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A Library Tour Through
1 And now it came to pass in the forty and third year of the reign of the judges,
there was no contention among the people of Nephi save it were a little pride which
was in the church, which did cause some little dissensions among the people, which
affairs were settled in the ending of the forty and third year.
2 And there was no contention among the people in the forty and fourth year; neither
was there much contention in the forty and fifth year.
3 And it came to pass in the forty and sixth, yea, there was much contention and
many dissensions; in the which there were an exceedingly great many who departed
out of the land of Zarahemla, and went forth unto the land northward to inherit the
4 And they did travel to an exceedingly great distance, insomuch that they came to
large bodies of water and many rivers.
5 Yea, and even they did spread forth into all parts of the land, into whatever parts
it had not been rendered desolate and without timber, because of the many inhabitants
who had before inherited the land.
6 And now no part of the land was desolate, save it were for timber; but because
of the greatness of the destruction of the people who had before inhabited the land
it was called desolate.
7 And there being but little timber upon the face of the land, nevertheless the people
who went forth became exceedingly expert in the working of cement; therefore they
did build houses of cement, in the which they did dwell.
8 And it came to pass that they did multiply and spread, and did go forth from the
land southward to the land northward, and did spread insomuch that they began to
cover the face of the whole earth, from the sea south to the sea north, from the
sea west to the sea east.
9 And the people who were in the land northward did dwell in tents, and in houses
of cement, and they did suffer whatsoever tree should spring up upon the face of
the land that it should grow up, that in time they might have timber to build their
houses, yea, their cities, and their temples, and their synagogues, and their sanctuaries,
and all manner of their buildings.
10 And it came to pass as timber was exceedingly scarce in the land northward, they
did send forth much by the way of shipping.
11 And thus they did enable the people in the land northward that they might build
many cities, both of wood and of cement.
12 And it came to pass that there were many of the people of Ammon, who were Lamanites
by birth, did also go forth into this land.
13 And now there are many records kept of the proceedings of this people, by many
of this people, which are particular and very large, concerning them.
14 But behold, a hundredth part of the proceedings of this people, yea, the account
of the Lamanites and of the Nephites, and their wars, and contentions, and dissensions,
and their preaching, and their prophecies, and their shipping and their building
of ships, and their building of temples, and of synagogues and their sanctuaries,
and their righteousness, and their wickedness, and their murders, and their robbings,
and their plundering, and all manner of abominations and whoredoms, cannot be contained
in this work.
15 But behold, there are many books and many records of every kind, and they have
been kept chiefly by the Nephites.
16 And they have been handed down from one generation to another by the Nephites,
even until they have fallen into transgression and have been murdered, plundered,
and hunted, and driven forth, and slain, and scattered upon the face of the earth,
and mixed with the Lamanites until they are no more called the Nephites, becoming
wicked, and wild, and ferocious, yea, even becoming Lamanites.
17 And now I return again to mine account; therefore, what I have spoken had passed
after there had been great contentions, and disturbances, and wars, and dissensions,
among the people of Nephi.
18 The forty and sixth year of the reign of the judges ended;
19 And it came to pass that there was still great contention in the land, yea, even
in the forty and seventh year, and also in the forty and eighth year.
20 Nevertheless Helaman did fill the judgment-seat with justice and equity; yea,
he did observe to keep the statutes, and the judgments, and the commandments of God;
and he did do that which was right in the sight of God continually; and he did walk
after the ways of his father, insomuch that he did prosper in the land.
21 And it came to pass that he had two sons. He gave unto the eldest the name of
Nephi, and unto the youngest, the name of Lehi. And they began to grow up unto the
22 And it came to pass that the wars and contentions began to cease, in a small degree,
among the people of the Nephites, in the latter end of the forty and eighth year
of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi.
23 And it came to pass in the forty and ninth year of the reign of the judges, there
was continual peace established in the land, all save it were the secret combinations
which Gadianton the robber had established in the more settled parts of the land,
which at that time were not known unto those who were at the head of government;
therefore they were not destroyed out of the land.
24 And it came to pass that in this same year there was exceedingly great prosperity
in the church, insomuch that there were thousands who did join themselves unto the
church and were baptized unto repentance.
25 And so great was the prosperity of the church, and so many the blessings which
were poured out upon the people, that even the high priests and the teachers were
themselves astonished beyond measure.
Chapter 42 – Rollercoaster Economics. Research by John W. Welch, 1993; discussed
at a FARMS brown bag lecture.
