(April 19, 1995. Original lesson from Seminary lesson on Book of Mormon. Used by YM in Bolingbrook for Video)
The Book Of Mormon Murder Mystery Introduction
Helaman Chapters 7 – 9
- Nephi, the Prophet
- Wicked Judges
- Good and Bad People of Zarahemla
- Runners who go to Judgment Seat
- Servants of Chief Judge
- Seantum – Murderer and Brother of Chief Judge
Character Motivation: Nephi, the son of Helaman, Returned from his mission to Zarahemla. They did reject all his words, insomuch that he could not stay among them, but returned again unto the land of his nativity.
Character Motivation: Wicked Judges And seeing the people in a state of such awful wickedness, and those Gadianton robbers filling the judgment-seats–having usurped the power and authority of the land; laying aside the commandments of God, and not in the least aright before him; doing no justice unto the children of men; Condemning the righteous because of their righteousness; letting the guilty and the wicked go unpunished because of their money; and moreover to be held in office at the head of government, to rule and do according to their wills, that they might get gain and glory of the world, and, moreover, that they might the more easily commit adultery, and steal, and kill, and do according to their own wills–
Judges, who also belonged to the secret band of Gadianton, were angry with Nephi because he spake plainly unto them concerning their secret works of darkness; nevertheless, they durst not lay their own hands upon him, for they feared the people lest they should cry out against them.
I Scene 1 Nephi’s Tower
- City of Zarahemla. Nephi at his home, praying upon a tower, which was in the garden of Nephi, which was by the highway which led to the chief market. Certain men passing by and saw Nephi
- Nephi’s heart was swollen with sorrow within his breast; and he did exclaim in the agony of his soul:
- “ Oh, that I could have had my days in the days when my father Nephi first came out of the land of Jerusalem, that I could have joyed with him in the promised land; then were his people firm to keep the commandments of God, and slow to be led to do iniquity; and they were quick to hearken unto the words of the Lord–
- Men of Zarahemla Hear Nephi and they ran and told the people what they had seen, and the people came together in multitudes that they might know the cause of so great mourning for the wickedness of the people.
- Nephi arose and beheld the multitudes of people who had gathered together, and said unto them:
- “Behold, why have ye gathered yourselves together? That I may tell you of your iniquities? O repent ye! repent ye! Why will ye die? Turn ye, turn ye unto the Lord your God. Yea, ye have provoked him to anger against you. And behold, except ye will repent, behold, he shall scatter you forth that ye shall become meat for dogs and wild beasts.”
- “Yea, wo be unto you because of that great abomination which has come among you; and ye have united yourselves unto it, yea, to that secret band which was established by Gadianton! Yea, wo be unto you because of your wickedness and abominations!”
- “And except ye repent ye shall perish; yea, even your lands shall be taken from you, and ye shall be destroyed from off the face of the earth. I know that these things are true therefore I testify that they shall be.”
- Judges, who also belonged to the secret band of Gadianton, and they were angry, and they cried out against him, saying unto the people:
- “Why do ye not seize upon this man and bring him forth, that he may be condemned according to the crime which he has done? Why seest thou this man, and hearest him revile against this people and against our law?”
- People of Zarahemla
- Bad people: “Yeah! Let’s get him!”
- Good people: “Let this man alone, for he is a good man, and those things which he saith will surely come to pass except we repent”
- Judges were compelled because of their fear, that they did not lay their hands on Nephi
- Nephi’s Soliloquy II
- “Behold, my brethren, have ye not read that God gave power unto Moses, to smite upon the waters of the Red Sea, and they parted hither and thither. And now behold, if God gave unto this man such power, then why should ye say that he hath given unto me no power whereby I may know concerning the judgments that shall come upon you except ye repent?
- “Yea, even at this time ye are ripening, because of your murders and your fornication and wickedness, for everlasting destruction; yea, and except ye repent it will come unto you soon. Yea, behold it is now even at your doors; yea, go ye in unto the judgment-seat, and search; and behold, your judge is murdered, and he lieth in his blood; and he hath been murdered by his brother, who seeketh to sit in the judgment-seat. And behold, they both belong to your secret band.”
- The Lead Runner
- “Behold, now we will know of a surety whether this man be a prophet. Behold, we do not believe that he is a prophet; nevertheless, if this thing which he has said concerning the chief judge be true, that he be dead, then will we believe that the other words which he has spoken are true.”
