Alma 4:6 - 4:10
Alma 4:6 And it came to pass in the eighth year of the reign of the judges, that the people of the church began to wax proud, because of their exceeding riches, and their fine silks, and their fine-twined linen, and because of their many flocks and herds, and their gold and their silver, and all manner of precious things, which they had obtained by their industry; and in all these things were they lifted up in the pride of their eyes, for they began to wear very costly apparel.
In the eight year, the people were able to restore their fields and their flocks and herds. The economy was rebounding quickly and the people were able to buy costly apparel made from silk and fine-twined linen. Gold and silver was accumulating in their hands as well. The people were working hard but unfortunately, their pride was growing as fast as were their possessions.
The first real description of the “Nephi Disease” that is get a few bucks in your pocket and you begin to think you are better than others because of your cleverness. It usually leads to thinking you are above the working folks and that you should be praised for all your stuff. This is a sign for us in our day. If we begin to have this attitude, then we are stepping on the threshold of siding downhill to apostasy and personal ruin. We are very rich today compared to our forefathers. We need to be watchful that we do not fall like these Nephites do. This material was put in the Book of Mormon as a warning to us in our day since the book is for us in our day. We must be careful, very careful about this.
Alma 4:7 Now this was the cause of much affliction to Alma, yea, and to many of the people whom Alma had consecrated to be teachers, and priests, and elders over the church; yea, many of them were sorely grieved for the wickedness which they saw had begun to be among their people.
Alma and the leadership in the church could see this all happening. They were very concerned as they could see how this would destroy the church if it got worse.
Alma 4:8 For they saw and beheld with great sorrow that the people of the church began to be lifted up in the pride of their eyes, and to set their hearts upon riches and upon the vain things of the world, that they began to be scornful, one towards another, and they began to persecute those that did not believe according to their own will and pleasure.
The people, being prideful, was alarming to them. They could see the members contending with each other as who was to better as measured by their riches. Moreover, if folks did not hold these over achievers in the same regard as they held themselves, they were treated disrespectfully and judged as not as good
Alma 4:9 And thus, in this eighth year of the reign of the judges, there began to be great contentions among the people of the church; yea, there were envyings, and strife, and malice, and persecutions, and pride, even to exceed the pride of those who did not belong to the church of God.
Things got so bad among the church members that their pride and treatment of each other was even worse than those who did not belong to the church. The non-members saw that the contentions, envying’s, and ill treatment among the church members was notable to them as well.
Alma 4:10 And thus ended the eighth year of the reign of the judges; and the wickedness of the church was a great stumbling-block to those who did not belong to the church; and thus the church began to fail in its progress.
By the end of the eight year, the situation in the church was very grave. The church was now stalled in its progress towards helping the members to love and help each other plus being a poor example to the non-members.
I’m sure that this was used by the non-members to say why should they join an organization that was worse in its treatment of each other than they did among themselves.