Knowing that he would have had no chance to receive a respectful hearing from Lamoni when he first came into his land, Ammon had agreed to be his servant. This pleased the king and created the opportunity for Ammon to manifest the power of his God in defense of Lamoni’s shepherds and flocks.
The miracle of strength and power of protection granted him created the opportunity for him to teach King Lamoni the gospel. This is similar to the pattern followed by Christ in his ministry. He too came as the humble servant, performing miracles to bless the common people and create the opportunity to be heard by them.
“For the Purpose”
Though a trance is not sufficient proof of true religion, it certainly does not militate against it, as the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, and the Book of Mormon attest. It is of interest that the false prophet Shemaiah wrote to the priest Zephaniah, charging him to keep the temple a house of order by putting the mad prophets in prison and in stocks.
His reference to mad prophets is understood to have been directed to those prophets who claimed authority through some ecstasy or trance. His purpose in so doing was to have the prophet Jeremiah imprisoned, it being well known that Jeremiah made claim to such experienced (See Jeremiah 29:26-27.)
“The Purpose of Burying Their Dead”
We read of Ezekiel being transported by the Spirit to Tell-abib, near the river Chebar, where he apparently remained in a trance for seven days. At the end of that period the word of the Lord came to him. (See Ezekiel 3:14-17.) (The appropriate word to describe his state seems most difficult to find.
For instance, the King James Version renders it “astonished”; the New English Bible, “dumbfounded”; the Jersualem Bible, “stunned”; the Moffat, “overwhelmed.”) The “hand of the Lord” falls on him, and he sees the “visions of God,” hears the voice of the Almighty, is “lifted up between the earth and the heaven,” and passes from the river of Chebar to the Lord’s house in Jerusalem (Ezekiel 8:1-3).
“Take His Body”
In the context of the New Testament we read that Peter “fell into a trance, and saw the heaven opened,” whereupon the revelation of matchless importance was given which extended the blessings of the gospel to Gentiles as well as to Jews (see Acts 10:10-11; see also Acts 11:5). And it is significant that Paul, the great missionary to the Gentiles, received his call to that labor in a similar state. “While I prayed in the temple,” he testified, “I was in a trance; and saw [the Lord] saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me.... And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.” (Acts 22:7, 21.)
Paul’s writings suggest that he had other experiences of like nature. “I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord,” he said. “I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) how that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for man to utter.” (2 Corinthians 12:1-4.)