Nephite Decline and Downfall

Mormon’s Adulthood

Mormon 2:17–19

According to Ammaron’s request, Mormon, age 24, goes to hill Shim, the place of records, and adds to the plates of Nephi the account of his people—the tale of their wickedness and sin.

And behold I had gone according to the word of Ammaron, and taken the plates of Nephi, and did make a record according to the words of Ammaron. And upon the plates of Nephi I did make a full account of all the wickedness and abominations; but upon these plates I did forbear to make a full account of their wickedness and abominations, for behold, a continual scene of wickedness and abominations has been before mine eyes ever since I have been sufficient to behold the ways of man. And wo is me because of their wickedness; for my heart has been filled with sorrow because of their wickedness, all my days; nevertheless, I know that I shall be lifted up at the last day.

Mormon 2:16–17

In Mormon’s 34th year, the Lamanites attack the Nephites and drive them north to a land called Jashon.

And thus three hundred and forty and four years had passed away. And it came to pass that in the three hundred and forty and fifth year the Nephites did begin to flee before the Lamanites; and they were pursued until they came even to the land of Jashon, before it was possible to stop them in their retreat. And now, the city of Jashon was near the land where Ammaron had deposited the records unto the Lord, that they might not be destroyed.

Mormon 2:20–22

The Nephites retreat to a land called Shem, and try to centralize themselves; two years later, the Lamanites begin to advance.

And it came to pass that in this year the people of Nephi again were hunted and driven. And it came to pass that we were driven forth until we had come northward to the land which was called Shem. And it came to pass that we did fortify the city of Shem, and we did gather in our people as much as it were possible, that perhaps we might save them from destruction. And it came to pass in the three hundred and forty and sixth year they began to come upon us again.

Mormon 2:23–24

Mormon inspires his people by urging them to stand by their women and children, and boldly face the Lamanites.

And it came to pass that I did speak unto my people, and did urge them with great energy, that they would stand boldly before the Lamanites and fight for their wives, and their children, and their houses, and their homes. And my words did arouse them somewhat to vigor, insomuch that they did not flee from before the Lamanites, but did stand with boldness against them.

Mormon 2:25–26

The Nephite army of 30,000 takes on the Lamanite army of 50,000, and the Nephites win; but it was not in consequence of divine providence.

And it came to pass that we did contend with an army of thirty thousand against an army of fifty thousand. And it came to pass that we did stand before them with such firmness that they did flee from before us. And it came to pass that when they had fled we did pursue them with our armies, and did meet them again, and did beat them; nevertheless the strength of the Lord was not with us; yea, we were left to ourselves, that the Spirit of the Lord did not abide in us; therefore we had become weak like unto our brethren.

Mormon 2:27–28

Mormon, while sorrowing for the people’s wickedness, leads the Nephites against the Lamanites and the Gadianton Robbers and they are able to regain much of their territory.

And my heart did sorrow because of this the great calamity of my people, because of their wickedness and their abominations. But behold, we did go forth against the Lamanites and the robbers of Gadianton, until we had again taken possession of the lands of our inheritance. And the three hundred and forty and ninth year had passed away

Mormon 2:28–29

The Nephites, Lamanites, and Gadianton robbers make a treaty in which the land is divided: the Nephites get the northern land, the land of Zarahemla, and the Lamanites get the southern land, the land of Nephi.

And in the three hundred and fiftieth year we made a treaty with the Lamanites and the robbers of Gadianton, in which we did get the lands of our inheritance divided. And the Lamanites did give unto us the land northward, yea, even to the narrow passage which led into the land southward. And we did give unto the Lamanites all the land southward.