“Fearing He Should Lose His Life”

Brant Gardner

Textual: The result of this episode is perhaps clouded by the modern language in which it is couched. The response of the king is made to appear as a plea for his life. The reality when seen against the backdrop of a Mesoamerican culture is slightly different. The vanquishing of a king led to the toppling of that king’s political power base. When Lamoni offers Ammon half of his kingdom, this is perhaps a ploy to give Ammon less than is his right. Ammon could easily have the entire kingdom. This is no small thing, as this is the over-king over multiple cities. What Ammon is being offered at the least is control over certain cities, and the tribute pertaining to the over-king of those cities.

Ammon is not interested in power or wealth, and so his only request is to accomplish the task which he had begun when the over-king was met on the road.

Multidimensional Commentary on the Book of Mormon