Account of the days of Helaman II
son of helaman, son of alma
abridged ca. 373 ad from the record of helaman
And now behold, it came to pass in the commencement of the fortieth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi, there began to be a serious difficulty among the people of the Nephites. For behold, Pahoran had died, and gone the way of all the earth. Therefore there began to be a serious contention concerning who should have the judgment-seat among the brethren, who were the sons of Pahoran. Now these are their names who did contend for the judgment-seat, who did also cause the people to contend: Parhoron, Paanchi, and Pacumeni.
Now these are not all the sons of Pahoran, for he had many. But these are they who did contend for the judgment-seat. Therefore, they did cause three divisions among the people. Nevertheless, it came to pass that Parhoron was appointed by the voice of the people to be chief judge and a governor over the people of Nephi. And it came to pass that Pacumeni, when he saw that he could not obtain the judgment-seat, he did unite with the voice of the people.
But behold, Paanchi, and that part of the people that were desirous that he should be their governor, was exceedingly wroth. Therefore, he was about to flatter away those people to rise up in rebellion against their brethren. And it came to pass as he was about to do this, behold, he was taken, and was tried according to the voice of the people, and condemned unto death; for he had raised up in rebellion and sought to destroy the liberty of the people. Now when those people who were desirous that he should be their governor saw that he was condemned unto death, therefore they were angry, and behold, they sent forth one Kishkumen, even to the judgment-seat of Parhoron, and murdered Parhoron as he sat upon the judgment-seat.
And he was pursued by the servants of Parhoron. But behold, so speedy was the flight of Kishkumen that no man could overtake him. And he went unto those that sent him, and they all entered into a covenant, yea, swearing by their everlasting maker that they would tell no man that Kishkumen had murdered Parhoron.1Though differing in aim, this oath seems to draw on that taken by the sons of Fëanor. Therefore, Kishkumen was not known among the people of Nephi, for he was in disguise at the time that he murdered Parhoron. And Kishkumen and his band, who had covenanted with him, did mingle themselves among the people, in a manner that they all could not be found; but as many as were found were condemned unto death.
And now behold, Pacumeni was appointed, according to the voice of the people, to be a chief judge and a governor over the people, to reign in the stead of his brother Parhoron. And it was according to his right. And all this was done in the fortieth year of the reign of the judges. And it had an end.
And it came to pass in the forty and first year of the reign of the judges, that the Lamanites had gathered together an innumerable army of men, and armed them with swords, and with scimitars and with bows, and with arrows, and with head-plates, and with breastplates, and with all manner of shields of every kind. And they came down again that they might pitch battle against the Nephites. And they were led by a man whose name was Coriantumr. And he was a descendant of Zarahemla, and he was a dissenter from among the Nephites, and he was a large and a mighty man. Therefore, the king of the Lamanites, whose name was Tubaloth, who was the son of Ammoron, supposing that Coriantumr, being a mighty man, could stand against the Nephites, with his strength and also with his great wisdom, insomuch that by sending him forth, he should gain power over the Nephites. Therefore he did stir them up to anger, and he did gather together his armies, and he did appoint Coriantumr to be their leader, and did cause that they should march down to the land of Zarahemla to battle against the Nephites. And it came to pass that because of so much contention and so much difficulty in the government, that they had not kept sufficient guards in the land of Zarahemla. For they had supposed that the Lamanites durst not come into the heart of their lands to attack that great city Zarahemla.
But it came to pass that Coriantumr did march forth at the head of his numerous host, and came upon the inhabitants of the city, and their march was with such exceedingly great speed that there was no time for the Nephites to gather together their armies. Therefore Coriantumr did cut down the watch by the entrance of the city, and did march forth with his whole army into the city, and they did slay every one who did oppose them, insomuch that they did take possession of the whole city. And it came to pass that Pacumeni, who was the chief judge, did flee before Coriantumr, even to the walls of the city. And it came to pass that Coriantumr did smite him against the wall, insomuch that he died. And thus ended the days of Pacumeni. And now when Coriantumr saw that he was in possession of the city of Zarahemla, and saw that the Nephites had fled before them, and were slain, and were taken, and were cast into prison, and that he had obtained the possession of the strongest hold in all the land, his heart took courage insomuch that he was about to go forth against all the land.
And now he did not tarry in the land of Zarahemla, but he did march forth with a large army, even towards the city of Bountiful. For it was his determination to go forth and cut his way through with the sword, that he might obtain the north parts of the land. And, supposing that their greatest strength was in the center of the land, therefore he did march forth, giving them no time to assemble themselves together save it were in small bodies. And in this manner they did fall upon them and cut them down to the earth. But behold, this march of Coriantumr through the center of the land gave Moronihah great advantage over them, notwithstanding the greatness of the number of the Nephites who were slain.
