Today, I finished the Book of Mormon (not the whole Book, just Mormon's book in the Book of Mormon). Here we see the beginning of the end. After Christ has visited, the people all convert to the gospel, and they have all things in common. For years and years they live in happiness and harmony. All is well. But then, after a couple centuries, pride starts to swell in people. They start thinking more about themselves, and putting on costly apparel, and looking good. They start contending, and people start thinking they're better than others. Suddenly, the people are on a quick downward slope. Before you know it, there are wars going on. Mormon is asked to lead the Nephite army against the Lamanites. There is blood and carnage. Mormon feels great sorrow for his people, because he and his son appear to be the only righteous people left. He sees that, after much death and bloodshed, his people are sorrowful, and he gets hopeful because he thinks they might remember their God, and repent. But, they don't. They simply have pity for themselves. This makes Mormon, once again, very sorrowful. As he continues to lead the armies, they grow in strength, and are able to defeat the Lamanites. As they do this, they boast of themselves, saying they did it themselves, and swearing by the heavens and God's thrown that they will kill their enemies. Mormon is not having any of that, so he resigns as their leader. He eventually comes back to lead them again, but they are all killed, every Nephite, except for Mormon, his son Moroni, and 22 others. The Lamanites are now pretty much the only survivors, and want to finish off the Nephites once and for all. Mormon, who has the plates containing the record of the people, gives it to his son Moroni. Mormon is eventually killed, and Moroni finishes the record before sealing them and being killed. It's just amazing to see how, in the span of 400 years, and entire people can go from being righteous and happy to being so wicked. The pride cycle is seen all throughout the Book of Mormon, where the people are righteous, get blessed, grow prideful, become wicked, are punished, repent, are righteous, get blessed, grow prideful... etc. etc. But, never has it been seen where the cycle doesn't... well... cycle. This is where it all ends. There is no upward climb, now. There is no returning to righteousness. There is no remembrance of their God. This is where the cycles stops, because the people have become so wicked, prideful, greedy, and vain. They have completely turned on the ways they have been taught. They have dug themselves into so deep a hole that there is no climbing out.
It's interesting that this happens after Christ comes. He introduces to them the Gospel and sets in order the way they should live. He ordains his disciples, and gives them the charge to teach. Everything is going so well for so long. It really makes you wonder what exactly happened to make this happen. How is it that the people of that time were just so wicked and vile that nothing, not even the words of Mormon exhorting them to repent, could bring them from the brink of destruction? What was different about those people?
The world has moved so far away from God. We see it everywhere. Things like drug use, sexuality, and language are viewed as everyday things, part of our normal lives so it's no big deal if they're displayed on TV or in magazines or wherever. Because of this, we become desensitized to things that should bother us. There are so many things out there that Heavenly Father doesn't like, that we think are just normal things. We too often have the "it's no big deal" mind set about it, and aren't bothered by the things we see. Let us always remember our Lord, and never ever be like the Nephites, where we forget Him and turn on Him. We need Him in all aspects of our life, and if we remember that, and keep his commandments, He will protect us.