Ammoron, Brother of Amalickiah

Ed J. Pinegar, Richard J. Allen

According to Teancum, the burden of responsibility for the enormous destruction caused by the Lamanites during the lengthy conflict from around 74 BC to around 56 BC can be laid at the feet of just two of the Lamanite generals: “He considered that Ammoron, and Amalickiah his brother, had been the cause of this great and lasting war between them and the Lamanites, which had been the cause of so much war and bloodshed, yea, and so much famine” (Alma 62:35). For that reason, Teancum steals into the tent of Ammoron one night around 60 BC and dispatches him with a javelin thrust near the heart, just as he has done to his predecessor, Amalickiah (Alma 51:33–34). Unfortunately, the guards had been alerted in time by the king, and they kill Teancum, much to the sorrow of Moroni and his compatriots.

In the contrast of opposites are defined the principles leading to the triumph of good over evil. On the one hand we have the figures of Amalickiah and his brother, Ammoron, a “bold Lamanite” of Zoramite lineage (Alma 54:23), who succeeds him as Lamanite general around 66 BC and carries on the vicious carnage characteristic of their military strategy. On the other hand we have the figures of nobility, including Moroni, commander of the Nephite armies, Helaman, high priest and commander of the two thousand stripling warriors, Nephite generals such as Teancum and Lehi, and Pahoran, chief judge and governor in Zarahemla.

During the long years of military intrigue and conflict, Ammoron, like his brother, refuses to accept the correctness of the Nephite cause, claiming instead that the Lamanites are in the right. He proclaims: “For behold, your fathers [i.e., the original Nephites] did wrong their brethren, insomuch that they did rob them of their right to the government when it rightly belonged unto them” (Alma 54:17). As such, Ammoron swears in his wrath to “wage a war which shall be eternal, either to the subjecting the Nephites to our authority or to their eternal extinction” (Alma 54:20). Thus the conflict takes on epic proportions, a microcosm of the enduring battle between good and evil inaugurated with the revolt and expulsion of Lucifer and his angels from the premortal realm. In the case of the Nephite/Lamanite battles during the time of Moroni, the forces of evil are defeated, and “there [is] once more peace established among the people of Nephi” (Alma 62:42).

We can see Ammoron as a prototype of godlessness against which the forces of righteousness eventually prevail because of the stalwart leadership of people such as Moroni: “Yea, and [Moroni] was a man who was firm in the faith of Christ, and he had sworn with an oath to defend his people, his rights, and his country, and his religion, even to the loss of his blood” (Alma 48:13). With Ammoron, as with the other villains of the Book of Mormon, we have the portrayal of darkness against which the light of the gospel comes into clear view.

Commentaries and Insights on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 2