For behold, Moronihah had supposed that the Lamanites durst not come into the center of the land, but that they would attack the cities round about in the borders as they had hitherto done. Therefore Moronihah had caused that their strong armies should maintain those parts round about by the borders. But behold, the Lamanites were not frightened according to his desire. But they had come into the center of the land, and had taken the capital city which was the city of Zarahemla, and were marching through the most capital parts of the land, slaying the people with a great slaughter, both men, women, and children, taking possession of many cities and of many strongholds. But when Moronihah had discovered this, he immediately sent forth Lehi with an army round about to head them before they should come to the land Bountiful. And thus he did, and he did head them before they came to the land Bountiful and gave unto them battle, insomuch that they began to retreat back towards the land of Zarahemla. And it came to pass that Moronihah did head them in their retreat and did give unto them battle, insomuch that it became an exceedingly bloody battle. Yea, many were slain, and among the number who were slain Coriantumr was also found. And now, behold, the Lamanites could not retreat either way, neither on the north, nor on the south, nor on the east, nor on the west, for they were surrounded on every hand by the Nephites.
And thus had Coriantumr plunged the Lamanites into the midst of the Nephites, insomuch that they were in the power of the Nephites, and he himself was slain, and the Lamanites did yield themselves into the hands of the Nephites. And it came to pass that Moronihah took possession of the City of Zarahemla again, and caused that the Lamanites who had been taken prisoners should depart out of the land in peace. And thus ended the forty and first year of the reign of the judges.
And it came to pass in the forty and second year of the reign of the judges, after Moronihah had established again peace between the Nephites and the Lamanites, behold there was no one to fill the judgment-seat. Therefore there began to be a contention again among the people concerning who should fill the judgment-seat. And it came to pass that Helaman, who was the son of Helaman, was appointed to fill the judgment-seat by the voice of the people. But behold, Kishkumen, who had murdered Parhoron, did lay wait to destroy Helaman also. And he was upheld by his band, who had entered into a covenant that no one should know his wickedness.
For there was one Gadianton, who was exceedingly expert in many words, and also in his craft, to carry on the secret work of murder and of robbery. Therefore he became the leader of the band of Kishkumen. Therefore he did flatter them and also Kishkumen, that if they would place him in the judgment-seat he would grant unto those who belonged to his band that they should be placed in power and authority among the people. Therefore Kishkumen sought to destroy Helaman. And it came to pass as he went forth towards the judgment-seat to destroy Helaman, behold one of the servants of Helaman having been out by night, and having obtained through disguise a knowledge of those plans which had been laid by this band to destroy Helaman – and it came to pass that he met Kishkumen and he gave unto him a sign. Therefore Kishkumen made known unto him the object of his desire, desiring that he would conduct him to the judgment-seat that he might murder Helaman. And when the servant of Helaman had known all the heart of Kishkumen, and how that it was his object to murder and also that it was the object of all those who belonged to his band to murder, and to rob and to gain power, (and this was their secret plan and their combination) the servant of Helaman said unto Kishkumen: Let us go forth unto the judgment-seat.
Now this did please Kishkumen exceedingly, for he did suppose that he should accomplish his design. But behold, the servant of Helaman, as they were going forth unto the judgment-seat, did stab Kishkumen even to the heart that he fell dead without a groan! And he ran and told Helaman all the things which he had seen and heard, and done. And it came to pass that Helaman did send forth to take this band of robbers and secret murderers that they might be executed according to the law. But behold, when Gadianton had found that Kishkumen did not return he feared lest that he should be destroyed: therefore he caused that his band should follow him. And they took their flight out of the land by a secret way, into the wilderness. And thus when Helaman sent forth to take them they could nowhere be found. And more of this Gadianton shall be spoken hereafter. And thus ended the forty and second year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi.
And behold, in the end of this book ye shall see that this Gadianton did prove the overthrow, yea, almost the entire destruction of the people of Nephi. Behold I do not mean the end of the Book of Helaman, but I mean the end of the Book of Nephi, from which I have taken all the account which I have written.
And now it came to pass in the forty and third year of the reign of the judges, there was no contention among the people of Nephi save it were a little pride which was in the church which did cause some little dissensions among the people, which affairs were settled in the ending of the forty and third year. And there was no contention among the people in the forty and fourth year; neither was there much contention in the forty and fifth year.
And it came to pass in the forty and sixth, yea, there was much contention and many dissensions, in the which there were an exceedingly great many who departed out of the land of Zarahemla and went forth unto the land northward to inherit the land. And they did travel to an exceedingly great distance, insomuch that they came to large bodies of water and many rivers. Yea, and even they did spread forth into all parts of the land into whatever parts it had not been rendered desolate and without timber, because of the many inhabitants who had before inherited the land. And now no part of the land was desolate, save it were for timber. But because of the greatness of the destruction of the people who had before inhabited the land it was called Desolate. And there being but little timber upon the face of the land, nevertheless the people who went forth became exceedingly expert in the working of cement. Therefore they did build houses of cement, in the which they did dwell.
