And now, for the rest of (and my favorite part of) our story . . .
After Samuel left, the people pretty much stayed doing all the same things that they had been doing. The people that had decided to do the right things kept doing the right things, and the people who had chosen wickedness continued being wicked.
A few years had passed, and the prophet Nephi (who had taught all the people who had decided to change when Samuel was around) got kind of old. So, he passed all the records on to his son (whose name was also Nephi--kind of like Nephi Jr., you know?), and Nephi (Jr.) became a prophet like his father had been.
Anyway, as a few years passed, there started to be some interesting things happening in the land. There were miracles and signs, and some of the things that Samuel had told them about started to come true.
This made the righteous Nephites so happy and full of hope, but the wicked Nephites still didn't believe. In fact, they went to the righteous Nephites and made fun of them, telling them that it had already been five years, and since the day and the night and the day with no darkness hadn't happened, that it was all proof that Samuel didn't know what he was talking about.
Now, no one likes to be made fun of, and as the wicked people teased the righteous people, the righteous people started to get kind of sad and worried. They wondered if maybe Samuel had been mistaken or confused, or if they had somehow missed the sign.
But, even though they were sad, they still believed. In fact, they tried even harder to choose the right than before. AND they kept watching for the day and the night and the day with no darkness. In their hearts they just KNEW that the sign would come, and that they just needed to be patient and have faith.
So, that is what they did.
Well, what happened next was really awful. The wicked people decided that they had had enough of the righteous people and their hoping, and they decided to do something really really bad.
They looked at the calendar and chose a day--a day of destroying.
They went to the righteous Nephites and showed them the calendar. They pointed to the day of destroying and said that if the sign had not happened by that day, then every single person who had believed in and waited for the sign would be killed.
Can you believe that? Sooo terrible!
Well, when Nephi the prophet heard about this, and saw how wicked those people had become, he was really really sad and upset. He was worried for his friends and all the people who had chosen to follow Heavenly Father, and he couldn't believe that the wicked people could be so wicked.
He tried to think of something that he could do to help, and then he realized what the best thing he could do would be.
Nephi went off where he could be alone, and he knelt down, and he prayed to Heavenly Father. He prayed and prayed and prayed. You know how sometimes we pray for a little while, and then we can't think of anything more to say, or our knees start hurting, or we get thirsty, and so we stop praying?
Well, that's not how Nephi did it. He prayed all day long.
He prayed for his friends and his family and all the righteous people, all the people who were going to be killed if the sign wasn't given. He asked the Lord to bless them and protect them and help them. He asked the Lord to show them His love. He asked the Lord for a lot of things, and he told the Lord that he was grateful for all the blessings that he already had. He prayed and prayed and prayed.
And then, the most amazing thing happened.
After he had done all that praying, the voice of the Lord came to him! It was amazing! It was a miracle! It was an answer to Nephi's prayer.
And, what do you think the Lord said?
Well, I'll tell you.
"Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfill all that which I caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets."
Nephi was amazed, and so happy and filled with joy! To think that The Lord had spoken to him, and told him that He was going to be born in Bethlehem on the very next day! And then, he realized that this meant that none of the righteous people would be killed, because the sign would come before the day of destroying came. Another miracle!
And that's just how it happened.
That night, it didn't get dark at all, even though the sun went down.
The righteous Nephites were saved.
No one was killed.
And far away, across the sea, on the other side of the world, a little baby was born in a stable.
And years later, that little baby grew up, and he lived a perfect life.
He taught us how to live
He taught us how to pray
He gave us a perfect example to follow
And then, he paid for all the sins of every person who ever had lived or ever would live. He made it so we could live with Him, and with His Father.
Remember how he saved those righteous Nephites?
He saved us too.