Mulekites, Reign of Judges, Lamanites


The period from the end of the seventeenth year of the reign of the judges to the beginning of the nineteenth year was a particularly unstable time in the history of the Nephite people. The amount of text Mormon devotes to it reveals the importance of this time period in their history. The crises that emerged during this time affected every Nephite, but they did not arise out of a vacuum. Instead, a number of prior social forces were at work and created an environment from which the tensions could find full form. This paper focuses on three primary forces: (1) the creation of a new political system (judgeship rather than kingship) and its relationship with the church, (2) the reemergence of political and social power among the Mulekite majority, and (3) the immigration of the Anti-Nephi-Lehies.

Original Publication Citation

Belnap, D. "'And It Came to Pass ...': The Sociopolitical Events In the Book of Mormon Leading to the Eighteenth Year of the Reign of the Judges." Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 23 (2014): 101–39.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Journal of Book of Mormon Studies




Religious Education


Ancient Scripture

University Standing at Time of Publication

Associate Professor