3 Nephi Chapter 6 Critique
Nephites prosper—Pride, wealth, and class distinctions arise—The Church
is rent with dissensions—Satan leads the people in open rebellion—Many
prophets cry repentance and are slain—Their murderers conspire to take
over the government. About A.D. 26–30.
Verse 1: And
now it came to pass that the people of the Nephites did all return to
their own lands in the twenty and sixth year, every man, with his
family, his flocks and his herds, his horses and his cattle, and all
things whatsoever did belong unto them.
Note: Horses and cattle did not exist in Pre-Columbian America.
The horse had been extinct in the Western Hemisphere
for approximately 10,000 years prior to the arrival of Spanish
Conquistadors in the early 16th century. Consequently, the Indigenous
peoples of the Americas had no warfare technologies that could overcome
the considerable advantage provided by European horses and gunpowder
weapons. In particular this resulted in the conquest of the Aztec and
Inca empires. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Among the findings was that Texas Longhorns are direct
descendants of the first cattle in the New World, which were brought
over by Columbus in 1493. They arrived in the area that would become
Texas near the end of the 17th century. utexas.edu
Verse 2: And it
came to pass that they had not eaten up all their provisions; therefore
they did take with them all that they had not devoured, of all their
grain of every kind, and their gold, and their silver, and all their
precious things, and they did return to their own lands and their
possessions, both on the north and on the south, both on the land
northward and on the land southward.
Note: Wheat did not exist in Pre-Columbian America.
Although it was first introduced in the Western
Hemisphere following the discovery of the New World in the 15th
century, wheat came to be grown the North American soil only during the
colonial period. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Verse 3: And
they granted unto those robbers who had entered into a covenant to keep
the peace of the land, who were desirous to remain Lamanites, lands,
according to their numbers, that they might have, with their labors,
wherewith to subsist upon; and thus they did establish peace in all the
Note: Pre-Columbian prisoners were sacrificed to pagan gods.
During the pre-Columbian era, human sacrifice in Maya
culture was the ritual offering of nourishment to the gods. Blood was
viewed as a potent source of nourishment for the Maya deities, and the
sacrifice of a living creature was a powerful blood offering. By
extension, the sacrifice of a human life was the ultimate offering of
blood to the gods, and the most important Maya rituals culminated in
human sacrifice. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Verses 4-6: And
they began again to prosper and to wax great; and the twenty and sixth
and seventh years passed away, and there was great order in the land;
and they had formed their laws according to equity and justice. And now
there was nothing in all the land to hinder the people from prospering
continually, except they should fall into transgression. And now it was
Gidgiddoni, and the judge, Lachoneus, and those who had been appointed
leaders, who had established this great peace in the land.
Note: Gidgiddoni and Lachoneus are not Pre-Columbian names.
Hunzahúa was the first zaque; ruler of the northern
Muisca with capital Hunza, named after him. His contemporary zipa of
the southern Muisca was Meicuchuca. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Verses 7-9: And
it came to pass that there were many cities built anew, and there were
many old cities repaired. And there were many highways cast up, and
many roads made, which led from city to city, and from land to land,
and from place to place. And thus passed away the twenty and eighth
year, and the people had continual peace.
Note: Solomon Spalding did not know about the Amazon River.
The river is the principal path of transportation for
people and produce in the regions, with transport ranging from balsa
rafts and dugout canoes to hand built wooden river craft and modern
steel hulled craft. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Verses 10-11: But
it came to pass in the twenty and ninth year there began to be some
disputings among the people; and some were lifted up unto pride and
boastings because of their exceedingly great riches, yea, even unto
great persecutions; For there were many merchants in the land, and also
many lawyers, and many officers.
Note: Lawyers did not exist in Pre-Columbian America.
Historically lawyers in most European countries were
addressed with the title of doctor, and countries outside of Europe
have generally followed the practice of the European country which had
policy influence through colonization. The first university degrees,
starting with the law school of the University of Bologna (or
glossators) in the 11th century, were all law degrees and doctorates.
