Leading up to the Savior’s appearance, which ushers in a great high point, you have the low point of the Gadiantons destroying the government. You have the righteousness following the Sign of His birth. Before that the imminent massacre of the righteous. And so it goes. I’ve wondered what the lesson there are for us in that.
One the one hand, I think we’re in that descent into wickedness which parallels the Nephites' path before the destruction immediately preceding the Savior’s appearance. We need to be mentally ready for the long haul. Several years ago, Elder Packer said in a conference talk we live in times where our children and theirs can experience joy, but in a wicked world.
One the other hand our lives I think are like the sine wave too. As we mature, so does our understanding and the consequences of our choices for good or bad increase over time. Mistakes as a child don’t carry the consequences of mistakes as a teenage youth. And those mistakes don’t carry the consequences of those of an adult.
The Prophet Joseph once made the observation about people’s life choices. He said most are content to live in the valleys where the path undulates. It never gets bad, but neither do they ascend the spiritual heights to see the true grandeur and majesty of God. But for those hardy souls who choose to ascend the heights, they will see great things — at the cost of great risk and severe trials. Nephi saw the Lord. Yet he also dealt with his brothers, Laban, the Arabian peninsula and an ocean. Alma had a war, Ammonihah, and the Zoramites. Mormon and Moroni both had a war and Cumorah. Abinadi, Noah’s court. Even the Savior had Gethsemane and Golgotha. Should we expect less?
Put another way, any athlete will tell you, you pay a price to become great. Spiritual growth is no different -- especially today.