Living the Nephite Nightmare


An Open Letter to all Latter-day Saints

The Book of Mormon is a prophecy for our time.

This has been my thesis since the mid-1980s, when I wrote Parallel Histories: The Nephites and The Americans. It was written over 20 years ago in response to then church president Ezra Taft Benson’s call to carefully and diligently re-examine the Book of Mormon. It was my effort to comply with his earnest request.

Following Pres. Benson’s cue when he observed that we are the modern counterparts of the ancient Nephites, I explored the thesis that our two cultures were more than superficially similar. They are remarkably alike, in profound and meaningful ways. Because it was apparent that my fellow saints weren’t seeing the things that seemed obvious to me, I felt a book was needed which outlined and elaborated that thesis.

Several articles followed over the years, updating, authenticating and validating that book and its thesis. (See the four part series A Harbinger For Our Time, on my blog.) This monograph will further that approach by demonstrating that America has now crossed the final threshold in our headlong rush to unknowingly duplicate Nephite history in our time.

When comparing the two cultures, as we will do herein, one caveat must be kept foremost in mind: While the two histories are similar, displaying similar conditions and events, the two cultures, Nephite and American, are fundamentally different from one another. The resemblance or similarities may be profoundly significant, but the way events played out in Nephite times is unlikely to be identical to the way events play out in our time.

These differences are important to keep in mind. Don’t expect an exact fit. Theirs was a simpler, agrarian-based society; ours is far more complex, based in a largely industrialized and technology oriented society. Their theater was restricted to a regional one; ours is national and international in scope, with many factors that were nonexistent in Nephite times. Thus, events in the two histories must be compared carefully—allowing that each will unfold in different ways, yet they will display remarkable and significant similarities.

In this monograph, we move beyond the astonishing similarities identified in the original book’s presentation. We move beyond the resemblance of the last Lamanite/Nephite War to our Second World War. We move beyond the postwar economic boom that enriched both nations in their respective eras. We move beyond the identical moral and political corruption that ensued. We look beyond the ideological battles that characterized the campaign of the corrupt judges against Nephi, the son of Helaman and their similarities to the Clinton presidency. We look beyond the Gadianton wars and equivalencies that allowed the accurate prediction that today’s terrorists would become our counterpart to the Nephite’s Gadianton robbers during the Clinton and Bush presidencies.

Now we come to the crux of this monograph, the next major parallel between our two cultures. It is the failed internal struggle the Nephites fought to retain their representative form of government, complete with its freedoms and justice.

The Nephite culture had been governed for generations by a representative form remarkably similar to our own. Mosiah said it best: “Therefore, choose you by the voice of this people, judges, that ye may be judged according to the laws which have been given you by our fathers, which are correct, and which were given them by the hand of the Lord.

“Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right; therefore this shall ye observe and make it your law—to do your business by the voice of the people.” (Mosiah 29: 25, 26.)

Mosiah’s observation later proved prophetic in the days of Third Nephi: it is nearly always a minority that wants to venture away from correct principles of governance. The time came, as it always does, when wealth led to pride and a division of Nephite society into classes, “… and some were lifted up unto pride and boastings because of their exceedingly great riches, yea, even unto great persecutions.” (3 Nephi 6:10.)

Social equality dissolved. “And the people began to be distinguished by ranks, according to their riches … for there were many merchants in the land, and also many lawyers, and many officers. … thus there became a great inequality in all the land.” (Ibid. 6: 12, 11, 14.)

Immediately, the wealthy, ruling class within the Nephite nation decided that they wanted to set aside government by the voice of the people and replace it with a monarchy, which would be indebted, naturally, to those of their elite status: “And they did set at defiance the law and the rights of their country … and to establish a king over the land, that the land should no more be at liberty but should be subject unto kings.” (Ibid. 6:30.)

Something strikingly similar seems to be happening before our very eyes today, though no one is trying to set up a monarchy. They don’t need to. The governing class has seen to it that our presidents will be “elected” from their ranks simply because a man of the people has no chance in the corrupt system set up by our politicians in the last half-century. A ruling class of elites, who have no desire to relinquish power, has infiltrated our two party system. They have set rules that make it nearly impossible to unseat them.
The will of the people is no longer of any concern to them. Progressivism (the newspeak term coined to replace the pejorative moniker, “Liberal”) has come to dominate Washington, with its doctrine that the “experts” from the elite social strata—such as corporate heads (“merchants” in Nephite times), politicians (“lawyers” and “priests” in Nephite times) and government officials (“officers” in Nephite times)—should make decisions for us.

