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The Gadianton Robbers: Organized Crime in the Ancient Americas

The Gadianton Robbers: Organized Crime in the Ancient Americas


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The Gadianton robbers were a band of robbers in the ancient Americas according to the Book of Mormon. This dangerous group operated as a ‘secret combination’, a term used to describe various malevolent secret societies. The Gadianton robbers were much feared and have been held responsible for the destruction of the Nephites and the Jaredites, two of the four major groups of people believed by the Latter Day Saints to have settled in the ancient Americas.

The Beginning of the Gadianton Robbers

According to The Book of Helaman , one of the books in the Book of Mormon, the ‘secret combination’ known as the Gadianton robbers was founded by Kishkumen and Gadianton. The former had murdered the judge Pahoran, and his co-conspirators entered into a covenant swearing not to reveal to anyone that he had murdered the judge. This marked the beginning of the Gadianton robbers.

Gadianton. ( James H Fullmer )

The Gadianton robbers were also held responsible for the murder of the judge Cezoram, and his son who succeeded him, in the 66th year of the reign of the judges. The assassins were not found, as their identities were protected by the robbers. The Book of Helaman also states that in the year following Cezoram’s murder “the people began to grow exceedingly wicked again” and began to “commit secret murders, and to rob and to plunder, that they might get gain” - which contributed to the growth of this criminal organization. Eventually, the Nephites repented, and opposed the Gadianton robbers after the land was struck by famine, which was regarded to be a manifestation of God’s wrath.

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Nephi Subdues his Rebellious Elder Brothers’ (followers of Nephi were the Nephites, followers of his brothers Laman and Lemuel were the Lamanites ). ( MormonWiki)

The Secret Combination

This ‘secret combination’ was re-established some years after its destruction and many of the Nephites joined this band of robbers. The Lamanites, on the other hand, “did use every means in their power to destroy them off the face of the earth” when they realized that the robbers were amongst them as well. Incidentally, the Nephites and the Lamanites were enemies.

According to the Book of Mormon, these two groups initially traced their ancestry to a group of Hebrews who migrated from Jerusalem to the Americas under the leadership of the prophet Lehi in about 600 BC. The group multiplied and eventually split into two groups, the Nephites, who maintained their beliefs, and the Lamanites, who had forgotten their heritage and are said to be the ancestors of the Native Americans. The two groups were hostile towards each other, and frequently waged war against each other.

The Nephites and the Lamanites frequently waged war against each other. ( Nephicode.com)

Ending the Gadianton Robber’s Reign of Terror

Eventually, however, the Nephites succeeded in eradicating the Gadianton robbers. It was the good judge, Lachoneus, who put an end to the reign of terror. Lachoneus received a letter from the robbers demanding the Nephites hand over their lands and property if they wanted to avoid bloodshed. Instead of complying with their demands, however, Lachoneus ordered the Nephites to prepare for war. After asking the people to pray for strength, he commanded them to gather all of their flocks and food into a central place, and had fortifications built around it. He had the Nephites armed, repent, and pray.

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As the Gadianton robbers were used to living off the produce of others, they began to run short of food and were forced to attack the Nephites who were protected by their fortifications. The robbers were unsuccessful and after several years of fighting they were destroyed.

Gadianton robbers. ( Meridian Magazine )

The Latter Day Saints believe that Jesus Christ came to the Americas about a decade after the destruction of the Gadianton robbers and there was peace for the following 200 years. After this period however, the Gadianton robbers re-appeared, causing much destruction to the land. This time, they formed an alliance with the Lamanites, and brought about the complete destruction of the Nephites.


18 Biggest Bank Robbers and Robberies in American history

Bank robbery is a federal crime in the United States, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation defines the act of robbery as taking or attempting to take property through the use of, or the implied use of force. This makes the act of tunneling into a bank, or other unlawful entry such as forcing the locks, technically a burglary rather than a robbery, but in the public imagination they are one and the same thing for the most part. Bank robberies are a major plot device in films, particularly the once popular western genre, though in reality bank robberies in the American western frontier days were relatively rare. Train and stagecoach robberies were more common, since they could be carried out in remote locations, without having to contend with the inconvenience of local law enforcement.

Bank robbers became part of American folklore in many cases, among them being the James brothers, Butch Cassidy and the Hole in the Wall Gang, the Younger Brothers, and in a later era John Dillinger, Bonnie and Clyde, Willie Sutton, and many others. Before the American Civil War most thefts from banks were burglaries, among them the taking of over $150,000 from the Bank of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia in 1798, when the thief or thieves entered the bank after hours, leaving no sign of force. Philadelphia authorities suspected the theft to have been an inside job and entry achieved using a key.

Infamous bank robber and member of Ma Barker&rsquos gang Alvin Karpis displays his fingers, which had been treated to remove his fingerprint pattern. Wikimedia

Here are some of the most notorious bank robberies or robbers in American history.

Although its perpetrators claimed it to be a legitimate military raid, the purpose of the St. Albans Raid was bank robbery. National Archives


Primates often have notions of fairness and sharing, with violations punished by exclusion or banishment from social groups. In human history, prior to agriculture, more nomadic cultures had systems of punishment for behavior or resistance. With the development of agriculture, which led to more closely populated cities and cultures and behavior to address fears of persons taking advantage of or causing harm to others, more formal systems of punishment for crimes developed, independently around the world, or based upon other cultures, including those developed in the early Babylonian laws of Hammurabi and the Hammurabic Code.

In Ancient Egypt a police force was created by the time of the Fifth Dynasty (25th - 24th century BC). The guards, chosen by kings and nobles from among the military and ex-military, were tasked with apprehending criminals and protecting caravans, public places and border forts before the creation of a standing army. The police used lethal and non-lethal tools (such as wooden staffs) and utilized monkeys and dogs.

During the reign of Amenemhat I (1991 BC - 1962 BC) the role of professional judges were established and employed to decide court cases. The police was specifically focused on law enforcement, while a newly created standing military was utilized to fulfill the police's other, previous tasks. [1]

Law enforcement in Ancient China was carried out by "prefects". The notion of a "prefect" in China has existed for thousands of years. The prefecture system developed in both the Chu and Jin kingdoms of the Spring and Autumn period. In Jin, dozens of prefects were spread across the state, each having a limited authority and employment period.

In Ancient China, under the rule of Dang Lin Wang, a new judicial system emerged. This new system had prefects appointed by local magistrates, who in turn were appointed by the head of state, usually the emperor of the dynasty. The prefects oversaw the civil administration of their "prefecture", or jurisdiction.

Prefects usually reported to the local magistrate, just as modern police report to judges. Under each prefect were "subprefects" who helped collectively with law enforcement of the area. Some prefects were responsible for handling investigations, much like modern police detectives.

Eventually the concept of the "prefecture system" would spread to other cultures such as Korea and Japan. Law enforcement in Ancient China was also relatively progressive, allowing for female prefects. Some examples of ancient Chinese prefects include: Chong Fu, prefect of the Ying District in the East Han Dynasty, and Ching Chow, prefect of the modern Shang-tung Province. An example of a female prefect would be Lady Qu [2] of Wuding (serving 1531 – c. 1557).

