I've written various comments on 3 Nephi 3 over the years. Below are my comments with the date that they were written.
This is a wonderful chapter about following the prophets, strength in unity and purity.
The Gadianton robbers were wrecking havoc on the Nephites until finally the leader of the GR wrote to Lachoneus demanding that the Nephites give up their land and possessions. Of course his whole epistle was a complete farce. Giddianhi said that the Nephites could be brothers and partakers with the GR, but this was after he explained why the GR were offended – because their rights to leadership were taken away. Do you think for a second that the GR would not enslave the Nephites? Yet they said they would not!
Lachoneus, who was a prophet, commanded the people to gather into one part of the land with all their possessions. He then exhorted them to repent or else they would never be delivered from the GR. I think that today is much the same. The brethren exhort us to repent and keep the commandments. They also tell us that we must gather oft to pray and partake of the sacrament and to learn and to bear testimony. They instruct us on how to be pure and clean. As will be read later, the Nephites were delivered because they listened to the prophets.
I recently read an article in the July Ensign that talked about following the prophets and how people were affected when they followed the prophets and when they did not. This is just a reference to read that article.
Written June 28, 2000
I have fascinated more and more every day I read these chapters. The parallel between this time of the Nephites and our time is frighteningly similar. The main thug we have been fighting is Osama bin Laden. He has declared war on the United States numerous times. He inspires other thugs like himself to make war upon the free and peaceful people of the United States. Giddianhi is no different. They are all the same. They want to live an archaic life and throw the whole world back into the middle ages. They are not for progress. They are for the tearing down and wrecking havoc. They do not want peace.
We are far from defeating terrorism. I doubt it will ever be defeated. Just as the GR were defeated numerous times, yet they still came back with greater power. It is true that the Nephites and Lamanites defeated the GR this time. But later in the history of the Nephites, the GR reappear and prove to be the entire destruction of the Nephites. The people went from being wealthy, blessed and prosperous to being reduced to a war-loving group of wanderers.
Written September 7, 2003
"Feeling for your welfare"
In 3 Nephi 3:5, Giddianhi tries to flatter Lachoneus by voicing his concern for Lachoneus. Being far removed from the situation, we the readers, plainly see that Giddianhi is a liar and is not truly concerned for Lachoneus' welfare. But at the time, it may have been a little more foggy. It may have appeared to Lachoneus and the Nephites that they were indeed going to be defeated … that the only two choices they had were either death or to join the Gadianton Robbers.
Giddianhi was wise in trying to persuade Lachoneus and the Nephites to give up willingly. If they were successful in persuading the Nephites, it meant that the GR would not lose men and resources in trying to defeat the Nephites. From his perspective, he probably reasoned that his robbers could squash the Nephites … that the Nephites would not last long against his thousands and tens of thousands of warriors. Giddianhi probably thought it would be a waste to kill all those Nephites and squander all the resources. It would be better to have the Nephites willingly give in to them … why should the Nephites sacrifice their lives for so little? It was pointless to fight.
But Lachoneus saw through the lies and subtle reasonings. The GR, despite Gaddianhi's "concerns" for the Nephites, wanted to conquer. They wanted to be the rulers … they wanted the Nephites to pay homage to them, much like the Lamanite king forced Limhi and his people to pay heavy taxes. The Nephites were not interested in survival only to live as slaves. They wanted freedom and they were not going to give Giddianhi the pleasure of being his subjects.
And so Lachoneus did not even reply to Giddianhi's epistle. Instead, he went to work and immediately began to persuade the people to repent and prepare for battle. His Herculean efforts succeeded in gathering the people in one body in one land (3 Nephi 3:25). All the Nephites gathered in between Zarahemla and Bountiful and there they were going to hold out until the end.
Written August 20, 2007