CLICK HERE to read Alma 20.
Now that the church was established, king Lamoni wanted Ammon the prophet to accompany him to the land of Nephi so that Ammon could meet Lamoni’s father (verse 1).
But, the Lord warned Ammon not to go because Lamoni’s father would try to kill him, and so to go instead to the land of Middoni where Ammon’s brother and two friends were imprisoned (verse 2).
Ammon explained this to Lamoni (verse 3), and Lamoni decided to go with Ammon to help him get his brother and friends out of prison (verse 4). Lamoni asked Ammon how he knew his brother and friends were in prison (verse 4), and Ammon told him that God had told him (verse 5). This made Lamoni hurry and get ready to go quickly (verse 6), and to accompany Ammon to help get the men released from prison (verse 7).
As they traveled, they met Lamoni’s father (verse 8) who was already headed to them, upset that Lamoni did not show up for a feast day in his land (verse 9). Lamoni’s father also asked Lamoni why he was traveling with “this Nephite”, giving Ammon a sideways glare (verse 10). Lamoni explained, hoping not to offend his father (verse 11), telling even what all had just happened the last few days and that this is why he did not make it to the feast (verse 12). Lamoni was testifying of his own conversion, but his father was angry with him and suspicious of Ammon (verse 13).
Lamoni’s father was so upset that he told Lamoni to kill Ammon with the sword, and then return home with him (the father) (verse 14). But Lamoni refused to kill Ammon, saying that knew Ammon and his brother and friends “are just men and holy prophets of the true God” (verse 15). This really made his father very angry, “and he drew his sword that he might smite him to the earth” (verse 16).
But Ammon commanded the father not to slay his son, though he stated it would be better for Lamoni to die than his father to die because at least Lamoni has repented of his sins (verse 17). Ammon told Lamoni’s father that if he killed his son, “he being an innocent man, his blood would cry from the ground to the Lord his God, for vengeance to come upon thee; and perhaps thou wouldst lose thy soul” (verse 18). This turned the father’s anger toward Ammon instead of to Lamoni, as he blamed Ammon for trying to destroy Lamoni (verse 19).
“And he stretched forth his hand to slay Ammon. But Ammon withstood his blows, and also smote his arm that he could not use it” (verse 20). When Lamoni’s father realized that Ammon could kill him, “he began to plead with Ammon that he would spare his life” (verse 21). But Ammon raised his sword and said he would kill him if he did not promise to release his brother and friends from prison (verse 22). King Lamoni’s father agreed, saying that if Ammon let him live he would give Ammon anything, up to half the kingdom (verse 23).
Ammon lets king Lamoni’s father live, requesting nothing but his brother and friends be released from prison, and for king Lamoni to get to keep his land and rule his kingdom the way he wants (verse 24). King Lamoni’s father rejoiced that his life was spared (verse 25), and recognized that Ammon did love his son, Lamoni, and agreed to the terms (verse 26). He granted Ammon’s wishes, astonished that Ammon asked nothing for himself, and invited Ammon and his brother and friends to visit him in his kingdom (verse 27).
“For the king was greatly astonished at the words which he (Ammon) had spoken, and also at the words (the testimony) which had been spoken by his son Lamoni, therefore he was desirous to learn them (about the gospel)” (verse 27).
So Ammon and Lamoni were able to continue to their journey, and bring Ammon’s brother and friends out of prison (verse 28).
“And when Ammon did meet them he was exceedingly sorrowful, for behold they were naked, and their skins were worn exceedingly because of being bound with strong cords. And they also had suffered hunger, thirst, and all kinds of afflictions; nevertheless, they were patient in all their sufferings” (verse 29).
Ammon had gone on his mission to King Lamoni’s land, and the people had responded to him. But his brother Aaron and their friends had a mission to a “more hardened and a more stiffnecked people; therefore they would not hearken unto their words, and they had cast them out, and had smitten them…” (verse 30) until delivered by Ammon and King Lamoni.
Chapters 21-26 will tell their story.