"That Evil May Be Done Away"

Wickedness and Christ's Power to Save

Eric Wing

Eric Wing, "'That Evil May Be Done Away': Wickedness and Christ's Power to Save," Religious Educator 24, no. 3 (2023): 27–43.

Eric Wing (winge@ChurchofJesusChrist.org) is a coordinator for Seminaries and Institutes in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

painting of Samuel the Lamanite on the wallThe Book of Mormon contains over one thousand statements that connect some formr of sin, iniquity, or unbelief with a stated result of misery. Samuel the Lamanite on the Wall, by Arnold Friberg. Courtesy of Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Keywords: Atonement of Jesus Christ, wickedness, repentance, Book of Mormon

The Book of Mormon has a clearly stated purpose: “to the convincing of Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ.”[1] Yet among its rich, Christ-centered content in the form of sermons, stories, themes, and illustrations, the book also frequently focuses on sin and its devastating results.[2] In fact, the text of the Book of Mormon contains over a thousand statements—almost two per page—that directly link some form of wickedness to a stated consequence. The book’s abundant use of this textual patterning—linking sin to its results—provides a wealth of data to further understand the valuable message of the Book of Mormon. This paper provides textual analyses of these conditional statements, showing how their frequency and descriptive detail offer effective warnings against sin. But, more importantly, their timing and context reveal an orchestrated use of these statements to contribute to the book’s primary purpose: to witness, convincingly, of the saving power of Jesus Christ as the solution to sin.

Conditional Statements about Wickedness

The Book of Mormon contains over one thousand statements that connect some form of sin, iniquity, or unbelief with a stated result. For example, the beginning of 3 Nephi includes repeated use of the phrase “because of” while discussing the plight of the people and the threat of destruction. After a sign of Christ’s birth, unbelievers “began to fear because of their iniquity and their unbelief” (3 Nephi 1:18)[3], and the Lamanites “began to decrease as to their faith and righteousness, because of the wickedness of the rising generation” (3 Nephi 1:30). Also, “because of the wickedness of the people of Nephi, . . . the Gadianton robbers did gain many advantages over them. . . . 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” (3 Nephi 2:18–19). This wording is not isolated to this story. The Book of Mormon contains 289 passages using the words because of or cause to plainly expose a result of sin. And there are hundreds of additional passages in the Book of Mormon using other terms which directly link sin to its effects, such as according to, even as, except, unless, save, therefore, thus, if, after, and, that, on account of, lest, otherwise, and so on. The following are several examples:

  • “For it was his first care to put an end to such contentions and dissensions among the people; for behold, this had been hitherto a cause of all their destruction” (Alma 51:16).
  • “And thus because of iniquity amongst themselves, yea, because of dissensions and intrigue among themselves they were placed in the most dangerous circumstances” (Alma 53:9).
  • “I fear exceedingly that the judgments of God will come upon this people, because of their exceeding slothfulness” (Alma 60:14).
  • “Thus God executeth vengeance upon those that destroy his people” (Mosiah 17:19).
  • “He that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word” (Alma 12:10).
  • “An awful death cometh upon the wicked” (Alma 40:26).

All these statements fit within basic criteria: they contain both a form of wickedness and the consequences in proximity. They are straightforward and easy to detect. The focus of this paper is on the abundant use of clear cause and effect statements in the Book of Mormon related to unbelief. Therefore, passages that speak about wickedness or describe the awful results but do not overtly specify, within the passage that sin was the cause are not included in the textual analyses below. [4]

Textual Analysis 1: Volume of Occurrences

Using the standard above, the Book of Mormon reveals 1,034 conditional statements (averaging 1.95 per page) which explicitly designate a result of some form of wickedness. Most often the text uses a conditional word to link the cause with the effect (if, because, therefore, and so forth). For convenience in reporting, this paper groups the passages by like conditional terms (displayed in table 1 below) and includes a category for those concise statements with no conditional term.

