For behold, it came to pass that the Zoramites became Lamanites …
At the beginning of the war chapters, this sentence breaks my heart. These Zoramites used to be members of the Church. They had the blessings of the gospel in their lives. But they slipped incrementally, changing the Lord’s teachings and expectations to their own. They took prayer and worship and prosperity and twisted it to meet their ends. They shunned the voice of the living prophet who was laboring diligently to teach them repentance and the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
The ones who would listen, changed their hearts, repented, and left. But the majority of the Zoramites became Lamanites.
It’s such a slow and gradual decline into losing the spirit. Gospel principles that may have seemed clear to them at one point became clouded the more they veered off the path.
To them, it probably didn’t seem like a loss. I’m sure they thought they were enlightened and had the right of it. But they were, in fact, moving toward darkness.
The caution is real for every single one of us. It’s not a concern if we recognize what leads to “becoming Lamanites”—trusting in our own understanding, justifying behavior, etc. If we are diligent in living as the Lord commands, then we are safe.