In ancient China, when minor judicial incidents such as robberies occur, the client reports to a police officer (a.k.a. constable) at the prefectural office. To catch a thief, a constable can arrest another thief by baiting him with a forged opportunity and use the thief's same-field knowledge to predict the one in question. The assisting thief would still be punished for robbery but since he assisted the officer his punishment would be lowered. [3]

By Ming law, police officers have a strict time schedule to arrest the criminals. They usually have thirty days to arrest the issued criminals. If officers have not capture their assigned criminals after thirty days or assigned deadline, they would subject to physical punishments. Successfully arresting criminals earns police officers promotions. However, this method was often subject to abuse in order to quickly earn promotions. [4]

Police officers were appointed by the head officials from the populations. These selected officers, however, were not recognized as part of the magistrates for they were merely runners. [5]

Approximately one out of four court cases features corrupted officers who accepts bribes to ignore certain crimes, or sometimes even assisting the criminals. [6] Officers focusing on building social network which may include criminals instead of making examples of preventing crimes. [7]

For the most part, crime was viewed as a private matter in Ancient Greece and Rome. Even with offenses as serious as murder, justice was the prerogative of the victim's family and private war or vendetta the means of protection against criminality. Publicly owned slaves were used by magistrates as police in Ancient Greece. In Athens, a group of 300 Scythian slaves was used to guard public meetings to keep order and for crowd control, and also assisted with dealing with criminals, manhandling prisoners, and making arrests. Other duties associated with modern policing, such as investigating crimes, were left to the citizens themselves. [8] The Roman Empire had a reasonably effective law enforcement system until the decline of the empire, though there was never an actual police force in the city of Rome. When under the reign of Augustus the capital had grown to almost one million inhabitants, he created 14 wards, which were protected by seven squads of 1,000 men. [9] If necessary, they might have called on the Praetorian Guard for assistance. Beginning in the 5th century, policing became a function of clan chiefs and heads of state. [ citation needed ]

During the Middle Ages, crime and punishment were dealt with through blood feuds (or trial by ordeal) between the parties. Payment to the victim (or their family), known as wergild, was another common punishment, including for violent crimes. For those who could not afford to buy their way out of punishment, harsh penalties included various forms of corporal punishment. These included mutilation, whipping, branding, and flogging, as well as execution. Västgötalagen specifies exactly how much to pay, if anything, depending on who was slain. The primary form of state-administered punishment during ancient times and the Middle Ages was banishment or exile. Though a prison, Le Stinche, existed as early as the 14th century in Florence, [10] incarceration was not widely used until the 19th century. Rather, it was used to detain prisoners before trial or for imprisoning people without judicial process.

The Anglo-Saxon system of maintaining public order was a private system of tithings, since the Norman conquest led by a constable, which was based on a social obligation for the good conduct of the others more common was that local lords and nobles were responsible to maintain order in their lands, and often appointed a constable, sometimes unpaid, to enforce the law.

When early colonists first came to America, they did not include trained lawyers or other law-knowledgeable persons. Many parts of the criminal justice system in colonial America were similar to those in England, France, and the Dutch Republic. Gradually French and Dutch influences disappeared in the islands. What remained was the basic idea many had of the English common law system.

This system was the best-known to seventeenth-century colonists. The common law system included a set of rules that were used to solve problems in society. It was based on the history of decisions previous judges had made instead of lawmaking codes or laws. This system made a distinction between two basic types of crimes: felonies and misdemeanors. The legal process, mostly for more serious crimes, involved a grand jury, composed of members of the community, which decided whether there was enough evidence for prosecution. However, in these proceedings no district attorneys or public prosecutors were available. The victim of the crime was responsible for instigating the prosecution and financing it. It was these fundamental principles that stuck with the colonists and were used selectively to create a new and unique criminal justice system.

Many factors influenced the colonists’ selection process by which they constructed their approach to criminal justice. As previously mentioned, there were no professional legal experts and few law resources available. This left a lot of room for creativity and mistakes. The colonists were largely left to their own devices concerning the details of their developing criminal justice system. The new environment the colonists encountered in the New World, especially the western frontier, also affected the way the law was shaped. The system was molded to fit the colonists’ needs as they settled further and further west. Vigilantism was an inevitable byproduct of the faults of the development of justice in America. Religion, especially early on in the colonial period, exerted a strong influence on law making. Legal codes, such as the 1648 Book of the General Laws and Liberties of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, contained very strong biblical references, more so than did the ones in England. Although this religious impact was felt most strongly in Puritan colonies, similar ideas were evident among other colonists as well. Many colonial makeshift criminal codes considered lying, idleness, drunkenness, certain sexual offenses, and even bad behavior to be crimes. These moralistic crimes stemmed from the relation of crime to sin and sin to crime. Adding to the religious factor, the colonists held individual liberty in high regard. This later influenced more contemporary criminal codes.

County sheriff Edit

Besides being one of the most important criminal justice officials of the colonial period in America, the county sheriff had other responsibilities. These included collecting taxes, running and supervising elections, and handling any other legal business in the community. With such a workload, sheriffs were usually the most important political figures in the county and represented the governor and the English government. In the criminal justice system of the period, the sheriff acted as a reactive official. His job was to follow up on complaints or information of misconduct from the other citizens. He was paid through a system of fees rather than a set salary which came mostly from tax collecting. This discouraged many sheriffs from concentrating heavily on law enforcement. Such high powers often led to corruption in this field with embezzlement and other irregularities with tax collections and fees.

Judges and magistrates Edit

Judges are also known as magistrates or justices of the peace. Even though a judge held very influential positions in their counties, they were far from the professionals that they are today. They were usually religious or political leaders. The county judge was in charge of the court for the area he presided in and vehemently believed their role in society was to enforce God's will. Their understanding of God's will usually caused colonial justices to seek confessions and repentance from the accused rather than just punishment. The main goal was to bring order back to society. Most of the minor cases in the county only involved the judge while more serious crimes were heard by a court of several judges. The courts met only periodically, slowing down the sentencing of serious crimes.

Colonial courts Edit

Although the colonial courts did closely mimic the proceedings of the courts of England, they were much simpler and more informal. They were also made available to everyone and used to relieve tensions and conflicts in the community. In addition to hearing the disputes of the local colonists, the courts also held the responsibilities of the legislature, executive, and judicial branches of the county's government. These responsibilities illustrated the highly unspecialized nature of colonial government agencies. The courts became connected to an informal role in the county's social and economic life. Although some county courts were presided over by one judge, some consisted of ten to fifteen judges. However, the courts with many judges met very infrequently and this made it almost impossible to conduct any legal business in a fast and efficient way. The matter was even worse in the back country where there often was a complete lack of courts to settle any conflicts or perform governmental services.

Legal process Edit

The legal process of trials in colonial America was quite different from the modern one in many ways. After an alleged crime was reported, a magistrate, or judge, would consider the presented evidence and decide whether it was a true crime. If the magistrate decided that a crime was indeed committed the accused was apprehended and sent to be questioned by the magistrate. The interrogation was usually held in the magistrate's own house with a few marshals or deputies as witnesses. However, during this step in the procedure, no lawyers were involved on behalf of either party. After the hearing the accused was usually free to leave until the trial without bail.

Just as in the interrogation, there was no defense attorney present at the trial and the proceedings moved quickly as each witness testified against the defendant. However, a district attorney, who was often appointed by the governor and assigned to a certain district or county, usually handled the prosecution. Unlike the prosecutors in England, who worked privately and for a payment from the victim, the district attorneys of colonial America handled the prosecution in almost all trials. The district attorney's position soon became one of the most important political position in county government because they often had to be elected.

