In 73 BC, Alma the Younger said to his son Helaman, "I have a prophecy to tell you. Four hundred years after Jesus appears to them, the Nephites will go extinct from wars, disease, famine, and bloodshed. This will happen because their wickedness will reach a critical threshold after which God will destroy them."
After Alma had said this, he blessed his son and then departed from the land of Zarahemla and was never heard from again. No one knows anything about the death or burial of this righteous man. Some say he was taken up by the Spirit. Others say he was buried by the hand of Jesus, just as Moses was.
Helaman went out among the Nephites to reestablish the church in the land, but there was a spirit of dissent among the people who had become prideful in their riches. They became furious at Helaman and his brothers and wanted to kill them. This group was lead by a big, strong man named Amalickiah who wanted to be their king.
Many of the lower judges in the land supported Amalickiah, having been promised positions of power in his kingdom. By his cunning and words of flattery, he led many others astray, causing many to do wicked things. Amalickiah wanted to destroy the church of God and destroy the Nephites' liberty that God had given them as a blessing for the sake of the righteous.
When Moroni heard what Amalickiah was doing, he was angry with him. He gathered together all those who had gladly taken the name of Christ upon them—the Christians, and they vowed not to break the commandments of God. And Moroni gathered all those who wanted to maintain their liberty, and they marched under a banner of liberty against the Amalickiahites.
Seeing that his armies were outnumbered and were not completely committed to his cause, Amalickiah gathered his most loyal supporters and headed for the lands of the Lamanites. Moroni, who did not want the Lamanites to become any stronger, tried to cut them off and put Amalickiah to death. Although Moroni's men captured some of his followers, Amalickiah himself escaped.
The supporters of Amalickiah who remained in the lands of the Nephites were rounded up at Moroni's orders. Any of them who refused to vow to support the cause of freedom and the maintenance of a free government was put to death. Few refused to take the vow. Moroni ordered that the banner of liberty be flown from every tower in the land.
The Lamanites made Amalickiah an army commander. Being a very clever man, however, he quickly maneuvered to become second in command to the Lamanite king. Knowing that the custom of the Lamanites was to have the second-in-command made king if the king died, Amalickiah had one of his servants slowly poison the king until he was dead. Amalickiah was thusly made king of the Lamanites and married the woman who had been the previous king's wife.
There were four years of peace among the Nephites, and they were happier than at any time since arriving in America. The end of 68 BC saw the death of Nephihah who had been the second man to serve as chief judge of the Nephites. His son Pahoran then took his place, vowing to judge righteously, keep the peace, and bring the wicked to justice.
Soon afterward there was disunity in the land. A faction known as the king-men wanted to dethrone Pahoran because he refused their demands to alter the laws to end free government and establish a king over the land. Those in favor of monarchy were the Nephites of high birth who wanted to become kings and sought power and authority over the people.
By 67 BC, Amalickiah was preparing the Lamanite armies to attack the Nephites, for he had vowed that he would drink Moroni's blood. Aware of this impending attack, Moroni sought permission from Pahoran to put to death any king-men who refused to defend their country. Granted this permission, Moroni brought his army against the king-men, and all who lifted up their arms to fight them were slaughtered—4,000 in all.
Meanwhile Amalickiah's army of Lamanites entered the Nephite lands and took possession of many cities. Their advance was headed off by a Nephite army under a commander named Teancum. The two armies battled all day and until it became dark. Then, while the Lamanites had pitched their tents for the night, Teancum sneaked into their camp and put a javelin through the heart of Amalickiah, killing him instantly without waking his servants.