Read it HERE.
Summary: Nephite dissenters and the Lamanites join forces and take the land of Zarahemla—The Nephites’ defeats come because of their wickedness—The Church dwindles and the people become weak like the Lamanites. Between 38 and 30 B.C.
This chapter can be quite depressing and yet inspiring. Amazing how the scriptures, particularly the war chapters do that, isn't it? As I read about the Nephite dissention (in not many years) from the Church it saddened me, and yet I found how similar it is to our day. I hear of and know of so many faithful members of the Church who temporarily or permanently lose their faith and dissent from the Church. I selected several words and phrases from this chapter that paint the picture well of how and why this happens.
(Ask yourself if you don't witness these things daily among Latter-day Saints and other God-fearing people... not in a judgemental way, but in the spirit of recognizing that we all have need for the Atonement and our trials and struggles are different and come at different times and seasons. We need to love and serve each other as Christ would rather than assist in the dissention of His children.)
The Helaman 4 Dissention word/phrase list:
contention, bloodshed, rebellious, slain, driven, stir up to war, afraid, stirring up to anger, preparing for war, battle, the work of death, slaughter, wickedness, abomination, profess to belong to the church of God, pride of their hearts, exceeding riches, oppression to the poor, withholding food from the hungry, withholding clothing from the naked, smiting their humble brethren upon the cheek, making a mock of that which is sacred, denying the spirit of prophecy and revelation, murdering, plundering, lying, stealing, adultery, great contentions, deserting away into the land, boasting of their own strength, did not prosper, afflicted, smitten, lost possessions/lands, stiffnecked, set at naught the commandments of God, altered/trampled the laws, corrupted laws, withdrawl of the spirit.
Sad state of affairs, isn't it? I love the verbage of verse 23: "...and the judgements of God did stare them in the face."
Essentially all the dissention of faithful Nephites caused the church to dwindle. They eventually saw their strength matched with that of the unfaithful Lamanites and it scared them. Moronihah preached unto them and they repented and when they did they prospered again. The miracle of Christ's infinite Atonement. The Nephites recognized their weaknesses and were allowed to change and gain faith again. They began to remember the prophecies of Alma and the words of Mosiah from long long before their time.