Since we’re nearing the end of the Book of Mormon where the story of the destruction of the Nephites (and the Jaredites), as I’ve been thinking about the Nephite apostasy, I thought it might be interesting to see what articles had been written on the topic, especially since I was curious about the differences between the Nephite apostasy and the New Testament era apostasy.
The following are some very good articles that I recommend:
“The Process of Apostasy in the New Testament and the Book of Mormon” by Daniel Belnap from the book Shedding Light on the New Testament.
“Again, the value of the Book of Mormon is not so much in its description of the same apostate elements, but in the presentation of its effects on the majority of Church members and society. While the New Testament simply warns of them, the Book of Mormon allows us to discern why they are so dangerous.” (Belnap)
“The Cultural Context of Nephite Apostasy” by Mark Alan Wright and Brant A. Gardner.
“What Went Wrong for the Early Christians?” by Noel B. Reynolds, BYU-I devotional June 15, 2004.
I get the sense that there are different types of apostasy. There is the type that is converted, but then meshes true doctrine with other cultural principles held by the surrounding society. There is the type that is partially converted, but never fully forsakes incorrect traditions; they eventually privilege those traditions over true doctrine and apostolic authority for the sake of popularity and material advantage. And then there is the type that has been taught the full truth from the beginning and departs from it.
On the bright side, I ran across this comment by Ramond Takashi Swenson: “…LDS should remember…the church of Christ was also established in the spirit world as soon as the Atonement was completed. It has operated uninterrupted there ever since, and “captures” all the people who have been affiliated with some branch of Christianity on earth, making up the deficit in their understandings of God and salvation. It is the mercy of God, which mitigates the thought, horrifying to traditional Christians, that God could abandon his people on earth for millennia. The true church has indeed been one that, under the ongoing leadership of Peter holding the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, has prevailed against the “gates of hell” and liberated the dead…” (http://www.timesandseasons.org/harchive/2012/02/the-not-so-great-apostasy/)