When recent protests, populated by ordinary, mainstream Americans, erupted around this country in order to make their voices heard, those who govern and their media minions angrily derided, denounced and dismissed them as dangerously misguided malcontents. So it was in Nephite times when “those who were angered were chiefly the chief judges, and they who had been high priests and lawyers; yea, all those who were lawyers were angry with those who testified of these things.” (Ibid. 6: 21.)

Third Nephi records how it transpired in his day. “And they [the angry chief judges, high priests and lawyers] did enter into a covenant one with another … to combine against all righteousness.” (Ibid. 6: 28.)

Many in our day have made the same decision. They espouse the philosophy that God should have nothing to do with government, in spite of the fact that the founding fathers made just the opposite affirmation. Today’s ideologues obviously seek to constrain religion in any way possible, insisting that the people not allow it to have any part in the operation of their government, that there should be an impregnable firewall between government and religion so that governance cannot be informed by any religious creed or hegemony. Religion has become the enemy of the Progressives in our day. They make every effort to marginalize and demean people of faith. In effect, those with this secular bent seek to divorce this nation from its religious or sectarian roots, “… to combine against all righteousness.”

The net effect of this initiative among the Nephite cultural elite was clearly manifest. “And they did set at defiance the law and the rights of their country … that the land should no more be at liberty …” (Ibid. 6: 30.)

Something appallingly similar seems to be afoot in our nation today. While politicians give flowery lip service to individual rights, public service and moral rectitude, their personal behavior is often just the opposite. Presidential associates and appointees, for example, are found to hold opinions that are blatantly contrary to constitutional principals and morality, some even openly condemn America and its traditional values. Hypocrisy seems rampant in both political parties. None seem trustworthy any longer.

The good news for us, perhaps, is that the chief judges, high priests and lawyers in Nephite times failed in their endeavor. No Nephite king was enthroned. This bodes well for the outcome of our similar state of affairs. But the net effect of the struggle utterly demolished their government, and it threatens to do so to ours as well.

Will this be our fate? “And the people were divided one against another; and they did separate one from another into tribes, every man according to his family and his kindred and friends; and thus they did destroy the government of the land.” (3 Nephi 7: 2.)

Yet, there was no warfare: “… there were no wars as yet among them.” (Ibid. 7: 5.) However, what we have certainly feels like a war, a contest of wills for power and supremacy, where the ammunition is words and the casualties are truth and justice.
But “the regulations of the government were destroyed, … and they did cause great contention in the land.” (3 Nephi 7: 7.)

Contention is the order of the day in Washington. Our government seems to be descending into chaos amid an extraordinary level of acrimony and controversy. There is an unprecedented rush to pass questionable legislation, without due deliberation and consideration. No one, including the legislators themselves in some cases, seems to know what provisions legislation contains or what it will cost. Our economy is staggering. Unemployment is rising. Our leaders are sending conflicting messages to us, to our allies and to our enemies.

Our condition bears ominous similarities to that of the Nephites.
“And thus six years had not passed away since the more part of the people had turned from their righteousness, like the dog to his vomit, or like the sow to her wallowing in the mire.” (3 Nephi 7: 8.)

Numerous pundits have commented on how quickly we have turned from our constitutional roots in recent years. We’ve done an about-face almost as quickly as did our Nephite cousins. They united to defeat terrorism, in the form of the Gadianton robbers, in their time. Then, in a handful of years, they tore their nation apart from within.

While the terrorist attack on the World Trade Towers immediately brought us together as a nation, speaking with one voice, subsequent events have moved rapidly to undermine our culture and our government. Like the Nephites, we have gone from united to divided in a few, short years. It seems apparent that if we continue on our present course, our nation will suffer a fate equally grievous to that of the Nephites.

Surely the inclusion of this tragic saga in the Nephite narrative was meant to warn us that we would suffer a similar outcome in our day. Surely, Mormon meant us to clearly see our time in this highly polished Nephite mirror.

Will we, too, live the Nephite nightmare?

