Taught by Sue Green
(click on the scripture to read)
By way of quick review in chapters 3 & 4, the Nephites had gathered together in one location, by the tens of thousands, with seven years supply of provisions (Nephi 4:4) This was in response to the Gadiation robbers, who threatened to destroy them completely if they did not agree to surrender if they did not agree to surrender and join them
Over the next five or so years these robbers were destroyed. Now as we begin chapter six, the Nephites return to their former lands. They will have a time of peace and prosperity. They will even give land to their former enemies who had covenanted to be peaceful, so that they could be self supporting and maintain their Lamanite identity if they so desired.
Sadly, we will once again see the "cycle of apostasy" follow the prosperity which came upon the Nephites. and those with them. As usual pride will be the root cause. Therefore, if we want to avoid this cycle, we must avoid pride!
The word "prosper" in verse 4, is a word we have come to almost fear by this point in the Book of Mormon, because it is almost always followed by pride and wickedness. We must remember that this does not have to be the case, as we will see during the nearly 200 years of peace following the Saviors visit to the Nephites.
We will recall that the Nephite democracy was founded upon the laws of God, and that as the Nephites became wicked, they changed the laws of the land to reflect their personal wickedness. Now, at the end of verse 4, we see them reform their laws and change back to righteous ones, thus, the only danger to the Nephite democracy at this time is sin and wickedness.
Mormon reminds us of the vital role of righteous elected and appointed officials in securing true prosperity to a nation.
One of the very first messages the Savior taught the Nephites after he appeared to them was, that the Spirit of contention is not of me. (3 Nephi 1:29)
Contention is a powerful tool of the devil, and we see it being employed by him in verse 10.
In fact, Mormon will show us how Satan dismantles a righteous society in just seven years. Indicating that the government was growing much faster than the population, with a resulting decrease in self-reliance, and an increase in dependency on government.
Robert L. Simpson said,"Times have not changed. Less than two months ago, most of you read the disturbing article in our newspaper about a group of individuals who have established a so-called Satanic Church, with the sole purpose to participate only in the realms of evil and darkness. They are in open defiance of, and diametrically opposed to, all of Gods holy purposes that bring us together in this great conference. Without a goodly number of God-fearing men committed to the cause of truth, these societies of evil could well take over our society.
As Mormon continues teaching us, we will basically point out how foolish and gullible people are who allow Satan to carry them about where ever he wants to. One of Satan's greatest deceptions is to convince people that he, himself, does not exist and that they are in charge of their own lives as they submit to wickedness. Many who do believe in the devil have a strong tendency to underestimate his influence for evil in the lives of people and societies.
Mormon points out the extremely dangerous position these people had placed themselves in because they definitely knew better. They were in intentional, open rebellion against the Gospel. Thus their accountability level was high.
As the coming of Christ, with the accompanying destruction of the wicked among the Nephites, got closer and closer, more opportunities to understand and accept the Gospel were provided to the people. The same thing is happening to our day as the gospel goes forth into all the world.
People among the Nephites became very angry and bitterly opposed to those who preached the truth. In a pattern also repeated in our day, those who were especially angry were corrupt high government officials, prominent religious leaders and lawyers, all of whose livelihoods and unrighteous dominions were threatened if people become righteous.
Mormon tells us of murders carried out secretly by the wicked in power because they couldn't get rid of the righteous legally. We see the reappearance of secret combinations inspired by the devil.