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Why does the Book of Mormon describe the ferocious Gaddianton robbers as wearing lamb-skin? Would we expect this rich symbolism if Joseph Smith wrote the book himself?

The words “lamb” and “sheep” appear over 100 times in the Book of Mormon most often in a religious sense, as in the “Lamb of God”.

One example is that of the Gaddianton robbers wearing lamb skin in 3 Nephi 4:7:

And it came to pass that they did come up to battle; and it was in the sixth month; and behold, great and terrible was the day that they did come up to battle; and they were girded about after the manner of robbers; and they had a lamb-skin about their loins, and they were dyed in blood, and their heads were shorn, and they had head-plates upon them; and great and terrible was the appearance of the armies of Giddianhi, because of their armor, and because of their being dyed in blood.

Why would Joseph Smith say that the ferocious Gaddianton robbers wore lamb skin dyed in blood? Why would he say that wearing this was so terrifying to the Nephites? There appears to be some rich symbolism here that sacrificial lambs were part of the Nephite observation of the Law of Moses and clearly an important part of Nephite worship.

How do we account for this kind of symbolism from Joseph? If he wrote the book himself, wouldn’t he have been more likely to use a ferocious animal rather than a lamb?


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