This viewpoint, provided by an analysis of Nephite history, allows us to sort out the truth, to see through the subterfuge, confusion and contradiction that dominate our present political discourse. The media, the politicians and the pundits cannot misguide those of us who take the Book of Mormon as our guide. It provides a certain compass we can use to steer a course through the present and coming chaos. It is the “more sure word of prophecy,’ as Peter put it.

Given this perspective, no LDS politician who truly believes the Book of Mormon to be the word of God can, in good conscience, support the present movement away from constitutional principles where “the voice of the people” governs. He or she would have to first dismiss the Book of Mormon as irrelevant to our time. He or she would have to deny the God given rights that Nephite prophets declared were vested in the people. In effect, they would have to ignore the Book of Mormon, the very cornerstone of our religion.

I am well aware that my position will infuriate some Latter-day Saints. So be it. It was so with those who sought to undermine freedom and agency in Nephite times; it will be so now. Those who are so angered thereby betray their perfidy.
At the same time, this discourse will strike a chord of recognition in those who truly embrace the Book of Mormon and the Restored Gospel. They will see the remarkable similarities that mark the two histories, and they will want to do something about it.

So, you may ask, “What can I do?” The answer is both easy and hard.
First, as a believing Mormon, your concept of the sanctity of agency requires that you get involved—“anxiously engaged” is the Lord’s terminology. Of that I am certain.
But what I cannot tell you is ‘what’ you should do. You must make that determination for yourself. All I can add is to suggest you follow the counsel of Pres. Spencer W. Kimball: “Do it … now!”

We Latter-day Saints have not heeded the lessons chiseled in the Nephite record. We failed to take note of a vital part of that sacred witness, meant to warn us of our national folly. The diligence of those ancient prophets, who patiently carved their crucial message on precious plates of gold, the determination of a modern prophet to publish their revelation to the world at all odds and the repeated efforts of recent church leaders counseling us to re-read the Book of Mormon, saying that the church is under condemnation for failure to do so, has been set at naught by our indolence. We have the ignominious misfortune of watching the government of our nation self-destruct before our very eyes, just as did the Nephites, while we scarcely lift a finger to oppose it, let alone rush to save our Constitution. That sacred document has too long hung by a thread while we dally. As a result, the forces of evil and darkness are rapidly moving to grind it under the unforgiving foot of oppression and tyranny.

The time for mincing words is far past. It is time to declare our allegiance—either to God, agency and freedom or to watch our great nation follow those that have preceded us onto the scrapheap of failed nations down through history.

What happens next is too terrible to contemplate. If you care to know the details of what awaits us just around the corner, read 3 Nephi, chapter 8. And don’t think it couldn’t happen to us; every prophet since the beginning of time, including the Savior himself, has predicted our fate. Read it, O Zion, and weep, O Israel. Judgment is now at our doorstep.

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10 Comments

  1. Great post. Thanks for writing this.

  2. “While the terrorist attack on the World Trade Towers immediately brought us together as a nation, speaking with one voice…”

    I’m sorry, but the two towers were built as representations of the Pillars of Boaz & Jachin, and that “attack” was orchestrated by world elites to force-fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah in chapter 30.

    We will witness something far worse than the Nephite nightmare… The Gadiantons are not only entrenched in our economic & political systems today, they are in our very Church…

  3. Derek I agree with you and may I just add toi your statement, do you remember when we were was suppost to have two years of food storage! and then it was one year, and then two months and then those that had more than that were called horders! Then the church had everyone take a inventory of their food storage, then they turned around and gave the information to f.e.m.a . And now we find out that f.e.m.a. has thousands of government projects that can only be called internment camps, each of these camps has a gullioateen with millions of coffins! Yes we have been betrayed!!

  4. Nice to see you guys at LDSA posting again. It had been quite some time.

    I, like others, feel that this ship has sailed well beyond the point of turning around and it’s only a matter of time before the iceberg comes into full view for everyone, but it’s already in view for many (though relatively few in number) out there.

    Brand, I have never taken an inventory of my f.s. nor given it to anyone inside or outside the church, so your statement intrigues me. Did this actually happen where you are/were?

