Ladies and Gentlemen, don thine reading glasses…
And now it came to pass that the people of the Nephites did all return to their own lands, every man, with his family, and all things whatsoever did belong unto them.
And they had not eaten up all their provisions; therefore they did take with them all that they had not devoured, of all their grain of every kind, and their gold, and their silver, and all their precious things, and they did return to their own lands and their possessions, both on the north and on the south, both on the land northward and on the land southward.
And they granted unto those robbers who had entered into a covenant to keep the peace of the land, who were desirous to remain Lamanites, lands, according to their numbers, that they might have, with their labors, wherewith to subsist upon; and thus they did establish peace in all the land.
And they began again to prosper and to wax great; and there was great order in the land; and they had formed their laws according to equity and justice.(of a kind)
And now there was nothing in all the land to hinder the people from prospering continually, except they should fall into transgression.
And now it was a certain man, and a judge, and those who had been appointed leaders, who had established this great peace in the land.
And it came to pass that there were many cities built anew, and there were many old cities repaired.
And there were many highways cast up, and many roads made, which led from city to city, and from land to land, and from place to place.
And thus the people had continual peace.
But there began to be some disputings among the people; and some were lifted up unto pride and boastings because of their exceedingly great riches, yea, even unto great persecutions;
For there were many merchants in the land, and also many lawyers, and many officers.
And the people began to be distinguished by ranks, according to their riches and their chances for learning; yea, some were ignorant because of their poverty, and others did receive great learning because of their riches.
Some were lifted up in pride, and others were exceedingly humble; some did return railing for railing, while others would receive railing and persecution and all manner of afflictions, and would not turn and revile again, but were humble and penitent before God.
And thus there became a great inequality in all the land, insomuch that the church began to be broken up; yea, insomuch that the church was broken up in all the land save it were among a few of the Lamanites who were converted unto the true faith; and they would not depart from it, for they were firm, and steadfast, and immovable, willing with all diligence to keep the commandments of the Lord.
Now the cause of this iniquity of the people was this—Satan had great power, unto the stirring up of the people to do all manner of iniquity, and to the puffing them up with pride, tempting them to seek for power, and authority, and riches, and the vain things of the world.
And thus Satan did lead away the hearts of the people to do all manner of iniquity; therefore they had enjoyed peace but a few years.
And thus, in the commencement of the a certain year—the people having been delivered up for the space of a long time to be carried about by the temptations of the devil whithersoever he desired to carry them, and to do whatsoever iniquity he desired they should—and thus in the commencement of this year, they were in a state of awful wickedness.
Now they did not sin ignorantly, for they knew the will of God concerning them, for it had been taught unto them; therefore they did wilfully rebel against God.
And now it was in the days of this judge, the son of his father, for this judge did fill the seat of his father and did govern the people that year.
And there began to be men inspired from heaven and sent forth, standing among the people in all the land, preaching and testifying boldly of the sins and iniquities of the people, and testifying unto them concerning the redemption which the Lord would make for his people, or in other words, the resurrection of Christ; and they did testify boldly of his death and sufferings.
Now there were many of the people who were exceedingly angry because of those who testified of these things; and those who were angry were chiefly the chief judges, and they who had been high priests and lawyers; yea, all those who were lawyers were angry with those who testified of these things.
Now there was no lawyer nor judge nor high priest that could have power to condemn any one to death save their condemnation was signed by the governor of the land.
Now there were many of those who testified of the things pertaining to Christ who testified boldly, who were taken and put to death secretly by the judges, that the knowledge of their death came not unto the governor of the land until after their death.
Now, this was contrary to the laws of the land, that any man should be put to death except they had power from the governor of the land—
Therefore a complaint came up unto the governor of the land, against these judges who had condemned the prophets of the Lord unto death, not according to the law.
Now it came to pass that they were taken and brought up before the judge, to be judged of the crime which they had done, according to the law which had been given by the people.
Now those judges had many friends and kindreds; and the remainder, yea, even almost all the lawyers and the high priests, did gather themselves together, and unite with the kindreds of those judges who were to be tried according to the law.
And they did enter into a covenant one with another, yea, even into that covenant which was given by them of old, which covenant was given and administered by the devil, to combine against all righteousness.
Therefore they did combine against the people of the Lord, and enter into a covenant to destroy them, and to deliver those who were guilty of murder from the grasp of justice, which was about to be administered according to the law.
And they did set at defiance the law and the rights of their country; and they did covenant one with another to destroy the governor, and to establish a king over the land, that the land should no more be at liberty but should be subject unto kings.
