When Lehi left Jerusalem, he went from having a permanent dwelling, on a permanent piece of land (his land of inheritance), to traveling around and living in a tent:
And it came to pass that the Lord commanded my father, even in a dream, that he should take his family and depart into the wilderness.
And it came to pass that he was obedient unto the word of the Lord, wherefore he did as the Lord commanded him.
And it came to pass that he departed into the wilderness. And he left his house, and the land of his inheritance, and his gold, and his silver, and his precious things, and took nothing with him, save it were his family, and provisions, and tents, and departed into the wilderness.
And it came to pass that when he had traveled three days in the wilderness, he pitched his tent in a valley by the side of a river of water.
And my father dwelt in a tent. (1 Ne 2:2-4,6,15)
He took tents with him and began living in a tent because it was a commandment of the Lord. Living in a tent is permissible in the gospel when you are not on the place of your permanent dwelling.
His group ceased being (for a time) an agricultural society and became, for the 8-year journey to Bountiful, hunter-gatherers. But when he sent his boys back to get Ishmael’s group they also brought back all manner of seeds:
And it came to pass that we had gathered together all manner of seeds of every kind, both of grain of every kind, and also of the seeds of fruit of every kind. (1 Ne. 8:1)
They did this because it was a commandment of the Lord, for hunting and gathering is permissible in the gospel only insofar as you are traveling. Once you get to the place of your permanent dwelling, you are commanded to cease hunting and gathering and to put seed into the ground. This is, in fact, exactly what Lehi’s group ended up doing when they got to the promised land:
And it came to pass that we did begin to till the earth, and we began to plant seeds; yea, we did put all our seeds into the earth, which we had brought from the land of Jerusalem. And it came to pass that they did grow exceedingly; wherefore, we were blessed in abundance. (1 Ne. 18:24)
Again, they did this because they were commanded to do it.
Initially they pitched their tents when they got to the promised land, but only initially, for they needed a temporary place to dwell while they built their permanent houses:
And I did teach my people to build buildings, and to work in all manner of wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious ores, which were in great abundance. (2 Ne. 5:16)
Nephi taught his people to build permanent structures because this was the commandment of the Lord, for the gospel requires that when you are on the place of your permanent dwelling, you are to construct a permanent house and cease living in a tent.
Lazy Laman and Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael
Laman and Lameul were lazy and idle. They complained about leaving Jerusalem because the land and house they would have inherited was already built. They didn’t have to do anything. They just had to inhabit it and live off the rich inheritance their father would give them. When Lehi moved everyone into tents (for 8 full years!) they eventually grew accustomed to the hunter-gatherer lifestyle and to living in tents. It wasn’t so bad after all. They could do this easily and they became expert at finding food. It was actually kind of fun to hunt and gather and not have to work the land or raise animals. Also, there were other perks, for they did not have to even cook their food or make any type of light and their women were strong like the men were and didn’t complain:
And so great were the blessings of the Lord upon us, that while we did live upon raw meat in the wilderness, our women did give plenty of suck for their children, and were strong, yea, even like unto the men; and they began to bear their journeyings without murmurings.
And thus we see that the commandments of God must be fulfilled. And if it so be that the children of men keep the commandments of God he doth nourish them, and strengthen them, and provide means whereby they can accomplish the thing which he has commanded them; wherefore, he did provide means for us while we did sojourn in the wilderness.
For the Lord had not hitherto suffered that we should make much fire, as we journeyed in the wilderness; for he said:
I will make thy food become sweet, that ye cook it not; and I will also be your light in the wilderness; and I will prepare the way before you, if it so be that ye shall keep my commandments; wherefore, inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall be led towards the promised land; and ye shall know that it is by me that ye are led. (1 Ne. 17:2-3,12-13)
In Bountiful, they pitched their tents and were happy, because Bountiful had a lot of food that could be gathered and it had a seaside view. They could live out their lives in Bountiful and be happy:
And we did come to the land which we called Bountiful, because of its much fruit and also wild honey; and all these things were prepared of the Lord that we might not perish. And we beheld the sea, which we called Irreantum, which, being interpreted, is many waters.
And it came to pass that we did pitch our tents by the seashore; and notwithstanding we had suffered many afflictions and much difficulty, yea, even so much that we cannot write them all, we were exceedingly rejoiced when we came to the seashore; and we called the place Bountiful, because of its much fruit. (1 Ne. 17:5-6)
To have Nephi, then, announce that they weren’t going to stay in Bountiful, but that they had to cross the sea, and to top it off, that there wasn’t a ship already built for them by the Lord, but that they actually had to build it themselves!, was cause for a scene. For Laman and Lemuel, more than anything else, were lazy:
And when my brethren saw that I was about to build a ship, they began to murmur against me, saying:
Our brother is a fool, for he thinketh that he can build a ship; yea, and he also thinketh that he can cross these great waters.
And thus my brethren did complain against me, and were desirous that they might not labor, for they did not believe that I could build a ship; neither would they believe that I was instructed of the Lord. (1 Ne. 17:17-18)
This was the reason why Laman and Lemuel, and the sons of Ishmael and their families, and also the Ishmaelitish women that became wives of Laman and Lemuel, never converted to the Lord. The Lord requires some labor in order to be saved, and they were too lazy to even look or pray.
Eventually, though, they did build the ship and cross the sea and arrive at the promised land. But their laziness and idleness continued to follow them, for Nephi and his group continued to obey these commandments of God and so they began to sow seed and construct buildings and raise animals, etc., while Laman’s group continued to live in tents and hunt and gather.
Lehi’s death resulted in a major schism, for Laman’s tradition was based upon what they had been doing, begin lazy and idle, while Nephi’s tradition was based upon what he had been doing, obeying the commandments of God, which required that they start working the land and constructing permanent structures, etc. In Laman’s view, it was one thing to lose the land and house of your inheritance in Jerusalem, but it was quite another to have to start from scratch and build civilization all over again in this new land. Being hunter-gatherers was working for the group, or had been working for the past 8 years, so there was no reason to go back to the old ways, which was a lot of work. Let’s just live in tents and forage like we’ve been doing.
“Nope,” said Nephi. “The Lord commands that the group start building up a vast civilization to His name. If you don’t start building according to the instructions I got from the Lord, you are a vile sinner and are going to hell.” Now, there was no way that Laman and his group were going to undertake such a project, nor were they going to let Nephi slide, for this was not just a difference of opinion, but a situation in which Nephi was yet again claiming to know God’s divine will for the group and condemning those who didn’t heed his commands, so Nephi had to “go,” as in dead go. And Nephi did go, taking with him everyone in the group that believed in the commandments of God, as they were received by Nephi through his revelations, who were all those that were willing to labor and build up a civilization to the Lord’s name, and taking with him all the records and artifacts, too.
And all those who would go with me were those who believed in the warnings and the revelations of God; wherefore, they did hearken unto my words. (2 Ne. 5:6)
When Nephi got to the new place, called the land of Nephi, he began again to keep all the commandments of God that they had received:
And the Lord was with us; and we did prosper exceedingly; for we did sow seed, and we did reap again in abundance. And we began to raise flocks, and herds, and animals of every kind.
And it came to pass that we began to prosper exceedingly, and to multiply in the land.
And I did teach my people to build buildings, and to work in all manner of wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious ores, which were in great abundance.
And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did cause my people to be industrious, and to labor with their hands. (2 Ne. 5:11,13,16-17)
What industrious means
Before going any further, let’s look up the definitions of the words industry and industrious from the 1828 Dictionary:
IN’DUSTRY, n. [L. industria.]
Habitual diligence in any employment, either bodily or mental; steady attention to business; assiduity; opposed to sloth and idleness.
We are directed to take lessons of industry from the bee.
Industry pays debts, while idleness or despair will increase them.
INDUS’TRIOUS, a. [L. industrius, from industria.]
1. Diligent in business or study; constantly, regularly or habitually occupied in business; assiduous; opposed to slothful and idle.
Frugal and industrious men are commonly friendly to the established government.
2. Diligent in a particular pursuit, or to a particular end; opposed to remiss or slack; as industrious to accomplish a journey, or to reconcile contending parties.
3. Given to industry; characterized by diligence; as an industrious life.
4. Careful; assiduous; as the industrious application of knowing men.
The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary gives this origin:
Origin of INDUSTRY
Middle English (Scots) industrie, from Middle French, from Latin industria, from industrius diligent, from Old Latin indostruus, perhaps from indu in + -struus (akin to Latin struere to build)
First Known Use: 15th century
So, their industry wasn’t just “the process of making products by using machinery and factories” or “manufacturing activity as a whole,”, but “steady application in business of any kind; constant effort to accomplish what is undertaken; exertion of body or mind without unnecessary delay or sloth” applied to all aspects of their lives. And this wasn’t just a tradition of Nephi’s, but an actual gospel principle, for they were to pray always, asking for whatsoever they needed, repeatedly, until they got it. In like manner, they were to steadily apply themselves in all their efforts until they prevailed, for this is what faith is all about, and this is what Israel is all about, for Israel is “he who prevails,” which is the same as saying “the faithful one.”