And it came to pass that they did multiply and spread, and did go forth from the land southward to the land northward, and did spread insomuch that they began to cover the face of the whole earth, from the sea south to the sea north, from the sea west to the sea east. And the people who were in the land northward did dwell in tents and in houses of cement, and they did suffer whatsoever tree should spring up upon the face of the land that it should grow up, that in time they might have timber to build their houses, yea, their cities, and their temples, and their synagogues, and their sanctuaries, and all manner of their buildings. And it came to pass as timber was exceedingly scarce in the land northward, they did send forth much by the way of shipping. And thus they did enable the people in the land northward that they might build many cities, both of wood and of cement. And it came to pass that there were many of the people of Ammon, who were Lamanites by birth, did also go forth into this land.
And now there are many records kept of the proceedings of this people, by many of this people, which are particular and very large, concerning them. But behold, a hundredth part of the proceedings of this people, yea, the account of the Lamanites and of the Nephites, and their wars and contentions, and dissensions, and their preaching and their prophecies, and their shipping and their building of ships, and their building of temples, and of synagogues and their sanctuaries, and their righteousness and their wickedness, and their murders and their robbings, and their plundering and all manner of abominations and whoredoms, cannot be contained in this work. But behold, there are many books and many records of every kind, and they have been kept chiefly by the Nephites. And they have been handed down from one generation to another by the Nephites, even until they have fallen into transgression and have been murdered, plundered, and hunted, and driven forth, and slain, and scattered upon the face of the earth, and mixed with the Lamanites until they are no more called the Nephites, becoming wicked and wild and ferocious, yea, even becoming Lamanites.
And now I return again to mine account.
Therefore, what I have spoken had passed after there had been great contentions and disturbances and wars and dissensions among the people of Nephi. The forty and sixth year of the reign of the judges ended. And it came to pass that there was still great contention in the land, yea, even in the forty and seventh year, and also in the forty and eighth year. Nevertheless Helaman did fill the judgment-seat with justice and equity. Yea, he did observe to keep the statutes, and the judgments, and the commandments of God. And he did do that which was right in the sight of God continually; and he did walk after the ways of his father, insomuch that he did prosper in the land. And it came to pass that he had two sons. He gave unto the eldest the name of Nephi, and unto the youngest, the name of Lehi. And they began to grow up unto the Lord.
And it came to pass that the wars and contentions began to cease, in a small degree among the people of the Nephites, in the latter end of the forty and eighth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi.
And it came to pass in the forty and ninth year of the reign of the judges, there was continual peace established in the land, all save it were the secret combinations which Gadianton the robber had established in the more settled parts of the land, which at that time were not known unto those who were at the head of government. Therefore they were not destroyed out of the land.
And it came to pass that in this same year there was exceedingly great prosperity in the church, insomuch that there were thousands who did join themselves unto the church and were baptized unto repentance. And so great was the prosperity of the church, and so many the blessings which were poured out upon the people, that even the high priests and the teachers were themselves astonished beyond measure. And it came to pass that the work of the Lord did prosper unto the baptizing and uniting to the Church of God, many souls, yea, even tens of thousands. Thus we may see that the Lord is merciful unto all who will in the sincerity of their hearts, call upon his holy name. Yea, thus we see that the Gate of Heaven is open unto all, even to those who will believe on the name of Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God. Yea, we see that whosoever will may lay hold upon the word of God, which is quick and powerful, which shall divide asunder all the cunning and the snares and the wiles of the Devil, and lead the man of Christ in a strait and narrow course across that everlasting gulf of misery which is prepared to engulf the wicked, and land their souls, yea, their immortal souls at the right hand of God in the Kingdom of Heaven to sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and with Jacob, and with all our holy fathers to go no more out.
And in this year there was continual rejoicing in the land of Zarahemla, and in all the regions round about, even in all the land which was possessed by the Nephites. And it came to pass that there was peace and exceedingly great joy in the remainder of the forty and ninth year; yea, and also there was continual peace and great joy in the fiftieth year of the reign of the judges.
And in the fifty and first year of the reign of the judges there was peace also, save it were the pride which began to enter into the church — not into the Church of God, but into the hearts of the people who professed to belong to the Church of God. And they were lifted up in pride, even to the persecution of many of their brethren. Now this was a great evil which did cause the more humble part of the people to suffer great persecutions and to wade through much affliction. Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God.
And it came to pass that the fifty and second year ended in peace also, save it were the exceedingly great pride which had gotten into the hearts of the people. And it was because of their exceedingly great riches and their prosperity in the land, and it did grow upon them from day to day.