As one reads the Book of Mormon and notices the volatility of their society, the
ups and downs of their economy, one is often amazed that change can happen so quickly.
“A chart of the economic swings of the Nephites looks like a rollercoaster. Its
cycles are erratic, and its fluctuations are often rapid and extreme, ranging from
eras of turbulence and turmoil to extended periods of peace and prosperity.”
We are familiar and comfortable with Nephite religion; that’s the focus of the Book
of Mormon, and the purpose of reading it. We know something of their politics and
wars. But their economics are not clearly outlined in the book (except for some
monetary details in Alma 11). Indeed, they probably didn’t even have economists
to examine and contrast their economic system with others
Step back in time with Welch and briefly explore ten aspects of Nephite society
and economy, all extracted from the Book of Mormon, but not noticed by the casual
reader. The author concludes, “These and probably many other factors help us to understand
why and how the Nephite society was so highly susceptible to the economic fluctuations
that came as blessings or punishments from the Lord. These were the result of many
causes, both the result of conscious choices on their part, and of other factors
beyond their control, let alone their awareness. People in modern societies, on
the other hand, find themselves insulated in many ways from the vicissitudes of the
simple economies of ancient societies, which probably makes it harder for modern
readers to understand the Nephite condition and to appreciate all of the influences
that impressed them to be dependent spiritually upon the Lord.”
26 And it came to pass that the work of the Lord did prosper unto the baptizing and
uniting to the church of God, many souls, yea, even tens of thousands.
27 Thus we may see that the Lord is merciful unto all who will, in the sincerity
of their hearts, call upon his holy name.
28 Yea, thus we see that the gate of heaven is open unto all, even to those who will
believe on the name of Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God.
29 Yea, we see that whosoever will may lay hold upon the word of God, which is quick
and powerful, which shall divide asunder all the cunning and the snares and the wiles
of the devil, and lead the man of Christ in a strait and narrow course across that
everlasting gulf of misery which is prepared to engulf the wicked --
As Marilynne Todd Linford documents in her extensive lists, “wiles” is found only
in the Book of Helaman in the Book of Mormon. In fact, it is in a verse that encourages
believers that even in difficult times, they may experience miracles and church growth:
“Yea, we see that whosoever will may lay hold upon the word of God, which is quick
and powerful, which shall divide asunder all the cunning and the snares and the wiles
of the devil, and lead the man of Christ in a strait and narrow course across that
everlasting gulf of misery which is prepared to engulf the wicked.” This seems particularly
appropriate, since our time today has a great correspondence to the Book of Helaman
times. We could write volumes about the wiles of the devil today. The Book of Mormon
is the antidote to those wiles.
30 And land their souls, yea, their immortal souls, at the right hand of God in the
kingdom of heaven, to sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and with Jacob, and with
all our holy fathers, to go no more out.
31 And in this year there was continual rejoicing in the land of Zarahemla, and in
all the regions round about, even in all the land which was possessed by the Nephites.
32 And it came to pass that there was peace and exceedingly great joy in the remainder
of the forty and ninth year; yea, and also there was continual peace and great joy
in the fiftieth year of the reign of the judges.
33 And in the fifty and first year of the reign of the judges there was peace also,
save it were the pride which began to enter into the church -- not into the church
of God, but into the hearts of the people who professed to belong to the church of
34 And they were lifted up in pride, even to the persecution of many of their brethren.
Now this was a great evil, which did cause the more humble part of the people to
suffer great persecutions, and to wade through much affliction.
35 Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in
their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their
souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification
of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts
36 And it came to pass that the fifty and second year ended in peace also, save it
were the exceedingly great pride which had gotten into the hearts of the people;
and it was because of their exceedingly great riches and their prosperity in the
land; and it did grow upon them from day to day.
37 And it came to pass in the fifty and third year of the reign of the judges, Helaman
died, and his eldest son Nephi began to reign in his stead. And it came to pass that
he did fill the judgment-seat with justice and equity; yea, he did keep the commandments
of God, and did walk in the ways of his father.
1 And it came to pass in the fifty and fourth year there were many dissensions in
the church, and there was also a contention among the people, insomuch that there
was much bloodshed.
2 And the rebellious part were slain and driven out of the land, and they did go
unto the king of the Lamanites.
3 And it came to pass that they did endeavor to stir up the Lamanites to war against
the Nephites; but behold, the Lamanites were exceedingly afraid, insomuch that they
would not hearken to the words of those dissenters.