Okay, so back to that scriptural list that Nephi had them do. These things that Nephi mentioned were not just his workaholic obsession passed on to his people as tradition, but were bona fide gospel principles and commandments of God. We can see this clearly in the Book of Mormon text because the newly converted Anti-Nephi-Lehies actually covenanted with God to labor abundantly with their hands:
And it came to pass that they called their names Anti-Nephi-Lehies; and they were called by this name and were no more called Lamanites. And they began to be a very industrious people; yea, and they were friendly with the Nephites; therefore, they did open a correspondence with them, and the curse of God did no more follow them. (Alma 23:17-18)
And this they did, it being in their view a testimony to God, and also to men, that they never would use weapons again for the shedding of man’s blood; and this they did, vouching and covenanting with God, that rather than shed the blood of their brethren they would give up their own lives; and rather than take away from a brother they would give unto him; and rather than spend their days in idleness they would labor abundantly with their hands. (Allma 24:18)
It must be understood that the Nephites were blessed beyond anything the other tribes of Israel had received, almost beyond belief. This is why Lehi states:
Wherefore, I, Lehi, have obtained a promise, that inasmuch as those whom the Lord God shall bring out of the land of Jerusalem shall keep his commandments, they shall prosper upon the face of this land; and they shall be kept from all other nations, that they may possess this land unto themselves. And if it so be that they shall keep his commandments they shall be blessed upon the face of this land, and there shall be none to molest them, nor to take away the land of their inheritance; and they shall dwell safely forever.
But behold, when the time cometh that they shall dwindle in unbelief, after they have received so great blessings from the hand of the Lord—having a knowledge of the creation of the earth, and all men, knowing the great and marvelous works of the Lord from the creation of the world; having power given them to do all things by faith; having all the commandments from the beginning, and having been brought by his infinite goodness into this precious land of promise—behold, I say, if the day shall come that they will reject the Holy One of Israel, the true Messiah, their Redeemer and their God, behold, the judgments of him that is just shall rest upon them. (2 Ne. 1:9-10. Note: The full implications of “having all the commandments from the beginning” will not be expounded in this post since it is a topic worthy of its own separate post, which, if I remember to, I will write and publish at some point.)
And also why Alma states:
For he will not suffer you that ye shall live in your iniquities, to destroy his people. I say unto you, Nay; he would rather suffer that the Lamanites might destroy all his people who are called the people of Nephi, if it were possible that they could fall into sins and transgressions, after having had so much light and so much knowledge given unto them of the Lord their God; yea, after having been such a highly favored people of the Lord; yea, after having been favored above every other nation, kindred, tongue, or people; after having had all things made known unto them, according to their desires, and their faith, and prayers, of that which has been, and which is, and which is to come; having been visited by the Spirit of God; having conversed with angels, and having been spoken unto by the voice of the Lord; and having the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and also many gifts, the gift of speaking with tongues, and the gift of preaching, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, and the gift of translation; yea, and after having been delivered of God out of the land of Jerusalem, by the hand of the Lord; having been saved from famine, and from sickness, and all manner of diseases of every kind; and they having waxed strong in battle, that they might not be destroyed; having been brought out of bondage time after time, and having been kept and preserved until now; and they have been prospered until they are rich in all manner of things— (Alma 9:19-22)
(As Alma mentioned above, the righteous Nephties were also kept from diseases, for what joy is there in wealth if you have no health? The unrighteous Nephites, on the other hand, became not only poor, but also sick. Those who repented were healed and then baptized, baptized and then healed, and also healed upon baptism, possibly forming the basis of Joseph Smith’s baptism for healing, a topic for another post, I suppose. Those who did not have faith to be healed, or who did not repent of their sins and receive miraculous healing, were administered to in other ways, according to their condition. The commandments we have in D&C 42:43-52 are thus possibly Nephite in origin.)
When the modern latter-day saint reads the promise which is repeated again and again in the Book of Mormon:
And inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper (1 Ne. 2:20)
he tends to think that the text is speaking of, perhaps, obeying the law of tithing, or attending church, or living a chaste life, etc. No latter-day saint believes that it is a sin to not build a permanent structure if you own land and can do so. Nor does anyone believe that it is a sin to not work the land and instead to hunt and gather and live in a tent upon your land. This is because, unlike the Nephites, the latter-day saints do not have all the commandments from the beginning.
Everything that the Nephites did, while in their righteousness, was not just a custom or tradition, but was according to the commandments of God that they had received. For their traditions were correct,
And it came to pass that whosoever would not believe in the tradition of the Lamanites, but believed those records which were brought out of the land of Jerusalem, and also in the tradition of their fathers, which were correct, who believed in the commandments of God and kept them, were called the Nephites, or the people of Nephi, from that time forth— (Alma 3:11)
meaning that they were in accordance with the commandments of God. In other words, these traditions were given to them by God. The traditions of the Lamanites, on the other hand, were not correct, but were mere philosophies of men:
And it came to pass that the Lord began to bless them, insomuch that they brought many to the knowledge of the truth; yea, they did convince many of their sins, and of the traditions of their fathers, which were not correct. (Alma 21:17)
And it came to pass that they journeyed many days in the wilderness, and they fasted much and prayed much that the Lord would grant unto them a portion of his Spirit to go with them, and abide with them, that they might be an instrument in the hands of God to bring, if it were possible, their brethren, the Lamanites, to the knowledge of the truth, to the knowledge of the baseness of the traditions of their fathers, which were not correct. (Alma 17:9)
I say unto you, my sons, were it not for these things, which have been kept and preserved by the hand of God, that we might read and understand of his mysteries, and have his commandments always before our eyes, that even our fathers would have dwindled in unbelief, and we should have been like unto our brethren, the Lamanites, who know nothing concerning these things, or even do not believe them when they are taught them, because of the traditions of their fathers, which are not correct. (Mosiah 1:5)
And this was done that their seed might be distinguished from the seed of their brethren, that thereby the Lord God might preserve his people, that they might not mix and believe in incorrect traditions which would prove their destruction. (Alma 3:8)
Yea, I say unto you, were it not for these things that these records do contain, which are on these plates, Ammon and his brethren could not have convinced so many thousands of the Lamanites of the incorrect tradition of their fathers; yea, these records and their words brought them unto repentance; that is, they brought them to the knowledge of the Lord their God, and to rejoice in Jesus Christ their Redeemer. (Alma 37:9)
This is the same sense in which Joseph Smith uses the word “correct”:
Concerning this record the Prophet Joseph Smith said: “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.” (Introduction to the Book of Mormon)
The 1828 dictionary gives this definition of the word “correct”:
CORRECT, a. [L., to set right; right, straight. See Right.] Literally, set right, or made straight. Hence, right; conformable to truth, rectitude or propriety, or conformable to a just standard; not faulty; free from error.
A correct edition of a book is exactly according to the original copy.
Correct manners correspond with the rules of morality and received notions of decorum.
Correct principles coincide with the truth.
Correct language is agreeable to established usage.
The Book of Mormon isn’t correct in that it is factual, it is correct in that the principles (precepts) that the righteous Nephites and righteous Jaredites acted under were actually commandments of God.
So, the agricultural society, in which we grow and raise our own food, is a principle given by God. So is erecting permanent houses, public buildings (temples, sanctuaries, synagogues, etc.), making streets and roads, constructing cities, and the host of other things that the Nephites did. They did these things to keep the commandments of God. With this principle in mind, that these projects weren’t just mere traditions, but were actually correct traditions, let’s review what they did and what the purposes of God were in these things.
Right off the bat, we learn that if they keep the commandments of God, that they will prosper in the land. They wanted this prosperity, for God is rich and to become like Him we must also be rich. As He also wants us to become like Him, His children must also be prosperous (rich), but the promise is that they will obtain this prosperity only insofar as they keep His commandments.
As they were commanded to sow seed, raise animals, build cities, build houses and buildings and roads, make weapons of war, make clothing and work in all manner of everything they found upon the earth or in the earth, their lives were full of activity. Not busy-body work, like the Gentiles, but creative work, for God is a Creator, and all things that the Nephites did were creative, making all kinds of things.
They were also appointed, or commanded, the very times in which they had to perform these labors, and also the time in which they had to rest:
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work; but the seventh day, the sabbath of the Lord thy God, thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is; wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. (Mosiah 13:16-19)
The Gentiles and latter-day saints work five days a week, breaking the commandment each and every week. The righteous Nephites kept the commandment and labored in these efforts with all diligence for six days. On the seventh day, they rested, according to the commandment. The Gentiles use the sixth day as a day of recreation. Sometimes they even use the seventh day as a day of recreation, too. For the Gentile Christians and Mormons, resting on the seventh day is the important thing, not the laboring for six days, but to the Nephites, keeping a commandment of God could only be done with exactness:
And we did observe to keep the judgments, and the statutes, and the commandments of the Lord in all things, according to the law of Moses. (2 Ne. 5:10)
It was precisely because they exactly kept this commandment, laboring for exactly six days and resting only on the seventh, that God prospered them to an astonishing degree, in a miraculous manner, for the thing was a miracle, indeed.
An abundance of crops
For example, when they put the seeds into the ground, they all germinated. They also had accelerated growth rates, enormous yields, and vastly superior crop quality and nutritional content. As a comparison, it should be noted that we have technologies which have shown that you can cause a plant to grow really fast, increase in yield and become a much healthier and superior plant. For example, Sonic Bloom, magnetized water, mycorrhizal fungi, etc., all do these things. And each succeeding generation of plants that are treated with these things is even better than the previous generation, showing that we have not yet seen nor yet do we know the genetic potential of plants. Still, what we have seen is quite impressive, at least to a Gentile. But everything we have discovered about plants is a mere drop compared to what the Nephites had, for God unlocked the full plant genetic potential for them, as a miracle, because they kept His commandments and sowed their seeds.
