Following the death of Lehi, the older sons, Laman and Lemuel, resume their rebelliousness. When their murmuring turns to murderous design, Nephi is warned of the Lord to flee, and he and his righteous associates separate themselves so that they might “live after the manner of happiness” (2 Nephi 5:27). With Nephi’s departure, Laman and Lemuel lose the anchor of gospel strength. They are in effect separated from God, which is the ultimate consequence of sin. We separate ourselves from God, in effect, when we reject His word and fail to follow the living prophet.
Thus the Nephites and the Lamanites become separate nations. The latter embrace idleness and wickedness; the former establish a Christ-centered lifestyle based on industry, self-reliance, and temple worship.