Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Were the Kingmen Only Mulekites? – Part II

Continued from the previous post regarding the dissensions of various groups within the Nephite Nation and what their background might have been. Previously, both Nephite and Muleite groups were discussed and that they joined together under King Mosiash, and of a rising generation who refused Benjamin’s words.
    As mentioned previously, this rising generation did not know or understand Benjamin’s words, and they refused to be baptized nor join the Church Alma had set up under Mosiah’s direction. Instead, they chose to become a “separate people as to their faith, and remained so ever after, even in their carnal and sinful state” (Mosiah 26:1-4).
    No doubt, some of these people would have been both Nephites and of the original Mulekite group, since both groups were present when king Benjamin spoke. Now, while some theorists want to tell us that the Nephites and Mulekites were separate at this time, meaning they were separate in their position around the temple, etc., we are told by Mormon that “when they came up to the temple, they pitched their tents round about, every man according to his family, consisting of his wife, and his sons, and his daughters, and their sons, and their daughters, from the eldest down to the youngest, every family being separate one from another” (Mosiah 2:5).
Obviously, there was no mention that they were separated by tribe or any other grouping such as Nephites and Mulekites. Later, when the people gathered together to hear the report of those who had gone to the Land of Nephi and returned (Limhi and Alma), the Nephites and Mulekites were assembled in two groups (Mosiah 25:4), and they united into one people at that time (Mosiah 25:13).
    It was children of those present at king Benjamin’s discourse, years later, that “could not understand the words of king Benjamin, being little children at the time he spake unto his people; and they did not believe the tradition of their fathers” (Mlosiah 26:1).
    So who were this younger rising generation who were upset with their parents’ beliefs and the way the government was run, which they felt favored the Church and the large religious segment of the people with whom they did not associate? First of all, king Benjamin delivered his speech to the people in 124 B.C., and with children unable to understand his words, we can say that these children were somewhere under ten years of age. Now at the time of the king-men, in 67 B.C., this generation would be in their early to late 60s, meaning their children would be somewhere between 20 and 35 years of age.
    This would appear to be the age group who would find fault with a government, and want to make changes—perhaps any change as long as it was different. Thus, it seems reasonable that naming a king over them would be preferable to the system already in place. It began with this group wanting a few particular points of the law changed (Alma 51:2), and sent a petition to Pahoran, the chief Judge, who refused to enact them (Alma 51:3).
    This resulted in this generation becoming angry and wanting Pahoran removed from his office as Chief Judge. They then decided they wanted to overthrow the free government entirely and establish a king over the land (Alma 51:5). A vote was taken, and the majority of people decided in favor of maintaining their free government (Alma 51:7), but this generation wanting change were unhappy. Now those who wanted change were of high birth, and sought to be kings and “were supported by those who sought power and authority over the people” (Alma 51:8).
    Theorists want to claim that those of high birth would have been Mulekites of the Davidic lineage, they could just as well have been Nephites who traced their lineage back to Nephi, thus claiming high birth from the founder of their nation. Either way, the combination of those who sought to be kings and those who sought power over the people, were likely of a much wider consortium of people than just Mulekites. After all, people who want power and control are generally not limited to a particular family or group of people, but found in people generally.
    To lay claim on these king-men were all Mulekites or their leaders were Mulekites, is unwarranted, both by any lack of scriptural reference or indication, and also by people’s nature in general.
It was Amalikiah (left) who desired to be king. No doubt a talented and manipulative agitator with ruthless ambitions, he was supported by other aspiring people, especially lower judges who did not want to serve the people but desired to be rulers over them.
Thus these disloyal judges were led away by Amalickiah’s flattering words to dissensions, notwithstanding the preaching of Helaman and his brethren (Alma 46:6), even causing dissensions among the church. Thus causing the affairs of the church and people to be exceedingly precarious and dangerous (Alma 46:7).
    At this time Morianton, a leader of a city and land along the east coast, wanted to usurp some of the land of a neighboring city, and when his territorial dispute was thwarted by Moroni, he and his followers all decided to move to the northern lands. Fortuitously, Moroni intervened and stopped Morianton from making an alliance in the north and after a severe battle as Morianton fled northward, he was killed and the repentful members of his band returned to their lands.
    Six years after Amalickiah was stopped in his grab for Nephite power, a group of Nephites of high birth, called king-men, sought power and authority over the people (Alma 51:8), and attempted to change the law “in a manner to overthrow the free government and to establish a king over the land (Alma 51:5). However, the people in a vote rejected the king-men’s proposal.
Unfortunately, at this precise moment a vast Lamanites army came down to do battle with the Nephites, and the rejected king-men led by a man named Pachus, were glad of the Nephite danger and refused to help defend the nation against the Lamanites (Alma 51:13). As the Nephite armies were involved in defending the nation in the east against the invading Lamanites, Pachus in Zarahemla rose among the king-men and took over the government, driving from office the chief judge Pahoran, whose earlier direction to Moroni had been: “Therefore, my beloved brother, Moroni, let us resist evil, and whatsoever evil we cannot resist with our words, yea, such as rebellions and dissensions, let us resist them with our swords, that we may retain our freedom, that we may rejoice in the great privilege of our church, and in the cause of our Redeemer and our God” (Alma 61:14).
    This rebellion grew and drew Moroni’s attention in the West, resulted in the Lamanites capturing the eastern city of Nephihah and giving the Lamanites several victories along the east coast. Angered, Moroni obtained permission from the rightful Nephite government, and led his army against the king-men to compel them to defend the country or die. The ensuing battle  resulted in Pachus and 4000 dissenters of king-men being killed (Alma 51:19-20).
    “And the men of Pachus received their trial, according to the law, and also those king-men who had been taken and cast into prison; and they were executed according to the law; yea, those men of Pachus and those king-men, whosoever would not take up arms in the defense of their country, but would fight against it, were put to death” (Alma 62:9). To which Moroni responded: “thus it [is] expedient that this law should be strictly observed for the safety of their country; yea, and whosoever was found denying their freedom was speedily executed according to the law” (Alma 62:10).
    So we see that when conflict results in war, when rebellions from within cause severe harm to righteous people and threaten their very lives, when domestic rebellious uprising threaten to topple the nation and its people, yet after ample opportunity to repent and change has been afforded, then it can be said that righteous leadership using military force to put down the treachery of dissent has been justified. Within a year Moroni had defeated the king-men, Amalikiah, and driven the Lamanites completely out of the Nephite lands.
    In all of this we see an evil group of power-hungry people, willing to subvert the laws to which the majority of people adhere, in order to obtain power and authority over their fellow man. Such has been the case throughout history, from every despot, villain, dictator, invader, and would-be conqueror to those who subtly try to subvert the will of the people with their devious flattery and hidden objectives, we have seen such events repeated time and again. When righteous men adopt patient long-suffering to give these tyrants and devious traitors their chance to alter their evil paths, then resorting to the use of force against such dissenters is warranted.
    It should be noted, however, throughout this 13-year-long event, of different people rising to obtain illegal power and leadership over the people, there is no hint, suggestion or reference of any kind to the heritage of those involved—only that they were Nephites. For Hugh Nibley, John L. Sorenson and others to lay that treacherous activity and attitude strictly at the feet of the Mulekites, those of the House of David, etc., do that people of history a disservice and alter influence the normal tendency of evil men, no matter their background and upbringing to commit their evil acts. The Kingmen sought illegally to become kings and leaders over the people; the Freemen sought to maintain their free government and be ruled by chosen leaders and not kings. Other than that, we know nothing about the background of these dissenters, and what “-ites” other than Nephites they were.

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