“Behold, Thou Shalt Not Slay Thy Son”

Brant Gardner

As the crisis teeters on the verge of physical violence, Ammon intervenes, attempting to diffuse the situation through reason. He does not try to defend Lamoni’s choice but instead portrays the harm Lamoni’s father will do to himself. Indeed, this is the great harm of murder. The person who dies may answer for his own sins before God and has the chance to repent on the other side. However, the person who has gone to the point of being willing and able to murder has undergone a transformation of soul that is eternally damaging. (See commentary accompanying 1 Nephi 4:14–18.) It is this eternal damage that Ammon can foresee and against which he warns the king.

Second Witness: Analytical & Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 4