The role of the defense attorney was minuscule, if not unheard of, in the colonial period. This stemmed from an English legal tradition of severely restricting the role of the defense to challenging or question narrow points of the law. In time the American practice of trials allowed a greater and more vigorous role to the defense of the accused. However, at that current time there were few trained lawyers to begin with and most defendants could not afford one.

Juries were also not used at that time and those who requested them were thought to be challenging the authority of the judge. Since the magistrate who had proclaimed the trial necessary was also the judge who presided over the trial, the verdict was quite often guilty. The main purpose of the trial was to give the defendant a chance to admit their guilt and repent. The theory behind the trial and punishment being very public was that they would serve to reinforce the rules of conduct and discourage others from acting out and breaking laws.

Protection of cities Edit

The colonists soon realized that a sheriff was not enough to keep their colonies safe and crime-free. Many villages and cities began adding other criminal justice agents to help maintain order. The rising populations were proving to be too much to handle for just one law enforcement agent in the county. The mayor was originally the chief law enforcement official, but he acted only in extreme circumstances. In addition to the sheriff, the mayor appointed a high constable and several lesser constables and marshals to help him. Those holding such positions had powers similar to those of the sheriff.

To protect their citizens during the night, many counties established a night watch, an institution of criminal justice originally inherited from Europe. The night watch consisted of a group of civilians who patrolled and kept watch over the city, making sure to look for fires, suspicious individuals, or possible riots. This was a collective responsibility, but few were willing to serve. Certain cities imposed fines on those who refused.

The night watch, though relatively effective, only served during the night. During the day, the responsibility of protecting innocent citizens and apprehending criminals fell to the constables and marshals. Soon a day watch was implemented in many areas. In extreme situations, such as riots, the colonial communities often had to call out the militia. Riots, a common disturbance in colonial America, occurred for many reasons including to contest elections, to protest economic conditions, or to enforce standards of morality. Even at the first sign of a riot the mayor or some other official would appear and literally read the riot act to the assembled crowd.

Punishments Edit

Depending on the crimes that the colonists committed, there were plenty of punishments to choose from. Most of the punishments were public, where heavy use of shame and shaming was included. Through the method of shaming, the criminal justice system meant more to teach a lesson than simply punish the offender. The “criminal” was almost always male. However, punishment for such crimes as witchcraft, infanticide, and adultery fell heavily on the women. In addition, much of the blame and punishment for crimes was attributed to those in the lowest rank in society.

Whipping was the most commonly used form of punishment, especially in the American South with slaves. Other frequently used punishments included branding, cutting off ears, and placing people in the pillory. These punishments were sometimes harsher, depending on the crimes committed. In Colonial America, executions were less common than in Europe. However, when such a method was used, it was most often a public hanging. Usually capital offenses, such as murder or rape, or repeated serious offenses constituted a need for an execution.

Imprisonment was uncommon in colonial America since the budding colonies did not have people to spare to keep the community in order. Every person was valuable for their working ability, and losing even one worker to lawkeeping was neither reasonable nor an efficient use of resources. In addition, colonial communities rarely had enough extra money to build a prison and feed prisoners.

Since probation was not yet known to the colonists, they used a system of nods to guarantee troublemakers would not cause any problems. Courts began to require many problem-causing people to put up money to make sure they would stay out of trouble. This system worked especially well in communities where everyone minded each other's business.

County jails Edit

In the early colonial period, prisons were not yet a major staple in the criminal justice system. They were used mainly for holding people who were awaiting trial rather than punishment. The early jails resembled ordinary houses in many aspects and had no distinctive architectural features. Prisoners were placed in rooms instead of cells and were not classified or segregated in any way. Men, women, and juveniles were mixed together causing many problems.

Overcrowding soon became a big concern, as well as poor sanitation. The jails turned into breeding houses of illness. Furthermore, the jails were even unable to fulfill their basic purpose of containing offenders within its walls. Escapes were very frequent. The prisons held not only those who were awaiting trial but also people who owed money, called debtors. These people were free during the day so they could work to pay off their debt but they returned to the jail at night. Other prisoners included the homeless, unemployed, or impoverished. They were expected to learn good work ethic during their stay.

The financial arrangements of the jailer were similar to those of the sheriff, especially since the same person usually held both jobs. He was paid by the county through a system of fees. Specific items such as food, clothing, and other things were submitted to the county commissioners for money. Just like other criminal justice positions with a lot of power, the jailer was often corrupt and was notoriously known for embezzling public funds, soliciting bribes from prisoners and their families, selling whiskey to the prisoners, and abusing the inmates.

Administration of justice in colonial America Edit

Crime problem Edit

The gradual development of a sophisticated criminal justice system in America found itself extremely small and unspecialized during colonial times. Many problems, including lack of a large law-enforcement establishment, separate juvenile-justice system, and prisons and institutions of probation and parole. Criminal matters were also not the top priority of the sheriff and the courts. The lack of a large institutional framework was a result of relatively small and homogenous colonial communities. These colonies were self-policing and social control was maintained by an omnipresent set of informal restrictions. They also depended on community pressure to regulate human conduct.

In Western culture, the contemporary concept of a police paid by the government was developed by French legal scholars and practitioners in the 17th century and early 18th century, notably with Nicolas Delamare's Traité de la Police ("Treatise of the Police", published between 1705 and 1738). The German Polizeiwissenschaft (Science of Police) was also an important theoretical formulation of police.

The first statutory police force is believed to be the High Constables of Edinburgh, who were created by the Scottish parliament in 1611 to "guard their streets and to commit to ward all person found on the streets after the said hour". [11]

The first police force in the modern sense was created by the government of King Louis XIV in 1667 to police the city of Paris, then the largest city of Europe and considered the most dangerous European city. The royal edict, registered by the Parlement of Paris on March 15, 1667 created the office of lieutenant général de police ("lieutenant general of police"), who was to be the head of the new Paris police force, and defined police as the task of "ensuring the peace and quiet of the public and of private individuals, purging the city of what may cause disturbances, procuring abundance, and having each and everyone live according to their station and their duties". [12] This office was held by Gabriel Nicolas de la Reynie, who had 44 commissaires de police (police commissioners) under his authority. In 1709, these commissioners were assisted by inspecteurs de police (police inspectors). The city of Paris was divided into 16 districts policed by the 44 commissaires de police, each assigned to a particular district and assisted in their districts by clerks and a growing bureaucracy. The scheme of the Paris police force was extended to the rest of France by a royal edict of October 1699, resulting in the creation of lieutenants general of police in all large French cities or towns.

However, this early conceptualization of police was quite different from today's police forces, exclusively in charge of maintaining order and arresting criminals. As conceptualized by the Polizeiwissenschaft, the police had an economical and social duty ("procuring abundance"). It was in charge of demographics concerns and of empowering the population, which was considered by the mercantilist theory to be the main strength of the state. Thus, its functions largely overreached simple law enforcement activities, and included public health concerns, urban planning (which was important because of the miasma theory of disease thus, cemeteries were moved out of town, etc.), surveillance of prices, etc. [13]

Development of modern police was contemporary to the formation of the state, later defined by sociologist Max Weber as detaining "the monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force", primarily exercised by the police and the military.

