The Nephites, again falling to the pride cycle (see earlier post about the pride cycle), become enveloped in their riches and prosperity. As they lose their humility, Satan constantly tempts them and does all in his power in the "stirring up of the people to do all manner of iniquity" and wickedness. Just as he does to people today, Satan worked to make the people think that power, authority, and wealth were what really mattered, or in other words, "the vain things of the world" (3 Nephi 6:15). As this pride and vanity consumed the people, they were led to follow the temptations of Satan more and more. But, these people did not "sin ignorantly", because they had been taught and knew what God wanted for them, but still turned away from it. The Nephites did "willfully rebel against God" (3 Nephi 6:18).
Every person is given the gift of discerning right from wrong, known as the Light of Christ. This is an influence for good and directs what many call our "conscience." Everyone knows that pressing and persistent feeling of going against what you feel to be right. But, through the influence of Satan, we often rationalize away this innate feeling and direction with our individual circumstances. We may think that we are an exception to a rule in a particular instance, or may justify that since everyone else seems to be doing something, it must be alright for you to as well. Satan would have us believe as we are faced with a sinful choice that it is a normal and acceptable, even good thing to do. We must fight these prideful rationalizations, and recognize the truth and light that comes from the Spirit of God to direct us towards righteousness, avoiding willful rebellion at all costs.