Textual: Mormon’s description of the Nephite church must include the controversies and problems, but Mormon is certainly a sympathetic observer, and his summation emphasizes the good.
This emphasis on the good stands in specific contrast to those few who came to blows with their opponents. Mormon is essentially saying that there were a few “problem children” in the church, and the church endured problems, but that they continued to do as the Lord commanded.
Modern Perspective: The position of the Nephite church in their culture creates a dramatic parallel to the modern church, which also finds itself as a culture within a culture.
While the modern church may share many traits with the rest of the culture in which it resides, it is nevertheless a different set of beliefs and practices. These differences have always set the church apart, and will (and should) continue to do so. The differences may no longer lead to direct persecutions, but they will always be differences. Of old, these differences led to difficulties. They may now lead to opportunities.