Fourth Nephi: the Great Divide

The Fourth Book of Nephi - a mere four pages of the compilation Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ - details nearly 300 years of ancient American history. It begins just after the visitation of the Savior of the world and shows a civilization so infused with the Christian gospel that for two hundred years "there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God." Unfortunately, half-way through the chapter the wonder and impact of Christ's visit to the Americas seems to be wearing off and by the end of the chapter the people are chaotic, divided, and wary of one another. Sadly, I felt more connected to the people of the latter-half - the first half seems to good to be true and the second half is really the world we live in - everyone's just doing what comes naturally. The first half is happy and thriving and safe, a place where people trust each other and work together. I want to live there - or at least be a citizen at heart of such a community, so I wrote out a simple list of descriptions of the two civilizations, in the hope that I can set my life and my character to fit in the people of the first half.

Characteristics of “No Happier People”
·         Participated in baptism and receiving the Holy Ghost
·         No contentions because of the love of God
·         No disputations
·         Dealt justly
·         All things in common
·         No poor, all free
·         Partook of the Heavenly Gift (Atonement of Christ)
·         Miracles of healing
·         Build cities (economic growth)
·         Strength
·         Multiplied (population growth)
·         Fair and delightsome
·         Married in the covenant
·         Fasted and prayed
·         Attended church
·         No envyings, strifes, tumults, whoredoms, lyings, murders, lasciviousness
·         No robbers, murderers, or –ites; complete unity
·         Prosperity
Characteristics of Natural Life
·         Revolt
·         -ites; disunity
·         Pride and vanity
·         Costly apparel, pearls, fine things of the world
·         No more common goods
·         Divided into classes
·         Build up churches unto themselves to get gain and denied true church of Christ
·         Denied gospel
·         Allowed wickedness and administered sacred things to the unworthy
·         Iniquity
·         Adversary has hold of their hearts
·         Persecute the church of God
·         Refuse true prophets/leaders of God; seek to kill them
·         Hard hearts
·         Willfully rebel and teach their children to rebel and to hate others
·         Secret oaths and combinations of Gadianton
·         Focus on wealth; hoard gold and silver, traffic in all manner of traffic