The wickedness that brought instability into the Nephite society came from within their own ranks, not only from their enemies.
Throughout their history, the Nephites wavered between righteousness and wickedness. They fluctuated between being humble and faithful to God, and being proud and arrogant and fighting against the Lord and His servants. While their spirituality had always been transitional, as the time of the Savior's birth approached, it seemed their wickedness grew deeper and lasted longer than the days of their spirituality.It was in this environment that "the Gadianton robbers did gain many advantages over them [the NephitesT." (3 Ne. 2:19.)
It took the combined forces of the Lamanites who had been converted and the Nephites to defeat the Gadianton robbers in the greatest battle then known to Mormon. In the end, the Nephites were victorious, and the robbers were either converted or punished. The Nephites credited the Lord for their victory. (3 Ne. 4:33.)
As peace was established in the land, the Nephites built new cities and repaired their old ones. They constructed roads connecting cities and places. (3 Ne. 6:7-8.) In that time of prosperity, it seems the Nephites would have lived in peace and gratitude. But pride shattered their peace and progress:
" . . . There began to be some disputings among the people; and some were lifted up unto pride and boastings because of their exceedingly great riches, yea, even unto great persecutions; For there were many merchants in the land, and also many lawyers, and many officers. And the people began to be distinguished by ranks, according to their riches and their chances for learning; . . . And thus there became a great inequality in all the land, insomuch that the church began to be broken up. . . . " (3 Ne. 6:10-14.)
Articles on this page may be used in conjunction with the Gospel Doctrine course of study.
Information compiled by Gerry Avant
Sources: The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball; and A Companion to Your Study of the Book of Mormon, by Daniel H. Ludlow.