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Helaman 11

Ripe for destruction
War breaks out throughout the land--Nephi tells God to replace the war with a famine--God does as Nephi says--The entire earth is completely dry for three years--Many thousands of people starve to death or die of thirst--The people repent and begin to remember the Lord--They sweep away Gadianton's band and bury his secret plans--Nephi asks God to stop the famine--God does as Nephi says--There are two years of peace and prosperity--The church spreads throughout the land--Trouble breaks out but Nephi and Lehi stop it by receiving daily revelations from God--The people dig up the secret plans of Gadianton--Nephite dissenters join Lamanites to murder and rob--The Nephites try three times to destroy the robbers, but the robbers wax strong--The people get stirred up to remember the Lord again, but then forget him--They are ripe for destruction.

LDS.org Cartoon Version - Chapter 39: Nephi Receives Great Power

11:1 And now it came to pass in the *seventy and second year of the reign of the judges that the contentions did increase, insomuch that there were wars throughout all the land among all the people of Nephi. (11:1-2) The contentions did increase.
When the last chapter ended, there began to be contentions, so much so that the people began killing each other with swords. In this chapter, the contentions increase insomuch as there were wars throughout the land. All this was caused, of course, by that dastardly band of secret robbers that have plagued the people throughout Helaman's tale.
11:2 And it was this secret band of robbers who did carry on this work of destruction and wickedness. And this war did last all that year; and in the seventy and third year it did also last.
11:3 And it came to pass that in this year Nephi did cry unto the Lord, saying: (11:3-4) Let there be a famine in the land.
So Nephi cried out to the Lord, asking him to send a famine, saying that he would prefer the people to starve to death rather than be killed in by the sword. Nephi told God that maybe that would cause the people to remember God and repent.
11:4 O Lord, do not suffer that this people shall be destroyed by the sword; but O Lord, rather let there be a famine in the land, to stir them up in remembrance of the Lord their God, and perhaps they will repent and turn unto thee.
11:5 And so it was done, according to the words of Nephi. And there was a great famine upon the land, among all the people of Nephi. And thus in the seventy and fourth year the famine did continue, and the work of destruction did cease by the sword but became sore by famine. (11:5-6) They did perish by thousands.
So God sent a great famine, as Nephi had requested. The whole earth was completely dry for three years. Thousands of people died of thirst and starvation, especially in the more wicked parts of the land.
11:6 And this work of destruction did also continue in the seventy and fifth year. For the earth was smitten that it was dry, and did not yield forth grain in the season of grain; and the whole earth was smitten, even among the Lamanites as well as among the Nephites, so that they were smitten that they did perish by thousands in the more wicked parts of the land.
11:7 And it came to pass that the people saw that they were about to perish by famine, and they began to remember the Lord their God; and they began to remember the words of Nephi. (11:7-8) They began to remember the Lord.
While everyone was starving, some of the people began to remember the Lord (Oh, yeah, isn't he the guy that's starving us to death?), and they begged the judges to ask Nephi to ask God to stop the famine.
11:8 And the people began to plead with their chief judges and their leaders, that they would say unto Nephi: Behold, we know that thou art a man of God, and therefore cry unto the Lord our God that he turn away from us this famine, lest all the words which thou hast spoken concerning our destruction be fulfilled.
11:9 And it came to pass that the judges did say unto Nephi, according to the words which had been desired. And it came to pass that when Nephi saw that the people had repented and did humble themselves in sackcloth, he cried again unto the Lord, saying: (11:9-16)
Concealed their secret plans in the earth
So the judges asked Nephi to ask God to stop starving the people to death. And when Nephi saw the people humbling themselves in sackcloth, that did the trick. He told God that the people had repented, swept away Gadianton's band, and buried their secret plans in the ground; that he should be satisfied with the wicked men (and innocent men, women, and children) that he'd already killed in the famine; that he should listen to his words and make it rain. He pointed out that God had already obeyed him when he asked for the famine in the first place, so he ought to listen to him now when he asks him to stop. He told God that he was sure God would do what he told him to do.
11:10 O Lord, behold this people repenteth; and they have swept away the band of Gadianton from amongst them insomuch that they have become extinct, and they have concealed their secret plans in the earth.
11:11 Now, O Lord, because of this their humility wilt thou turn away thine anger, and let thine anger be appeased in the destruction of those wicked men whom thou hast already destroyed.
11:12 O Lord, wilt thou turn away thine anger, yea, thy fierce anger, and cause that this famine may cease in this land.
11:13 O Lord, wilt thou hearken unto me, and cause that it may be done according to my words, and send forth rain upon the face of the earth, that she may bring forth her fruit, and her grain in the season of grain.
11:14 O Lord, thou didst hearken unto my words when I said, Let there be a famine, that the pestilence of the sword might cease; and I know that thou wilt, even at this time, hearken unto my words, for thou saidst that: If this people repent I will spare them.
11:15 Yea, O Lord, and thou seest that they have repented, because of the famine and the pestilence and destruction which has come unto them.
11:16 And now, O Lord, wilt thou turn away thine anger, and try again if they will serve thee? And if so, O Lord, thou canst bless them according to thy words which thou hast said.
11:17 And it came to pass that in the seventy and sixth year the Lord did turn away his anger from the people, and caused that rain should fall upon the earth, insomuch that it did bring forth her fruit in the season of her fruit. And it came to pass that it did bring forth her grain in the season of her grain. (11:17-21) The Lord did turn away his anger from the people.
So God did as Nephi asked and made it rain, stopping the three-year famine. The people rejoiced and quit trying to kill Nephi. Now they considered him a great prophet, along with his brother Lehi. The people once again prospered, built waste places, and multiplied until they covered the land to the north and the south, from sea to shining sea. There were two years of peace, with the church spreading throughout the land. And most (or at least "the more part") of the Nephites and Lamanites belonged, once again, to the church.
