“Men Inspired from Heaven”

Brant Gardner

As in other times when his children have strayed, Yahweh sent human messengers to his children imploring them to repent and return to him. Also as before, this message about the Atoning Messiah suggests that those who had apostatized had abandoned their belief in the Messiah, a theme we have seen on previous occasions.

In the modern world, many of those who leave the church retain a belief in the Savior. Their apostasy is from an organization, or perhaps from a particular set of beliefs. For the Nephites, however, abandoning the church nearly always involved turning from the Messiah. The religious picture of the ancient Nephites was not like that of fragmented Christianity in the first few centuries after Christ, but to the initial Christian church in a pagan world when adopting a pagan religion precluded a belief in Jesus Christ. For this reason, the preachers focused on the Messiah in their call to repent.

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