Table 1. Conditional statements and results of wickedness

Conditional termTotal instancesExample
according to / inasmuch / insomuch / even / as / to442 Nephi 25:9: Even so have they been destroyed from generation to generation according to their iniquities.
because of / cause289Alma 60:14: I fear exceedingly that the judgments of God will come upon this people, because of their exceeding slothfulness, yea, even the slothfulness of our government, and their exceedingly great neglect towards their brethren.
except / save / unless / or / but105Ether 11:1: And there came . . . many prophets, and prophesied of the destruction of that great people except they should repent, and turn unto the Lord, and forsake their murders and wickedness.
for / therefore / wherefore / thus172Alma 9:5: Now they knew not that God could do such marvelous works, for they were a hard-hearted and a stiffnecked people.
if / then / had / after / were149Alma 32:38: But if ye neglect the tree, and take no thought for its nourishment, behold it will not get any root.
lest / on account of / otherwise / by26Alma 13:4: Others would reject the Spirit of God on account of the hardness of their hearts and blindness of their minds.
[Statements]188Mosiah 7:29: For behold, the Lord hath said: I will not succor my people in the day of their transgression.
that / and / which61Mormon 8:33: Why have ye transfigured the holy word of God, that ye might bring damnation upon your souls?

The repeated messages in scripture that sin is bad, along with the blessings or consequences that result, might seem obvious and so expected that they don’t merit an in-depth analysis. But the prevalence of these passages in the Book of Mormon is striking, making it unmistakable that this theme is a dominant feature of the book.[5] Table 2 conveys the consistency and frequency of these types of statements in each book in the Book of Mormon.

Table 2. Total conditional statements about wickedness by book

1 Nephi42755100173713.23
2 Nephi53311491214571634.94
Words of Mormon0100000011.00
3 Nephi431891562651043.47
4 Nephi1203000066.00
Total4428910517214926188611,0344.33 Avg / pg = 1.95

The preceding tables represent multiple authors using several different terms to write the effects of wickedness. Yet the variety in wording appears less significant than the overwhelming volume of occurrences. The following analyses describe the importance of the frequent use of these statements throughout the Book of Mormon.

Textual Analysis 2: Chapters with the Greatest Number of Cause-and-Effect Statements

The average number of conditional statements about wickedness per chapter in the Book of Mormon is 4.33.[6] The top ten chapters with the greatest number of causal statements about sin come from eight different writers:

  • Samuel the Lamanite: Helaman 13 (25)
  • Jacob: 2 Nephi 9 (23)
  • Alma: Alma 5 (21)
  • Nephi, son of Helaman: Helaman 7 (19)
  • Alma: Alma 9 (16)
  • Alma: Alma 12 (15)
  • Nephi: 2 Nephi 28 (15)
  • Lehi: 2 Nephi 1 (15)
  • Mormon: Moroni 7 (14)
  • Mosiah: Mosiah 29 (13)

Figure 1. Cause-and-effect statements about wickednessGraph of avg occurrences per chapter

Samuel the Lamanite’s teachings in Helaman 13, particularly verses 6–24, provide an unusually high concentration of cause-and-effect statements about wickedness.

The many occurrences in the book of Helaman primarily come from three chapters—Helaman 4, 7, and 13. These chapters contain almost as many conditional statements (56) as the other thirteen chapters (58) in the book of Helaman. The uniqueness of these chapters points to a significant finding elaborated upon later under textual analysis 6.

Textual Analysis 3: The Book of Mormon Effectively Warns against Sin

Writers in the Book of Mormon go to great extent to illustrate and overtly specify the results of wickedness.[7] Nephi taught that generation after generation were destroyed “because of iniquity” and that “never hath any of them been destroyed save it were foretold them by the prophets of the Lord” (2 Nephi 25:9). Similarly, Mormon challenged readers to note that the destructions prior to Christ’s coming the Nephites had been foretold by many prophets (see 3 Nephi 10:14). Other prophets fulfilled this role: “But behold, Moronihah did preach many things unto the people because of their iniquity, and also Nephi and Lehi, who were the sons of Helaman, did preach many things unto the people, yea, and did prophesy many things unto them concerning their iniquities, and what should come unto them if they did not repent of their sins” (Helaman 4:14). Jacob cautioned the Nephites, “warning them against fornication and lasciviousness, and every kind of sin, telling them the awful consequences of them” (Jacob 3:12). He said on another occasion, “Behold, if ye were holy I would speak unto you of holiness; but as ye are not holy, and ye look upon me as a teacher, it must needs be expedient that I teach you the consequences of sin” (2 Nephi 9:48).[8] Abinadi was very specific with Noah and his people about what would take place if they did not repent (see Mosiah 11:20–25; 12:2–8; 17:15–17), as was Nephi (see Helaman 7:14–28) and Samuel the Lamanite (see Helaman 13:6–24) to the Nephites. Ether spelled things out in detail to Coriantumr (see Ether 13:20–21). And Moroni even pronounced direct warnings to us (see Mormon 8:27–41 and Ether 8:23).[9]

The Savior warned of the consequences of wickedness. He taught, “For their works do follow them, for it is because of their works that they are hewn down; therefore remember the things that I have told you” (3 Nephi 27:12). Not only is the Book of Mormon filled with examples of when the people chose not to heed these warnings from prophets, but it also outlines what happened as a result. Indeed, the book contains stories of two nations that were both destroyed because of wickedness. It gives many awful details—not merely to report that there were catastrophic conclusions to the Jaredites and Nephites but to clearly inform why they were destroyed.

