“And There Began to Be Men Inspired from Heaven , Preaching and Testifying”

George Reynolds, Janne M. Sjodahl

Notwithstanding that the hearts and minds of the Nephite people had become diseased and depraved, the bounties of the earth continued to pour in upon them like a river of plentitude, making them rich in worldly goods and arrogant when dealing with their fellows. Pride ruled their hearts. The accumulation of material things imbued many with a false sense of security and safety against any enemy. Their chattels gave others a feeling of superiority over brother and sister. They were fast ripening for destruction. Their flocks and herds, their fields of yellow corn, their gold and silver, were gods that filled their hearts and to whom they paid homage. Day by day, they went their way unmindful of the God of their Fathers who had given them all these things. We repeat: All thoughts of God were crowded from their hearts.

At this crucial period in their history, which, too, was a turning point in their lives, Lachoneus, the son of the previous Chief Judge by the same name, "did fill the seat of his father and did govern the people that year," (verse 19) which was the thirtieth year of Nephite reckoning.

The Nephites, blessed as they were with a surplus of good things, which, as we have noted, were abundant in the land wherein they lived, nevertheless grew weary of well-doing; they forgot that "riches and honour are with Me; yea, durable riches and righteousness." (Psalm 4:5)

Although the Nephites of Lachoneus' time were apostate and openly rebelled against Him, the Lord's long-suffering and merciful kindness towards them endured yet another season.

The end to which all God's provinces are consecrated is the Salvation of His children. It seems to us that the poet's words are true: Out of evil He still educes good; God sends His children trials and tribulations that by overcoming them they become stronger, and also that they might remember Him. History shows in the experience of four thousand years that without occasions of distress and suffering to remind them of Him, men know not God. Distress! and suffering! Why? To what end? To the end, "That ye may remember, and do all My commandments, and be holy unto your God...." (Numbers 15:40-41)

God knows men's weaknesses; He will not forsake them, nor leave them in their grief. He did not forsake the Nephites. And remember what is more, He does not desire the death of the transgressor, but that the sinner live and return unto Him. Therefore, and because the Nephites were of the House of Israel, men holding the Holy Priesthood-the Sacred Record says, "by Heaven inspired"-were sent forth to once again proclaim the grandeur that awaits the faithful and true. Throughout all the Lands of the Nephites they stood among the people and boldly testified as to their sins and iniquities; at the same time they preached repentance and "the Redemption the Lord would make for His people." (verse 20) The Resurrection of Christ was their message, and without any restraint except that offered by the people to whom they spoke, told of "His death and sufferings."

Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 7