Conversion by crisis is the theme among the Nephites. Only when disaster strikes are they willing to repent and call upon the Lord, but it is always a last ditch effort to avoid extinction. This procrastinated repentance saved society in every situation but one—the one time they failed to repent was the last time they had the chance (Mormon 6:22).
Neal A. Maxwell
"…changing circumstances can like wise affect nearly a whole people’s faith…Listen to this verse: ’There was not a living soul among all the people of the Nephites who did doubt in the least the words of all the holy prophets who had spoken; for they knew that it must needs be that they must be fulfilled.’ (3 Nephi 5:1.)
"Now, listen to this: ’There began to be great doubtings and disputations among the people, notwithstanding so many signs had been given.’ (3 Nephi 8:4.)
“As I check the years of these two verses, I note that this decline happened in the space of a mere ten years or less! Circumstances changed from one in which ‘not a living soul’ doubted the prophecies to a time in which there were ’great doubtings.‘ It isn’t very confidence inspiring, is it?” (We Talk Of Christ, We Rejoice In Christ, p. 64)