King Limhi appeared to be well-aware of the great value in knowing what caused the failures among others. His people, who were suffering in bondage, discovered the destroyed Jaredite nation as well as the plates of Ether. Limhi assumed these plates, if translated, would provide beneficial understanding for his people. He spoke earnestly, “I am desirous to know the cause of their destruction” (Mosiah 8:12). And, certainly, the Lord designed for this knowledge to come to later generations (see Ether 8:23; 15:33). He also spoke through Abinadi: “And it shall come to pass that except they repent I will utterly destroy them from off the face of the earth; yet they shall leave a record behind them, and I will preserve them for other nations which shall possess the land; yea, even this will I do that I may discover the abominations of this people to other nations” (Mosiah 12:8; see also Ether 2:11).[10] A consistent theme of the Book of Mormon is its decisive warnings against sin in order to empower agency (see Helaman 14:30–31; 2 Nephi 10:23–24; Alma 29:4–5; and Ether 8:23) and avoid the wrath that is reserved for the wicked (see Ether 14:25).[11] Early in the Book of Mormon, the Lord spoke to Nephi with a clear, conditional statement: “Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper” (1 Nephi 2:20). That statement is then is repeated twenty-two more times throughout the Book of Mormon up to the appearance of Christ to the Nephites. In many instances it is connected to a warning about being cut off for not keeping the commandments.

The sacred writings in the Book of Mormon—prophetically written and divinely preserved—not only “convinced many of the error of their ways” they also “brought them to the knowledge of their God unto salvation of their souls” (Alma 37:8). This hopeful message of divine grace is expressed in the Book of Mormon, and does so interestingly—not in spite of, but with the assistance of, one thousand statements on sin connected to its awful consequences.

Textual Analysis 4: The Consequences of Wickedness

The Book of Mormon gives abundant accounting of results suffered due to sin (see Table 4 below).[12] All of the stated consequences that are noted by the conditional statements can be grouped into the following eight categories:

  • Destruction/War
  • Cut off from God’s presence
  • Suffering of the righteous/innocent
  • Temporal suffering
  • Greater wickedness
  • Prophetic rebukes; chastening
  • Withdraw of prophets; miracles cease
  • Eternal suffering

Table 4. Stated consequences of sing with associated conditional statements

Stated consequences of sin with associated conditional statementsAccording*BecauseExceptForIfLest[Statements]ThatTotals

Cut off from the presence of the Lord 

cut off from presence of the Lord; not numbered among the God’s people; separated from the righteous



bloodshed; bondage; destruction; judgments of God; land cursed; perish; scattered; war; wrath of God


Eternal suffering

as though no redemption made; cannot be saved; cannot inherit kingdom of God; cast to hell; chains of hell; condemnation; damnation; found on left hand of God; hell; name blotted out; never-ending torment; not redeemed; witness against at the last day


Greater wickedness

blindness of mind; cannot understand word of God; dissensions; greater wickedness; led others to sin; reject truth; remain in sin; Spirit withdraw


Prophets grieve / Innocent suffer

innocent people and prophets suffer; persecution; sorrow of the righteous


Prophets withdraw / Miracles cease

no more miracles; prophets withdraw


Prophetic rebukes 

admonitions; chastening; preaching; rebukes


Temporal suffering

afflicted; become weak; confounded; cursed; don’t prosper; smitten; woe



* For the inclusive list of all conditional terms, see table 1. 

** This total is larger than the number of conditional statements (1,034) because sometimes more than one effect was listed for a given cause.


The most commonly stated result of sin in the Book of Mormon is destruction and bondage, which occurs primarily through warfare.

