This post is part of a series and personal assignment titled, “Unveiling the Covenant Path in the Book of Mormon.” Through this we have revealed the Book of Mormon for what it really is. It started with featuring the Savior’s own witness of the doctrine of Christ in the Book of Mormon. Then starting from the beginning, we have demonstrated how other Book of Mormon prophets have taught and shared their own personal witness of the true covenant path (“the Doctrine of Christ”).
Today, I will share yet another witness of the Doctrine of Christ from the Sons of Mosiah (specifically Ammon, Aaron, Omner, Himni) in Alma 22-23. I will always invite you to first read the assignment (Alma 22-23) on your own first and use the spirit of the Lord to help you see the doctrine of Christ with new eyes. Then feel free to supplement your own reading with mine if you would like. There is so much to comment on in each chapter, but I will try to limit my comments to only those things that are relevant to the doctrine of Christ and this specific project. I invite you to seek the spirit to teach you their meaning. If you have the proper context of the doctrine of Christ, it should be easier. Use the spirit to discern any of my personal messages. My comments are only there to help clarify the simplicity and beauty of Christ’s true saving doctrine.
The Witness of the Sons of Mosiah—Aaron
1 Now, as Ammon was thus teaching the people of Lamoni continually, we will return to the account of Aaron and his brethren; for after he departed from the land of Middoni he was led by the Spirit to the land of Nephi, even to the house of the king which was over all the land save it were the land of Ishmael; and he was the father of Lamoni.
2 And it came to pass that he went in unto him into the king’s palace, with his brethren, and bowed himself before the king, and said unto him: Behold, O king, we are the brethren of Ammon, whom thou hast delivered out of prison.
3 And now, O king, if thou wilt spare our lives, we will be thy servants. And the king said unto them: Arise, for I will grant unto you your lives, and I will not suffer that ye shall be my servants; but I will insist that ye shall administer unto me; for I have been somewhat troubled in mind because of the generosity and the greatness of the words of thy brother Ammon; and I desire to know the cause why he has not come up out of Middoni with thee.
4 And Aaron said unto the king: Behold, the Spirit of the Lord has called him another way; he has gone to the land of Ishmael, to teach the people of Lamoni.
5 Now the king said unto them: What is this that ye have said concerning the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, this is the thing which doth trouble me.
6 And also, what is this that Ammon said—If ye will repent ye shall be saved, and if ye will not repent, ye shall be cast off at the last day? [“The last day” is the last day of one’s mortal life. For this is a probationary state to repent and prepare to meet the Lord God—literally.]
7 And Aaron answered him and said unto him: Believest thou that there is a God? And the king said: I know that the Amalekites say that there is a God [While the Amalekites believed in God, they also subscribed to the doctrine of Nehor], and I have granted unto them that they should build sanctuaries, that they may assemble themselves together to worship him. And if now thou sayest there is a God, behold I will believe [hope and faith].
8 And now when Aaron heard this, his heart began to rejoice, and he said: Behold, assuredly as thou livest, O king, there is a God [Amen!].
9 And the king said: Is God that Great Spirit that brought our fathers out of the land of Jerusalem? [Evidence of hope in God. Notice they had traditions for hundreds of years about a great spirit that took Lehi’s family out of Jerusalem.]
10 And Aaron said unto him: Yea, he is that Great Spirit, and he created all things both in heaven and in earth. Believest thou this?
11 And he said: Yea, I believe [hope] that the Great Spirit created all things, and I desire that ye should tell me concerning all these things [seeking in faith], and I will believe thy words.
12 And it came to pass that when Aaron saw that the king would believe his words, he began from the creation of Adam, reading the scriptures unto the king—how God created man after his own image, and that God gave him commandments, and that because of transgression, man had fallen [To start at the beginning is so important as it lays the foundation for the Everlasting Covenant. (See also False Traditions: What Joseph Really Restored)]
13 And Aaron did expound unto him the scriptures from the creation of Adam, laying the fall of man before him, and their carnal state and also the plan of redemption [doctrine of Christ], which was prepared from the foundation of the world, through Christ, for all whosoever would believe on his name [the Everlasting Covenant].
