Leaders of integrity or infamy found in The Book of Mormon provide the fodder for spiritual growth and self-improvement. It was made for us.
Powerful leaders, such as Hitler, seem to rise every other generation to effect changes to the world leaving bellowing heaps of destruction in their wakes. Capturing the minds of like-minded people, these people tenaciously claw at society for power with an undeviating purpose to achieve their goals. If or once achieved, maintaining that power matrix by any means necessary, only death brings an end to their reigns!
Amalickiah, an ancient American leader equivalent to Hitler in destructive influence, caused a bloody series of wars among the ancient Nephite and Lamanite Civilizations recorded in The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, that changed the course of their society thenceforth. This article contains perspective-ladened history on his destructive rise to power.
In a democratic election among the ancient Nephites, Amalickiah and his followers cast their voices to change the free government of the people in a manner to elect Amalickiah to form a monarch. The people opposed the notion, voting instead to keep their democracy discussed in the article The Rise of Amalickiah: Traitor. Amalickiah, the megalomanic he was, would not accept the will of the governed.
If he could not have what he deserved through the voice of the people, Amalickiah encouraged his followers to take flight out of the capital city of Nephite government, Zarahemla and the surrounding lands. With the intention of taking the group of people who desired him to be their king, he sought coronation at their hands in the Land of Nephi among the Lamanites, mortal enemies of his nation. If he could not satiate his megalomania among his friends, he would do so among enemies!
The people of Amalickiah had been duped! Mormon, chief writer of The Book of Mormont, with his 20/20 historical hindsight suggests that the followers of Amalickiah started to doubt the propriety of their cause for an imperial nation. This lack of confidence among his supporters catalyzed a new political plan that propelled Amalickiah out of the nation and into dissension. Separation and isolation from the other Nephite citizenry was the only way to keep his power it seems Amalickiah reasoned.
Captain Moroni, a Churchill to Hitler and the military leader of the Nephite nation, attempted to stop Amalickiah’s flight to the Lamanites, but to no avail. The great majority of Amalickiah’s followers were captured or killed by the Nephite military, but a small contingency escaped ghosting Amalickiah into a new political system where his goal for regal recognition could more easily succeed since the Lamanites already subsisted within a monarchical government.
As soon as Amalickiah entered the land of Nephi, he entreated the king against his former nation to war. How could he do it? He did so by ingratiating his intention to become a Lamanite subject with the intent of exploiting his new standing with the king to solicit war!
Lamanites existed because of rebellion that occurred within the First Family of the legacy of Lehi, the founding prophet and father of what became the Nephite and Lamanite societies. Nephi, fourth of six mentioned sons of Lehi, received a commission from heaven to rule the small society started by his father when Lehi died. The elder brother Laman felt that the right belonged to him vowed to murder Nephi rather than live subject to him.
Taking those with him along with sacred texts and artifacts, Nephi left the settlement and went to found another group which bore his name, Nephites in a land they named Nephi. Laman and those who remained with Laman claimed that Nephi stole the right of leadership by taking part of the settlement, the records, and the sacred items that belonged to Laman by the right of succession, ignoring Lehi's prophesy that Nephi should rule. Eventually, the Lamanites took the land of Nephi, causing the subsequent group of Nephites to relocate to Zarahemla.
[Nephites wrote the history, calling the land the Lamanites occupied the Land of Nephi. There is no record of what the Lamanites called the land once they conquered it if they called it something different.]
Playing on the hatred that existed among the Lamanites toward the Nephites, Alamlickiah played a life-size version of the game Monopoly planning to do more than pass Go collecting $200 on the way to power. With determination fueling his ambition, Amalickiah intended to be royalty by every means possible. Therefore, he made a plan to achieve his goal to usurp Nephite power eventually by usurping Lamanite power immediately! Amalikiah intended to play the long game as did Adolph Hitler did on his way to power starting out as a mere public servant before becoming the Fuehrer.
As long as a traitor did not exist, the Nephites would have peace, but it was never so!
I Declare War So You Must Too!
First, Amalickiah's plan to poison the mind of the Lamanite King and Royal Court against the Nephites succeeded. The king awarded Amalikiah with the lead of his armies using the centuries-old rhetoric against the Nephites to garner favor. At this time in Lamanite history, Nephite dissenters absconded frequently adding to Lamanite numers
Captain Moroni feared that if Amalickiah joined with the Lamanites, he would cause them to break the covenant of peace they had made following a dreadful battle a year or so prior. Moroni's fears proved prophetic.