One way to summarize the total list of consequences is with Alma’s declaration that “wickedness never was happiness” (Alma 41:10). Similarly, Samuel said the people tragically suffered by seeking for happiness where it cannot be found “in doing iniquity” (Helaman 13:38). Although, the list above is unpleasant, studiers today might react to this information like the people of Mosiah did to the tragic account of the Jaredites: “They were filled with sorrow; nevertheless it gave them much knowledge, in the which they did rejoice” (Mosiah 28:18).[13]

Textual Analysis 5: Contrast with Because of Righteousness Statements

Of course, the Book of Mormon also contains many direct statements outlining the results of righteousness. The analysis for this paper discovered 697. Table 5 shows totals of these statements by book.

Table 5. Total conditional statements about righteousness by book

BookTotalAverage per Chapter
1 Nephi602.73
2 Nephi631.91
Words of Mormon22.00
3 Nephi1113.70
4 Nephi66.00

The only book where conditional statements on righteousness exceed those of wickedness is 3 Nephi: 111 versus 104. The Book of Mormon contains more conditional statements on wickedness (1,034) than on righteousness (697). However, neither of these teachings appears to be the primary intent of the book. Rather, these statements—especially those of wickedness—point toward the overall message and witness of the Book of Mormon.

Textual Analysis 6: How Warnings against Sin Emphasize the Mission of Jesus Christ

The completion of this study demanded several readings of the Book of Mormon, focusing specifically on wickedness and its results. That kind of attention to sin might appear to go contrary to the purposes of scripture study and be a depressing way to read. However, this study accentuated the mercy, love, power, and mission of Jesus Christ with significant power and clarity. This emphasis is, in part, shown by statistical peaks and valleys in the occurrences of conditional statements. Most often the chapters with the least number of conditional statements (a statistical valley once charted) are chapters doing one of two things: (1) telling a story or (2) testifying of the redemptive power of Christ. They are either leading up to the point or making the point—the point being that Jesus Christ and the gospel he provides can save mankind from sin. In other words, with the problem illustrated by real-life details, the solution is illuminated with great relief.

The book of Helaman offers three distinct demonstrations that contrast strong, conditional language about sin with the beautiful peace available through Christ. Consider the following chapters, rich in content about the redeeming power of the Lord:

  1. Helaman 5: This chapter provides Christ-centered preaching to Nephi and Lehi from their father, as well as a dramatic account of the miraculous conversion of the Lamanites through their preaching of Christ.
  2. Helaman 8: Nephi prophesies of Christ using the words of multiple former prophets.
  3. Helaman 14: Samuel the Lamanite gives signs of Christ’s coming and preaches of his redeeming power.

All three of these chapters are preceded by a chapter that includes sharp warnings against iniquity, as shown by a relatively high number of cause-and-effect statements. This contrast conveys a problem-and-solution sequence, which emphasizes the saving mission of Christ and highlights the purpose of the Book of Mormon to witness of him.

Conditional statements on wickedness

Chapter that primarily warns against wickednessChapter that provides hopeful messages of Christ’s power
Helaman 412Helaman 53
Helaman 719Helaman 87
Helaman 1325Helaman 146

There are many other chapters that statistically follow this same pattern—first, warnings against sin and its dreadful effects using many conditional statements; then followed by prophesies that powerfully proclaim the saving mission of Jesus Christ.[14]

Conditional statements on wickedness

Chapter that primarily warns against wickednessChapter that provides hopeful messages of Christ’s power
2 Nephi 1152 Nephi 22
2 Nephi 9232 Nephi 106
2 Nephi 26-2811, 9, 152 Nephi 29-331, 3, 3, 3, 4
Jacob 2-311, 8Jacob 42
Mosiah 11-139, 9, 8Mosiah 14-163, 2, 4
Alma 30-3110, 8Alma 32-34:274, 6, 1
Mormon 811Mormon 94
Ether 119Ether 126

While distinguishing statistical peaks and valleys by chapter is evident in several places, there are also chapters containing the peaks and valleys within each chapter. These chapters (1 Nephi 17, Jacob 5, Mosiah 3, Mosiah 29, Alma 5, Alma 37, 3 Nephi 9, Moroni 7, and Moroni 10) emphasize the saving mission of Christ and have many conditional statements on wickedness. The peaks of conditional statements about sin still point toward the prophecies of Christ, but in these cases the contrast can be seen within the chapter, rather than the preceding chapter(s).

Another concise, yet powerful example of an influx of conditional statements followed by an absence is Moroni 9. This two-page chapter contains eight cause-and-effect statements about wickedness with highly disturbing details of terrible suffering. Any rational reader would be troubled by the ugly, horrendous abuse and heart-wrenching suffering reported in this account. Yet, the chapter ends with beautiful, hope-filled teachings about the Savior:

My son, be faithful in Christ; and may not the things which I have written grieve thee, to weigh thee down unto death; but may Christ lift thee up, and may his sufferings and death, and the showing his body unto our fathers, and his mercy and long-suffering, and the hope of his glory and of eternal life, rest in your mind forever.