4 But it came to pass in the fifty and sixth year of the reign of the judges, there
were dissenters who went up from the Nephites unto the Lamanites; and they succeeded
with those others in stirring them up to anger against the Nephites; and they were
all that year preparing for war.
5 And in the fifty and seventh year they did come down against the Nephites to battle,
and they did commence the work of death; yea, insomuch that in the fifty and eighth
year of the reign of the judges they succeeded in obtaining possession of the land
of Zarahemla; yea, and also all the lands, even unto the land which was near the
6 And the Nephites and the armies of Moronihah were driven even into the land of
7 And there they did fortify against the Lamanites, from the west sea, even unto
the east; it being a day's journey for a Nephite, on the line which they had fortified
and stationed their armies to defend their north country.
8 And thus those dissenters of the Nephites, with the help of a numerous army of
the Lamanites, had obtained all the possession of the Nephites which was in the land
southward. And all this was done in the fifty and eighth and ninth years of the reign
of the judges.
9 And it came to pass in the sixtieth year of the reign of the judges, Moronihah
did succeed with his armies in obtaining many parts of the land; yea, they regained
many cities which had fallen into the hands of the Lamanites.
10 And it came to pass in the sixty and first year of the reign of the judges they
succeeded in regaining even the half of all their possessions.
11 Now this great loss of the Nephites, and the great slaughter which was among them,
would not have happened had it not been for their wickedness and their abomination
which was among them; yea, and it was among those also who professed to belong to
the church of God.
12 And it was because of the pride of their hearts, because of their exceeding riches,
yea, it was because of their oppression to the poor, withholding their food from
the hungry, withholding their clothing from the naked, and smiting their humble brethren
upon the cheek, making a mock of that which was sacred, denying the spirit of prophecy
and of revelation, murdering, plundering, lying, stealing, committing adultery, rising
up in great contentions, and deserting away into the land of Nephi, among the Lamanites
13 And because of this their great wickedness, and their boastings in their own strength,
they were left in their own strength; therefore they did not prosper, but were afflicted
and smitten, and driven before the Lamanites, until they had lost possession of almost
all their lands.
14 But behold, Moronihah did preach many things unto the people because of their
iniquity, and also Nephi and Lehi, who were the sons of Helaman, did preach many
things unto the people, yea, and did prophesy many things unto them concerning their
iniquities, and what should come unto them if they did not repent of their sins.
15 And it came to pass that they did repent, and inasmuch as they did repent they
did begin to prosper.
16 For when Moronihah saw that they did repent he did venture to lead them forth
from place to place, and from city to city, even until they had regained the one-half
of their property and the one-half of all their lands.
17 And thus ended the sixty and first year of the reign of the judges.
18 And it came to pass in the sixty and second year of the reign of the judges, that
Moronihah could obtain no more possessions over the Lamanites.
19 Therefore they did abandon their design to obtain the remainder of their lands,
for so numerous were the Lamanites that it became impossible for the Nephites to
obtain more power over them; therefore Moronihah did employ all his armies in maintaining
those parts which he had taken.
20 And it came to pass, because of the greatness of the number of the Lamanites the
Nephites were in great fear, lest they should be overpowered, and trodden down, and
slain, and destroyed.
21 Yea, they began to remember the prophecies of Alma, and also the words of Mosiah;
and they saw that they had been a stiffnecked people, and that they had set at naught
the commandments of God.
22 And that they had altered and trampled under their feet the laws of Mosiah, or
that which the Lord commanded him to give unto the people; and they saw that their
laws had become corrupted, and that they had become a wicked people, insomuch that
they were wicked even like unto the Lamanites.
23 And because of their iniquity the church had begun to dwindle; and they began
to disbelieve in the spirit of prophecy and in the spirit of revelation; and the
judgments of God did stare them in the face.
24 And they saw that they had become weak, like unto their brethren, the Lamanites,
and that the Spirit of the Lord did no more preserve them; yea, it had withdrawn
from them because the Spirit of the Lord doth not dwell in unholy temples --
25 Therefore the Lord did cease to preserve them by his miraculous and matchless
power, for they had fallen into a state of unbelief and awful wickedness; and they
saw that the Lamanites were exceedingly more numerous than they, and except they
should cleave unto the Lord their God, they must unavoidably perish.
26 For behold, they saw that the strength of the Lamanites was as great as their
strength, even man for man. And thus had they fallen into this great transgression;
yea, thus had they become weak, because of their transgression, in the space of not