Degrees in other fields did not start until the 13th century, but the
doctor continued to be the only degree offered at many of the old
universities until the 20th century. Therefore, in many of the southern
European countries, including Portugal and Italy, lawyers have
traditionally been addressed as “doctor,” a practice, which was
transferred to many countries in South America and Macau. Wikipedia
Verse 12: And
the people began to be distinguished by ranks, according to their
riches and their chances for learning; yea, some were ignorant because
of their poverty, and others did receive great learning because of
Note: Pre-Columbian advancement was based on nobility.
Maya politics was dominated by a closed system of
patronage, although the exact political make-up of a kingdom varied
from city-state to city-state. By the Late Classic, the aristocracy had
greatly increased, resulting in the corresponding reduction in the
exclusive power of the divine king. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Verse 13: Some
were lifted up in pride, and others were exceedingly humble; some did
return railing for railing, while others would receive railing and
persecution and all manner of afflictions, and would not turn and
revile again, but were humble and penitent before God.
Note: The Christian God was unknown in Pre-Columbian paganism.
Jacawitz (/χäkäˈwits/) (also spelt Jakawitz, Jakawits,
Q'aq'awits and Hacavitz) was a mountain god of the Postclassic K'iche'
Maya of highland Guatemala. He was the patron of the Ajaw K'iche'
lineage and was a companion of the sun god Tohil. It is likely that he
received human sacrifice. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Verse 14: And
thus there became a great inequality in all the land, insomuch that the
church began to be broken up; yea, insomuch that in the thirtieth year
the church was broken up in all the land save it were among a few of
the Lamanites who were converted unto the true faith; and they would
not depart from it, for they were firm, and steadfast, and immovable,
willing with all diligence to keep the commandments of the Lord.
Note: The church did not exist in Pre-Columbian paganism.
The sun deity can be shown as a king (ajaw) seated high
on a throne cushion (as on the famous, narrative 'Rabbit Vase' from
Naranjo), or as a ruler carrying the bicephalic 'ceremonial bar'.
Inversely, the Maya king is repeatedly assimilated to the sun deity.
The emblematic double-bird of the early Copan king, Yax K'uk' Mo'
'Great Quetzal-Parrot', shows the head of the sun deity within its
beaks. Ancestral Maya kings assimilated to the sun deity were sometimes
depicted while vertically descending from the zenith (as on Takalik
Abaj stela 2 and Tikal stela 31). Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Now the cause of this iniquity of the people was this—Satan had great
power, unto the stirring up of the people to do all manner of iniquity,
and to the puffing them up with pride, tempting them to seek for power,
and authority, and riches, and the vain things of the world. And thus
Satan did lead away the hearts of the people to do all manner of
iniquity; therefore they had enjoyed peace but a few years.
Note: Pre-Columbian civilizations were highly segregated.
Archaeological evidence suggests that Teotihuacan was a
multi-ethnic city, with distinct quarters occupied by Otomi, Zapotec,
Mixtec, Maya, and Nahua peoples. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Verses 17-18: And
thus, in the commencement of the thirtieth year—the people having been
delivered up for the space of a long time to be carried about by the
temptations of the devil whithersoever he desired to carry them, and to
do whatsoever iniquity he desired they should—and thus in the
commencement of this, the thirtieth year, they were in a state of awful
wickedness. Now they did not sin ignorantly, for they knew the will of
God concerning them, for it had been taught unto them; therefore they
did wilfully rebel against God.
Note: Pre-Columbian natives were polytheistic pagans.
Tohil's principal function was that of a fire deity and
he was also both a sun god and the god of rain. Tohil was also
associated with mountains and he was a god of war, sacrifice and
sustenance. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Verse 19: And
now it was in the days of Lachoneus, the son of Lachoneus, for
Lachoneus did fill the seat of his father and did govern the people
Note: Lachoneus was not a Pre-Columbian name.