Now I will show unto you that they did not establish a king over the land; but in this same year, yea they did destroy upon the judgment-seat, yea, did murder the chief judge of the land.
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.
And every tribe did appoint a chief or a leader over them; and thus they became tribes and leaders of tribes.
Now behold, there was no man among them save he had much family and many kindreds and friends; therefore their tribes became exceedingly great.
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.
And the regulations of the government were destroyed, because of the secret combination of the friends and kindreds of those who murdered the prophets.
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.
And 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.
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;
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.
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.
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.
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 were the affairs of the people of Nephi.
And it came to pass 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.
And it came to pass that Nephi—having been visited by angels and also the voice of the Lord, therefore having seen angels, and being eye-witness, and having had power given unto him that he might know concerning the ministry of Christ, and also being eye-witness to their quick return from righteousness unto their wickedness and abominations;
Therefore, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts and the blindness of their minds—went forth among them in that same year, and began to testify, boldly, repentance and remission of sins through faith on the Lord Jesus Christ.
And he did minister many things unto them; and all of them cannot be written, and a part of them would not suffice, therefore they are not written in this book. And Nephi did minister with power and with great authority.
And it came to pass that they were angry with him, even because he had greater power than they, for it were not possible that they could disbelieve his words, for so great was his faith on the Lord Jesus Christ that angels did minister unto him daily.
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.
And the people saw it, and did witness of it, and were angry with him because of his power; and he did also do many more miracles, in the sight of the people, in the name of Jesus.
And there were but few who were converted unto the Lord; but as many as were converted 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.
And as many as had devils cast out from them, and were healed of their sicknesses and their infirmities, 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.
And Nephi did cry unto the people; and he did preach unto them repentance and remission of sins.
Now I would have you to remember also, that there were none who were brought unto repentance who were not baptized with water.
Therefore, there were ordained of Nephi, men unto this ministry, that all such as should come unto them should be baptized with water, and this as a witness and a testimony before God, and unto the people, that they had repented and received a remission of their sins.
And there were many in the commencement of this year that were baptized unto repentance.
Ezek.33: 1-33; 34:1-31; 36:4-11
The word of the LORD came to me:
"Son of man, speak to your people and say to them, If I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from among them, and make him their watchman;
and if he sees the sword coming upon the land and blows the trumpet and warns the people;
then if any one who hears the sound of the trumpet does not take warning, and the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be upon his own head.
He heard the sound of the trumpet, and did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But if he had taken warning, he would have saved his life.
But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, so that the people are not warned, and the sword comes, and takes any one of them; that man is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.
"So you, son of man, I have made a watchman for the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me.
If I say to the wicked, O wicked man, you shall surely die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand.
But if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way; he shall die in his iniquity, but you will have saved your life.
"And you, son of man, say to the house of Israel, Thus have you said: `Our transgressions and our sins are upon us, and we waste away because of them; how then can we live?’
Say to them, As I live, says the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways; for why will you die, O house of Israel?
And you, son of man, say to your people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him when he transgresses; and as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall by it when he turns from his wickedness; and the righteous shall not be able to live by his righteousness when he sins.
Though I say to the righteous that he shall surely live, yet if he trusts in his righteousness and commits iniquity, none of his righteous deeds shall be remembered; but in the iniquity that he has committed he shall die.
Again, though I say to the wicked, `You shall surely die,’ yet if he turns from his sin and does what is lawful and right,
if the wicked restores the pledge, gives back what he has taken by robbery, and walks in the statutes of life, committing no iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die.
None of the sins that he has committed shall be remembered against him; he has done what is lawful and right, he shall surely live.
"Yet your people say, `The way of the Lord is not just’; when it is their own way that is not just.
When the righteous turns from his righteousness, and commits iniquity, he shall die for it.
And when the wicked turns from his wickedness, and does what is lawful and right, he shall live by it.
Yet you say, `The way of the Lord is not just.’ O house of Israel, I will judge each of you according to his ways."
In the twelfth year of our exile, in the tenth month, on the fifth day of the month, a man who had escaped from Jerusalem came to me and said, "The city has fallen."
Now the hand of the LORD had been upon me the evening before the fugitive came; and he had opened my mouth by the time the man came to me in the morning; so my mouth was opened, and I was no longer dumb.
The word of the LORD came to me:
"Son of man, the inhabitants of these waste places in the land of Israel keep saying, `Abraham was only one man, yet he got possession of the land; but we are many; the land is surely given us to possess.’
