Spared because of a Few Righteous People

Helaman 13 – The Warnings of Samuel the Lamanite

I love the story of Samuel the Lamanite in the Book of Mormon. Helaman Chapter 13 is a great chapter to reflect upon. In order to really appreciate the story you have to start all the way back in the Book of Mosiah and see how the Nephites kept going through the cycle of [Prosperity -> Pride -> Destruction -> Humility -> Repentance -> Prosperity] and repeated over and over.  You also have to understand some of the differences between the Nephites and the Lamanites.  People that are vaguely familiar with the Book of Mormon believe that Nephites and Lamanites are two distinct races of people.  The Book of Mormon is quite clear that Lamanites aren’t necessarily actual descendants of Laman and the Nephites aren’t necessarily descendants of Nephi. (And on a side note, Mormons do not believe that Nephi and Lehi were the first settlers in Central America).  The two groups of people are separated more by ideology, religion, the lust for power and  a lot of misunderstanding than by lineage.  It was common for people to change their names depending on who they associated themselves with.  For a time, the Lamanites were actually lead by apostate Nephite kings that had a hatred towards their own people.  Generally speaking, you could say that the Lamanites were  more wicked and the Nephites were more righteous, however the Lord had warned many times that the Nephites had the privilege of knowing the gospel whereas the Lamanites didn’t always have that privilege, therefore the Nephites were held accountable.  At the time Samuel the Lamanite arrived to Zarahemla the Lamanites had been converted (Read Helaman 5) and were righteous, but the Nephites had many many dissenters that were the cause of much wickedness, mostly created out of pride, lust, and forgetting how many times the Lord had preserved them and prospered them.

I love this commentary from the Book of Mormon student manual regarding Helaman 13:11-16 – “There have been many times when the wicked were spared from terrible destructions and judgments because God considers the righteous, even though they may be few. The wicked people of Zarahemla had the righteous people to thank for their preservation from destruction, though, of course, they did not know it. In a few years Zarahemla would lose this silent and unappreciated protection, and Samuel’s words would be fulfilled (see 3Nephi 9:3 ). Even Sodom and Gomorrah would have been spared for the sake of ten people who lived righteous lives (see Genesis 18:23–33 ).How we live does make a difference. The personal righteousness of a few can become a great blessing to others.”

I try to keep my posts short, so I will continue with this thought on my subsequent posts.  Try to read this chapter and reflect how vitally important it is for us today to remain righteous individuals.

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