“Ammon and Aaron, and Omner, and Himni, and Their Brethren Did Rejoice Exceedingly”

George Reynolds, Janne M. Sjodahl

... Near the conclusion of their great mission to the Lamanites, when the results of their labors were plainly seen, and a bounteous harvest of them that loved the Lord was gathered into His store, the missionaries with one accord gave thanks unto God for the good they had done and praised His Holy Name for the blessings they had received from His bounteous hands. For nearly fourteen years they had toiled in the Lord's Vineyard, and now the harvest was great. As they came together many tears were shed for the righteous who had been slain, but through all the afflictions which at times seemed almost to overwhelm them, they discerned God's divine blessing and in it all, God's providential care.

The great good which they had accomplished, and the many souls that by their labors had been brought unto Christ, reminded them of their supplications to Him and His answer thereto: "And it came to pass that they journeyed many days in the wilderness, and they fasted much and prayed much that the Lord would grant unto them a portion of His Spirit to go with them, and abide with them, that they might be an instrument in the hands of God to bring, if it were possible, their brethren, the Lamanites, to the knowledge of the truth, to the knowledge of the baseness of the traditions of their fathers, which were not correct. And it came to pass that the Lord did visit them with His Spirit, and said unto them: Be comforted. And they were comforted. And the Lord said unto them also: Go forth among the Lamanites, thy brethren, and establish my word; yet ye shall be patient in long-suffering and afflictions, that ye may show forth good examples unto them in Me, and I will make an instrument of thee in My hands unto the Salvation of many souls." (Alma 17:9-11) This promise the Lord had fulfilled. He had "verified His word unto them in every particular."

So far as we can gather from the records, the great mission of Ammon and his brethren to the Lamanites was productive of results new in the history of the Nephites. On many previous occasions dissenters from the latter had gone over to the Lamanites, until that nation consisted of a mixed race. But the Nephite people appear to have been, almost without exception, the literal descendants of the first founders of the monarchy, Nephi, Sam, Jacob, Joseph, and Zoram, and of the people of Mulek who were found by Mosiah I dwelling in Zarahemla. But now we will see where a large body of Lamanites was incorporated in the Nephite nation and became partakers of the liberties accorded to all other citizens. As the history of both nations proceeds, the original distinctions of descent become less and less observable, as defections from both peoples were constantly occurring, so that in process of time a Nephite was not so much a literal descendant of Lehi's greatest son, as he was one who recognized the Nephite government, also one who was an observer of the Law of Moses and a believer in the Gospel of Christ. While a Lamanite was he who dwelt in the dominions of that people; one who rejected the Law of Moses, and also the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and adopted the false traditions of that race.

Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 3