What Does the Book of Mormon Say About Complacency?

The word “complacent” doesn’t appear in the Book of Mormon, but warnings against complacency are pervasive:

“Arise from the Dust”

Near the end of his life, Lehi pleads with his sons to “arise from the dust…and be men.” He tells them to “shake off [their] chains,” “put on the armor of righteousness,” and “come forth out of obscurity” (2 Nephi 1:21-23).

“All Is Well”

Nephi warns his readers about some of the techniques the devil will use in the last days. He will stir some people up “to anger against that which is good.” But:

…others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell (2 Nephi 28:20-21).

“Do Not Procrastinate”

Amulek told the Zoramites that their days in mortality are finite and that they must make use of this time to prepare to meet God.

I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed (Alma 34:33-35).

(See also Alma 13:27, Helaman 13:38.)

“Thoughtless Stupor”

Captain Moroni denounced the leaders in Zarahemla for “[sitting] upon [their] thrones in a state of thoughtless stupor” while soldiers were dying on the battlefield. He commanded them to “stir [themselves] more diligently for the welfare and the freedom of this people.” He accused them of neglect, and he told them that they had better “begin to be up and doing” (Alma 60:7, 10, 24).

“The Captivity of Your Fathers”

The angel who called Alma the Younger to repentance told him to “go, and remember the captivity of thy fathers” (Mosiah 27:16).

Captain Moroni used that same phrase in attempting to explain the complacency of the leaders in Zarahemla. “Have ye forgotten the captivity of our fathers?” he asked. “Or do ye suppose that the Lord will still deliver us, while we sit upon our thrones and do not make use of the means which the Lord has provided for us?” (Alma 60:20-21)

Today, I will avoid complacency. I will remember that each moment I have been given is precious, and that I ought to use it wisely. I will remember that there is important work to be done and that, by performing that work, I can avoid falling into captivity.

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