14 And since man had fallen he could not merit anything of himself [This is so foundational to your journey. Some will say, “Sure, I believe this and understand this.” However, in its true application, this can be a challenge to believe and understand how you have to receive all things “in and through” the Lord.]; but the sufferings and death of Christ atone for their sins, through faith and repentance, and so forth [the principles of the doctrine of Christ]; and that he breaketh the bands of death, that the grave shall have no victory, and that the sting of death should be swallowed up in the hopes of glory; and Aaron did expound all these things unto the king. [I will be doing a future post specifically how a spiritual rebirth literally breaks the bonds of temporal/telestial death. Suffice it to say, though, that when you came into this world by water, blood and spirit (Moses 6:59) that your soul (body & spirit) was tied/connected/bonded to this telestial realm. The only way to overcome this tie/connection/bond is to be personally redeemed through a baptism in the name of the Son (water, fire and spirit; Moses 6:59). This is spiritual resurrection taught in the Book of Mormon.]
15 And it came to pass that after Aaron had expounded these things unto him, the king said: What shall I do that I may have this eternal life of which thou hast spoken? [seeking and asking in faith] Yea, what shall I do that I may be born of God, having this wicked spirit rooted out of my breast [So Aaron taught him about being literally “born again” through a baptism of fire and Holy Ghost, which literally purges darkness out of your soul to become a new telestial being.], and receive his Spirit [Aaron taught him that this rebirth would enable him to then receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost], that I may be filled with joy [the fruits of the spiritual transformation], that I may not be cast off at the last day? Behold, said he, I will give up all that I possess, yea, I will forsake my kingdom, that I may receive this great joy [This “joy” is the same joy that is referred to in 2 Nephi 2. It is a bit of a false tradition to use that reference to simply promote an optimistic lifestyle. (See also The Witness of Lehi—That They Might Have Joy) Regardless, this is the same “joy.” Notice the hope and faith demonstrated by the king. There is a sincere desire here for a change from telestial to terrestrial.]
16 But Aaron said unto him: If thou desirest this thing [some might say it for various reasons but don’t sincerely desire it], if thou wilt bow down before God, yea, if thou wilt repent of all thy sins, and will bow down before God, and call on his name in faith, believing that ye shall receive [These are the fruits of one’s desire. You could even say these are evidences of “knocking.”], then shalt thou receive the hope which thou desirest [Notice that an increase in hope is what is promised first. This is like fuel in a car that makes the transformation process go.].
17 And it came to pass that when Aaron had said these words, the king did bow down before the Lord, upon his knees; yea, even he did prostrate himself upon the earth, and cried mightily [How bold, uncomfortable, unfamiliar, unorthodox, humbling (in the presence of servants), and yet powerful, beautiful and amazing is this scene?!? This is “knocking,” I invite you to pray to see this experience in your mind’s eye. It will touch you immensely. Ask the Lord questions about what you see. Yes, Aaron is mentoring the king through this entire experience. However, you need to understand how immensely personal this really is between the Lord and the king. This is a reminder of how personal your journey/relationship really is with the Lord.], saying:
18 O God, Aaron hath told me that there is a God; and if there is a God, and if thou art God, wilt thou make thyself known unto me, and I will give away all my sins to know thee, and that I may be raised from the dead, and be saved at the last day. And now when the king had said these words, he was struck as if he were dead. [Notice the straightforwardness, honesty, and sincerity of the king. This is not full of fluffy and superfluous words. The key is not the words, but the sincere desires of one’s heart. Notice also how this experience paralleled his son Lamoni’s, Lamoni’s wife’s, also Alma’s born again experience—though, everyone’s personal experience will be different.]
19 And it came to pass that his servants ran and told the queen all that had happened unto the king. And she came in unto the king; and when she saw him lay as if he were dead, and also Aaron and his brethren standing as though they had been the cause of his fall, she was angry with them, and commanded that her servants, or the servants of the king, should take them and slay them.
20 Now the servants had seen the cause of the king’s fall, therefore they durst not lay their hands on Aaron and his brethren [the fruits of exercising the gifts of the spirit]; and they pled with the queen saying: Why commandest thou that we should slay these men, when behold one of them is mightier than us all? Therefore we shall fall before them.
