“Ammon Defends King Lamoni”

Monte S. Nyman

Apparently each Lamanite land had its own king, and Lamoni’s father was the head king of all the Lamanite lands. Thus, Lamoni’s refusal was more than not attending a family feast (v. 9), it was a national event. The head king’s anger over seeing Ammon with his son, and hearing their plans to go and deliver Ammon’s brethren from prison (v. 13), confirmed the initial warning to Ammon that Lamoni’s father would seek his life. However, the father asked his son to do the dastardly deed and not to go to the land of Middoni (v. 14). Lamoni’s refusal shows the depth of his conversion and his determination to be a servant in the hands of the Lord (v. 15). Ammon’s warning to the head king that his soul could not be saved if he killed his son sustains the doctrine of the law of the Church. “And now, behold, I speak unto the church. Thou shalt not kill; and he that kills shall not have forgiveness in this world, nor in the world to come” (D&C 42:18.). The Prophet Joseph Smith also said: “A murderer, for instance, one who sheds innocent blood, cannot have forgiveness” ( TPJS, 339). Ammon further warned the head king of the Lord’s justice in requiring capital punishment for vengeance (Alma 20:18). To the Church the Lord said: “And it shall come to pass, that if any persons among you shall kill they shall be delivered up and dealt with according to the laws of the land; for remember that he hath no forgiveness; and it shall be proved according to the laws of the land” (D&C 42:79).

The head king recognized that his son’s murder would be the shedding of innocent blood. This shows again the retention of some truths among the Lamanites. His attempt to blame Ammon for his son’s failure to obey him and his attempt to slay Ammon (v. 19), reflect the tradition that the king can do no wrong. Ammon again shows his superior power by crippling the older king (v. 20), thus proving he is in complete control of the situation.

Book of Mormon Commentary: The Record of Alma