Modern police Edit

After the troubles of the French Revolution the Paris police force was reorganized by Napoléon I on February 17, 1800 as the Prefecture of Police, along with the reorganization of police forces in all French cities with more than 5,000 inhabitants. On March 12, 1829, a government decree created the first uniformed policemen in Paris and all French cities, known as sergents de ville ("city sergeants"), which the Paris Prefecture of Police's website claims were the first uniformed policemen in the world. [14]

In London, there existed watchmen hired to guard the streets at night since 1663. Watchmen were the first paid law enforcement in the country, augmenting the force of unpaid constables, but were not professionally organized. The word "police" was borrowed from French into the English language in the 18th century, but for a long time it applied only to French and continental European police forces. The word, and the concept of police itself, was "disliked as a symbol of foreign oppression" (according to Britannica 1911). Prior to the 19th century, the only official use of the word "police" recorded in the United Kingdom was the appointment of Commissioners of Police for Scotland in 1714 and the creation of the Marine Police in 1798 (set up to protect merchandise at the Port of London).

On June 30, 1800, the authorities of Glasgow, Scotland successfully petitioned the Government to pass the Glasgow Police Act establishing the City of Glasgow Police. This was the first professional police service in the world that differed from previous law enforcement in that it was a preventive police force. This was quickly followed in other Scottish towns, which set up their own police forces by individual Acts of Parliament. On September 29, 1829, the Metropolitan Police Act was passed by Parliament, allowing Sir Robert Peel, the then home secretary, to found the London Metropolitan Police. Based on the Peelian principles, this was the city's first full-time, professional and centrally-organised police force. [15] The Metropolitan Police officers were often referred to as ´Bobbies´ after Sir Robert (Bobby) Peel. They are regarded as the first modern police force and became a model for the police forces in most countries, such as the United States, and most of the then British Empire (Commonwealth). [16] [17] Bobbies can still be found in many parts of the world (for example in British Overseas Territories or ex-colonies such as Bermuda, Gibraltar or St Helena). The model of policing in Britain had as its primary role the keeping of the Queen's Peace and this has continued to the present day. [18] Many of the Commonwealth countries developed police forces using similar models, such as Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

In North America, the Toronto Police was founded in Canada in 1834, one of the first municipal police departments on that continent, followed by police forces in Montreal and Quebec City both founded in 1838. In the United States, the first organized police service was established in Boston in 1838, New York in 1844, and Philadelphia in 1854.

Early on, police were not respected by the community, as corruption was rampant. In the late 19th and early 20th century, there were few specialized units in police departments. [19]

In 1905, the Pennsylvania State Police became the first state police agency established in the United States, as recommended by Theodore Roosevelt's Anthracite Strike Commission and Governor Samuel Pennypacker. [20]

The advent of the police car, two-way radio, and telephone in the early 20th century transformed policing into a reactive strategy that focused on responding to calls for service. [19] In the 1920s, led by Berkeley, California police chief, August Vollmer, police began to professionalize, adopt new technologies, and place emphasis on training. [21] With this transformation, police command and control became more centralized. O.W. Wilson, a student of Vollmer, helped reduce corruption and introduce professionalism in Wichita, Kansas, and later in the Chicago Police Department. [22] Strategies employed by O.W. Wilson included rotating officers from community to community to reduce their vulnerability to corruption, establishing of a non-partisan police board to help govern the police force, a strict merit system for promotions within the department, and an aggressive, recruiting drive with higher police salaries to attract professionally qualified officers. [23]

Despite such reforms, police agencies were led by highly autocratic leaders, and there remained a lack of respect between police and the community. During the professionalism era of policing, law enforcement agencies concentrated on dealing with felonies and other serious crime, rather than focusing on crime prevention. [24] Following urban unrest in the 1960s, police placed more emphasis on community relations, and enacted reforms such as increased diversity in hiring. The Kansas City Preventive Patrol study in the 1970s found the reactive approach to policing to be ineffective. [25]

In the 1990s, many law enforcement agencies began to adopt community policing strategies, and others adopted problem-oriented policing. In the 1990s, CompStat was developed by the New York Police Department as an information-based system for tracking and mapping crime patterns and trends, and holding police accountable for dealing with crime problems. CompStat, and other forms of information-led policing, have since been replicated in police departments across the United States.


The Hidden History of the Incredibly Evil Khazarian Mafia

by Preston James and Mike Harris

100-800 AD – an incredibly Evil Society Emerges in Khazaria:

Khazarians develop into a nation ruled by an evil king, who had ancient Babylonian black arts, occult oligarchs serving as his court. During this time, Khazarians became known to surround countries as thieves, murderers, road bandits, and for assuming the identities of those travelers they murdered as a normal occupational practice and way of life.

800 AD – The Ultimatum is delivered by Russia and other surrounding nations:

The leaders of the surrounding nations, especially Russia, have had so many years of complaints by their citizens that, as a group, they deliver an ultimatum to the Khazarian king. They send a communique to the Khazarian king that he must choose one of the three Abrahamic religions for his people, and make it his official state religion and require all Khazarian citizens to practice it, and socialize all Khazarian children to practice that faith.

The Khazarian king was given a choice between Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. The Khazarian king chose Judaism and promised to stay within the requirements laid out by the surrounding confederacy of nations led by the Russian czar. Despite his agreement and promise, the Khazarian king and his inner circle of oligarchs kept practicing ancient Babylonian black-magic, also known as Secret Satanism. This Secret Satanism involved occult ceremonies featuring child sacrifice, after “bleeding them out”, drinking their blood and eating their hearts.

The deep dark secret of the occult ceremonies was that they were all based on ancient Baal Worship, also known as worship of the Owl. In order to fool the confederacy of nations led by Russia that were watching Khazaria, the Khazarian king melded these Luciferian black-magick practices with Judaism and created a secret Satanic-hybrid religion, known as Babylonian Talmudism. This was made the national religion of Khazaria and nurtured the same evil that Khazaria was known for before.

Sadly, the Khazarians continued their evil ways, robbing and murdering those from surrounding countries who traveled through Khazaria. Khazarian robbers often attempted to assume their identities after they murdered these visitors, and became masters of disguises and false identities — a practice they have continued even to this very day, along with their child-sacrifice occult ceremonies, which are actually ancient Baal Worship.

1,200 AD – Russia and the surrounding nations have had enough and take action:

About 1,200 AD, the Russians led a group of nations surrounding Khazaria and invaded it, in order to stop the Khazarian crimes against their people, which included the kidnapping of their young children and infants for their blood sacrifice ceremonies to Baal. The Khazarian king and his inner court of criminals and murderers came to be known as the Khazarian Mafia (KM) by neighboring countries.

The Khazarian leaders had a well-developed spy network through which they obtained prior warning and escaped from Khazaria to European nations to the west, taking their vast fortune with them in gold and silver. They laid low and regrouped while assuming new identities. In secret, they continued their Satanic child blood and sacrifice rituals and trusted Baal to give them the whole world and all its riches, as they claimed he had promised them, as long as they kept bleeding out and sacrificing children and infants for him.

The Khazarian king and his court Mafia plotted eternal revenge against the Russians and the surrounding nations that invaded Khazaria and drove them from power.

The Khazarian Mafia invades England after being expelled for hundreds of years:

To accomplish their invasion, they hired Oliver Cromwell to murder King Charles 1, and make England safe for banking again. This began the English Civil Wars which raged for nearly a decade, resulting in regicide of the royal family and hundreds of the genuine English nobility. This is how the City of London was set up as the banking capital of Europe and launched the beginning of the British Empire.