And may the grace of God the Father, whose throne is high in the heavens, and our Lord Jesus Christ, who sitteth on the right hand of his power, until all things shall become subject unto him, be, and abide with you forever. Amen. (Moroni 9:25–26)

These final verses, like Noah’s ark on the water, are “lifted up” by the surrounding wickedness and, thereby, more powerfully guide the reader in a meaningful, purposeful direction toward the grace and peace available through Jesus Christ. The Book of Mormon contains multiple instances of this hopeful, happy message being underscored and set up by descriptions of destructive details.[15] Below are two additional examples where the context proves to manifest the mission of Christ:

3 Nephi 9:13–22

A remarkable instance of hope and healing, emphasized by the surrounding text of wickedness and destruction, comes from the Savior. In the book of 3 Nephi, the people turned back to disastrous wickedness “like the dog to his vomit” (3 Nephi 7:8), and then followed significant disasters in several forms: “tempests, earthquakes, fires, whirlwinds, and physical upheavals” (3 Nephi 8, chapter heading). Next, in total darkness, the people heard the voice of Christ. He first outlined what devastations had taken place and why they happened. In twelve verses, he used eight cause-and-effect statements, such as “It is because of their iniquity and abominations that they are fallen,” and “Many great destructions have I caused to come upon this land, and upon this people, because of their wickedness and their abominations” (3 Nephi 9:2, 12).

Then, with a distinct linguistic shift recorded in the second half of 3 Nephi 9, the Savior provides lovely, compassionate counsel about his mission. He asked, “Will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you?” (verse 13). He explains his way and his power when he states the following:

  • “If ye will come unto me ye shall have eternal life. Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me” (verse 14).
  • “And as many as have received me, to them have I given to become the sons of God; and even so will I to as many as shall believe on my name, for behold, by me redemption cometh” (verse 17).
  • “I am the light and the life of the world. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end” (verse 18).
  • “Whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost” (verse 20).
  • “Behold, I have come unto the world to bring redemption unto the world, to save the world from sin” (verse 21).

He concludes this sacred message with encouragement: “Therefore repent, and come unto me ye ends of the earth, and be saved” (3 Nephi 9:22). The light of his message shines brilliantly in the woes of the dark destruction of sin.

Mormon 3:17–22; 5:12–15; 7:1–10

A final example of glorious prophesies written alongside accounts of gross wickedness comes from the principal writer of the Book of Mormon (and these chapters also plainly articulate the book’s purpose). The first six chapters of Mormon contain thirty-one conditional statements about the consequences of wickedness—a relatively high number.[16] Also troubling is the terrible description of his day: “A continual scene of wickedness and abominations” (Mormon 2:18). This time was horrific, and Mormon didn’t even include a full account (see Mormon 5:9). He also acknowledged that what the people suffered was beyond description (see Mormon 4:11). But these awful accounts of the wicked direct attention toward the positive and hopeful teachings. Mormon turns his focus to the Gentiles and encourages belief in Christ (see Mormon 3:20–21). He also unfolds the primary purpose of the Book of Mormon, which is to persuade “that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mormon 5:12–15).

Mormon 1–6 is quite ugly in talking about the depravity, fallen nature, and the extent of man’s wickedness. Yet this context sets up Mormon 7, which provides a beautiful message of Christ. Mormon teaches, “Know ye that ye must come unto repentance, or ye cannot be saved. . . . Know ye that ye must come to the knowledge of your fathers, and repent of all your sins and iniquities, and believe in Jesus Christ, that he is the Son of God, and that he was slain by the Jews, and by the power of the Father he hath risen again, whereby he hath gained the victory over the grave; and also in him is the sting of death swallowed up” (Mormon 7:3, 5).

Mormon continues this sermon testifying of the resurrection and the opportunity to “dwell in the presence of God” and “sing ceaseless praises . . . in a state of happiness” (verse 7). This message about the power of Christ expresses the ultimate purpose of the Book of Mormon, and fittingly it is given by its principal writer at the end of his life—at the culmination of his people’s destruction, which came because of wickedness.


