This is the book of Nephi, son of Nephi, who was one of the disciples of Jesus Christ. Years 34 and 35 pass away since Christ’s birth. The church is established throughout the land and people are still being baptized. By 36 AD (a little under three years since Christ showed Himself to them), “the people were all converted unto the Lord, upon all the face of the land, both Nephites and Lamanites, and there were no contentions and disputations among them, and every man did deal justly one with another.” (2)
Some of the choices that these people made to be blessed and prospered as a people are outlined below. Because of these choices, they experienced a state of happiness and economic prosperity that lasted for almost 200 years! Can you imagine that? Here’s what they did (we would be wise to try to emulate these patterns):
- They built up the Church, and the disciples urged the people to seek to have the gift of the Holy Ghost.
- They had no contentions or disputations among them (we really are failing at this one this year—especially as members of the Church)
- They did deal justly one with another
- There was no rich or poor among them.
- All were made free and partakers of the heavenly gift.
- The disciples worked miracles in the name of Jesus.
- The people rebuilt the destroyed cities. They worked hard to make their communities nice.
- They married and were given in marriage.
- They fasted and prayed and kept God’s commandments.
- They met together oft as members to pray and hear the word of God
- They had the love of God in their hearts, which made them treat their fellowmen with compassion and love.
- They didn’t sin, but were a happy, righteous people
- They were one, not divided in any way—the children of Christ. We need to work to be more united as a people.
And it came to pass that there was no contention in the land because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people.”4 Nephi 1:15
This is the key to peace—having love in our hearts for God. His love naturally leads us to love all other people.
And surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God.”4 Nephi 1:16
This is such an awesome time in history. Sixty-six years of peace, without any contention. Had that ever happened before or since?
And how blessed were they! For the Lord did bless them in all their doings; yea, even they were blessed and prospered until an hundred and ten years had passed away; and the first generation from Christ had passed away, and there was no contention in all the land.”4 Nephi 1:18
One hundred and ten years have passed since Christ was born. Seventy-six since Christ visited. All of the first generation are gone, but the second generation still seems strong. The Lord blesses them in ALL their doings. That is what He promises when we follow Him.
How can I do better at uniting my family and my community? How can I do better at having the love of God in my heart, so I am not tempted to put others down in any manner?
Amos, son of Nephi the record keeper, takes over the records. He keeps it for 84 years, all in peace. If this 84 is added to the 110 before, that makes 194 years since Christ’s birth—160 years since He visited them—and we see our first inkling of rebellion in this phrase…a “small part of the people who had revolted from the church and taken upon them the name of Lamanites.” (20)
This is our first sign of discord in the record. Amos dies in the 194th year, and his son, Amos, takes over the record-keeping. (21)
Two hundred years have passed—166 since Christ visited; the second generation has almost all passed away. For the most part, the third generation is still strong, save that small part that revolted. Mormon inserts himself to say:
…that the people had multiplied, insomuch that they were spread upon all the face of the land and that they had become exceedingly rich, because of their prosperity in Christ.”4 Nephi 1:23
Riches are not bad. In fact, they are usually one of the ways God blesses His righteous people. But we must beware of pride and the love of riches from creeping into our hearts. It is usually the rising generation where this happens.
The righteous who gain the wealth usually are grateful to God for it and use it to bless others. But they must teach their children this same attitude, and growing up rich can cause the next generation to be prideful and cocky in their status. This happened to these people (which I will talk about more in tomorrow’s post).