The people of the Book of Mormon teach us many important lessons through their experiences. One of the purposes of the Book of Mormon is to help us discover and learn from the mistakes of these people in ancient America.
In Mormon 5:18, the fallen Nephite people teach us a very important lesson. They show us that when we forsake God and neglect to follow His commandments, we fall under Satan’s power. When we fall under Satan’s power, we have no foundation or guiding light. Satan does not love his followers. He does not care about their lives nor does he try to guide them like our loving Heavenly Father does. The path of wickedness is one of loneliness and confusion.
When the Nephites decided not to follow God’s commandments, they made the decision to take this path. The scriptures say they became “as a vessel…without sail or anchor, or without anything wherewith to steer her.” Choosing wickedness meant giving up their rights to surety and the power to direct their lives. So it is with us today. Satan persuades people to choose wickedness by advertising ideas of absolute freedom and self-government with no rules or restrictions. But this is false advertising. When we choose Satan’s way, we choose the way of bondage and unhappiness. We choose to be tied down with guilt, loneliness and, often, addictive behaviors.
I plead with you not to follow the path of fleeting pleasures and temporary happiness. Choose God’s plan, which is the plan of happiness. I testify that keeping the commandments will make you freer and ultimately happier than you could ever be following wickedness. Our Father in Heaven will always guide you if you desire to follow Him. He will be your sail and your anchor, and He will show you where to go. I say these things in the sacred name of Jesus Christ. Amen.