3 Nephi, Chapter 7

What led to the downfall of the government?

The government has the ability to control our lives on all levels.  A benefit of government is protection and safety that we cannot always provide for ourselves.  There are other benefits as well, but there is a lot of things about government that complicate our lives, especially right now, when it seems they want to control all aspects of how we live and what we do.

“Now behold, I will show unto you that they did not establish a king over the land; but in this same year, yea, the thirtieth year, they did destroy upon the judgment-seat, yea, did murder the chief judge of the land (v. 1).  And the people were divided one against another; and they did separate one from another into tribes, every man according to his family and his kindred and friends; and thus they did destroy the government of the land (v. 2).”  The Nephite government was destroyed when the chief judge was killed and everyone separated into tribes of family and friends.

“And every tribe did appoint a chief or a leader over them; and thus they became tribes and leaders of tribes (v. 3).  Now behold, there was no man among them save he had much family and many kindreds and friends; therefore their tribes became exceedingly great (v. 4).  Now all this was done, and there were no wars as yet among them; and all this iniquity had come upon the people because they did yield themselves unto the power of Satan (v. 5).  And the regulations of the government were destroyed, because of the secret combination of the friends and kindreds of those who murdered the prophets (v. 6).”  The break-down of the government was caused by the iniquity of the people that led to the secret combinations and the prophets being killed.

“And they did cause a great contention in the land, insomuch that the more righteous part of the people had nearly all become wicked; yea, there were but few righteous men among them (v. 7).”  There were very few left that were still righteous.

I don’t know what would happen if our government collapsed.  I imagine that there would be a lot of fighting that would be uncontrolled.  It would make life rather difficult in many ways. I think I would turn to those whom I trust (family and friends) as well, for safety and security.  If our country divided into tribes, the makeup of this country would look very different.  It’s hard to even imagine considering how large this country is, but I could imagine separating into smaller countries the size of our states now.  We have very strong divisions beginning in our country today, because of political issues.  It’s not difficult to see that we could be headed towards a fall of the government the way the Nephites had.  If we had more righteousness in our leaders, we would be able to find a common purpose and have less contention and more peace.

As members of this gospel, we know that government is a good thing.  We know that it is good to be an active member in our community and all levels of the government.  The 12th Article of Faith states, “We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.”  We know that having laws to obey is part of the plan that God has for us.  However, these things can fail us if righteousness is not part of government as well.  We need to be anxiously engaged in standing for what is right and in keeping those that rule over us in government, accountable for their actions.

How did secret combinations once again become a dangerous power?

Flattery is a tool used to get what we want, either in a reaction or action, from someone else.  Flattery is a way of praising someone and making them feel good about themselves in a more excessive way than strictly complimenting them.  It appeals to the pride in the “natural man”.  Flattery may seem innocent but it is in opposition to humility.  Flattery can lead to a greater pride and eventually the ability to convince others to do iniquity.  It is a tool that is often used by Satan to lead us away from righteousness.

“And thus six years had not passed away since the more part of the people had turned from their righteousness, like the dog to his vomit, or like the sow to her wallowing in the mire (v. 8 ).  Now this secret combination, which had brought so great iniquity upon the people, did gather themselves together, and did place at their head a man whom they did call Jacob (v. 9); And they did call him their king; therefore he became a king over this wicked band; and he was one of the chiefest who had given his voice against the prophets who testified of Jesus (v. 10).”  Jacob was made king over the wicked band of robbers.

“And it came to pass that they were not so strong in number as the tribes of the people, who were united together save it were their leaders did establish their laws, every one according to his tribe; nevertheless they were enemies; notwithstanding they were not a righteous people, yet they were united in the hatred of those who had entered into a covenant to destroy the government.”  The band of robbers were enemies to the tribes of people.  They hated those who had wanted to destroy the government.

“Therefore, Jacob seeing that their enemies were more numerous than they, he being the king of the band, therefore he commanded his people that they should take their flight into the northernmost part of the land, and there build up unto themselves a kingdom, until they were joined by dissenters, (for he flattered them that there would be many dissenters) and they become sufficiently strong to contend with the tribes of the people; and they did so (v. 12).  And so speedy was their march that it could not be impeded until they had gone forth out of the reach of the people. And thus ended the thirtieth year; and thus were the affairs of the people of Nephi (v. 13).”  He took his band to the land northward and gathered dissenters of the Nephite tribes with his flattery, so that his band was large enough to fight with the tribes.

Complimenting each other is not a bad thing, when we genuinely feel that someone has done well.  When we excessively compliment as a way of getting what we want, it is flattery and is designed to persuade another to do what we want, which is not okay.  We need to be cautious of others who compliment us to the point of flattery and we can discern motives with the help of the spirit, if we are living righteously.

