|Books of the Book of Mormon|
Fourth Nephi is one of the books of the Book of Mormon. Its full title is Fourth Nephi: The Book of Nephi, Who Is the Son of Nephi, One of the Disciples of Jesus Christ. The "Fourth Nephi" part of the title was added by Orson Pratt, in 1879.
Fourth Nephi is one of the shorter books in the Book of Mormon, containing only a single chapter, but it covers almost three centuries of the history of the Nephites and the Lamanites (ca AD 35 to 321).
The book describes the period of time immediately following the visit of Jesus Christ to the Book of Mormon peoples, in which time the Nephites and the Lamanites are all converted to the Church of Christ. They lived in peace for almost two hundred years, and, according to the record, "surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God" (4 Ne. 1:16). During this time the distinction between the Lamanites and Nephites disappears: "neither were there Lamanites, nor any manner of -ites; but they were in one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God" (4 Ne. 1:17).
However, about AD 200 small contentions arise and the people begin to be divided, ultimately leading to a "great division". The people are once again divided into Nephites and Lamanites, and although the Nephites remain righteous longer than the Lamanites, by AD 300, "both the people of Nephi and the Lamanites had become exceedingly wicked one like unto another" (4 Ne. 1:45).
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