Also, it must be said that they weren’t just to simply sow their seeds, but had to keep all the rest of the commandments, too, including this most important one:
Cry unto him over the crops of your fields, that ye may prosper in them. (Alma 34:24)
An abundance of flocks
The “flocks, and herds, and animals of every kind” which they raised were also genetically unlocked, so that their full potential was unleashed. Now, we can’t even begin to conceive of what that genetic potential actually is, but to the Nephites, this was their normal life existence. If a Nephite, who lived back then, were suddenly transported to this day and age to observe the “abundance” that the Gentiles have obtained by their technology, he would break out in hysterical laughter, thinking someone was making some kind of practical joke, for our abundance is not true abundance, for our animals and plants remain largely unlocked, despite the application of our many technologies.
Again, in addition to raising flocks, they also had to diligently exercise their faith unto prayer:
Cry over the flocks of your fields, that they may increase. (Alma 34:25)
An abundance of everything else
The whole thing (their prosperity) must be looked at as a miracle, for this is what it was. It wasn’t just that they were hard workers and were able to amass vast fortunes. It was that they kept the commandments of God and fortune smiled upon them. The modern Gentiles understands that no matter how good your idea is, and how hard you work, there is always luck involved. Sometimes lady luck smiles on you, sometimes she doesn’t. For obedient Nephites, in all their endeavors, luck always went their way, for God caused that the laws of luck, probability, randomness, indeterminism, etc., changed favorably for them, so that nothing was left to chance, everything becoming ordered and predictable:
And they began again to prosper and to wax great; and the twenty and sixth and seventh years passed away, and there was great order in the land; and they had formed their laws according to equity and justice. And now there was nothing in all the land to hinder the people from prospering continually, except they should fall into transgression. (3 Ne. 6:4-5. Randomness had altogether ceased at this point in their history.)
This is why they were such damnable souls when they began to be lifted up in their pride and set their hearts upon their riches, as if they themselves were the ones responsible for obtaining them! God alone provided the miracle and He alone was to be acknowledged as the one responsible for the blessing, for no one can force luck upon themselves. Yet, for the Nephites, if they obeyed God’s commandments, this is essentially what they did, forcing lady luck to smile upon them, obtaining the Midas touch, through God’s almighty power and their diligent obedience and faith.
Again, because the blessing of prosperity was so obviously a miracle that no one could deny, and because all Nephites knew that it was a guaranteed miracle, available to all, (you just needed to keep the commandments), this scripture makes a little more sense:
And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.
Perhaps thou shalt say:
The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—
But I say unto you, O man,
whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.
For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?
And behold, even at this time, ye have been calling on his name, and begging for a remission of your sins. And has he suffered that ye have begged in vain? Nay; he has poured out his Spirit upon you, and has caused that your hearts should be filled with joy, and has caused that your mouths should be stopped that ye could not find utterance, so exceedingly great was your joy.
And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another.
And if ye judge the man who putteth up his petition to you for your substance that he perish not, and condemn him, how much more just will be your condemnation for withholding your substance, which doth not belong to you but to God, to whom also your life belongeth; and yet ye put up no petition, nor repent of the thing which thou hast done.
I say unto you,
wo be unto that man, for his substance shall perish with him;
and now, I say these things unto those who are rich as pertaining to the things of this world. (Mosiah 4:16-23)
Has the man brought upon himself his own misery? Why, yes he has, for all righteous Nephites were prospered and blessed by the hand of the Lord. The man was an obvious sinner. He has obviously not kept the commandments of God and this is the reason he has not prospered and is found begging people for his sustenance. The sin, then, is not that this man has said “the man has brought upon himself his misery,” (for such was indeed the case), but in that the man stayed his hand and did not administer to his needs and wants.
Remember, this prosperity was so that they could become like God, and since God, the rich Man, is charitable and sends His rain upon both the just and the unjust, therefore, these riches that God gave them were not to be hoarded, but to be freely given to others, whether they were sinners or not:
And they [the church] did impart of their substance, every man according to that which he had, to the poor, and the needy, and the sick, and the afflicted; and they did not wear costly apparel, yet they were neat and comely.
And now, because of the steadiness of the church they began to be exceedingly rich, having abundance of all things whatsoever they stood in need—an abundance of flocks and herds, and fatlings of every kind, and also abundance of grain, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious things, and abundance of silk and fine-twined linen, and all manner of good homely cloth.
And thus, in their prosperous circumstances, they did not send away any who were naked, or that were hungry, or that were athirst, or that were sick, or that had not been nourished; and they did not set their hearts upon riches; therefore they were liberal to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, whether out of the church or in the church, having no respect to persons as to those who stood in need. (Alma 1:27,29-30)
Think of your brethren like unto yourselves, and be familiar with all and free with your substance, that they may be rich like unto you.
But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God.
And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good—to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted. (Jacob 2:17-19)
We see in this then that God’s laws and commandments required that the rich give away their riches (surplus) to the needy and the poor, which humbled the rich to the poverty level (so that they had sufficient for one’s needs, but no more surplus) and exalted the poor and the needy to the level of the rich (so that they now had a surplus). These new rich were then required by the same gospel laws to give away their riches to other needy and poor. In the gospel, then, all are to become rich, through God’s miracle of prosperity and through charitable donations (by the rich) and then all such who are blessed are to become poor, by giving away their riches. This shows that God has appointed unto man both when it is appropriate to be rich and also when it is appropriate to be poor, both states having a place in the divine economy. He has also appointed unto man the time for being needy, which is when a man travels around preaching the gospel, without purse or scrip, relying upon the mercies of the world and upon God’s mercy for his sustenance, suffering hunger, thirst, fatigue and all manner of afflictions and in patience and long-suffering, to “show forth good examples” (Alma 17:11) to the world in Christ.
(It was also important to give to the wicked poor because should the righteous rich not give, that wicked man might die of hunger, thirst, fatigue, exposure to elements, etc., which would be a cause for mourning, for he would die in his sins. Therefore, it was imperative (and also a commandment of God), to freely give to these wicked people, to extend as much as possible their probationary and preparatory state, that they might have more time to repent, lest they perish in their sins from their poor and needy condition.)
A divinely made economy
Nephites, then, had no business cycle (boom-bust cycle), nor did they subscribe to any particular school of economic thought. Their prosperity was merely a miracle provided by God and they could never, nor would ever, cease prospering, if they would remain fixed in keeping the commandments of God. It didn’t matter what their chosen profession was, for, for as long as they kept the commandments, they became grotesquely rich. The righteous man who provided a service found that he always had customers who needed the service he provided. And when he took his earnings and invested them in this or that, it brought him unbelievable profits, each and every time. The righteous artisan that created something new out of gold or some other metal, and made a bunch of them to sell at market, found that he returned home having sold every last one of them at great profits. This is how the miracle worked for them. They had no way to explain what they saw except that somehow God was changing the laws of chance and luck for them, because of their obedience to His commandments.
So, Nephite prosperity was an impossible miracle and does not apply to Gentile life, for Gentile life does not have this bizarre miracle attend us. Instead, the Gentiles use Korihor’s doctrine to amass fortunes, which I will get to in a moment. First, let it be fully understood and believed that Nephite prosperity was solely the result of righteousness:
And thus they [the church] did prosper and become far more wealthy than those who did not belong to their church.
For those who did not belong to their church did indulge themselves in sorceries, and in idolatry or idleness, and in babblings, and in envyings and strife; wearing costly apparel; being lifted up in the pride of their own eyes; persecuting, lying, thieving, robbing, committing whoredoms, and murdering, and all manner of wickedness; nevertheless, the law was put in force upon all those who did transgress it, inasmuch as it was possible. (Alma 1:31-32)
To a Gentile, this scripture makes absolutely no economic sense. The non-believers did not prosper because they were iniquitous? What does that have to do with economics, Mormon? Absolutely nothing. And that’s the point that Mormon is trying to make, for Nephite prosperity was a miracle and not based upon economics, but on righteousness. But your average Gentile or Mormon reading this scripture will think, “Well, they must have been less wealthy because they spent their riches on wicked practices that used up their wealth or caused them to become sick, or put them in jail, etc.” Nope, that ain’t the point. The point is that they were wicked, meaning that they engaged in wicked practices, breaking the commandments of God, and so when they went to market, their products didn’t sell, or when they raised their flocks, they suddenly had become sterile and infertile, or their crops didn’t grow, etc. In other words, the miracle didn’t happen for the wicked.
Okay, so here’s Korihor’s doctrine:
And many more such things did he say unto them, telling them that there could be no atonement made for the sins of men, but every man fared in this life according to the management of the creature; therefore every man prospered according to his genius, and that every man conquered according to his strength; and whatsoever a man did was no crime. (Alma 30:17)
This is, in plain speak, simply man-made economic theory. Korihor was saying, “You stupid Nephites! There ain’t no miracle! It is just that the rich people manage their finances better than the poor ones. The rich guys are smarter than the dumb poor ones. God has NOTHING to do with it!”
