July 6th, 2006

The Rise and Fall of the Post-Christ Nephites

Tonight in institute we read in the book of 4th Nephi. This book, better than any other in the Book of Mormon, highlights the pride cycle which plauged the ancient Nephite/Lamanite civilizations.

In 36 A.D., shortly after Christ’s visit, we learn that everybody was converted to the Lord (v. 2). There were no contentions or disputations among them (v. 2, 13, 15, 18) and they had all things in common (v. 3). There were no social classes or labels (“-ites”) among them (v. 3, 17). They were in one. They were Zion. Indeed, as Mormon noted, there couldn’t be a happier people among all of God’s children (v. 16).

Fast forward 165 years. The people begin to be lifted up in pride, and wear costly apparel to distinguish themselves in a higher social class (v. 24). Six years previous to this time a faction dissented from the church, calling themselves Lamanites (v. 20). However, it isn’t until this time, in 201 A.D., that social classes arise among the people, and the law of consecration ceases to properly function, since they no longer had all their goods and substances in common (v. 25, 26).

It goes downhill from there. Much more downhill. But I stop to ponder… how can I apply 4th Nephi to our day? Is there a pattern to observe? Are people today divided into social classes? Do people wear costly apparel? Are people lifted up in pride, and looking down on others? Is the true Church and its followers persecuted? Are there secret combinations among the wicked?

It’s amazing what opposite ends of the spectrum this chapter touches. First, we had everybody being converted to the Lord, living peaceably, and having all their goods in common. Then at the end of the chapter and book, we learn that everybody, save for the Three Nephites, are wicked, the Gadianton Robbers infest the entire land, and nobody has any goods in common.

Where do we stand today? Are we lifted up in pride? Do we assist those of less fortunate circumstances? Are we infatuated with celebrities, the latest fashion, and buying more and more unnecessary things? Are we striving for Zion? Are we striving to live the law of consecration?

Behold, are ye stripped of pride? I say unto you, if ye are not ye are not prepared to meet God. Behold ye must prepare quickly; for the kingdom of heaven is soon at hand, and such an one hath not eternal life. (Alma 5:28)

I don’t know about you, but I’ve got a lot to work on. There’s no better time to start than now.

2 Responses to “The Rise and Fall of the Post-Christ Nephites”

  1. Omnipotent Doubt
    July 7, 2006 at 10:04 pm #

    Sounds a lot like the fall of Russia… and the raise of an economically driven, democratic society in its place.

    Omnipotent Doubt

  2. Mark N.
    March 9, 2007 at 2:37 pm #

    Are we striving for Zion? Are we striving to live the law of consecration?

    One would think that these topics would pop up as a topic of a talk or two in Sacrament Meetings from time to time, but I can’t think of any time in recent memory that I can recall these topics being discussed at all.

    How are we going to become a Zion society if we never talk about it? Is the Law of Consecration a 19th century relic that has been pushed aside for the time being, only to be briefly mentioned in temple ceremonies?

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