here to refer to a government that has been largely overtaken by these conspiracies.

We need to remember that Gadianton bands can exist inside society, where they then infiltrate government, or else outside society, where they exist on their own and wage a shooting war to overthrow government. Both types existed in the Book of Mormon. Both types should concern us now.

Should We Identify Gadianton Bands and Members?

Identifying, classifying and labeling conspirators, their leaders and their bands is a purely academic exercise.

It does little to prevent them from taking over government and nothing to remove them, if they are already there.

Such identification efforts can obscure the real issue of lessening their influence and removing them. Also, being preoccupied with identification can simply result in people arguing whether someone is or is not involved and wasting a great deal of time.

Preventing or removing them from influencing government involves the same steps, whether they are formally identified or not.

In a poignant appeal to modern people to not let their societies suffer the same downfall, Moroni pleads with his readers to recognize the signs:

Wherefore, O ye Gentiles, it is wisdom in God that these things should be shown unto you, that thereby ye may repent of your sins, and suffer not that these murderous combinations shall get above you, which are built up to get power and gain—and the work, yea, even the work of destruction come upon you, yea, even the sword of the justice of the Eternal God shall fall upon you, to your overthrow and destruction if ye shall suffer these things to be.

Wherefore, the Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation, because of this secret combination which shall be among you; or wo be unto it, because of the blood of them who have been slain; for they cry from the dust for vengeance upon it, and also upon those who built it up.

For it cometh to pass that whoso buildeth it up seeketh to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries; and it bringeth to pass the destruction of all people, for it is built up by the devil, who is the father of all lies; even that same liar who beguiled our first parents, yea, even that same liar who hath caused man to commit murder from the beginning; who hath hardened the hearts of men that they have murdered the prophets, and stoned them, and cast them out from the beginning.

Elsewhere in the above chapter, Moroni makes it clear that societies that allow Gadianton government will be destroyed by Heavenly Father, because He cannot allow them to exist.

The Solution to Gadianton Government is Always the Same

We know that righteousness as individuals and righteousness in all our activities, including government, will prevent Gadianton government from flourishing. However, emphasizing the following is important:

  • Choose to be righteous yourself
  • Value and protect freedom
  • Elect good people to government positions
  • Remove unrighteous people from government positions

Obviously, preventing Gadianton government requires citizens to take an active part to protect freedoms they have under the governments they currently live under.

Electing good people is worth our attention and our time.

Seeking to defeat unrighteous people is also worth our time. In American government, this would include removing unrighteous judges through retention elections, impeachment or other mechanisms that are available. It also includes efforts to promote righteousness among unelected civil servants in government and others who abuse their power.

We Must Plan for Tough Times Ahead

None of us know what the future will bring. Preparing for it includes all the guidance we have on food storage, emergency planning, getting out of debt, staying out of debt and so forth.

Former President Gordon B. Hinckley articulated all of this in his classic address, The Times in Which We Live shortly after the 9/11 World Trade Center attack on American soil.

Satan and his forces will remain active in spreading discord across the world. Times of upheaval will continue until Jesus Christ finally comes to reign on earth.