This story about a man called Ammon is a continuation from the story entitled “Chastized by an Angel”.  In short, it is one where a bad guy does a 180 degree turn for the good.  Ammon leaves an image of Christian Hater behind to become an amazing missionary.  Does this sound like Saul of Tarsus in the New Testament?

They do have a few things in common.  While Ammon received a visit from an angel to help him change his ways, Saul was visited by none other than Jesus Christ.  Both Saul and Ammon gave up their careers and personal ambitions to spend the rest of their lives teaching others about the savior.  Ammon also gave up his claim to reign in the land of his people, the Nephites.  The story begins as he and his three brothers go their separate ways, proselyting among their enemies, the Lamanites.  They took courage because they knew the Lord had promised their father, the Nephite King, that He would deliver them from any harm.

As Ammon approaches a Lamanite city in the land of Ishmael, he is apprehended, thrown into prison, and is later taken before King Lamoni.  This is where a king would normally say “Off with his head, and be done with him.” But Lamoni is intrigued that a Nephite would be so bold as to approach his city, alone and unarmed.  When he inquires of Ammon’s intentions, Ammon merely states that he wishes to live with the King’s people.  Lamoni is delighted with Ammon’s answer and with Ammon’s character, so much that the King offers Ammon one of his daughters to wife.  Then Ammon does something that amazes the King: he asks rather if he can be a servant and do anything the King desires.

The King is taken back by this request and Ammon quickly begins to gain his favor.  One of the first things the King has him do is something where many others had failed.  The King had been having difficulty protecting his flock of livestock from intruders.  The penalty for allowing the livestock to be scattered and stolen was death.  And as was expected, as Ammon and other servants were watching the flock, a group of Lamanite robbers scatter it in all directions.  This causes the King’s servants to cry and fear for their lives, but Ammon rejoices in the opportunity to demonstrate his loyalty to the King.  He goes to contend with the band of Lamanites and begins hurling stones at them with his sling.  As a few begin to fall, the band becomes angry and begin to attack him with their clubs.  Here then is the amazing part of this story.  Ammon takes his sword and cuts off each arm that is raised against him, and soon he has a stack of arms to show for his courage.

As the Lamanite robbers flee for refuge, the servants of the King are astonished by what they have just seen.  Ammon directs them to gather the arms together as evidence, and as the servants take the arms before the King, he inquires regarding the whereabouts of Ammon.  When he learns he is faithfully tending to his other duties, which included feeding the King’s horses, the King is stunned in amazement, wondering what manner of man this Ammon really is.  Those witnessing the event rave on to King Lamoni about what they have seen, and he becomes fearful that Ammon might judge him for previous slayings, punishing servants who had lost flocks in the past.

Wanting to know more, the King sends for Ammon to be brought before him.  He mostly wants to know how Ammon could single handedly take on a large band of robbers without injury.  No one could slay him. Was he the Great Spirit who punished murderers, liars, and robbers? What were Ammon’s intentions with King Lamoni and his people? Ammon was able to perceive what was in the king’s heart, and he told him he was mortal, like all of his other servants.  He then begins a series of questions, where he asks Lamoni about his faith and personal beliefs.  He expounds upon the scriptures, beginning with Adam and Eve, and then tells about Lehi in Jerusalem and the journey to the promised land.  He reviews the words of past prophets and how all of them testified that Christ is the Savior, Creator, and Redeemer.  Lamoni believes everything Ammon says and cries out, “O Lord, have mercy,” and then falls to the earth as if he were dead.  The king is laid in his chamber in that state for two days while his family mourn for him.

Servants of the King tell the Queen that her husband is dead and should be placed in a sepulcher.  Having heard of Ammon’s recent fame, she summons Ammon and says to him, “Thou art a prophet of a holy God, and hast power to do mighty works in his name.  Therefore, go in and see the king and tell me if he is dead or not.” Ammon welcomes this challenge as another opportunity for others to see the power of God.  He returns to the Queen and informs her that the King is not dead.  Furthermore, he prophesies that he will rise on the morrow.

The Queen believes Ammon and waits by the bed of her husband and the next morning, Lamoni wakes from his sleep and tells his wife he has seen Jesus Christ.  As the King and Queen rejoice together, they are both overcome by the Spirit of God and fall to the earth in another sleep.  At this point, Ammon offers a prayer of thanksgiving and is also overpowered by the Spirit and falls to the ground.

This causes great fear to come upon all those witnessing this series of events, and as the servants pray for their own souls, they fall to the ground in a sleep with the Queen and King.  This is true for all of the bystanders except for one Lamanite woman, who had been converted to the Lord many years ago but had never made her belief in Jesus Christ known to others.  This woman recognizes an opportunity and goes throughout the village, telling everyone what has happened.  As the people of the village begin to gather, they think some great evil has come upon the king and queen.  One of them is the brother of one of the men that Ammon had previously slain while defending the King’s flock.  He is angered and raises his sword to kill Ammon, and as he does so, he immediately falls dead.  This is another example of the promise from Ammon’s father that he would be protected.

The death causes a lot of contention among those that had gathered, and as they are fighting with each other, the Queen and King and the others wake from their sleep.  The King teaches his people, and many of them experience a change of heart, although many still do not listen.  Ammon continues to preach to the people while word of this marvelous event spreads through the kingdom and huge numbers are converted.
Written by Burke McConkie.

Click here "Alma 17:19-39, 18" to read the actual account of this story from the Book of Mormon.


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