“As Many as Were Convinced”

Brant Gardner

This brief description parallels the events surrounding the Anti-Nephi-Lehi conversion (Alma 23:6–7). Significantly, this mass conversion took the same basic shape as the first, especially in renouncing weapons. (See commentary accompanying Alma 24:15–16.) In contrast, converted Nephites did not seem similarly prompted to renounce war. I therefore argue that this renunciation is of the Lamanite cult of war, symbolized by rejecting weapons. (See commentary accompanying Alma 24:9–11.) These Lamanite converts were giving up a competing religion—one that emphasized war. Thus, laying down their weapons symbolized their rejection of the Lamanite religion and acceptance of Nephite religion.

The “tradition of the fathers” is almost Nephite code for Lamanite ways and beliefs. Mormon is explaining that these Lamanites rejected their cultural and religious heritage and adopted the Nephite religion. However, there is no change in their political status. The Anti-Nephi-Lehies emigrated to Nephite lands, became Nephite, and adopted a new name (the people of Ammon). These converts have a new religion but remain Lamanite in location and political affiliation.

Second Witness: Analytical & Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 5