Nephites Falter Again
I find myself in disbelief at the attitude of the Nephites. After the prophecies of Nephi and Samuel, the people still did not believe. There were some who believed and repented, but most of them did not. Even when I know what is going to happen next in the Book of Helaman, I still think that the Nephites are going to pull themselves out of sin, just like they have done many times before. But like a person aging, the older they get, the harder it is to change their ways. Each time the Nephites dip down into that terrible cycle, the harder it is for them to come back up. They will recover two more times but they will not recover after that. The recovery becomes too long and too steep. Also, the times they do recover and repent, are short. The only bright side to this commentary is that the Lord's hand is ever-extended to the Nephites. They will always have the chance to change!
The Nephites began to reason among themselves that Christ didn’t exist. Through some unknown, strange line of reasoning, they believed that the sign of God would never come to the world, let along to the Americas. In 2 Nephi 26:9 and Alma 16:20, previous Book of Mormon prophets teach the people that Christ would visit them in the Americas. Somewhere along the line, this bit of knowledge was lost among the Nephites.
How much do we reason in like manner today? Do we find ourselves rationalizing a sin? Faith is the antidote to rationalization. We must develop our testimonies to the point that we do not doubt the counsels or revelations of the prophets. We do not develop our testimonies with blind faith. Instead, we put to trial our faith and we prove the word of God. We plant a seed, nourish it and then we see that it is a good seed. We will eventually come to a point in the nourishment process where we know with certainty because our minds have been opened. We must then continue our pursuit to know the truth. Thus, bit by bit we come to know that the prophets speak the truth and we can trust them and follow them.
The people hardened their hearts against that which is good and against that which is to come.
We too, in today’s world, tend to harden our hearts against good things. We watch too much TV rather than read the scriptures. We waste time playing video games rather than spend quality time with our family. In other words, when we harden our hearts against good, we really are turning our backs to good things and to turn our back to good things means that we turn to things that are of lesser importance.