The LDS church teaches proper management of one’s finances according to modern economic principles. We teach, then, Korihor’s doctrine. “Go to school so you can become smarter (getting an education). In this way you’ll get a better job and make more money, thus prospering by your genius (education). If you manage your finances correctly, you’ll be able to save money and get ahead, etc. Oh, yeah, and it is also important that you have a proper Protestant work ethic and abide by the current Mormon teachings on work and personal responsibility.” All these principles are based upon Korihor’s man-made principles.
The Nephites simply obeyed all God’s commandments with diligence and exercised mighty faith to obtain the miracle of prosperity, and God gave it to them. They didn’t have to worry about saving for a rainy day, for there was never any rainy day for the righteous. They could give away all their riches (their surplus) freely, because they knew that the miracle was going to replenish the coffers again to overflowing. It happened all the freaking time. It was so totally obvious a miracle that Korihor and his stupid doctrine must have looked like an utter fool to the righteous. To the wicked, or to those righteous who secretly desired to hoard their wealth, which would cause them to cease to be righteous, Korihor’s doctrine sounded appealing, because they didn’t have to give their surplus away but could just retire on their wealth, like the Gentiles currently do. But that wickedness always caused God’s anger to kindle against them and the Lamanites were always soon sent upon the people for such iniquity. Plus it cut them off from the miracle of prosperity.
When the people sinned against the Lord, He didn’t just remove the miracle of prosperity from them, so that they were left to their own devices, as the Gentiles are, but instead He provided an anti-miracle, or a miracle which had the opposite effect:
For behold, the Lord hath said:
I will not succor my people in the day of their transgression; but I will hedge up their ways that they prosper not; and their doings shall be as a stumbling block before them. (Mosiah 7:29)
A righteous, prosperous Nephite that turned around and began to break God’s commandments, essentially cut his own throat, committing financial suicide.
The Gadianton plans
It was because of the anti-prosperity miracle that the wicked sought out the plans of Gadianton. As the wicked Nephites could not prosper via the Lord’s prosperity miracle and the anti-miracle hedged up their way, they sought to obtain gain via the secret oaths and combinations of Gadianton. This allowed them to remain in their wickedness, and also do more wickedness, and to obtain power, too, while still getting gain. So, it was a way the wicked used to “get around” the anti-miracle. This might clear up any confusion about why the Gadianton robbers kept popping up throughout Nephite history and why these secret societies grew so fast. The wicked couldn’t prosper unless they repented of their sins, therefore they had three choices if they wanted to avoid becoming rapidly poor: 1) they could humble themselves before the Lord and obtain the prosperity miracle or 2) they could remain in their pride and wickedness and become Lamanites, and rob and plunder like they did, or 3) they could remain in their pride and wickedness as Nephites, and obtain gain by robbing and plundering, via the secret combination. The prospect of continuing to make money while remaining in one’s sins was a very strong temptation, hence the growth of these societies.
Defection to the Lamanites was inevitable
Before Gadianton got the secret combination plans revealed to him by the devil, they were found written in the scriptural records, but the prophets and seers were forbidden to reveal these things to the people. So the wicked Nephites, prior to the release of these ancient plans, inevitably became Lamanites. The only way to get gain in wickedness was to plunder and rob. They couldn’t do it among the Nephites because the law would take hold of them, therefore they defected to the Lamanites and then incited them to wage war on the Nephites, (for plunderers target the wealthy). It was simply inevitable once the anti-miracle took effect on the wicked and their riches dried up, and all Nephites knew this:
Now the Nephites greatly feared that the Zoramites would enter into a correspondence with the Lamanites, and that it would be the means of great loss on the part of the Nephites. (Alma 31:4)
The wicked defectors would tell the Lamanites of all the wealth that the Nephites had and how easy it would be to take it all, for the Lamanites were much more numerous than the Nephites, plus they could tell them of any weaknesses that the Nephites had. The Lamanites, plunderers themselves, almost always went for the carrot when it was dangled by these defectors in front of them. The Nephites were RICH beyond belief and the defectors knew this, but could not lay their hands upon it unless they got the Lamanites to engage in another war of plunder. So, any time the Nephites became wicked and separated themselves from the body, the prophets of God had to immediately go and preach to them, to try to get them to speedily repent, because if that didn’t happen, the sound of war would very soon be in the land again. Thus, we see that a knowledge of the prosperity and anti-prosperity miracles clears up yet another Book of Mormon mystery.
A word on the Zoramite poor
When Alma went to the Zoramites to preach, the poor Zoramites were those on whom the anti-miracle had already taken effect and their poverty had humbled them, putting them in a state in which they were prepared to hear, accept and receive the word, through their repentance. The anti-miracle, then, was not a punishment, per se, but a means to reclaim and save the wicked, by humbling them. Dissension to the Lamanites or uniting with the Gadianton robbers aborted that process.
There were no homeless among the Nephites
All of the homeless were given lands upon which to reside:
And he breathed out many threatenings against them. And now the people of Ammon did not fear their words; therefore they did not cast them out, but they did receive all the poor of the Zoramites that came over unto them; and they did nourish them, and did clothe them, and did give unto them lands for their inheritance; and they did administer unto them according to their wants. (Alma 35:9)
This is why all the passages in the Book of Mormon that speak of the giving of one’s substance to the poor and the needy, and the thirsty, hungry, naked, etc., do not ever mention the homeless. The wicked poor, although they had lands and houses, could not grow anything, due to the anti-prosperity miracle, and so still needed to beg.
The reason for wanting more wives
In chapter 2 of Jacob we learn that the Nephites had found gold and silver and had grown quite rich. We also learn that they had begun to desire to have more than one wife. Why? Because they had grown quite rich and they thought to “raise up seed unto the Lord.” The Nephites could now afford to have as many wives as they wanted, through this prosperity miracle, and as the Lord had prospered them in all things, He could likewise prosper them so that they became much more numerous than the Lamanites, so that the Nephites became even as numerous as the sands of the seashore. The virility of Nephite men and fertility of Nephite women could be as blessed as everything else, and thus, in their numerous state, the Lamanites would never even dare to attack. All this seed would be raised up unto the Lord and how great would such a thing be? Such was the thinking of these men.
But the Lord knew that the Nephites would go through very many periods of wickedness, in which many men would die, and instead of having a certain number of monogamous widows and fatherless in the land, in plural marriage you’d end up with a an almost endless sea of polygamous widows and fatherless, and the Lord was not going to have it. Even if the men did not die, but became beggars because of the anti-miracle, this, too, would create a tidal wave of misery among the wives and children. It was a wicked desire, also, because they wanted something that the Lord had already expressly forbidden them to have (unless He commanded it through another of His appointed seers). But to understand the desire, one must understand that there was a prosperity miracle in play among the Nephites, for no man wanted the financial burden of having more than one wife, unless he had exceptional finances (or could plunder the people via taxation, see the Re: taxation section below).
The LDS cannot obtain the prosperity miracle by their current practices, but would have to adopt the Nephite ways to get it. This is why the LDS are not the richest people on the planet. If we could do what the Nephites did and obey with exactness all of the commandments received through God’s seer, Joseph Smith, Jun., then God would provide the very same prosperity miracle to us as He did to the Nephites and we would become richer than everyone else. But we do not comply with our scriptures, the commandments, nor fulfill our duties, so on Korihor we must rely for wealth.
Korihor also taught:
ye lead away this people after the foolish traditions of your fathers, and according to your own desires; and ye keep them down, even as it were in bondage, that ye may glut yourselves with the labors of their hands, that they durst not look up with boldness, and that they durst not enjoy their rights and privileges.
Yea, they durst not make use of that which is their own (Alma 30:27-28)
In other words, Korihor taught that a person’s property and substance was his own, to use as he saw fit, and that he need not give to the poor and needy, that staying one’s hand from giving was no crime nor sin. This directly contradicted king Benjamin’s teaching:
how much more just will be your condemnation for withholding your substance, which doth not belong to you but to God (Mosiah 4:22)
Korihor’s end is interesting, in that after he became dumb, he began begging for food, and a proclamation was sent out:
And it came to pass that the curse was not taken off of Korihor; but he was cast out, and went about from house to house begging for his food.
Now the knowledge of what had happened unto Korihor was immediately published throughout all the land; yea, the proclamation was sent forth by the chief judge to all the people in the land, declaring unto those who had believed in the words of Korihor that they must speedily repent, lest the same judgments would come unto them.
And it came to pass that they were all convinced of the wickedness of Korihor; therefore they were all converted again unto the Lord; and this put an end to the iniquity after the manner of Korihor. And Korihor did go about from house to house, begging food for his support. (Alma 30:56-58)
The entire populace was convinced that Korihor was a wicked man, nevertheless, they still gave him of their substance when he went around to them begging for food, for it is a commandment of God to give to the poor of your surplus substance, even if they are wicked sinners. But when he went to the Zoramites begging, they, being wicked and not disposed to give to the poor, trod him down to death, for they considered all the poor dross.
Some, who continue to subscribe to Korihor’s doctrine and so believe that the Nephites prospered according to economic principles, such as those which are taught to us by the LDS church, and not by the miracle I am describing in this post, might point to the lack of Nephite taxation as the real reason they prospered so much. It is true that the Nephites had no taxation among them, save during their times of wickedness (such as during wicked king Noah’s reign, in which he laid a 20% tax upon his wicked people; see Mosiah 11:3,6) or in periods of bondage (such as during righteous king Limhi’s reign, whose people paid a 50% tributary tax to the Lamanite king; see Mosiah 19:15). The Book of Mormon refers to the levy of taxes as “the laying of that which is grievous to be borne upon men’s shoulders”.