From David Icke’s website www.davidicke.com. David Icke was the first ever to courageously expose the Rothschilds publicly in front of hundreds. This, of course, makes him an international hero and we need more with his kind of courage to break open the coverup hiding the Khazarian Mafia and bring an end to their worldwide illegitimate power. [/caption]

The Khazarian Mafia (KM) decides to infiltrate and hijack all World Banking using Babylonian Black-Magick, also known as Babylonian Money-Magick or the secret art of making money from nothing also using the power of pernicious usury to accumulate interest:

The KM used their vast fortune to enter into a new system of banking, based on secret Babylonian black-magic money-magic that they claimed to have learned from the evil spirits of Baal, in return for their many child sacrifices to him.

This Babylonian money-magick involved the substitution of paper credit certificates for gold and silver deposits, which allowed travelers to travel with their money in a form that offered easy replacement should they lose the certificates or have them stolen.

Interesting how the very problem that was started by the Khazarians also had a solution provided by them. Eventually, the Khazarian king and his small surrounding court infiltrated Germany with a group that chose the name “the Bauers” of Germany to represent them and carry on their Baal-powered system of evil. The Bauers of the Red Shield, which represented their secret blood-based child sacrifices, changed their name to Rothschild (aka “child of the rock, Satan”).

The Rothschilds as the front Men for the Khazarian Mafia (KM) infiltrate and Hijack British Banking and then hijack the whole nation of England:

Bauer/Rothschild had five sons who infiltrated and took over European banking and the City of London Central Banking System through various crafty covert operations, including a false report of Napoleon winning against the British, when actually he lost. This allowed the Rothschilds to use fraud and deception to steal the wealth of the English nobility and the landed gentry, who had made business investments with the City of London Banking institutions.

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The Rothschilds set up a private Fiat banking system that specialized in making counterfeit money from nothing — charging pernicious usury for the British people, using what should have been their own money.

This was the black art of Babylonian money-magick they claimed to insiders that such technology and secret money power was provided to them by Baal, because of their frequent child bleeding-out and sacrifices rituals to Baal.

Once they had infiltrated and hijacked the British banking system, they interbred with the British Royals and infiltrated and completely hijacked all of England and all its major institutions. Some experts believe that the Rothschilds genocided the Royal Family members by staging secretly-managed illicit and adulterous breedings with their own Khazarian men in order to replace the Royals with their own pretenders to the throne.

The Khazarian Mafia (KM) wages an international effort to eradicate Kings who rule by the Divine Right of God Almighty:

Because the KM claims to have a personal partnership with Baal (aka the Devil, Lucifer, Satan) because of their sacrifices to him. They detest any kings who rule under the authority of God Almighty because most feel a responsibility to make sure their own people are protected from infiltrators and treasonous “Enemies within the Gates.”

In the 1600s, the KM murder the British Royals and substitute their own fakes. In the 1700s, they murder the French Royals. Right before WWI, they murder, Austrian Archduke Ferdinand to start WW1. In 1917 they assembled their KM army, the Bolsheviks, and infiltrate and hijack Russia, murder the Czar and his family in cold blood, bayonet his favorite daughter through the chest and steal all the Russian gold, silver and art treasures. Right before WW2, they murder the Austrian and German Royals. Then they get rid of the Chinese Royals and disempower the Japanese ruler.

The Khazarian Mafia’s intense hatred of anyone who professed faith in any God but their god Baal has motivated them to murder kings and royalty and make sure they can never rule. They have done the same with American presidents — running sophisticated covert operations to disempower them.

If that doesn’t work the KM assassinates them, as they did to McKinley, Lincoln, and JFK. The KM wants to eliminate any strong rulers or elected officials who dare to resist their Babylonian money-magick power or their covert power gained from the deployment of their human compromise network.


Red Gadiantons Book Release

I am thrilled to announce the release of my second book, Red Gadiantons: What the Prophets Have Taught about the Communist Secret Combination that Threatens Mankind. Weighing in at over 152,000 words, or 542 pages in paperback, Red Gadiantons covers a lot of ground as it traces the history of Satanic conspiracy from the beginning of earth’s history to the present. I invite each of you to follow the links to purchase Red Gadiantons in either ebook or paperback.

Artwork and digital rendering by Kylie Malchus and Jessica Malchus. A massive THANK YOU to these two ladies!

Red Gadiantons derives its unusual name from two sources. Red refers to communism. The term Gadiantons, however, is a little more obscure. The name is taken from The Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is a book of holy scripture comparable to the Bible. It affirms the Bible’s authenticity and declares the divinity of Jesus Christ and the centrality of His teachings to our lives. It teaches of Christ’s Atonement and His redemption of mankind. It speaks of His resurrection and witnesses that He lives. It bears powerful testimony, in conjunction with the Bible, that all men must come to Christ to be saved.

Whereas the Bible is an account of God’s dealings with the Israelites in the old world, The Book of Mormon is an account of God’s dealings with the peoples who inhabited the ancient Americas. The primary group within the narrative is the Nephite People. The Nephites, like their Israelite brothers in the old world, went through cycles of righteousness, apostasy, wickedness, war, and internal strife. The Book of Mormon is unique among holy books in that it devotes much time and space to exposing Satanic conspiracy. The prophets who recorded the histories of their people warned of “secret combinations,” or, in more modern language, “conspiracies.”

The most formidable and dangerous of the secret societies warned about by these ancient holy men was the Gadianton Robbers. The Gadiantons formed a murder cult. The Gadianton Robbers originated in about 52 B.C. in the aftermath of a tumultuous election in which their preferred candidate not only lost, but was arrested and executed for his attempt to stir up a rebellion. These seething conspirators sent a man to murder the newly elected chief judge over the Nephite nation. After the deed was done, they swore blasphemous oaths in the name of God to conceal this wickedness. This small, clandestine clique quickly morphed into an intimidating secret society hell bent on capturing the reins of government.

Over time, after numerous assassinations of elected leaders and after corrupting the morals of the Nephite People, the Gadianton secret society came to dominate the Nephite government. In the end, this sect of Gadiantons led to the complete destruction and extermination of the Nephite People. The Book of Mormon informs us that the Gadianton Robbers followed the same pattern of even older secret organizations. The record attests that the Devil is the author of these conspiracies they are not man-made. The record also warned its future readers – me and you – that a similar “secret combination” would exist in the last days which would seek to destroy the Freedom of the world. Or, as the divine account states:

“For it cometh to pass that whoso buildeth it up seeketh to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries and it bringeth to pass the destruction of all people, for it is built up by the devil, who is the father of all lies” (Ether 8:25).

Today, as The Book of Mormon foretold centuries ago, we do have a Satanic secret combination – a colossal conspiracy – attempting to overthrow the Liberty of the world and subjugate mankind under the iron yoke of bondage. Modern prophets of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – as well as modern scholars of many backgrounds and faiths – have identified this plague of the nations as the communist conspiracy.

The stated goal of communism is world revolution. Communism has spread farther and faster than any ideology in world history. More people have been murdered, enslaved, plundered, and abused under communism than under any other system, or combination of systems, in all of recorded history. Over 100 million people have been directly murdered by the communists and tens of millions more have lost their lives in wars instigated by communist agents and their sympathizers. Truly, no greater threat exists than communism.

Communism is not an atheistic dogma. Rather, as I devote much time discussing in Red Gadiantons, it is a Luciferian or Satanic conspiracy. While communism is “officially” atheist, its chief leaders have been Satanists. They have been the high priests of Satan’s church. Adam Weishaupt, Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, and other arch-communists have been devotees of the Adversary. They serve and worship him he is their god, their master, their enabler. Like the Gadianton Robbers of old, modern communists are bound together with blasphemous oaths invented and administered personally by Satan.