21 Now when the queen saw the fear of the servants she also began to fear exceedingly, lest there should some evil come upon her. And she commanded her servants that they should go and call the people, that they might slay Aaron and his brethren.
22 Now when Aaron saw the determination of the queen, he, also knowing the hardness of the hearts of the people, feared lest that a multitude should assemble themselves together, and there should be a great contention and a disturbance among them; therefore he put forth his hand and raised the king from the earth [God’s power demonstrated through the gift of revelation–knowledge of what to do in that situation.], and said unto him: Stand. And he stood upon his feet, receiving his strength [Being called into the spirit realm will drain the physical body of strength.].
23 Now this was done in the presence of the queen and many of the servants. And when they saw it they greatly marveled, and began to fear. And the king stood forth, and began to minister unto them. And he did minister unto them, insomuch that his whole household were converted unto the Lord [Notice to Whom they were converted? Not Aaron or his brethren. Not to any institution/church. They were converted to the Lord. Why?—because God’s power was exhibited through the gifts of the spirit. It is the only power to be able to cause such a spiritual transformation of the king, and the king testified as a second witness to Aaron and his brethren. This is “true conversion.” Also, this may seem obvious, but deserves attention: why was the king’s witness powerful enough that “his whole household were converted unto the Lord?” Because the king was a first-hand witness of the Lord (when he laid as though he were dead, he was called to the Lord in the spiritual realm). Where are these first-hand witnesses today to convert the people by the tens, hundreds, or even thousands directly to the Lord? Is it perhaps that we have witnesses today that are not actually first-hand (not even having at least a born again baptism of fire and Holy Ghost experience)? Could it be that so-called witnesses are more focused on converting people to institutions?]
24 Now there was a multitude gathered together because of the commandment of the queen, and there began to be great murmurings among them because of Aaron and his brethren.
25 But the king stood forth among them and administered unto them [as a first-hand witness]. And they were pacified towards Aaron and those who were with him.
26 And it came to pass that when the king saw that the people were pacified, he caused that Aaron and his brethren should stand forth in the midst of the multitude, and that they should preach the word [the doctrine of Christ] unto them.
27 And it came to pass that the king sent a proclamation throughout all the land, amongst all his people who were in all his land, who were in all the regions round about, which was bordering even to the sea, on the east and on the west, and which was divided from the land of Zarahemla by a narrow strip of wilderness, which ran from the sea east even to the sea west, and round about on the borders of the seashore, and the borders of the wilderness which was on the north by the land of Zarahemla, through the borders of Manti, by the head of the river Sidon, running from the east towards the west—and thus were the Lamanites and the Nephites divided.
28 Now, the more idle part of the Lamanites lived in the wilderness, and dwelt in tents; and they were spread through the wilderness on the west, in the land of Nephi; yea, and also on the west of the land of Zarahemla, in the borders by the seashore, and on the west in the land of Nephi, in the place of their fathers’ first inheritance, and thus bordering along by the seashore.
29 And also there were many Lamanites on the east by the seashore, whither the Nephites had driven them. And thus the Nephites were nearly surrounded by the Lamanites; nevertheless the Nephites had taken possession of all the northern parts of the land bordering on the wilderness, at the head of the river Sidon, from the east to the west, round about on the wilderness side; on the north, even until they came to the land which they called Bountiful.
30 And it bordered upon the land which they called Desolation, it being so far northward that it came into the land which had been peopled and been destroyed, of whose bones we have spoken, which was discovered by the people of Zarahemla, it being the place of their first landing.
31 And they came from there up into the south wilderness. Thus the land on the northward was called Desolation, and the land on the southward was called Bountiful, it being the wilderness which is filled with all manner of wild animals of every kind, a part of which had come from the land northward for food.
32 And now, it was only the distance of a day and a half’s journey for a Nephite, on the line Bountiful and the land Desolation, from the east to the west sea; and thus the land of Nephi and the land of Zarahemla were nearly surrounded by water, there being a small neck of land between the land northward and the land southward.
33 And it came to pass that the Nephites had inhabited the land Bountiful, even from the east unto the west sea, and thus the Nephites in their wisdom, with their guards and their armies, had hemmed in the Lamanites on the south, that thereby they should have no more possession on the north, that they might not overrun the land northward.