I say unto you that as I have been suffered to spend my days in your service, even up to this time, and have not sought gold nor silver nor any manner of riches of you; neither have I suffered that ye should be confined in dungeons, nor that ye should make slaves one of another, nor that ye should murder, or plunder, or steal, or commit adultery; nor even have I suffered that ye should commit any manner of wickedness, and have taught you that ye should keep the commandments of the Lord, in all things which he hath commanded you—and even I, myself, have labored with mine own hands that I might serve you, and that ye should not be laden with taxes, and that there should nothing come upon you which was grievous to be borne—and of all these things which I have spoken, ye yourselves are witnesses this day. (Mosiah 2:12-14)
And all this he did, for the sole purpose of bringing this people into subjection or into bondage. And behold, we at this time do pay tribute to the king of the Lamanites, to the amount of one half of our corn, and our barley, and even all our grain of every kind, and one half of the increase of our flocks and our herds; and even one half of all we have or possess the king of the Lamanites doth exact of us, or our lives.
And now, is not this grievous to be borne? And is not this, our affliction, great? Now behold, how great reason we have to mourn. (Mosiah 7:22-23)
And it came to pass that Riplakish did not do that which was right in the sight of the Lord, for he did have many wives and concubines, and did lay that upon men’s shoulders which was grievous to be borne; yea, he did tax them with heavy taxes; and with the taxes he did build many spacious buildings.
And he did erect him an exceedingly beautiful throne; and he did build many prisons, and whoso would not be subject unto taxes he did cast into prison; and whoso was not able to pay taxes he did cast into prison; and he did cause that they should labor continually for their support; and whoso refused to labor he did cause to be put to death.
And after that he had established himself king he did ease the burden of the people, by which he did gain favor in the eyes of the people, and they did anoint him to be their king. (Ether 10:5-6,10)
And king Mosiah did cause his people that they should till the earth. And he also, himself, did till the earth, that thereby he might not become burdensome to his people, that he might do according to that which his father had done in all things. (Mosiah 6:7)
Taxation, then, was always considered by the Nephites as a “burden” and thus, as an iniquity. But even under the heavy 50% tributary tax levied by the Lamanite king, Limhi’s people, (once they began to repent), started to prosper:
And they did humble themselves even in the depths of humility; and they did cry mightily to God; yea, even all the day long did they cry unto their God that he would deliver them out of their afflictions.
And now the Lord was slow to hear their cry because of their iniquities; nevertheless the Lord did hear their cries, and began to soften the hearts of the Lamanites that they began to ease their burdens; yet the Lord did not see fit to deliver them out of bondage.
And it came to pass that they began to prosper by degrees in the land, and began to raise grain more abundantly, and flocks, and herds, that they did not suffer with hunger. (Mosiah 21:14-16)
So taxation, or the lack thereof, had nothing to do with their prosperity. Prosperity was always directly related to their righteousness alone.
Laboring with your hands
As you might have guessed, this, too, is a commandment of God. And like all other things the Nephites did, it is patterned after God Himself. The Bible teaches that God spoke and the world was made, by the power of His word alone. However, the Book of Mormon has an additional teaching, and that is that the Liahona was prepared by the hand of the Lord. Thus, as the Lord also prepares things with His hand, so the Nephites, who could not create with their voice (other than songs), used their hands to make things, just as the Lord used His hand to prepare the Liahona.
The Book of Mormon writers were careful to always point out that they complied with this commandment. For example, on the Title Page, Moroni wrote, “Sealed by the hand of Moroni.” He could have just stated, “Sealed by Moroni,” but that would not have communicated to us that He was obeying the commandment to labor with his hands. Another example: right off the bat, in the third verse of the Book of Mormon, Nephi writes, “and I make it with mine own hand” (1 Ne. 1:3).
No matter how rich and powerful a Nephite got, he was still required by God’s law to perform a daily (six days a week) labor with his own hands. Not even the Nephite kings were exempt from this commandment:
And even I, myself, have labored with mine own hands that I might serve you, and that ye should not be laden with taxes, and that there should nothing come upon you which was grievous to be borne—and of all these things which I have spoken, ye yourselves are witnesses this day. (Mosiah 2:14)
The Gentiles, in comparison, labor with their own hands until they get rich enough to employ others to do the labors required by their business. Then they merely manage the business and employees, ceasing to labor with their hands, until they get rich enough to employ competent managers who can manage the business in their absence. Then they spend their days playing golf, traveling around and buying stuff. Occasionally they drop in to make sure the business is still turning a profit.
Such practices, to a Nephite, was wickedness, for they broke God’s commandment to labor with one’s own hands. Now, that doesn’t mean Nephites didn’t have employees, or servants in their employ. They did, for many business ventures or enterprises require the labor of more than one person to make them work. Nevertheless, they either labored with their employees, side-by-side with them, or in some other labor. Management of employees, in which all you did was tell people with your mouth what to do, and they performed the labor, while you didn’t lift a finger, was considered laziness and a sin and was not what the righteous Nephites did. Even during their times of war, their captains and chief captains, which were the equivalent of our Gentile generals, came down at the head of their armies (see Alma 2:16) and fought side-by-side with the rest of the troops. They didn’t stay in the back of the army, directing the rest how to fight and die for them, while they remained safe and alive. Such was considered wickedness, idleness, laziness and cowardice.
Thus, the Nephites were taught to labor with their own hands for their own support, regardless of how many employees or agents they may have had, or soldiers under their command. The Lamanites, as usual, did not follow this correct tradition:
And assuredly it was great, for they had undertaken to preach the word of God to a wild and a hardened and a ferocious people; a people who delighted in murdering the Nephites, and robbing and plundering them; and their hearts were set upon riches, or upon gold and silver, and precious stones; yet they sought to obtain these things by murdering and plundering, that they might not labor for them with their own hands. (Alma 17:14)
The 1828 Dictionary entry on dominion:
DOMINION, n. [L. See Dominant.]
1. Sovereign or supreme authority; the power of governing and controlling.
The dominion of the Most High is an everlasting dominion. Daniel 4.
2. Power to direct, control, use and dispose of at pleasure; right of possession and use without being accountable; as the private dominion of individuals.
3. Territory under a government; region; country; district governed, or within the limits of the authority of a prince or state; as the British dominions.
4. Government; right of governing.
Jamaica is under the dominion of Great Britain.
5. Predominance; ascendant.
6. An order of angels.
Whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers. Colossians 1.
7. Persons governed.
Judah was his sanctuary; Israel his dominion. Psalm 114.
Adam and Eve were given dominion:
And God said,
Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
And God blessed them, and God said unto them,
Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. (Gen. 1:26-28)
The children of Adam and Eve also have dominion, even the same dominion as their first parents. The Nephites then, who, in their righteousness, were obedient to all the commandments of God, saw five (5) commandments in the above scripture:
1) Be fruitful
3) Replenish the earth
4) Subdue the earth
5) Have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
Having dominion meant that they were to be lord and master of all that they surveyed; that they were the supreme authority of all creation and were to direct, control, use, dispose of and govern everything around them.
The word dominion comes from the Latin dominant, which means:
DOMINANT, a. [L., to rule; lord, master; a house; to overcome, to subdue.]
1. Ruling; prevailing; governing; predominant; as the dominant party, or faction.
Thus, they were to rule and overcome and subdue all things. In other words, they were to be the dominant entity in the land, dominating all other things. To dominate means:
DOMINATE, v.t. [L. See Dominant.] To rule; to govern; to prevail; to predominate over.
We every where meet the Slavonian nations either dominant or dominated.
DOMINATE, v.i. To predominate. [Little used.]
Now I will give my own definition, according to my understanding of how the Nephites understood the commandment to have dominion over all things:
To have dominion means “to cause someone or something—which does not conform in its natural state—to conform to oneself, to one’s ideas, to one’s desires, to one’s plans and to one’s purposes.”
As with everything, the Nephites took God as their pattern, for they were trying to be like Him. So, as God took the Nothing, which in its natural state had no purpose, and made it conform to Himself, His ideas, His desires, His plans and His purposes, by altering it—splitting it, so that He caused the opposition in all things, creating something new, even a new, unnatural state out of the old natural state, giving it a new purpose, according to His plan and idea, so that it conformed to Him—so, in like manner, the Nephites looked upon all of the creation of God, both plants, animals and the earth itself, and undertook plans to alter it to conform to themselves, their ideas, their plans and their purposes, taking it out of its natural state, (which was the first unnatural state that God had put it in), and putting it into a second unnatural state.
Why did they do this? Because this was the commandment of God, for it was His purpose that they (and all His children), become like Him, doing the same types of things He does.