Have you ever “stoned” a prophet?

If I ever saw someone throwing anything at our prophet, I would feel personally offended by it.  If someone ridiculed or tried to hurt this man of God that I hold dear to my heart, I would feel sad and like a personal attack had been made on me.

“And it came to pass in the thirty and first year that they were divided into tribes, every man according to his family, kindred and friends; nevertheless they had come to an agreement that they would not go to war one with another; but they were not united as to their laws, and their manner of government, for they were established according to the minds of those who were their chiefs and their leaders. But they did establish very strict laws that one tribe should not trespass against another, insomuch that in some degree they had peace in the land; nevertheless, their hearts were turned from the Lord their God, and they did stone the prophets and did cast them out from among them (v. 14).”  Because the people had turned from God, they were still a wicked people and they stoned the prophets and threw them out of their lands.

When people today, attack the validity or righteousness of the prophets and other church leaders, they are symbolically stoning them.  There are many, even within the church, who do not sustain the prophet and other church leaders, because they are quick to say that things they have said are not of God.  The prophet is only a man, but he is the mouthpiece of God on the earth today, and his words are the Lord’s words for us.  To attack what he says, is in a sense stoning him and throwing him out of our personal lives.  The same applies to other church leaders, even locally.  When we attack them in any way, we are turning our backs on them.  If we understand the gospel and the nature of the priesthood, than we must understand that each and every one of these people have been called by God to lead in that calling.  When we turn our backs on them instead of sustaining them and supporting them, we are saying that we do not believe they are called of God, or that God was wrong in placing them in that position.  This is an awful sin.  If we find that we disagree with something they have done or said, we should pray for personal guidance in dealing with it.  The Lord will never allow our church leaders to lead us astray.  If we have a problem with them, than we need to find the thing in our life that needs to change.

Nephi–an instrument in God’s Hands

It is an awesome feeling to know that you are acting as an instrument in the Lord’s hands.  I have noticed a few times in my life and have been so grateful for it.  I know that great blessings come from allowing our lives to be used for His work.

Nephi had the ability to be an instrument in God’s Hands because he “had power given unto him that he might know concerning the ministry of Christ”, had seen angels and been visited by angels and heard the voice of the Lord, and could recognize the change of heart in the people (v. 15).  He truly cared for the people and wanted them to change (v. 16).  He had the ability to testify of repentance and to minister and say many wonderful things to the people “with power and with great authority” (v. 16-17).  He was a man of great faith; “for so great was his faith on the Lord Jesus Christ that angels did minister unto him daily (v. 18 ).”  He had the power to perform miracles.  “And in the name of Jesus did he cast out devils and unclean spirits; and even his brother did he raise from the dead, after he had been stoned and suffered death by the people (v. 19).”  He had the priesthood power, and performed this miracles in the name of Jesus.  He continued to preach unto them and because of his miracles and preaching, many of the Nephites converted and were baptized (v. 23-26).  Nephi was truly an instrument in the Lord’s hands.

The people who had been caught up in pride and wickedness, had the ability to have a change of heart (v. 15).  They knew that Nephi had a great power in him and knew that his words were true, which made them angry (v. 18, 20).  Even knowing that many of the people were angry with his words and his works, Nephi continued to preach unto them.  He is a good example of enduring in the face of adversity.  When others are angry at us, we need to live with the spirit as our guide and influence.  The spirit will not allow us to do the wrong thing if we are trying to live righteously.  Nephi was led by the spirit because he was a man of great faith.  And because of his great faith, the people could not deny that his words were truth and his miracles were done with power from on high.

The few converts who were converted unto the Lord, were strong in their change of heart.  They “did truly signify unto the people that they had been visited by the power and Spirit of God, which was in Jesus Christ, in whom they believed (v. 21)” and “did truly manifest unto the people that they had been wrought upon by the Spirit of God, and had been healed; and they did show forth signs also and did do some miracles among the people (v. 22).”  They accepted Christ and received the power of God, to also be instruments in the Lord’s hands.    They showed “a witness and a testimony before God” by repenting of their wickedness and being baptized and went out telling others they needed to baptized also (v. 24-25).  And with the testimony of many in addition to Nephi’s, and the ministry of these few converts, many more of the Nephites were converted and baptized (v. 26).

My conversion has taken place over a number of years in my life.  One of the most wonderful gifts of the spirit that I have recognized in my own life, is the ability to believe whole-heartedly on the testimony of others.  I do not feel the need to questions principles of the gospel being true.  Everything about the gospel just seems to fit and make absolute sense to me.  I do not doubt it.  This gift of the spirit gives me a strength that I can share with others in my own testimony of these wonderful things.  In just the last two years, I have realized this as one of the ways that I can be an instrument in the Lord’s hands and it brings me great joy to share with others.

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About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.


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