34 Therefore the Lamanites could have no more possessions only in the land of Nephi, and the wilderness round about. Now this was wisdom in the Nephites—as the Lamanites were an enemy to them, they would not suffer their afflictions on every hand, and also that they might have a country whither they might flee, according to their desires.
35 And now I, after having said this, return again to the account of Ammon and Aaron, Omner and Himni, and their brethren.
[The previous description (v27-35) of the layout of the enormous land that was covered by the Lamanites and Nephites was included by Mormon to demonstrate the extent to which the king sent this proclamation. This is evidence of the power of his own personal witness of the glory of the Lord.]
1 Behold, now it came to pass that the king of the Lamanites sent a proclamation among all his people, that they should not lay their hands on Ammon, or Aaron, or Omner, or Himni, nor either of their brethren who should go forth preaching the word of God, in whatsoever place they should be, in any part of their land.
2 Yea, he sent a decree among them, that they should not lay their hands on them to bind them, or to cast them into prison; neither should they spit upon them, nor smite them, nor cast them out of their synagogues, nor scourge them; neither should they cast stones at them, but that they should have free access to their houses, and also their temples, and their sanctuaries.
3 And thus they might go forth and preach the word [the doctrine] according to their desires [according to the gift of prophecy], for the king had been converted unto the Lord, and all his household; therefore he sent his proclamation throughout the land unto his people, that the word of God might have no obstruction, but that it might go forth throughout all the land, that his people might be convinced concerning the wicked traditions of their fathers, and that they might be convinced that they were all brethren, and that they ought not to murder, nor to plunder, nor to steal, nor to commit adultery, nor to commit any manner of wickedness.
4 And now it came to pass that when the king had sent forth this proclamation, that Aaron and his brethren went forth from city to city, and from one house of worship to another, establishing churches [Remember that churches were simply local gathering of like-minded people that choose to repent and seek the Lord and learn the doctrine of Christ (D&C 10:67).], and consecrating priests and teachers [designated to teach the doctrine of Christ] throughout the land among the Lamanites, to preach and to teach the word of God among them; and thus they began to have great success. [Note that the purpose of the churches, priests, and teachers was to simply point each individual to the Lord for personal redemption. The organization of the church was very simple and “flat” (not hierarchical). They were not promoting loyalty to the church, but rather, loyalty to the Lord through His doctrine. This type of organization demonstrated great faith in the Lord. The opposite is when an organization goes to great lengths to instill fear in its people and even enact control measures. This is not the Lord’s way. Is there anything that the Lord cannot do? Does the Lord not know each soul intimately? Is God any respecter of persons? Is He not the same yesterday, today and forever? How much faith and hope in the Lord should we have?]
5 And thousands were brought to the knowledge of the Lord, yea, thousands were brought to believe in the traditions of the Nephites; and they were taught the records and prophecies [the scriptures are always the standard] which were handed down even to the present time. [There is a false tradition related to this that I will be addressing in the near future–that current revelation trumps previous. This teaching is very skewed and misunderstood. However, the scriptures are the standard that any person who claims to represent the Lord (yes, ANY person) can be evaluated. The burden of knowing the principles and doctrines contained in the scriptures is upon each of us. If you hand over that burden to someone else and take their word for it, it will bring damnation to the spiritual progression of your soul. Each person has to realize that this is their own mortal journey—you have to “own it.”]
6 And as sure as the Lord liveth, so sure as many as believed, or as many as were brought to the knowledge of the truth [It cannot be understated how important having a knowledge of the true doctrine of Christ is to receive a true conversion to the Lord. An incomplete (or even false understanding) of Christ’s true doctrine will convert people to something else (e.g. a church, a person, etc.)], through the preaching of Ammon and his brethren, according to the [gifts of the] spirit of revelation and of prophecy, and the power of God working miracles in them—yea, I say unto you, as the Lord liveth, as many of the Lamanites as believed in their preaching, and were converted unto the Lord, never did fall away. [Conversion was so deep, because they experienced the gifts of the spirit, and then received personal redemption from the Lord. (See also The Gifts of the Spirit)
7 For they became a righteous people; they did lay down the weapons of their rebellion, that they did not fight against God any more, neither against any of their brethren. [evidence of conversion to the Lord]
8 Now, these are they who were converted unto the Lord [this is literal]:
9 The people of the Lamanites who were in the land of Ishmael;
10 And also of the people of the Lamanites who were in the land of Middoni;
11 And also of the people of the Lamanites who were in the city of Nephi;
12 And also of the people of the Lamanites who were in the land of Shilom, and who were in the land of Shemlon, and in the city of Lemuel, and in the city of Shimnilom.