Now, the pattern of what to build was the city, even the heavenly city, for the vision of heaven turns out to be the vision of a city:
These are they who are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly place, the holiest of all. (D&C 76:66)
But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, (Hebrews 12:22)
But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city. (Hebrews 11;16)
So the Nephites, with their view to the heavens showing that mankind dwells in a city there, sought to build cities here. Again, they didn’t do it just because they were following a pattern, but because they were commanded to build cities up unto the name of the Lord, even as we latter-day saints have been commanded to do the same:
Verily, thus saith the Lord, I say unto you, if those who call themselves by my name and are essaying to be my saints, if they will do my will and keep my commandments concerning them, let them gather themselves together unto the places which I shall appoint unto them by my servant Joseph, and build up cities unto my name, that they may be prepared for that which is in store for a time to come. (D&C 125:2)
(I must mention Rodney Cluff, a forward-thinking latter-day saint, who took the commandment to build up cities unto the name of the Lord so seriously that he designed the layout of his very own city, which he calls a City of Light. Regardless of whether you like his plan or not, it is commendable that he took the time to design a city unto the Lord’s name. All latter-day saints ought to be doing the same. I myself have also designed a city and, interestingly enough, it is circular, like Rodney’s, with a central plaza, circular roads and streets that emanate outward at the eight points of the compass, just like his. The rest of the layout, though, is different.)
Unlike the latter-day saints, though, the Nephites were obedient to the Lord’s commandments, and built cities just about everywhere in this land.
So, a Nephite man, coming into a plain or valley for the first time, being the very first settler, would set up his tent and begin planning out his permanent dwelling, and where his crops and flocks would go, and he would also plan out the layout of the city that would bear his name. Others that came into his land, then, would take up his plan, and work with him to complete the city, even his city, which would end up bearing his name. The whole thing was done unto the name of the Lord, but bore the name of the first settler, for the city plan was drawn out by his hand, and those that came afterward simply followed the plan, filling it out and expanding the city as needed, according to the circumstances and number of inhabitants. Nevertheless, the cities were centrally planned from the very get-go, by the first settler, and were not built after the fashion of the Gentiles, who do not centrally plan cities, but allow cities to “grow up” around settlers in a more or less random order.
Anything that came in the way of that plan, was subdued and overcome. In other words, all things were made to conform to the plan, idea and purpose of the first settler. If there was a hill in the way and the plan called for a flat plaza to be there, that hill was leveled. If a location called for a commercial district, but animals inhabited the place, the animals were moved. It was the plan that was important, not the local conditions. The Nephites dominated everything, causing all things in their view to conform to their plan. They did not conform to anything, at all, for they were commanded to be the dominant force in the land, and they were.
This is why when the Nephites became prideful, they became exceedingly prideful, for they literally were like gods upon the earth, doing as they pleased with God’s creation, in order to become like Him and fulfill His commandments. They left just about nothing unchanged, or in its natural state, except as it suited their purpose. The Jaredites also did the same, leaving nothing untouched or unchanged, except insofar as it suited their purposes. The righteous Jaredite king Lib, whose reign was attended to by unmatched prosperity from the Lord, left all the land south of the narrow neck of land as a hunting preserve:
And they built a great city by the narrow neck of land, by the place where the sea divides the land.
And they did preserve the land southward for a wilderness, to get game. (Ether 10:20-21)
As it served their purpose, they left it unchanged. Otherwise, they would have used that land for other purposes and altered it.
Leaving things in its unaltered, natural state, for no purpose other than to leave it be, was a sin, for that was not complying with the commandment to have dominion. They could only leave things be for a purpose, according to their plan:
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. (Hel. 11:16)
But they did not let the lack of timber stop them:
And it came to pass as timber was exceedingly scarce in the land northward, they did send forth much by the way of shipping.
And thus they did enable the people in the land northward that they might build many cities, both of wood and of cement. (Hel. 11:17-18)
The Lamanites, on the other hand, built nothing and changed nothing, leaving everything more or less in its natural state. Although they inhabited the land, they did not have dominion, thus they broke this commandment, as well.
Nephite dominion was not patterned after Gentile capitalism:
Verily I say,
that inasmuch as ye do this, the fulness of the earth is yours, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which climbeth upon the trees and walketh upon the earth; yea, and the herb, and the good things which come of the earth, whether for food or for raiment, or for houses, or for barns, or for orchards, or for gardens, or for vineyards; yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season thereof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart; yea, for food and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul.
And it pleaseth God that he hath given all these things unto man; for unto this end were they made to be used, with judgment, not to excess, neither by extortion. (D&C 59:16-20)
Whereas the Gentile capitalists have, historically, raped the land of resources, creating great pollutions (and still do), the Nephites were commanded to use all things “with judgment, not to excess, neither by extortion.” Thus, they didn’t rape the land nor create pollutions, save during their times of wickedness. (They also made sure that they replenished the earth, which was another commandment of God.) The above scripture pertains to the commandment to “have dominion over all things” and was directed to the latter-day saints, showing that the Lord expects the latter-day saints to have dominion just as the Nephites did. In fact, the dominions of the latter-day saints are prophesied to eventually be established:
And it came to pass that I beheld the church of the Lamb of God, and its numbers were few, because of the wickedness and abominations of the whore who sat upon many waters; nevertheless, I beheld that the church of the Lamb, who were the saints of God, were also upon all the face of the earth; and their dominions upon the face of the earth were small, because of the wickedness of the great whore whom I saw. (1 Ne. 16:12)
which dominions I prophesied last year would be brought to pass by the latter-day saints using the Bartering Currency. Currently, though, no latter-day saint has dominion and thus we break this commandment, as well.
As I stated above, God has put everything on and in this earth in a more or less locked state. The natural state of things has purpose, given by God, but within each thing is a puzzle, which when unfolded, allows everything to be used for multiple purposes, in fact, essentially infinite purposes. God, of course, knows each and ever use of everything He has created and put upon this planet, but the natural state keeps things hidden. This allows the commandment to “seek and you shall find” to be fulfilled, through discovery of all the possible uses of things. It pleases God that man is inquisitive about His creations and seeks to alter them in order to discover other uses, for these other uses and their discovery allow His children to become like Him, for this is, in fact, what He did with the Nothing. It had no purpose whatsoever, and He took it and made it be used in an infinite number of ways, merely by making the one thing two things, and from those two things an infinite number of things, with an infinite number of purposes.
The Nephites, then, saw all things as a puzzle to be unlocked and discovered. The question, “What else can this be uses for?” was always on their minds. They never were content with what they had, but always sought more. More stuff, more answers, more knowledge about things, etc. They diligently applied themselves to know everything about everything, so that they could become like God. Therefore, they never ceased their creations. Even when their cities were essentially built, they continued building them. To stop was a sin, unless God Himself commanded it, which He never did, for the building was never finished nor ever would be.
The modern Gentiles are like the Nephites in their inquisitiveness, except that the Gentiles are often “set in their ways” and get comfortable with age and riches, and so slow down. The Nephites never slowed down, except when they became wicked, but continued to amass knowledge about their surrounding at an alarming, miraculous rate, discovering things much faster than anything we are able to do, even in our computer age. Now, I have written about this at length years ago in an unpublished post, but it is still not yet time to release it, so I will forbear talking on this and proceed to the next point, with just a slight aside.
And it came to pass after I, Nephi, having heard all the words of my father, concerning the things which he saw in a vision, and also the things which he spake by the power of the Holy Ghost, which power he received by faith on the Son of God—and the Son of God was the Messiah who should come—I, Nephi, was desirous also that I might see, and hear, and know of these things, by the power of the Holy Ghost, which is the gift of God unto all those who diligently seek him, as well in times of old as in the time that he should manifest himself unto the children of men.
For he is the same yesterday, today, and forever; and the way is prepared for all men from the foundation of the world, if it so be that they repent and come unto him.
For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost, as well in these times as in times of old, and as well in times of old as in times to come; wherefore, the course of the Lord is one eternal round. (1 Ne. 10:17-19)
And now behold, my brethren, this is the word which I declare unto you, that many of you have begun to search for gold, and for silver, and for all manner of precious ores, in the which this land, which is a land of promise unto you and to your seed, doth abound most plentifully. And the hand of providence hath smiled upon you most pleasingly, that you have obtained many riches; (Jacob 2:12-13)
And they did work in all manner of ore, and they did make gold, and silver, and iron, and brass, and all manner of metals; and they did dig it out of the earth; wherefore, they did cast up mighty heaps of earth to get ore, of gold, and of silver, and of iron, and of copper. And they did work all manner of fine work. (Ether 10:23)
The aside is this: the Nephites took Nephi’s teaching to diligently seek in order to find and applied it in all areas of their life. The Jaredites also did the same. So, whereas a Gentile will consult with a geologist before beginning a mining operation, the Nephites and Jaredites simply exercised their faith in their prayers and started digging, confident that whether there was gold or silver or other types of ore in the spot or not did not matter, for they would find what they were seeking, for God Himself would provide the miracle, just as He provided the principle and promise that “whoso diligently seeketh shall find.” The promise was a divine guarantee, as long as they kept His commandments and diligently sought as the principle called for.
God, when He created all things, didn’t just make one type of each thing, one type of tiger, one type of ant, one type of this, that or the other, etc., but created an astoundingly diverse array of each type of thing. The Nephites, then, again taking God as their pattern, and also being commanded to do it, made all manner of things of every type. The phrase “all manner of” is found in 120 verses of the Book of Mormon. They were commanded to make every imaginable thing they could of everything they could find upon the planet, and they did. (The reign of the righteous Jaredite king Lib is probably the standard set for diversity. See Ether 10:18-29.)
Just as a kid in a candy store gets giddy upon entering it and, seeing the wide variety and assortment of candies—most of which are basically composed of the very same sweet ingredients, yet they all look a bit different and taste a bit different and have a different feel in the hands and mouth, producing a different effect upon the sense—will naturally want to purchase and taste each and every one, so the Nephites rejoiced in their society and were filled with desire, for all they saw was an endless variety of things of all types and shapes and sizes and tastes and smells. This assault upon the senses by the sheer magnitude of diversity was evidence of God’s blessings upon them, and they sought to find more ways to increase the diversity, each succeeding generation outdoing the previous generation, for they made the stuff that went before, plus new things.