President Ezra Taft Benson once explained, “No one adequately and properly knows why he needs Christ until he understands and accepts the doctrine of the Fall and its effect upon all mankind. And no other book in the world explains this vital doctrine nearly as well as the Book of Mormon.”[17] One significant way the book effectively preaches of Christ is through a multitude of explicit statements that pair wickedness with stated consequences. This study compiled, categorized, and tallied these occurrences (1.95 times per page), which collectively manifest a dominant theme of the book—an emphatic teaching against transgression by identifying what happens because of it. This study also showed the Lord’s warnings are consistent and merciful, inviting all his children to repent and be saved. Finally, this research provided evidence of the witness the Book of Mormon offers about Christ, plainly showing both the need for a Savior and his power to redeem. As Samuel the Lamanite taught, “And if ye believe on his name ye will repent of all your sins, that thereby ye may have a remission of them through his merits” (Helaman 14:13).


[1] For a more in-depth study of this purpose, see Shon D. Hopkin, “To the Convincing of Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ,” in The Coming Forth of the Book of Mormon: A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, ed. Dennis L. Largey, Andrew H. Hedges, John Hilton III, and Kerry Hull (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2015), 281–99.

[2] See Book of Mormon Reference Companion, ed. Dennis L. Largey (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2003); entries under “Sin, transgression” and “Wicked, the/wickedness,” 725–26, 784–85.

[3] Emphasis added, and hereafter when showing the conditional phrases used to link sin to its consequence.

[4] For example, Mosiah 2:13 and Alma 16:18 talk about wickedness but don’t include consequences. Another passage not included in the total compilation was 3 Nephi 3:10. Though it contains the classic phrase “because of your wickedness,” it is spoken by Giddianhi, the deceptive leader of the Gadianton robbers. He misuses the phrase in an effort to intimidate a very righteous man, Lachoneus. So, not only is it not wickedness, Giddianhi is not a true prophet. In fact, he’s a liar. Have you noticed that in the sixteenth year he said he would come to battle on the “morrow month”? But he doesn’t come down with his armies until the latter end of the eighteenth year, and doesn’t come to battle until the nineteenth year. He’s either lying or has a serious procrastination problem. Either way, he’s not a part of this study.

[5] See Ezra Taft Benson, A Witness and a Warning (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1988), 2.

[6] Interestingly, the Book of Mormon contains sixty-five chapters with zero or only one conditional statement about wickedness.

[7] See D. Todd Christofferson, “The Voice of Warning,” Ensign, May 2017, 108–11.

[8] See also the example of Mosiah II in Mosiah 29:14.

[9] And priests in Alma’s day preached against all forms of sin, “crying that these things ought not so to be” (Alma 16:18).

[10] President Ezra Taft Benson noted, “The Book of Mormon was written for us today. . . . It is a record of a fallen people, compiled by inspired men for our blessing today.” A Witness and a Warning, 2.

[11] Surely this is, at least in part, what is meant by Alma’s declaration that the scriptures had “enlarged the memory of this people” (Alma 37:8).

[12] In reporting this material, I am careful to note that these consequences were experienced by different people at different times, most often as groups and sometimes as individuals. I recognize a problem with attempting to attach specific sins of others to specific results. Therefore, this study reports this data collectively. This approach seems to harmonize with the intent of the Book of Mormon as a whole and limits the possibility of any misapplication.

[13] Consider that instruction along with the caution King Benjamin taught when he said, “If ye do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and continue in the faith of what ye have heard concerning the coming of our Lord, even unto the end of your lives, ye must perish. And now, O man, remember, and perish not” (Mosiah 4:30).

[14] Alma 29 also stands out as a hopeful message about Christ in contrast to the surrounding chapters describing the terrible effects of sin and war. Mormon commented that the great inequality among men is caused by wickedness (Alma 28:13). The resulting awful conditions thereby necessitated the work of gospel preaching. He said, “Thus we see the great call of diligence of men to labor in the vineyards of the Lord; and thus we see the great reason of sorrow, and also of rejoicing—sorrow because of death and destruction among men, and joy because of the light of Christ unto life” (Alma 28:14).

[15] Another great example is Ether 7–15, filled almost entirely with conflict, captivity, and war—ending in complete destruction. Yet, in stark contrast, Moroni writes a magnificent sermon in Ether 12 about faith in Christ and provides many profound teachings. His counsel stands out from its dark, gloomy backdrop of people suffering because of their wicked choices.

[16] The average number of statements per page throughout the entire Book of Mormon is 1.95. The average for Mormon 1–6 (eleven pages) is 2.82.

[17] Benson, A Witness and a Warning, 33.