11:18 And behold, the people did rejoice and glorify God, and the whole face of the land was filled with rejoicing; and they did no more seek to destroy Nephi, but they did esteem him as a great prophet, and a man of God, having great power and authority given unto him from God.
11:19 And behold, Lehi, his brother, was not a whit behind him as to things pertaining to righteousness.
11:20 And thus it did come to pass that the people of Nephi began to prosper again in the land, and began to build up their waste places, and began to multiply and spread, even until they did cover the whole face of the land, both on the northward and on the southward, from the sea west to the sea east.
11:21 And it came to pass that the seventy and sixth year did end in peace. And the seventy and seventh year began in peace; and the church did spread throughout the face of all the land; and the more part of the people, both the Nephites and the Lamanites, did belong to the church; and they did have exceedingly great peace in the land; and thus ended the seventy and seventh year.
11:22 And also they had peace in the seventy and eighth year, save it were a few contentions concerning the points of doctrine which had been laid down by the prophets. (11:22-23) Having many revelations daily
But then trouble brewed again. At first it was just a little contention, here or there, about this or that point of doctrine. A year or so later, however, there was much strife, which Nephi and Lehi put an end to, with the many revelations that they received each day from God.
11:23 And in the seventy and ninth year there began to be much strife. But it came to pass that Nephi and Lehi, and many of their brethren who knew concerning the true points of doctrine, having many revelations daily, therefore they did preach unto the people, insomuch that they did put an end to their strife in that same year.
11:24 And it came to pass that in the eightieth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi, there were a certain number of the dissenters from the people of Nephi, who had some years before gone over unto the Lamanites, and taken upon themselves the name of Lamanites, and also a certain number who were real descendants of the Lamanites, being stirred up to anger by them, or by those dissenters, therefore they commenced a war with their brethren. (11:24-27) The secret plans of Gadianton.
And yet, despite the daily revelations, dissent grew in the land. Some of the dissenters were Nephites who joined the Lamanites and began to call themselves Lamanites. These dissenters stirred up the "real Lamanites" to go to war with the Nephites. The Lamanites murdered and plundered, and then retreated to their secret places. They dug up the secret plans (which had been buried in the ground), and became an exceedingly great band of robbers -- the robbers of Gadianton.
11:25 And they did commit murder and plunder; and then they would retreat back into the mountains, and into the wilderness and secret places, hiding themselves that they could not be discovered, receiving daily an addition to their numbers, inasmuch as there were dissenters that went forth unto them.
11:26 And thus in time, yea, even in the space of not many years, they became an exceedingly great band of robbers; and they did search out all the secret plans of Gadianton; and thus they became robbers of Gadianton.
11:27 Now behold, these robbers did make great havoc, yea, even great destruction among the people of Nephi, and also among the people of the Lamanites.
11:28 And it came to pass that it was expedient that there should be a stop put to this work of destruction; therefore they sent an army of strong men into the wilderness and upon the mountains to search out this band of robbers, and to destroy them. (11:28-33) The robbers did still increase and wax strong.
The Nephites decided it was time to put a stop to this. So they sent an army of strong men into the wilderness to kill the robbers. But the robbers drove them back. So the Nephites went forth again, and this time they killed many robbers but many Nephites were also killed. The Nephites sent out another army, but they were defied by the robbers who had waxed strong. There was great fear among the people, as the robbers robbed, killed, and plundered, while carrying away the Nephite women and children.
11:29 But behold, it came to pass that in that same year they were driven back even into their own lands. And thus ended the eightieth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi.
11:30 And it came to pass in the commencement of the eighty and first year they did go forth again against this band of robbers, and did destroy many; and they were also visited with much destruction.
11:31 And they were again obliged to return out of the wilderness and out of the mountains unto their own lands, because of the exceeding greatness of the numbers of those robbers who infested the mountains and the wilderness.
11:32 And it came to pass that thus ended this year. And the robbers did still increase and wax strong, insomuch that they did defy the whole armies of the Nephites, and also of the Lamanites; and they did cause great fear to come unto the people upon all the face of the land.
11:33 Yea, for they did visit many parts of the land, and did do great destruction unto them; yea, did kill many, and did carry away others captive into the wilderness, yea, and more especially their women and their children.
11:34 Now this great evil, which came unto the people because of their iniquity, did stir them up again in remembrance of the Lord their God. (11:34-37) They were ripening again for destruction.
Now all of these evils--the famine and the wars--were sent by God to punish the people for being evil. And it worked, sort of, anyway. The people got all stirred up in remembrance of the Lord, but they soon forgot him again, and waxed stronger and stronger in their iniquity, pride, and wickedness. They were ripening for destruction.
11:35 And thus ended the eighty and first year of the reign of the judges.
11:36 And in the eighty and second year they began again to forget the Lord their God. And in the eighty and third year they began to wax strong in iniquity. And in the eighty and fourth year they did not mend their ways.
11:37 And it came to pass in the eighty and fifth year they did wax stronger and stronger in their pride, and in their wickedness; and thus they were ripening again for destruction.
11:38 And thus ended the eighty and fifth year.

* 20 BCE according the the LDS Book of Mormon footnote

And it came to pass [11:1, 3, 7, 9(2), 17(2), 20, 21, 23, 24, 28, 29, 30, 32, 37]

exceedingly (11:21, 26, 31)

Behold (11:8, 10, 18, 19, 27, 29)

(11:34) To stir you up by putting you in remembrance -- 2 Peter 1:13

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Dwindling in Unbelief
God's death toll in the Bible, Book of Mormon, and Quran (Helaman 11:4)

The Annotated Book of Mormon
Helaman 11