“7 Oh, that I could have had my days in the days when my father Nephi first came out of the land of Jerusalem, that I could have joyed with him in the promised land; then were his people easy to be entreated, firm to keep the commandments of God, and slow to be led to do iniquity; and they were quick to hearken unto the words of the Lord–
8 Yea, if my days could have been in those days, then would my soul have had joy in the righteousness of my brethren.
9 But behold, I am consigned that these are my days, and that my soul shall be filled with sorrow because of this the wickedness of my brethren.”
It’s easy to give oneself over to longing for a past glory day. It is easy to imagine that things would have been easier in decades past. Or to think that people were righteous or easy to be entreated.
And there may even be some truth to this. Mainstream culture and gospel values had a long period of overlap which has coincided with great church growth and improved standing. And when I read of restoration era America, I am shocked by the degree to which even the poor and poorly educated were biblically literate. In some ways, we have fallen from a great heyday.
But our days offer their own unique opportunities and challenges. We can communicate with people from around the world instantly. We can gain great knowledge from the treasured works of history in the palm of our hands. We are living in an era of incredible potential.
And lest we forget, that same biblically literate populace murdered a prophet. The ‘righteous’ people of Nephi’s day rebelled and was tempted by whoredoms. There have been righteous and wicked people in every generation.
Wherever we find our selves, or whenever, we must act our part. We must do whatever good we can where we have been placed. We must, to quote President Uchtdorf, lift where we stand. It won’t do to lament a halcyon past. We must improve the present and build a better future.