“But Ye Do Always Remember Your Riches”

Brant Gardner

Literary: Samuel paints a terrible and ironic picture of the people of Zarahemla through parallel phrases:

Ye do not remember the Lord your god

Ye do always remember your riches

The process of remembering is the process of focus. When we remember we are focused on that which we remember. The Nephites have lost their focus on their God, and have replaced it with an inappropriate focus on the accumulation and display of wealth. The result of this focus on wealth is that their ethical base for society has also changed. Rather than adhere to the principles of the gospel, their social desires are for the support of wealth, and this leads to “great pride.”

When we see pride in the Book of Mormon, it is most often associated with the social hierarchies supported by the visual displays of wealth. When the Nephites were wealthy and righteous, there was no pride precisely because they did not esteem one man above another. When pride arose, it was marked by the assertion that some were better than others. Of course, the proud where they who saw themselves as a higher status.

Most of the specific catalogue of their sins deal with the relationship of one person to another: “boasting, and unto great swelling, envyings, strives, malice, persecutions.” All of these are separators. They happen only when we are attempting to create a division between ourselves and some other person. All of these were part of the sin of social segregations and hierarchies.

The specific mention of murders raises the possibility that the Gadiantons are not as far extinct as Nephi indicated they were. The concept of murder within the social system of accumulating wealth was a trait of the Gadiantons. The presence of that condemnation may indicate that not all of the popular sentiment that supported the Gadiantons was extinguished when the Gadianton rulers were removed.

Multidimensional Commentary on the Book of Mormon