Therefore say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD: You eat flesh with the blood, and lift up your eyes to your idols, and shed blood; shall you then possess the land?
You resort to the sword, you commit abominations and each of you defiles his neighbor’s wife; shall you then possess the land?
Say this to them, Thus says the Lord GOD: As I live, surely those who are in the waste places shall fall by the sword; and him that is in the open field I will give to the beasts to be devoured; and those who are in strongholds and in caves shall die by pestilence.
And I will make the land a desolation and a waste; and her proud might shall come to an end; and the mountains of Israel shall be so desolate that none will pass through.
Then they will know that I am the LORD, when I have made the land a desolation and a waste because of all their abominations which they have committed.
"As for you, son of man, your people who talk together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, say to one another, each to his brother, `Come, and hear what the word is that comes forth from the LORD.’
And they come to you as people come, and they sit before you as my people, and they hear what you say but they will not do it; for with their lips they show much love, but their heart is set on their gain.
And, lo, you are to them like one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays well on an instrument, for they hear what you say, but they will not do it.
When this comes — and come it will! — then they will know that a prophet has been among them."
The word of the LORD came to me:
"Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord GOD: Ho, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep?
You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fatlings; but you do not feed the sheep.
The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the crippled you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them.
So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd; and they became food for all the wild beasts.
My sheep were scattered, they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill; my sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with none to search or seek for them.
"Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD:
As I live, says the Lord GOD, because my sheep have become a prey, and my sheep have become food for all the wild beasts, since there was no shepherd; and because my shepherds have not searched for my sheep, but the shepherds have fed themselves, and have not fed my sheep;
therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD:
Thus says the Lord GOD, Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my sheep at their hand, and put a stop to their feeding the sheep; no longer shall the shepherds feed themselves. I will rescue my sheep from their mouths, that they may not be food for them.
"For thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them out.
As a shepherd seeks out his flock when some of his sheep have been scattered abroad, so will I seek out my sheep; and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness.
And I will bring them out from the peoples, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the fountains, and in all the inhabited places of the country.
I will feed them with good pasture, and upon the mountain heights of Israel shall be their pasture; there they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on fat pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel.
I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie down, says the Lord GOD.
I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the crippled, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will watch over; I will feed them in justice.
"As for you, my flock, thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I judge between sheep and sheep, rams and he-goats.
Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pasture; and to drink of clear water, that you must foul the rest with your feet?
And must my sheep eat what you have trodden with your feet, and drink what you have fouled with your feet?
"Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD to them: Behold, I, I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep.
Because you push with side and shoulder, and thrust at all the weak with your horns, till you have scattered them abroad,
I will save my flock, they shall no longer be a prey; and I will judge between sheep and sheep.
And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd.
And I, the LORD, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them; I, the LORD, have spoken.
"I will make with them a covenant of peace and banish wild beasts from the land, so that they may dwell securely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods.
And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will send down the showers in their season; they shall be showers of blessing.
And the trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield its increase, and they shall be secure in their land; and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I break the bars of their yoke, and deliver them from the hand of those who enslaved them.
They shall no more be a prey to the nations, nor shall the beasts of the land devour them; they shall dwell securely, and none shall make them afraid.
And I will provide for them prosperous plantations so that they shall no more be consumed with hunger in the land, and no longer suffer the reproach of the nations.
And they shall know that I, the LORD their God, am with them, and that they, the house of Israel, are my people, says the Lord GOD.
And you are my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, and I am your God, says the Lord GOD."
O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord GOD: Thus says the Lord GOD to the mountains and the hills, the ravines and the valleys, the desolate wastes and the deserted cities, which have become a prey and derision to the rest of the nations round about;
therefore thus says the Lord GOD: I speak in my hot jealousy against the rest of the nations, and against all Edom, who gave my land to themselves as a possession with wholehearted joy and utter contempt, that they might possess it and plunder it.
Therefore prophesy concerning the land of Israel, and say to the mountains and hills, to the ravines and valleys, Thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I speak in my jealous wrath, because you have suffered the reproach of the nations;
therefore thus says the Lord GOD: I swear that the nations that are round about you shall themselves suffer reproach.
"But you, O mountains of Israel, shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people Israel; for they will soon come home.
For, behold, I am for you, and I will turn to you, and you shall be tilled and sown;
and I will multiply men upon you, the whole house of Israel, all of it; the cities shall be inhabited and the waste places rebuilt;
and I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and be fruitful; and I will cause you to be inhabited as in your former times, and will do more good to you than ever before. Then you will know that I am the LORD.