Much of the early part of 3rd Nephi mirrors what we see in society today. These people were fighting terrorists, wickedness and abominations were rampant and the coming of Christ, like the second coming in our times, was just around the corner.
Under the wise leadership of Lachoneus, the people of 3rd Nephi were able to defeat terror and, through repentance, return to being a faithful people. Their experience was key:
And they knew that it must be expedient that Christ had come, because of the many signs which had been given, according to the words of the prophets; and because of the things which had come to pass already they knew that it must needs be that all things should come to pass according to that which had been spoken. (3 Nephi 5:2)
As was the case two thousand years ago, we have also been given signs that testify the words of the prophets are true. Some of these, like the restoration of the gospel through Joseph Smith or the settling of the early saints in the Salt Lake Valley, have already come to pass. As we apply the teachings of the prophets to our own lives, we are given further, personal evidence that prophets speak the word of God. Other prophecies are yet to come or yet to be fulfilled.
The Nephites of Book of Mormon times became a righteous people because they allowed what they knew to be true-- the word of the prophets-- to propel them to action. They knew, therefore...
Therefore, they did forsake all their sins, and their abominations, and their whoredoms, and did serve God with all diligence day and night. (3 Nephi 5:3)
Christ taught that, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." Like the Nephites of an earlier but similar era, we must also allow what we know to motivate our actions. This can be called the "Therefore, what?" principle. I know something, therefore what?
As you ponder over your testimony this week ahead of Fast Sunday, I invite you to follow each truth in your heart with that question-- "Therefore, what?" I know that as you do so, you will be inspired with what you should do to come closer to the Savior and better qualify for the kingdom of God.
(Therefore, I'm going to be doing it, too.)