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The iniquities of the Nephite people grew so great, that Nephi resigned from his political leadership position (verse 1). The people were in such an awful state that they could no longer be governed by laws (verses 2-3), and so Nephi resigned to focus on spiritual leadership (verse 4).
Nephi, and his brother Lehi also, went about preaching because they remembered what their father had taught them (verse 5). He had taught them about their names, and that he had given them their names so they would remember the ancient prophets and what those prophets had taught and do good by following their example (verses 6-7). He wanted them to focus on spiritual things, and to do what God commanded them to do (verse 8). He reminded them of King Benjamin’s speech that taught them “that there is no other way nor means whereby man can be saved, only through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ” (verse 9). He reminded them to study the prophets, and remember their words, even that the Savior would come to redeem the people from their sins, not in their sins – which means action is required on our part, and there must be evidence of change as we continue our conversion process (verse 10). This is the power of repentance, and this is why the guys went about preaching repentance (verse 11), knowing that their “sure foundation” was built on the Savior and that the devil would “have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo” (verse 12).
These were the things their father Helaman had taught them, and this is why they were able to choose well (verse 13), going about teaching “the word of God among all the people” (verse 14).
This is evidence of our faith, that we have a testimony.
This is evidence of our testimony, that we want to share it.
This is evidence that we are covenant-keepers, that we do share it.
This is our premortal covenant: that He would atone for us, and we would testify of that atonement. He has kept His part of the deal, and it is our turn to keep ours.
And so the sons of Helaman went from city to city, preaching to the people (verses 14-16), even with such power and authority (verse 18) that Lamanites began to be converted (verse 17) and be baptized (verse 19).
But, not all the Lamanites wanted to convert, and a group of them threw the guys in prison (the same prison where Ammon had been held) verse 21). They were held there many days without food, until the day came when the Lamanites rushed toward them to kill them (verse 22). But in that moment, both Nephi and Lehi were suddenly “encircled about as if by fire, even insomuch that [the Lamanites] durst not (dare not) lay their hands upon them for fear lest they should be burned”, though Nephi and Lehi were not burned (verse 23).
When Nephi and Lehi saw that they were not burned by the fire, their hearts took great courage (verse 24), and saw that the Lamanites did not rush forward to kill them, but stood still “struck dumb with amazement” (verse 25). Nephi and Lehi took the opportunity of having their attention to explain what was happening, telling them not to be afraid because God had done this thing (verse 26).
Just then, an earthquake shook the prison walls (verses 27, 31), and a cloud of darkness came over the Lamanites (verse 28). They heard a voice telling them to repent (verse 29); it was not a loud voice, but was “a still voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper, and it did pierce even to the very soul” (verse 30). The voice came again, telling them again to repent, and again the earth shook (verse 32). The voice came again, speaking to them “marvelous words”, and again the earth shook (verse 33).
The Lamanites were afraid, but could not run away because of the darkness that surrounded them (verse 34). But there was one among them who had been a Nephite born into the covenant, but who had left the church (verse 35). He looked up through the cloud of darkness, and saw the faces of Nephi and Lehi, “and behold, they did shine exceedingly, even as the faces of angels” (verse 36; see also Exodus 34 and 2 Corinthians 3:7).
When he saw this, the man cried out to the others, telling them to look (verse 37). The people looked, and were confused about to whom Nephi and Lehi were speaking (verse 38). The Nephite explained that the prophets were speaking with angels of God (verse 39), and the Lamanites wanted to know what they needed to do in order to lift the darkness so they could also see the Light that made the prophets shiny (verse 40). The Nephite knew the answer because he had grown up in the church: the people needed to repent (verse 41).
As the people began to repent, so did the cloud of darkness begin to be lifted from them (verse 42). As the cloud of darkness dispersed, the people could see that they also were encircled about by fire (verse 43). The fire did not burn them, nor did it catch the walls of the prison on fire; it simply filled them with joy unspeakable (verse 44). This was the Holy Spirit entering their hearts, so much that they felt they were filled with fire, and they testified of it, speaking “forth marvelous words” (verse 45).
Then the voice spoke again, a pleasant voice, like a whisper (verse 46). The voice offered them peace “because of your faith in my Well Beloved” (verse 47). The people looked around to find where the voice was coming from, and they saw angels coming down out of heaven to minister to them (verse 48).
They were instructed not to marvel or doubt, but simply to go forth and testify of repentance and the atonement (verse 49), and so they did (verse 50). Those who truly repented and experienced these things were changed by them, and did show the evidence of their repentance by laying down their “weapons of war, and also their hatred” (verse 51), even returning their stolen lands back to the Nephites (verse 52).