Mosiah 7:21 - 7:25
Mosiah 7:21 And ye all are witnesses this day, that Zeniff, who was made king over this people, he being over-zealous to inherit the land of his fathers, therefore being deceived by the cunning and craftiness of king Laman, who having entered into a treaty with king Zeniff, and having yielded up into his hands the possessions of a part of the land, or even the city of Lehi-Nephi, and the city of Shilom; and the land round about—
It was Zeniff who wanted to be a king over these returnees that got us into this situation. He did so by making a treaty with the king of the Lamanites, King Laman, to obtain part of the land of the Nephite’s first inheritance. The king Laman gave up part of the his land along with the cities of Lehi-Nephi and Shilom to the Zeniff’s people.
Mosiah 7:22 And all this he did, for the sole purpose of bringing this people into subjection or into bondage. And behold, we at this time do pay tribute to the king of the Lamanites, to the amount of one half of our corn, and our barley, and even all our grain of every kind, and one half of the increase of our flocks and our herds; and even one half of all we have or possess the king of the Lamanites doth exact of us, or our lives.
King Laman did not do so because he had feelings of charity towards these Nephites, but because he thought he could get a tribute from them after they got settled in and were producing crops and items of commerce. So at this time the tax rate was 50% on penalty of death if not paid.
Mosiah 7:23 And now, is not this grievous to be borne? And is not this, our affliction, great? Now behold, how great reason we have to mourn.
This is a very unreasonable that it should be so high. It is a great burden and gives us more a good reason to feel discouraged when one sees half of all he produces give to someone else just for the privilege of living on their land.
Mosiah 7:24 Yea, I say unto you, great are the reasons which we have to mourn; for behold how many of our brethren have been slain, and their blood has been spilt in vain, and all because of iniquity.
Another reason for our sadness is the many of our people who have died trying to free us from this domination by the Lamanites. If we had not been a wicked people they would still be alive.
Mosiah 7:25 For if this people had not fallen into transgression the Lord would not have suffered that this great evil should come upon them. But behold, they would not hearken unto his words; but there arose contentions among them, even so much that they did shed blood among themselves.
This wickedness that lead to our becoming subject to Lamanite domination was first manifested by the internal squabbling among ourselves. This in fighting caused the death of many people which cause the Lord to withdraw His support and left us to ourselves. This lead to being taken over by the Lamanites and our present condition.