13 And these are the names of the cities of the Lamanites which were converted unto the Lord; and these are they that laid down the weapons of their rebellion, yea, all their weapons of war; and they were all Lamanites.
14 And the Amalekites were not converted, save only one; neither were any of the Amulonites; but they did harden their hearts, and also the hearts of the Lamanites in that part of the land wheresoever they dwelt, yea, and all their villages and all their cities [because they believed in the doctrine of Nehor, not the doctrine of Christ. Did you catch that? Only ONE was converted of the Amalekites and NONE of the Amulonites. The doctrine of Nehor had three primary components: priests and teachers were esteemed higher than the rest of the people and were paid for their service, universal salvation for all people, and there was no need to repent. These doctrines will continue to bind and blind the hearts of those who believed them as they preferred handing over their agency to those esteemed higher instead of relying on the Lord’s grace and power. Their progression was truly damned, and they continually persecuted many of the righteous throughout the following chapters in the Book of Mormon.].
15 Therefore, we have named all the cities of the Lamanites in which they did repent and come to the knowledge of the truth, and were converted [This is the simplicity of the doctrine of Christ.].
16 And now it came to pass that the king and those who were converted were desirous that they might have a name, that thereby they might be distinguished from their brethren; therefore the king consulted with Aaron and many of their priests, concerning the name that they should take upon them, that they might be distinguished.
17 And it came to pass that they called their names Anti-Nephi-Lehies; and they were called by this name and were no more called Lamanites.
18 And they began to be a very industrious people; yea, and they were friendly with the Nephites; therefore, they did open a correspondence with them, and the curse of God did no more follow them.
[This new name is symbolic of the new person they become once they have been converted to the Lord. When a person receives personal redemption through a baptism of fire and Holy Ghost, they become a “spiritual son or daughter of Jesus Christ” (the Savior). There is so much more depth to this that I cannot teach here. (See also The Doctrine of Christ Study Guide for a little more about this, but not all.)]
This is the second time in the last few chapters that we have witnessed a very pentecostal-type conversion experience. First to king Lamoni, his wife, servants, community members and more in the land Ishmael, and now the experience of Lamoni’s father and his house. This is the experience of a baptism of fire and Holy Ghost (salvation), even to ascending to the heavenly realm to witness the Savior (exaltation).
For members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (of which I am a member), this might be uncomfortable territory, because our culture has taught us to believe that salvation and exaltation come by different means. However, once again, we see the purpose, and even power of the Book of Mormon being demonstrated as it correctly testifies that (1) the Savior is the literal means by which any person will receive salvation and exaltation in our mortal probation, and (2) this is the true doctrine of Christ.
Ask the Lord what weapons you must lay down and what you must do to receive His holy spirit so that you will be born again. I testify you will never be the same again.
For more understanding of this covenant path and its milestones taught throughout the scriptures, you are welcome to begin your personal study and your own journey in and through the doctrine of Christ through The Doctrine of Christ Study Guide. Also, to help you increase your confidence in personal revelation and develop your own gift of discernment, I invite you to study The 3 Voices of Personal Revelation Study Guide.
JourneyDoctrineOfChrist.org is based on free, online study guides to help you learn, believe, live and teach the Doctrine of Christ. The Study Guides invite any and all to see and know this truth for themselves that the Savior, Jesus Christ, has, in fact, introduced His doctrine and He personally invites all to receive personal redemption and to even literally receive Him while in the flesh (mortality).
Blog posts are only intended to supplement the Study Guides. Per all blog posts, seek the understanding and confirmations from the Lord in your own personal revelation. Study guides are intended to point you to both the Lord’s written word and His voice (personal revelation). These study guides will help you uncover what the Doctrine of Christ is and other essential topics that will help you in your journey to literally “come unto Christ” while in mortality. All study guides are available at JourneyDoctrineOfChrist.org.