I'll be 37 this month and am finally really getting into the Book of Mormon. For me it is really important to understand who the characters are and the sequence of events. I never understood details like 1st Nephi is the account of the travels of Lehi's family told from the perspective of Nephi. 2nd Nephi is in the Americas and Lehi has passed away. Jacob is Nephi's 20 something years younger brother who takes over the spiritual record. Nephi is simultaneously keeping large plates that have the historic record. Some time later after the Nephites and Lamanites have split, there is another split and the righteous part of the Nephites leave the land of Nephi. They are led by Moisah and find a land called Zarahemla where another people are living. These people, the Mulekites were led out of Jerusalem shortly after Lehi's family was. They did not have a written record and their language has changed so much that at first the Nephites and the Mulekites don't understand one another. Mosiah's group becomes dominant and Mosiah becomes king over that land and the language of the Nephites is adopted.
What stories don't we hear? How did the Mulekites feel about this take over? Did Mosiah marry a daughter of the King or a reigning Queen? A few generations into the chapters in Zarahemla a Nephite descendant leads a group back to the land of Nephi and they are never heard from again. Then a Mulekite man named Ammon leads a group to see what happened to Zeniff's group. This Ammon is different from the son of the 2nd Mosiah, who is the grandson of the Mosiah that lead the righteous Nephites into Zarahemla. See, it's tricky with several characters having the same names.
And the the account Alma is all written in the book of Mosiah. And the book of Alma is written by Alma's son, Alma. But the war chapters at the end of Alma are written by his son Helaman. Who writes the book of Helaman? We'll find out soon.
These are just some of the things that confused me in past attempts to read the book. I'm enjoying my reading now and writing copious notes. I'd heard these stories but never understood how they fit together. And I know the Nephites become so wicked that they all get killed. And I know Christ comes among the American people. So I'm excited to read and find out how these things all go together.
When I was young a lady in the ward made the comment "My children are going to grow up to be Nephites, not Lamanites" like your kids...(I implied). The crazy thing about this, beyond how rude it was of her to suggest that our brown skinned family was wicked.... Is that time and again the wicked Nephites try to take away the religious freedom of the other (righteous) Nephites. And each time they fail they go off and join the Lamanites and get into leadership to incite the Lamanites to attack the Nephites. There's the Nephites left behind by Mosiah. There's the wicked priests of Noah. The Zoramites. The Amalikites. The kingmen.... All these groups that keep going off with the Lamanites, they were Nephites. Being a Nephite is no guarantee of righteousness.
And the Lamanites are the ones that believe when they are taught.