Mosiah II's people were very anxious to learn about the civilization that had been destroyed and whose records King Limhi's men had found among the ruins. So the king, who was also a seer, set about translating the gold plates by means of two stones which were fastened into the rims of a bow—this was the same Urim and Thummim that had been used by Moriancumr of the Jaredites and would one day be used by Joseph Smith.
When he had finished translating the records, the people learned of the Jaredites from the time of the Tower of Babel up to the utter destruction of their civilization in America. What they learned caused the people to mourn greatly and be filled with sorrow, and yet it also gave them much knowledge which they rejoiced about.
When Mosiah II became old, he convinced his people that having kings was too dangerous. While a righteous king like Benjamin is great, he said, a wicked king like Noah is a disaster. He proposed instead a form of democracy in which judges would be elected by popular vote. And so the people elected judges, and Alma the Younger, who was the high priest, was appointed the first chief judge.
• Mosiah 29:5-42
• Welch, John W. "They Came from Jerusalem: Some Old World Perspectives on the Book of Mormon". Ensign: The Magazine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, September 1976.
• Firmage, Edwin Brown. "Eternal Principles of Government: A Theological Approach". Ensign: The Magazine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, June 1976.
After Mosiah II and Alma the Elder died, Alma the Younger became a righteous judge and there was peace in the land. But in his first year as judge, a large, strong man named Nehor began going among the people preaching what he claimed was the word of God. He told the people not to fear because Jesus would save them all and no one would be damned to hell.
Nehor was so popular that he established his own church. He began to be prideful, and taught that priests shouldn't have to work, and that the people should support them. And with all the money people gave him, he began wearing very expensive outfits.
One day as Nehor was on his way to preach, he got into an argument with Gideon who had been God's instrument in rescuing King Limhi's people from Lamanite servitude. Gideon spoke the words of God to Nehor, but Nehor became angry. He drew his sword and stuck at Gideon. Gideon was too old to withstand the blows, and was killed by the sword.
Nehor was brought before Alma to be judged, and Alma sentenced him to death, saying, "You have killed a righteous man, and if we were to spare your life, a vengeance would come upon us." So they brought Nehor to the top of the hill Manti, and there he acknowledged that what he had taught was contrary to the word of God, and then he suffered a disgraceful death.
The people prospered and became rich, but this did not put an end to the preaching of false doctrine in the land. And those who were not members of the church indulged themselves in sorceries, idolatry, laziness, babbling, pride, lying, thieving, robbing, murdering, whoredoms, and all kinds of wickedness.
Four years later, one of Nehor's followers, a learned and clever man named Amlici became very popular. His followers wanted him to become king over all the people and to destroy the church. They could not win a popular vote, so they declared their allegiance to Amlici as their king, armed themselves, and prepared to take control of Zarahemla by force.
Alma the Younger armed his people with swords, scimitars, bows and arrows, slings, and all kinds of weapons, and lead the Nephites in battle against the Amlicites on the hill Amnihu, and Jesus strengthened the power of the Nephites. In a terrible slaughter, 12,532 Amlicites and 6,562 Nephites died in a single day.
Amlici and the surviving Amlicites fled to a land called Minon where they joined with a Lamanite army that was as numerous as sands of the seashore. Their combined forces then came to attack Zarahemla, attacking the Nephite army at the river Sidon. Having prayed mightily to Jesus to rescue them from their enemies, Jesus strengthened the Nephites and they killed many Lamanites and Amlicites.
Alma the Younger and Amlici fought face to face with their swords, and Alma cried out, "O Jesus, spare my life that I may be an instrument in your hands to rescue and preserve this people." And after saying this he was strengthened so much that he killed Amlici with his sword. Alma then fought with the king of the Lamanites as well, but the Lamanites fled from Alma's army.
To continue pursuing the Lamanites on the other side of the river, Alma had the his men collect the bodies of the Lamanites and throw them into the river until the Nephite army was able to cross on a bridge of stacked corpses. When they had all crossed the river, the Lamanites and Amlicites began to flee even though they were so numerous they could not be numbered. And the Nephites pursued them, killing them.
The Lamanites were chased off until they were scattered into a wilderness that was infested with wild, ravenous beasts. Many of them died there of their wounds and were devoured by wild beasts and vultures, and their bones were left heaped in piles across the land.