“The Work of the Lord Did Prosper Unto the Baptizing”

Brant Gardner

These verses are certainly placed here to show the power of the gospel, but in a more cynical historical view, it also shows the shallow nature of this particular mass conversion to the gospel. Mormon has told us that it follows both a period of contention and a renewed prosperity. Thus we have a large number of people likely seeking some form of healing from the wars and contentions, and the apparent heavenly favor toward the church and the rulers who are connected with that church. This combination of a need for healing and a need to align themselves with the source of prosperity were the probably reasons for this increase in church population at this time, an increase that was so great as to surprise “even the high priests and the teachers.” That tells us that the conversion was unexpected, and not related to anything specific effort on the part of the church.

Such an external conversion may fill the churches, but it does not tend to fill the heart. It is this shallow conversion for the wrong reasons, this incomplete conversion, which will allow these same people to rapidly dwindle in the next few years as the conditions change. In less than fifty years we will see this apparently prosperous and rapidly growing church become a persecuted minority in this very same land.

Multidimensional Commentary on the Book of Mormon