This post is a chapter from an upcoming book that will be released on September 6, 2016.
The Book of Helaman tells us what happened in Nephite society in the years leading up to the first coming of the Lord.
It parallels events leading up to the second coming.
Chapter 3 describes a sequence of events that reflect what is happening in our day.
The chapter starts out with no contention among the people, except for a little pride in the church that caused some “little dissensions among the people, which affairs were settled in the ending of the forty and third year.”
We can compare that to the early days of the Church, when “some little dissensions” led people out of the Church. But the Church survived and thrived, for the most part, for over a hundred years. Not without challenges to overcome, but the progress of the Church was steady.
Then, verse 3 says in the forty and sixth year, “there was much contention and many dissensions.” People left the church and the land of Zarahemla; “there were an exceedingly great many who departed.”
Verse 17 says the people left “after there had been great contentions, and disturbances.”
I think we can relate this to Book of Mormon geography and historicity. Joseph Fielding Smith even invoked this terminology when he said the two-Cumorah theory caused members to become disturbed in their faith.
Notice the contention continued for a few years, but then they “began to cease” in the latter end of the forty and eighth year. In the forty and ninth year, there was continual peace.
Verse 24: “And it came to pass that in this same year there was exceedingly great prosperity in the church, insomuch that there were thousands who did join themselves unto the church and were baptized unto repentance.”
Now, look at what happened as a result of eliminating the contention:
25. “And so great was the prosperity of the church, and so many the blessings which were poured out upon the people, that even the high priests and the teachers were themselves astonished beyond measure.”
I think this is what will happen as members of the Church eliminate contention about Book of Mormon geography and reach unity on the basic teaching from Oliver and Joseph that the Hill Cumorah was in New York.
Source: Book of Mormon Concensus