Lachoneus…Could Not Be Frightened – 3 Nephi 3:12-15

12 Now behold, this Lachoneus, the governor, was a just man, and could not be frightened by the demands and the threatenings of a robber; therefore he did not hearken to the epistle of Giddianhi, the governor of the robbers, but he did cause that his people should cry unto the Lord for strength against the time that the robbers should come down against them.
13 Yea, he sent a proclamation among all the people, that they should gather together their women, and their children, their flocks and their herds, and all their substance, save it were their land, unto one place.
14 And he caused that fortifications should be built round about them, and the strength thereof should be exceedingly great. And he caused that armies, both of the Nephites and of the Lamanites, or of all them who were numbered among the Nephites, should be placed as guards round about to watch them, and to guard them from the robbers day and night.
15 Yea, he said unto them: As the Lord liveth, except ye repent of all your iniquities, and cry unto the Lord, ye will in nowise be delivered out of the hands of those Gadianton robbers.

As this chapter opens, the Gadianton robbers have become numerous and powerful. Their leader, Giddianhi, sends a letter to Lachoneus, “the governor of the land,” demanding the immediate surrender of his people. He promises Lachoneus that they will not be slaves, but rather “brethren and partners of all our substance,” conditioned upon their being willing to adopt the lifestyle of the robbers (3 Nephi 3:7).
Upon receiving this letter, Lachoneus was “exceedingly astonished, because of the boldness of Giddianhi” (3 Nephi 3:11). However, as Mormon tells us in the passage above, Lachoneus “could not be frightened by the demands and the threatenings of a robber.” Therefore, Lachoneus did not panic, and he did not even consider giving in to the demands. However, he did recognize the danger his people faced, and he took immediate action to protect his people against that danger. He gathered them in one place, he ensured that food was available in the event of a siege, he built new fortifications and assigned guards to watch for the enemy, and he urged the people to repent and to pray. 
An awareness of the dangers we face can motivate us to take appropriate action to protect ourselves and others. This awareness can be called “fear.” In fact, Mormon tells us that the words of Lachoneus “did cause fear to come upon all the people; and they did exert themselves in their might to do according to the words of Lachoneus” (3 Nephi 3:16). I don’t think Lachoneus was immune to this kind of fear: he certainly recognized the dangers facing his people and took preventive action. When Mormon tells us that Lachoneus couldn’t be frightened, I think he was talking about something else: a feeling which induces irrational decisions or which motivates us to simply give up. This emotion distorts our perception: we exaggerate the dangers and fail to recognize the resources we have. We waste precious time and energy worrying about negative outcomes instead of taking the exact actions which can help us prevent those outcomes.
In the words of Dieter F. Uchtdorf:

We are…not ignorant of the challenges of the world, nor are we unaware of the difficulties of our times. But this does not mean that we should burden ourselves or others with constant fear. Rather than dwelling on the immensity of our challenges, would it not be better to focus on the infinite greatness, goodness, and absolute power of our God, trusting Him and preparing with a joyful heart for the return of Jesus the Christ?
As His covenant people, we need not be paralyzed by fear because bad things might happen. Instead, we can move forward with faith, courage, determination, and trust in God as we approach the challenges and opportunities ahead (“Perfect Love Casteth Out All Fear,” General Conference, April 2017).

Today, I will follow the example of Lachoneus and the guidance of President Uchtdorf. I will seek an accurate perception of the risks and dangers I and others face, and I will strive to address those challenges intelligently, diligently, and with confidence and faith. When new dangers or risks come to my attention, I will not allow fear to dictate my response. I will deal with those dangers promptly and wisely. I will not allow fear to cloud my judgment or dampen my courage.

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One Response to Lachoneus…Could Not Be Frightened – 3 Nephi 3:12-15

  1. Pingback: Lessons from the Writings of Mormon – Part 1 | Book of Mormon Study Notes

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