    Let’s be honest, though. Foodstuffs is a distinctly “arm of the flesh” way of trying to protect ourselves from the coming calamities. True, it may indeed be an inspired program, or it may just be a way of amassing large amounts of food which may eventually be required to be donated to some government program (after all, we are a corporate entity and many of us have covenanted to give all we have to the Church, even though the Kingdom of God and the Church were never meant to be used synonymously, they nevertheless have taken that meaning on in both the temple and everyday LDS lingo). Time will ultimately tell…

  5. Great Letter! And Great comments! In just the few short months since the last comments were made to this letter….Look how FAR we’ve come….

    As far as the comments made by Brand are concerned….We HAVE been sold out.

    It’s only a matter of time, when things begin to REALLY fall apart, and the Government will come a Kock’n and the Church will dirrect it’s members to relinquish it’s store of food for the Good of the Whole. After all…..Isn’t that part of the reason for keeping it in the first Place…To share it? At least that’s how it will be interpreted by our Leaders when the time comes.

    As for the remarks made by Tom concerning food storage being a measure taken in accordance with relying on “The Arm Of Flesh” is concerned…..You are Exactly Right.

    It won’t matter that we are sold out & our food will be taken away. You don’t think the Lord sees this coming ?

    If 144,000 are to sing the “New Song” and be promoted to Angels, then was it not Angels who fed various people of the Old Testiment when they were in need of norishment? How bout those Israelites called to wander in the Desert for 40 yrs?

    Doesn’t Section 103 of the D&C compare us to that situation?

    Don’t worry about the Food & where it comes from when the stuff REALLY hits the Fan. Alot of people won’t even need it & the ones who do will get it from those who Don’t.

    The only useful thing I can see food storage being used for today, is in case of Job Lay off or short term natural disaster ect… Being in Florida, we have Plenty of of Both.

    But the main thing to remember is that the Lord has a PLAN and that plan I’m SURE , includes the Basics.

    When it comes time to seperate the Righteous from the wicked ( Physically ), I’m sure there is going to be very little room for 50,000 lbs of wheat in our cars, which had ALREADY been confinscated by the Feds anyway.

    The thing that Tourqes me off, is the thought of having to LOAD all that stuff on a Government truck ! My Back ain’t what it used to be…

    Pretty much all the necessary Land buy- ups in the Church per the Lord’s dirrection, has been accomplished. There is ample places and space for Temporary places of Gathering when the time comes to step out of harms way.

    The only thing the Lord will need to do, is put a Few Different people in charge when that times comes. And I’m sure He’s got a PLAN for that too.

    By WHAT we know that lies ahead in terms of Judgement on this Nation, as well as the Whole World is concerned….The Lord Ain’t Lying when He proclaims the Redemption of Zion must needs come by POWER & an OUTSTRETCHED ARM !!!

    This ain’t going to be a Regular Camp Out while waiting the opportunity for the Smoke to Clear to begin building Zion.

    Don’t worry about having to lug Uncle Ben & Betty Crocker on the Trip. I don’t think that’s what the Lord has in mind.

    Like you said….That’s relying & worrying on the Arm of Flesh in a sistuation that will FAR EXCEED Flesh being able to Deal with it…

    The Lord Loves us and He’s a Pretty Capable GOD who shouldn’t have much of a problem whipping up Peanut Butter Sandwiches out of Manna for ALL of us who need it. If it was Good enough for Moses…. it should be Good enough for us. I hope a few of those Quail get thrown in…

    I’m NOT being a Smart Alleck here. The SITUATION will DICTATE that need.

  6. For your general information in regard to the Government Possibly intruding on our Food Suplies are concerned…. That is only part of what will happen.

    I’m a Retired Marine and for the Decade of the 90’s, we were used as the Presidents Personal Police Force Overseas. We’re NEXT !

    Marines WILL DO the Presidents bidding when it comes to collecting Food & Guns.

    So you may as well pack them in with the wheat.

    My ADVICE……Give ’em up ! You ain’t got a chance & it ain’t a chance worth tak’n.

    The Lord says those who Live by the sword shall Die by the sword in the upcoming situation. So just rely on Righteous behavior & Faith in the Power God has Given you to Povide for your Family….It beats the Heck out of Guns & Wheat ….

  7. As far as parallels between the Nephites & our Modern day Nation is concerned, we have more Recent parrallels to draw fro m Joseph Smith and His day.

