The king issues an edict protecting the missionaries from persecution and making sure “that the word of God might have no obstruction, but that it might go forth throughout all the land…” (3)
This religious freedom that is granted opens the door to great blessings for the Lamanites, physically, financially (with commerce), and spiritually. We need to do all we can today to fight for this type of freedom, because without it, Satan has power over the hearts of a few wicked men, who then control many others.
How can I learn more about religious freedom? This site explains why it is important and what we can do to uphold it.
How can I ensure that the word of God has “no obstruction” in my own life and family?
Thousands of the Lamanites are converted to the Lord and repent of their wicked ways—murdering, plundering, stealing, adultery, etc.
As the Lord liveth, as many of the Lamanites as believed in their preaching, and were converted unto the Lord, never did fall away.
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.”Alma 23:6-7
Weapons of Rebellion
Conversion involves more than just learning about the gospel and making outward changes. It involves a change of heart, which changes our desires, our intents, our very beings! That is why these people didn’t fall away from their faith. They weren’t the same people anymore. God made them new creatures, in Him. That is our quest, to become converted, changed for good through Christ. Part of this process entailed that they lay down their weapons of rebellion.
What are some of my weapons I hold onto that fight against God? It could be worldly distractions, social interactions, jobs, thoughts and desires. Anything that keeps me from giving my whole self to God is a weapon I use to keep distance from Him. Maybe I have false traditions to abandon or weapons of selfishness, pride, insensitivity, laziness that I need to bury. Or maybe I need to just be more zealous in my testimony of Christ.
The Lamanites laid down their weapons of their rebellion, “that they did not fight against God any more, neither against any of their brethren.” (7)
It’s interesting to note that when they stopped fighting against God, they stopped contending with their fellowmen as well. The first two commandments God gave to us are 1) love thy God with all thy heart, and 2) love thy neighbor as thyself.
It follows that if we aren’t living the first commandment of loving God (and instead, are fighting against Him), then we will break the second one as well and fight against our neighbors.
- Do a self-check and ask yourself: Am I fighting against God?
- If you don’t know or think you aren’t, second question could be: Am I fighting or angry with anyone else in life?
If you are, chances are high that you are fighting against God as well. For we cannot treat our fellowmen like crap and expect to love God. So let’s be more careful about what we think about others, what we say to them (in person or anonymously online), and how we treat those around us.
Let us choose to lay down our weapons of rebellion and hold fast to God, through the atoning power of Jesus Christ that He has made available to save us.
Let us choose to allow Christ to convert us, to change our hearts and very beings!
Tons of people in the land are converted—the people of Ishmael (Lamoni’s people), the people in Middoni and Nephi, the people in Shilom, Shemlon, Lemuel and Shimnilom. Seven cities “laid down the weapons of their rebellion, yea, all their weapons of war…” (13)
No Amalekites were converted, sadly, “save only one.” (14) It would be interesting to know this one man’s story. To me, it shows that even if we are surrounded by sin and others who hate and revile and do not keep God’s commandments, we can be THE ONE who does. We can be the one who shines with Christ’s light.
A New Name
The converted people want to take a new name upon them “that they might be distinguished.” (16)
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. (17)
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.” (18)
When we decide to lay down our weapons of rebellion, we can take a new name upon us as well by being baptized by one holding the authority of God. Through this sacred ordinance, we make a covenant to take Jesus Christ’s name upon us. A new name! His name distinguishes us from those in the world who have hardened their hearts against Him.