“The People Were Divided One Against Another”

George Reynolds, Janne M. Sjodahl

The result of their uprising was not what the conspirators anticipated. More dissension and turmoil among the people caused even the wicked to retract their commitment given to support a king. Instead of a united front which alone could accomplish their designs, they divided into groups-the Sacred Record calls them tribes-every man with his family uniting with their kindred and friends. This completely disorganized the government, and also deranged the plans of the conspirators. Some men had large families and many friends and kindred, and their tribes were correspondingly large. Each tribe appointed its chief or leader, and it was his special duty to see that the laws they should thereafter adopt were properly carried out. (30 A.D.)

This really calamitous condition of the people came not upon them as the event of a day, or by sudden impact, but by their gradual apostasy from the Lord, and by yielding "themselves unto the power of Satan." Little by little they were consumed with pride; little by little the temptations of the devil carried them farther and farther towards destruction, and soon "the more righteous part of the people had nearly all become wicked; yea, there were but few righteous men among them."

While these terrible social overturnings were taking place on the American Continent, how different were the events that were occurring in the midst of the House of Israel on the Eastern Continent! For it was in the year that Jesus, the Redeemer of the world, was baptized by John in the River Jordan, as Lehi, Nephi, and others of the ancient Nephite prophets had long before foretold. It was in this same year that Jesus commenced His public ministry and began to teach men the Law of His Gospel.

Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 7