4 Nephi 1: Four Generations of Peace

Book of Mormon Student Study Guide, (2000), 177–178

After the wicked had been destroyed and the remaining people were taught and ministered to by the Savior and heavenly angels, the people lived in peace and righteousness for many generations. Their life was similar to that experienced by the people of Enoch, who were called Zion (see Moses 7:18). Mormon wrote that “there could not be a happier people” (4 Nephi 1:16). As you read, look for what gospel principles they lived that brought such happiness.Unfortunately, the people eventually became as wicked as in the days before Jesus Christ came. We should carefully consider and learn from the mistakes they made that resulted in that fall from great righteousness and happiness to wickedness and misery, which brought the eventual destruction of the Nephite nation.

Understanding the Scriptures

4 Nephi 1

All things common (v. 3)Everyone recognized that all they had came from the Lord, and so they willingly shared what they had with others and for the building up of the kingdom of God.
Wrought (v. 5)Done
Stead (vv. 9, 19)Place
Tumults (v. 16)Disturbances, rebellions
Lasciviousness (v. 16)Lustfulness, sexual sins
Apparel (v. 24)Clothing
Classes (v. 26)Social groups based on money or popularity
Dwindle (vv. 34, 38)Fall gradually away
Adorn (v. 41)Decorate
Vain (v. 43)Selfish
Traffic in all manner of traffic (v. 46)Buy and sell many things, trade
Constrained (v. 48)Commanded
Remnant (v. 49)Descendants, remainder

Studying the Scriptures

Do two of the following activities (A–C) as you study 4 Nephi.

Activity A iconThe Happiest People

  1. 1.

    In 4 Nephi 1:16, Mormon wrote there could not have been a happier people than the people described in 4 Nephi 1:1–22. List at least five principles found in these verses that you believe were most influential in leading them to this happiness.

  2. 2.

    According to 4 Nephi 1:15, what was the single reason contention was eliminated? Explain why you think that quality of the people made the difference.

Activity B iconConduct an Interview

Imagine that a group of young people from the time described in 4 Nephi 1:1–22 were available to be interviewed in our day. Write three questions you think young people from our day would want to ask them. Then write the answers you think they might give, based on what you read in 4 Nephi.

Activity C iconThe Steps Leading Downward

  1. 1.

    Elder Spencer W. Kimball, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, taught, “Sin, like a journey, begins with the first step” (The Miracle of Forgiveness [1969], 214). In 4 Nephi, Nephite society lived in obedience to God’s commandments for the first half of the chapter, but by the end they had become extremely wicked. In your notebook, draw a set of stairs leading downward. There should be from five to eight steps. On the top step, write what 4 Nephi seems to indicate was the first step the people took that led them down and list the verse in which you learned it. Continue labeling each step with what the rest of 4 Nephi teaches were the other steps downward, leading the people away from the kind of life the Lord would have them live.

  2. 2.

    By the end of 4 Nephi, very few people in their society could have been considered righteous. Next to each step on your diagram, briefly write what you think the righteous people might have done to remain righteous when the rest of their society took that step downward.

  3. 3.

    How do you think it might have felt to have been among the few living true to the teachings of Jesus Christ by the end of 4 Nephi? What challenges do you think a righteous person would have faced then?