When governments designed to reflect the will of the people are established, laws reflect the spiritual condition of the nation that creates the laws. When the majority of the people choose evil over good the laws become corrupted and (without God’s protection) the nation will begin to destroy itself or will be deconstructed by outside powers.
“…Their laws and their government were established by the voice of the people, and they who chose evil were more numerous than they who chose good, therefore they were ripening for destruction, for the laws had become corrupted.” (Helaman 5:2)
-Using the United States as an example of a country that is supposed to operate by the voice of the people: Are most of the people still choosing what is good?
-Have the laws (and the process by which laws are created) been corrupted to the point where many of those who are supposed to represent and serve the people are instead serving themselves?
-As you think about your answers to the above questions, do you believe the United States is in the process of being destroyed?
Wickedness and weakness are closely tied together. The Nephites became weak when they committed sin and no longer sought a connection (through revelation and prophecy) with God.
“Because of their iniquity the church had begun to dwindle and they began to disbelieve in the spirit of prophecy and in the spirit of revelation; and the judgments of God did stare them in the face. And they saw that they had become weak…and that the Spirit of the Lord did no more preserve them; yea, it had withdrawn from them because the Spirit of the Lord doth not dwell in unholy temples…” (Helaman 4:23-24)
-Are there some who believe God is still a God of miracles and, therefore, seek the spirit of revelation and prophecy in our times?
-Is seeking revelation and prophetic insight even a consideration for most?
-Without revelation and prophetic insight, is it possible to truly be in line with God’s will?
The prophet historian, Mormon, tells of a time in Nephite history where true followers of Christ drew closer to Him despite being mistreated by their fellow church members.
“…In the fifty and first year of the reign of the judges there was peace also, save it were the pride which began to enter into the church—not into the church of God, but into the hearts of the people who professed to belong to the church of God—And they were lifted up in pride, even to the persecution of many of their brethren. Now this was a great evil, which did cause the more humble part of the people to suffer great persecutions, and to wade through much affliction. Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling of their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God.” (Helaman 3:33-36)
-How can one be filled with joy even while passing through great difficulties in life?
-Would this group of people have obtained deep purification and sanctification of their hearts without the persecution they experienced?
-Are there worldly powers (including political forces) today that are tempting some in the Church to become prideful and despise others in the Church? -How vital is humility in ensuring one does not end up on the wrong side (i.e. prideful side) of inter-Church divisions?
The historian-prophet, Mormon, teaches of the Lord’s readiness to eternally bless all who will believe in Him and lay hold of His word.
“…The Lord is merciful unto all who will, in the sincerity of their hearts, call upon his holy name. Yea, thus we may see that the gate of heaven is open unto all, even to those who will believe on the name of Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God. Yea, we see that whosoever will may lay hold upon the word of God, which is quick and powerful, which shall divide asunder all the cunning and snares and wiles of the devil, and lead the man of Christ in a strait and narrow course across that everlasting gulf of misery which is prepared to engulf the wicked—And land their souls, yea, their immortal souls, at the right hand of God in the kingdom of heaven, to sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and with Jacob, and with all our holy fathers, to go no more out.” (Helaman 3:28-30)
– How valuable is the strait and narrow course mapped out in God’s scriptures?
-Have the majority of Americans rebelled against this narrow course? Or, do most still have a strong connection with it?
-Is it possible to sincerely call upon the name of Lord without also laying hold upon His word?
In about 62 B.C., the chief governor of the Nephites wrote the following truth…
“…The Spirit of God…is also the spirit of freedom…” (Alma 61:15)
-How is being a disciple of Jesus Christ a pathway to true freedom?
-If truth sets one free, is God the freest of all beings?
-How deeply does God desire to share the freedom He has obtained with His children?
Captain Moroni explains the order in which God works with individuals and groups of people.