- The Five Runners run to the judgment-seat
II Scene II Chief Judges Court
- Enter Seantum and speaks with his brother “How are you . . . :” and then stabs him. Seantum then runs.
- Enter The Five Runners
- And it came to pass that they ran in their might, and came in unto the judgment-seat; and behold, the chief judge had fallen to the earth, and did lie in his blood.
- And now behold, when they saw this they were astonished exceedingly, insomuch that they fell to the earth; for they had not believed the words which Nephi had spoken concerning the chief judge.
- Enter the Servants of the Chief Judge
- Servant 1: “See. I told you. The Chief Judge is dead.”
- Servant 2: “Who are these 5 guys”
- Servant 1: “ These men are they who have murdered the judge, and God has smitten them that they could not flee from us
III Scene III Funeral of Chief Judge
- People of Zarahemla inquired among the people, saying:
- “Where are the five who were sent to inquire concerning the chief judge whether he was dead?
- Servants of the Chief Judge answered and said:
- “Concerning this five whom ye say ye have sent, we know not; but there are five who are the murderers, whom we have cast into prison.
- Judges desired that they should be brought; and they were brought, and behold they were the five who were sent;
- “What happened?”
- One Runner
- “We ran and came to the place of the judgment-seat, and when we saw all things even as Nephi had testified, we were astonished insomuch that we fell to the earth; and when we were recovered from our astonishment, behold they cast us into prison.
- “Now, as for the murder of this man, we know not who has done it; and only this much we know, we ran and came according as ye desired, and behold he was dead, according to the words of Nephi.
- Judges did expound the matter unto the people, and did cry out against Nephi, saying:
- Behold, we know that this Nephi must have agreed with some one to slay the judge, and then he might declare it unto us, that he might convert us unto his faith, that he might raise himself to be a great man, chosen of God, and a prophet. And now behold, we will detect this man, and he shall confess his fault and make known unto us the true murderer of this judge.
- Runners were liberated on the day of the burial. Nevertheless, they did rebuke the judges: spoken against Nephi, and did contend with them one by one, insomuch that they did confound them.
- Nephi is bound
- Judges began to question him that they might cross him, that they might accuse him to death– Saying
- “Who is this man that hath done this murder? Now tell us, and acknowledge thy fault; saying, Behold here is money; and also we will grant unto thee thy life if thou wilt tell us, and acknowledge the agreement which thou hast made with him.”
- Nephi said unto them:
- “O ye fools, ye blind, and ye stiffnecked people And now behold, I will show unto you another sign, and see if ye will in this thing seek to destroy me.”
IV Scene IV House of Seantum
- Good People of Zarahemla Go to the house of Seantum, who is the brother of Seezoram, and say unto him–
- “Has Nephi, the pretended prophet, who doth prophesy so much evil concerning this people, agreed with thee, in the which ye have murdered Seezoram, who is your brother?”
- Seantum: “Nay”
- Good People of Zarahemla: “Have ye murdered your brother?”
- Seantum: stand with fear, and wist not what to say. And behold, he shall deny unto you; and he shall make as if he were astonished; nevertheless, he shall declare unto you that he is innocent.
- Good People of Zarahemla examine him, and find blood upon the skirts of his cloak. And when ye have seen this, ye shall say:
- “From whence cometh this blood? Do we not know that it is the blood of your brother?”
- Seantum: shall tremble, and shall look pale, even as if death had come upon him.
- Good People of Zarahemla: “Because of this fear and this paleness which has come upon your face, behold, we know that thou art guilty.”
- Seantum: shall greater fear come upon him; and then shall he confess unto you, and deny no more that he has done this murder. And say unto you, that I, Nephi, know nothing concerning the matter save it were given unto me by the power of God.
- And then shall ye know that I am an honest man, and that I am sent unto you from God.
- And he was brought to prove that he himself was the very murderer, insomuch that the five were set at liberty, and also was Nephi.
- And there were some of the Nephites who believed on the words of Nephi; and there were some also, who believed because of the testimony of the five, for they had been converted while they were in prison.
- And now there were some among the people, who said that Nephi was a prophet.
And there were others who said: Behold, he is a god, for except he was a god he could not know of all things. For behold, he has told us the thoughts of our hearts, and also has told us things; and even he has brought unto our knowledge the true murderer of our chief judge.