George Reynolds, Janne M. Sjodahl

At the violent death of Riplakish, the people were not in a hurry to elect another king. There was an interregnum of many years. During that time the government may have been administered by a representative body elected by popular vote.

This form of government was brought to an end by an invader. Morianton, a descendant of Riplakish, entered the country at the head of an army of outcasts, overturned the administration and proclaimed himself King. He secured popularity by lightening the tax burdens, and causing general prosperity. The people became wealthy, in buildings, gold, silver, grain, flocks and herds. (Compare Ether 9:17-19) In their enthusiasm they caused him to be anointed King; that is, they conferred religious authority on him, the prerogatives of the Priesthood. But that was misplaced confidence. Morianton, as did his predecessors, surrounded himself with loose women and was "cut off from the presence of the Lord." In other words, he was deprived of the Priesthood and excommunicated. But, it seems that he continued his administration as King.

This is a remarkable example in early history of a perfect democracy and the complete separation of the church from the state, as far as their respective governments are concerned.

Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 6