A Dictionary of the Book of Mormon/Samuel, the Lamanite

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SAMUEL, THE LAMANITE. The condition of society in the days of Samuel was somewhat peculiar. (B. C. 6.) The Nephites and Lamanites had, so far as righteousness was concerned, to a great extent changed places. The former were puffed up with worldly pride, were full of vain boastings, envyings, strifes, malice, persecutions, murders and all manner of iniquities. They cast out, stoned and slew the servants of God, while they encouraged, exalted and rewarded the false teachers who flattered them in their vileness. They reveled in all the luxury that the fatness of the land brought forth; they were ostentatious in the use of gold and silver and precious things; but their hearts never turned in thankfulness to the great Giver of all those bounties. The majority of the Lamanites, on the contrary, walked circumspectly before God, they were full of faith and integrity, were zealous in the work of converting their fellows, and kept the commandments, statutes and judgments of the Lord, according to the law of Moses.

Such was the condition of affairs when the Lamanite prophet, Samuel, appeared among the citizens of Zarahemla, and for many days preached repentance in their midst. Their eyes were blind and their ears were deaf, sin filled their souls, and in their anger they cast him out. But the work of his mission was not yet accomplished. As he was preparing to return to his own country, a holy angel visited him and proclaimed the voice of the Lord; that voice said that he should turn back and prophesy to the people of Zarahemla the things that should come into his heart.

He returned to the city, but was refused admission at its gates. The iniquitous dwellers therein had no desire to have their peace disturbed by the voice of Divine threatenings. But the prophet had the word of the Lord burning within him, and could not be restrained. He mounted the walls of the city, and from this conspicuous vantage ground, with outstretched hands and loud voice, he proclaimed to the wicked the unwelcome tidings of their coming destruction. Many listened to his proclamation, some few were pricked in their hearts, repented of their evil deeds, and sought the prophet Nephi, that they might be baptized. Others were angry, they gathered up the stones in the roadway and hurled them at Samuel, they drew forth their bows and shot arrows at him, but to no effect; the protecting power of God was around him, and he could not be harmed. When some beheld how wonderfully the prophet was preserved, it was a testimony to them that God was with him, and they also sought Nephi, confessing their sins. But the great body of the populace grew more enraged at the want of success that attended their murderous efforts. They called upon their captains to seize and bind him. Following the wild, satanic cry of the multitude, the officers attempted to take him, but he cast himself down and fled to his own country, where he began to preach and prophesy among his own people. And from that time the voice of Samuel was never again heard among the children of Nephi, but in later years Jesus, Nephi, Mormon and others quoted his prophecies or referred to his testimony.

Nearly all the events, great and glorious, terrible and heartrending, of which Samuel prophesied, were fulfilled before the inspired historians of the Book of Mormon sealed up its record. Prominent among these predictions were the signs that should occur at the advent of our Savior; the two days and a night of continued light, and the appearance of a new star in the heavens, that should mark His birth at Bethlehem, even to the exact year when these things should take place; also the convulsions, the storms, the earthquakes that should attend His crucifixion, and the resurrection of many of the Saints that should follow His resurrection. He also foretold, with great clearness and minuteness, that in subsequent years the Nephites should grow in iniquity, and because of their wickedness, their treasures, their tools, their swords, etc., should become slippery, and magic and its like should abound, and within four hundred years, the Nephite race should be destroyed. To the fulfilment of these prophecies Nephi, Mormon and Moroni bear record.