“This Is the Thing That I Desire of Thee”

Bryan Richards

Missionaries learn and train to master the commitment pattern—a key element in successful missionary work. This is the way in which the investigator is challenged to repent, study, and eventually be baptized. The commitment pattern involves teaching a principle, the Word of Wisdom for example, and then inviting the investigator to commit to keep the specific commandment.

Ammon uses the commitment pattern in a brilliant way. He knows that he has Lamoni in the palm of his hand. Lamoni is so impressed that he would do anything to know about Ammon’s remarkable powers. Ammon, being wise, took this opportunity to have Lamoni make a commitment to believe before Ammon has even begun to teach. Lamoni replies, Yea, I will believe all thy words. And thus he was caught with guile. Mormon says that Lamoni was caught with guile, but by that he means that Ammon’s strategic use of the commitment pattern has Lamoni with one foot in the waters of baptism before he has taught a single principle. Truly, Ammon was wise and Lamoni was a “golden investigator.” But Ammon deserves the credit for developing a relationship of trust, preparing his investigator, and using the commitment pattern.