Unlike the Gentile economy, which discards the old to make place for the new, the Nephites never discarded anything old, but kept everything and added to it. This is as it should be, if you think about it, and this is how it was for them. How many Gentiles say that they “miss the good old days when such-and-such a thing” was around. The Nephites never said this, for their society only added, never subtracted things.
Think about that for a moment. Imagine if every good, safe product or service that was ever produced or offered in the previous century, from 1900-2000, was still available to purchase today in 2015, at the very same price, and every store that ever existed during that time period still existed today, offering the very same products they did back then, as well as new ones. The previous century offered a great deal of diversity to Americans, but it was supplanted diversity: out with the old and in with the new. If the previous American century were patterned after the Nephites, nothing would get supplanted and all old products and services would still sell, due to God’s miraculous blessing of prosperity. Most Americans would call that a capitalistic paradise, a commercial heaven on earth. Yet, as many new products and services that came out during 1900-2000, it still doesn’t compare to the numbers that the Nephites produced in any hundred year period of their history. They were prolific in creating new things. They were as obsessed with new things as I am. But they were also obsessed with preserving and retaining old things, so that their diversity multiplied endlessly.
Can you imagine if every car ever produced was still being manufactured and available as new models? Same with computers and games and toys and everything else. Or if all the different types of musical genres and bands of the previous century still existed and toured? There would be a hundred different radio stations to broadcast each type of music. There would be every type of media: vinyl records, audiocassettes, 8-tracks, CD’s, MP3’s, etc. There would be switchboard operators, candlestick phones, rotary phones, touch-tone phoces, cell phones, smart phones, etc. As time went on, your choices would increase, because new things would be created while the old was still available. The diversity of Nephite society, then, increased their agency year by year. American society, by comparison, has its agency decreased each year, because our choices become more limited, due to old products being phased out, competition going out of business, mergers, etc.
In the Gentile economies, businesses come and business go, but the Nephite businesses operated on miraculous principles and simply prospered and remained for as long as the man or his posterity remained righteous. They were permanent fixtures, for about a 1000 years. But new businesses and new products and new services were constantly being introduced, with miraculous success. In short, the Nephites had absolutely no reason to complain about anything. They had it all, given to them on a silver platter, which platter came in hundreds of different styles and sizes to choose from. That they actually turned from their righteousness and disinherited themselves from all this diversity and prosperity is both astounding and heart-breaking.
The law of consecration and stewardship of properties patterned after Nephite diversity
As I said, Gentile businesses come and go, but under God’s law of consecration and stewardship of properties, each stewardship was meant to exist in perpetuity, for the man and his seed after him, throughout all his generations, for God is all about permanence, and these stewardship properties are His.
And again, a commandment I give unto you concerning your stewardship which I have appointed unto you.
Behold, all these properties are mine, or else your faith is vain, and ye are found hypocrites, and the covenants which ye have made unto me are broken; and if the properties are mine, then ye are stewards; otherwise ye are no stewards. (D&C 104:54-56)
Doctrine and Covenants section 104 gives a list of stewardships appointed to various brethren, which was “for them, and their seed after them.” Over and over again the revelation states, of each of these stewards, “I will multiply blessings upon him and his seed after him, even a multiplicity of blessings.” The phrase is curious and likely no one knows what the Lord was talking about so I guess I’ll briefly unfold it to the reader by saying that the Lord intended to unlock and unleash upon the latter-day saints, through this law of consecration and stewardship of properties, the same blessing of prosperity and diversity that He bestowed upon the Nephites. From 1834, (the date of the revelation), to 2015, a period of 181 years—had they not screwed up—we would have had permanent stewardships fill up the land, each new generation of latter-day saints receiving new stewardships, the old stewards passing on their stewardships to an heir, so that the old stewardships continued, and our prosperity and diversity—(for old and new would be side-by-side, like Nephite diversity)—would have been the envy of the Gentiles. This church and people would have been the very richest on the planet. But they transgressed and it didn’t happen. Se la vie.
The cities they built had walls around them, and were fortified from time to time by the various deliverers that came along, such as that deliverer of deliverers, captain Moroni. These walls were made of stone and there were works of timbers and towers and other defensive measures built into each city, such as mounds of earth and very deep ditches, etc. They were meant to be impregnable. In time, they essentially were.
These weren’t just temporary measures to deal with the Lamanites of the time, but were patterned after the New Jerusalem, or Zion, which was to be a place of security, for defense, and also her stakes, which likewise would be places of security, defense and refuge.
Verily I say unto you all:
Arise and shine forth, that thy light may be a standard for the nations; and that the gathering together upon the land of Zion, and upon her stakes, may be for a defense, and for a refuge from the storm, and from wrath when it shall be poured out without mixture upon the whole earth. (D&C 115:5-6)
And it shall be called the New Jerusalem, a land of peace, a city of refuge, a place of safety for the saints of the Most High God; and the glory of the Lord shall be there, and the terror of the Lord also shall be there, insomuch that the wicked will not come unto it, and it shall be called Zion. And it shall come to pass among the wicked, that every man that will not take his sword against his neighbor must needs flee unto Zion for safety. (D&C 45:66-68)
For it is ordained that in Zion, and in her stakes, and in Jerusalem, those places which I have appointed for refuge, shall be the places for your baptisms for your dead. (D&C 124:36)
Again, they also did this because it was a commandment, for they were to pattern themselves after God, after how He builds and designs cities, and as the city of Zion would be designed by revelation, meaning by God Himself, and would be a defense, therefore the Nephite cities must also have defensive structures in place, to exactly conform to and follow the pattern.
So mighty did the Nephite cities become, essentially becoming impregnable, that the wicked at one time scoffed at a prophecy that their cities would become desolate, saying:
For behold he doth condemn all this people, even unto destruction; yea, and also that these our great cities shall be taken from us, that we shall have no place in them. And now we know that this is impossible, for behold, we are powerful, and our cities great, therefore our enemies can have no power over us. (Hel. 8:5-6)
These mighty cities did, in fact, end up being taken from them shortly thereafter, by the almighty power of God Himself, He exerting the very powers of heaven and sending down fire from heaven, as He did with Sodom and Gomorrah, and burning many of these cities to dust, via cosmic plasma bolt (interplanetary electrical discharge), which can incinerate even the mightiest of materials, and burying other cities in earth and seas, so that all their mighty defenses came to naught, when compared to the power of God. Although they were like gods on earth, they weren’t gods indeed. They were just His children.
Gentile cities, including Mormon cities, typically have no defensive structures whatsoever around them. They are open and easily invaded. Why build defenses when there is no foreseeable enemy around, right?
And now, I will show unto you a parable, that you may know my will concerning the redemption of Zion.
A certain nobleman had a spot of land, very choice; and he said unto his servants:
Go ye unto my vineyard, even upon this very choice piece of land, and plant twelve olive trees; and set watchmen round about them, and build a tower, that one may overlook the land round about, to be a watchman upon the tower, that mine olive trees may not be broken down when the enemy shall come to spoil and take upon themselves the fruit of my vineyard.
Now, the servants of the nobleman went and did as their lord commanded them, and planted the olive trees, and built a hedge round about, and set watchmen, and began to build a tower.
And while they were yet laying the foundation thereof, they began to say among themselves:
And what need hath my lord of this tower?
And consulted for a long time, saying among themselves:
What need hath my lord of this tower, seeing this is a time of peace? (D&C 101:43-48)
Again, what enemy do the Americans have that can come here and molest them in their cities? But God sees the enemy from afar, way before we can see him, and He knows that cities must be constructed with defenses, to keep the enemy out. But the Gentiles do not plan that far ahead into the future, and so their cities will be taken from them.
The Nephites, though, saw the future and they saw the need for defenses in their cities, both against the Lamanites and also against other, future enemies. As long as they stayed righteous, their cities and the defenses in them would remain in their possession and they would remain secure in them.
Interestingly enough, though, the secret combinations of our day see our cities not as places of defense and security, to keep the enemy out, but as potential secure prisons, to keep the inmates in, to more easily slaughter undesirables and control the population. Thus, measures are being put into place to spy on Americans at all times and provide means whereby Americans can be trapped in their own cities. This is completely the opposite of Nephite cities, which had all defenses pointed outward, nothing whatsoever was pointed inward at the citizens.
Behold, the Lord hath created the earth that it should be inhabited; and he hath created his children that they should possess it. (1 Ne. 17:36)
There ain’t nothing more precious than a child making something new and giving it to his father as a present. “Look, Father. See what I made for you?” That thing, whatever it is, that the child made, is sanctified in the sight of the parent and acts as a memorial, by which the parent remembers the innocence and development of the child, and the child himself. We are children of God and He has everything. There is nothing we can give Him that he doesn’t already have, except memorials from us, for those are unique gifts that He cherishes.
