For the first time in the recorded history of the Nephites and Lamanites, the tables are turned, and the righteousness of the Lamanites as a people has exceeded that of Nephites. This is exceptionally notable. How did it happen? Why did it happen?
Hardened and Impenitent
In verse 1, the Lamanites’ righteousness is attributed to their firmness and steadiness in the faith. Then at the same time that the Lamanites are growing in their spirituality, the Nephites are declining in an opposite direction, “becoming hardened and impenitent and grossly wicked”, which state of being caused them to “reject the Word of God and all preaching and prophesying which did come among them.”
However, the church was very willing to embrace the influx of Lamanite converts and their testimonies. Key phrases in these verse describe the condition of the true church: “exhort them to faith and repentance”, “preach with exceedingly great power”, “humble followers of God and the Lamb”.
That last phrase should be familiar to latter-day saints. It is the only time it appears in ancient scriptures.
This chapter deals with the Unseen. I read in verses 3 – 5 about the church and conversion, faith, repentance, power. The Unseen in all this is Christ. What or to whom were the Lamanites converted? Why would they be exhorting others to respond to something that they had not experienced themselves?
They had experienced personally the redeeming powers of Christ’s personal love for them.
Reading about the prosperity that follows the righteousness of the people, why is the management of material resources such an important part of our earthly experience? Free enterprise eventually lead to corruption. Why?
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