In the Maya region, numerous city states such as Tikal,
Calakmul, Copán, Palenque, Uxmal, Cobá, and Caracol reached their
zeniths. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Verse 20: And
there began to be men inspired from heaven and sent forth, standing
among the people in all the land, preaching and testifying boldly of
the sins and iniquities of the people, and testifying unto them
concerning the redemption which the Lord would make for his people, or
in other words, the resurrection of Christ; and they did testify boldly
of his death and sufferings.
Note: Jesus Christ was unknown in Pre-Columbian paganism.
Yopaat was an important Maya storm god in the southern
Maya area that included the cities of Copán and Quiriguá during the
Classic period of Mesoamerican chronology. Yopaat was closely related
to Chaac, the Maya rain god. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Now there were many of the people who were exceedingly angry because of
those who testified of these things; and those who were angry were
chiefly the chief judges, and they who had been high priests and
lawyers; yea, all those who were lawyers were angry with those who
testified of these things. Now there was no lawyer nor judge nor high
priest that could have power to condemn any one to death save their
condemnation was signed by the governor of the land.
Note: Hostility towards lawyers was increasing during the life of Solomon Spalding.
Hostility towards the legal profession is a widespread
phenomenon. The legal profession was abolished in Prussia in 1780 and
in France in 1789, though both countries eventually realized that their
judicial systems could not function efficiently without lawyers.
Complaints about too many lawyers were common in both England and the
United States in the 1840s. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Verse 23: Now
there were many of those who testified of the things pertaining to
Christ who testified boldly, who were taken and put to death secretly
by the judges, that the knowledge of their death came not unto the
governor of the land until after their death.
Note: Jesus Christ was unknown in Pre-Columbian paganism.
Yum Kaax is a Yucatek name for the god of the wild vegetation and guardian of its animals. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Now behold, this was contrary to the laws of the land, that any man
should be put to death except they had power from the governor of the
land— Therefore a complaint came up unto the land of Zarahemla, to the
governor of the land, against these judges who had condemned the
prophets of the Lord unto death, not according to the law. Now it came
to pass that they were taken and brought up before the judge, to be
judged of the crime which they had done, according to the law which had
been given by the people. Now it came to pass that those judges had
many friends and kindreds; and the remainder, yea, even almost all the
lawyers and the high priests, did gather themselves together, and unite
with the kindreds of those judges who were to be tried according to the
Note: Grievance redress did not exist in Pre-Columbian America.
The Maya states were initially governed by simple
chiefdoms. By the Classic Period, Maya governance had taken on the form
of powerful centralized leaders who legitimized their authority through
their political connections and their divine lineages. Individuals who
disobeyed their rulers faced severe punishment because the Maya people
believed that obedience to their leader was critical to maintaining the
harmony of the Maya universe. Human sacrifice had begun prior to the
Classic Period, and was used as a tool of social and religious control
to demonstrate the power of the ruler and the gods. utexas.edu
And they did enter into a covenant one with another, yea, even into
that covenant which was given by them of old, which covenant was given
and administered by the devil, to combine against all righteousness.
Therefore they did combine against the people of the Lord, and enter
into a covenant to destroy them, and to deliver those who were guilty
of murder from the grasp of justice, which was about to be administered
according to the law. And they did set at defiance the law and the
rights of their country; and they did covenant one with another to
destroy the governor, and to establish a king over the land, that the
land should no more be at liberty but should be subject unto kings.
Note: Liberty did not exist in Pre-Columbian America.
The Maya had a system of serfdom and slavery. Serfs
typically worked lands that belonged to the ruler or local town leader.
There was an active slave trade in the Maya region, and commoners and
elites were both permitted to own slaves. Individuals were enslaved as
a form of punishment for certain crimes and for failing to pay back
their debts. Prisoners of war who were not sacrificed would become
slaves, and impoverished individuals sometimes sold themselves or
family members into slavery. Slavery status was not passed on to the
children of slaves. However, unwanted orphan children became slaves and
were sometimes sacrificed during religious rituals. Slaves were usually
sacrificed when their owners died so that they could continue in their
service after death. If a man married a slave woman, he became a slave
of the woman's owner. This was was also the case for women who married
male slaves. utexas.edu
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