“We Will Be Their Slaves”

Brant Gardner

King Anti-Nephi-Lehi agrees to obey Yahweh’s direction but still expresses concern about their possible standing with the Nephites. He and his people are so vividly conscious of their sin that they are creating a distance between themselves and the Nephites. He therefore suggests that his people will become slaves until the debt to the Nephites is fulfilled.

This offer of enslavement tells us that, while slavery is expressly not a part of Nephite culture (Mosiah 2:13), it is nevertheless a cultural option. Earlier, Limhi had also suggested that his people could become slaves to the Nephites (Mosiah 7:15). Both kings were in the land of Nephi when they made this offer, strongly suggesting that slavery was common in Lamanite lands, particularly in the land of Nephi. And certainly, slavery was a well-documented practice in Mesoamerica.

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