“The Great Sorrow and Lamentation of the Righteous”

Brant Gardner

Culture: Although Mormon again takes literary license in stressing the Nephites’ rapid degeneration, his narrative provides evidence that it is the culmination of a long process of social division. The difference is not the existence of dissenting opinions but rather lies in the shift in the balance of power from traditional Nephite egalitarianism to those seeking worldly ways, including wealth and social distinctions. This shift has been developing for years but reached the tipping point in just a few short years. The newly dominant politico-religious faction then acted quickly to increase its influence and speed the transition.

Second Witness: Analytical & Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 5