14 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.
15 And it came to pass that they did repent, and inasmuch as they did repent they did begin to prosper.
Mormon tells us just before this passage that the Nephites had lost almost all of their lands because of their wickedness. What sins were they guilty of? He gives us a list in verse 12:
- Withholding their food from the hungry
- Withholding their clothing from the naked
- Smiting their humble brethren upon the cheek
- Making a mock of that which was sacred
- Denying the spirit of prophecy and of revelation
- Committing adultery
- Rising up in great contentions
- Deserting their people to live with the Lamanites
In short, their hearts were hardened. They didn’t care about the suffering of the poor among them. They didn’t recognize the importance of sacred things. They felt no empathy when they caused pain to other people. Under these circumstances, they were unable to feel the Spirit of the Lord. As Mormon tells us later in the chapter, because they lost the companionship of the Spirit, they lost the power of God, and they became weak just like everyone else (Helaman 4:23-26). What was the remedy? They had to repent.
As we read in the passage above, Moronihah, Nephi, and Lehi preached repentance. In response to this preaching, the people began to repent, and “inasmuch as they did repent they did begin to prosper.” Here’s the message: sin cuts us off from God’s power by rendering us incapable of receiving His Spirit. Repentance removes those barriers and enables us to receive God’s power again. If we have lost our connection with God, we need to repent.
As Elder Dale G. Renlund has taught, “When we choose to repent, we immediately invite the Savior into our lives.” (“Repentance: A Joyful Choice,” General Conference, October 2016).
Today, I will remember the importance of repentance in receiving the power of God. If I feel that I am distancing myself from my Father in Heaven or if I discern something that I need to change in my thoughts, words, or behavior, I will repent. I will remember that as quickly as I repent, I will again receive the Spirit of the Lord which will give me power and will help me to prosper.