strtoupper('“T')hey Took Upon Themselves the Name of Nephi”

This verse suggests some of the detail missing from our account. Amulon’s children have not earlier been mentioned as among those who reached Zarahemla. Furthermore, Mormon neglects to tell us whether they arrived with Limhi or Alma.

If these “children of Amulon” came with Alma they would surely be the children of Amulon’s priests and the Lamanite women. However, had Amulon’s priests had children in Alma’s group before they encountered the priests, surely the reunion would have been sufficiently significant to mention, perhaps with these children playing a mediating role between the two groups. Therefore, it seems more likely that they are the priests’ children fathered in Noah’s court, then abandoned by their fleeing fathers, and hence cared for (and accompanying) Limhi’s people.

But what, exactly, were they doing? Their parents’ parents would have been among the Nephites who left Zarahemla to return to the land of Nephi. However, their political allegiance had been to Noah in a different city and cultural location. When the Amulonite children become Nephites, they not only proclaim their current political alliance but reject any possible claim to rule based on their fathers’ positions. While this point might appear moot since all of Limhi’s people were being integrated into Nephite society, retaining hereditary claims of rulership could have created divisiveness. By declaring themselves of Nephi, they wholeheartedly accept integration into their new society.

Brant Gardner -

Brant Gardner

Second Witness: Analytical & Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 3

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