“Amalickiah Assembles a Great Army”

Monte S. Nyman

Another national problem arises its ugly head—conscientious objectors and draft dodgers. These men were not like the Lamanite converts who buried their weapons of war as a covenant to God rather than harm another person. That covenant was based on past experiences of which they had repented and didn’t want to risk returning to their sins (see Alma 24). The king-men wanted to overthrow the government of freedom (Alma 51:5). They refused to defend their country, and rejoiced over the Lamanites coming to battle (v. 13). The cause of their destruction hitherto (v. 16) is not specified but contention is always caused by Satan, “the father of contention” (3 Nephi 11:29). A study of previous encounters will show his presence always.

Moroni’s petition was not to kill whoever chose not to fight. Notice that there was not time for a trial (Alma 51:19). Five years later, the men of Pachus, also king-men, “received their trial, according to the law” and those who would “fight against [their country], were put to death.” This action was taken “for the safety of their country” (Alma 62:9–10). In a similar situation today, the same action may be justified. Notice also that the dissenters were given the choice to defend their country or be put to death (Alma 51:15). Moroni’s actions put an end to the king-men and to the stubbornness and pride of those “who professed the blood of nobility” (v. 21).

Book of Mormon Commentary: The Record of Alma