Dwindle is one of those interesting English words.

Dwindle: to become steadily less

The Book of Mormon authors are obsessed with it.  Dwindling, usually “dwindle in unbelief,” is mentioned 24 times in the Book of Mormon, and once in any other book of scripture. 

Dwindling is that slow erosion of position, never enough to be an emergency, never a crisis, until the crisis comes and you have neither the strength nor the spirit to meet it.  Dwindling is death by a thousand cuts.  In Spanish, its translated as “degenerate.”

In a way, dwindling is the opposite of enduring to the end.

For a people, dwindling seems to take two forms.  First, they stop having kids.  Second, they lose their cohesion.  They waste their strength on civil wars and suspecting each other, or when they finally get a brilliant leader like Mormon, they ignore his commands as soon as some ideological entrepeneur sees a chance to make a name for himself.

That is dwindling.

I feel for the Nephites.  A small ethnic group, surrounded by enemies and likely ruling over strangers, and never quite enough of them for security, and never quite holding on.

Continue reading at the original source →