Contrary to the propaganda, communism is not dead. The Soviet Union faked its “collapse” and is, under the guise of “democracy,” advancing at an alarming pace worldwide. Whether we realize it or not, mankind is currently at war with this anti-Christ philosophy. Our Freedom, culture, Constitution, religion, and way of life are at stake.

In a war, deception is key. To win, the enemy employs every tactic to deceive and mislead us. They have gone so far as to play “dead” and feign weakness – a tactic the ancient Chinese strategist Sun Tzu recommended. To defeat the enemy, then, we must see through the red fog of lies and recognize the enemy for who and what he is. Unless we correctly identify the enemy, we have no hope of countering his attacks.

We must recognize that the world’s chief enemy is communism. We must recognize that communism rarely uses its own name, but operates through front movements. The Fabian Socialist movement was created by communists, as were the feminist movement, environmentalist movement, LGBT movement, so-called “Islamic” terrorism, and many others. We must recognize that communism is inherently evil and that it was founded by Satan. We must learn that communism is a Satanic conspiracy designed to subjugate humanity and consolidate the nations under a one-world communist government crowned with a one-world Luciferian religion.

Unless we recognize that this battle is not merely political or economic, but, rather, spiritual and religious, we have no hope of survival. Our situation is awful. We are losing this war. However, truth always prevails in the end. Red Gadiantons is an injection of truth into the confused mass of lies swirling around us. Red Gadiantons identifies the Satanic communists as the “man behind the curtain.” It explains why and how communism is a Luciferian conspiracy serving the Devil’s purposes. And it calls upon people everywhere to take the sword of the Spirit and fight against this international plot aimed at the destruction of our faith, families, and Freedom.

I urge everyone – especially my fellow Latter-day Saints – to purchase a copy of Red Gadiantons: What the Prophets Have Taught about the Communist Secret Combination that Threatens Mankind so that he can arm himself with the knowledge necessary to safeguard his family and help save the Republic. Because it fuses LDS teachings with secular research – including the testimonies of a host of Soviet defectors who warned the West in clear terms – Red Gadiantons is a fairly unique book that has a powerful potential to open eyes, touch hearts, and inspire its readers with the light of truth.

I close with an excerpt from pages 113-116 of Red Gadiantons:

“If the evil “church” we are seeking to identify is not actually a church, but a political system, which one is it? Perhaps many systems could qualify. For instance, it was the arm of government inspired by demonic priests that crucified the Savior. It was the arm of government, again motivated by evil men of religion, which persecuted and killed the original apostles. It was the acquiescence of Governor Ford that led to the murder of the Prophet Joseph Smith in Carthage Jail at the hands of an organized mob. And so the story has gone for millennia with government being used by men beholden to Satan to crush the Lord’s work and enslave mankind.

“It is a poignant observation that government is the only organization which all men and women belong to regardless of their religious creed, race, gender, principles, etc. Government has dominion over all people irrespective of their point on the compass. This organ, then, is the chief organ through which Satan reaches all men. It is no wonder the scriptures attest that secret combinations always attempted to take command of the reins of government above all else. And today, Satan’s secret combination seeks to not only take over individual governments, but all governments on an international scale.

“If Elder Andersen is correct and “the great and abominable church of the devil” and the secret combination foreseen by Moroni are “one and the same in purpose and method,” then what does that mean for identifying this entity? The answer is obvious: If the Devil’s church and his secret combinations are the same, then his “church” is communism, because communism has been identified by the Church as a Gadianton-style secret combination which constitutes the “greatest satanical threat” to mankind.

“Quoting from Elder Andersen again, we read:

““[I]f Satan has a church on earth today it cannot be other than corrupted government or “domination by the state.” If there is a secret combination among us which is seeking “to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries” as Moroni prophesied, then it has to be the great Communist conspiracy and the movement to impose socialism world-wide. The “greatest Satanical threat on the face of the earth” and that “church which is most abominable above all other churches” must be one and the same organization.”

“The logic is simple, yet airtight. Communism must be the Devil’s church, or, at very least, its predominant branch. If the prophets can be trusted, and I testify their words are the words of our Master, then communism is the greatest evil in the world – the same distinction given in the scriptures for Satan’s abominable church.

“If the Devil’s church wields political as well as ecclesiastical authority, it is well to highlight the fact that communism is the absolute worst form of government ever invented. No other organization has been as destructive of God-given rights as has communism. More people have been butchered, enslaved, raped, and plundered by communism than by any other political ideology. The comparisons aren’t even close. For instance, the fairly minimal crimes of fascism do not even compare. They aren’t in the same ballpark. Communism is in a class all its own. Its atrocities are on an unparalleled scale, boggle the mind, and shock the senses. A minimum of 100 million humans have been massacred by the Bolsheviks, with billions more suffering enslavement.

“Unlike most other political ideologies that are confined to an individual country or region, communism is inherently international. Communism seeks to impose itself on the whole of mankind. This is to be expected if, as we have explained, communism is Lucifer’s priestcraft. Did not Nephi prophesy that the great and abominable church would have “dominion over all the earth, among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people” (1 Nephi 14:11)? . . . .

“The communist virus is spread through violent revolution. Blood, carnage, and confusion are its fertilizers. Satan’s threat to use the armies of the earth to reign with blood and horror has come to pass. It is only fitting that his handcrafted ideology would be transmitted at the barrel of a gun. The spirit of communism is the spirit of the Destroyer.”


Show Full Text

Although there is only little difference between a thief and a robber in most modern minds, there were considerable differences between the two under ancient Near Eastern law. A thief (ganab) was usually a local person who stole from his neighbor. He was dealt with judicially. He was tried and punished civilly, most often by a court composed of his fellow townspeople. A robber, on the other hand, was treated as an outsider, as a brigand or highwayman. He was dealt with militarily, and he could be executed summarily.

The legal distinctions between theft and robbery, especially under the laws of ancient Israel, have been analyzed thoroughly by Bernard S. Jackson, Professor of Law at the University of Kent-Canterbury and editor of the Jewish Law Annual. He shows, for example, how robbers usually acted in organized groups rivaling local governments and attacking towns and how they swore oaths and extorted ransom, a menace worse than outright war. Thieves, however, were a much less serious threat to society. 1

Recently studies have shown in detail how the ancient legal and linguistic distinctions are also observable in the Book of Mormon. 2 This explains how Laban could call the sons of Lehi “robbers” and threaten to execute them on the spot without a trial, for that is how a military officer like Laban no doubt would have dealt with a robber. It also explains why the Lamanites are always said to “rob” from the Nephites but never from their own brethren—that would be “theft,” not “robbery.” It also explains the rise and fearful menace of the Gadianton society, who are always called “robbers” in the Book of Mormon, never “thieves.”

Other significant details also emerge. It is probably no coincidence that the Hebrew word for “band” or “bandits” is gedud, and the most famous Book of Mormon robbers were known as Gadianton’s “band.” Like gedud, the name Gadianton was spelled with two “d”s, Gaddianton, in the Original Manuscript of the Book of Mormon.

The importance of this ancient legal tradition in the Book of Mormon is further enhanced by the fact that Anglo-American common law would have provided Joseph Smith with quite a different understanding of the legal definitions of the terms theft and robbery, inconsistent in many ways with usages found in the Book of Mormon.

