The Lamanites get tired of losing battles with the Nephites, so they return to their land and decide to pick on the believing Lamanites again—the Anti-Nephi-Lehies. This due mostly to the Amalekites, stirring them up to anger.
Ammon tells the king that they should flee to the Nephites for protection, but the king is more terrified of that alternative, since he feels the Nephites will kill them for all the murders they have committed against them in the past
Ammon says: if he asks the Lord, will he go?
And the king said unto him, Yea, if the Lord saith unto us go, we will go down unto our brethren…”Alma 27:8
I love his faith and willingness to do whatever the Lord tells him, even if it’s hard and possibly might lead them into bondage.
Ammon soothes his worries, telling him the Nephites have laws in place forbidding slavery.
When Ammon supplicates the Lord, the Lord answers quickly.
Get this people out of this land that they perish not; for Satan has great hold on the hearts of the Amalekites, who do stir up the Lamanites to anger against their brethren to slay them, therefore get thee out of this land and blessed are this people in this generation, for I will preserve them.”Alma 27:12
The king and the Lamanite believers gather up their belongings and move with Ammon to the outskirts of Nephite territory. There, Ammon leaves them to go try the hearts of his people, concerning the refugees he has brought there. On his way, he runs into Alma, his old friend he hasn’t seen in over a decade, and his joy is so great, it exhausts his physical being and he falls to the earth.
They go tell the chief judge of the plight of the refugees waiting on word from them, and he sends a proclamation out to all the people, asking their feelings. The voice of the people comes back in support of letting the refugees come live with them, and they grant them the land of Jershon and pledge to protect them with their armies.
The Anti-Nephi-Lehies were refugees, fleeing persecution and death from their brethren in their own lands. We have this dilemma today. Do we allow refugees who are in dire straits into our country or not? On a smaller level, how do we treat those who are persecuted, rejected, or cast off in society? Do we turn our backs on beggars or those we feel are beneath us? Or do we give of our bounty to lift them up from their humble state?
The Nephite charity is displayed. They truly love their fellowmen enough to help them in their impoverished, humble state to rise again. They willingly give up land for these people, and then determine to protect them, since they will not take up arms to defend themselves on account of the many murders they performed in the past. They don’t want to stain their swords again, fearing their bloodthirsty history might tempt them to return to it.
The converted Lamanites—who the Nephites refer to as the people of Ammon—inhabit the land of Jershon and “they were also distinguished for their zeal towards God, and also towards men, for they were perfectly honest and upright in all things; and they were firm in the faith of Christ, even unto the end.” (27)
Perfectly honest and upright. That is something to strive to be like.
And they did look upon shedding the blood of their brethren with the greatest abhorrence;…and they never did look upon death with any degree of terror, for their hope and views of Christ and the resurrection; therefore, death was swallowed up to them by the victory of Christ over it.”Alma 27:28
The stronger our testimony of Christ becomes, the less afraid we are of death, because we realize it is all part of His infinite, merciful plan of redemption for us.
What this chapter teaches me is how to love my fellowmen more fully. It’s easy to sit back and enjoy the bountiful blessings God has given us and forget that there are others—many others!—who are struggling to survive. God didn’t bless us because we are better than anyone else. He blesses us so that we may bless the lives of others, and be His hands upon this earth.
How can I better love and serve my fellowmen?