Drawing upon Mesoamerican history and some intricate details that can be drawn from the Book of Mormon, Brant Gardner explores Mormon’s treatment of secret combinations and some ties to actual places and times. The great city of Teotihuacan may have been the physical source of the corrupt militaristic schemes driven by secret societies that led to the final destruction of the Nephites. Fascinating thesis. See “The Gadianton Robbers in Mormon’s Theological History: Their Structural Role and Plausible Identification” by Brant Gardner.
An important contribution of this paper is considering Mormon’s objectives in his careful editing and how that impacted his description and editorial choices regarding the Gadianton’s and their 4th century (foreign?) successors.
The next step beyond understanding secret societies in Mesoamerica is the extremely difficult one of understanding them in our day. Follow the money – and the power. War could also be an indicator.