Freemen

Nephite group vowing to defend freedom

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Freemen

During the tenure of Pahoran I as chief judge in the land, a division arose among the people in the year 67 bc concerning the laws of government then in force. A faction of people “of high birth” (Alma 51:8) wanted to institute a monarchy rather than a free government. These people, known as “king-men,” sought power and authority over the people and were opposed by those who wished to retain the status quo under Pahoran I. The latter were known as “freemen.” The freemen “had sworn or covenanted to maintain their rights and the privileges of their religion by a free government” (Alma 51:6). In a popular vote, the freemen prevailed by the voice of the people. Soon thereafter the Nephite dissenter Amalickiah came down against the Nephites at the head of a massive army of Lamanites. The king-men rejoiced and refused to obey the orders of Moroni, commander in chief, to take up arms in defense of the country. Moroni ordered them executed as traitors. Some four thousand were killed and the rest imprisoned or forced to join the freemen under the banner of the title of liberty. Over the next five years of intense military engagements, the Nephites emerged victorious, largely through the strategy of Moroni and the success of Helaman and the 2,000 stripling warriors, sons of Lamanite converts known as the “people of Ammon.” The freemen who had been displaced from Zarahemla by dissenters subscribing to the philosophy of the king-men were ultimately restored to their homes. Pahoran I, the chief judge, was restored to office. Freedom prevailed in the land and the laws of liberty were preserved (see Hel. 51–62).

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