The words of Samuel the Lamanite continued:
1 And now, my beloved brethren, behold, I declare unto you that except ye shall repent your houses shall be left unto you desolate. [You will lose everything and have nothing.]
2 Yea, except ye repent, your women shall have great cause to mourn in the day that they shall give suck; for ye shall attempt to flee and there shall be no place for refuge; yea, and wo unto them which are with child, for they shall be heavy and cannot flee; therefore, they shall be trodden down and shall be left to perish. [This is reminiscent to the Lord’s words in Matthew 24:19-21 referring to the last days.]
3 Yea, wo unto this people who are called the people of Nephi except they shall repent, when they shall see all these signs and wonders which shall be showed unto them; for behold, they have been a chosen people of the Lord; yea, the people of Nephi hath he loved, and also hath he chastened them; yea, in the days of their iniquities hath he chastened them because he loveth them.
This verse gives us a glimpse into the reasoning behind the Lord’s motives. Why does a parent discipline a child? It should not be out of anger, but for love, knowing that such action will help to instruct the child so they do not err again. The discipline is given in a measured and thoughtful manner. The Lord passes judgment against His chosen people when they step outside the bounds of propriety to help correct them and preserve their coevenants if possible. If they become ripe in iniquity (beyond return) He removes them to limit the degree of abomination on future generations. He is truly merciful.
4 But behold my brethren, the Lamanites hath he hated because their deeds have been evil continually, and this because of the iniquity of the tradition of their fathers. But behold, salvation hath come unto them through the preaching of the Nephites; and for this intent hath the Lord prolonged their days. [The word “hated” in this context is to have His face turned away from them. It is not used in the negative connotation as is used today.]
5 And I would that ye should behold that the more part of them are in the path of their duty, and they do walk circumspectly [cautiously] before God, and they do observe to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments according to the law of Moses.
6 Yea, I say unto you, that the more part of them [Lamanites] are doing this, and they are striving with unwearied diligence that they may bring the remainder of their brethren to the knowledge of the truth; therefore there are many who do add to their numbers daily. [They had a great missionary zeal.]
Missionary work creates anxiety for many who are followers of Christ. Only a prophet is called personally by the Lord to stand before a people and call them to repentance and prophesy to them. Most who are servants of the Lord are required to do it a different way, to preach nothing but repentance to our generation. This is not to spend our time pointing out other’s problems, sins, and mistakes, but to express our love to the Lord with others and invite and encourage them to also partake. It is to live an example of the believer, a disciple of Christ. As we hunger and thirst after righteousness we are led by the Holy Ghost to know what, where, when, and how to be a servant of the Lord. As we progress spiritually we will exercise the gifts of the Spirit to the extent that we begin to prophesy and to do works like unto Samuel.
7 And behold, ye do know of yourselves, for ye have witnessed it, that as many of them as are brought to the knowledge of the truth, and to know of the wicked and abominable traditions of their fathers, and are led to believe the holy scriptures, yea, the prophecies of the holy prophets, which are written, which leadeth them to faith on the Lord, and unto repentance, which faith and repentance bringeth a change of heart unto them— [What is this “change of heart?” To repent is to turn your heart to God, and there is a literal change. The ultimate change of heart is the remission of sins which comes by the reception of the Gift of the Holy Ghost.]
8 Therefore, as many as have come to this, ye know of yourselves are firm and steadfast in the faith, and in the thing wherewith they have been made free. [Made “free” from the blood and sins of this world, born again in Jesus Christ – the reception of the Holy Ghost.]
9 And ye know also that they have buried their weapons of war, and they fear to take them up lest by any means they should sin; yea, ye can see that they fear to sin—for behold they will suffer themselves that they be trodden down and slain by their enemies, and will not lift their swords against them, and this because of their faith in Christ. [Referring to the group of Lamanites called Ammonites, the people of the Sons of Helaman.]
10 And now, because of their steadfastness when they do believe in that thing which they do believe, for because of their firmness when they are once enlightened, behold, the Lord shall bless them and prolong their days, notwithstanding their [former] iniquity—
11 Yea, even if they should dwindle in unbelief the Lord shall prolong their days, until the time shall come which hath been spoken of by our fathers, and also by the prophet Zenos, and many other prophets, concerning the restoration of our brethren, the Lamanites, again to the knowledge of the truth— [2 Nephi 3:11, 24, 3 Nephi 21:4-12]
12 Yea, I say unto you, that in the latter times [in the near future of our day] the promises of the Lord have been extended to our brethren, the Lamanites; and notwithstanding the many afflictions which they shall have, and notwithstanding they shall be driven to and fro upon the face of the earth, and be hunted, and shall be smitten and scattered abroad, having no place for refuge, the Lord shall be merciful unto them. [This is a very exact prophecy regarding the American Indian.]
13 And this is according to the prophecy, that they shall again be brought to the true knowledge, which is the knowledge of their Redeemer, and their great and true shepherd, and be numbered among his sheep. [This has not yet occurred.]
14 Therefore I say unto you, it shall be better for them than for you except ye repent. [because the Nephites shall be utterly destroyed]
15 For behold, had the mighty works been shown unto them which have been shown unto you, yea, unto them who have dwindled in unbelief because of the traditions of their fathers, ye can see of yourselves that they never would again have dwindled in unbelief. [Samuel explains why their judgment is more harsh than the Lamanites. To be a witness of mighty works gives a higher expectation that those who are influenced by false traditions of their fathers. Many of the Nephites went from a righteous people to turning away within a short period of time.]
16 Therefore, saith the Lord: I will not utterly destroy them, but I will cause that in the day of my wisdom [understanding the full picture according to God’s works] they shall return again unto me, saith the Lord.
17 And now behold, saith the Lord, concerning the people of the Nephites: If they will not repent, and observe to do my will, I will utterly destroy them, saith the Lord, because of their unbelief notwithstanding the many mighty works which I have done among them; and as surely as the Lord liveth shall these things be, saith the Lord.