THE BOOK OF NEPHI
THE SON OF NEPHI, WHO WAS THE SON OF HELAMAN, WHO WAS THE SON OF HELAMAN
The people are no longer impressed with signs and wonders--They wax strong in wickedness and abomination--God whitens
the skin of the good Lamanites--The white-skinned Lamanites unite with the Nephites
to fight the Gadianton robbers--The war becomes exceedingly sore--The people are ripe for destruction. (3-15 CE)
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God lightens the skin of the good Lamanites
(Their skin became as white as the Nephites)
1 It came to pass that thus passed away the ninety and fifth year also, and the
people began to forget those signs and wonders which they had heard, and began to be
less and less astonished at a sign
or a wonder from heaven, insomuch that they began to be hard in their hearts, and blind in their minds, and began to
disbelieve all which they had heard and seen --
2 Imagining up some vain thing in their hearts, that it was wrought by men and by the power of the
devil, to lead away and deceive the hearts of the people; and thus did Satan get possession of the hearts of the
people again, insomuch that he did blind their eyes and lead them away to believe that the doctrine of Christ was
a foolish and a vain thing.
It was getting harder and harder for God to impress the people with signs and wonders.
Just a few years ago, God made the night as light as day and put up a new star in the sky.
But now, the people have forgotten all about that.
Led by the power of the devil, they believed that the doctrine of Christ was a foolish and vain thing.
3 It came to pass that the people began to
wax strong in wickedness and
abominations; and they did not believe that there should be any more signs or wonders given; and Satan did go
about, leading away the hearts of the people, tempting them and causing them that they should do great wickedness
in the land.
4 And thus did pass away the ninety and sixth year; and also the ninety and seventh year; and also
the ninety and eighth year; and also the ninety and ninth year;
5 And also an hundred years had passed away since the days of Mosiah, who was king over the people
of the Nephites.
6 And six hundred and nine years had passed away since Lehi left Jerusalem.
7 And nine years had passed away from the time when the sign was given, which was spoken of by the
prophets, that Christ should come into the world.
So the people waxed strong in wickedness and abominations.
They were through believing in signs and wonders.
Satan had taught them well.
8 Now the Nephites began to reckon their time from this period when the sign was given, or from
the coming of Christ; therefore, nine years had passed away.
The Nephites began to number years from the coming of Christ.
9 And Nephi, who was the father of Nephi, who had the charge of the records, did not return to the
land of Zarahemla, and could nowhere be found in all the land.
And in the year 9 CE, Nephi, the father of Nephi, couldn't be found anywhere. 
10 It came to pass that
the people did still remain in wickedness,
notwithstanding the much preaching and prophesying which was sent among them; and thus passed away the
tenth year also; and the eleventh year also passed away in iniquity.
The people still remained in wickedness, despite Nephi's preaching.
11 It came to pass in the thirteenth year there began to be wars and
contentions throughout all the land; for the Gadianton robbers had become so numerous, and did slay so many
of the people, and did lay waste so many cities, and did spread so much death and carnage throughout the land,
that it became expedient that all the people, both the Nephites and the Lamanites, should take up arms against
The Gadianton robbers had become even more numerous, spreading death, carnage, and war throughout the land.
12 Therefore, all the Lamanites who had become converted unto the Lord did unite with their brethren,
the Nephites, and were compelled, for the safety of their lives and their women and their children, to take up
arms against those Gadianton robbers, yea, and also to maintain their rights, and the privileges of their church
and of their worship, and their freedom and their liberty.
13 It came to pass that before this thirteenth year had passed away the
Nephites were threatened with utter destruction because of this war, which had
become exceedingly sore.
Things had become so bad, that the Nephites and the Lamanite converts united to
fight the Gadianton robbers and their allies.
14 It came to pass that those Lamanites who had
united with the Nephites were numbered among the Nephites;
15 And their curse was taken from them, and their skin became
white like unto the Nephites;
16 And their young men and their daughters
became exceedingly fair, and they were numbered among the Nephites, and were called Nephites. And thus ended the thirteenth year.
God removed his curse from the "good" Lamanites (the ones that "united with the Nephites"), and they "became exceedingly fair,
with skins "white like unto the Nephites."
17 It came to pass in the commencement of the fourteenth year, the war
between the robbers and the people of Nephi did continue and did
become exceedingly sore; nevertheless, the people of Nephi did
gain some advantage of the robbers, insomuch that they did drive them back out of their lands into the mountains
and into their secret places.
18 And thus ended the fourteenth year. And in the fifteenth year they did come forth against
the people of Nephi; and because of the wickedness of the people of Nephi, and their many contentions and
dissensions, the Gadianton robbers did gain many advantages over them.
The war between the Nephites and the white-skinned Lamanites continued for several years, becoming exceedingly sore.
19 And thus ended the fifteenth year, and thus were the people in a state of many afflictions; and
the sword of destruction did hang over them, insomuch that they were about to be smitten down by it, and this
because of their iniquity.
God's sword of destruction hung over them all, and they were about to be smitten by it because of their iniquity.
- Nephi, who was the father of Nephi ... could nowhere be found in all the land. (v.9)
As noted the last chapter (note for 1:3), Nephi Sr. didn't say where he was going and no one
knows what happened to him -- although
some Mormons suspect that he (along
with his brother Lehi and Samuel the Lamanite, who also
mysteriously disappeared) sailed across the Pacific to Asia and became one of the "wise men" mentioned in Helaman 16:14 who came
"from the east" to visit the baby Jesus in Matthew 2:1. (Sounds likely to me.)