Corruption and Joylessness (Helaman 1:9-11)

Nephite civilization is in serious upheaval.

There was a serious debate on who should be the next chief judge. Three brothers were all vying for the appointment: Pahoran, Paanchi, and Pacumeni.

The people were divided, but eventually a majority of the people chose Pahoran. When this happened, Pacumeni united with the voice of the people – and his followers also supported Pahoran. Paanchi, however was really angry. He wanted to flatter away the people, but instead one of his followers took action.

“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 Pahoran, and murdered Pahoran as he sat upon the judgment-seat.

And he was pursued by the servants of Pahoran; 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 Pahoran.” – Helaman 1:9-11

This is the beginning of the end, really. We see that the Nephite government is truly corrupt – to the point where people are making secret societies that will murder and then cover up those murders in order to get their way.

It reads almost like a Shakespearan tragedy. Or like some gangster movie. Sure, things like the Mafia may be romanticized in our current society, but when you take the time to think about these chains of events – the murder of an elected official – and the fall-out that happens to our entire society…well, it’s kind of depressing.

These aren’t the marks of a joyful society.

In fact, they are the marks of a society on the decline. When you think of Shakespearan tragedies, there are no weddings. There is just a body-count. It’s sad. It’s miserable. And it can all be avoided by our own commitment to personal righteousness.

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