15 Now the cause of this iniquity of the people was this—Satan had great power, unto the stirring up of the people to do all manner of iniquity, and to the puffing them up with pride, tempting them to seek for power, and authority, and riches, and the vain things of the world.
16 And thus Satan did lead away the hearts of the people to do all manner of iniquity; therefore they had enjoyed peace but a few years.
Just a few years earlier, the people lived in peace and prosperity. They had plenty of food, were safe in their homes, and were kind to one another. Mormon tells us, “there was nothing in all the land to hinder the people from prospering continually, except they should fall into transgression” (3 Nephi 6:5).
Now, things have changed dramatically. The people have become proud, and as a result they have separated themselves into social classes based on wealth and education (3 Nephi 6:10-12). The church has begun to fall apart because of contention. In the passage above, Mormon explains the reasons for this disintegration: the people have been “puff[ed] up with pride.” They have become obsessed with temporary treasures, including worldly wealth and status. As a result, their actions are not in harmony with eternal principles. In a very short time, their government will collapse and the power and status they have set their hearts on will disappear (3 Nephi 7:1-3).
Today, I will remember the source of true and enduring happiness and prosperity. I will avoid setting my heart on worldly success and will instead focus on living according to eternal principles which can lead me to “peace in this world and eternal life in the world to come” (D&C 59:23).