    He said there would come a time when our Constitution woud “Hang By A Thread”.

    This week, several Conservative Talk Show Hosts have used that EXACT Phrase when describing what happened last Sunday with the passage of the Health Care Bill.

    I can SEE Glenn Beck doing that, but he was Preceeded by Michael Savage & Rush Linbaugh in using that Exact Term.

    Our Constitution is our modern Day Ten Commandments for the Nation of Modern Day Israel….Ephriam,.

    It’s probably not a “Good Thing” to do what was Offically done to it this past weekend and on a SUNDAY to boot !

    As far as I can see this was the TIPPING POINT of no return. 911 was the Shot Across the Bow.

    The Gadiantons are in Full Bloom and doing well. The Mid Terms should definately provide a drastic swing to the Right but it won’t matter.

    The so called Gate Keepers of Conservative values is as rotten to the core as the Democratic Ideologs. One promotes False Ideology while the other gives LIP SERVICE to Conservative Values & “The Bottom Line” IS the Bottom Line…Greed Abounds.

    This Rally to Republican Victory is founded in Hot Air. Even though there may be a number of sincer Conservitives among their ranks, those who Control the RNC are not so noble. It always HAS & will always BE “The Bottom Line” with that Party of MAN.

    The Tea Partiers KNOW this and THEY, along with the rest of the Republicans who jump ship, will take the next Presidential Election. But that TOO….Will be a Day Late & a Dollar Short.

    And along with what will come our way this next two years, will be enough to make us that PRIME TARGET that Mr. Putin has been Hoping & Planing for.

    The Letter that was written at the top of this page is SPOT ON !

  8. And as Isaiah says…..When these things begin to happen, the words of Isaiah will become QUITE APPARENT and not so much a Mystery, even for Scriptural Illiterates.

  9. Lordy, Lordy, Lordy. The man who wrote this letter has done an awesome job of drawing a collective picture , given the parrallels that were used.

    It brings me comfort and strength to know that there are Saints out there with the Right Stuff.

    It gives me a real charge to hear things put this way and to realize how close we are to chapter 8 of 3 Nephi.

    It’s going to happen. These were not words from the Nephites to warn us to not make the same mistakes they did…It was a warning to Get Ready !

    They saw our day and KNEW we would dwindle in unbeief as they had. It was mearly a Warning to let us know that JUDGEMENT IS COMING !

    I mean Good Grief…..If most of the Lord’s CHURCH members were going to do this….What chance has our Nation had of flying straight ?

    It’s not a question of avoiding disaster. We’ve already boarded that Monster Coaster that is being drug up that First Big Hill to make that First BIG DROP !

    It’s the Lord telling us to HANG ON !

    I don’t know about you but I LIKE Big Roller Coasters….

    Though Moses ran into some snags here & there, THAT ‘S what made it a Challenge !

    I’ve sweat over thinking of having to face these things, for years. Now it’s to the point where my sweating has expired before the Ride begins and I’m looking foward to ENJOYING IT !

    Maybe it has something to do with repentance in my life. The first 3/4 of it was miserable. This final Horay feels like it will be The Ride of My Life….

    I hope many others are feeling this way.

  10. You know, being a non-US Mormon can be frustrating at times. It seems everything, every prophecy revolves around the United States.
    Yet, we live in an increasingly global world, and Christ will not return to the US only but to the whole world.
    For years I have considered the books from Helaman to Mormon as a mirror image of our whole world, not of America only. I know of the prophecies about the New Jerusalem being established in Missouri and so on, and I believe them.
    But the Nephites and Lamanites were a localized group of people, whereas the LDS Church encompasses almost all of the planet, and the public institutions now have a planetwide reach which links all nations together. Even war, now, has become global.
    When one looks around oneself, in every country, one sees the same things going on: widespread corruption, abuse of power, privileges of the protected few, secret combinations (yes, I just said the words), freedom being eroded day after day, the people letting itself being more and more manipulated by the power in charge and made more and more dependant on its “assistance”, etc…
    I like Bro. Larson’s outlook of the last days, but I enlarge the meaning of prophecies and signs to the whole world. It can be frightening at times, and yet a source of hope as it seems that the pieces of the puzzle are falling in place one after the other to make the Lords return come closer.


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