In 26 AD, the Nephites return to their own lands, after eight years of enduring a robber siege against them. There is peace once again. They give the repentant robbers a land of their own.
“And they began again to prosper and to wax great; and the twenty and sixth and seventh years passed away, and there was great order in the land; and they had formed their laws according to equity and justice.” (4)
This peace comes from good leaders. Gidgiddoni and Lachoneus are righteous men who care for the people and want what’s best for them all. That should be the only criteria we look for when we vote for leaders. Who will watch out for our best interests and keep us a good nation? Do they unite us? Do they push us to our highest potential, or stir us up to our basest fears? What is in their hearts? Secret combinations and a quest for power, or selfless service to build and nurture a nation?
During these building years, cities are built, cities repaired, highways cast up, many roads made. This shows an abundance of commerce. The next year passes in peace. But in 29 AD, “there began to be some disputings among the people; and some were lifted up unto pride, and boastings because of their exceedingly great riches, yea, even unto great persecutions.” (10)
Oh, no. Pride never bodes well for a nation or people. Why won’t they learn? Material possessions can’t become our great love, because it leads us to think we’re better than others.
A division happens among the people, ending their peace. We have much division today among us. When politics become more important than people, we are on dangerous ground and need to repent.
The Nephites “began to be distinguished by ranks, according to their riches and their chances of learning.” (12) The poor don’t get educated and the rich get great learning.
And thus there became a great inequality in all the land, insomuch that the church began to be broken up.”3 Nephi 6:14
When class distinctions happen, it hurts the church. We must look outside of ourselves and honestly ask if we are building God’s kingdom or hurting it by our own attitudes. Do we seek to unite? Do we love all men, no matter how different they believe than us? Do we work to build bridges, not walls?
The church has “a few of the Lamanites who were converted unto the true faith, and they would not depart from it, for they were firm and steadfast, and immovable, willing with all diligence to keep the commandments of the Lord.” (14)
What kept these few people strong in a wicked society?
Converted to the true faith.
Faith in Jesus Christ. We cannot believe in Him without being moved to love our fellowmen. We will not think we’re greater than others or wait to be proved right in our views, so we can be justified in our pride. We will humbly listen. We will learn. We will love. We will lift and serve our fellowmen, not put them down in any manner.
Would not depart from gospel.
They didn’t mix in the philosophies of men with scripture. They obeyed God, not man. We can work to keep God’s commandments over worldly agendas. We can do better at keeping our covenants with God, and not depart in the slightest from the path He has outlined for us, through living prophets.
Firm, steadfast, immovable.
They were built upon the Rock of our Redeemer, so when society’s norms changed, they did not. God is not a politician. He doesn’t change stances, as the world does. These righteous people stayed firmly planted in God’s truths. They steadfastly held onto the words of the prophets and holy scriptures. They were immovable in their faith in Jesus Christ.
Willing with all diligence to keep commandments.
The commandments weren’t roadblocks to them. They viewed God’s commandments as blessings and were willing to keep them. Do I ever grudgingly keep certain commandments or complain about keeping them? If so, I must repent and ask for help to be willing to keep them with all diligence.
A quick downturn
Satan has great power over the rest of the people. They listen to him and do all sorts of evil. They are prideful, power-hungry, lord authority over others, and seek for riches and vain things of the world, instead of the things that can bring them lasting peace and joy. (15)
…they did not sin ignorantly, for they knew the will of God concerning them, for it had been taught unto them; therefore they did willfully rebel against God.”3 Nephi 6:18
Lachoneus, son of the first Lachoneus, reigns. Prophets come and testify of Christ’s atonement. “They did testify boldly of his death and sufferings.” (20) The wicked judges put these prophets to death without the chief governor’s permission. They are tried for this horrible evil, but their kindred and friends enter into wicked oaths to lie and save them, “to combine against all righteousness.” (28) They vow to overthrow the governor and put a king back on the ruling seat and take away everyone’s liberty.
And this leads to dire consequences, as we’ll see in the next chapter.