“If Thou Wilt Tell Me Concerning These Things”

George Reynolds, Janne M. Sjodahl

The king was now setting himself free from the mental disturbances that but a short time before had undone the severe mode of his life. Until Ammon came in upon the scene, Lamoni commanded, where now he begged; the king now offered what beforetime he took. He wanted to buy, much as we do common merchandise, the power that rested in Ammon. The king offered to give him anything he desired if only Ammon would disclose to the king the hidden source of his overwhelming strength. All the king's servants, even his armies to guard him, were promised Ammon for complying with the king's request. Lamoni wanted that same power.

In the Acts of the Apostles, Luke records an incident which, in many ways, is similar to the one enacted here. On the Day of Pentecost there were assembled in Jerusalem men from every nation under heaven. Devout worshipers from far and near came there to celebrate the feast. Some had even come to make merry, and still others to buy and to sell, all for purposes of their own and all in pursuit of their own happiness. There were Medes and Persians, dwellers from Mesopotamia and from Egypt. While this great throng of foreign Jews was gathered there, the Spirit of the Lord came down upon the Apostles, and they declared in the tongue of every man there, the Glad Tidings of the Gospel.

And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?

For they had heard spoken the wonderful works of God. They wanted the same power that they, too, might declare in diverse languages His Great Name. We imagine that some even wanted to buy it. But Peter, standing up with others of the Apostles, told them of the day spoken of by Joel, also by David, to whom God had sworn that "of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, He would raise up Christ to sit on his throne."

This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.

Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their hearts, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the Apostles,

Men and brethren, what shall we do?

Meaning, no doubt, if we cannot obtain it by purchase or by management, how then shall we gain its possession? Then Peter, spurning their offer of gold and other emoluments, said:

Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

As we have noted, Lamoni, like the Jews on the Day of Pentecost, wanted the gifts of the Spirit. He, like them, understood little of its workings. They thought by gold and silver they could buy it; he, likewise, offered anything he had to Ammon in return that he reveal the hidden treasure. "Whatsoever thou desirest I will give unto thee," was Lamoni's bid.

Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 3