“…God has said that the inward vessel shall be cleansed first, and then shall the outer vessel be cleansed also.” (Alma 60:23)
-How does this truth relate to Christ’s teaching that one should first remove the beam from his or her eye before trying to remove the mote that is in another’s eye? (Matthew 7:3-5)
Moroni, a Nephite captain, teaches that the Lord allows the righteous to be killed by the wicked in certain circumstances, but that these faithful souls immediately enter the Lord’s rest in the spirit world.
“For the Lord suffereth the righteous to be slain that his justice and judgment may come upon the wicked; therefore ye need not suppose that the righteous are lost because they are slain; but behold, they do enter into the rest of the Lord their God.” (Alma 60:13)
-Is a potential source of comfort lost when one realizes that the righteous, in some circumstances, are allowed by God to be killed?
-Can this loss of comfort, at least to some degree, be softened by the thought that a righteous person will never be called home to God before his or her time? And, that a righteous person will immediately enter into God’s rest?
Those who wield earthly power will answer to God for how they conduct themselves in relation to those they have power over. Below is a portion of a letter written by the Nephite military leader, Moroni, to governmental leaders he believed were abusing their power by neglecting the needs of their people and their armies.
“…My beloved brethren—for ye ought to be beloved; yea, and ye ought to have stirred yourselves more diligently for the welfare and the freedom of this people; but behold, ye have neglected them insomuch that the blood of thousands shall come upon your heads for vengeance; yea, for known unto God were all their cries, and all their sufferings—Behold could ye suppose that ye could sit upon your thrones, and because of the exceeding goodness of God ye could do nothing and he would deliver you? Behold, if ye have supposed this ye have supposed in vain. Do you suppose that, because so many of your brethren have been killed it is because of their wickedness? I say unto you, if ye have supposed this ye have supposed in vain; for I say unto you, there are many who have fallen by the sword; and behold it is to your condemnation. (Alma 60:10-12)
-Would fewer desire power over others if they had a clear understanding of how much responsibility (and potential condemnation) comes with that power?
-When societal leaders seek power for their own benefit (and the benefit of their family and friends), at the expense of those they have power over, how likely are they to be in good standing in God’s eyes?
Helaman, a prophet and military leader, recounts a miracle that occurred in the field of battle. A group of new recruits (two-thousand and sixty young men from a region of the Nephite nation where the gospel was strong and their families had taught them to have firm faith in God) were strengthened and protected by God:
“…My little band of two thousand and sixty fought most desperately; yea, they were firm before the Lamanites, and did administer death unto all those who opposed them. And as the remainder of our army were about to give way before the Lamanites, behold, those two thousand and sixty were firm and undaunted…And it came to pass that after the Lamanites had fled, I immediately gave orders that my men who had been wounded should be taken from among the dead, and caused that their wounds should be dressed. And it came to pass that there were two hundred, out of my two thousand and sixty, who had fainted because of loss of blood; nevertheless, according to the goodness of God, and to our great astonishment, and also the joy of our whole army, there was not one soul of them who did perish; yea, and neither was there one soul among them who had not received many wounds. And now, their preservation was astonishing to our whole army, yea, that they should be spared while there was a thousand of our brethren who were slain. And we do justly ascribe it to the miraculous power of God, because of their exceeding faith in that which they had been taught to believe—that there was a just God, and whosoever did not doubt, that they should be preserved by his marvelous power.” (Alma 57:19-20, 24-26)
-What is the significance of the Lord allowing these young men to be injured but not allowing them to be killed?
-Can a person expect to go unscathed through life even when living faithfully?
Spiritual decay does not come slowly or with much resistance. It is actually, and unfortunately, the path of least resistance.
“…How quick the children of men do forget the Lord their God, yea, how quick to do iniquity, and to be led away by the evil one.” (Alma 46:8)
-Does the truth of the above passage explain why Satan is sometimes referred to as the ruler (or prince) of this world?
-How can a person learn not to forget God in their day to day life?