Things transpired quickly following the departure of Alma, a great uniting spiritual leader of the Nephites, from among them, between the18th and 19th years of the Reign of Judges. Amalickiah's success with the Lamanite king to incite a new war startled a number of Lamanites who did not desire another war with the Nephites. This group did not have a short memory and recalled the covenant of peace they made under the pain of death!
Led by a determined leader, Lehonti, a large segment of the Lamanites revolted from the kingdom, established a political platform with the sole purpose of avoiding war with the Nephites, and establishing another kingdom! King Lehonti and his new subjects fixed themselves in a new location to escape the new political mandate to enter into another war on a mountain called Mt, Antipus in a land called Onidah to defend themselves against an advancing army of loyal Lamanites led by none other than Amalickiah.
Lehonti and his subjects had not so easily forgotten the great slaughter they suffered at the command of Captain Moroni. It is understandable that they did not want to go to war regardless of the commands of their former king. At the horrific battle during the 18th year of the Nephite Judges, Zerahemnah, the military leader of the Lamanites, warned Captain Moroni that his people would not honor a covenant of peace when Moroni offered it to them on pain of death. He, a former Nephite himself, understood the cultural and philosophical leanings of his people and did not want to waste Moroni’s time by agreeing to peace when it amounted to another covenant the Lamanites would break.
Amalickiah, another dissenter from the Nephites, whose kind caused much Lamanite-Nephite aggression, succeeded in breaking the peace covenant. It is interesting to note that Lehi, the father of the Nephite and Lamanite peoples, pronounced that the Lamanites would be a plague to the Nephites to remind them of their dependence on the Lord for safety, but it was the wicked Nephite turncoats who inspired the Lamanite scourges.
In retrospect, the Nephites destroyed themselves using the Lamanites as their literal weapon of mass annihilation. As long as a traitor did not exist, the Nephites would have peace, but it was never so!
We Will Not Come Down - Lehonti's Determination
Amalickiah wanted command of all the Lamanites, not just the ones who remained loyal to the King. It worked in his favor that such a large number of Lamanites rebelled when the King called for another conflict with the Nephites. Unbeknownst to the Lamanites at Mt. Antipus, the ambitious new commander Amalickiah had no intention of attacking them or compelling them to take up arms under the banner of their former king to combat the Nephites at that time. Therefore, Amalickiah’s design was to gain the favor of a new king and unite the Lamanites under one head again.
The custom among the Lamanites was that the second in command becomes the new leader if the first dies!
Amalickiah did not repeat the mistakes he made with the Nephites at Zarahemla. He knew he could not achieve his goal to rule all the people of Lehi if there were a civil war at the staging ground. So began his entreaty of King Lehonti.
Nehemiah, the great civil servant tasked with the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem by the King of Persia as recorded in the Holy Bible in the Book of Nehemiah in the Old Testament, was in a similar position as that of King Lehonti. Nehemiah’s enemies sent word to him to meet them in the plains south of Jerusalem to discuss a matter, to which he would not consent being apprised that the invitation to meet in actuality was a ruse to thwart the fortification of Jerusalem. Nehemiah would not stop his work to rebuild Jerusalem to meet these deceivers and he lived.
Unfortunately, Lehonti did not have the same fortitude as did Nehemiah, though his cause for peace was worthy also. It took four attempts and a bold advance on the part of Amalickiah, but down from Mt. Antipus went Lehonti. During Amalickiah’s meeting with Lehonti, he devised a plan. After assuring him that he had no desire to war with him or his people over his former king’s commands to go to war against the Nephites, the two devised a rueful way to unite the armies.
Amalickiah and Lehonti executed the plan to have Lehonti’s army to surround the King’s army in the night as they slept. On the pain of death, the army would join Lehonti. In this manner, Lehonti gained the entire army of his former king!
It was a brilliant strategy because the surrounded army pled with their commander to desert the King and join King Lehonti to avoid death, to which he gladly acquiesced. The only compensation Amalickiah requested of the new king for setting up this scheme and preserving peace came in the form of second in command.
Surely Lehonti did not think things through. The custom among the Lamanites was that the second in command becomes the new leader if the first dies!
Amalickiah Pleading with Lehonti
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2018 Rodric Anthony
Rodric Anthony (author) from Surprise, Arizona on September 02, 2018:
William, thanks for reading.
William Kovacic from Pleasant Gap, PA on September 02, 2018:
Another interesting hub, Rodric. Thank you!