If you study the Old Testament and the Book of Mormon, there is a definite pattern to history.
- Nations keep the word of God and grow strong.
- In their strength, they become arrogant, and begin to fall away from God.
- Nations who turn away from God falter and decline.
- Those who survive rebuild the nation on the Word of God.
You can interpret this as a cycle of reward and punishment, but I think it’s more simple than that. The Word of God is Truth, and when you follow the truth, you do the common-sensical things that build great nations… hard work, self-denial, strong families.
When a nation gets fat, lazy, and stupid, they start doing self-destructive things because they think they are rich enough to get away with continual self-gratification. But that can not continue indefinitely, and so the nation falls. And those who have the virtues of hard work, self-denial, and family ties are best positioned to rebuild.