“in the seventh year, you shall let him go free from you …”
“be your servant forever”
That is right. Eight years in the wilderness. Anyone who stayed, went from a seven year hitch to a permanent slave under the law. The entire household, except for the masters, became property. That could well be part of the events in the wilderness that later descendants would remember as their losing their rights and being led away to be made slaves in the wilderness.
Which makes it possible that when Nephi goes to build a boat and labor is withheld from him, the labor is not the personal labor of two of his brothers, but the labor of their share of the servants and slaves. That takes a step back, so that rather than going to work every day on the boat and suddenly realizing it is a quality piece of workmanship, which causes a temporary change of heart, they are withdrawn and go down to look at it one day and are astounded. Also note that when Nephi goes to build the boat he doesn’t ask his father for any input. There was a definite transition in the broken bow incident. Nephi has fired an arrow made by his own hands over the land and claimed leadership over the people.
Back to the ship, how big was that ship? Large enough to hold a dance on the deck. No wonder it was a wonder of a sort the brothers had never seen before.
Then, when they get to the new world, and Nephi leaves his brothers behind, he takes a listed group and an “all the rest” sort of group … he is decamping with a significant portion of the servants and slaves. If he had just taken off by himself do you really think his brothers would have missed him or cared?
Which leads to Jacob in the temple. Just how many people do you need to have in a group before some of the elite having extra wives or mistresses is something they could keep from their primary wives and children? Especially if they had by this time become a foreign elite dominating or interacting with a large group of natives, then the sermon makes sense. You have men who have native families on the side. A community of thousands makes that situation make sense, with men in the elite numbering at least a hundred and allowing scores of them to be participating in the sin Jacob is addressing.
By this time the Nephites are very possibly already submerged in the native environment, acting as an outside colonizing elite. Use that for a perspective that takes us through to Mosiah, and you have a completely different look at the Book of Mormon, especially if the “Lamanites” are doing the same thing.
This is actually the proper foundation to start applying the tools of deconstruction to the Book of Mormon. It is a way to see the Nephites as colonizers, part of a larger group of colonizers, with Lehi as a politician rather than a caravaner and his sons having been trained to the same trade. The roots of Nephi claiming kingship in the wilderness in the incident of the broken bow (with later generations complaining about it), of bondservants becoming slaves (with later generations complaining about it) and native peoples becoming second class citizens (at least as a source of concubines, and with later generations complaining about it).
You can also look at Jacob’s sermon (with a later reprise by Samuel) as setting the theme that prosperity does not equal holiness and the approval of God and that the Lamanites are not inferior, regardless of their appearance and lack of culture (and we will later see multiple groups of Lamanites with differences in sophistication, remembering that the term generally means everyone who is not a Nephite).
It is an entirely different book read from that perspective with all sorts of nuances suddenly having meaning and significance rather than just being odd bits of texture. There is a lot to be gained from taking the Book of Mormon as true and then reading the text against the background that is implied or consistent with the world it is set in.