Moreover, if Joseph Smith had relied on the language of his King James Bible for legal definitions of these terms, he would have stumbled into error, for that translation renders “thief” and “robber” indiscriminately. For example, the same phrase is translated inconsistently as “den of robbers” and “den of thieves” in Jeremiah 7:11 and Matthew 21:13. The same word (lestai) is translated sometimes as “thieves” (Matthew 27:38), other times as “robber” (John 18:40). But there was an ancient distinction between thieves and robbers that no translator should neglect, and over which Joseph Smith did not blunder.

Based on research by John W. Welch and Kelly Ward, reported in Insights, July 1985.


Gadianton Robbers and Spiritual Wives: John Whitmer on the Kirtland Church

The Joseph Smith Papers website recently posted an exciting addition to their collection: the John Whitmer history of the Church, which he kept from roughly 1831-1847.[1]
Whitmer’s understanding of the events in Kirtland and Missouri may shed light on two oft-misunderstood aspects of the Mormon experience—namely, the Danite vigilante group, and the principle of polygamy.

John Whitmer worked as one of Joseph Smith’s scribes while the prophet translated the Book of Mormon later, he became one of the eight witnesses of that sacred record. On March 8, 1831, John was called by revelation to keep a history of the Church.[2] He probably copied the history into his “Book of John Whitmer” early in 1838, but occasional entries in the present tense indicate that he used contemporaneously drafted notes. In a repentant spirit, John recorded his excommunication of 10 March 1838, stating that he was closing the record, and hoping that he would be forgiven of his faults. But upon reflection, he went back and struck out these concluding sentiments. He then appended three additional chapters, containing his reflections on thorny historical matters, communications from Nauvoo, and his own responses to the issues of succession following the death of Joseph Smith in 1844.

Whitmer was troubled by the Kirtland bank failure, rumors of polygamy, and a secret, oath-bound organization which came to be known as the Danites.

My previous post, “I am Spartacus!”: The Brother of Gideon and the Corporate Nature of Danite Identity, mentioned Whitmer’s use of the term “brother of Gideon” to refer to the Danite organization in Missouri. As Chris Smith noted, Whitmer also employed the term “Gideonites,” a name for the band that was unique to him. Additionally, Whitmer referred to Danites as a “band of gadeantons [Gadiantons],” connecting the organization with secret, oath-bound “combinations” in the Book of Mormon.[3]
After Whitmer’s excommunication, he made an interesting claim that the Danite organization, along with the principle of plurality of wives, originated as early as 1836 in Kirtland.

In the fall of 1836, Joseph Smith Jr. S[idney] Rigdon & others of the Leaders of the church at Kirtland Ohio, Established a bank for the purpose of Speculation and the whole church partook of the same Spirit, they were lifted up in pride, and lusted after the forbid[d]en things of God such as covetousness, & in secret combination, spiritual wife doctrine, that is pleurality of wives, and gadianton bands, in which they were bound with oaths &c. that brought divisi[o]ns and mistrust among those who were pure in heart, and desired the upb[u]ilding of the Kingdom of God.

This startling revelation runs counter to the currently accepted historical view that the Danites originated in Missouri in 1838 and plural marriage was not generally practiced until the 1840s in Nauvoo. How much credence can we give to the assertions of John Whitmer, an excommunicated member, who later associated with not one, but two splinter movements?[4] An explanatory note inserted into the record at this point by the editors of the Joseph Smith Papers declares that his narrative exhibits “significant historical shortcomings.”

He [John Whitmer] stands alone among his contemporaries in claiming that an organization resembling the Danites originated in Ohio, and his generalization about “spiritual wife doctrine, that is pleurality [sic] of wives” in Kirtland suggests his narrative was colored by a later perspective, one based on charges leveled at the Mormons in Nauvoo in the 1840s.[5]

But are Whitmer’s claims supported by other evidence? Let us consider each of these points in turn. First, he mentioned a problem with plurality of wives in Kirtland. This observation appears to be supported by the 1835 edition of the D&C, which establishes that by that date the Church had, in fact, been accused of polygamy:

Inasmuch as this church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication, and polygamy: we declare that we believe, that one man should have one wife and one woman, but one husband.[6]

Even if it cannot be demonstrated that plural marriage was being performed with the sanction of Church leadership in 1835, Whitmer scores a bullseye here. Not only were there “charges leveled at the Mormons in Nauvoo,” but there was an earlier concern about polygamy in Kirtland, or there would have been no need for a statement disavowing it. Moreover, the term “spiritual wife doctrine” was not unique to the Nauvoo period. In fact, it has been vigorously argued that the phrase “spiritual wifery” may have entered the Church through the conversion of Cochranite polygamists as early as 1832.[7]

Now, let’s look at the Danites. Could these “Brothers of Gideon” have originated in Kirtland, as John Whitmer suggested?[8] The following paragraph from the Whitmer history contains many similarities with testimonies given before the Fifth Judicial Circuit Court of the State of Missouri in November 1838, preserving the Masonic language of the Danite oaths.[9] This suggests he may have been familiar with the statements of Sampson Avard, Reed Peck, and others. But unlike the other witnesses of Danite activity, Whitmer insisted that the Society had a presence in Kirtland by 1836. His language closely connects the establishment of the Society with the Kirtland endowment:

After Smiths return to Kirtland Ohio and after his ordering the first Elders of the church to go to Ohio there to receive their endowment from on high he hasted the finishing of the house at Kirtland which was commenced before he had gone to Zion to redeem her. He from this time began to be lifted up in the pride of his eyes, and began to seek riches and to form themselves into a secret Society which they termed the Brother of Gideon, in the which Society they took oaths that they would Support a brother wright or wrong even to the shed[d]ing of blood. also to thus [those] who belonged tho [to] this society were bound to keep it a profound Secret never to reveal but ever to conceal these abominations from all and every person axcept those who were of the same Craft. But these things could not be kept a secret in consequence of betreyers who fel[l] from their faith, and revealed their Secrets thus things were carried on by secret plots and midnight machinations, which Society was begin[n]ing to be established in Kirtland Ohio in the fall of 1836.

The formation of the “Gideonites” was a response to the collapse of Joseph Smith’s prophetic authority in Kirtland. Leland Gentry believes, along with many others, that the Society originated with the stirring “Salt Sermon” given by Sidney Rigdon in Far West on June 17, 1838. Rigdon’s oration compared dissenters with salt which had lost its savor, and was thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Clearly, his language echoed a well-known scripture in Matthew 5:13. However, more importantly, in a December 1833 revelation now known as D&C 101, this concept was directly applied to transgressors who needed to be chastened. A subsequent revelation in February 1834, now D&C 103, likewise used the salt metaphor, “inasmuch as they are not the saviors of men, they are as salt that has lost its savor.” Included in these two sections was strong language that foreshadowed the Danite purposes in Missouri:

  • “they were found transgressors, therefore they must needs be chastened” (D&C 101:41)
  • “And inasmuch as they gather together against you, avenge me of mine enemies, that by and by I may come with the residue of mine house and possess the land” (D&C 101:58)
  • “the redemption of Zion must needs come by power” (103:15)
  • “And my presence shall be with you even in avenging me of mine enemies” (103:26)

Theoretically, the “Gideonites” could have originated in Kirtland along with these types of teachings regarding dissenters and occupation of the land of Zion.

