“Mormons Summary of Year Sixty-eight”

Monte S. Nyman

Mormon gave the reader four “thus we see” precepts as he recorded the events of the 68 year (vv. 33, 41). The first lesson of life is the equation of unbelief and wickedness among the Nephites. He then equates the knowledge of God with walking in truth and uprightness (v. 34). In the words of Elder Boyd K. Packer:

“True doctrine, understood, changes attitude and behavior. The study of the doctrine of the gospel will improve behaviors quicker than a study of behavior will change behavior. Preoccupation with unworthy behavior can lead to unworthy behavior. That is why we stress so forcefully the study of the doctrines of the gospel” [CR, Oct. 1986, 20; see also CR, Apr. 1997, 8]

The second lesson of life is the reason why the Spirit withdraws from us—wickedness (v. 35). As King Benjamin had taught to the people i n Zarahemla, and Alma to the people in the land of Gideon, the Lord “dwelleth not in unholy temples” (Mosiah 2:37; Alma 7:21; see also Helaman 4:24; 1 Corinthians 3:16–17; 6:18–19). This condition is taking place again in these latter days. President Joseph Fielding Smith warned the Church in 1967 that the Spirit was withdrawing from America.

Now the Lord has withdrawn His Spirit from the world. Do not let this thought become confused in your minds. The Spirit He has withdrawn from the world is not the Holy Ghost (for they never had that!), but it is the light of truth, spoken of in our scriptures as the Spirit of Christ, which is given to every man that cometh into the world, as you find recorded in section 84 of the Doctrine and Covenants.
Now because of the wickedness of the world, that Spirit has been withdrawn, and when the Spirit of the Lord is not striving with men, the spirit of Satan is. Therefore, we may be sure that the time has come spoken of in section 1 of the Doctrine and Covenants, wherein the Lord says:
For I am no respecter of persons, and will that all men shall know that the day speedily cometh; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand, when peace shall be taken from the earth, and the devil shall have power over his own dominion. [D&C 1:35]
Peace has been taken from the earth. The devil has power over his own dominion. The Spirit of the Lord has been withdrawn.

America has certainly become more wicked since that warning was given, and thus that Spirit has withdrawn further.

The third lesson of life is related to the second lesson above. The Spirit began to come “upon the Lamanites because of their easiness and willingness to believe in his words” (Helaman 6:36). The same condition is also happening again in our day. The modern-day Lamanites, those residing in Central and South America are receiving the word of God much more readily than any other place in the world. Two thirds of the converts in the years of the 1990’s came from those countries.

As a continuation of lesson three, Mormon observed the contrast of the Nephites and Lamanites reaction to the Gadianton robbers. Through the preaching of the word of God by the Lamanites among the more wicked part, they were eliminated (v. 37). We must assume from this statement that not all of the robbers accepted the gospel. However, many did accept the gospel which probably caused those who didn’t respond to the word of God to relocate among the Nephites where the Gadianton robbers were having much success.

The spread of the secret combinations among the Nephites (v. 38), also has its parallel to our day. As the government process has incorporated more and more socialistic principles into the laws of the United States, even the more righteous are believing in the works of a welfare system because they receive financial spoils as did the Nephites (v. 38). Our leaders have consistently, warned the church against the dole system.

The sole management of the government as among the Nephites (v. 39) has not happened in our day, but secret combinations have certainly been an influential element. Since the assassination of John F. Kennedy there has been much speculation and many accusations of their involvement. At the time of the Second Coming, when the sixth angel sounds his trump and reveals “the secret acts of man, and the mighty works of God” in the sixth thousand years (D&C 88:108–110), many will undoubtedly be amazed at how much influence the secret combinations have had in our own day.

The fourth lesson of life is more of a warning against the awful state and ripening for destruction that came upon the Nephites (Helaman 6:40). As Nephi, son of Lehi, proclaimed, when a people are “ripe in iniquity … the fullness of the wrath of God [comes] upon them … and destroyeth the nations of the wicked” (1 Nephi 17:35–37). The Amorites in Abraham’s day were not destroyed because “the iniquity of the Amorites [was] not yet full” (Genesis 15:16). The U.S. Constitution w ill be saved:

Elder Ezra TaftBenson:

… Concerning the United States, the Lord revealed to his prophets that its greatest threat would be a vast, world-wide “secret combination” which would not only threaten the United States but also see to “over-throw the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries” (Ether 8:25).
… In connection with attack on the United States, the Lord told the Prophet Joseph Smith there would be an attempt to overthrow the country by destroying the Constitution. Joseph Smith predicted that the time would come when the Constitution would hang, as it were, by a thread, and at that time, “this people will step forth and save it from the threatened destruction” ( Journal History, Brigham Young’s Speech, July 4, 1854).
It is my conviction that the elders of Israel, widely spread over the nation, will at that crucial time successfully rally the righteous of our country and provide the necessary balance of strength to save the institutions of constitutional government (CR, Oct.1961, 70).

Book of Mormon Commentary: The Record of Helaman