Words of Mormon 1:16
"And after there had been false prophets, and false preachers and teachers among the people, and all these having been punished according to their crimes; and after there having been much contention and many dissensions away unto the Lamanites, behold, it came to pass that king Benjamin, with the assistance of the holy prophets who were among his people—"
Contention and dissension. People dissented away to another culture or political group. I think we may see a lot of this as our own history unfolds. I wonder what their reasoning would have been for dissenting away and going over to the Lamanites. Was it religious? Political? For reasons of "freedom"? Would the guy who claimed judgement day and the rapture would begin on May 21st 2011, and had people donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to spread the word be one of them? I'm not implying anything, I just wonder what modern day examples of this may look like. Does lack of prophecy by someone claiming to be a prophet fall into the category? Super interesting questions to think about. I don't know all the answers.
But the last part of the verse is what catches my eye the most. There were more prophets than just King Benjamin among the people! There were holy prophets, more than a few. They were among the people. There was a king and priest but also unidentified holy prophets mingling within the community, no doubt going about to spread truth, and peace. What a difference to the norms of our current society.
In our culture "The Prophet" is the President of the Church and it's pretty much unheard of for someone else to also be a prophet or a seer outside the hierarchy. Even the thought would make many people uncomfortable. Some would say such a thing does not exist because it would challenge or disrupt the leadership and authority of the President of the Church. But in King Benjamin's society they were not at odds, they worked together in harmony, it was not a competitive thing. They needed and valued each other. The other prophets would not have disrupted, or tried to overtake the authority or stewardship of the leader, who in this case was also the king. There was no jealousy, and no compromising of organizational structure, or order. They had no doubt a different calling than the King, yet were able to teach truth, and spread the Gospel with God's power and authority in accordance with the Spirit.
What wouldn't be appropriate is if someone were to establish a competing organization and set of followers that did disrupt the organization of the church or leadership. But this clearly isn't what was happening in this Book of Mormon society. (For a much deeper and more complete discussion on this topic the book "Beloved Enos" is an excellent source for the doctrine and much much more on this topic)