“I Will Not Slay Ammon”

George Reynolds, Janne M. Sjodahl

Lamoni's refusal to obey his father's command was a definite, "No!" His determination not to kill his best friend reveals to our senses the real change that had come into Lamoni's heart. He was willing to incur his father's wrath to protect the innocent. Before Ammon's visit, Lamoni exhibited all those qualities which mark the savage breast, or which fixed a life without God. He was proud and haughty, cruel and overbearing, superstitious and irrational; his word was law. But now he was gentle and considerate, firm in keeping the commandments of God; prostrating himself on the ground, as also did the queen, showing the lowliness of their hearts. To prostrate oneself before the Majesty on High is in itself a recognition of God's greatness and the nothingness of man.

"I will go to the Land of Middoni," was Lamoni's deliberate and reasoned judgment which was made more unmistakable by his conviction that Ammon's brethren were men of God. He could be of assistance in securing their release from prison. Of that he was sure! The thought of their sufferings urged Lamoni on.

Lamoni was not defiant of the king's wishes, but, nevertheless, was resolute in the decision he had made. He chose to serve God, not man, even though it might cost all he held dear. You must remember that the king who was Lamoni's father, was like his son, proud and arrogant; Lamoni's refusal to obey his command was, in itself, the king thought, an injury to his royal merit. His command was the law. He commanded kings, and they obeyed. However, Lamoni was immovable. Uncontrolled rage upset the old king's paternal instincts. In the blind fury of his anger he turned upon his own son. To Ammon's horror he sought to kill him, and if Ammon had not interposed himself between father and son, the father might have carried out his diabolical intention. Little used to controversy, much less to direct opposition, the king, notwithstanding Ammon's defense of his son, was not softened by his interference.

Savagely, the old king now made Ammon the special target of his wrath. He sought to slay the protector of Lamoni, thinking, no doubt, that thereby he would rid his son of Ammon's baleful influence. But youth, strength, dexterity with the sword, and above all, the protecting care of the Lord, were with Ammon, who thereupon struck the king's sword-arm so heavy a blow that it fell useless at his side.

Realizing that he was now in the power of the man whom he had so foully abused, to save his own life, the aged king made abundant promises to Ammon. He offered even half of his kingdom.

Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 3