“He Expounded Unto Them All the Records and Scriptures”

Bryan Richards

After answering Lamoni's question about God and the source of his power, Ammon starts from the beginning and teaches Lamoni everything from the beginning. This is a great example because the more an investigator understands before baptism, the less likely he will be to falter later on. Ammon is cultivating the growth of deep roots so that Lamoni won't be like the seed which fell among stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended (Matt 13:20-21).

"Ammon's teaching methods were not elaborate or excessive. He started on Lamoni's level with questions about very basic gospel principles. He then explained the doctrines of the plan of salvation the Creation and the Fall--expounded the scriptures of ancient history, and finished with the plan of redemption. He used the scriptures from both the Old and New Worlds as his basic source (Alma 18:36-39). Ammon's straightforward doctrinal approach calls to mind President J. Reuben Clark, Jr.'s comment about how not to teach our spiritually alert youth, 'There is no need for gradual approaches, for 'bed-time' stories, for coddling, for patronizing, or for any of the other childish devices'. If Ammon could teach doctrine from the scriptures to a wicked Lamanite who barely knew God existed, surely students in modern Zion deserve to be taught in the same way." (Book of Mormon Symposium Series, "Alma, the Test of the Word,"edited by PR Cheesman, MS Nyman, and CD Tate, Jr., 1988, p. 269)
"What do you teach a person who has no knowledge of God or the gospel and yet has consented to listen and believe? Where do you start? What principles do you emphasize? The way in which Ammon taught King Lamoni constitutes a classic response to such questions. Ammon taught him what we have come to know as the three pillars of eternity-the Creation, the Fall, and the Atonement. These three doctrines, which are inseparably associated one with the other, constitute the foundation upon which all other gospel principles must rest." (McConkie and Millet, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 3, p. 135)

Joseph Smith

"When you climb up a ladder, you must begin at the bottom, and ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top; and so it is with the principles of the Gospel-you must begin with the first, and go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation" (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 348).