“The Lamanites Made Preparations for War, for the Purpose of Destroying the King”

Brant Gardner

Cultural: While this verse is Mormon’s summary, it nevertheless provides a very perceptive clarification of the nature of the Lamanite attack against the Anti-Nephi-Lehies. It is very easy to see this conflict in terms of religion and prejudicial zealotry. Though there may have been some of that present, the reason for the attack was not to persecute a religion, but to “destroy.. the king.” With the conversion of the over-king, the coalition of the various city-states has dissolved, and the resulting political situation is one of disorder. Into such locations of ambiguous power, ambitious men may exert their own power, and attempt to change the political situation even further.

The attack is centered on the land of Nephi, not on Middoni or Ishmael, because Nephi is the seat of the over-king. The political coup is an attempt to supplant the king with a new one, and recapture some of the old coalition. Of course the story plays better if the Lamanites have a vendetta against the Anti-Nephi-Lehies, and that is the aspect of the story that Mormon is most anxious to tell, so he couches his story in those terms. This will be best understood when we examine Mormon’s concluding moral for this story.

Multidimensional Commentary on the Book of Mormon