A distinguishing feature of the Danite organization in Missouri was the oaths that were taken by participants that they would obey the Presidency of the Church “right or wrong,” protect each other under all circumstances unto death, and consecrate their “person and effects” to the building of the Kingdom of God.[10] There is some evidence that such oaths were being taken in Kirtland in connection with the Law of Consecration, using the same vocabulary about obeying the Presidency. Finally, Joseph himself was using Danite rhetoric in Kirtland:

[the dissenters] openly and publicly renounced the Church of Christ of Latter-day Saints and claimed themselves to be the old standard … and set me at naught, and the whole Church, denouncing us as heretics, not considering that the Saints shall possess the Kingdom according to the Prophet Daniel.[11]

The Joseph Smith Papers’ observations on the historical shortcomings of Whitmer’s account may have merit. However, several things we know about Kirtland give us pause to reconsider the value of his claims. The telling of history, even by those who were there, is a selective enterprise. Like Moroni, Whitmer went back later to add to his record significant details which he had omitted in his first telling. I’m inclined to give credence to Whitmer’s later additions. As he began to put together the record, early in 1838, he felt obliged to write faithful history, as an official representative of the Church. Later, after his excommunication, he likely felt more at liberty to express his concerns. Mormon historians need not so readily dismiss evidence which comes from a “dissenter.” A lesson suggested by the Church’s first historian is that history is not tidy, is not one-dimensional, nor is it without challenges. Human beings struggle to make sense of events in their lives. John Whitmer’s last three chapters contain his perception of early Church history when he began to write without Joseph-colored glasses.

_____________________________
[1] Book of John Whitmer
[2] D&C 47:1
[3] See Helaman 2-13, 3 Nephi 1-3, 4 Nephi 1, Mormon 2.
[4] John Whitmer followed James Strang until he became convinced that his brother, David Whitmer held a legitimate succession claim.
[5] “Editorial Note” placed before Chapter 20 in the Book of John Whitmer, at the Joseph Smith Papers Project.
[6] 1835 D&C Sec C1 p. 251
[7] In their 2000 book, Joseph Smith Fought Polygamy, authors Richard and Pamela Price attempt to show that “plural marriage” and “spiritual wifery” came into Mormonism by way of ex-Cochranite converts to the Latter Day Saint faith. The Prices demonstrate that early Mormon leaders were exposed to “Cochranite polygamy” following the 1832 missionary tour of elders Samuel H. Smith and Orson Hyde through Maine’s Saco Valley. However, the close correspondence between the structure of the Rev. Jacob Cochran’s “Ark” commune, at Hollis, and the Rev. Sidney Rigdon’s “Morley Farm” commune, at Kirtland, suggests that Cochranite influences may have touched Ohio’s Rigdonites even before they converted to Mormonism at the end of 1830.
[8] Whitmer’s writings may add credence to an unsubstantiated statement in an early biography of Porter Rockwell which asserts that a Danite group was organized in Kirtland about 1835. Rockwell, Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Oliver Cowdery, and David W. Patten (as “Simon”) are named as the original five Danites. See Achilles [Samuel D. Sirrine] The Destroying Angels of Mormonism (San Francisco: Alta California Printing House, 1878), 8.
[9] “never reveal but ever conceal,” and “support a brother right or wrong” are phrases found in David Bernard’s 1829 exposure “Light on Masonry.”
[10] John Corrill, A Brief History of the Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints (Commonly Called Mormons) (St. Louis, MO: Author, 1839), 29, 30 John D. Lee, Mormonism Unveiled (Albuquerque, NM: Fierra Blanca Publications, 2001) 59 Achilles, 8-9. Language comes from the Royal Arch Degree, see David Bernard, Light on Masonry (Utica, New York: William Williams Printer, 1829), p. 130.
[11] HC 2:509-511


The Great Depression

At first you may think that the tough times of the Great Depression would cause people to turn to crime, however, that wasn't necessarily the case. Although there aren't a lot of crime statistics from the era, most historians agree that crime rates did not increase during the Great Depression. Some suggest that crime even went down. This may have been because so many people were hard up, they were less likely to steal from each other.

Crime became somewhat glorified by the movies at the start of the Great Depression. Gangster movies such as Scarface and The Public Enemy made being a criminal look cool and a good way to make a living. Around 1934, new laws were put in place that put restrictions on movies. One rule was that movies could not make criminals look like heroes.

Famous 1930s Criminals

    - Al Capone was an organized crime boss in Chicago. He became rich providing illegal alcohol during prohibition (when alcohol was illegal). Many people thought of Capone as a "Robin Hood" type figure because he gave to charities and helped the poor. Capone was sent to federal prison in 1932 for tax evasion. Bonnie and Clyde - Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow traveled with their gang throughout the Midwest robbing banks, stores, and gas stations. Newspapers followed their exploits making them famous throughout America until they were gunned down by police in 1934.


John Dillinger Mugshot 1929
Source: FBI

Impact of Prohibition

The start of prohibition in 1919 prevented people from selling and transporting alcoholic beverages. This law gave rise to a new class of criminals called bootleggers that made their money smuggling liquor. Although prohibition ended in 1933, the criminal organizations that ran the illegal alcohol business were still in place.

Organized crime had become a major problem in the 1920s due to prohibition. Even after prohibition was ended in 1933, the gangs that formed were still around. They continued to operate, but in different areas such as gambling and drugs.


Charles Arthur Floyd was a gun happy bank robber who during his violent career cultivated a favorable image with the general public by spreading rumors that in the course of his robberies he also destroyed mortgage documents, saving many from foreclosure. The story is unsupported by evidence and was probably created by Floyd, who hated the nickname Pretty Boy. After the Kansas City massacre, in which three police officers and an FBI agent were killed when escorting Frank Nash during a change of custody (Nash was also killed), Pretty Boy Floyd was named by the FBI as one of the gunmen. It was unlikely that Floyd had been involved, but J. Edgar Hoover used the event as propaganda to further the cause of arming FBI agents. After the death of John Dillinger, Floyd was elevated to Public Enemy Number One buy the FBI.

Floyd killed at least three police officers and several other underworld figures, including bootleggers, which indicates he may have supplemented his income from bank robberies by serving as a hit man for organized crime figures. He was convicted of bank robbery in Ohio and sentenced to 15 years in the infamous Ohio State Penitentiary in November of 1930, but escaped and continued his life of crime. Floyd&rsquos support from the public was especially evident in Oklahoma, where residents sheltered and protected him, in return for financial largesse, an eventuality which infuriated J. Edgar Hoover. Floyd was killed in an Ohio field on the night of October 22, 1934, though several different versions of the events that night emerged from the participants in the shooting and witnesses. Floyd robbed more than thirty banks and killed at least ten men during his criminal career.


Places to visit

The London Dungeons - 28-34 Tooley Street, London, Tel: 020 7403 0606. Detailing the darker side of London life for the last 1500 years, the London Dungeons include a section on Jack the Ripper and Victorian crime.

West Midlands Police Museum - Sparkhill Police Station, 607 Stratford Road, Sparkhill, Birmingham. Tel: 0121 626 7181. The West Midlands Police Museum houses a wide range of pictures, information and items to show the development of policing in and around Birmingham.

The Sherlock Holmes Museum - 221B Baker Street, London. The home of the greatest Victorian sleuth, faithfully preserved as it would have been in the nineteenth century.


Watch the video: Gadianton Robber Meeting (December 2022).

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