The commandment to build up cities unto His name, and make all manner of other stuff unto His name, is the commandment to create memorials to God. Memorials are meant to be permanent, that we always be in the memory of God, that every time He looks upon that thing we created, He thinks of us, and His heart is softened towards us. All parents, including the heavenly Parent, desire to preserve a child’s memorial. Every parent knows that throwing away a child’s memorial is like cutting off a part of your body. No one wants to do it. No one likes to do it. If we could, we would preserve every last thing our children make forever, regardless of how primitive its construction. It is evidence of the child’s stage of development at that point and of its love for the parent and of its discovery of a new use and purposes for the item. Parents are compelled to keep these things and love to look at them.
God is no different. Thus the Nephites, those righteous children of God that He loved so much, when they built up their cities and roads and houses and structures and made all their stuff, all unto His name, they did it as a memorial to Him, knowing full well that He would preserve these things of theirs forever, by His own power. So, when the Nephites built things, they did it to last forever. Not figuratively, but literally.
Every single time they sinned and their structures and cities and roads were damaged, they rebuilt them. The memorials had to be rebuilt. Always. This was a commandment of God, for these were God’s gifts, given to Him by the Nephites, and it was a sin to leave God’s memorials in a state of disrepair if the opportunity and means to repair and rebuild them presented itself.
The memorials (cities, buildings, roads, etc.) were the mark they left on the land. They announced, “We came, we saw, we had dominion, and we built unto the Lord.” Even if they left, their memorials were to remain there as evidence that they were there and that they had left memorials to the Lord. If they ever returned to the place, they had to rebuild, repair and renew the memorials, if they had fallen into disrepair.
The Lamanites, on the other hand, built nothing. They left no mark. They lived and died and there is nothing to show that they were ever here. No memorials to the Lord. No discoveries. They kept everything in its unchanged, natural state.
The perpetual nature of these Nephite memorials requires that they be restored at some point. As Joseph-Nephi-Lehi, (the one who will perform this restoration), will be a Nephite—i.e., he will not be at all like the Lamanites, nor like the Indians, their descendants, for he will not be a tree-hugger, an environmentalist, or anybody whose main purpose will be to keep everything, as much as possible, in its natural, untouched state—he will be inciting the people to be industrious, to centrally plan things, as the ancients did their cities, to dominate all things and make wise use of everything. Permanent building, structures, roads, monuments, city walls and defenses, etc., will be his push. All Nephite cities will be restored, repaired, renewed, whether they were sunken in the earth or in the ocean, they will rise again and be rebuilt, to be inhabited again by a righteous branch:
But if not, O house of Israel, the places of your dwellings shall become desolate until the time of the fulfilling of the covenant to your fathers. (3 Ne. 10:7)
Where are the Nephite cities?
The Lord buried them in the earth, for Mormon prayed to the Lord the following:
Behold, my heart cries:
Wo unto this people. Come out in judgment, O God, and hide their sins, and wickedness, and abominations from before thy face! (Moroni 10:15)
and the Lord answered his prayer by burying all evidence that the Nephites ever existed, for burial in the earth is one of the ways the Lord uses to hide a people’s sins:
And behold, that great city Moronihah have I covered with earth, and the inhabitants thereof, to hide their iniquities and their abominations from before my face, that the blood of the prophets and the saints shall not come any more unto me against them.
And behold, the city of Gilgal have I caused to be sunk, and the inhabitants thereof to be buried up in the depths of the earth; yea, and the city of Onihah and the inhabitants thereof, and the city of Mocum and the inhabitants thereof, and the city of Jerusalem and the inhabitants thereof; and waters have I caused to come up in the stead thereof, to hide their wickedness and abominations from before my face, that the blood of the prophets and the saints shall not come up any more unto me against them.
And behold, the city of Gadiandi, and the city of Gadiomnah, and the city of Jacob, and the city of Gimgimno, all these have I caused to be sunk, and made hills and valleys in the places thereof; and the inhabitants thereof have I buried up in the depths of the earth, to hide their wickedness and abominations from before my face, that the blood of the prophets and the saints should not come up any more unto me against them. (3 Ne. 9:5-8)
It is useless to search for the cities and roads and structures they built. They are all underground, under mountains and valleys and lakes and rivers and also the sea. The Nephites and their riches—which was all of their possessions and all that they built; cities, roads, everything—and the land itself, were cursed by God for their wickedness, so that “all things are become slippery” (Helaman 13:36; see the entire chapter for the curse) and their entire civilization slipped into the earth, never to be found or redeemed again, save by righteous men. There are only two men capable of finding them: Joseph Smith, Jun. and Joseph-Nephi-Lehi. The first saw these cities in vision and knew where they were by revelations, but was not called to raise them up. The second, though, will fulfill this scripture:
Surely, your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter’s clay. (2 Ne. 27:27)
by reversing the placement order of the Gentile and Nephite cities, turning things upside down by the working of miracles, so that the Gentile cities on top of the land get buried and the Nephite cities below the land are raised up, to be repaired, renewed and rebuilt, according to the original plans of the first settlers of these cities, for even these plans will be revealed. But all these cities will remain hidden and buried and desolate until Joseph-Nephi-Lehi brings them forth. Then the remnant will inhabit them, as prophesied by the Lord in 3 Ne. 10:7. This means, then, that all those who believe the ruins of Central America, or South America, must be those of the Nephites, are in error. These and all such ruins neither proceeded from the Nephites, whose ruins are buried and cursed, nor from the Lamanites, who never built anything, but are of other people who were brought here by the hand of the Lord. These people may have had interaction with Nephites and Lamanites, and thus some of their customs and knowledge may have transferred over, but they are not, nor were they ever, the people mentioned in the Book of Mormon. (Jaredite structures and cities, likewise, were buried.) So the latter-day saints must simply wait (and pray) for the appearance of Joseph-Nephi-Lehi.
The reason the Lord buried the memorials
When a child is obedient, the sight of his memorial brings joy and remembrance of his good behavior, but when a child is rebellious, the sight of his memorial—that he made when he was obedient and innocent—brings pain and anguish to a parent, for the bad behavior is remembered along with the time when the child was obedient, and the sense of loss is great. Therefore, God buried the memorials of both the Jaredites and the Nephites, essentially “putting them away” into His “earth closet,” so that His pain goes away, according to the principle: out of sight, out of mind. His focus, now, is on another group of children: the Gentiles, and more specifically, the latter-day saints. But because of the promise He gave to the ancients that He would, at some point, remember them and their seed, (when the Gentiles reject the fullness of the gospel, found in the plates of brass and large plates of Nephi), then He will fulfill His promise to the ancients and remember them again. How? By taking out their memorials from His “earth closet.” Once the memorials are again in His sight, the Nephites will again be in His mind and His focus will shift from the Gentiles to the house of Israel.
The Nephites were the pinnacle of civilization
They were the apex, or standard, by which all other civilizations were and are to be measured. This is why the Book of Mormon, which will convert the world, is a book of Nephite scripture. The Lord chose His most blessed people to be the instruments in His hands to bless all the tribes of the earth. Although there have been many great and good and blessed societies, all the others have either self-destructed or have been translated away, the latter ones to return during the Millennium. It is true that Nephite society withered away and perished, but so great was the faith of their mighty ones, that they received a promise that their civilization would be restored to earth again, prior to the Millennium, to be the society that establishes the Millennium, setting the standard for the Millennium to follow. This is because the blessings that the Nephites received were akin to the blessings to be received by world society during the Millennium. The Nephite era, itself, lasted about 1000 years (600 BC – 400 AD) and was very much like a Millennial era, at least insofar as the righteous Nephites were concerned. Gentiles who read the Book of Mormon, then, ought to humble themselves to the dust, as a student humbles himself before his master or teacher, and not presume to know more than Mormon or the other Book of Mormon writers, or to ascribe to them the same human weaknesses seen in Gentiles society, putting them on the same level as the Gentiles. Gentiles who view the Nephites as a secular civilization or who make them equal to other, baser, man-made societies, will miss the mark and not learn the lessons being taught. The greater teaches the lesser. The Nephite civilization, then, must be viewed as superior to anything we have yet known (for so it was) and we must set aside our pride and preconceived notions and learn from it.
(Over the years on other blogs I have repeatedly rebuked those who tried to “bring the Book of Mormon down to earth,” who tried to interpret its passages as having a human, as opposed to a divine source, in an effort to, essentially, “humanize the text” so that we can more readily connect to it, since we are imperfect, frail humans and it, supposedly, is helpful to view these authors through the same lens. This is the claim that is made, but it is bogus, (for the Book of Mormon was written by God’s power, not man’s and is God’s word and not man’s), and all who follow such man-made interpretations and philosophies will continue to misunderstand the text and will remain clueless about the Nephites, their history and their future. As my rebukes have been in vain, I will stick to this blog and elaborate on the true history and future of the Nephites here, speaking only to only this readership.)
I used to think Nephite prosperity was Nephite centric, meaning that you had to be Nephite in order to get it. But I was wrong.
And I beheld the Spirit of the Lord, that it was upon the Gentiles, and they did prosper and obtain the land for their inheritance; and I beheld that they were white, and exceedingly fair and beautiful, like unto my people before they were slain.
And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld that they did prosper in the land; and I beheld a book, and it was carried forth among them. (1 Ne. 13:15,20)
So, the believing Gentiles, at some point in the future, will obtain these same blessings, even before they are numbered with the Nephites. How can you get this blessing now? You just have to do what the Nephite did—keeping all the commandments of God, as diligently and as exactly as they did—and for the same reasons. They did it for prosperity, dominion, diversity, discovery, defense and memorial. And so should we.